LinkedIn Prospecting Messages: How To Cold Pitch For Freelance Work (The Right Way!)

linkedin prospecting message

Psst, hey you! Do you want the skinny on sending straight fya LinkedIn prospecting messages that have decision-makers saying “YES, YES, YES”

Well, here’s how to cold pitch for freelance work the right way. Cuz life’s too short to get ghosted by your prospects or wait for work to come to you.  

LinkedIn Prospecting Messages For Freelancers Explained

Thank you for accepting my impromptu LinkedIn prospecting messages lesson. I’ve been crouching behind that wall for ages waiting for a freelancer like you. Now together, we can LIFT THE CURSE. Wait, what?! Who said that?! *Ahem*  

Welcome to orientation. Here’s some important information to get you started:

Finding Freelance Leads With LinkedIn

LinkedIn can help you find freelance leads* so you’re never short on work again. Woo! One way to do this is by reaching out to people via direct message, aka sending prospecting messages.* LinkedIn cold messaging (which is what we’re covering today) means DM-ing prospects you don’t know for unadvertised work rather than responding to advertised LinkedIn gigs**. 

Related: 11 Ways To Find Freelance Jobs on LinkedIn

Accessing The LinkedIn Hidden Job Market For Freelancers 

That mythical LinkedIn hidden job market you’ve been reading about online really *does* exist. Jobs like these are usually hidden (not shared publicly) because business owners are trying to reduce advertising costs. They are ripe for the picking via DM by savvy freelancers nonetheless. 

Can LinkedIn Cold Messaging *Really* Help You Get Freelance Gigs? 

LinkedIn cold messaging is controversial in some freelancing circles because it’s a tricky strategy to execute. However, if you proceed like a pro with finesse, you can tap into the invisible freelance gig market on LinkedIn, opening up a whole new world of freelancing opportunities. 

So, yep, cold LinkedIn prospecting messages work, but your approach is what dictates success. Lucky you’re reading this article. 😉 p.s. orientation is OVA. 

How To Approach Your LinkedIn Prospecting Message

Feeling weird about sliding into a stranger’s DMs? You’re likely in the wrong mindset. Rather than drooling over what you can gain from your prospect, consider this interaction as an opportunity to cultivate a genuine connection. 

The worst that can happen is the recipient says they’re not interested, but when they do need a service like yours, at least they know *you* exist. 

Ultimately, you’re saving decision-makers time by saying, “call off the invisible search. Your ideal freelancer has arrived, and here’s how I can solve XYZ pain-point(s) for you”. 

Research your LinkedIn Prospect!

Research is also key. Why are you reaching out to this person in particular? Are they in a specific niche you serve? For example, if you’re a freelance writer who works with SEO agencies, you might research SEO agency owners and reach out to them directly. 

How Does Your Work As A Freelancer Solve A Problem?

Before sending your message, think about how you can help your prospect add value to their business. What problem(s) are you solving for your lucky DM recipient? 

If you’re a freelance virtual assistant, your service saves business owners time and stress. Meanwhile, graphic designers ensure a professional and polished representation of someone’s business to the world: saving time, preventing embarrassment, and boosting sales.  

Always Personalize Your LinkedIn Cold Messaging

Effective LinkedIn messages are rarely automated. You’ll experience more success by sending fewer messages but taking the time to tailor them to your prospect rather than sending out a blanket LinkedIn cold pitch to everyone. 

Why? By personalizing your LinkedIn prospecting message, you’re getting specific and thus making your pitch more relevant to your prospect. An approach that shows you’ve done your research AND cements your prospect as the lead in the story. Who doesn’t wanna play the lead?!

What Makes a Personalized LinkedIn Message?

Prospecting 101: don’t focus on yourself. Focus on your prospect. 

To achieve this, frame your message in a way that’s specific to the recipient, and you’ll soon go from overlooked to undeniable. 

Start by using your prospect’s first name; this instantly makes a message feel more personal to the recipient. Was there something that interested you about their LinkedIn profile and experience? If so, mention it. 

Is there a resource or a shared connection your prospect may find valuable? Cool, share it, introduce them, and tell your prospect why you think it could help them. 

Keep Your LinkedIn Outreach DM Short And Sweet 

Business owners are short on time and often inundated with messages. Writing the LinkedIn cold pitch equivalent of War and Peace will not serve you or your prospect. The goal of your first DM is to start a dialogue, and this ain’t gonna happen if your prospect falls asleep during your long message. Zzzz!

A short, sweet, engaging DM will help you stand out among an inbox of boring, unresearched, and annoying DMs that get deleted without hesitation. 

A word of warning, short and sweet, doesn’t mean rude. A little personalization (see above) adds warmth. 

Be A Human Speaking To Another Human…Like Real Life But On LinkedIn Yer Know? 

No one likes or responds well to the ‘unsolicited sales bot 3000’ approach. So fight the robot takeover by focusing on common ground to build authentic connections. The human touch will increase your credibility and means your LinkedIn DM is more likely to be read. 

