With a LinkedIn Premium subscription, you gain access to the ability to send messages to any LinkedIn member, even if you are not connected. This allows you to reach out and connect with professionals you normally wouldn’t be able to contact. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to message someone on LinkedIn that you are not connected to if you have a Premium subscription.
Step 1: Upgrade to Premium
In order to message people you are not connected to on LinkedIn, you need to have a Premium account. LinkedIn offers three tiers of Premium subscriptions: Premium Career, Premium Business, and Premium Sales. All three subscription levels will allow you to message anyone on LinkedIn without being connected.
To upgrade to Premium, go to your LinkedIn homepage and click on the “Upgrade” link in the top right corner. This will bring you to the Premium options page where you can view the features and pricing of the different tiers and select the one that fits your needs.
Step 2: Find the Profile You Want to Message
Once you have a Premium account, you can message any member on LinkedIn (over 722 million professionals worldwide!). The easiest way to find someone is to use the search bar at the top of the LinkedIn homepage. You can search by name, company, title, school, or keyword.
LinkedIn will display the top matching profiles. Click on the profile you want to message. This will bring you to that member’s profile page. Verify that this is the person you are looking for based on location, experience, shared connections, etc.
Step 3: Click “Message”
With the profile open of the person you want to message, look on the right side of the page next to their contact info. For Premium members, there will be a blue “Message” button. Click this button.
For non-Premium members, this button says “Connect” instead of “Message.” Having a Premium account gives you the ability to message people without having to connect first.
Step 4: Compose Your Message
After clicking the “Message” button, a new window will pop up allowing you to compose a message. Put the person’s name in the “To” field. Then write a subject line and the content of your message.
Your message content should be professional and personalized based on info in their profile. Introduce yourself, explain why you want to get in touch, and include a specific ask or next steps for continuing the conversation.
Avoid using canned or overly generic messaging. Since you do not have a prior connection, take extra care to make a good first impression with your outreach message.
Step 5: Send the LinkedIn Message
Once you have composed your message, click the blue “Send” button at the bottom right of the message window. This will send your message to the recipient’s LinkedIn inbox.
They will receive an email notification that they have a new message. They can then log in to LinkedIn to view and respond to your message.
Tips for Messaging on LinkedIn
Here are some additional tips to keep in mind when messaging people you are not connected to on LinkedIn:
- Personalize your message – Mention specifics from their profile to show you took time to review it.
- Be clear on your purpose – State upfront why you want to connect and what you are asking for.
- Offer value – Provide a reason why responding would benefit them in some way.
- Follow up – If they do not respond within a week, follow up in case they missed your initial message.
- Use a professional tone – Avoid overly casual language and maintain a polite, business-focused voice.
- Proofread carefully – Double check for any spelling/grammar errors before sending.
- Don’t overshare – Keep your message focused without sharing unnecessary personal details.
- Ask open-ended questions – Give them a reason to write back to continue the dialogue.
Limitations of Messaging Non-Connections
While Premium does allow messaging anyone, there are some limitations to be aware of:
- Your message may go into their “Other” tab – If they get a lot of non-connection messages, yours may not stand out.
- There is no guarantee of a response – They have no obligation to reply to you since there is no relationship.
- It may be seen as solicitation – Overt sales pitches or spam risks turning people off.
- You appear as a stranger – Without shared connections or profile views, you have no credibility.
- Your message history is not saved – Unlike with connections, your message history will not be retained if they do not respond.
Due to these limitations, messaging non-connections should be done strategically and selectively for outreach that requires going outside your network. Make sure to only message those where you have a legitimate purpose and contextual reason to be reaching out cold without an introduction.
Setting Expectations for Response Rates
When messaging people you are not connected to, do not expect a high response rate. Studies show that on average, cold outreach messages on LinkedIn get a response rate around 10-20%. However, this can vary based on:
- Your industry and niche – Some fields have higher response rates than others.
- Your messaging approach – Personalized messages perform better than mass templates.
- Your profile quality – Incomplete profiles are less likely to get responses.
- Recipient’s openness – Their profile settings and amount of messages impact likelihood of replying.
- Your shared connections – Any mutual connections increases perceived trust.
Don’t get discouraged if your initial outreach attempts go unanswered. Follow up after a week with a second attempt to reduce the chances of it being overlooked. But also know when to stop if someone clearly is not interested in engaging after multiple tries.
Alternatives to Messaging Non-Connections
If you find that messaging people you’re not connected with on LinkedIn is not getting results, here are some alternative approaches to consider instead:
- InMail – InMail messages go directly into recipients’ main inbox rather than the “Other” tab.
- Connecting first – Build a connection by engaging with their content before messaging.
- Get an introduction – Ask for an intro from a mutual connection instead of cold contacting.
- Groups – Join Groups they are in to connect organically.
- Company Pages – Engage with their Company Page content as a starting point.
- Publish articles – Establish credibility by publishing posts to share your expertise.
