InMail is a messaging feature on LinkedIn that allows you to directly contact other members, even if you’re not connected. Sending InMails requires credits, which can be purchased in packages. In this article, we’ll explain everything you need to know about how InMail credits work.
What are InMail credits?
InMail credits allow you to send direct messages to LinkedIn members outside of your network. Each InMail credit lets you send one message. Here are some key facts about InMail credits:
- InMail credits are required to message LinkedIn members you’re not connected to.
- Credits are consumed when the recipient opens the message.
- Unused credits don’t expire and roll over month-to-month.
- Credits are tied to your account and can’t be transferred.
Without InMail credits, you can only message your 1st-degree connections on LinkedIn. InMail gives you access to a much larger audience, which is especially useful for sales and recruiting.
How do you get InMail credits?
There are two ways to obtain InMail credits:
- Purchase credit packages – You can buy bundles of 5, 10, 25, 50, or 100 InMails at a time. Buying in bulk lowers the per-credit price. LinkedIn offers discounts for larger packages.
- Earn credits through activities – LinkedIn gives free credits for completing certain actions, like recommending a product or inviting someone to connect. You typically get 1-3 credits per activity. However, these opportunities are limited.
Purchasing credits upfront is the main way most people gain access to InMail messaging. Here’s a pricing breakdown for self-service InMail credit packages:
|Number of Credits
As you can see, the per-credit cost drops from $4 to $2.40 when buying in larger quantities.
How do InMail credits renew?
Purchased InMail credits automatically renew each month. Here’s how the renewal process works:
- Credits renew on the monthly anniversary of your initial purchase date.
- The renewal order is for the same package you originally bought.
- Your renewal price stays locked in as long as you maintain an active subscription.
- You can cancel auto-renew at any time to prevent future charges.
For example, if you buy the 25-pack of InMail credits on March 5th, those credits will renew with another 25-pack on April 5th. This repeats monthly until you cancel.
Some key things to know about InMail credit renewals:
- Unused credits roll over each billing cycle.
- You can “pause” renewals by adjusting your credit package down to the 5-credit minimum.
- Canceled renewals still let you use any existing credits until they’re gone.
InMail credit subscriptions work on an auto-renew basis for convenience. But you maintain flexibility to change packages or cancel at any time.
Who can receive InMail messages?
Not all LinkedIn members are eligible to receive InMails. Here are the recipient rules and restrictions:
- You can message any 1st, 2nd, or 3rd-degree connection.
- Group connections are also eligible InMail recipients.
- Members you have no shared connections with if they have signaled openness to InMail.
- Members can opt out of receiving InMails from members they don’t know.
- Certain members like high-profile individuals may not be reachable by InMail.
In summary, your InMail credits can reach:
- Nearly all 1st, 2nd, and 3rd-degree connections
- Group connections
- Non-connections open to InMail messages
Attempting to InMail someone who has limited message settings will consume the credit but result in an undeliverable message.
What are LinkedIn’s InMail policies?
To protect members, LinkedIn has guidelines for proper InMail usage:
- InMails may not contain false or misleading information.
- Credits can’t be used for spamming, soliciting, or other unwanted communication.
- Abusive InMails may result in account restriction or termination.
- Credits are non-refundable, even if the InMail is not opened or results in a policy violation.
General best practices for InMails include:
- Keep messages relevant and professional.
- Do not approach members with inappropriate offers or content.
- Introduce yourself and explain why you want to connect.
- Follow up judiciously if you don’t receive a response.
Following LinkedIn’s guidelines preserves the value of InMail for building relationships and maintaining a respected professional image.
Can you get InMail credits refunded?
In most cases, purchased InMail credits are not refundable. Reasons credits cannot be refunded normally include:
- Recipient didn’t open or respond to the InMail
- Account was restricted before credits could be used
- Accidental or unwanted credit purchases
- General dissatisfaction with InMail results
However, credits may be refundable in certain limited situations:
- Proof of fraudulent credit purchases on your account
- Technical error that caused credits to be consumed incorrectly
- Company closed account before using premium features
Even valid refund cases typically cover only a portion of unused credits. Strict conditions apply, like:
- Requests must be made within 10 days of credit purchase
- Only unredeemed credits eligible for partial refund
- Refund method is account credit, not cash repayment
So while not impossible, refunds for InMail credits are very rare. Buyers should view purchases as non-refundable in almost all situations.
Can you transfer or reuse InMail credits?
InMail credits are non-transferable and non-reusable in most normal cases. Situations where credits cannot transfer include:
- Sending unused credits to another LinkedIn member
- Applying credits from an old account to a new one
- Splitting credits during an account downgrade
- Transferring credits with a sold business account
Credits are tied to the purchasing account and cannot be transferred to others.
The only exception is if an account gets merged with another due to a corporate acquisition or merger. In this special scenario, credits may carry over if the primary account remains active.
Outside of that, purchased credits remain usable only by the buying account until exhausted. Credits cannot split or transfer when an account closes.
Can free credits also send InMails?
Yes, InMail credits earned through LinkedIn promotions can send messages just like paid credits. Here are key things to know about free InMail credits:
- Credits from promotions work exactly the same as purchased ones.
- You redeem free credits automatically when sending InMails.
- Any member can potentially earn and use promotional credits.
- Opportunities to earn free credits come infrequently.
So free InMail credits give you the same messaging abilities. But earning substantial credits for free requires regular site activity over an extended period.
What are the alternatives to InMail credits?
If you want to message non-connections on LinkedIn without paying for credits, here are three alternative approaches:
- Send connection requests to expand your network and unlock 1st-degree messaging.
- Join common LinkedIn groups that your targets have joined.
- Encourage targets to message you first by posting interesting content.
None of these options provide the targeting precision of paid InMails. But they enable free communication without credit purchases.
Some other InMail alternatives outside of LinkedIn include:
- Cold email outreach
- Warm referral introductions
- Paid ads on LinkedIn or other platforms
- Offline networking at events and conferences
There are always ways to grab attention and spur engagement without directly paying LinkedIn. But InMail provides unique access to 675+ million members that may be hard to replicate elsewhere.
In summary, InMail credits allow you to message any LinkedIn member but require upfront purchase in most cases. Sending InMails consumes credits based on recipient action, and unused credits roll over monthly upon renewal. Following LinkedIn guidelines preserves your standing and ability to communicate.
While InMail is not the only way to contact people on LinkedIn, it opens doors that other outreach strategies may not. InMail credits can be a wise investment for serious relationship-building on the platform. But be sure to use them judicially and strategically.