Common ground = shared connections, experiences, groups, interests. If you’ve done your research, you’ll be able to find commonalities that keep your message relevant, warm, and engaging. 

Seriously, Please Don’t Be Unsolicited Salesbot 3000

Remember, your main aim at this stage is to start a dialogue and create an authentic connection with your prospect. So put the sales on pause for now lest ye become ‘unsolicited sales bot 3000,’ which, let’s be honest, looks incredibly disingenuous and is enough to repel even the most forgiving decision-makers. Like, EW, desperate much. 

Effective LinkedIn Messages Often Include A Thoughtful Question

Questions are another way to personalize your LinkedIn cold message while making it even more relevant to your prospect. And the more relevant your question is to a recipient, the more likely it is to evoke a response. 

Has your prospect shared an intriguing LinkedIn post recently? Great, let them know what was helpful about it and ask them to expand upon their point. Throw them a GENUINE question like: 

“I enjoyed XYZ from your recent LinkedIn post, and I’d love to know your thoughts on ZYX?”

And for some bonus XP, if their LinkedIn post made it into your feed via a shared connection (see common ground^^^), let ’em know:

“I enjoyed XYZ from your recent LinkedIn post. It popped into my feed through -insert shared connection- and I’d love to know your thoughts on ZYX?”

Frame Your LinkedIn Cold Pitch In A Way That Deserves A Reply

Remember, business owners are busy and probably receive lots of messages[!] So before you send your LinkedIn cold pitch, be brutally honest. Does your DM *really* deserve a reply? Review the following check-points:

  • Is it personalized?
  • Am I adding value? How relevant is this to my prospects’ specific needs?
  • Can I make anything about this more concise?
  • Do I sound like a human, or do I sound like ‘unsolicited sales bot 3000’?
  • Have I included a thoughtful question?

Finally, does your LinkedIn cold message give a clear (but none-salesy) call to action? You want your prospect to feel compelled to take action, even if it’s to tell you more about the recent LinkedIn post you loved. 

It’s bonus XP time again. Use your thoughtful question to end the message. That’s your friendly, genuine call to action and your prospect’s reason to reply.

4 Examples Of Effective LinkedIn Messages For Freelancers

The moment has ARRIVED. Here are four actionable examples of LinkedIn cold messages that’ll keep your pipeline full and your freelance biz poppin’. 

Just bookmark this page already to refer back to these LinkedIn templates again and again.⬇️

Example 1. A Very Personalized LinkedIn Cold Pitch 

Hi -first name- thank you so much for connecting with me. 

I’ve been reading about your -product or service-. I LOVE -XYZ about a feature or quality you *genuinely* love about their product or service- and can see this really helping -ideal customer profile- who need to -common use-case-. 

Have you thought about how to reach more -ideal customer profile(s)- who need your -product/service-?


-your first name-

Example 2. A LinkedIn Cold Message When You Have A Mutual Connection 

Hi -first name-! 

I’ve just seen we have a mutual connection -name of connection-. Have you worked with -him/her- before? I know -name of connection- from -how you know them-. 

Anyway, I hope to build a network of forward-thinking people, so it’s great to connect with you. I’d love to know more about what you do when you have time?


-your first name-

Example 3. A LinkedIn Connection Request Direct Message 

Hi -first name- I’d love to connect with you! 

I can see you’ve done some incredible work with -company name- in your role as -job title- and I’d love to keep up with your work going forwards. Your content seems thought-provoking too, which is a bonus!

I’ve sent a request, but no pressure.


-your first name-

Example 4. A Complimentary LinkedIn Cold Message

Hi -first name- I’m so happy to have you in my network. I find your content really insightful!

I enjoyed your recent post about -what it was about- and found it valuable because -why it was *genuinely* valuable to you.- 

Can I ask your thoughts on -specific area of the post- and whether you think -an original thought you had to take their idea further or meet the idea where it is-?


-your first name-

Now Go Nail Your LinkedIn Prospecting Messages. We Believe In You! 

So, if you want to nail your LinkedIn prospecting messages, remember to make them personalized, specific to your prospect, value-packed, concise, and include a thoughtful question. Oh, and be a HUMAN, not ‘unsolicited sales bot 3000’. 

What about THE CURSE from earlier, you say? There’s only so much Linked prospecting success one individual can handle. By transferring the valuable knowledge contained in this article to you, I’m FINALLY FREE. Take my opportunities, people! I need a vacation. 😉

Rachael Hope
+ posts

Rachael Hope is a freelance writer & content strategist focusing on SEO and conversion. When not writing, you'll find her painting, yoga-ing, or having fun with her feline pals, Yuna and Binx. Oh, and she founded Rachael Hope Media or something.



Rachael Hope

Rachael Hope is a freelance writer & content strategist focusing on SEO and conversion. When not writing, you'll find her painting, yoga-ing, or having fun with her feline pals, Yuna and Binx. Oh, and she founded Rachael Hope Media or something.

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