LinkedIn

LinkedIn Inmail vs Direct Messages

lemlist team
LAST UPDATED
May 16, 2024
READING TIME
7 min.

Can you get a reply for every message you send on LinkedIn?

What’s the best way to interact with LinkedIn members? Direct messages or LinkedIn InMail? There’s no one-fits-all approach, so you must adjust your outreach methods to each recipient. 

In this article, we’ll explain the difference between these two options and which one you should use for best results.

What is LinkedIn InMail?

The main benefit of LinkedIn InMail lies in its ability to bypass traditional connection requirements, offering a direct line to the inbox of nearly any LinkedIn member.

As a feature reserved for LinkedIn Premium subscribers, InMail holds a particular reputation and functionality that standard messaging does not.

  • LinkedIn InMail is a premium messaging service that allows you to send messages to other LinkedIn members outside your direct network.
  • One of advantage of InMail is the allocation of InMail credits that come with a LinkedIn Premium subscription, empowering users to reach out to a broader audience.
  • Adhering to InMail Best Practices can significantly enhance your chances of receiving a higher response rate, turning cold outreach into warm conversations.

To maximize the effectiveness of InMail, it's important to craft personalized, relevant, and respectful messages of the recipient's time.

This might include referencing shared interests, mutual connections, or specific aspects of the recipient's professional background. Doing so elevates your message above the noise of generic outreach.

What are LinkedIn Direct Messages?

LinkedIn Direct Messages are the platform's standard feature for communication between connected members.

Accessible to all users, direct messages offer a more informal way to engage with your network.

  • Accessing and utilizing LinkedIn Direct Messages is straightforward, allowing quick and easy communication with your first-degree connections.
  • While not as expansive as InMail, Direct Messages are an excellent way to maintain and strengthen relationships within your professional circle.
  • Developing techniques for crafting direct message communications is essential for engaging effectively with LinkedIn members, especially when warming up prospects or following up after an initial connection.

When using direct messages, the key is to be conversational and genuine.

Unlike InMail, which is often used for first-time outreach, direct messages should feel like a continuing dialogue. This approach fosters trust and can lead to more meaningful professional interactions.

LinkedIn InMail vs Direct Messages: outreach guide

When considering whether to use LinkedIn InMail or Direct Messages for outreach, you’ll need to select the method that aligns with your specific goals.

Each has its advantages and can be more effective depending on the outreach context and the prospect's nature.

  • For reaching out to new prospects, particularly in networking, recruiting, or sales, InMail may be the preferred choice due to its ability to contact LinkedIn members outside your immediate network.
  • Direct Messages, however, are ideal for nurturing and deepening relationships with existing connections, where a level of rapport has already been established.
  • Understanding the pros and cons of different scenarios can significantly impact the effectiveness of your outreach efforts, whether you're looking to expand your network or drive business results.

For instance, cold outreach campaigns can benefit from the personalized touch that InMail provides, as it shows the recipient that you've invested in the platform and, by extension, in connecting with them.

On the other hand, a warm prospect who has already shown interest might respond better to a Direct Message's casual and familiar tone.

By carefully weighing these aspects and customizing your approach, you can craft a strategic outreach plan that maximizes the strengths of both InMail and Direct Messages.

How to select the right outreach method

Choosing between LinkedIn InMail and Direct Messages begins with clearly understanding your outreach objectives. Consider the following factors:

  • Target Audience: Is your target a second-degree connection or someone with no mutual connections? InMail is particularly effective for reaching out to the latter.
  • Message Purpose: Are you looking to make a sales pitch, request a meeting, or simply introduce yourself? The formality and perceived value of InMail might make it more suitable for formal requests.
  • Urgency: If the matter is time-sensitive, a Direct Message may get you a quicker response from those already in your network.

Adapt to your prospects

Each type of prospect—whether for networking, recruiting, or sales—has unique expectations and preferences for communication:

  • Networking: InMail can be a powerful tool for establishing new professional relationships, offering a formal way to introduce yourself and your value proposition.
  • Recruiting: Recruiters often prefer InMail due to its professional context and higher visibility among non-connections. It can signal a serious inquiry.
  • Sales: Sales professionals may use a mix of both, starting with InMail for initial contact and switching to Direct Messages once a dialogue has been established.

