The Ultimate LinkedIn Outreach Formula

This book takes you through an in-depth exploration of LinkedIn prospecting strategies to generate more sales.

You’ll learn effective tactics surrounding:

  • Crafting successful LinkedIn request messages,
  • Using LinkedIn InMail, Groups and more to find leads,
  • Scaling your process with LinkedIn automation and more
Image of book "38 LinkedIn Templates Guaranteed to Boost Sales." | Meet Alfred

How to Send LinkedIn Messages to Anyone Outside Your Network

You know that LinkedIn is an excellent tool for reaching out to your audience. You can target potential clients based on industry or interests. LinkedIn balances the benefits of social media networking with a higher level of professionalism, giving you the ability to network digitally.

But you don’t want to be limited to sending messages to only your connections. This would limit your reach. While you can automate LinkedIn connections, you don’t necessarily want to wait for a connection request to be approved before sending a message.

This is why it can be useful to learn how to send messages on LinkedIn to anyone. The process is very straightforward, and once you understand how it works, you can scale up with LinkedIn automation like Meet Alfred if you want. But before you scale up, learn how to send those LinkedIn messages to anyone.

The Basics: How to Send LinkedIn Connection Messages

Before getting into sending messages to people you find with LinkedIn profile viewer software, make sure you understand the basics of sending messages in the first place. LinkedIn purposely made the process highly intuitive, and it only takes a few steps.

Just start by going to the profile of your LinkedIn connection that you want to message. Look at the top of their profile, underneath the banner image. On the right side, there will be a blue button that says “Message” next to a white button that says “More…” Click on the blue “Message” button. Now, you can just compose your message in the space. When you are ready, click “Send” or hit enter.

Meet Alfred lets you automate messages, making it easy to scale up your LinkedIn outreach.

Graphic of person crafting LinkedIn Messages | Meet Alfred

Send a Connection Request, Then Send a Message

The previous method only works for sending messages to connections. So, if you want to send someone a message on LinkedIn and they aren’t a connection yet, you need to connect with them first.

This is as simple as navigating to the person’s profile. You will see a blue “Connect” button to the left of the “Message” button, once again under the banner image. You will get the option to customize the connection request.

We encourage you to do so, as adding a personalized message will increase the chances of them accepting the connection request. It will also help you lead into a selling conversation. This is the time to highlight shared interests or connections. Or you can mention something about their work.

After you successfully automate LinkedIn connections and the person becomes one of them, you can go ahead and send them a message. Just use the same steps for LinkedIn auto messages as previously mentioned.

What if You Can’t Send a Connection Request?

The above method works most of the time, but sometimes, you can’t send a connection request. You can tell whether this is the case based on how much of the person’s name shows up when you look at their profile. If you can see their full first and last name, you will be able to send them a connection request.  

If you just see the first letter of the person’s last name, then you can’t send a connection request this way. The good news is that you can still sometimes use InMail to send a message in LinkedIn.

How to Improve the Chances of a Successful Connection Request

If you are sending a connection request just to make it easier to send a text message from LinkedIn, then you want the other person to approve your request and do so quickly. There are a few things you can do to ensure this happens.

Start by making sure to include a message with your auto connect LinkedIn request. This is your chance to tell the prospect more about yourself and why they should accept the request. We’ll cover some tips for these messages below.

You also want to ensure that your LinkedIn profile is filled out. You should have a good image, headline, summary, and other information. Remember that most people will look at your profile before accepting your LinkedIn automatic connections.

Use LinkedIn InMail to Send Messages

Many experienced LinkedIn users will typically think of LinkedIn InMail first when sending messages to someone in their network. You can even connect a LinkedIn automation tool to your profile to scale up. InMail is a great choice for second-degree or third-degree connections on LinkedIn, especially if you don’t want to have to wait for the recipient to accept a connection request.

To use LinkedIn InMail, just navigate to the person’s profile using your LinkedIn automation software. From there, click on the button for “InMail.” To do so, go to the “More” button under their banner image. Select “Message [name].” Compose your message and send it off. InMail lets you include up to 2,000 characters in the body of the message and 200 in the subject line.

Remember that the best messages are personalized. Personalization helps create a stronger connection and shows the prospect that you were willing to put in extra effort. Luckily, personalization is surprisingly easy with templates and categories for things like industry, name, and company.

How much does LinkedIn Inmail cost

The only downside to using InMail is that this is a premium feature. It was specifically designed for prospecting and networking, helping you reach out to people that you aren’t connected with. You can use InMail manually or take advantage of software like Meet Alfred to automate LinkedIn messages.

