Learn to Master Cold Outreach on LinkedIn Like a Pro
As a business owner or sales manager, have you ever struggled with how to get hot leads to generate new pipeline opportunities and increase revenue?
One way of reaching your targets is with a cold-outreach strategy to scale your business.
But some businesses fail to win more sales from cold outreach because they aren’t sure about cold-outreach best practices or have hit a ceiling in their initial outreach attempts. Others are service providers who have traditionally relied on referrals & networking events for new clients and are dipping their toes into outbound sales for the first time.
Whether you’re sending out cold emails or, our favorite, using LinkedIn Sales Navigator to connect with more leads via LinkedIn messaging, mastering the art of cold outreach is essential for scalable revenue growth.
In this article, we will talk about what cold outreach is for businesses to create more revenue and break down the steps & strategies to help you mount a successful cold-outreach campaign.
What Is Cold Outreach?
Cold outreach is the process of reaching out to prospective customers who don’t know about your business or have no prior connection with your business.
The outreach is “cold” because the potential lead hasn’t had a touchpoint with you before. With a cold-outreach strategy, you can reach people unaware of your products or services and build relationships with them.
A good cold-outreach strategy involves leveraging sales-outreach best practices like researching prospective target audiences and personalizing your approach to make the right first impression.
Examples of Cold Outreach
A business might conduct a cold-outreach campaign for several reasons—contacting potential leads to boost sales, network with people in a similar field, pitch their brand to other companies, promote content or build website backlinks.
When it comes to getting more leads, cold-calling, cold-emailing and cold messaging on LinkedIn are common ways businesses reach out to their target audience.
LinkedIn especially is a powerful tool for cold outreach and social selling. A LinkedIn cold-outreach strategy enables you to prospect individuals who could become customers, conduct background research to see if they are the right fit for your business and connect with them one-on-one.
Before LinkedIn, one-on-one connections were challenging because individual contact details aren’t usually listed on company websites. This is one of the main pain points with cold-emailing vs. LinkedIn messaging: it’s difficult to find email addresses sometimes, but on LinkedIn, people have their own profile pages and individual accounts where you can message them.
However, although LinkedIn provides an excellent medium for real-time conversations with potential leads, you’ll get underwhelming response rates to your cold messages without a good outreach strategy in place.
Benefits of Cold Outreach
Let’s look at some of the benefits of cold outreach.
- Low-investment marketing: With a solid cold-outreach strategy in place, all you need to spread the word about your business is an email or LinkedIn account, both of which are free to set up.
- High ROI: Unlike a lot of traditional marketing strategies, cold outreach, if done right, can yield great returns because you’re speaking directly to potential buyers.
- Easy scaling: There are numerous dedicated automation tools that make it easy to scale your cold-outreach processes and contact hundreds of people each day.
- Networking: Cold outreach is more than just a sales strategy. By sending out cold messages, you can network with industry peers and potential clients to establish long-term relationships or speak with influential people about your business. It’s a good way to connect with writers, designers, web developers and people from different industries who might one day work with you.
- Content benefits: Sending out original content through channels like cold LinkedIn messaging can generate publicity for your business and backlinks for your website, which does wonders for your SEO.
When Should You Do Cold Outreach?
When should you consider doing cold outreach? Cold outreach works if you’re trying to scale your operations, if your revenue growth has stalled or if your customer-acquisition metrics are flat or, worse yet, declining.
If you find yourself in any of these situations, perhaps it’s time to explore new channels and sales tactics, like outbound messaging via LinkedIn.
If you’re already committed to cold outreach though, there’s also the question of timing—i.e., what days and times to send messages.
After all, if you put in the effort to write a personalized message for a prospective client or prepare extensively for a cold call, you want that person to open the message and hear you out. For that, you need to ensure you catch them at the right time.
The best time to perform cold outreach for a response differs based on industry, the recipient’s time zone and other factors like their working hours.
Generally, avoid cold outreach during early-morning or late-night hours.
A cold message sent during business hours is more likely to receive a response; 9 a.m.–5 p.m. is when most emails are opened, at a rate of approximately 53%. And some studies show that Tuesdays and Thursdays receive the best open rate for cold outreach messages.
Ultimately, the best way to determine when to do cold outreach is to leverage automation tools to help you send outreach messages in bulk.
Instead of blindly blasting random contacts with bot-like pitches, the aim here is to use a LinkedIn marketing software to identify people who most fit your target audience and to group those users together into dedicated campaigns for targeted, personalized messaging at scale.
By conducting cold outreach at scale, you can more efficiently send out LinkedIn messages to increase sales without worrying about bandwidth to send lots of messages at particular times of the day.
How to Do Cold Outreach
Cold outreach without a solid strategy is a shot in the dark. Here are seven steps you can follow to develop an effective cold-outreach strategy.