Each outreach method should be adapted based on the prospect's industry, seniority, and your existing relationship with them.

Examples of effective cold LinkedIn InMail outreach campaigns

Effective LinkedIn InMail campaigns often share common characteristics:

  • They start with a personalized greeting that references specific details about the recipient's profile or content they've shared.
  • The body of the message clearly articulates the reason for reaching out and the potential value to the recipient.
  • A strong call-to-action invites the recipient to engage further, whether through a reply, a phone call, or a meeting request.

For example, a cold InMail to a potential sales lead might mention a recent company milestone they achieved, followed by an introduction of a product that could help them reach their next goal.

It would close with an invitation to discuss the product in a brief call.

Combining personalization with a clear value proposition and a straightforward CTA can increase the chances of a successful LinkedIn InMail outreach.

Improve your LinkedIn InMail outreach techniques

To develop an effective LinkedIn InMail strategy you have to craft messages that grab attention and encourage a response.

The content of your InMail is crucial in making a memorable first impression and building a foundation for a professional relationship.

Develop compelling InMail message content

Creating compelling content for your InMail messages is an art that involves several key elements:

  • Start with a subject line that is clear, intriguing, and relevant to the recipient. It should give them a reason to open your message.
  • Ensure the opening line of your message is personalized and shows that you've researched the recipient's background or interests.
  • Keep the message concise and focused on the recipient, highlighting how your message relates to them and can add value to their professional life.
  • Use a friendly and professional tone matching the appropriate formality for the recipient's industry or position.

Remember, the goal of your InMail is to start a conversation, not to close a deal. Your content should be engaging and suggest a clear next step.

Get more LinkedIn InMail replies with personalization

Personalization is key to increasing your InMail response rates. Here are some tactics to make your messages feel more tailored and relevant:

  • Reference specific details from the recipient's LinkedIn profile, such as their work experience, shared connections, or recent posts.
  • Comment on commonalities, such as shared interests, alumni networks, or professional groups.
  • Ask a thoughtful question that shows genuine interest in their opinion or expertise.
  • Be authentic and let your personality shine through while maintaining professionalism.

By personalizing your InMails, you demonstrate that you value the recipient's time and are interested in them as individuals, not just a potential leads or connections.

How to use Sales Navigator and InMail analytics

Measuring the success of your InMail campaigns is crucial for refining your approach and improving outcomes. LinkedIn's Sales Navigator and InMail analytics offer valuable insights into your InMail performance:

  • Track InMail acceptance rates to understand how well your messages resonate with different audiences.
  • Analyze response times to gauge the urgency of your message content and the efficiency of your follow-up strategy.
  • Use A/B testing with different message formats and calls to action to determine what works best for your target demographic.
  • Monitor the conversion rates from InMail to actual meetings or sales to assess the overall effectiveness of your outreach.

Send Direct Messages to get more LinkedIn connections

While LinkedIn InMail is a powerful tool for reaching out to non-connections, Direct Messages are equally important for engaging with your existing network and expanding your professional circle.

Effectively using direct messages can help you nurture and grow your connections on LinkedIn.

How to engage with LinkedIn connections via regular messages

Engaging with your first, second, and third-degree connections through regular messages can lead to more meaningful interactions and opportunities. Remember that you can send direct messages to 2nd or 3rd degree connections only if turned on the Open Profile feature.

  • For first-degree connections, keep the conversation going by sharing relevant content, congratulating them on professional milestones, or simply checking in.
  • Reach out to second-degree connections by leveraging mutual contacts. A warm introduction can make all the difference.
  • When messaging third-degree connections, mention any commonalities to establish rapport and express your interest in connecting directly.

Regular messages to your degree connections can help keep your network active and informed about your professional journey.