InMail Only Works for People In-Network

Keep in mind that you can only use InMail to send messages to people in your network. They must be a second- or third-level connection. While this is somewhat restrictive, your network is likely larger than you think. Additionally, if you plan your LinkedIn social selling carefully, you can send connection requests to people with large networks. This would expand your network in turn.

Send Messages to People You Find in Groups

One of the best ways to find potential clients on LinkedIn is by looking at groups. Groups are an excellent choice because you know that everyone in the group has a common interest. This lets you look for groups that would appeal to your target audience and focus on them. As a bonus, you can find interesting content in groups.

But groups also let you send LinkedIn automated messages to other group members. You can use one of the LinkedIn tools to your advantage. To do so, you just have to keep a few basics in mind.

One of the most important things to note is that you have to be in the group for 96 hours or longer before you can send messages via LinkedIn software to any group member.

Sending messages to other group members is straightforward as well. As mentioned, there is no need to use a LinkedIn auto connect feature or send a LinkedIn connection request, as group members don’t need to be your connection to send messages to them. Instead, you just use a special interface within the group.

How to Send Messages Using Groups

When you are ready to send messages manually or automate LinkedIn messages to group members, start by navigating to the group itself. Then, head to “Members” on the top right of the screen. From there, choose “See all members.”

You will see a list of profiles complete with photos, names, and headliners. To the right of this, you see three dots and then a button labeled “Message.” Click on “Message.” You’ll see the familiar messaging window from LinkedIn that you have likely used numerous times before.

You can either scroll through the group members to find the person you want to send a message to or use the search bar. The search bar has the obvious benefit of saving time, but it only works if you know who you are looking for. If you aren’t looking for a specific person and instead are just looking for good prospects, then browsing may make more sense.

Your Message Appears in “Message Requests”

Importantly, if you use this method to send a message to someone you haven’t already made LinkedIn automatic connections with, the message doesn’t appear in their main inbox. It appears in their “message requests” section. This is easily accessible from the main inbox, as it is a simple link above the list of conversations.

This is a notable downside, as it does mean that the person may not see your message right away. However, it still lets you easily send a message without having to auto connect on LinkedIn first. Additionally, many people who use LinkedIn make it a point to regularly check their message requests. They know that there may be great job offers or business opportunities hiding there.

Automate the Message Process to Save Time

Even better, you can automate the process of sending these messages with tools like Meet Alfred. You only need to create the message once. Then, you select the group and let Meet Alfred handle it. This saves you the time of having to view profiles one-by-one and manually sending the message.

Send Messages to People You Find in Events

Just like you can send messages to anyone in the same group as you, you can also send messages to people in the same events as you. Use this tool strategically to look for events you plan on attending. Focus on those relevant to your target audience to find the most opportunities for social selling automation.

Send Messages to People Who Engage With Posts

You can also send a message on LinkedIn to people that you see on high-value posts. This is not as common of a feature, and you may need to use special LinkedIn software like Meet Alfred to do so.

Meet Alfred lets you send LinkedIn automated messages to everyone who interacted with a particular high-value post. Use this feature on relevant posts that have a significant amount of engagement.

Crafting a LinkedIn Message to someone you don't know

Knowing that you can send a private message on LinkedIn even to those outside your network is helpful. But you will also want to take a slightly different approach with these messages than you would with messages to contacts.

After all, the recipient has likely never heard of you. In the best-case scenario, you are active in the group or event that you found them in. In this case, maybe they’ve seen your name. Even so, the two of you have never directly interacted before.

As such, you need to take care and can’t just jump into selling. You will have to create a strategy before you send messages in LinkedIn to lead to the selling naturally. Start by telling the person where you saw their profile, i.e., the name of the group, post, or event.

From there, consider sharing useful content with the person. This is your way of adding value, a crucial strategy for LinkedIn social selling. Follow a similar strategy if you include a message in your connection request (which you should).

Take advantage of hundreds of templates and the ability to create hyper-personalized LinkedIn messages with Meet Alfred. This lets you automate messages while still providing the personalization that prospects prefer, improving your results.

Tips to Craft the Message

Creating the perfect content for a LinkedIn auto connect request or an initial message to someone you aren’t connected with doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Keep the following priorities in mind as you write your private message on LinkedIn.

