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LinkedIn Connection Message: Best Practices & 10+ Templates

11 min

Ever received a LinkedIn connection message like this one?

Me too!

You see – there’s a plague going around LinkedIn. It’s everywhere, highly contagious, and seemingly impossible to escape…

Yes, I’m talking about LinkedIn connection messages.

You’ve probably received a few of them too. It’s all the same boring, low-quality, copy-and-paste templates with absolutely ZERO personalization.

People think just because they’ve used your first name and industry name, they’ve already done their research and have given you a reason to accept.

I’m here to tell you this is not the case – not even close.

But don’t worry. I’m going to teach you better LinkedIn connection message practices as well as templates that actually work.

We’ve run campaigns with the very same templates I’m going to show you below. Using those templates, our acceptance rate ranged from 72% to 80%.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

  • Background on LinkedIn Connection Messages
  • Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile and 4 Next Steps to Boost Your Acceptance Rate
  • What to Include In Your LinkedIn Connection Request
  • 10+ Best LinkedIn Connection Request Templates for All Occasions
  1. How to connect with someone in a mutual group
  2. Value upfront connection request
  3. Content retargeting LinkedIn connection request
  4. Using the same tech connection request
  5. Comment-to-receive offer connection request
  6. Posted on LinkedIn search filter request (Sales Navigator)
  7. ‘View similar’ LinkedIn Sales Navigator leads request
  8. Inbound LinkedIn leads connection request
  9. Mutual LinkedIn groups connection request
  10. Connection request – local leaders
  11. Targeted prospects to propel forward connection request

So, if you’re ready to start connecting with your leads on LinkedIn (whether they know you or not) and network like a pro – here’s what you need to know:

Background on LinkedIn Connection Messages

So, you have a defined target audience or an executive you’d like to connect with.

The key is to treat them like an actual person.

Don’t start selling or pitching straight away (because they don’t care), don’t lie about how you went through their profile (it’s super obvious when this isn’t the case), and don’t tell your whole life story in the small connection box either.

But before you even send a connection request, let’s take a step back and analyze the situation a bit.

The first thing you need to know is – who are you sending the request to, exactly?

On LinkedIn, there are 3 types of connections:

  • 1st Degree – People you’re already connected with.
  • 2nd Degree – People connected to your 1st-degree connections (mutual connections).
  • 3rd Degree – People connected to your 2nd-degree connections (1 or 0 mutual connections).

At this stage, you should have a general idea of who your target audience is

If you use LinkedIn Sales Navigator – that’s even better, as you can filter profiles by relationship, keywords, geography, and more.

But if not – that’s fine too.

Generally, people respond well to:

  • Personalization – Specific, personalized connection requests. Having something in common (e.g. mutual LinkedIn group) or interest helps.
  • Appropriateness – Don’t jump into the pitch straight away. Your first point of contact should be about providing value.
  • Applicability – WIIFM? What’s in it for me (them)?

Imagine you’re at a networking event and someone comes up to you and says:

“Hi (first name)! Based on you being at this conference, I assume you’re also interested in marketing/growth-hacking? I’d love to add you to my list of networks and tell you a bit more about what I do and how I help business owners like you…”

An alarm would go off in your head and you’d want to run away – wondering if you just came in contact with an actual robot.

And that’s the thing – most automated LinkedIn outreach sounds robotic, with no personality.

So if you really want to boost your acceptance rate, here’s what you’ll want to do first:

Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile and 4 Next Steps to Boost Your Acceptance Rate

Think about it like this: What is the first thing you do when you receive a connection request from a stranger on LinkedIn?

Like most people, you’ll probably click on their profile first and try to understand who they are and what they offer.

In a way, your LinkedIn profile is like your personal landing page.

So, before actually doing outreach, you’ll need to first optimize your profile. Most people look at your profile picture, banner photo, tagline, and summary almost immediately.

First impressions everything (especially on LinkedIn). Start there.

Demi’s profile here already tells you what you’re getting – mainly from that custom designed banner photo and straight-to-to-the-point tagline.

Check out Demi’s full optimized and up-to-date profile here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/demi-van-vendeloo/ Oh, and be sure to ask her for the copy of the top 3 LinkedIn outreach strategies while you’re there.👀

Here’s what you should focus on when optimizing your LinkedIn profile for outreach:

  • Profile and Banner Photos – Ideally, both should be professional. With a custom banner photo, you’ll manage to stand out from everyone else on LinkedIn. A picture is worth a thousand words after all. You can get someone on Fiverr to make one for you for cheap, if you don’t have the design skills.
  • Tagline – Try to convert your offerings (features) into benefits (the outcome) with this formula: Who + Effect + How.
  • Summary – Consider your context, past experience, and background here. You don’t need to make this too long but consider what the prospect needs to know about you when going through your profile.

