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With more than 500 million members in 200 countries, and with 2 new members joining every second, LinkedIn has stored a virtual treasure trove of online data for you to hack into.
Unfortunately, the most sought candidates and contacts are the ones who tend to delete and filter mails more than anyone else. So it’s not only about metrics and rates, but about the quality of the relations established.
Narrow your filter.
This is not actually about the message content itself but about your database, but you see, this affects your results. First, the closer your contact is to the ideal profile, the more he’s likely to engage and relate. Or at least give you a recommendation. Then, having a list of skills or qualities matched leaves a higher possibility for those contacts to have thing in common. Like lack of spare time or a need to delegate for C-level managers. You can use that as a connection point.
You also have the added bonus that if you limit the number of messages you send, you will have more time to make the content of each message personalized and engaging.
That’s not only a common courtesy, but also a good way to set off with the right foot. Try to make it seem like you could have met before, everyone loves tailored(-ish) messages. “I’m Ricard, we met at the 10th anniversary event” or “I’m Ricard, and I loved your latest blog on climate change.” Don’t skip this step on LinkedIn! You should never assume your contact will just click on over to your profile to learn about you or see how you’re connected.
Use LinkedIn’s ‘How You’re Connected’ feature to see if you have any shared connections with a candidate. To sum up the effect you may want to even ask your shared connection for a direct introduction.
In case you’ve missed it, there are snippets in any automatization software, so just by completing your database and by using the correct snippet you can create a sense of a message being tailored to the person you’re talking to. There are researches that claim to get a 26% increase in the open rates just by mentioning the first name.
Get to the point quickly.
No one likes their time being wasted for long intros and resume-long lists. Explain why are you trying to connect, and “just to be connected” doesn’t count. This should be your second (and the last one!) paragraph.
Sometimes you can find the advices to postpone selling and converting for later, but there’s some kind of disguise and hypocrisy in it, so attractive as it may seem, you may end up generating rejection or abruption in your contact. Stick with clarity and honesty, this always works best.
Consider the attention span.
Frustrating as it may seem, on average your message will get around 15-20 seconds to be scanned and if you fail to catch the attention within this time, forget about it. How much is that in words? Again, in average, about 45-55. Some studies even say it’s 8 seconds you can really count with, so as you can see, the sorter the better.
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Not the rhetoric or non-specific ones, but the type of questions that will encourage the recipient to interact. “How did you like my last blog post?” is not the best question, while “Have you ever tried web scrapping for business purposes? Which tool you used?” – THAT is a question that requires an answer.
Don’t make it all about you.
Let them talk about themselves, everyone loves that and once you show your interest, you’ve got them.
Be a human.
This said, try to avoid complicated sentences, too many bullet points or billboard-like slogans that no one would ever use in a message to, let’s say, a friend.
Add an image.
No nudes, controversial subjects (like religion or politics) or off-limits jokes on sensitive issues, but a simple Disney movie GIF or a cat meme will do. As long as it is related to the subject, of course.
Make the next step clear.
The last two lines of the message are your closing moment and try to act graciously but straight: there’s no need to duck too much, but once you’re asking a favour of someone you presumably don’t know well enough to call or email a good old thank-you is crucial.
If you don’t need a response and the message is FYI only, say so. Although it’s not common with cold outreach mailing practices to not be expecting feedback, sometimes the interaction is excessive (like when you inform your contacts about a long out-of-office period or similar). But if you do so, try to leave a cliffhanger, something that would spark their curiosity and make a person to look forward to your next contact. Like, “I’m working on this new and revolutionary project and will share the details after I get back”.
Set the time limits.
If there is a deadline, say so. In case the request is not urgent, also say so. People value their time and have to prioritize. If you’d like to arrange a call, provide a few times that work and ask the candidate to select one.
Don’t repeat yourself.
There’s no need to say again your name after “Thanks and good-bye”, people are capable of scrolling the message upwards or simply looking at the conversation window. Avoid the redundancy whenever possible, whether it’s the presentation, call-to-action or any other part of your contact.
Refer to non-work-related subjects.
Although it may not seem casual to use with the massive cold outreach, especially with automated tools, it will definitely make a difference to your follow-up messages if you send them manually. Try to slip in a causal mention or question that will draw the recipient’s attention.
Where do they live? Where did they go to college? Do they have interests or hobbies listed? Volunteering? Causes they care about? Anything you can find goes and helps you start a conversation which will not try to sell your product or services in the explicit manner. What you’re trying to do is bond and make people remember you.
Keep the follow-up in the line with everything else.
The faster you respond, the shorter your response is allowed to be, and in general don’t write 5,000-word replies as no one is up to read that much.
Don’t get pushy.
Yes, you’ll have to send more than one message sometimes, we know the rules. But instead of asking is the person had a chance to consider your offer add some value or a piece of new information.
Respect the boundaries.
It is not acceptable to follow up on an email within 48 hours unless it is truly urgent. And even in that case, better get on the phone instead.
Try to quickly move a LinkedIn conversation to email.
People spend far more time in their inbox than on this network, so you’ll have a better shot of getting replies. And also giving you their contact information is frequently considered as a sign of interest. Try to come up with a believable but brief explanation why you’re asking for a person’s email address. No need to dig deep, though.