LinkedIn InMails: Are They Really Effective?
In the B2B sales space, a lot of professionals talk about LinkedIn InMail Messages. This is unsurprising when you consider that they are messages you must pay to send. After all, regular messaging on LinkedIn is free, and if you have someone’s email, then you can send them a message for free. However, email has drawbacks too, and the popularity of LinkedIn InMails shows that many professionals find them valuable.
But what is InMail on LinkedIn, anyway?
Simply put, InMail is a premium messaging capability that’s available only to LinkedIn Premium account holders. Everybody with a paid account has a monthly allotment of InMails, which they can send to anyone on the platform. This stands in contrast to regular messages, which you can only send to your contacts. Some professionals with premium accounts will also allow regular members to message them, especially those in sales or recruiting.
In other words, the best answer to what is InMail on LinkedIn is special access to other members. LinkedIn claims that these messages are highly effective, to the point that if you don’t get a response to your InMail within 90 days, you don’t have to pay for it.
Is LinkedIn InMail effective?
The consensus among many marketers is yes, and the numbers seem to support this. For example, LinkedIn data shows that InMails average an 18 to 25% response rate, which is great news for anyone trying to generate leads. This compares very favorably to a 3% response rate for regular messages. Furthermore, up to 85% of LinkedIn InMail messages are opened by the recipient. Simply thinking about how many marketing messages you ignore every day should illustrate how effective this is.
Ultimately, social media marketing expert Neal Schaffer concludes that LinkedIn InMail can be a “lifesaver” for sales professionals, primarily because it provides an especially effective way to reach out when nothing else will work. Therefore, if you have an especially good sales prospect that you need to reach but you don’t have offline contact information, a LinkedIn InMail can save the day. They’re also great when you need to impress talent as a recruiter or forge a key business relationship.
How to get the most out of your InMails
Like many other tools in sales and marketing or even in recruiting, just because a tool has great potential does not mean it’ll work well for you. Or, for that matter, that it will live up to its potential. Fortunately, there are some best practices that you can follow to ensure the effectiveness of your LinkedIn InMail. Ultimately, the idea is to send the right InMail at the right time.
Here’s how to do it.
Make it personal
Whenever you send LinkedIn InMail, it’s important to make the messages as personal as possible. Not only should you use the person’s name, but you should also say something that tries to connect with them. For example, if you want to the same event as your prospect, consider mentioning that fact. By implementing this best practice, you’ll show that your prospect is a person and not just a number or potential sale.
Make it timely
Unless your sales prospects explicitly work on the weekends, you should avoid sending LinkedIn InMail on Friday and Saturday. Furthermore, the best time to send someone a message on LinkedIn is usually midweek. While sending an InMail to your prospect isn’t forbidden, you won’t get the ROI of a prime-time send in most cases.
Make it relevant
Or at the very least, worthwhile reading. If you have something important to say to them, you want to make this apparent immediately. In other words, an InMail should follow the same principles as any other marketing communication by providing value to your reader right away. Otherwise, you’ll be lucky to get past the first line before the prospect switches to the next task.
Make it concise
Messages have a 2000-character limit, but that doesn’t mean that you should use them. In fact, marketers find that shorter LinkedIn InMail frequently gets better results than longer ones. While you shouldn’t skimp on the messaging, you also don’t want to write a book. Instead, tell people right away what you want rather than keep them guessing. Save your longer content for dedicated posts.
Make it compelling
Finally, make your message compelling. This is especially true when you consider that B2B decisionmakers frequently have a lot on their plate — and a lot as other messages from sales professionals. Therefore, you should make a case that your message is the one that your prospects should follow up on, rather than the competition. A great way to do that is to write benefit-based messages. That is, how can you help your prospects achieve their goals? By focusing on the benefits you offer you’ll improve your response rate considerably.