7 Linkedin outreach frameworks that generate results

At the time of publishing this post, we have run over 150 Linkedin outreach campaigns at Lead Cookie.

These campaigns have been for all different types of businesses and value propositions.

Through these campaigns, we have come across 7 core frameworks that we use over and over again to generate results for our clients.

In this article, I am going to share each of these frameworks in more detail and give examples of each.

For the sake of client privacy, I will anonymize each client and speak about each case study from an anecdotal perspective.

The 7 Frameworks

  1. The Standard

  2. The Free Resource

  3. The Portfolio Approach

  4. The Coffee / Lunch Ask

  5. The Market Research Approach

  6. The Direct Pitch

  7. The Audience Growth Approach

Framework 1: The Standard Approach

When I started Lead Cookie, I researched what many other thought leaders were doing and recommending in this space. 

This lead me to creating our initial approach which I describe in more detail in A How to Guide to Linkedin Lead Generation.

How the approach works:

  • Connection Request - Send a lite, non-salesy connection request

  • Message 2 -  Send over a thank you message + ask a probing question

  • Message 3 - Send over an article or piece of content

  • Message 4 - Make a direct pitch asking for a meeting

Examples of the standard:

Software Development Shop
One great example of the standard is a software development company that specializes in an emerging programming language. 

For our second message we ask the question “Are you currently using {{language}} and if so what are your thoughts on it?”

We find that this simple question will get their prospects talking and start a technical conversation that can convert into closed deals. 

Consulting Firm
We have another consulting firm that specializes in supporting a specific enterprise application. For our outreach, we target key individuals who appear to be using this enterprise application.

We ask the probing question “Are you currently using {{software}} and if so, how happy are you with it on a scale of 1-5?”

This question is easy for the prospects to answer and it gives our consulting firm data on if that client is a good prospect. If the client answers a 4 or below, they can ask “What would it take to get that to a 5?”

When we started, this was the only approach we ran and it worked pretty well for a good number of clients.

And today it still works great in many situations.

Yet we have also innovated and found that for certain companies or target buyers, this conversation starting question does not convert well.

That is why we have innovated several different approaches. 

Framework 2: The free resource offer

One framework that has produced amazing results, even in extremely tough markets is the free resource offer. 

Here is how the framework works:

  • Connection Request - Light connection request positioning company

  • Message 2 - “I put together this free resource. Would you like me to send it to you?”

  • Message 3 - Reiterate the value of the free resource and offer it again

  • Message 4 - Direct pitch for a meeting

There is one key thing to understand about this approach.

You don’t simply send the free resource to everyone. We find doing that converts extremely poorly.

Instead, you describe your free resource, and then offer it to your target prospects.

This does a few things.

  1. It offers value on the front end

  2. It gets their permission before you send anything over

  3. It gets them to that first small yes

Examples of this approach working:

Niche Digital Marketing Firm
We have a digital marketing firm that is niched in a specific industry vertical. Our outreach is along the lines of.

“We have this case study on how we achieved X results for another {{industry}} company. It shows exactly how we did it. Would you like me to send it your way?”

The results with this approach are hundreds of “Yes, please send it.”

It gets people to that first yes. Not everyone converts to a call, but it takes an extremely challenging market and has produced results.

Offering a book to enterprise buyers
We have another client who specializes in working with high level VP’s at Fortune 500 companies. These are big companies that are traditionally very hard to reach.

Yet this client happens to have written a book specifically for this target market. It is not just a cheap eBook, but an actual good quality book relevant to his offering.

So we reach out and say “I have written a book on X topic. It includes lessons I have learned from working with {{name drop 3-4 other Fortune 500 clients}}. Would you like me to send you a copy?”

The results from this have been amazing. Our client has said:

Your team has generated me more results and engagement in the past two weeks than I have gotten with any marketing firm I have hired over the past few years.

Yet the funny thing is that the first few weeks of this clients accounts were dead silence. When we switched to the book approach things turned around very quickly because we offered real value on the front end. 

