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How to Create a LinkedIn Outreach Campaign That Generates Leads

Matt Hlavacka
Matt Hlavacka
May 19th, 2022
linkedin tips

LinkedIn outreach campaigns are meant to help expand your network, get more leads, more sales, and even more employees. And expanding a business is synonym with just that.

It’s no secret that LinkedIn has become a force to be reckoned with when it comes to business-oriented strategies.

In fact, 87% of the Inc 500 companies use LinkedIn to network, tell stories, or recruit - research shows. On top of that, at the end of 2021, LinkedIn claimed to be able to reach 65 million decision-makers.

So how do you get access to those people?

The simplest solution is to create and perform successful LinkedIn outreach campaigns. And we’re here to show you how LinkedIn outreach works.

What Is a LinkedIn Outreach Campaign?

A LinkedIn cold outreach campaign simply means strategically contacting people who might be interested in what your business has to offer in order to elicit a response. Your outreach campaigns can be created around your product, your expertise, or even positions within your company.

The key lies in finding the right people through prospecting and making a convincing pitch that presents a win-win situation.

This means that you’ll need to pay extra attention to what you want to accomplish with each campaign, who you’ll need to add to your prospecting list, and how you’ll craft the message to reach your goal.

So let’s start by doing the legwork.

Do the Prep Work

Before even beginning to send any connection requests, you’ll need to do some groundwork that will ultimately improve your campaign stats.

Here are 3 crucial steps that can make or break your campaign results:

1. Optimize your profile

Sending messages from a vague, hard to identify profile doesn’t build much trust, so go back to your profile and check your core sections:

  • Profile photo: choose a professional, yet friendly profile picture - remember, this is not the place for gags and memes.

  • Cover photo: choose a cover image that represents your business or industry.

  • Headline: write a short and clear headline around your expertise and let people know what you and your business can do for them. This will be visible on a prospect’s screen when you connect, so make it count.

  • About section: Showcase your expertise and what recommends you. This will help prospects understand you’re legit once they check your profile.


2. Set your campaign goals

What do you want to achieve with this outreach? Are you trying to generate leads for your business, grow your network, create partnerships, or simply hire? And what are you offering in return?

These questions have to be at the core of your efforts. Each campaign should have one very clear goal that will guide both your messages and lists of prospects.

3. Select your audience

Who do you want to target? Who is your ideal customer?

For example, if you’re trying to sell a product, you might prospect your contacts by looking up people that check the following conditions:

  • They work within your target industry,

  • They have decision-making roles,

  • They are located in a desired geographical area,

  • They are working at companies that use or could use similar products.

Your outreach message to them should shortly explain why you’re contacting them and what problem will your product solve for them.

Tip! It always helps when you have some connections in common.

Find Your Prospects

Once you know who you’ll need to contact, it’s time to go to the platform, start searching for them, and create a list of prospects that match your criteria.

Your list would typically include personal information that can be used later on to adjust your messages for each individual.

Here are a few fields your list should include

  • Profile URL

  • First Name

  • Last Name

  • Company

  • Job Title

  • Email (if available)

  • Location

  • Industry

There are two features that can help you find prospects:

LinkedIn Search Bar

A simple and free option for finding prospects is by using the search bar that LinkedIn provides. You can type in the job title your prospects should have, and then select ‘People’.


You’ll uncover quite a few filters that can narrow down the search:

  • Location

  • Type of connection

  • Current company

  • School

  • Industry

  • Profile language

  • Service category

  • Keywords

The more filters you include, the more targeted your prospecting list will be. However, keep in mind that there are limitations to the search bar results and the number of LinkedIn search queries available every month.

LinkedIn Sales Navigator

Another helpful tool that LinkedIn offers is the Sales Navigator, a paid option specifically designed to increase leads.

Suppose you’re already an avid user of outreach campaigns. In that case, you probably will have already purchased one of LinkedIn’s plans either for your business network, sales, or recruiting - or at least LinkedIn hopes you have.


