That’s right, when you’re going digital, it’s so important to remember there are actual real-live humans on the other side of your computer screen.
So many people forget this, especially when it comes to LinkedIn Direct Messages. (If you feel a little spine chill at the thought of DMs, that’s ok. You’re not alone.)
We’ve all seen them — the bad, the ugly, the annoying. SO MANY people get them wrong with cut-and-paste memos that end up feeling cheesy, forced, templated, impersonal, or even downright icky.
But Linkedin DMs really, truly, honestly don’t have to be that way.
In fact, I’m here to tell you that they can be SUPER DUPER effective when they’re the opposite of all those things above (aka, personal, conversational, easy, genuine).
How effective, you ask?
DMs are one of my VERY TOP favorite tools for nurturing warm leads and building online relationships on LinkedIn. And, as you know — if you’ve been tuning in for any length of time now — I am SO smitten with LinkedIn and the results it brings me and my coaching clients on the regular.
I LOVE LinkedIn Direct Messages.
And you can, too — once you get the hang of them.
They don’t have to be scary, or awkward, or stressful.
They can be your most lucrative marketing and networking tool.
The BIG KEY is to be a good listener, a conversationalist, and a problem solver. In other words…you know…a human.
And then there are lots of other useful keys, too. Read on…
An Entrepreneur’s 5-Step Guide to Linkedin Direct Messages
So maybe you’ve had lackluster results with LinkedIn Direct Messages before.
Or maybe the thought of direct messaging a complete stranger is so mortifying to you, that you haven’t even tried (yet).
And maybe you can’t stand when LI members DM you.
But we’re not talking about sending spammy mass-messages here. And we’re not talking about awkward online dating.
We’re talking about highly targeted, personal messages that speak to your audience’s unique needs and pain points.
Step 1: Get Clarity on Your Perfect-Fit Audience
I do not want you messaging 20 people at random each day.
I do want you to make sure your time/efforts are well spent by messaging your best-fit leads on Linkedin.
So think about your dream client. Picture them in your head. Go ahead, I’ll wait…
Now think, what is this person’s…?
- Job title
- Pain points
Write ‘em all down. We’re here to get granular!
The more you know about your ideal persona (and we’re only picking ONE here), the better you’ll be able to find, serve, and connect with him or her on LinkedIn.
We are not spam-messaging people, and we are not talking about reaching out to your kinda, OK, so-so clients.
I want you to cherry-pick the kinds of clients who excite you. Who you really want to start a conversation with.
Those are the people you’ll be focusing on with your DMs.
Want to get crystal clear? Head over to >> Define Your Ideal Customers and Rapidly Increase Your Income
Step 2: CONNECT With Your Perfect-Fit Audience
Now that you know WHO your audience is, it’s time to find them on LinkedIn.
And there are so many places to find them.
- You can straight up search for their job title or industry. Head up to LI’s search bar in the upper left, and start trying different versions of your WHO’s job position. If you’re targeting marketing professionals, for example, you might want to type in “Marketing Manager,” “Marketing Coordinator,” “Senior VP of Marketing” and so on…
- You can also hop into LinkedIn Groups where your WHO is likely to hang. If you’re targeting restaurant owners, for example, you might spend some time building relationships within restaurant association Group pages. Groups can be a great place to find an organic gold mine of potential leads, all in one place.
- You can spend time in your newsfeed finding the people who are already interacting with your audience. If your top client is on LinkedIn, take a look at his/her/their posts to see who’s commenting. There’s a good chance their connections might fit your WHO criteria, too.
Step 3: Decide Where and When to Connect
This part is up to you, but I recommend creating a system so you’ll stick with it.
When you first connect with someone on LinkedIn, it’s kind of like courting a date. Who makes the first move? What’s the best thing to say? When is it ok to call you on the phone?
So here, I feel like you need to be true to what feels most comfortable for you. As long as you DO reach out.
You might decide to get your feet wet by commenting on your WHO’s posts, or replying to their comments. You might feel comfortable liking a few of their articles before asking for a place in their DMs.
Tip-toeing in is ok, as long as it gets you started.
Some of you might be ready to jump in with a direct message as soon as you send an invite, and that’s great, too!
But I want you to at least have a base plan for how you’re going to reach out.
Otherwise, it’s easy to put things off and save your DM for another day. And another day…
So make a promise to yourself, that your plan for initiating a DM is X,Y, and Z.
Write it down (so you’re more likely to do it), and then put it to work…
Step 4: Start Small, Keep It Short
Now that you’re in your WHO’s inbox, there are some really important things I want you to do.
Remember, we’re not being spammy, we’re not pasting in a wall of text, and we’re not just saying “hi.” Boring.
We’re being human, and writing to another human. Like we’re at a coffee shop, truly listening and engaging.
And as it goes conversation, the turns will volley back and forth.
I don’t want you to bombard your WHO with a wall of sales information. That’s not a conversation.
Instead, be personable, helpful and responsive. Like in a conversation.
And keep these tips in mind:
- Be genuinely curious about your connection’s needs, wants, challenges, and goals. Get to know them, so you can truly better serve them.
- Don’t be like everyone else — ditch the intro catch-phrases, and the “I’m sorry to bother you, but…” (Ugh)
- Don’t hard pitch your services right away. You’re going to have way more success if you build a trusting relationship first.
- Keep it to one or two sentences at a time — enough to quickly digest and respond to.
- Stay casual. Think short conversations, quick check ins, and one-at-a-time questions.
Step 5: Be Regular
Being consistent is SO important.
It’s important for maintaining relationships, and it’s also important for building your own momentum.
Even if you strike out a few times with LinkedIn DMs, remember that we all do.
And remember that a strike-out with a certain lead might not be FOREVER.
Some of my highest paying clients have been people who didn’t engage with my first DMs. Then later, when I checked in, they were in the right place to have a conversation about their needs and how I can help.
They appreciated the fact that I circled back, and that I wanted them as a client. We’re all human, we all want to feel wanted.
So keep your conversations fresh. Don’t let your leads go stale by pushing LI off your to-do list. Any relationship takes time and effort, so invest in your connections by staying in touch, and following up.
Just like you would with a best friend, or your best client.
Use LinkedIn Direct Messages to Land the Clients YOU Want
The beauty of LinkedIn DMs is that it’s up to YOU.
You don’t need fancy software, or a secret code, or monthly subscriptions.
It’s YOU putting in the effort, and YOU communicating with the people you’d love to bring into your inner circle.
I love LinkedIn for converting/vetting/meeting clients, and DMs are such a great way to get to know someone beyond the public newsfeed.
Remember, you may DM with someone who you decide is not a good fit. And that’s ok, too.
The more you do it, the better you’ll get, and the more you’ll learn — about your own services and your best-fit audience.
So I really encourage you to take the dive!
And if you’re still feeling a little lukewarm, I’m not giving up on you yet.
I want to invite you to my Linkedin Lead Mastery course.
It’s great not only for experienced LinkedIn users, but also for the people who feel not-quite-ready to jump into the LI deep end.
It’s where I break down all my tips into bite-sized, actionable pieces — so you can make changes right away and start reaping the benefits of LI like I have.
I’m sharing all I’ve learned, gleaned, and gained, and passing it along so other entrepreneurs (like you!) can happy dance right along with me.
If you want to know more, head over to my LinkedIn Lead Mastery page and see what’s possible.