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How to Do Cold LinkedIn Outreach for Startups

April 3, 2023

LinkedIn boasts over 720 million members with 40% using the platform daily. And compared to social media platforms such as Facebook or Twitter, LinkedIn’s user base is mainly professionals seeking opportunities to further their careers or businesses.



At first glance, the platform looks like a pretty scary room to work for startups looking to generate leads. But don’t let it stop you—LinkedIn is the most-used social media platform for Fortune 500 companies, bringing rich diversity to the room and tons of opportunities for growing businesses.



In this article, we’ll discuss how LinkedIn’s great user diversity opens numerous opportunities for startups to get their foot in the door and establish meaningful relationships with cold outreach.



LinkedIn Limitations for Cold Outreach


LinkedIn is an excellent platform for cold outreach. But to take advantage of it, you’ve got to be aware of the curveball: there’s a limit to how many messages you can send and to whom you can send them.



Here are the message restrictions you have to remember to keep your LinkedIn account safe:


  • Free LinkedIn accounts: You can only send direct messages to members you are connected to—also called 1st-degree connections. And while you can send as many messages as you want to your 1st-degree contacts, it’s not a good practice to send them thousands of generic messages. Doing so gets almost a zero response rate and can flag your account for spam.
  • Paid accounts: LinkedIn Premium, Sales Navigator, and Recruiter LinkedIn accounts offer InMail credits, which allow you to message people you aren’t connected with. But yes, you’ll need to pay for this ability. 


For startup marketers, having a limit on the number of messages you can send can be a real bummer for your lead generation efforts, as numbers are everything in sales. Plus, LinkedIn also imposes a connection request limit of only 100 invites per week.



But that won’t stop you if you focus on quality over quality.



7 Ways to Maximize Your Cold Outreach on LinkedIn


LinkedIn is an arsenal for growing businesses—big or small. Here are the 7 tips for launching a successful cold outreach campaign without getting lost in the crowd:



1. Create an Engaging Profile to Showcase Your Corporate Identity


Your profile is the face of your company on LinkedIn. To make your business as attractive and interesting as possible to potential customers and partners, you’ve got to communicate your identity upfront. 



Use your page to clearly explain the following:


  • What your startup is all about.
  • What your startup offers the industry.
  • Why people should work with you and why it’s a great opportunity.


Ensure your profile shows off what makes your business unique. Don’t just copy-paste another successful company’s mission statement—craft and be proud of your own.



2. Leverage LinkedIn Groups to Start Conversations


LinkedIn Groups offer great ways to start conversations with people interested in the same topics as you, and joining groups that align with your industry allows you to get involved in discussions—another plus for your business’s traction and visibility on the platform. 



To find a group, search “LinkedIn cybersecurity groups” on Google or your preferred search engine. If you’re a startup in the cybersecurity niche, for example, join a group related to it and start engaging with people, ask for guidance, and build valuable connections. 



3. Use Targeted Search Filters to Reach Out to Prospects


Successful LinkedIn outreach doesn’t try to reach everyone on the platform. Instead, it aims to hit the right audience perfectly—which is something you should prioritize as well. So, to reach your target, you need to identify your startup’s ideal buyer persona.



You can use LinkedIn’s search filter to start. Follow these steps:


  • Use LinkedIn’s Advanced search option.
  • Filter the results by job titles, locations, industry, etc.
  • Use specific keywords that best describe your target audience.
  • Use the Save search feature to regularly monitor new leads or potential partners in your network.


Identifying your audience enables you to maximize your message and connection request limits by only reaching out to people with the highest chance of being interested in what you offer.



4. Pique Your Prospect’s Curiosity


To inspire your audience to connect with you, your cold outreach messages must be interesting to them. One of the best ways to pique their curiosity is by keeping your messages brief and using a catchy subject line or an intriguing statement.



Keep your messages relatively short and direct to avoid taking too much of your recipient’s time. Use the KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) principle to ensure the point of your message can be quickly and easily understood. All you must do is pique their curiosity, and they’ll follow through.



The last thing you want is for them to think that your message is generic and spam-y! 



5. Don’t Sell on the First Few Interactions


Funny enough, your cold outreach message shouldn’t be cold. Rather, it should sound warm and inviting. 



What makes a message sound cold? Selling on the first interaction. Selling way too soon makes prospects think you’re just out there to make a quick buck. They won’t think you’re genuine and will avoid any connection with you, leaving you without any response at all.



Instead, your message should focus on starting a conversation and building a relationship. Show genuine interest in your prospects and offer helpful advice or insights every chance you get. (This is also why doing research on your ideal buyer persona is key, so you know what they need and want.)



Use your initial interactions as part of the filtering process to understand your potential client’s needs and determine if your product or service is a good fit for them. Only when you’ve proven their needs to them do you pitch your sales, offering a solution instead of a mere purchase.



6. Personalize Your Messages


Personalization is one of the best investments for growing businesses. In fact, 89% of all online businesses invest money in personalization, and for a good reason: no one wants to interact with a spammy, generic message in their inbox.



Don’t just copy and paste the same message to everyone you contact. Instead, customize your messages according to your potential client’s profile by using their first name and mentioning something about them or their company that impresses you.



Adding personal touches to your cold outreach messages shows your human warmth and encourages your prospects to engage and respond positively.



7. Automate Your LinkedIn Cold Outreach


Manually managing your outreach can be time-consuming and tedious. Automating your cold messages helps ensure that all your messages are sent on time, follow up with leads, and even respond to incoming inquiries.



You might think your startup’s resources aren’t big enough yet to throw at automation services. However, many automation tools are available on the market that are budget-friendly, easy to use, deliver real-time results, and that can free up your teams to work on other important projects.



Plus, experts are generally available to help you set up automation tools to ensure you get the best results. Take our team at ScaleUpSales, for example, writing these helpful articles for you!



LinkedIn outreach is a powerful tool to reach and connect with potential customers. Its vast network helps you to target and reach the perfect audience necessary to grow your startup. Plus, with the proper strategies and automation tools, you can ensure that your outreach efforts will be successful.



Of course, launching a cold outreach as a startup can be daunting. But it doesn’t have to be, not when you partner with LinkedIn Outreach experts like us. 



With ScaleUpSales, you can be confident that your LinkedIn outreach campaigns are effective, efficient, and will bring home the bacon for your growing business. You won’t waste any of your precious startup resources with us—we’ll give you every bang for your buck. Contact us today!