If you don’t already use voice notes instead of regular text messages to reach out to prospects on LinkedIn, then this article may open your eyes to a whole new way of communicating.
In all of our real-world experience, we’ve found that we repeatedly get a better response rate when using voice notes rather than regular text-based messages.
How do LinkedIn voice notes work?
LinkedIn voice notes can only be sent while using the LinkedIn app on a mobile device, and not through the website.
You’re only able to send voice notes to people that you are connected with on LinkedIn (as in, they’re a 1st degree connection).
Voice notes are sent by pressing and holding the microphone symbol for as long as you wish to talk. When you release the button, the voice note will be saved and you will be prompted about whether you’re happy to send the note or wish to cancel.
While holding your finger on the microphone symbol and recording, you can cancel the recording by sliding your finger away from the microphone symbol. It will turn red and turn into a trash can icon.
Alternatively, if you quickly tap on the microphone icon, a larger microphone icon in a blue circle will appear and replace your keyboard. This provides a much larger, easier-to-reach target for your finger.
Voice notes are limited to 60 seconds each, which may feel short, but means that you have to keep your message concise and forces you to get to the point.
The fact that you can only send voice notes to people you are connected with means that you’re likely to be sending a message to someone who’s going to be receptive to listening to it.
The tricky part now is working out what you should say in your 60 seconds of audio.
What should you say?
How can you say what you need to say in a way that inspires your prospect enough to reply to you, in less than 60 seconds?
Thinking about what you want to say before you begin to record your message can help, but reading from a script often sounds artificial. Bullet point notes are ideal, and you can base the structure of those bullet points on the example below.
You only have 60 seconds, so you need to get to the point quickly. The format that we like to follow is this:
- Give context. Tell the recipient why you are contacting them.
- Give a clear call-to-action, early. Think about what you want the next steps to be and get your call-to-action in early, in case the recipient doesn’t listen to the whole message. So now your recipient already knows why you’re contacting them and what you want them to do.
- Tell them what you can offer them. Make sure you’ve done your research and determined what it is that you can do for them.
- Social proof. Demonstrate that you can deliver on your promises by giving some quick examples of case studies with other similar clients and the key statistics.
- Give a final call-to-action. Repeat or emphasise what it is that you would like the recipient of your message to do.
This structure has really helped us to focus on the content of the message, to make sure it’s concise and personalised to the recipient.
You don’t want it to seem over-prepared or like you are sending the same message to lots of different people. You should take the time to get the message, tone and pace of your voice notes right, or else it may sound insincere and you may be better sticking to sending written messages instead.
Why does it work?
Voice notes aren’t for everyone and aren’t for every situation.
When you send a text-based message to someone, they may only see the first few words of your message in the notification that they receive, and they use those words to quickly decide whether they want to open the message or continue to read.
As well as being more difficult to grab the recipient’s attention without sounding ‘clickbaity’, it’s also much harder to convey the tone of your message through text alone.
When someone receives a voice note, there is no text preview that they can choose to ignore, so you maintain a degree of intrigue and surprise until they open the message and play the recording.
Despite this not being a new tool, and the benefits of using them being widely publicised, people just don’t receive many voice notes, so you have the opportunity to cut through the noise and make sure yours is the message that they open.
You also have the opportunity to show more of your personality and speak more naturally than you would in a text-based message.
The most important reason that voice notes work is that you are sending a personalised message to that person. It takes time and effort to personalise a message, and people appreciate that you’re not just pasting a copied message that could also have been sent to a hundred other people.
What are the downsides?
Some people (including certain members of our own team!) hate voice notes. You can read a written message much quicker than the time it takes to read the same message out loud, even before considering the propensity that most people have for skim reading to take in the key points quickly. So voice notes can seem drawn out and long-winded if you’re not careful about speaking efficiently and getting quickly to the point.
If you intend to give information such as your mobile number or email address, it’s usually better to give this kind of information in written form so that there’s no confusion about spelling or missed digits.
Top voice note tips
These are some of our most helpful suggestions for things to consider when planning or recording a voice note to send to a prospect on LinkedIn:
- Make sure that you speak clearly, and record your message somewhere quiet so that you can be heard without distraction or interruption.
- Make sure that you introduce yourself clearly when messaging people that you don’t know in person.
- Don’t dive straight into a sales pitch. Follow the 5 step format we’ve described so that you can get your point across concisely and quickly without coming across as pushy.
- Do your research to personalise your message to your prospect, and prepare bullet points rather than a full script to prompt you about what you’d like to say.
- Don’t message people as soon as they connect with you. Give people a couple of days after accepting your invitation to connect before sending them a voice note.
- Don’t follow up immediately if you don’t get a reply. Give it another couple of days before asking if they’ve had a chance to listen to your message. (In fact, some people might suggest not following up with unresponsive contacts altogether, to avoid appearing needy or pushy).
- Ask for feedback. You might get some useful tips from your prospect about how you could improve, and at the very least it’s a means to opening a conversation.
- Show your personality and use natural conversational language. If your normal voice is monotone and dreary, try your best to instil a bit of enthusiasm!
Looking for more LinkedIn tips? Check out some of our other articles, linked below.