Writing connection request messages that don’t suck!

Your connection request message is often the first time a potential prospect will see you or your brand.  Yet so many of the connection requests I receive absolutely suck.

A bland templated message with merge fields.  A ‘copy and paste’ standard message.  These approaches rarely work.

If that sounds like you, stop right now!  Step away from the keyboard and think again about how you approach your LinkedIn connection strategy.

Bad messages persist

I’ve written about good and bad LinkedIn invitation messages here and here.  I am covering this again as it is a problem that isn’t going away.

With LinkedIn’s recent reduction in the number of connection requests to 100 per week for many accounts, it is essential that you start to be more targeted and precise with your outreach.  So, let’s look at some of the messages below and share in my despair!

The ‘expand my network’ message

This message is short and to the point but gives me no reason to accept the connection message.  Our attention spans are limited so there is little point in telling me you are trying to expand your network on LinkedIn.  I’m reading this on LinkedIn! so you are just stating the obvious really.

Tip:  Give at least one reason to connect or your message will end up deleted faster than you can say ‘connection strategy’.

Building fake empathy

This example is another version of the ‘expand my network’ message but adds a pinch of empathy building.

Let’s look at the different elements of this message.  It is short and to the point, it addresses me personally and there is some effort to show that they understand the industry sector I am in.

However, there is nothing, and I mean nothing that gives me a reason to accept this.  The ‘what’s in it for me?’ is completely missing.  What’s in it for her is that it will build her network.

It also uses buzzwords that mean very little.  What the heck is a ‘forward thinking professional’ anyway?!  Trying to create empathy in this way is transparent and a real turn-off.

Tip:  Write in plain English, avoid jargon and meaningless phrases.  Use what you know about the person to craft a message that will resonate with me.

The ‘over promise’ message

This message tries to be engaging by saying they have researched potential companies.  It doesn’t say who or why they were researching them!

It over promises by saying they can deliver guaranteed results to similar agencies.  Instant credibility fail - what does this even mean?!  What results and what similar agencies.  It is far too vague to engage me.

And don’t get me started on the last line – I’ve read it and re-read it a dozen times, and just don’t understand what it is trying to say.

I ‘think’ they are offering lead generation services and provide this as a white label service.  But this underlines the need to be explain yourself clearly and concisely.

Tip:  Don’t over promise.  Instead show me your credentials with social proof from happy customers.  Include a call to action or compelling reason why I should accept.

You appeared in my feed

The following example was contributed by one of the subscribers to our blog.  For anyone posting content, this is a common approach that you see.

Just because I appeared in your feed as someone you should connect with, doesn’t mean this is a compelling reason for me to accept your invite.  The vast majority of connection messages like this will end up deleted.

Tip:  Try extending this message and talking about why we should connect, what we have in common or what benefits I would get from accepting.  Adding a call to action, or making a reference to what I do or what mutual connections we have might give you a fighting chance of converting this message into one that might kick off a meaningful dialogue.

Learn from the best

I recently hosted LinkedIn guru and long-time Dux-friend Tyron Giuliani on a webinar where he touched on the connection request message strategy.  I loved a lot of what he had to say – check out 12 mins into this webinar replay where he talks about why you should emulate in the connection message what you would say in real life and why you should focus on one goal only – getting an acceptance.

Another fantastic LinkedIn Guru that spoke on our webinar program was Mike “Batman” Cohen.  His work just looks at messaging and nothing else.  One of his top tips was to use a natural tone of voice.

How worthwhile is it to invest time in writing in the right tone of voice you might ask?  According to Mike’s research you will get a reply rate of 30.5% when messages are written in the right tone of voice compared to 9.8% for one written in a cheeky tone of voice for example.

Check out the blog about Mike’s approach to world class LinkedIn outreach.


You must align your connection strategy with the great advice given by our LinkedIn experts.  You’d be crazy to ignore the types of approach I screenshotted.  They just don’t work.

If you want some tips on how you can use Dux-Soup to craft a good message, check out this blog on personalised connection messages.

However, one of the best tip is to test, test and test again to find out what really works for you.  For example, a head of marketing might respond better to funky, creative tone of voice compared to a head of accounting that might prefer a more factual approach.

I’d love to hear any tips or good/bad examples of connection messages in the comments below.

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