Back in December, LinkedIn launched a new feature – the focused inbox. And now, they’re rolling it out globally. 

With the platform’s crackdown on spam and scams, the latest feature is designed to remove irrelevant messages from the main inbox view – and, understandably, some prospectors are a little wary about what it means for their 2023 lead generation.

It’s clear that, for your LinkedIn outreach strategy to generate sales,  you need to be in that focused inbox. To show you how, here’s:

  • An overview of the new feature, 
  • What it means for prospecting, and 
  • 8 ways to land in the focused inbox and successfully generate leads on LinkedIn. 

What is the LinkedIn-focused inbox?

Fundamentally, it’s a new feature from LinkedIn to help users organize and manage LinkedIn messages

It splits messages into two categories, ‘focused’ and ‘other’. And LinkedIn says it does this “based on their relevance to you”. 

While the feature has been upcoming for several months, it’s only at the start of December that LinkedIn announced plans for a global rollout. Many users have the focused inbox option already, but soon, everyone will. And it dramatically changes the way you need to reach out to prospects if you want to effectively generate leads on LinkedIn. 

How does LinkedIn’s focused inbox work? 

Though users will be able to move messages between the ‘focused’ and ‘other’ tabs themselves, similar to Google’s inbox filters, the Focused Inbox will automatically allocate new messages to either ‘focused’ or ‘other’. Recent and active conversations will be prioritized for the ‘focused’ tab. The ‘other’ section will be used for older and less relevant messages. 

Could the focused inbox be good news for LinkedIn lead generation? 

The good news is that, with the right LinkedIn outreach strategy, the update could actually make it easier to cut through the noise and generate sales. 

So, how can you tweak your LinkedIn outreach strategy to make sure your message ends up in the ‘focused’ inbox, and not the obscurity of the ‘other’ tab?  

Here are 8 LinkedIn lead generation tips you can use to craft messages that both AI and humans agree are relevant. 

8 ways to improve your LinkedIn outreach strategy and land in your prospect’s focused inbox.

1. Message the right people

The easiest way to avoid being seen as spam and successfully generate leads on LinkedIn is to choose prospects that are actually a fit for your offering. Luckily, this is the basis of a successful outbound campaign anyway. 

Once you’ve figured out your ICP, you can use Boolean searches on the LinkedIn search bar to find prospects that precisely fit your criteria, or search and join groups and events for prospects who share the same goals and pain points. (Salesflow LinkedIn Groups and LinkedIn Events campaigns can help you target these). 

2. Tailor your messages to the right pain points

The next step for successful LinkedIn lead generation is sending a message that actually resonates with your prospect. Remember, the machine learning algorithm will learn from user behavior, so you need to create messages users will read, click on, and reply to. 

A quick way to speak to the right pain points for your audience is to segment them properly into different groups, then create message copy that speaks to the specific situation of each. 

Remember, when introducing your solution, to focus your copy on the benefits you can offer for the prospect’s specific problem, not just the features or advantages of your offering. It’s easy to feel like you need to really market your services, but your LinkedIn outreach strategy should focus on speaking to an individual, not about your company. 

3. Use relevant personalization to improve open rates

What makes a prospect click open on your message in the first place? To avoid getting stuck in the ‘other’ inbox, you need a killer opening sentence to catch your prospect’s attention.  

Even when using templates, it’s best to add a line at the beginning of each that speaks to why or how you became interested in speaking to your lead, if you actually want your LinkedIn outreach strategy to be effective. Pick something to comment on that shows you’ve thought about their need for your offering, and where there’s a clear alignment with what you’re selling, to boost your LinkedIn lead generation. 

For example, if you’re selling a workplace training solution, you could open by commenting on the number of new hires recently made, or how you noticed your prospect had recently written about time to ramp and workplace effectiveness. 

It’s worth a minute or two of research to reference information found on someone’s profile, posts, or thought leadership articles – it’ll boost your relevance massively and make a huge difference to your ability to generate leads on LinkedIn.  

