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13 LinkedIn Outreach Strategy Mistakes That Will Kill Your Efforts

Matt Hlavacka
Matt Hlavacka
July 22nd, 2022
linkedin tips

Your potential clients are more than willing to make an appointment based on a cold call or message. They’re just waiting for your pitch.

No less than 75% of executives are willing to make an appointment or attend an event based on a cold call or email alone, one survey shows.

Yet you’ve spent days (maybe even weeks) planning and executing your outreach, with very little to show for it. Don’t worry, it’s happened to all of us at one point or another.

Cold outreach is a long and painstaking process, but there are just some things you can’t skimp on without sacrificing results and responses.

Luckily, this list should help you understand what went wrong and show you how to turn things around.

Here are 13 strategy mistakes that people typically make during a LinkedIn outreach. 👇

1. Lacking a Strategy

An outreach strategy is a specific set of steps and actions meant to attract new leads. The nature of those distinct tactics is based on information gathered through audience research and your overall plan.

So a solid outreach strategy is essential to favorable results. You shouldn’t reach out to people without a goal or a plan, just for the sake of it, or write messages without a clear direction.

You’ll most likely end up with no reply or acceptance notifications. Crickets.

But an outreach strategy is not a one-size-fits-all. Before you ever contact a single person, you’ll need to clarify a few things:

  • Your goal. What is the reason for reaching out: are you planning on selling anything or are you promoting something? Each campaign has to have one clear purpose.

  • Your audience. Who could be interested in your offer and why? Are your prospects even in decision-making roles?

  • Your campaign outline. How many messages should you send, when should you send them, and what would your pitch look like for each stage?

  • Your projected results. This would be a guesstimate, but it will still motivate you to reach your desired results, and maybe even surpass them.

Once you have definitive answers to all of the above, you can start taking action.

2. Mis-Targeting Your Audience

To be efficient, your messages should reach exactly the people who could benefit from what you're offering. It’s not enough to just look for companies that you’d love to have as a client.

Dig deeper and find the right person at the company that will be interested in what you have to say. Make a plan by defining precisely the profile of people you’ll want to connect with.

linkedin_prospecting_filters

You wouldn’t contact a marketing executive instead of a CFO to sell your finance app, would you? Even if they both work at the same company.

Demographics and professional roles have a big role to play.

  • Are you targeting women, men, or both?

  • What age ranges are your ideal customers?

  • Are your targeted locations matching your targeted markets?

  • What industry do your prospects work in?

  • Is your product or service relevant to that industry?

  • Are they decision-makers for their department?

  • What are their job titles?

  • What skills do they have?

LinkedIn has the amazing advantage of offering a large list of filters, search options, and filters that can make pinpointing your target audience easy, especially through their paid services. Use them wisely.

3. Rushing Through Prospecting

Prospecting is perhaps the lengthiest stage of the entire process. That’s because you need to sort through thousands of options to identify the people who would have the most reasons to reply.

This can’t be rushed by creating random lists of people. Quality leads trump quantity.

From going through your existing connections to finding new potential connections through the free search bar option, LinkedIn Sales Navigator, or LinkedIn Recruiter, your chances increase if you cover all of your bases.

outreach_audience

To be efficient, don’t just box in prospecting as an isolated step of one campaign. Instead, make prospecting part of your everyday tasks and divide your finding into separate prospecting lists to use later on.

Research your target audience consistently, check LinkedIn profiles to decide if they’re good matches, and always keep valuable prospects in your pipeline.

4. Ignoring LinkedIn Groups When Prospecting

Speaking of covering your bases, LinkedIn professional groups are often overlooked as pools of prospects.

People use groups for advice and help in fixing certain issues they encounter in their profession. This makes it easier to identify some people who would benefit from the solutions you have to present.

For example, if we see someone writing about LinkedIn’s 100 invite limit, that’s clearly someone we’ll want to talk to about different outreach tactics they might find helpful.

linkedin_group_prospecting

Follow a few industry-relevant LinkedIn groups and keep an eye out for posts and questions that match your offer.

Alternatively, you could turn to automatic outreach tools (how about Icereach? 😉) that can also speed up group prospecting.

At Icereach, we added a feature that can scan through group posts and create a prospecting list in mere moments. Your list will include all of the people who write about your topics of interest, contact details included.

linkedin_group_outreach

5. Sending Vague and Generic Messages

You might get tempted to fast-track your outreach campaigns and just press ‘send’ on all those LinkedIn messages already, but unfortunately, your reply rates won’t be satisfying.

72% of consumers now say they only engage with messages tailored to their interests, according to Smarter HQ.

_Tailored _being the key term here. Personalized outreach through targeted messaging focused on individual needs and solutions is the only way to turn a cold prospect into a client.

Your product or services may tailor to an array of issues, so you’ll want to be specific in your messaging to each individual.

To speed up the process, though, you can create LinkedIn message templates that accommodate personalized terms and phrases.

6. Failing to Offer Value to Specific Needs

The golden rule is to give people a reason to respond. That means your focus should first and foremost be on how you can provide value and help the professionals you’re contacting.

It’s never a good idea to start strong with promotions straight off the bat.

You need to build up to it by using a series of drip messages while focusing more on the recipient and presenting solutions for their specific problems.

outreach_message_value

For example, ‘Hey, I’m offering 50% off on {product}’ will not get you far. People don’t know your products, nor do they have any reason to trust them.

Instead, focus on how much time people can save, what insights they can uncover, what questions they will answer, how you could help with team management, etc. And once you’ve piqued interest, you can mention the price benefits as well.

Establish mutually-beneficial relationships, that can resonate with your prospects.

7. Sending Spammy Messages

I’m sure you’ve come across one or two persons who keep pestering you with random messages daily or even multiple times per day. They’re always talking about something you have zero interest in, and keep writing follow-ups to no end.

Don’t be that person.

outreach_obsessive_follow-up

Sending too many messages that only focus on sales and being overly insistent makes potential clients avoid you, even if they could otherwise benefit from your proposal.

8. Forgetting to Follow Up

On the other side, not following up at all on your initial message is also a missed opportunity. Most times people don’t respond to a message straight away and can get caught up with other tasks, or simply forget.

linkedin_outreach_follow-up

Gentle reminders are always a good idea. If you haven’t gotten a response to your initial message, follow up in an appropriate manner: just two or three times, and with sufficient time in between messages.

If people have still not replied to any of your messages, safe to say they’re not interested in this particular pitch. Abandon ship.

9. Not Accounting For Working Hours

Unlike other social media channels, LinkedIn is a professional platform. People are online for work purposes, during their working schedule.

Taking this into account is especially important when targeting global audiences, who are scattered anywhere and everywhere in the world.

When sending your messages, always keep track of recipients’ 9 to 5, and comply with the timezone they’re operating in.

The issue appears when you’re trying to reach out to someone whose timezone difference is of over 7 hours. To still adhere to working hours, you’ll need to schedule your messages accordingly.

For example, use Icereach to set your timezone to match your prospects and select the work days and hours in which you want to actively send your messages.

linkedin_working_hours

10. Doing Your Outreach Manually

LinkedIn is big on human outreach, but tools are getting better at mimicking that behavior not only because of the timezone setting but also by generating a unique regional IP address for each account.

Manual outreach is no longer your only option.

Apart from the scheduling and prospecting in LinkedIn groups, another reason to automate your outreach is time. And that’s a big reason!

Through automation, you can create personalized messages for every step of your drip campaign, to match the needs of individual recipients, while still sending your messages in bulk. This effectively cuts down days of your work.

11. Neglecting LinkedIn Rules

While similar in scope, LinkedIn outreach is not identical to email outreach. You should treat them as two separate platforms, with different advantages and disadvantages.

You may be used to sending hundreds of emails during one campaign. The same technique could get you in trouble on LinkedIn, especially if you send messages without warming up your account, and try to send more than 100 invites per week.

You can, however, work around these rules by stretching out your outreach across a longer timespan or using multiple accounts.

While we do encourage automated outreach, we still strongly advise complying with LinkedIn rules, especially the ones that can get your account banned.

12. Overlooking Additional Resources

If outreach is your bread and butter, utilizing every resource at your disposal can have a huge impact on productivity.

Everything from outreach tools to LinkedIn native tools such as Sales Navigator for salespeople or LinkedIn Recruiter for HR professionals will speed up the process and allow you to reach more quality leads in less time.

But one resource is often overlooked: the help of other team members.

linkedin_team_outreach

Due to the messaging limits, splitting an outreach campaign between multiple team members can drastically improve the pool of prospects you can reach.

Not only will you gain an extra perspective, but your platform limitations will also seem less significant with another person on board.

13. Ignoring Campaign Performance Stats

We’re big fans of outreach on autopilot! But we’re also big on assessing and reassessing in between those automatic steps.

Learn from your hard work: which campaigns have gotten great results, and which ones were a bust?

outreach_performance_stats

Look at data such as:

  • Messages sent

  • Profiles viewed

  • Messages received

  • Invites sent

  • Invites accepted

  • Acceptance rates

  • Reply rates

Campaign performance paints a picture of which types of campaigns perform well, which audience is more responsive, and which messaging works better.

Compare the stats on all of your campaigns to understand what you’re doing right and wrong. It will help you learn how to optimize your process and increase those numbers.

Key Takeaways

Outreach doesn’t have to be an impossible battle. While it’s a very structured and somewhat automized process, your approach shouldn’t be robotic.

Bulk mass messages to anonymous targets will lead you nowhere. It's what all of these strategic mistakes have in common: a lack of human touch and individuality.

Make every step as human as possible and always ask yourself how you could best serve the people you’re reaching out to.

Rushing the process, forgetting you are talking to real people, and only considering your own interest, will invariably lead to one of these very common mistakes.

Be intentional, helpful, considerate, and clear.

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