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LinkedIn Marketing 101: Inbox Sales Spam

LinkedIn marketing is very “in” right now. Along with that popularity, I’m seeing many businessmen and women using cringy and ineffective methods to pitch and sell their products or services.

This week’s blog is brought to you by my LinkedIn inbox. It might seem obvious that these strategies are ineffective and should stop being used effective immediately, it’s not.

A Snapshot Of My Inbox As Of Late:

HerHey Lisa! Connecting through organization ABC …Would love to get to know you! Look forward to connecting

Her: Thanks for connecting! Jump on my calendar so we can chat.

Me: *Radio silence*

HerCircling back… Looking forward to speaking soon!

Me: Forgive me, but I don’t know you and I haven’t been part of the organization you referenced in over five years. You’ve asked me to get on your calendar without any indication as to what you wish to discuss with me.  I get invites from people daily who are looking to generate leads and use me as their prospect. I’m afraid you’ll have to let me know what you wish to discuss before I’ll consider booking a call.

Her: “I found you through a group on LinkedIn and took a shot and thought you might be a member – guess not. My intention for the outreach was to connect and network with like-minded women. Sorry that you’re having a run of people inundating you with sales-y spammy stuff … and that’s caused you to be so guarded.” 

Me“I consider boundaries and valuing my time a good thing. I’m far from guarded. I’m very aware of the distractions that show up daily as an opportunity and I have a great sense of intuition that serves me well.”

Her“I’ve removed the connection.”

More often than not, I don’t respond at all to these messages. Other times, I get annoyed that someone thinks they can invade my inbox as a “LinkedIn marketing strategy” that I speak up.

Online Etiquette vs. Real-Life Manners

I’m not sure when people started believing it was okay to hide behind a screen and spam the cosmos with sales requests and a throw a fiery pitch to every person we “meet”.

When did people started believing it was okay to hide behind a screen and spam the cosmos with sales requests and a throw a fiery pitch to every person we “meet” on social media? Share on X

LinkedIn Marketing: Inbox Sales Spam, by Lisa Larter

Think about it this way: it’s like striking up a conversation with a random stranger at a coffee shop. On a scale of 1 to 10, how comfortable would you be if these were the first words out of their mouth:

“Hi, my name is __________. Do you want to buy my amazing vacuum cleaner?”

Unless you know something I don’t, this interaction is totally unnatural. Instead of making a connection, you feel used and probably a bit weirded out. It leaves you with a bad taste in your mouth, and you’ll likely steer clear from the weird vacuum person from here on out.

LinkedIn Marketing Strategy: Keep It Real

Your introduction says a lot about who you are as an entrepreneur and the quality of your services and products.

An even better example: how often do you listen to cold calls or telemarketers when they call your phone? Do you even pick up anymore?

Thought so.

See, the most effective LinkedIn marketing strategy (or any other social media channel, really) is to build organic connections and grow authentic relationships with people.

The most effective marketing strategy is to build organic connections and grow authentic relationships with people. Share on X

Making the connection is just the first step. It’s a handshake, that’s it. In no other context is it acceptable to walk up to someone and sell them something out of the blue; or ask them to “jump on your calendar” with no compelling reason as to why.

LinkedIn Marketing Spam 101, by Lisa LarterWhile this may seem common sense to you, it’s time we took a refresher on LinkedIn Marketing Etiquette. This isn’t just for those who are guilty of this technique. This is for the business owner who wants to grow their network without being sales-y.

I want you to be able to translate true connections in the online sphere.

Here are my three do’s and don’ts for LinkedIn marketing etiquette:

LinkedIn Marketing: The Don’ts

  1. Don’t ask that person to buy your product or service the minute they accept your connection.
  2. Ask them to be part of your referral network – before they even get to know you or have any experience with what you do.
  3. Message that person and ask them to jump on a call – before you’ve had any discussions with them in their post feed, or before you’ve told them WHY you want to have a call in the first place.

LinkedIn Marketing: The Do’s

  1. Get to know your new connection and offer them value, no strings attached, before you ask them for anything.
  2. Spend time reading their content, and engage with them via comments to nurture and build a relationship. Do this sincerely. There is no magic “comment five times and send a sales pitch formula.”
  3. When you eventually reach out, do so with purpose, and be thoughtful around how you do it.

Am I the only one who encounters these sales pitches on LinkedIn? Tell me, how do you feel about being “cold called” via the online messaging sphere? 


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Lisa Larter

Founder and CEO of the Lisa Larter Group, master strategist, author, speaker, podcast host, social media expert, consultant, and business coach. Lisa inspires entrepreneurs and business owners to see the possibilities for their organizations when it comes to strategy. She uncomplicates modern marketing and creates (and implements) strategies for businesses that are guaranteed to increase visibility, inbound leads, and revenue.

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