Framework 3: The Portfolio Approach

For many creative agencies, copywriters, freelancers, or marketing firms, your portfolio will sell you more than anything else.

I know this because for years I ran a creative agency and I would get pitched by videographers and animators all the time.

They would send a big long email, but all I cared about was seeing their portfolio.

If their work was good, I would respond and file their contact info in a list of resources for when we had a future project.

And so for many companies who produce any sort of creative work, your portfolio is your greatest sales tool.

How this approach works:

  • Message 1 - Light connection request to position your offer

  • Message 2 - My company does X. Would you like to see our portfolio?

That’s it.
Dead simple.

What will happen is you will get responses from many people saying “Sure, please send it over.”

And not all of them will have a need right now.
But some of them might respond with a project.
And others may file your info aside for future needs.

This works extremely well for any clients who do heavily visual or writing based work.

Examples of this approach:

We have a niche copywriter who specializes in a particularly tricky segment to write copy for. In our onboarding she said “Once someone sees my portfolio, they are typically amazed and will bring me on for a project whenever it is a right fit.”

So we did this outreach to her target market and as a result she has had several high level dream clients responding to her and reviewing her portfolio. 

Development Agency
We have another development agency as a client who has a particularly impressive portfolio of work. We reach out to target buyers for their work and offer to showcase their portfolio and as a result they get 5-10 people per day who are looking at and reviewing their portfolio.

It’s important to realize that not everyone who looks at your portfolio can and will hire you today.

But each time you show it to someone else, you are making yourself aware to them as a resource, even if it is not now.

Each time someone raises their hand and says “Yes, please send it” then you have found another person who may be a buyer today or someday down the line

Framework 4: The Coffee / Lunch Ask

For clients who specialize in a local geography, we have found that the coffee / meeting ask framework performs extremely well.

This tends to work better among small business owners than it does enterprise, but that is not to say that we have not seen it produce enterprise results as well.

How this approach works:

  • Message 1 - Light connection request positioning your offer and showing that you are local

  • Message 2 - Ask them to coffee / lunch and give a reason (Networking, partnerships, to see if you can help them, etc.)

  • Message 3 - Nudge the coffee ask

  • Message 4 - Make a lighter pitch for a call or to send over more information

Now, there are challenges with this approach as not every single lead who says yes may end up being a good fit. So you may need to prepare an out if you decide someone is not worth meeting after deeper research into them.

But for the most part, this approach can produce some great results and set up plenty of meetings.

Examples of this approach working well:

We have a client who specializes in a few key verticals in their local geography. We use this coffee based outreach approach to set up meetings and within weeks he was already providing quotes for new projects.

Offshore Development Shop
We work with several offshore and nearshore dev shops. Many of these companies will often send someone to the USA or to a target geography monthly to hold sales meetings. 

We have used outreach to set them up coffee or lunch meetings during their business trips and visits.

When using this approach, make sure you are focusing on a target market that would actually be willing to meet. 

We have found that many high level corporate buyers are not as interested in coffee or lunch meetings, yet smaller business owners tend to be quite interested in connecting with others.

Framework 5: The Market Research Approach

For many of our customers, they are trying to launch a new business or validate a new niche. 

While an end sale may be the goal, they also just need to validate their offering and get feedback from the market.

In these cases, we have found that being authentically transparent about where you are at and what you are trying to learn produces great results.

But please note that you should NEVER use this tactic in an inauthentic way. If you try to use this tactic just to get engagement so you can make a sale, but you aren’t really interested in customer feedback, then this will not perform nearly as well.

Here is how the framework works:

  • Message 1 - Light connection request describing that you are launching something new

  • Message 2 - Ask if they would be open to providing feedback?

  • Message 3 - Bump the thread up and ask for additional feedback

  • Message 4 - Make a more direct pitch about what you are offering them

Examples of this approach:

Software Company
One of our clients offers a software solution for the health care industry. Their CEO made a large pivot in their value proposition and offering and the sales team was tasked with capturing market feedback quickly.