As with any paid version of software, this too comes with some strong benefits such as:

  • 20+ Advanced

    premium filters

    that can help narrow down your target audience

  • Recommendations for leads, updates, connections

  • Boolean searches ( structured searches that use a combination of keywords tied together with operators like ‘AND’, ‘OR’, ‘NOT to’ define, broaden, or limit search results)

  • Alerts on saved leads and accounts (e.g. keyword mentions or job change alerts)

  • Customized lists and saved searches

  • More information on people who viewed your profile

  • Information on content performance

Goes without saying that LinkedIn Sales Navigator saves a lot of time on prospecting and helps you reach only the audience that better suits your goal. Less effort, better results.


Write Your LinkedIn Pitch and Drip Message Sequence

The pitch or pitches of a LinkedIn outreach campaign, much like in an email campaign, can consist of a series of pre-written messages that are sent over a period of time. Their purpose, quantity, and timing depend on the actions of the respondent.

A LinkedIn drip sequence would include:

  • The invitation to connect (with a short message included)

  • The first message (to existing connections)

  • The follow-up messages (one or multiple, depending on when/if you receive a response)

You can do these actions manually, by reaching out directly on LinkedIn and waiting for responses in-app, or you can even schedule these actions using tools to automate LinkedIn messages and follow-ups.

Most professionals typically use their preferred templates for outreach campaigns, that are personalized accordingly.

Note! When writing to your prospects, remember to personalize the messages according to each individual’s information. A stiff, generic message will most likely be ignored.

A simple ‘I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn’ is too generic, carries no informational value, and is overused.

Your initial message should catch their attention, and make them curious. Also, you’ll need to outline a plan for your campaign steps: when you want to follow up, what you’ll want to say each step of the way, and when it’s time to call it quits.

Perform Your Outreach

Once you’ve discovered who you need to contact, and you know what you want your pitch to be, you can start implementing your outreach.

Go through your list of prospects and send them the initial message. Give them some time to respond, then follow up with those who have not responded yet.

Sounds simple enough, but when you factor in that each message has to be personalized to the respondent, it becomes obvious that you’ll need to set aside a big chunk of time for each campaign.

Luckily, some tools can accelerate the process.

Try automated LinkedIn outreach

If you perform an outreach campaign every once in a while, contacting your prospects and editing your messages manually can be a viable solution.

However, if you’ll need to reach out to prospects on a regular basis, automating the process as much as possible is the only way to save many hours of your time.

The best advice here is to choose outreach software that complies with LinkedIn’s safety and anti-spam rules, to guide you through the process and avoid getting your account blocked.

For example, Icereach is a tool that performs automated Linkedin outreach while allowing you to supercharge the entire process in a safe manner.


You can incorporate LinkedIn’s great features like the search options and the Sales Navigator to create a database of prospects, as well as create hyper-personalized messages with plenty of dynamic fields to choose from.


Moreover, you can personalize every step of the way and add time intervals between each action and step to have control over the entire sequence.

Once your message receives a reply, the campaign will pause automatically.

Automate your outreach with a FREE trial!

Analyze Campaign Stats and Increase Outreach on LinkedIn

Not all of your campaigns will be successful. That’s why, after every outreach, it’s always a good idea to go back and look at the stats:

  • How many invitations did you send?

  • How many messages did you send?

  • How many people accepted your invitation to connect?

  • What does the acceptance rate look like?

  • How many people replied to your messages?

  • What does the reply rate look like?


This will give you an idea of your overall performance. If your acceptance and reply rates are high, that means you’ve crafted a great pitch and you can further increase your outreach by contacting more prospects.

If, however, those rates are low, it might be time to go back to the drawing board and see if you’ve contacted the right people or if your messages need improvements.

Does LinkedIn outreach work?

To paint a picture, in the above example you’ll notice a reply rate of 45% to our LinkedIn outreach to business development managers.

These kinds of results show the true power of the platform, especially if you consider that the average reply rate to an email cold outreach is between 1% and 5%.

Wrapping Up

Whether you’re looking to generate more leads for your product or increase your business network of professionals, LinkedIn outreach is a true and tested method that can help you with your business goals.

Once you do your legwork and prep for your first campaigns, follow the above steps and the process will only become better, quicker, and with greater results.

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