Now, once your profile is optimized, you should move onto defining your target audience and setting up the right campaign templates. After all, part of having a huge acceptance rate is knowing your audience.

Once you optimize your LinkedIn profile, you should then:

  1. Make sure you’re targeting the right audience.
  2. Set up campaign templates relevant for the outreach and create limitations.
  3. Optional: Connect your CRM and use Zapier to boost your Marketing efforts
  4. Track your LinkedIn campaign results and analytics

For more info on how to do all that, check out our full guide on the 5 steps to take before launching a LinkedIn campaign.

Makes sense?

Good! Now we can move onto the actual LinkedIn connection message best practices and template examples.

What to Include In Your LinkedIn Connection Request

Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all LinkedIn template that will magically skyrocket your acceptance rate.

Otherwise, everyone would be on LinkedIn all the time!

So, let’s take a look at what you can customize within your outreach.

When running automated LinkedIn campaigns from Expandi, you can use the following personalization tags that will grab the info from the prospect’s LinkedIn profile.

For more information about Expandi, Please click here!

This saves a lot of time and ensures each of your messages has a personal feel to them when contacting your leads.

{first_name}

{last_name}

{job_title}

{company_name}

Dynamic Placeholder

Most of them are pretty obvious, right?

It’s just info from their LinkedIn profile page.

But you’re probably wondering – what’s the dynamic placeholder tag, exactly?

Essentially, it’s a custom tag, unique to Expandi, that’s determined when you launch your outreach campaign. It is then adapted to the individual you’re trying to reach.

This way, you can personalize your campaign based on your targeting and it will come out different each time – depending on who the campaign is addressed to.

Let’s say I want to target authors who have written about LinkedIn automation tool alternatives. But to make sure I don’t sound cliche in my outreach, I’ll be using dynamic personalization to mention something specific from their articles, in each LinkedIn message (e.g. their mentioned solution)!

Like so:

Here’s how:

“Heyo {first_name},

Just finished reading your article on {IF EXIST=Website} Type your message containing the {Website}

{ELSE} Type your message without the placeholder {ENDIF} about {IF EXIST=Title Article} Type your message containing the {Title Article}

{ELSE} Type your message without the placeholder {ENDIF}. And I really liked it. Keep it up! Would be awesome to follow you and stay in touch.

Let’s connect.

Stefan”

Here’s what the prospect would see with that template:

“Heyo {first_name},

Just finished reading your article on Tools With Ward about Meet Leonard & Linked Helper Alternatives and I really liked it. Keep it up!

Would be awesome to follow you and stay in touch.

Let’s connect.

Stefan”

With this campaign – we achieved 69% connection request acceptance rate and a 83% response to follow-ups.

Not bad, right?

Check out the full case study, based on the growth-hack that goes way beyond LinkedIn personalization for first name and last name here to see the follow-up message we used and the rest of the campaign.

Seriously, the thing works like magic!

10+ Best LinkedIn LinkedIn Connection Request Templates for All Occasions

And now, for the meat of this guide.

We’ll be revealing our exact LinkedIn connection request template, follow-up messages, as well as the campaign results here.

So, hope you’re ready!

Let’s jump into it, starting with:

#1 How to connect with someone in a mutual group

If you have something in common with someone, they’ll automatically be more likely to trust you.

This can be a Facebook group, a LinkedIn group, or just a mutual interest.

So, one smart way to connect with like-minded individuals is to scrape a Facebook group you’re both in, and reach out to them after.

With a template like the following:

“Hi {first_name},

I noticed your profile and wanted to reach out as I see we are both members of the Facebook Group Dux Soup users.

I guess we have growth in common.

Love it!

Let’s connect,

Stefan”

And then, set these follow-up messages:

Follow-up 1 (1 day after connection request was accepted)

“Hey {first_name}, I’m working on a much safer tool for LinkedIn automation (It’s cloud based, so LinkedIn doesn’t detect it), and to avoid making something useless, I wanted to find people who can help me by sharing their thoughts.

I’d love to get your feedback on it, if you don’t mind?”

Follow-up 2 (5 days after no reaction message 1)

“Does this sound interesting enough to justify a short conversation? Please let me know what you decide, {first_name}?”

The results?

  • 72% acceptance rate.
  • 49% response to follow-ups.
  • 42(!!!) booked demos.

Not bad, right?

If you’re wondering how to scrape Facebook (or LinkedIn groups) properly, and set even more follow-up messages, check out the full guide here: The best way to generate leads on LinkedIn for 2020.

#2 Value upfront connection request

The #1 thing most people care about when connecting is how you can HELP them.

And one of the best ways to do this is to provide value upfront – no questions asked.

Here’s how:

“Hi {first_name}, I’m Demi – a Growth Marketer. But I know that’s boring & doesn’t concern you.