We used this market research approach and the team had held over 18 calls within the first 45 days.

Not all of these calls were great customer fits, but they each gave them valuable insight and feedback on the market.

Launching a new consultancy
We had another client who had come from working in corporate job positions for his entire career. 

For our outreach, we focused on simply asking to hop on a call and gain feedback from his target customers so he could better understand how to serve them. 

As a result, over the course of 3 months he held well over 20 calls and had numerous other high level decision makers responding and offering to help him. 

If you use this approach, be sure to use it in an authentic way to gain feedback on your new value proposition or offering. 

Framework 6: The Audience Growth Approach

For several of our clients, the goal of their outreach is not to generate new leads and sales. Instead, they are seeking to grow their audience and bring more awareness to their content or gain more email subscribers.

For these types of customers, we have found a very simple 2 step message sequence works quite well.

How the framework works:

  • Message 1 - Light connection request saying something like “I regularly publish content for people like yourself so I wanted to connect.”

  • Message 2 - You can see more of the content I am publishing at {{website}}. Do you have any topics you would like to see us cover?

This simple approach will create significant awareness among your target audience and give you valuable feedback as to what your target audience actually wants to hear.

This is a simple yet great way to grow your audience and build a community of readers both on your website and on your Linkedin profile.

Examples of this framework:

One of our customers is ManagingEditor.com. This is a website targeted at anyone who manages content for a living. 

So for our approach we reach out to their content directors, content producers, content marketers, and many others in this field.

We are not pitching any of them, but simply connecting and making them aware that this new content hub exists.

As a result, our client builds a Linkedin audience of their target customers, drives them to their website and gains incredible audience feedback at the same time.

Framework 7: The Direct Pitch Framework

You will notice that all 6 frameworks I have described previously are very non-salesy. 

They do not focus on direct pitching but instead focus on other ways to create value or start a conversation. 

And the shocking this is that all 6 of the frameworks that I mentioned previously perform better than making a direct pitch.

Yes… you heard that right. The Direct Pitch Framework is the lowest producing framework that we use.

Many times clients insist on it despite our recommendations, and almost every single time it fails to produce results.

There are cases where the direct pitch framework does work well, but those instances are limited.

How the framework works:

  • Message 1 - Light connection request positioning you

  • Message 2 - Pitch your value proposition and ask for meeting

  • Message 3 - Pitch another angle and ask for a meeting

  • Message 4 - Pitch another angle and ask for a meeting

Examples of when this approach works well:

The one instance where this approach worked very well for us was in a very unique offering.

The client offered negotiation services to help customers reduce specific enterprise contract prices.

It was pay-for-performance, and the client could easily help a company save hundreds of thousands of dollars per year just by renegotiating their contracts.

Basically, the value proposition was AMAZING and it was a very “Blue-Sky Concept”.

When I say Blue-Sky, that means it was an offer and a concept that most of the audience had never heard of and they did not know such services even existed.

Blue-Sky is essentially the opposite of commoditized. 

So for this client, the direct pitch a approach did work because the value he offered was so amazing, and because it was performance-based, there was very little downside.

But beyond this specific anecdote, we have very few customers who saw positive results with a direct pitch framework.

Simply put, being conversation and creating value up front produces great results than a direct pitch.

The Bottom Line

There you have it. Those are 7 Linkedin Outreach Frameworks that produce results. 

You may not nail it right out of the gate on which framework is right for you, but keep experimenting and keep testing.

At Lead Cookie, we still miss the mark from time to time on our clients and choose the wrong framework. When we see poor results, we switch things up and try something different.

But for any company who has a good value proposition, and a niche target market, one of these approaches should be able to work for you.

If you don’t know which framework is right for you, or you need help implementing this, then feel free to reach out to us about our done-for-you Linkedin Lead Generation service.

Improve your sales, marketing and leadership skills

Sign up for my 10 part email course