If you need help crafting relevant message copy, try our AI copywriting framework. Stuck on structure? Download our bank of 100+ proven LinkedIn outreach templates

One area sometimes used to personalize messages is commenting on non-career elements of someone’s profile, such as their hobbies or pets. Because these aren’t immediately relevant to your pitch, this technique could be a little riskier – depending on the person, they might not see such interests as relevant to their needs on a professional networking site. However, some users love to connect in this way, so experiment to find the right technique for you. 

At the minimum, you should personalize messages using company and first name personalization tokens. Learn how Salesflow makes personalization easy. 

4. Polish up your social proof

Show the results you’ve achieved for similar companies in the same industry for an automatic boost in familiarity and relevance which can help you generate leads on LinkedIn. 

Multiple psychological studies have found that, when individuals are unsure about something, they look to the actions of others to determine how they should behave. So, that prospect who is considering engaging with your message, or marking it as relevant or irrelevant, is more likely to decide in your favor if they see companies whose names they recognize have also made the same decision. 

Tweaking your LinkedIn outreach strategy by tailoring your cadences to the right audience segments can help here – that way, you can run different campaigns for each industry, mentioning different clients each time, to ensure your messages are always relevant. 

5. Leverage shared connections 

Another way to avoid being marked as spam? Stop playing the game on hard mode, and pitch to slightly warmer prospects where your LinkedIn lead generation efforts are more likely to be successful. 

A great way to do this is to pitch to users with shared connections (i.e., LinkedIn users that are second-degree connections, rather than third). 

While not confirmed, there’s a good chance LinkedIn’s machine learning is more likely to automatically mark content as relevant if it comes from users with overlapping networks. The same might also be true of other overlapping characteristics, such as users in the same groups or industry, or following similar accounts and topics.  

Plus, pitching to second-degree connections is a great way to generate leads on LinkedIn anyway. You already have your personalization hook ready to go – you both know someone in common, and that connection can help vouch for you and build trust. (You could even ask them for an introduction if you know them well and want to hook a high-value prospect!). 

6. Warm up prospects 

Warming up prospects is always a good practice to get into, but is vital given LinkedIn’s new spam crackdown. 

To hit the focused inbox with your outreach message, consider other supporting actions you can take to engage your lead beforehand. 

Like and share their posts, comment with your thoughts, or reference a blog or article they shared or contributed to (again, when it’s relevant to your offering or their pain). 

Also, consider whether tweaking existing campaigns could improve your LinkedIn lead generation strategy. For example, you might change your post-connection follow-up cadence to include more steps or personalization tokens. It’s good to evaluate what works from time to time.

7. Nurture leads

For a sustainable way to boost relevancy and improve the sophistication of your LinkedIn outreach strategy, try and adopt lead nurturing

Search your CRM for leads who’ve previously engaged with your company in some form, where your messages will naturally be more relevant. Whether they’ve downloaded a resource, come in as an inbound lead previously, or you were once at the same conference, they’re further down the marketing funnel and give you an easy hook for personalizing outreach to successfully generate leads on LinkedIn. 

You can reach out to these warmer leads on LinkedIn using Salesflow’s native CRM integrations

8. Add lead funnels to your LinkedIn account

We don’t have the full details on LinkedIn’s machine learning algorithm yet, but it’ll likely account at least somewhat for a user’s LinkedIn reputation – i.e., how many other LinkedIn users have marked the same person’s messages as spam. 

Because of this, it’s worth looking at areas where you might be messaging leads the same thing over and over again with no bite – if these users really don’t see a fit, and you’re not adding value with each message, this could hurt your chances of ending up in new users’ focused inboxes and ultimately hurt your LinkedIn lead generation efforts. 

Instead, consider where you can adopt lead funneling to reach a wider audience and improve how you nurture cold leads. One way is to strengthen your skills in social selling and create a lead funnel using your LinkedIn profile. See our guide to learn how.

Beat the competition and reach the LinkedIn-focused inbox, every time

So. The focused inbox. Play it right, and it could be a real boon, blowing other, less relevant pitches out of the water (and into the ‘other’ folder) and making LinkedIn lead generation easy. 

To get there, though, it’s important to think carefully about your LinkedIn outreach strategy. Use the tips above to reach the focused inbox and see more success with your LinkedIn lead generation. 

And if you’re ready to access consistent, scalable messaging with a LinkedIn automation tool? Try Salesflow for free with a 7-day trial: