Linkedin etiquette: are you making these 5 easily avoidable cold message mistakes?

Cold Messaging On Linkedin


According to official statistics, LinkedIn has 756 million members in 200 countries and regions worldwide. The number of users has grown a lot in recent years, and now the platform is more relevant than ever.

I enjoy browsing LinkedIn daily – the feed is clean and it provides me with great and interesting content.

However, there are some annoying things about LinkedIn.

Ever since I co-founded Adonomy and changed my LinkedIn status to ‘Chief Executive Officer’, I’ve been receiving many connection requests and cold messages from people trying to sell me their services.

I, of course, don’t mind people trying to find work on a business network, but a large amount of those messages have been less than stellar. Therefore, I went through all the cold messages I ever received and wrote a list of the most common mistakes. 

Offering the wrong services

This is a pet peeve of mine. Adonomy is a digital marketing agency. I don’t mind partnerships, collaborations, and subcontracts, but I see little point in you trying to sell me your digital marketing services. Be it SEO, social media, content, or web design, we already offer those.

I sincerely hope we are not doing that bad of a job that some other agencies feel they need to contact us.  

If you’re sending cold messages, try to avoid reaching out to people who are your direct competition.

Also, try to evaluate whether your contact even has a need for your services/products. Can their business benefit from what you’re offering or are you just wasting time? For example, I once had someone message me about oscillating cutting machines.

I believe their machines are of great quality, but as a digital marketing agency – I’m not exactly sure how we would put them to use. 

Writing boring messages

A lot of companies have the outreach process automatized, which is fine. However, if you want to automatize the process, make certain the template message you’re sending is perfectly written. The messages shouldn’t feel like a copypasted template. The more they do, the less the chances are of me responding.

I’m a busy person, so try to have your automated message catch my attention and give me a reason to respond. If it doesn’t, I will probably just forget about it.

If you value quality over quantity and thus send fewer, but more individualized messages – try to go above and beyond. Leave an impression!

I once received a personalized video message in my inbox from someone offering me their services. Even though we didn’t end up working together, I told all my friends about the video and how it stood out among all the other messages. It was amazing – thank you, Ollie!

Not providing proper information

The person you are contacting doesn’t care much about your company. They do, however, care about how they can improve themselves and their business.

When sending a cold message don’t make it exclusively about yourself.

After you politely introduce yourself, explain exactly what it is that you offer and how they can benefit from your services. 

Provide real numbers, and everything else you can: your portfolio, case studies, testimonials, etc.

For example, there is a big difference between saying:
‘We will help you increase your social media reach’

and saying:
‘With our services, you will at least triple your current social media reach’.

The more detailed, the better.

Being too eager to sell

I once had a person who contacted me and started asking business questions before he even greeted me, or introduced himself. That was an unusual experience. As you might have guessed, I didn’t respond to him. 

Timing plays a big part in making sales. Try to perfect it. There is no need to rush. If you’re being too eager to sell your services, you can easily come off as pushy or desperate.

You don’t have to include your sales pitch in your second sentence. You don’t even have to include it in the first message you send. You won’t lose any prospects if you slow things down a bit. Test a few variations to see what works the best. 

Also, please, if the other person says they are not interested in your proposal, politely thank them and back off. Don’t bother them anymore. Further insisting on your sales pitch won’t change their mind.

Sending poorly written texts

LinkedIn is a worldwide platform, and a lot of us don’t speak English as our first language. Some mistakes are bound to happen here and there. Still, there’s no excuse if you’re making some glaring grammar mistakes.

There are many free online tools that can help you with your writing. Be sure to check them out before sending any messages. Better to be safe than sorry.

Also, make sure the person you’re contacting knows the language you are writing in. So far I received a surprising amount of messages in Spanish. Even though I find the language beautiful, I never found the time to learn it. Maybe one day! 


LinkedIn is the most popular business network worldwide. It has a huge impact on how businesses and freelancers interact and find prospects. Many of them are sending cold messages with the goal of selling their services. A lot of these messages could be improved upon.

Some of the most usual mistakes are sending poorly written and boring messages, not providing proper information, and offering the wrong services. With a little bit of effort and the advice I’ve written, these mistakes can be easily avoided.

I hope this article has helped you, and that you will adjust your cold messages accordingly, to close as many sales as possible.  

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