LinkedIn InMail, a LinkedIn premium feature, is a way to get into the LinkedIn inbox of any LinkedIn member. It is one of the most powerful tools that LinkedIn offers and for many people, and organizations, it justifies the premium subscription. In the new era of social selling, a LinkedIn InMail creates more opportunity for salespeople. And it creates opportunity for recruiters. Lets’ find out the secret to writing a successful one.
Just one successful LinkedIn InMail could be a deal of a lifetime or land that star employee.
With 4 out of 5 people on LinkedIn having the ability to drive business decisions, it is a social media platform that you should be using. In fact, top sellers—those who close 51% more deals than their peers—say networking platforms like LinkedIn are “very important” to their success as a salesperson. And LinkedIn is one of the top sources for quality hires with more than 75% of people who recently changed jobs used LinkedIn to inform their career decision.
The key to a successful LinkedIn InMail
Let’s first discuss what a LinkedIn InMail is and then we can take a deep dive into how to create a successful one.
What is a LinkedIn InMail?
A LinkedIn InMail is a credible, private, and customized messaging email tool to help you contact any LinkedIn user, including your 2nd and 3rd degree connections on LinkedIn. In the words of LinkedIn, a LinkedIn InMail “allows you to directly message another LinkedIn member that you’re not connected to.” A LinkedIn member you are connected to is your 1st degree connection.
How many LinkedIn InMails do you get with LinkedIn premium?
You are allowed a specific number of InMail “credits” based on your LinkedIn premium subscription type. For example, with LinkedIn Sales Navigator “professional” version, you are allowed 20 InMails a month. You can find the number of LinkedIn InMail credits on your Premium subscription page.
What is the difference between an InMail and message on LinkedIn?
There is an important difference between a LinkedIn Message and a LinkedIn InMail. A LinkedIn message is an email or message between your 1st degree connections. A LinkedIn InMail is an email between your 2nd and 3rd degree connections.
Why use a LinkedIn InMail?
A LinkedIn InMail is one of most credible means of communications for salespeople and others who use LinkedIn. When you use it consistently, your LinkedIn InMail approach can work in opening doors to meeting new people on LinkedIn. If you’re not talking to your customer, your competitor most likely will be through channels such as LinkedIn InMail.
Does LinkedIn InMail really work and what is a good response rate?
The average response rate of a LinkedIn InMail, when used correctly, is between 10 and 25%. In fact, a LinkedIn InMail is three times more effective than regular email if you send one the right way.
When used well, InMail can generate a higher response rate, in comparison to low response rates from a cold call or cold email.
What is the best time to send InMail?
It really depends and it up to you to experiment and test. According to LinkedIn, the best time to send a LinkedIn InMail is between 9:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. local time on weekdays. That is the most likely time to get the highest response rate for LinkedIn messages. Saturday is the worst because you are 16% less likely to get a response via LinkedIn on this day.
How to write a LinkedIn InMail message that will actually be read
The goal of a LinkedIn InMail should be to earn the right to have a conversation. You should not ask for a meeting via a LinkedIn InMail. Your LinkedIn InMail should add potential value such as ignoring [insert topic] problem or issue, it can cost you [insert dollar amount] of money. A LinkedIn InMail can also be used to pique the curiosity of your recipient so they are asking “can you tell me more about [insert topic]?” The point is to effectively start a warm conversation with insights.
How to send an effective LinkedIn InMail
It is important to do your homework and research the recipient’s background, hobbies, and your commonality. It is important to personalize your LinkedIn InMail by researching the recipient’s LinkedIn profile, looking deeply for those common interests, connections, or work experiences.
Your LinkedIn InMail is about them not you. Make sure you mention their first name in the start and close out the InMail with their first name as well. Don’t try to position your products and services right away or try to really impress the person. You don’t need to go into too much detail.
Your job is to focus on sparking their curiosity. They should be saying, “I’m curious, let me respond to learn more.”
Ask for a decision to be made in a polite but firm manner. Try to use language like “let me know what you decide” instead of “let me know if you are interested.” Most importantly, ensure your whole LinkedIn InMail message can be scanned or skimmed at a glance.
