What are the 11 most boring words in the English language?
“I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.”
Don't do this
Aside from using a ridiculously bad LinkedIn profile photo, using the default connection request message is one of the biggest mistakes you can make on LinkedIn. It severely limits the number of LinkedIn connections you’ll be able to make.
So what’s the key to getting people to connect with you and your brand on LinkedIn? In this post, I’ll walk you through the secret formula to writing an irresistible LinkedIn connection request.
But first, let’s quickly look at the three different methods you can use to grow your LinkedIn network.
1. Connect With People You Know
Connecting with people you already know is a good way to start.
This step is insanely easy. Tons of people you already know are using LinkedIn.
Navigate your way to LinkedIn’s Add Connections page. It’s here that LinkedIn will ask you for an email address and start the process of importing contacts from your personal email account. (Even if you’ve used this feature once or twice before, you may discover a surprising number of new contacts you haven’t yet connected to.)
After you go through this process, LinkedIn will let you select from dozens or maybe even hundreds of people you know but haven’t yet connected to.
But hold on! Don’t hit the “Add X Selected connection(s)” button yet.
If you send invitations from this screen, LinkedIn will send that boring, impersonal default invitation message.
Wait until after you’ve read this entire post so you can use my successful formula for LinkedIn requests.
Will some people you know accept the basic LinkedIn message? Sure. But you want to write an irresistible LinkedIn connection for people you know, but maybe don’t know as well as others.
If you’ve only communicated with someone via email once or twice, they might not remember you or be convinced they should commit to something as serious as accepting a LinkedIn connection request (haha). They could ignore or delete your request — or even worse, report you as spam.
2. Connect With People You WANT to Know
Connecting with tons of random people is the worst thing you can do. Repeatedly clicking the connect button on an algorithmically generated list of people LinkedIn thinks you may know is a recipe for mediocrity.
Also, there is a real danger of sending generic requests to random people. If enough people who receive your connection request mark you as spam, then you could be banned. Only LinkedIn knows the exact threshold, but there is a real risk of your account being suspended if you get too many spam reports.
Look, networking means reaching out to people you don’t yet know. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people you would like to know.
Just make sure you have a strategy. My connection request formula, which I’ll share in just a bit, will definitely help you connect with the people you want to know.
3. Get People To Send Connection Requests To You
If people send you connection requests, then it’s up to you whether to accept or decline, and you don’t have to worry about being marked as spam.
At the basic level, you need to make sure you have a visible, killer LinkedIn profile. Make sure your profile tells people who find your page through a search exactly who you are, what you do, and why you’d be a valuable addition to their network.
A more advanced trick for attracting lots of connection requests is to set up an autoresponder. Here’s a real example of an email you could send to people who share their email address with your company (e.g., in order to receive a newsletter, download a whitepaper, or attend a webinar):
By doing this, you’ll be asking people to send you the connection request. Note that I even used the same font and colors used by LinkedIn, so it looks like it came from LinkedIn, even though it doesn’t.
While you will get tons of requests this way, you shouldn’t accept every connection. After all, LinkedIn limits you to 40,000 connections.
Prioritize requests from people who live in countries where you do business. Also, before accepting anyone’s request, make sure the accounts are real — you don’t want to waste time with recruiters or people trying to sell you stuff you have zero interest in.
How To Write LinkedIn Connection Requests That Will Never Get Declined
OK, it’s time to reveal the formula for a type of connection request that gets accepted almost 100 percent of the time.
The blueprint for writing thoughtful, undeniable LinkedIn connection requests comes down to five P’s. Your request must be:
Let me show you what I mean:
So why is this formula so successful?
Let’s translate it to the real world. You’re at a cocktail party or networking event. A guy you’ve never met comes up to you, politely introduces himself, knows exactly who you are, shares some nice words about how you or your business helped him, and asks for nothing else but to shake your hand.
Would you shake his hand?
Think of your LinkedIn connection request as your way to get that virtual handshake.
Even if someone doesn’t accept your request, which is unlikely, by using this secret formula, they definitely won’t report your request as spam.
LinkedIn offers a huge opportunity to connect with a massive professional population. Don’t limit yourself. Spend a few thoughtful moments writing irresistible LinkedIn connection requests, and you’ll start quickly building up your network!
This post originally appeared on Marketing Land. It is republished with permission.
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