So how about I send you a kickass guide on how we drove 1,500 paid customers from LinkedIn in just 4 months?

Click accept if you’re interested. Or you’ll never hear from me again!”

Follow-up 1 (1 day after connection request was accepted)

“Thank you for connecting {first_name} – I’m grateful to have a like-minded person in my network”

Here’s a copy of the guide:

Top 3 LinkedIn Outreach Strategies

I’d love some feedback – please feel free to send your honest opinion.”

Follow-up 2 – 5 days

“Heyo, Any thoughts on the deck I sent over?”

Now, obviously, you’ll need to have some sort of an offer for this to work effectively.

Which is why we created the top LinkedIn outreach strategies PDF a few months before we launched this campaign.

Here are the results for this campaign:

  • 17 booked demos (all warm leads).
  • From 500 contacts, 198 connected and 71 replied to follow-up.

See the full campaign, as well as how to can connect Expandi to Zapier in order to run retargeting Facebook ads for your prospects here: LinkedIn growth hack to increase your reach and brand awareness

PS – there’s a hidden lesson in this case study, and that is to ALWAYS A/B test your outreach request and to have your profile fully optimized. Read the full guide mentioned above to learn why.

#3 Content retargeting LinkedIn connection request

Quick question: what’s the best way to tell if you’re actually connecting with your target audience?

It’s simple: see what posts they engage with and reach out to them with the mutual interest in mind.

Here’s how:

  1. Find a significant LinkedIn influencer in your niche.
  2. Find a viral post they made with lots of comments and likes.
  3. Scrape everyone who liked and commented, and reach out to them using Expandi.

For example, we targeted this post with 678 comments by Ugljesa:

This is super simple as you don’t need any external tools, so there’s nothing stopping you from launching this campaign today to generate a warm list of leads.

Here’s the connection request template we used:

“Hi {first_name},

Saw you also liked the amazing LinkedIn growth hack post by Ugljesa Djuric from Lemtalk. I guess we have growth in common.

Love it!

Let’s connect,

Stefan”

Follow-up 1 (1 day after connection request was accepted)

“Great to be connected {first_name}!

Which part of the Growth Hacking techniques that Ugljesa shared did you like the most?

I just finished writing a step-by-step LinkedIn growth hack that includes the templates and tools that generated me 40 conversions a week. I thought it might be useful for you too…

So here it is:

The Best Way To Generate Leads On LinkedIn for 2020

Follow-up 2 (7 days after no reaction message 1)

“Hi {First_name}, was wondering if you had the chance to read my article and if it gave you any ideas for your LinkedIn growth strategy?

Would love to hear your thoughts”

Results:

  • ~72% acceptance rate.
  • 40% response to follow-ups.

Moral of the story?

Have a good hook and always follow up!

See the full campaign for the exact step-by-step here: The best LinkedIn content retargeting growth hack to start generating leads for 2020.

#4 Using the same tech connection request

Before you reach out to your prospects, it’s a good idea to study them a bit.

Ideally, you can also identify what kind of tech and tools they use.

For this, I use BuiltWith and reach out to site owners using Albacross.

Here’s how:

  1. Search for sites using Albacross using BuiltWith.
  2. Download full lead list as CSV report.
  3. Use FindThatLead to find prospects’ contact info and verify their emails.
  4. Use Phantombuster to turn those names into LinkedIn profiles.
  5. Reach out on LinkedIn using Expandi.

Sounds complicated?

It’s actually pretty simple, as we’ll show you in the full guide below.

But if you want to get the best results on your LinkedIn campaign, some research is necessary.

LinkedIn Connection Request

“Hi {first_name},

Came across your profile and wanted to reach out as I see we are both Albacross users.

Would be great to connect with someone like-minded because I have some questions to share.

Stefan”

Follow-up Message 1 (1 day after accepting connection request)

“Great to be connected {first_name}!

I really like Albacross, but how do you reach out to the visitors identified on {IF EXIST=Website} Type your message containing the {Website}{ELSE}your website{ENDIF}?”

Follow-up Message 2 (5 day if no reply on message 1)

“Btw, we developed an automatic follow-up sequence on LinkedIn for Albacross users like you. (It can increase conversions up to 400%!)

I wanted to find people who can help me by sharing their thoughts {first_name}. I’d love to get your feedback on it, if you don’t mind?”

Campaign results:

  • 73.6% acceptance rate.
  • Almost 50% responded to one of the follow-ups.

Naturally, people will be wondering how you know they use Albacross and will want to connect to find out.

See the full growth hack that gets you light years ahead of your competition here.

#5 Comment-to-receive offer connection request

Ever see marketers on LinkedIn telling people to comment on their post to receive the offer?

