When you want to start a private conversation on LinkedIn, you can use regular messages or InMails. If you’re not sure which one to use, here’s some help. InMails lets you message someone on LinkedIn without connecting with them first. Regular messages can only be sent to people you’re already connected with. Remember that InMails are only for LinkedIn Premium members and cost money.
LinkedIn InMail vs Messages: Let’s talk about the differences
While both InMail and Messages provide a means of communication on LinkedIn, key differences exist between these features.
- Messages: The primary communication tool within LinkedIn allows users to send direct messages to their connections. These conversations are private and kept within your LinkedIn inbox. To send a message, you must be connected to the recipient. LinkedIn will suggest sending a connection request if you are not connected before being able to message them. Messages on LinkedIn can include text, images, documents, links, and emojis, but the primary purpose is casual conversation, sharing relevant content, and updates with your network.
- InMail: InMail is a premium feature available to LinkedIn users with a Premium subscription or have purchased a specific number of InMail credits. InMail allows users to send messages to any LinkedIn member, even 2nd and 3rd connections. InMail’s purpose is more targeted, often used for recruitment or business development purposes.
When to use InMail and Messages
Using InMail or Messages depends on your intended purpose and the relationship with the recipient.
Use Messages when:
- You already have a connection with the recipient.
- The message is intended for informal communication or to share content with your network.
- You want to build rapport with a new connection.
- The message is part of an ongoing conversation.
Use InMail when:
- The recipient is not in your network and sending a connection request is inappropriate.
- You have a specific, targeted purpose, such as a job application or business development opportunity.
- The message requires a more professional and direct approach.
- You want to bypass the need for an introduction from a mutual connection.
Sending limits for InMail and Messages
In order to prevent spam and ensure meaningful conversations on the platform, LinkedIn imposes limitations on the number of messages and InMails users can send.
Message Limits: While LinkedIn does not have a hard limit on the number of messages you can send, it may impose limits or temporarily restrict your messaging capability if:
- You send a high volume of messages in a short period.
- Your messages receive many spam reports or are marked as unwanted.
- Your messages come across as promotional or sales-oriented (which resulting in people report your messages as spam).
To avoid potential restrictions on your messaging activity, ensure your messages are relevant, personalized, and engaging for your recipients.
InMail Limits: The number of InMails you can send depends on your subscription plan or the number of InMail credits you have purchased.
For Premium users, InMail allowances typically range from a few to several dozen per month. Unused monthly InMail credits typically roll over for up to 120 days.
Understanding the differences between LinkedIn InMail and Messages is crucial for effective and professional communication on the platform. By knowing when to use each messaging tool and respecting each one’s limitations, you can maximize your networking and outreach efforts on LinkedIn.
Effective InMail Strategies
Sending InMail messages on LinkedIn has become essential to networking, job hunting, and sales outreach. InMails are a powerful way to connect directly with professionals without needing an introduction or mutual connection. However, using effective strategies is crucial to maximize your chances of getting a response.
InMails that receive a response within 90 days receive a credit refund, incentivizing users to send thoughtful and well-targeted messages to increase their response rate.
Crafting a compelling subject line
The subject line of an InMail is the first thing the recipient sees, making it the most critical aspect of your message. A successful subject line must be clear, concise, and eye-catching. It should embed the motive of the InMail without being overly promotional or spammy. Focus on summarizing the message’s content engagingly, encouraging the reader to open the InMail.
Research shows that personalized subject lines improve open rates by 50%, so include the recipient’s name, current role, or company in the subject line. Tailor the subject line to match the recipient’s profile and areas of interest to give them a taste of the personalized content that awaits inside the InMail.
Example of a good InMail subject line:
I liked this one (and partnered with the company) because the subject line is short and shares a company name (which is relevant to what I am doing). Don’t overthink subject lines, but add a personal touch to it.