How long should your LinkedIn InMail be?
That’s a good question. Where do you think most LinkedIn InMails are read? On someone’s desktop computer or their mobile phone?
Wait for it…
The answer is mobile. Why? Because 57% of traffic to LinkedIn is mobile. LinkedIn wants to provide a seamless experience on mobile.
Real estate is extremely limited on mobile so use it wisely.
Be brief with your message so you can increase your likelihood of a response. LinkedIn InMail messages can have up to 200 characters in the subject line. They can have up to 1,900 characters in the body of the InMail.
Pro tip: Your email signature is counted in the total number of available characters so make sure you keep this into account.
The anatomy of a good LinkedIn InMail structure
What should an ideal LinkedIn InMail look like? Let’s take a look at the two common ways to structure your LinkedIn InMail.
LinkedIn InMail Structure #1
A LinkedIn InMail structure should have four main areas. They are:
- Next step
Let’s look at a good LinkedIn InMail below and see what they did right using this common structure.
What did this LinkedIn InMail do right?
You can see this person used a good subject line, which we will discuss What do more in-depth later in this article. Next, for the insights section, the person provide context to by wishing the recipient a “congratulations” on how long they have been at their company. For the challenge section, they discuss what successful professionals are doing in today’s environment and the challenge they are experiencing. In the solutions section, the person outlines the solution that can meet the challenge. Lastly, in the next step section, the person outlines schedule availability to talk and how the person can help the recipient overcome the challenge with the solution.
LinkedIn has a lot of examples of effective LinkedIn InMails that address different roles.
Now, let’s discuss another way to structure your LinkedIn InMail.
LinkedIn InMail Structure #2
An alternative approach to structuring your LinkedIn InMail is to use these four areas:
- Ice breaker
- Call to action
Let’s take a deep dive into each one of these.
1. Ice Breaker
An ice breaker is a way to grabs a person’s attention through a personalized approach. For example, you could say one of the following:
- “Hi [insert first name], I see you recently took the step up [insert job title], congratulations!”
- “Hi [insert first name], I’ve just finishing reading your latest [insert blog post, LinkedIn article, industry/business article, etc.], and [insert what you liked about it].
An introduction provides the answer to a LinkedIn InMail recipient’s question: “who are you and why are you writing me today?” For example, you could say one of the following:
- “I work with leaders in [insert your industry] and help them out [insert type] projects.”
- “As [insert your job title], I am currently with [insert number] of your [insert company connection] on their [insert your solution] strategy.”
- “I am responsible for [insert what you are responsible for] at [insert your company] and I consult with several of your partners such as [insert partners] on [insert your industry] optimization.
Take of advantage of your relationships and find out if you share meaningful things in common. What shared experiences or interests do you have? They are more likely to respond if you can highlight that commonality.
3. Wow factor
A “wow factor” makes your company stand out with your in-depth knowledge on certain topics, industries, and trends. Gartner refers this “wow factor” as a commercial insight or commercial teaching.
According to Gartner, “it is one of the most impactful tactics for sales teams to use to differentiate their solution in the eyes of the customer.” It is developed using a combination of information such as facts, data, trends, experiences, and customer observations to create a unique conclusion.
For example, you could say something like:
- “I just saw you have grown [insert topic] by [insert percentage] % over the course [insert number of months] months, this is an impressive result especially in today’s economic conditions. I have background in [insert your background]. How do you [insert your question].
- “Did you know that [insert topic] – your leading sector in terms of revenue – will see a [insert percentage] % increase in investment this year in [insert country] alone. To take advantage of this [topic], you should [insert answer].
4. Call to action
This part of your LinkedIn InMail presents a clear and concise next step. It should be based on the goal of your LinkedIn InMail.
For example, you could say:
- “I’m free next week at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday or Thursday, can we set up a 15-minute phone call to discuss further?”
- “I’m running at event at [insert location] on [insert date], where we’ll [insert topic of the event]. Are you available to join us?”
- “If you are interested in hearing more about how the above results were possible, I’ll be in town during [insert week or days]. Are you available for coffee or lunch?”