The reason this works so well is because the more people comment on your post, the bigger your reach and the LinkedIn algorithm will want to show your post to even more people.

Many people also use Lempod for this to boost their views, likes, and comments.

Then, once you gain a ton of comments, all you have to do is reach out to them using Expandi.

It’s simple, but effective.

Connector Campaign Request Template: (if you’re not connected with them yet)

“Heyo {first_name},

I saw your comment on my post about the Top 3 LinkedIn Outreach Strategies.

Would love to connect so I can send you the PDF. :-)”

Messenger Campaign Outreach Message: (if you’re already connected)

“Heyo {first_name}, I saw you comment on my post about the Top 3 LinkedIn Outreach Strategies.

Cool! I will send it over soon via mail.”

This is actually part of our larger LinkedIn lead generation omnichannel growth hack email outreach case study, where we connected Expandi to Lemlist using Zapier for a truly omnichannel outreach.

The reason it works so well is because first we’re establishing a relationship on LinkedIn. And then, once we have a connection, we send over the offer to our leads (already warm leads) via email.

Results:

  • 80.2% acceptance rate on LinkedIn.

And the results for the actual email campaign:

#6 Posted on LinkedIn search filter request (Sales Navigator)

Do you use LinkedIn Sales Navigator?

It offers a ton of advanced features to really zoom in on your target audience, down to something they recently commented on.

Connection request template:

“Hi {first_name},

Your recent comment about {post-content-keyword} really struck a chord.

I tend to cover some great content on growth-hacking that you can use to increase your outreach strategy. If you want to check it out, I’ll be happy to send it your way.

Just let me know if it’s of any interest to you?”

Wondering if LinkedIn Sales Navigator is worth the $64.99 price tag per month?

It might be if you’re actively focused on generating leads and know you’re way around LinkedIn.

Check out our LinkedIn Sales Navigator growth hack to see how you can use the advanced filters to your advantage and start generating high-quality leads.

#7 ‘View similar’ LinkedIn Sales Navigator leads request

Another quick Sales Navigator hack.

  1. Go to the ‘Search Bar’.
  2. Search for your existing clients.
  3. Select any client from the search result.
  4. Press ‘View similar’.

Once you do this, you’ll get 100+ leads similar to your customers.

Connection request template:

“Heya {first_name}.

You popped up in my feed and I gotta say – I really dig what you’re working on! Actually, what you’re working on at {Company_name} really reminds me of what I did for {your-similar-work-for-top-clients}. We’re always {your-unique-pitch-or-solution}.

I wrote a little story about what we do that’s different that I think you’ll enjoy.

Would you like a copy?”

This might be more time-consuming and require more personalization than other growth-hacks – but if done right, the results are sure to pay off.

#8 Inbound LinkedIn leads connection request

Here’s a simple outreach template that works almost every time.

  1. Go to your profile.
  2. Click on ‘Who’s Viewed Your Profile’ in your dashboard.
  3. Send those people a personalized connection invite.
  4. Bonus: follow-up with something useful (e.g. article or case-study you wrote)

Connection request template

“Hey {first_name},

Saw you clicked on my profile, awesome, is there anything specific you’re looking for?

Nice to see you work in {industry} too, I’ve actually written quite a bit on the topic. I’d love to send you some articles (or case-studies) if you’d be interested?

Let me know!

Cheers,”

This works even better if you have an optimized profile as the prospect will be more likely to connect with you (or send you the request themselves!)

#9 Mutual LinkedIn groups connection request

In the advanced search of LinkedIn, you can filter for groups. There, you can find other professionals interested in a common subject.

Then, you can send a super simple connection request like:

“Heyo {first_name}.

Saw you’re a member of the Growth-Hacking Strategies group too.

Would be great to connect with someone like-minded to see if there’s any room for collaboration.”

#10 Connection request – local leaders

Want to network within your city and meet your leads in person?

Filter by location and use this template:

“Hey {first_name}, growing my network with {your_industry} leaders.

At our home base here in {your_city}, we’ve found incredible creative and profitable opportunities in {your_industry_niche}.

I’d love to connect and share our learnings!”

#11 Targeted prospects to propel forward connection request

If you’re regularly writing content on LinkedIn, this simple request template should work for just about every industry:

“Hey {first_name}, I like the work {company_name} is doing in tech and innovation, and wanted to connect.

I am always posting valuable resources and insights to help my network propel their company forward.

Thought you’d be interested.”

Conclusion

Hope you found this guide to LinkedIn connection messages (and the examples) useful!

And now – back to you.

Do you already have your target audience in mind and your profile optimized?

If so, awesome!

All you have to do now is add me on Facebook, let me know you read this guide, and I’ll grant you a FREE 7-day Expandi trial – no strings attached.

Ready to start generating leads on autopilot now?

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