How to use LinkedIn InMail to engage and grow databases

Catherine Steven
Catherine Steven

Historically, there was only one giant in the B2B communication game: Email. We now have alternatives for better business interactions, with LinkedIn InMail being a strong player on the field.

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If you’re on LinkedIn (which you most likely are) then there’s a good chance you’ve received “InMail,” the platform’s messaging feature for people who aren’t first-degree connections.

How to send a LinkedIn message to absolutely anyone

You need to upgrade to a premium account to use InMail which ranges from around £25 - £80 a month. This gives you a specific number of InMail credits based on your subscription type, which are basically private messages that can be sent to people you’re not currently connected to. Messages can have up to 200 characters in the subject line and up to 1,900 characters in the body.

If your message is accepted, you’ll receive a reply in your LinkedIn inbox with names and email addresses to communicate further.

Leverage your professional presence

Relationships are the lifeblood of new and existing business, making meaningful conversations crucial in order to move from the connection phase into the relationship phase. Marketing executives were asked to rank their favourite places to find relevant, high-quality content – and the results weren’t even close. A massive 91% said LinkedIn, while only 29% said Twitter and 27% said Facebook.

You may already have a great network, but are you really nurturing those relationships? How often do you really connect with those people and put yourself on their radar with high-quality content? Using InMail you can send relevant industry articles, a link to an interesting website that you’ve recently discovered, or updates on your services – all direct to decision-makers.

Engage your target audience

Using Sponsored InMail, you can reach even more high-value, targeted prospects with attention-grabbing messages that speak directly to their interests. You can designate recipients by geography, job role, group membership, company size, and other criteria. The messages consist of a custom greeting, call-to-action button, body text, and custom banner image. Prospects are then notified of a message when they next actively engage on LinkedIn.

InMail’s biggest strength is in its open rates, which far exceed similar strategies run through email campaigns or other social networks. The LinkedIn team experimented with using Sponsored InMail for an event by targeting the people who hadn’t opened their email invitation. They achieved a 50% open rate, along with a healthy number of registrations. It makes sense: if people are already intrigued by your event or aware of your brand, they’ll be more likely to respond to these personal touches.

In order to avoid InMail becoming a muddle of spam messages and adverts, LinkedIn have introduced a couple of features that help to make marketing campaigns more efficient. You can only receive one sponsored InMail every 45 days, plus members are able to choose the type of people they want to hear from.

An InMail success story

Our client Hitachi Vantara were two weeks out from an event. They had exhausted their database but were still hoping for more registrations. There was an excellent event landing page and an expert speaker line-up – they just wanted to get a few more delegates in the room. With very limited lead time the best solution was clear: LinkedIn InMail.

After defining the audience, we set to work crafting a message persuading prospects that the event was unmissable. The message linked through to the landing page where recipients could read the event agenda and register to attend.

A fantastic open rate of 44.95% illustrated the benefits of InMail - get the subject line right and you’re guaranteed great opens. Click-throughs were strong (6.4%) and with two registrations in week one, the campaign was a success.

Should you invest in InMail?

Why ignore 61 million LinkedIn users who are senior level influencers? The InMail feature is a fantastic opportunity to expand your company’s database with people who you know are interested. It’s important to note that this feature’s primary purpose is to start a conversation - you’re not going to close business by sending one InMail message. Used in a perfect balance with phone calls, traditional email and face to face meetings, this resource can make your business unstoppable.

Here at Miramar we’ll advise you on the best tactics, then create, execute and manage your campaign. Get in touch to see how we can help.

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