Remember, use your LinkedIn InMail to start a conversation, not “seal the deal” on the first conversation. You don’t get married on the first date, you don’t land an opportunity or recruit an individual on the first contact.
LinkedIn InMail best practices: What are the do’s and don’ts?
To increase your response rates and engagements with your LinkedIn InMails, make sure you understand the do’s and don’ts of LinkedIn InMails.
- Brag about your customer list and your company’s growth
- Ask who the best person to speak is – it shows you haven’t done your homework
- Don’t name drop that you talked to the CEO and that he/she recommends they talk to you
- Position or qualify yourself and your company’s products and services right away
- Use email subject lines that spark a “yes or no” answer
- Write more than 7 sentences
- Using the word “I” too much
- Waste the recipients time or make them feel tricked
- Use a mass template
- Consider the number of InMail credits you have left before writing an InMail
- Have a goal for the InMail – get on a conference call, meet in person, or share information over LinkedIn
- Ask a question – humans are psychologically programmed to want to answer questions
- Use the word “connecting” instead of “meeting”
- Send a connection request and then immediately follow with a sales pitch
- Establish a two-way conversation
- Be personal and look to start a conversation
- Customize your signature and include your contact information
The power of the subject line
Did you know that 35% of recipients open email based on the subject line alone?
It is important to write a compelling subject line that grabs their attention immediately by including a hot business topic or a personal touch.
Here are 10 subject line ideas to get you started:
- Did you know about [insert a topic]?
- The advantages of [insert a topic]
- Did you know how [new industry/legislation change] impacts [you/company]?
- Question about [insert one of their goals you found online]
- I’ve put together a report on your company’s [business area or strategy]. Would you like to see it?
- Hi [insert person’s first name], [insert your question]
- In light of [insert fact/stat], what’s your strategy for [insert business area]?
- Have you considered making [insert a “change” topic]?
- Are you interested in learning how [insert company name] achieved [insert stat/results] by doing [insert action/tactic]?
- Was doing [insert topic] your idea?
Use a subject line tool to test
Another way to come up with a great email subject line is run your subject line by a tool such as Co-Schedule’s Headline Analyzer. It will tell you how well your subject line/headline performed. The higher the score the better.
Another subject line tool you could use is subjectline.com. This tool has tested more 7 million subject lines. Subjectline.com helps you evaluate your potential options. The tool gives a deliverability and marketing score. Additionally, it provides you with advice on how to improve your subject line.
Should I email or LinkedIn email?
It depends. The usual reaction to any unsolicited email whether it is the traditional email, or a LinkedIn InMail is usually this photo below.
You may have experienced this above reaction before, and you don’t want a negative reaction from your recipient. The reaction you are looking for is a positive first impression where the person says that the sender really took their time to do their homework and personalize their message to me.
The reaction you want is that the sender wants to speak to me about this topic because I’m responsible for this in my job. As a result, you want your recipient to understand the next steps such as schedule a 15-minute call. You want the recipient to view your LinkedIn profile, so they are curious who you are.
Are you creating a good first impression with your LinkedIn InMail with a “wow” factor? It is important to position yourself and your company in the best light to build credibility and trust.
After viewing your InMail, prospects most likely will jump to your LinkedIn profile to see who you are and whether you are worth talking to.
Your LinkedIn InMail recipient will immediately look at your LinkedIn profile
One of the most important things you can do on LinkedIn is maintain a complete and updated profile. Therefore, your LinkedIn profile should include an up-to-date, professional looking profile photo or headshot, a compelling headline that’s more than a repeat of your current position, a customized public profile URL, and a clear, concise, and compelling summary in your “About” section. To take optimize your LinkedIn profile, take these 10 steps.
Bringing it all together
A LinkedIn InMail creates an excellent way for salespeople to connect with people they don’t’ know. A successful LinkedIn InMail can make or break your career. The key is to make sure that every LinkedIn InMail you send is done correctly and effectively.
You can send LinkedIn InMails like an expert if you learn the secret to them. InMails can be one of your best tools and you’ll want to make sure the LinkedIn InMails you send are actually getting read and responded to. Good luck!