In short, yes LinkedIn InMail can be an effective way to reach and connect with professionals, especially those you don’t already have a connection with. However, success depends on using InMail strategically and thoughtfully.
What is LinkedIn InMail?
LinkedIn InMail is LinkedIn’s internal messaging system that allows you to directly contact any LinkedIn member, even if you are not connected. With a premium LinkedIn account, you get a certain number of InMail credits each month to message members who catch your interest.
InMail messages bypass a member’s normal inbox and go to a separate tab, helping ensure your important messages don’t get overlooked. Recipients can respond directly back to an InMail for a 1-on-1 conversation.
Benefits of Using InMail
There are several potential benefits to using InMail versus other outreach methods:
- Direct access – You can reach anyone on LinkedIn regardless of connection status.
- Higher open rates – InMails see higher open rates compared to regular LinkedIn messages.
- Built-in tracking – You can see if your message was opened, replied to, or your profile viewed.
- Customization – You can personalize your message with the member’s name and profile details.
This makes InMail a convenient way to directly contact LinkedIn members that you really want to connect with, whether they are a potential employer, business partner, or expert in your industry.
Tips for InMail Success
However, simply having access to InMail credits doesn’t guarantee results. To get the most from your InMails, keep these tips in mind:
- Personalize the message. Generic InMails are easy to ignore. Take the time to customize your ask based on the recipient’s profile and interests.
- Keep it short and focused. Get to the point quickly within the first paragraph. Respect the recipient’s time.
- Highlight common ground. Point out any shared connections, groups, or interests you have in common.
- Offer value. Give them a reason to respond – share an interesting article, compliment their work, or make an introduction.
- Follow up. If you don’t get a response in a week, consider a short, polite follow-up InMail.
- Use sparingly. Don’t overdo it. Thoughtful InMails sent periodically have more impact.
In other words, treat InMail like an introduction email to a desired contact vs. a mass blast. Take time to craft messages tailored to each recipient for the best chance of a response.
Ideal Uses for InMail
When used strategically, here are some of the most effective ways professionals and businesses can leverage LinkedIn InMail:
Reaching Desired Connections
One of the main benefits of InMail is contacting influential connections that you have no existing relationship with. For example, InMail can help you:
- Contact a hiring manager about an open position at their company.
- Reach out to an industry influencer or leader you admire.
- Introduce yourself to a potential business partner or client.
- Follow up with a connection after meeting them at an event.
InMail removes the barrier of needing a shared connection, letting you establish direct contact with your ideal targets.
Engaging Passive Candidates
Many talented professionals aren’t actively job hunting, but they may be open to hearing about a new opportunity. InMail gives recruiters a way to reach passive candidates that may be a great fit for open roles.
However, recruiter InMails tend to have lower response rates. Candidates are more likely to engage when you personalize the message, highlight the candidate’s specific skills/experience, and communicate the value of the role and company culture.
InMail also enables you to thoughtfully introduce parties that you think would benefit from connecting, even if they are not yet part of your network. For example:
- Introducing a client to an industry expert that could help them.
- Making an warm introduction between two parties that could partner together.
- Recommending your own services to businesses that could use your help.
A warm, personalized introduction that highlights the mutual benefit can lead to valuable new connections.
Getting the Most from Your Credits
To maximize the impact of your limited InMail credits each month, be selective about who you contact. Reserve InMails only for your highest priority targets. Consider focusing on:
- Decision-makers: Prioritize leads, hiring managers, or C-level executives who have influence.
- Premium accounts: Recipients with premium LinkedIn accounts may be more active.
- Hot leads: Candidates you think are a great match for an open position.
- Ideal partners: Businesses in complementary industries that could be strong partners.
Avoid blasting out generic InMails just to use your credits. Carefully choose recipients, tailor your message, and focus on quality over quantity when it comes to your InMail outreach.
Is LinkedIn InMail Worth It?
Here are some pros and cons to weigh when deciding if purchasing InMail credits is worthwhile:
- Direct access to all LinkedIn members
- Higher open and response rates than regular messages
- Built-in tracking to see who engages
- Valuable for reaching niche, targeted audiences like senior execs
- Good for maintained targeted candidate pipelines and proactive recruiting
- Volume limitations – max of 100-150 credits per month depending on account level
- No guarantee of responses even with credits
- Can come across as impersonal if not customized
- Regular messages may suffice for broader outreach
- Premium account required to send InMails
For most professionals, the free LinkedIn account should suffice. But paid InMail capabilities can provide high value in specific cases like targeted recruiting, strategic prospecting, and engaging hard-to-reach decision-makers. Consider your unique outreach goals.
If purchasing InMail credits doesn’t make sense for your needs, here are a few alternative approaches:
- Regular LinkedIn messages – You are limited to your 1st degree network, but open rates are still decent.
- Connection requests – Ask to connect with a customized note highlighting common ground.
- Expertise-based search filters – Find members by skill, title, company, location, etc. to target qualified prospects.
- LinkedIn Groups – Join and engage with relevant Groups to connect with those with shared interests.
- Cold email outreach – You can find many LinkedIn profiles publicly list email addresses.
Depending on your goals, you may be able to achieve your outreach objectives even without paid InMail capabilities.
InMail Success Tips
To recap, here are some best practices for success when using LinkedIn InMail:
- Personalize each message to the recipient.
- Craft a specific, customized ask or value proposition.
- Keep your InMail focused and scannable.
- Highlight any common ground or mutual connections.
- Follow up tactfully if no initial response.
- Use selectively for priority targets only.
- Track open and response rates to refine your approach.
With the right strategy, InMail can expand your outreach capabilities and help you connect with your most coveted contacts and prospects on LinkedIn.