Are you taking full advantage of your LinkedIn network? B2B marketing agencies that are actively trying to pitch their services to new clients have a lot to gain from turning their attention to the professional social site. This includes one-to-one communications without the hindrance of middle men, as well as the ability to quantify and qualify leads with ease.

LinkedIn, which currently boasts more than 600 million members in more than 200 countries, is a microcosm of sorts for the professional world at large, providing near-instant access to potential customers from a wide variety of industries. No matter what you’re selling or who you’re selling it to, you should have no trouble finding an expansive pool of untapped leads, many of whom are willing and open to making a connection.

If you’re a LinkedIn Premium member, you’ll be able to send cold outreach messages to anybody on the network. Otherwise, you’ll need to purchase InMail Credits or limit yourself to those who you already have a prior connection with. Choose the route that makes the most sense for your objectives and your budget, and consider making the upgrade to a Premium membership if you’re having success on the site.

As for the messages themselves, LinkedIn cold outreach is similar to the cold outreach messages you send via email. Keep the tone friendly, find some common ground, and be as succinct as possible. Your message is likely to fall flat if you just throw your pitch out there without any personable context around it, so strive for cold outreach messages that establish not just interest but also connection. And in some cases, you may want to save the pitch entirely until you’ve gotten further along in the relationship.

Not sure where to start? Here are five templates to consider as a jumping off point.

#1 The “Friend” in Common

Pointing out a mutual connection can be the perfect icebreaker, since in addition to giving you context for your message it also helps you build some initial authority.

Hi [name],

It’s nice to “e-meet” you! I saw that we are both connected with [mutual connection’s name], and wanted to reach out. Seeing that you [are in the same industry as / went to the same school / share the same field of interest, etc.] as [mutual connection], I thought it might be nice for us to connect as well. I also think you might be interested in some of the work I’m doing with [name of company whose product you are pitching].

Take care, and hope to hear back from you!

[Your name]

#2 The Group Connection

A lack of a friend in common doesn’t mean you can’t establish a strong connection. Any commonality will do, including being part of the same LinkedIn group.

Hi [name],

My name is [your name] and I work for [your company]. We’re both members of [LinkedIn Group] and I noticed that you had some pretty insightful comments about [something they commented on in the group]. I was interested to learn that [something you learned from their comment].

If you’re open to it, I’d enjoy discussing the topic further. I also think I may be able to help you out on the business end of things. Any interest in setting up a 15 minute call later this week?

Thanks!

[Your name]

#3 Short and Sweet

Shorter is often better when it comes to cold outreach. Think of your opening message as being less about making the sale, and more about making a connection that can later on lead to a sale.

Hi [name] – Hope you’re well! I found your profile through [mutual connection / mutual group / mutual school] and am interested to learn about your background in [their industry]. Any availability to connect either online or on the phone? – [Your name]

#4 Pitch Forward

Again, you’re likely not going to make the sale in this initial outreach message. But in some cases you may want to just get to the point right away.

Hi [name],

I’m working with [name of company whose product/service you’re pitching] and they’ve developed a [short description of product/service] that I think would fit in really well with what you’re doing at [lead’s company name].

Any interest in connecting to discuss?

Best,

[Your name]

#5 A Little Flattery

You know what they say: a little flattery goes a long way. Show your appreciation for the work someone does, and they’re likely to respond in your favor. (Just be sure they’ve done something worthy of the call-out, otherwise it can seem disingenuous.)

Hello [name],

It’s a pleasure to “meet” you! I have been following your work with [lead’s company name] for some time, and was really impressed to hear about [something recent and notable they’ve done].

I’ve worked with companies like [lead’s company name] to bring similar projects to life, and if you’re open to it, would love to discuss. Are you available for a quick phone call later this week?

Thank you!

[Your name]

The trick to a successful LinkedIn cold outreach message is to show your value in as few words as possible. Try out different strategies to see what works best, and make sure to follow up quickly when you do get a response.