  • Introduce yourself: Assume that the person you messaged has never heard of you or seen your name before. Even if you are in the same group, they may not have noticed you. So, introduce yourself quickly. This should just be one or two lines.
  • Say how you found them: As mentioned, you want to let the person know how you came across their profile. If you found them in a group or event, say which one. If you noticed them interact on a post, mention that post. If they are a second-degree connection, mention your mutual connection. This is basic politeness and helps encourage their interest.
  • Emphasize common ground: Because the prospect doesn’t know you, you need to create a relationship with them in this initial message. So, look for any shared interests or other relevant things you have in common. You can consider looking at their posts and groups. Look at mutual connections, employers, or academic institutions.
  • Frame expectations: You don’t want to start trying to sell in the first message, but you do want to see if you can frame their expectations. For example, you can mention the company you work for and your product or service.
  • Don’t sell in the first message: Importantly, don’t push sales in the first message. Instead, wait to form a bit of a connection with your LinkedIn tools for business before mentioning the sale.
  • Keep connection request messages short: Prospecting messages on LinkedIn should always be short and sweet. Include everything you need to in your text message from LinkedIn but keep it short. This is especially important for the first message you send, whether to a new connection or in a connection request.
  • End with a question or reason to respond: If you shouldn’t sell in the first message, then you want to ensure that you get a response. Otherwise, you won’t be able to advance the relationship and get a chance to sell. One of the best ways to ensure a response is to ask a question. For example, you could ask about the prospect’s experience, insights, or other expertise.

Keep in mind that your message for connection requests can be significantly briefer than your initial message to a non-connection. With a connection request, your intention is typically to follow up with a LinkedIn private message. Most LinkedIn marketers primarily make connection requests to be able to easily send a message to the person in question. After all, it is easiest to send a message to your connection.

In other words, keep connection request messages more or less brief while letting the person know who you are, how you found them, and why you reached out. Then, save the rest for sending a message with your LinkedIn tool.

Of course, what you include in any LinkedIn direct message will depend on your goals. If you don’t plan on sending a follow-up message soon, then maybe the message in your connection request will be more detailed. For example, this could be the case if you are adding connections as potential prospects. Or it can be the case if you want to add connections so that your LinkedIn profile looks more impressive and you have a wider network. After all, that expands your reach with second- and third-level connections. It also increases the chances that new prospects will accept connection requests or messages when they see how robust your network is.

Continue the Relationship and Conversation

After the initial message, make sure to follow up. You don’t want your efforts to be in vain. When the other person responds, make sure to craft a response in a timely manner. Ideally, you will track when you reached out to the person.

Meet Alfred lets you set up automatic multi-channel campaigns to help you follow up. Follow up the LinkedIn message with an email or Twitter DM. Then, repeat until you get the desired result. You can make the campaign as long as you want, and it will detect when you get a response so the prospect isn’t bombarded with messages.

Graphic showing two people continuing the conversation on LinkedIn. | Meet Alfred

Don’t Get Your Profile Flagged – Know LinkedIn Message Restrictions

As you expand your LinkedIn social selling automation strategy, remember that LinkedIn prefers natural engagement. Simply put, if you send too many messages or connection requests in a short period, LinkedIn may flag your profile.

Typically, you don’t want to send more than 70 to 100 messages per day on LinkedIn. And even then, you should only send this many if you have a premium LinkedIn account and you are being careful to personalize messages. You don’t want all the messages to seem the same. If you don’t have a premium account, stick to 50 to 70 messages a day.

Scale Up Your Messages With LinkedIn Automation Software

Once you get the hang of sending messages to people other than your connections, you will likely want to scale up the process. This doesn’t have to be endlessly time-consuming. The best LinkedIn automation tools, like Meet Alfred, are ready to help you with this.

For example, Meet Alfred features LinkedIn marketing automation for sending InMails. You can send bulk messages while still using a high level of customization. This is a great choice if you want to use InMail to reach people you don’t have a connection with. The level of hyper-personalization in Alfred should increase your response rate.

If you want to reach people from LinkedIn events or posts, Meet Alfred has automation for that as well. These messages get the same high level of personalization that you would with Meet Alfred’s InMail feature. Meet Alfred even lets you target people who interact with posts.


Sending LinkedIn direct messages is an excellent way to reach out to prospects. While it is easiest to send messages to LinkedIn connections, you aren’t restricted to only messaging connections. InMail offers a premium option that lets you connect with most second- or third-level connections. Or you can skip the LinkedIn auto profile viewer and message people directly from groups or events, regardless of connection status.

Once you are confident in your skills as a LinkedIn message sender, work on scaling up your strategy with LinkedIn automation. Meet Alfred is here to help with LinkedIn tools such as templates and hyper-personalization. Between automation for prospects from groups and events and InMail automation, Alfred has you covered.

Schedule a demo with Meet Alfred to get a feel for this LinkedIn automation tool, then sign up for a free 7-day trial without any credit card information.

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