How To Create Better Cold InMail on LinkedIn


Why do we need to learn how to how to create better cold InMail on LinkedIn?

They say that outreach is at the heart of every sale.

If that’s the case, then LinkedIn InMails are at the heart of every B2B Social Media Lead Generation tactic.

According to Statista, there are 467 million users on LinkedIn, comprising of professionals, executives, and job seekers.

That’s a lot of potential for you to explore.

At the heart of it all, however, lies the InMail.

What is InMail?

LinkedIn calls its InMail as “messages [that] are sent directly to another LinkedIn member you’re not connected to.

If you have a Basic (free) account, you must upgrade to a Premium account to use InMail.

You receive a specific number of InMail credits based on your subscription type.

In short, InMails allow you to send a personal message to your LinkedIn connections.

While free LinkedIn accounts can only send messages to members within their networks, Premium members get to send a limited number of InMail to random connections that fit their criteria.

But, while sending an InMail is an issue by itself, getting the InMail to convert into leads, sales and opportunities is another.

In this post, I will share with you 5 simple tips that you can use right now to create a compelling LinkedIn InMail that gets opened, replied, and converts into your customers for life.

Let’s begin!

#1: The best InMails know exactly who the reader is

It’s no secret that most emails get either sent to the Junk or Trash folder because they aren’t addressed correctly to the reader.

That goes the same for InMails.

Think about it.

The readers who are going to potentially open your email are busy professionals that don’t necessarily have the luxury of going through every single email that they receive.

And since everyone is being flooded with emails all day long, the chances are, your email will just get ignored, or even marked as irrelevant by your reader without being opened.

That being said, personalising your email is an important detail that you can’t miss out.

Tip 1: When you’re thinking of a Subject Line, always make it a point to include the Reader’s name in front.

This ensures that you capture the attention of the reader at first glance, and reduces the chances of your email reaching the trash bin early one.

Tip 2: When you start off your email, make sure to also address your readers by their first name.

Tip 3: Within your email, be sure to constantly refer to them by their name.
Studies have shown that by using the person’s name while we speak to them, their impression of us, and the likelihood that they’ll become our friends in the future increase phenomenally.

#2: They know what kind of value the reader is looking for

Do you open emails for fun?

For the sake of it, just to see what they look like?

Chances are you do…not.

Professionals on LinkedIn, especially if they’re people with a lot of influence, get a lot of emails every single day via more than one channel.

For example, on average I get about 25 enquiries per day – and that’s just on LinkedIn alone.

That being said, this is the time to quote Ramit Sethi:

“In this crowded world, if something isn’t built specifically for me, I’m gone.”

It’s so true when you think about it, because we are too flooded with information to care anymore.

I mean, think about it.

The average American views at least 4,000 to 10,000 advertisements a single day.

The last thing you’re going to want is for your readers to treat your email as one of them.

But, how do you make people see your InMail as valuable?

By creating something of value, of course.

By understanding the offer that you are making, you need to then take that offer, and view it from your readers’ point of view:

  • Is it something that is the right time for them to consume?
  • Is it something that is relevant for them right now?
  • What position are they in in their life to view this offer that you are giving as valuable information, or as a product?
  • Does their professional role or career depend on how well they solve this problem that you solve?

When you answer these questions that your readers might have, you are in fact answering the different unconscious questions that they ask themselves, when they see your InMail in their inbox.


#3: They know that how important headlines are

Ah, the power of headlines has been a topic of huge discussion, and for good reason.

When it comes to headline writing, Upworthy famously made it within their editorial guidelines for writers to come up with 25 different headlines before they chose one to go with.

Jon Morrow famously spends twice as much time thinking about headlines than writing the actual article for good reason.

Headlines are the single most important, and most critical part of your email campaign, and for good reason.

With the numbers proving that subject lines account for more than 60% of all open rates, I guess you’ll agree with me that it’s pretty important to create a powerful, sellable subject line.

Step 1: Keep personalisation in mind

We already know that personalisation is a huge factor for your InMail to be opened.


Step 2: Use Lexical words

Action oriented words, or lexical words, are words that create emotional appeal and tension in an audience’s mind.

