One of the best ways to get in touch with individuals is through LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network. Whether it’s to pitch a proposal or simply share career insights, there’s no denying that LinkedIn is now the main social network for anything business-related.
But like any platform, LinkedIn is far from perfect. It’s not as effective if your goal is to reach out to users outside of your LinkedIn connections.
What is LinkedIn InMail?
LinkedIn’s limitation on sending messages to users outside your network isn’t doing good for marketers who are on the platform for lead generation. We all know that looking for prospects means listing down countless names. Unless you’re willing to spend hours sending connection requests, you’re better off looking for a software other than LinkedIn.
LinkedIn InMail is an extension of LinkedIn’s basic messaging feature. It allows you to send requests and messages to users outside your network. However, it doesn’t come free. You’ll need to invest in a premium account and InMail credits to use the feature.
Upgrading to a premium account
By default, signing up for a LinkedIn account gets you a basic membership plan. It’s free and useful for building and maintaining your professional identity on the web. For users who simply want to use the platform for personal purposes, a basic account is more than enough.
If you’re a B2B marketer, you’ll need to invest. Premium plans are available and customizable for every type of user – whether you’re a job seeker or a sales professional.
Purchasing InMail credits
There’s an option to boost the number of LinkedIn messages you can send, and that’s through InMail credits. You can directly purchase credits from your LinkedIn account.
It’s a simple and easy process:
- Go to your Premium subscription settings;
- Click Buy More next to “InMail messages”;
- Select the amount you’d like to purchase from the Purchase InMail pop-up window.
Once you click done, you’ll be redirected to the order and payment pages.
Sending an InMail message
LinkedIn InMail won’t activate for users who are already part of your LinkedIn connections. To send an InMail to other members:
- Visit the profile of the LinkedIn member you want to reach out to;
- Click the More button on their introduction card;
- Select Message from the dropdown and fill in the spaces for subject and body.
LinkedIn will reward you if you get a good response rate by giving you more InMail credits. You could even get unlimited messages if you reach a 100% response rate, but that’s close to impossible.
By their old LinkedIn InMail policy, 80 credits will be sent back for a 20 percent response rate on 100 InMails. However, LinkedIn changed this policy to discourage sending spammy or templated messages.
Instead of rewarding users who don’t get many responses, LinkedIn is now giving free InMails to send out if you get higher responses. Users are now focusing on achieving positive replies – something you can’t get from copy-pasted messages.
Winning back your InMail credits based on responses
LinkedIn placed some limitations on sending out InMail, and for good reason. It’s tempting to send mass messages without truly taking the time to connect with every user.
For one, you can’t send another LinkedIn InMail message to a user until they respond to the first message you sent. But there’s no need to worry; an automatic reminder is sent to the receiver within three days.
Another rule is that LinkedIn InMail messages that don’t get a response within 90 days won’t be credited back to you. Auto-replies are considered as a response, in case your prospect is away for a while.
Writing the perfect message
It’s not always easy to write a LinkedIn InMail message that will guarantee a response, but there are ways to improve your pitch.
Tip #1: Mention your mutual connections
To catch their attention and establish credibility, mention mutual connections between you and your prospect. Look for a common friend, colleague, LinkedIn connections, or even something as trivial as joining the same LinkedIn group. Maybe you and your lead went to the same university or worked in the same company.
No matter how small it is, mention it anyway. It can increase your response rate by at least 21 percent.
Tip #2: Keep it short and sweet
While LinkedIn allows you to send as much as 2,000 characters, it’s probably best to keep your message shorter. Your prospects are busy people and could only have a few minutes of their day to log in and check LinkedIn. Engage quickly but make it matter.
Tip #3: Catch their attention from the subject line
No matter how engaging your message is, it’s pointless if you don’t first catch their attention with your subject line. To convince your lead to open your message, keep your subject line short yet personalized. You can opt to include their name, send it on a weekend, or even pose a question.
Tip #4: There’s no such thing as too personalized
It’s a given: No one will appreciate a templated message. So don’t be afraid to personalize your content up to the very small details. It’s a common assumption that greeting your prospect with their first name is enough to say that a message is personalized, but in reality, it’s not.
Mention as many references as you could – their skills, interests, recent LinkedIn page updates, etc. A small point to something personal can help show your leads that you spent the extra time and effort to get to know them.