The Art of the LinkedIn Direct Message

Photo Credit: @gsy_lws

When it comes to growing your LinkedIn network, sometimes a direct approach is your best option. But there is such a thing as being too direct – especially when you’re starting a relationship from scratch. So how do you go about this without coming off like a creep? You need a strategy that’s less stranger danger and more social butterfly. Think of the LinkedIn Message like knocking on someone’s door. Sure, getting them to answer the door is great, but it’s going to do you much good if they leave you outside in the cold and never invite you in. So what does it take to get that invitation in? There are a few things your message should include that can help you from getting kicked to the curb!


Grab their attention from the start.

Make your subject line as specific and relevant as possible. This is your one shot to grab their attention, so stay away from the generic. Give them a reason to click!

Greet them by first name.

Always greet your reader by first name. That way, they know this message is intended specifically for them and makes it feel less like spam. In fact, personalized messages receive nearly 50% higher open rates.

Tell them who you are and what you do.

Introduce yourself and your company right away before the reader has time to think, “Who is this person?” Don’t make them click on your profile to figure out your story. The more information you provide from the get-go, the easier it is to hold their attention

Find something in common.

Do you share mutual connections, belong to the same groups, or attend the same college? Let this be known early on. Finding common ground is one of the most effective ways to get someone to warm up to you and boost your credibility.

Make it about them.

People want to feel like they matter and if you can make them feel like this, they’re much more likely to be receptive to your advancements. Keep the focus on your reader by showing a genuineness interest in them. Ask them a thoughtful question, reference one of their past updates, or share how you can solve a problem for them.

Include a clear call to action.

What is it you hope to gain from the information? A reply? A phone call? A meeting? A recommendation? Whatever it is, ask for it in a clear and concise way. Without this step, your reader might not know what it is you want from them and then all your hard work was for nothing!


Don’t rush it. Anyone can send out a generic message to a hundred random users – but if you actually want a response, you’re going to need to put in a little work. Rather than heading full-speed for the send button, engage with them from a distance. Visit their profile in the days leading up to messaging them. Keep an eye on their recent activity and if appropriate, like or comment on these updates. All of these things will help increase your chances that your message is received warmly, rather than randomly. Just remember – great things take time!



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