- Identify your target audience
- Personalize your message
- Follow up with sequences
- Pay attention to subject lines
- Provide a clear CTA
- Test different approaches
- Measure your success rate
1. Identify Your Target Audience
Before sending out thousands of messages a day, research who your target audience is to ensure you find and message the right people. Find out what niche of people would benefit from your product or service. If you’re a business coach, for example, your bread-and-butter might be first-time entrepreneurs of small businesses.
If you’re using LinkedIn Sales Navigator, a good tip you’ll find from a LinkedIn lead-generation guide is to start with people already connected to your network; that way you can lean on your network to make inroads.
2. Personalize Your Message
No matter your chosen approach for outreach, generic messages won’t deliver lots of high-quality replies. Once you define your target audience, find individuals, research their companies and determine how your product or service would benefit them.
Personalized outreach messages show each person how you would add value to them. When people feel like you’re speaking to them and that you’re understanding their anxieties or fixing their pain points, the increase in your reply rates will likely astonish you.
3. Follow Up With Sequences
It’s often said that the art of the sales pitch comes down to the followup. At least, I’m sure some people say that—the data tells us it’s a good idea.
In a study of cold-email outreach, sales reps increased their average reply rate with a followup message by over 44%, from 9% to 13%.
It makes sense. Some people see a message and don’t respond not because they have no intention of ever responding but because sometimes they forget or they’re busy. Oftentimes, they’re simply ambivalent, indecisive or unsure and just need an extra push.
That’s where building sequences comes in handy. Sequences are a series of messages that include timed and strategic followup messages to your original outreach message, usually based on criteria such as open and reply rates if you use automation software.
But remember, personalization is key in cold outreach. Sending a sequence of multiple messages doesn’t mean it’s a great idea to make multiple attempts at the same pitch over and over again.
A good sequence tip, for example, is to not start off with a strong pitch—even if you’re offering a helpful solution to a problem, buyers will be turned off by your assumptions and that they don’t know you yet.
4. Pay Attention to Subject Lines
The subject line is the first thing people see when they receive a LinkedIn message. If your subject line is weak, they are less likely to open your message, let alone respond.
Ensure that your subject line is creative and catchy but also brief and relevant.
For example, you could phrase your subject line as a question, such as, “Can I help you grow your social reach?” Or you could grab their attention with compelling sentences like, “5 things you didn’t know about saving for retirement.”
When in doubt, stick to one of the five main copywriting tactics for subject lines: create urgency; evoke curiosity; be controversial; get personal; or say what’s inside (i.e., be descriptive and direct).
5. Provide a Clear CTA
If a prospect has read your message and is interested in your product or service, there should be clarity about how they can express their interest.
Think about what you want your prospect to do after reading your mail. For example, do you want them to visit your website? Book a meeting with you? Make the call-to-action clear in your copy so interested prospects aren’t guessing at your intentions.
When adding a CTA to a LinkedIn cold message, don’t pressure people with a sales pitch. In your first message, your goal isn’t to close a deal but to introduce yourself and make connections.
6. Test Different Approaches
Cold outreach does not work well with a one-size-fits-all approach. Instead, improvise and experiment until you narrow down messaging and cadences that resonate with your target audience.
Different testing ideas for doing cold outreach on LinkedIn include:
- Using emojis in your subject lines
- Tweaking your messages to present your offer or company in different ways
- Long vs. short copy
- Play with different images
- Which times of the day and what cadences work for your potential leads
- Test your CTAs—what do people respond to best?
When you analyze and test different tactics in your cold outreach, you can pin down what delivers the highest reply rates to improve your sales and increase ROI.
7. Measure Your Success Rate
To know whether your current strategy is working, measure your success rate. You can measure and benchmark your cold-outreach efforts by looking at the following example metrics:
- Reply rate: the percentage of recipients who respond to you.
- Open rate: the percentage of recipients who open your messages.
- Close rate: the percentage of recipients who ultimately convert to paying clients.
Accordingly, continue to improve your outreach approach based on these results. For example, if your reply rate needs to be higher, try tinkering with your messaging to make your offer sound more compelling.
Scale LinkedIn Cold Outreach the Smart Way
A cold-outreach strategy for small businesses is one of the fastest ways to spread awareness about your brand and bring in new customers.
Your outreach strategy will be most effective when you communicate a clear awareness of your target audience’s pain points and pitch your product or service in words that show how you can relieve pain.
A personalized approach and thorough research about your prospects are also key to a successful cold-outreach campaign. Leveraging LinkedIn marketing software helps you identify the best recipients reach out to, organize your messages in campaigns with unique sequences and send your messages in bulk to improve efficiency.
Now you can scale your outreach operations—and your revenue—just like all those sales-rep influencers you see on your LinkedIn feed!