Example of a bad subject line:
Whatever you do, please don’t go with “Hello sir”, “Dear sir/madam” and similar subject lines. If your goal is to end up in a spam folder, this is a good subject line. 🙈
Personalizing your message
Customizing the content of your InMail can help to emphasize a sense of genuine interest and respect for the recipient. Refer to information from their LinkedIn profile or recent updates to tailor your message specifically to the recipient. This could include complimenting their recent accomplishments or commenting on something they’ve shared. Making it evident you’ve done your research increases the chances of getting a response.
Moreover, it’s essential to introduce yourself and explain the purpose of the InMail concisely. Ensure the value proposition is relevant to the recipient’s background, interests, or needs to build a connection.
Timing and frequency of InMails
When sending InMails, consider potential time zone differences and send your messages during regular weekday business hours. Avoid sending InMail right before and during weekends or holidays when people are less likely to check their inboxes.
Avoid spamming the recipient with repetitive or overly frequent InMails. Allow the user a reasonable amount of time to see and respond to your InMail before sending another one. For follow-up InMails, approach the subject diplomatically and do not pressure the recipient to respond.
Check your prospect’s LinkedIn location and send your InMail during the prospect’s working hours. Find out what is the best time to send InMails here.
Adding value and showing genuine interest
Adding value to your InMail messages is crucial in capturing a recipient’s attention. Offer useful insights, industry updates, educational resources, or job opportunities relevant to the recipient’s interests or expertise. Highlight specific ways the recipient would benefit from engaging with your proposal or request.
Authenticity and genuine interest go a long way in building relationships on LinkedIn. Show that you are genuinely interested in the recipient and their work, not just in getting an immediate response. Engaging in a meaningful conversation boosts the chances of developing a connection.
A clear call-to-action (CTA) is a key component of a successful InMail strategy. Encourage the recipient to take action by including a straightforward CTA—request a response or offer a next step, such as scheduling a call or meeting (never sell from the first message!). Make sure your CTA aligns with your InMail’s purpose and value proposition.
Never sell from the first InMail. The goal of the InMail is to schedule a meeting and the goal of the meeting is to push a prospect further in your funnel.
If the recipient responds to your InMail or takes the specified action, promptly follow up to maintain interest and momentum. Remember that building professional relationships is an ongoing process, so continue to engage with your contacts through regular touchpoints to develop a well-established network on LinkedIn.
Effective Messaging Strategies
Initiating a conversation with a LinkedIn connection could be pivotal for professional growth, establishing business relationships, or acquiring valuable job opportunities.
First, ensure that your profile is complete and professional. A well-crafted profile with a suitable profile picture and a comprehensive summary will facilitate a trustworthy, reliable first impression.
When crafting your message, be clear, concise, and articulate. Convey your purpose for the interaction within the first two lines to pique interest and avoid sounding ambiguous or spammy. Rather than directly selling your product or service, focus on establishing rapport and interaction to cultivate a foundation for potential business opportunities.
Address your connection by name, and demonstrate familiarity with their professional background by mentioning past work or recent achievements. Personalizing your message will render credibility and indicate a genuine interest in the connection.
Finally, ensure the tone is conversational but professional to balance approachable and respectful. Incorporate a closing statement that validates the recipient’s time and demonstrates gratitude.
- A direct messaging communication style should have a clear, concise, and strategic tone while maintaining professionalism.
- Begin by using your recipient’s name and complimenting them on their achievements or latest work to create rapport.
- Speak to your unique value proposition while explaining how your expertise or service could benefit your prospective connection without overtly selling yourself.
- Keep your sentences short and simple, highlighting the main points and aligning their interests with yours.
- Ask open-ended, thought-provoking questions to prompt a response and support interaction – be receptive to their insights.
- Always express gratitude for their time in reading and responding to your message.
LinkedIn InMail vs Messaging: What works best?
LinkedIn has become an essential tool for both job seekers and recruiters, providing various avenues of communication. The two main methods are InMail and messaging. Let’s explore the pros and cons of each method and help you determine the best approach for your specific goals.