Putting in the effort up front to build connections and gain visibility can pay off down the line when you want to reach out for introductions or messages. While Premium opens up the ability to message non-connections, doing so successfully still often requires laying the groundwork.
Can You Message on LinkedIn Without Premium?
Technically, you can message any LinkedIn member through the platform without a Premium account. However, there are significant limitations:
- You can only message people you are directly connected with.
- Your connection requests may be ignored by people you reach out to.
- You are restricted to sending only one connection request per week.
- Your messages will only be seen if the recipient checks the “Other” folder in LinkedIn messages.
- You do not have access to Premium messaging tools and features.
Ultimately, having a paid Premium subscription unlocks the full capabilities of LinkedIn messaging. While you can technically message without Premium, your outreach will be very limited and ineffective in most cases. The ability to freely message beyond just connections is a core benefit of upgrading.
Why Get Premium for Messaging?
Here are some of the key reasons to upgrade to a Premium LinkedIn account if you want to use messaging to expand your outreach abilities:
- Reach anyone on LinkedIn, not just connections.
- Increase visibility with messages that stand out.
- Build new relationships by contacting non-connections.
- Follow up reliably with ongoing message history.
- Speed up the process of connecting with prospects.
- Reduce limitations and restrictions.
- Access expanded network of 722+ million members.
While Premium has a monthly cost, for frequent LinkedIn users the access it provides to new contacts and capabilities easily justifies the investment. The boost in who you can reach out to and connect with makes the upgrade worthwhile for unlocking LinkedIn’s full potential.
Is Messaging Without Connecting Spam?
There is sometimes a misconception that messaging people you are not connected to on LinkedIn is equivalent to spam. However, this is not necessarily true. Here are some ways to avoid coming across as spammy when messaging non-connections:
- Personalize each message rather than copy-pasting the same content.
- Be transparent about who you are and your reason for contacting them.
- Mention specifics about their background that show you did research.
- Only message those relevant to your purpose for outreach.
- Send messages individually rather than massive blasts.
- Follow up politely if needed, but avoid harassing with constant messages.
- Use a professional tone and avoid promotional language.
- Respect it if someone does not reply and discontinue contacting them.
The key is to ensure your messages are thoughtful and tailored for each recipient. Blanket messaging hundreds of people the same generic content comes across as spammy. But personalized outreach focusing on quality over quantity is completely appropriate LinkedIn etiquette.
Can You Get Blocked or Banned for Non-Connection Messaging?
If you message lots of people aggressively and inappropriately as a Premium user, LinkedIn does have measures to block you. Possible penalties include:
- Having individual members block you from contacting them.
- Limits placed on how many messages you can send per day/week/month.
- Restrictions stopping you from using Premium messaging features.
- Complete suspension or termination of your LinkedIn account.
To avoid risking these penalties, closely adhere to LinkedIn’s User Agreement and Professional Community Policies. As long as you message thoughtfully, professionally, and politely while respecting recipients’ wishes, you should not encounter issues.
Does Sending Messages Hurt Your LinkedIn Presence?
Messaging non-connections does not inherently damage your personal LinkedIn presence. However, some potential risks include:
- Being labeled a spammer if messaging indiscriminately.
- Bad word-of-mouth if your messages are perceived as low-value.
- Declines of connection requests lowering your acceptance rate.
- Someone reporting your profile if they feel harassed.
- Looking desperate or salesy if contacting too aggressively.
Avoid these risks by keeping your messaging professional. Focus on quality over quantity, personalize your outreach, and provide value to those you contact. This will build your brand while allowing you to leverage the power of Premium messaging.
Should You Pay for Premium Just for Messaging?
Paying for Premium solely for the ability to message non-connections may not make sense unless you will use it extensively. Consider whether the monthly cost is worthwhile based on factors like:
- How many new contacts you expect to gain.
- If you will use other Premium features besides messaging.
- Your industry and need for broad outreach.
- Your current volume of engagement on LinkedIn.
- How many warm leads you need to nurture with ongoing messages.
- The potential value of new relationships established.
Evaluate if the boost in who you can reach out to justifies the Premium price tag. But also consider exploring free ways to build connections before paying simply to message people you do not know.
Is Premium Worth It for Messaging?
For frequent LinkedIn users who want to maximize their ability to connect with professionals online, Premium is likely worth the investment. Key potential benefits include:
- Increased lead generation reaching beyond your network.
- Faster relationship building through ongoing messaging.
- Richer data insights into how your messages perform.
- Higher response rates and inbox visibility.
- Expanded reach to promote your brand.
- Customized messages that humanize your outreach.
Premium messaging capabilities can significantly enhance your ability to connect with your target audience. The price may be nominal compared to the value of the relationships gained. Evaluate your specific needs, but for most regular users the ROI justifies the spend.
Having a Premium LinkedIn account unlocks powerful messaging capabilities to contact professionals even without an existing connection. However, care should be taken to personalize your outreach and avoid spamming people with bulk messages. If used strategically and selectively, Premium messaging allows you to greatly expand your network by proactively reaching out to your target audience.