How to Use LinkedIn to Send a Cold Email
Expanding your professional network used to mean business cards and conferences. Now it means social media marketing and LinkedIn connections. In some ways, this has made things easier and in other ways, it’s made them harder. And yet, for better or for worse, this is the world we live in.
Whether you love social media or you hate it, there’s no denying that it holds a prominent place in the business world. While you can use pretty much any platform to build your brand, LinkedIn was specifically designed to connect with professional peers and make career moves.
Odds are that you have a LinkedIn and a few connections, but you probably aren’t using it as much as you could be—because, well, there are more important things to do, right? While it’s hard to argue with that logic, LinkedIn is definitely a resource that you shouldn’t overlook, especially when it comes to business outreach, whatever your goal is (e.g., expanding your client base, finding potential collaborators or investors, getting a job, etc.).
Meet the Cold Email
With direct messaging, texting, and chat apps, email is no longer dominating the virtual realm of communication. However, that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have its uses. After all, it isn’t very professional to DM someone about an open position at their company.
Though it often falls victim to vilification, cold emailing is a valuable tool in any industry. It’s easy enough to execute, and it’s a quick way to start a relationship with another professional. That being said, there’s a lot of nuances to writing a successful cold email.
What Is a Cold Email?
A cold email is an email that you send to someone you don’t know. Does that make a cold email the same thing as spam? No—not if you do it right. While it’s certainly possible (and unfortunately, relatively common) to send a spammy cold email, cold emails aren’t spam, and you don’t have to feel guilty about sending them.
The best way to prevent a cold email from sounding like spam? Don’t ask for anything!
Using LinkedIn to Send Cold Emails
Like we said before, LinkedIn digitalizes the process of networking, making it easier than ever to keep in touch with other professionals, establish new business relationships, and stay up-to-date on what’s happening in your field.
Similar to the way Facebook suggests mutual friends as “People You May Know,” LinkedIn gives you suggestions for new connections—including mutual connections you share and people who work at the same company or in a similar position.
Before you start using LinkedIn to send cold emails, make sure your profile is as strong as possible. This means it has your most recent information, a comprehensive synopsis of you as a professional, and a PDF-attachment of your resume. Image courtesy of the Balance Careers.
Because LinkedIn has a private messaging feature, you might be wondering, “Can’t I just send a cold LinkedIn message instead of an email?” Well, you could, but first, you need LinkedIn Premium to send messages to people you’re not already connected with. Second, because it’s still relatively new, LinkedIn doesn’t have the same credibility as email yet, and—like any social media site—it’s crawling with fake profiles and scams.
Finding Your Lead
That’s why we suggest using LinkedIn as a tool to find contacts rather than the method by which you reach out to them. Keep in mind that this process does take some time and effort, as most people don’t include their email addresses in their LinkedIn profiles. They do, however, usually have their first and last names, the company that they work for, and the title that they have at that company. Most company websites have directories that you can search to find a person’s email address, which is how you’ll be able to find their actual contact information.
Sending Your Email
When it comes time to send the actual email, make sure you put your cyberstalking—we mean research—to good use. That means using the person’s name, focusing on industry-relevant information, and alluding to how you found them. Now, you don’t have to say outright that you tracked them down through LinkedIn, but you can mention that they came to your attention as a suggested connection, then say whom it is that you share a connection with or if you don’t share a connection, that you’ve been following their company.
Be sure to keep your email brief and to-the-point, and remember: now’s not the time to ask for any favors—you just want to focus on building a back-and-forth with this person. Other best practices for cold emails include ending with a call to action, outlining a benefit or service that you have to offer them, and impeccable grammar and spelling.
Take Full Advantage of Social Media
While social media is definitely entertaining, that doesn’t mean you can’t use it to get a little work done, too. In the digital age, everything online is fair game. Why not take full advantage of what social media can do for you? LinkedIn is the perfect social media site to use in order to find new cold email leads because all of the information that you need is right there in front of you. So, stop scrolling, and start connecting—after all, you never know who you might meet on the Internet!