Is “Cold DMing” an Effective LinkedIn Marketing Strategy?

We’ve all been on the receiving end of cold calls… and, for those of us with LinkedIn accounts, cold DMs. The question is, are these unsolicited messages ever an effective form of LinkedIn marketing? Are there better ways to build your LinkedIn marketing strategy? Get data and insights by reading the post below.

LinkedIn Marketing Tips

Once upon a time, cold calling was a fairly standard tool in the sales rep’s toolbox. Today, social media has changed the value proposition of cold calling considerably. It can be far easier to shoot a quick, unsolicited direct message (DM) to your lead as opposed to picking up the phone and hoping someone actually answers.

But if social media has created an easier way to do cold outreach, it may also have made the entire premise of cold calling obsolete. Simply put, there are much better ways to connect with potential sales leads, building brand awareness and leading them through the sales funnel. Both data-driven, highly targeted ads and organic outreach can produce significant results, and without the randomness of a cold call.

But we wanted to find out whether “cold DMing” was a well-regarded strategy among marketing and sales folks. So, we recently put up an online survey, asking a simple question: “How many times do you ignore those annoying unsolicited LinkedIn DMs before you delete and block the person?” What we were looking for was any kind of evidence that cold DMing was anything but a turn-off and a waste of time. So what did the data show?

Cold DMing on LinkedIn: Our Survey Results

Here’s a summary of our survey results:

LinkedIn Poll on unsolicited DMs reaction
  • An overwhelming 58 percent of respondents told us they never block, but always ignore any unsolicited DMs they receive on LinkedIn.
  • In a tie for second place, 17 percent of respondents told us they ignore unsolicited DMs just once before blocking; and, 17 percent said they ignore two or three times before blocking.
  • Only eight percent of respondents said they are willing to accept three or more cold DMs before deleting and blocking.

As you can tell, our respondents (including many professionals from the marketing and Web design worlds) see little merit to cold DMing on LinkedIn, with most telling us that they either ignore their unsolicited messages or even block the sender, sooner or later.

In fact, a few respondents provided us with some clarifying comments, revealing their thinking with regard to cold DMing.

“I just pretend they’re not there,” says SEO consultant Steve Wiideman, “or if they are too persistent, I will reply and say I am not interested.”

Continues Wiideman, “Funnily enough, I was just thinking about what a terrible approach trying to sell someone upon first adding is.”

Creative marketing specialist Tylar Masters agrees: There are better ways to conduct yourself on LinkedIn. “There are much more successful approaches than the spam message,” she notes. “I like to engage with posts to get people’s attention.”

Amanda Clark, the Editor-in-Chief of Grammar Chic, Inc., has a similar perspective. “LinkedIn can be a powerful forum for showcasing your authority and for cultivating relationships, but that’s never going to happen with a random, out-of-the-blue DM,” she says. “Frankly, cold DMing reveals a lack of skill with LinkedIn’s toolbox: Targeted ads, organic reach, and community engagement.”

A Better Approach to LinkedIn Marketing

At Sefati & Co, we have ample experience as LinkedIn marketing experts, advising both small business and enterprise-level clients on how to do LinkedIn advertising and outreach as effectively as possible. And we agree with our survey respondents: There are much, much better strategies than simply DMing people without any lead-up.

In fact, we’ve found that the most effective LinkedIn marketing strategy is to combine the organic and paid approaches. We recently outlined our basic approach to LinkedIn marketing, including these tips:

  1. Begin with a strong understanding of your target audience.
  2. Broaden your target audience at the beginning, then tighten it as your campaign matures.
  3. Create unique LinkedIn advertising content (e.g., don’t use generic ads that you initially developed for Facebook).
  4. Offer gated content.
  5. Update your bid and budget as you learn more and more about your audience.
  6. Run different LinkedIn advertising campaigns for different audiences.

We encourage you to ditch the cold DMs in favor of a more robust and integrative LinkedIn marketing strategy… and if you have any questions about what such a strategy might look like, reach out to Sefati & Co. We’d love to draw on our expertise and custom-tailor LinkedIn marketing solutions that work well for your business.

To connect with our LinkedIn marketing agency, reach out to Sefati & Co at your next convenience.

Author: Al Sefati

Al Sefati is an enterprise SEO and search marketing expert and the founder of Sefati & Company. Al works with marketing agencies and enterprise level clients and he is in charge of forming and monitoring their SEO and SEM strategies. Al blogs often about latest SEO, SEM and digital marketing trends and tactics.