Pros and Cons of LinkedIn InMail
InMail is a feature that allows members to send private messages to any LinkedIn user, even if they’re not connected. This can open the door to many networking opportunities. However, like any tool, it has its pros and cons.
- Reaching out to users outside your network: InMail allows you to send messages to users with whom you don’t share a connection. This can be particularly useful for sourcing candidates, making sales pitches, or exploring partnership opportunities.
- Guaranteed message delivery: InMail messages bypass the strict filters applied to regular LinkedIn messages, ensuring your message is delivered to the recipient’s inbox.
- Credibility: When sending an InMail, you demonstrate a level of commitment as it requires a paid LinkedIn Premium subscription or purchasing InMail credits. This investment can lend credibility to your message and show that you are serious about making a connection.
1. Costs: To use InMail, you’ll need to have a LinkedIn Premium subscription or purchase individual InMail credits. This can potentially be a barrier for smaller businesses or individuals with limited budgets.
- Limited credit availability: Each LinkedIn Premium membership tier provides a set number of InMail credits per month. Once you use them, you’ll need to wait until the next month or purchase additional credits to continue sending InMails.
- Risk of being perceived as spam: As InMail allows users to reach outside their network, recipients might perceive the messages as unsolicited and unnecessary.
Pros and Cons of LinkedIn Messaging
LinkedIn messaging is the platform’s default communication channel, allowing you to chat freely with your connections. Like InMail, there are pros and cons to using messaging.
- Cost-effective: Unlike InMail, LinkedIn messaging is entirely free to use. It’s an excellent option for users on a tight budget or those who prefer not to invest in a Premium subscription.
- Familiarity and personal touch: Since messaging is only available between connected users, there’s a level of familiarity and trust between the sender and recipient that can make the interaction feel more personal.
- Seamless communication: LinkedIn has streamlined its messaging interface, making initiating and maintaining a conversation with others easily.
- Limited reach: Messaging is only available between already connected users. This means your networking opportunities are restricted to your existing connections.
- Hiding in the “Other” folder: LinkedIn has filters that often send messages from unknown connections to the recipient’s “Other” folder, making it easy for your message to go unnoticed.
1. How do LinkedIn InMail and messaging differ in functionality?
InMail allows users to send direct messages to LinkedIn members outside their network, while messaging is limited to connections within one’s network. Also, InMail typically requires a premium subscription or purchased credits for usage.
2. What are the response rate statistics for LinkedIn InMail and messaging?
Response rates for InMail tend to be higher than typical email outreach, with a 10% to 25% average response rate. Messaging response rates depend on the audience, connection strength, and content but are often lower than InMail.
3. Are there any limitations on the number of InMails or messages sent per day?
For InMail, users receive a set number of credits based on their subscription plan, with unused credits rolling over to subsequent months. As for messaging, LinkedIn has no explicit daily limit, but excessive messaging could lead to account restrictions.
4. How do the costs of LinkedIn InMail and messaging compare?
Messaging is a free feature available to every LinkedIn user. In contrast, InMail requires a Premium subscription (starting at $29.99/month for Premium Career) or the purchase of additional InMail credits (a pack of 10 costs $100, which is quite expensive).
5. Can I see if someone has read my LinkedIn InMail or message?
LinkedIn offers read receipts for both InMails and messages, allowing the sender to see if their messages have been read. However, users can disable this feature in their settings, leading to potential discrepancies.
6. How does the character limit differ for LinkedIn InMail and messaging?
LinkedIn InMail messages have a character limit of 1,900 and 200 characters for subject lines. Meanwhile, conventional LinkedIn messages also have a limit of 2,000 characters.
Combining both InMail and Messaging for best results
For the best networking results, consider using a combination of InMail and messaging. First, use InMail to reach out to potential connections and introduce yourself, then once connected, use LinkedIn messaging to maintain communication and build rapport.
This approach pairs the benefits of InMail’s professional impression and wider reach with LinkedIn messaging’s cost-effectiveness and personal touch. You’ll maximize your networking opportunities and achieve your goals by leveraging both methods.