In other words, they are words that you use to describe certain actions or objects in a very interesting way.
Consider the following subject line, for example:

<Sale happening at Robinsons, click here for 50%>

Now, let’s include some action words, and see the end result:

<RED HOT Sales happening ONLY at Robinsons, 50% For 5 Days!>

What’s the difference?

I used lexical words in the second subject line, of course!


Step 3: Use compelling questions

When you use the power of asking questions in a subject line, it not only evokes interest in the reader, it also creates a certain type of engagement by the reader.


Because by asking a question, it seems as though you are inviting them on a journey along with you to solve that particular question.

That definitely beats someone blabbering the answer at you from the start, doesn’t it?

It’s the same as someone telling you to do something, versus them asking you if you’d like to help.

Which one do you think you’ll be more willing to lend a hand?

The second one, of course.


Step 4: There’s no need to use business jargon

Many of my clients think that there’s a need to get all fluffy, and all business like on LinkedIn, but the truth couldn’t be further than that.

At the core, LinkedIn is a social network. People seem to have forgotten it.

This means that the way you write and present yourself is for people (even those who are unrelated to your niche) should understand.

That being said, you don’t have to get all fluffy and business-ey in your InMail.

In fact, the more to the point you are with your request, I found out, the better response you’re going to be.


Step 5: Include some numbers

If you follow me and my work, you’ll notice that most of my blog posts have certain figures and numbers in them.

I don’t use numbers because i’m some kind of a data freak.

I do it because it’s effective, and it works.

It works to create the following effect towards my audience:

  • It creates intrigue in whatever I have to say
  • It shows that I’m being specific with what my post is about
  • It demonstrates that I am well researched in my niche

When done right, you can do the same for yourself, and capture the attention of your readers.

Step A: The first step is to gather the right numbers and figures.

To do that, you can enter the following search queries into Google:

“{your niche} + market trends {current year}”

“{your niche} + reports {current year}”

“{your niche} + statistics {current year}”

“{topic } + market trends {current year}”

“{problem statement} + market trends {current year}”

Step B: Choose the right data that fits your problem/solution.

Every offer that you send in an InMail costs money, and that also means that when you send an InMail, there’s going to be an agenda behind it.

That means that the data you choose has to be centered around this agenda.

For example, let’s say the services that you’re trying to sell is content writing services for busy content marketers.

The first step that you need to do is to find out the problems that the Content Marketing industry is currently facing.

Let’s say I chance upon this statistic by Content Marketing Institute.

In the latest report for 2016/2017, they found out that marketers are still having a struggle with content creation, especially finding the time to write and create content.

That could be a major statistic for me.

Similarly, whenever you are trying to find the right data analysis for your problem/solution, the first step is to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does this statistic help me to define my problem?
  • Does this statistic help me to convince the reader that my solution is needed?
  • Does this statistic apply to most people in the industry, or is it limited to just a few companies?
  • Does this statistic apply to my reader?

Step C: Framing the problem solution with your data

Now that you’ve gathered the data for your problem/solution, the next step that you need to do is to find a way to include those data and statistics into your subject line.

For that, you’ll have to use some creativity here.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • How can I frame this data into the problem and present it clearly?
  • How can I show this problem to be urgent, and in need of being solved by my reader?
  • If I was the reader, would I be shocked by the subject line? Why?

#4: They know the true value of InMail: building a relationship with the reader

The very best InMails and emails, for that matter, are letters that know how to quickly build rapport with the reader.

Think about it.

A cold InMail reader on the receiving end is basically a prospect of your business who, chances are, has never heard of your company before.

That means that he/she is going to be extremely cold towards your brand, and for good reason.

We are all built to naturally reject pitches, and InMails are no different, even if it’s on the world’s largest professional network.

That being said, there is a way to content hack past this fear.

By naturally building a good relationship and rapport with the reader as quickly and as fast as you can.

When you have the ability to create good relationships at a heartbeat, you’ll go extremely far with InMail.

Step 1: Find common ground

The best way that you can get your readers to relate to you, and feel close to you, is to find common ground between the two of you.

Think of it this way.

Very good conversations often begin with mutual interests, be it in sports, music or even movies.

To find a common ground between the cold reader and yourself, first, we need to do some research on his/her profile.

Go to the person that you want to research on, and scan through his/her profile.

