The main difference between LinkedIn InMail and regular LinkedIn messages is that InMail allows you to contact anyone on LinkedIn even if you are not connected, while regular messages can only be sent to your 1st degree connections. InMail is a premium feature that requires a paid LinkedIn subscription, while regular messaging is free for all members.
Overview of LinkedIn InMail
LinkedIn InMail is a messaging feature that allows you to directly contact any LinkedIn member, even if you are not connected in their network. With InMail, you can send private messages to recruiters, hiring managers, prospects, industry experts, and anyone else on LinkedIn.
Key features of InMail include:
- Ability to message anyone on LinkedIn, regardless of whether they know you or not
- Messages go directly to the recipient’s LinkedIn inbox
- Higher response rates compared to cold outreach emails
- Allows you to establish new professional relationships
- Useful for recruiting, sales prospecting, networking, etc.
InMail credits are required to send InMails. You can purchase bundles of InMail credits or get a certain number per month with LinkedIn Premium subscriptions. InMail is essentially a way to grab the attention of busy professionals that you have no existing connection with.
Overview of LinkedIn Messages
LinkedIn Messages allow you to send private messages to your 1st degree connections on LinkedIn. You can use Messages for one-on-one conversations or group conversations with multiple connections.
Key features of LinkedIn Messages include:
- Free for all LinkedIn members
- Can only message people in your 1st degree network
- Good for following up after connecting with someone
- Allows you to build relationships within your existing network
- Useful for networking, collaborating, sharing information
Since Messages are free, they are ideal for engaging with connections, planning events, sharing ideas, etc. However, you cannot message people unless they have accepted your connection request first.
Here are some of the main differences between LinkedIn InMail and regular LinkedIn Messages:
- Recipient reach – InMail can message anyone, Messages can only message 1st connections
- Cost – InMail requires credits, Messages are free
- Purpose – InMail is for cold outreach, Messages are for networking with existing connections
- Response rate – InMail has higher response rates as it grabs more attention
- Ideal uses – InMail is better for recruiting, sales prospecting; Messages are better for collaborating, sharing info
When to Use LinkedIn InMail
Here are some of the main situations where using LinkedIn InMail would be beneficial:
- Reaching out to potential job candidates for recruitment
- Contacting prospects for sales leads and new business
- Introducing yourself to industry experts and thought leaders
- Following up after meeting someone at an event or conference
- Asking busy executives or clients for advice and insights
- Establishing contact with speakers, authors, consultants etc. to request their services
InMail is ideal any time you want to initiate contact with someone you have no prior relationship with. It allows you to bypass formalities and directly contact decision makers. Just be sure to personalize each InMail for the specific recipient.
When to Use LinkedIn Messages
Here are some common uses for sending regular LinkedIn Messages to your connections:
- Following up after connecting with someone new
- Continuing a conversation started in person or over email
- Coordinating events, meetings, or collaborations with your network
- Sharing useful articles, resources, and information
- Congratulating connections on work anniversaries, promotions etc.
- Reconnecting with old colleagues and classmates
- Asking connections for introductions to people in their network
Messages allow you to strengthen existing relationships on LinkedIn through ongoing communication. Use them to network with your connections, drive engagement, and build your professional community.
Tips for Using InMail and Messages
To get the most out of LinkedIn InMail and Messages, keep these tips in mind:
- Personalize every InMail – do research on the recipient and make it relevant to them.
- Follow up InMails with a 2nd message if no response after a week.
- When messaging connections, add value and don’t make it all about you.
- Proofread carefully before sending InMails or Messages.
- Use subject lines that are specific and get opened – no spammy subjects.
- Adjust your messaging strategy based on recipient’s job role and seniority.
- Track InMail open and response rates to refine your outreach.
- Set reminders to follow up if you don’t get a response.
With the right strategy, both InMail and Messages can be very effective on LinkedIn. InMail helps you connect with influential people outside your network, while Messages strengthen your current connections.
InMail vs. Messages: An Example
Here is an example showing how InMail and Messages work differently on LinkedIn:
Sarah is a sales manager looking to connect with a potential client at ACME Corporation. She finds the Sales Director Robert on LinkedIn who would be involved in the purchasing decision, but sees they have no connections in common.
Sarah opts to use InMail to directly contact Robert to introduce herself and pitch a meeting. The InMail grabs Robert’s attention since it comes directly into his inbox, and he responds agreeing to an initial call.
After the sales call goes well, Robert connects with Sarah on LinkedIn. Sarah then uses LinkedIn Messages to follow up with Robert and share some useful industry content. She also asks about next steps via Messages. By leveraging both tools, Sarah is able to establish an entirely new sales relationship.
LinkedIn InMail and Messages serve different but complementary purposes. InMail enables cold outreach to people outside of your network, which is great for sales and recruiting. Messages facilitate ongoing communication within your network to strengthen relationships. Used strategically, these messaging tools can help take your LinkedIn results to the next level.