An InMail message on LinkedIn is a private direct message that can be sent to any LinkedIn member, even if they are not in your network connections. InMail allows you to reach out and connect with LinkedIn members that you otherwise may not be able to contact.
Key Features of InMail
Here are some of the key features and capabilities of InMail messages on LinkedIn:
- Direct private messaging – InMails allow you to privately message any LinkedIn member without needing to be connected to them first.
- Response tracking – You can see if the recipient has read your InMail or not.
- Enhanced deliverability – InMails have a higher chance of being read compared to regular LinkedIn messages.
- Custom subject line – You can customize the subject line of your InMail to get the recipient’s attention.
- Rich formatting – Insert images, hyperlinks, bullet points etc in your InMail.
- Saved drafts – You can save InMail drafts and send them later.
When to Use InMail
Here are some common situations where sending an InMail message would be appropriate:
- Reaching out to a passive job seeker – InMail provides a way to contact potential candidates who aren’t actively job searching.
- Following up after meeting someone – Send an InMail as a way to continue the conversation.
- Introducing yourself to someone – Make an introduction and break the ice via InMail.
- Reconnecting with former colleagues – Get back in touch with old connections from past jobs.
- Contacting people outside your network – InMail lets you reach anyone on LinkedIn to expand your connections.
- Speaking with hard-to-reach executives – Use InMail to directly contact senior leaders and decision makers.
How to Send an InMail Message
Sending an InMail message on LinkedIn is easy. Here are the steps:
- Click the My Network icon at the top of your LinkedIn homepage.
- Search for the name of the person you want to message in the search bar.
- Go to their profile page and click the More icon (three dots) next to the Message button.
- Select Send InMail from the dropdown menu.
- Compose your message using the text editor and click Send when finished.
When composing your InMail, keep these tips in mind:
- Personalize the message and subject line with their name.
- Be clear about your reason for connecting in the first paragraph.
- Mention any common connections or experiences you share.
- Ask an open-ended question to continue the dialogue.
- Use a professional but friendly tone.
- Keep it brief – 2-3 paragraphs at most.
InMail Etiquette and Best Practices
To ensure you’re using InMail effectively and appropriately, keep these etiquette guidelines in mind:
- Only use InMail to contact people relevant to your professional goals.
- Personalize each message with their name and a specific reason for writing.
- Do not overuse InMail – focus on quality conversations over quantity of messages.
- Give recipients space to respond – do not send multiple InMails if they don’t respond right away.
- Use a conversational tone but avoid overly casual language.
- Do not copy/paste generic InMail templates – take time to write an original note.
- Respect the recipient’s privacy – do not ask overly personal questions.
Following proper InMail etiquette helps build genuine connections and fruitful professional relationships.
LinkedIn limits the number of InMail messages you can send to maintain quality standards on their platform. Here are the InMail limits:
- Free accounts – 0 InMails per month. You must upgrade to send InMail.
- Premium Business accounts – 15 InMails per month.
- Sales Navigator Pro accounts – 25 InMails per month.
- Recruiter accounts – 50-300 InMails per month depending on your plan.
- Job Seeker accounts – 30 InMails per month while actively searching for a job.
You can purchase additional credits if you need more InMail messages in a month. Credits are sold in packs of 10 messages.
InMail Response Rates
According to LinkedIn, InMail historically has an average response rate between 10-15%. However, response rates can vary significantly based on:
- Your relationship with the recipient – 1st degree connections have higher response rates.
- Relevance of your message – personalized messages perform better.
- Recipient’s industry – some industries see higher response rates.
- Seniority of the recipient – executives tend to have lower response rates.
While InMail does not guarantee a response, it remains an effective way to initiate important professional connections and conversations.
Alternative Ways to Message on LinkedIn
If you’ve used up your allotted InMails, here are some alternative ways to message people on LinkedIn:
- Standard LinkedIn Messages – Free to send unlimited messages to 1st degree connections.
- Comment on a post – Start public conversations on a connection’s post.
- Recommend someone – Write a note explaining why you’re recommending them.
- Share an article – Include a message when sharing content to someone’s feed.
- Group messages – Communicate with other group members for free.
While these lack the targeting power of InMail, they can help you actively engage your network without added costs.
Is InMail Worth It?
For most professionals on LinkedIn, the limited number of free InMails included in Premium Business accounts will suffice. But for recruiters, sales professionals, and other power users who need to frequently make first contact, purchasing additional InMail credits can yield dividends.
The value of an InMail conversation will vary situation by situation. But for critical business opportunities and hard-to-reach prospects, the added costs of InMail often pay off by securing game-changing connections.