  • Do you see any mutual groups or interests that he/she has with you?
  • Are there any recent activities that the reader has done on LinkedIn?
  • Check out his/her company. Have they been doing any activities or outreach campaigns that can give you a starting point to talk about?

The key thing that you’re looking for here is a common topic that can start off the conversation with, so the reader has an incentive to keep on reading, even feel like you can relate to them.

Step 2: Craft the common ground into your pitch

For example, let’s say we’ve found our reader has a thing for voluntary work.

Suppose we found this information by scrolling through their LinkedIn profile, that they offer pro bono consulting, and it actively participating in groups like the Save our Samaritans organisation, and so on.

You can then use this opportunity to include the organisation into the picture, and craft a message that looks like this:

“Hey [first name],

I noticed that you’re actively working in voluntary work.

That makes 2 of us! I’m actively working to help [group of people] in [name of organisation], where we do [name of activity and outreach]”

Glad to make a fellow connection who’s connected to further such great causes.

Anyway, I noticed that you do work at [insert name of workplace], and I thought if we could connect on a few matters.

You see, 57% of content marketers find it hard to create content that impacts their prospects and readers day in and day out.

But we think we’ve found the solution.

I wonder if you’re willing to hear more about the solution that we have?


[Your name]

#5 The best InMails practice a structure

It’s no secret that the very best emails often follow a fixed structure and format.

Why? Because they’re designed to work.

Let’s take a look at some of these structures:

Step 1: The Opening Line

As we’ve covered earlier, the most important thing to do at this stage is to catch the reader’s attention.

Therefore, a good opening line that you might be able to begin your inMail with might include:


Hi {name}:

Impressive Background!


Hey {name}:
It’s a pleasure to be connected to someone who’s also doing {name of mutual interest or common ground}


Hey {name},

I was looking for someone who was well versed in {industry} to help us out with {objective of your InMail}, when I came across your profile.


Step 2: The scarcity grabber

It’s not new that scarcity sells, and increases the value of your offering.

It goes the same for InMails.

When you provide an offer or free trials to your readers, make sure you include scarcity grabbers such as the following:

  • Time (we are closing our doors to new applicants)
  • Number of slots (Limited to only 6 applicants)
  • Exclusivity (I’m reaching out to only a select choice of profiles that qualify)

One thing to note here though is to prevent your reader from reading your InMail as being over salesy.

People don’t like to be sold, but they like to buy things. You’ve just got to make sure they buy into your rapport and the limited offer.

Step 3: The Content

The Content is the next chunk of the InMail and is also where you inform the reader about the purpose of your message.

When you’re filling up the content of your InMail, you want to take note of the following:

  • What is the problem that my reader is trying to solve?
  • What information about my reader’s background can I include in my InMail to show that I actually read their profile?
  • Are there any statistics that I can use to back up that problem?
  • Why is that problem important to the reader?
  • Why is it important and urgent that the reader solves the problem?
  • How can my solution help the reader solve the problem?
  • How can I phrase my solution in the Content so it makes sense for them to continue the conversation with me?

Remember at this point to use action oriented words, as they’ll add depth to your content.

Step 4: The Close

Finally, it’s time to wrap up your InMail. This is also called, The Close.

This is the best chance for you to end off the email (and the offer) on a strong note, and create a lasting impression that might significantly increase the chances of a positive response from your reader.

You will want to also include information, such as:

  • Leaving your contact details and direct line
  • Reinforcing the fit between the reader and the offer
  • Reinforcing scarcity

Some key things to ask yourself here are:

  • Am I ending off on a note that makes it easy for the reader to respond?
  • Am I being too salesy with my close?
  • Does the entire InMail come off as confident?

Bottom Line

It’s not difficult to write an email that works.

It just takes the right philosophy, understanding of the reader, and of course, practice.

What other methods of LinkedIn InMail writing did I miss?

Do you have any other suggestions on how you can write a better InMail?

Comment bellow!

About the author

Alex Thomas

I've been involved in digital marketing for over 10 years and have worked with global and local companies on large scale SEO and PR campaigns. In my current role at Breakline, I'm responsible for winning new business, creating, implementing and overseeing SEO campaigns, social communications, online and offline media relations.

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