How to send effective and reply-worthy LinkedIn InMails

It is important to make sure that you set yourself up for success on social media, especially if you are using LinkedIn and LinkedIn InMail.

“You will never get a second chance to make a first impression.”

Will Rogers, American actor, performer and humorist

What is a LinkedIn InMail?

LinkedIn InMail is a private email message that enables you to reach other LinkedIn members you are not connected to or you don’t have an introduction to. It is a message to your 2nd and 3rd degree connections.

You must upgrade to a LinkedIn Premium account to use InMail.

Once upgrading, you receive a certain number of InMail credits from LinkedIn that is based on your premium subscription type.

Why use LinkedIn InMails?

LinkedIn InMail response rates are three times higher than regular email.

It is your secret weapon to success in contacting people you are not connected with on LinkedIn but you want to get to know. It helps you spark that conversation with someone new.

So, what are the best ways to write InMails so you get an immediate reply? What are some pointers on how to send LinkedIn messages that people will read? How do you improve your response rate and write better InMails?

10 tips for composing successful LinkedIn InMails

Here are some tips to help you write a reply-worthy LinkedIn InMail.


1. Send LinkedIn InMails at the right time (hint: Weekday mornings and never on Saturday)

LinkedIn data shows that an InMail sent between 9:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. on weekdays get the highest response rate.

The data also says that LinkedIn InMails sent on Saturday are 16 percent less likely to get a response.

Tip: Send your InMail first thing in the morning and not on the weekends.

2. Find out if the recipient follows your company on LinkedIn or knows someone at your company

People follow a company on LinkedIn because they admire it, like the content the company shares, and/or values the company’s perspectives.

Also, LinkedIn members who follow your company on LinkedIn are 95 percent more likely to accept your InMail and 81 percent more likely to respond to it.

And they are 46 percent more likely to accept an InMail if they are connected to someone who works at your company.

This data underscores the idea that people who have some connection to your company or follow your company on LinkedIn would be interested in hearing from someone at your company.

Tip: See if the recipient is following your company or knows someone at your company.

3. Keep your LinkedIn InMails short

It is very important to keep your InMail to under 100 words.

InMail messages are only allowed 200 characters in the subject line and up to 2,000 characters in the body of the InMail so every word counts.

People who keep the conversations under 100 words in InMails get 50 percent higher response rates.

Tip: Shorter InMails are better.

4. Make your subject line count

Make subject lines snappy but short. Keep the subject line within 4 to 5 words (think mobile) since only 25 to 30 characters will be fit in the subject line on mobile.

Mention something about that person in the subject line, possibly even their name (but spell it right).

The subject line of your InMail is the very first impression that people will see. Make sure you check out the InMail keepers, sleepers, and beepers so you can avoid making a bad impression.

CoSchedule Headline Analyzer
CoSchedule Headline Analyzer

Tip: Write a couple different subject lines and use a tool like CoSchedule Headline Analyzer.

5. Avoid templates and make a personal connection

Don’t use canned templates. They are 15 percent less effective.

However, you can customize templates.

Emphasize the connection between you two.

Choose words that reflect your personal voice.

Use terms like “talk,” “chat” or “call” to improve your response rates so that it feels to the recipient like this is a business conversation, not a sales pitch.

People like to buy not be sold to.
Remember, LinkedIn is a professional networking website for business people to connect.

Tip: Avoid using “I” in the InMail so you focus on words that your recipient wants to hear not what you want.

6. Point out your commonalities and show the recipient you did your homework

Rise above the crappy LinkedIn InMails that your recipients may be getting and prove to them that you did your homework.

For example, if you are in the same LinkedIn Group as the person who you are sending an InMail to, you are 21 percent more likely to get a response.

If the recipient knows one of your senior executives at your company, show them that you know that and you can make an introduction to them. They may have lost touch.

Tip: Make sure you review the person’s profile, see how you are connected, what LinkedIn Groups they are in, what companies they follow, what they have been endorsed for and what content they share.

7. Don’t send a lot of LinkedIn InMails

When you get a certain allotment of InMails, it may seem like any other messages on social media or emails you send via Outlook or Gmail.

However, it is different on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn InMails are scarce by design and being a member of LinkedIn provides the “context” for the InMail. LinkedIn only allows you to have a limited amount of them so the recipients take the messages more seriously and they were hand-selected to get the LinkedIn InMail. The sender will be more thoughtful about the LinkedIn InMails because they only have so many to use.

Tip: Concentrate on only sending 1 or 2 InMails a day. You don’t have a lot of them so make each one count.

answer this inmail you will

8. Offer details

Your recipients are busy and can be turned off by long, time-consuming LinkedIn InMails and asks within the InMails.

For example, propose some days/times that work, offer to connect on LinkedIn if they are open to it or schedule an in-person meeting. Introduce yourself and tell them why are you sending this InMail.

Provide short but sweet details about your company if they don’t know about or why are you contacting them.

Tip: Provide the “why” in the LinkedIn InMail and make your elevator pitch short and to the point. Give them context for why are you reaching out.

9. Bring out their curiosity so they want to learn more

You should get them thinking or politely tease them a little bit. Get their curiosity going where they want to learn more. It is a fine line but it is critical to your success on InMail.

You need to be credible but mysterious.

You need to show them that you did your home, you know their fears, pains, and gains (aka how people buy).

Tip: Show them that you can help them but they need to contact you to learn more.

10. Invite them so they say “yes” or “no” to something you propose

Think about how you use email. How do you get a response? You have some sort of call to action to do something.

Honoring the time of the recipient is the key to getting a quick response. You can use a line like “in the interest of your time, let’s decide if there is a conversation for us to have…”

It is ok to get right to it because you both don’t have a lot of time.

Tip: Give them a reason to escape their “regular email” and respond via LinkedIn InMail.

The point of a LinkedIn InMail is to start a conversation

A LinkedIn InMail is a wonderful way to send an email to anyone on LinkedIn, whether they are in your network or not.

But don’t abuse LinkedIn InMail. Make sure you do your home before sending an InMail. There is not recall InMail feature on LinkedIn like you have in Microsoft Outlook.

It is tough to recover from a bad first impression.