LinkedIn’s InMail feature allows you to directly contact other members outside of your network. But knowing when to use InMail versus other outreach methods can be tricky. Here are some tips on when InMail is the right choice for making connections on LinkedIn.
What is LinkedIn InMail?
InMail is LinkedIn’s internal messaging system that allows you to contact any LinkedIn member, even if they are not in your direct network. Some key things to know about InMail:
- InMails bypass the need for a shared connection or being accepted into someone’s network.
- There are limits on how many InMails you can send per month based on your account type.
- InMails have open and response tracking so you can see if your message has been viewed.
- Recipients can respond directly back to an InMail if they choose.
InMail stands apart from LinkedIn’s Open Messaging where you can only message connections in your network. With InMail, you can reach anyone on LinkedIn directly.
When is InMail appropriate to use?
Here are some recommended uses cases where InMail can be an effective outreach method:
Reaching out to an industry leader or expert
Want to pick the brain of an influential author, tech pioneer, or thought leader in your industry? InMail gives you access to get your message directly in front of them.
Introducing yourself to a potential client or business partner
If you want to start a discussion about a potential project or collaboration, InMail allows you to make first contact and share details about working together.
Following up after meeting someone in real life
If you hit it off with someone at a conference or event but aren’t connected on LinkedIn, sending an InMail can continue the conversation.
Reaching a hiring manager about a job opening
Looking to get your resume directly in front of the hiring manager for a position? An InMail allows you to proactively express your interest in the role.
Sending a message to a premium account holder
You can only send Open Messages to other free LinkedIn members. InMail gives you a way to directly communicate with premium account holders.
When is InMail not the best option?
While InMail has its uses, there are also situations where other outreach approaches are preferable:
Making a cold sales pitch
InMail is not typically welcomed when used for unsolicited sales prospecting. Consider warmer traffic sources instead of cold InMailing potential leads.
Reaching someone you have no existing relationship or context with
Without any connection or demonstrated shared interest, an InMail may seem overly forward or even intrusive.
As an initial outreach to someone open to networking
If someone indicates they are open to connecting on LinkedIn, send an invite instead of an InMail to properly add them to your network.
When you have limited credits
Since free accounts have a cap on monthly InMails, use them sparingly if you have limited credits.
When you can establish an introduction through your network
Warm introductions through shared connections carry more weight than unknown InMailers. Leverage your network first before resorting to cold InMails.
Best practices for using InMail
To get the most out of InMail, keep these tips in mind:
- Personalize each message with specifics about why you are reaching out.
- Reference their work, interests, or background to establish common ground.
- Keep messages concise and focused on the purpose of your outreach.
- Follow up if needed but avoid sending spammy messages.
- Use InMail selectively for targeted, quality conversations.
- Track open and response rates to refine your approach over time.
InMail vs. Open Messaging on LinkedIn
|Lets you message anyone on LinkedIn
|Only works between shared connections
|Paid feature or allocated credits needed
|Free for all members
|Higher response rates
|Lower response rates
|Higher perceived value
|Risk of message fatigue
InMail Use Cases
|Reaching out to an industry influencer
|Personalized message referencing their work and your interests
|Introducing yourself to a potential hiring manager
|Brief background on your experience and interest in a role
|Following up with a conference connection
|Recalling where you met them and suggesting continuing the dialogue
|Reaching a premium account holder
|Relevant message where open messaging isn’t possible
LinkedIn InMail provides a valuable channel for direct outreach when used selectively. Take a targeted approach, personalize your messages, and track results over time. With the right strategy, InMail can expand your LinkedIn network and opportunities. But also be careful not to overuse InMails or else recipients may filter them out.
Finding the right balance for when and how to leverage InMails will improve your LinkedIn effectiveness. So consider both when it can add value as well as alternative options before sending your next InMail.