How I Succeed With Cold Outreach On LinkedIn

13 May 2024

Cold outreach isn’t easy. There's always the risk of coming across as something we definitely don't want to be: a spammer.

As I wrapped up my coffee order and went to my favorite spot, a message popped up from someone I cold DM’d on LinkedIn. A heartfelt message: “Hey, I don’t need your tool. But thanks to you, now I know that I need to find a way to block spammers like you.”

"Gosh," I sweat. “Wait, was I just scolded? Did I just become the very thing I don’t like the most - a spammer?”

How did this happen?

It was the early days of our startup journey. We had just finished the first prototype and were eager to find our first users.

Inspired by the gospel of "doing things that don’t scale," I decided it was time to start reaching out.

Aware of how irritating it can be to receive unsolicited messages, I was determined to approach outreach in the most appropriate manner possible.

1. Only target those who fit our ideal audience profile

2. Craft a message addressing their potential pain points and how our product can help them

Then I put in the work. First, I registered for LinkedIn Premium, using its tools to find the best matches based on our ideal persona. I scoured the platform, wholeheartedly selecting the top 50 potential users.

Then, I spent more days crafting the perfect outreach message, obsessing over every comma, and double-checking for any grammar errors. I even compared my message to the best templates on LinkedIn lol.

Filled with both hope and worry, I finally hit send. About 5 to 10 people accepted InMail, and only 2 or 3 replied. Unfortunately, none of the responses were positive.

Then I immediately found the solution and get 80% CVR!

No, it didn’t happen. After that incident, I turned my efforts to Reddit, as my previous first post mentioned, and I got some traction there.

Quit hard selling

As time passed, I looked at LinkedIn again and reflected on it.

As I stepped into the shoes of the recipients, it dawned on me: no matter how well-crafted the message, problems, and solutions, or how perfectly their profiles aligned with the target persona, if they didn't have the need, hard selling them something would only feel like spam.

That’s why I find LinkedIn more valuable for a different reason: Understanding target users.

It's about understanding their challenges with note-taking and what they're looking to solve. It's not optimal to sell anything when you're clueless about users’ pain points.

With this mindset, I shifted gears and saw remarkable outcomes (with hard work, of course; nothing is easy at this stage, haha): I got hundreds of interview hours with our target audience, helping us understand their problems, their pain points, and what we need to serve them better with

And there you have it, LinkedIn - from being scolded to having hundreds of insightful conversations.

Next up, User interviews: Uhm, do I really have to do them? I'm kinda shy…