Warm up prospects before sending connection requests

Before sending out connection requests, it's beneficial to warm up your prospects. This can increase the likelihood of acceptance and pave the way for future interactions:

  • Engage with prospects' content by liking, commenting, and sharing their posts to get on their radar.
  • Participate in LinkedIn groups where your prospects are active to demonstrate your expertise and value.
  • Use mutual connections to gather insights or an introduction to the prospect.
  • Send a personalized message with your connection request, explaining why you're interested in connecting and how it could be mutually beneficial.

Warming up prospects can create a more receptive environment for your connection requests and subsequent messages.

Nurture business connections by building conversational campaigns

Conversational campaigns through regular messages are an effective way to nurture business connections and build lasting relationships:

  • Develop a message series that guides your connections through a journey,from initial contact to deeper engagement.
  • Provide value in each interaction, such as sharing industry insights, offering help, or introducing them to valuable contacts.
  • Keep track of important details about your connections to make each conversation more personalized and relevant.
  • Be responsive and active in your communications to show that you're genuinely interested in maintaining the connection.

By building conversational campaigns, you establish a consistent presence in your connections' networks, making it easier to leverage these relationships for future business opportunities.

Integrate InMail and Messages for maximum impact

While LinkedIn InMail and Direct Messages have unique advantages, combining them can create a powerful, synergistic approach to LinkedIn outreach.

By merging these communication methods, professionals can optimize their networking and sales strategies to achieve maximum impact.

Merge InMail messages and connection requests for better results

Combining InMail messages with connection requests can be a strategic way to expand your professional network:

  • Use InMail to reach out to valuable prospects with whom you have no mutual connections, crafting personalized messages highlighting mutual benefits.
  • After establishing initial contact via InMail, send a connection request to bring the conversation into a more personal space and continue building the relationship.
  • For those who respond positively to your InMail, follow up with a thank you message and a connection request to maintain engagement.

By integrating InMail and connection requests, you can transition from a formal pitch to a more conversational and collaborative interaction, which is helpful for relationship-building on LinkedIn.

Build a sequential outreach campaign using the LinkedIn Sales Navigator

LinkedIn Sales Navigator is a powerful tool for executing a sequential outreach campaign that incorporates both InMail and regular messages:

  • Identify prospects using Sales Navigator's advanced search and lead recommendation features.
  • Begin with InMail messages to introduce yourself and offer value, making a strong first impression.
  • Once you've established a dialogue, continue the conversation with regular messages to cultivate a more informal and personal connection.
  • Use Sales Navigator's tracking and analytics to monitor the effectiveness of your outreach and refine your approach accordingly.

Following a structured sequence in your outreach campaign can help you maintain consistency and professionalism while also allowing you to develop genuine connections.

Analyze results and adjust InMail and message strategies

It's crucial to analyze the results of your outreach efforts to understand what's working and what isn't:

  • Track response rates and engagement levels for both InMail and regular messages to gauge their effectiveness.
  • Use the insights gained from analytics to adjust your messaging tone, timing, and content for future outreach.
  • Experiment with different approaches to identify the most impactful strategies, such as varying the call-to-action or personalization elements.

By continuously analyzing and refining your outreach strategies, you can improve your InMail and message campaigns, leading to better results and more fruitful professional relationships on LinkedIn.

Expand your LinkedIn strategy beyond InMail and regular messages

Mastering LinkedIn outreach requires a comprehensive understanding of all the tools at your disposal. While InMail and regular messages are key components of a successful strategy, exploring additional LinkedIn outreach tools can further enhance your ability to connect with prospects and grow your professional network.

A. Exploration of additional LinkedIn outreach tools

LinkedIn offers a variety of tools that can complement your InMail and messaging efforts:

  • LinkedIn Groups provide a platform for engaging with like-minded professionals and can provide valuable connections and insights.
  • LinkedIn Pulse allows you to publish articles and share content that demonstrate your industry expertise, attract attention, and foster credibility.
  • LinkedIn Ads can target specific audiences with personalized messages, driving awareness and generating leads.

By incorporating these additional tools into your outreach strategy, you can increase your visibility on the platform and create more touchpoints with your target audience.

B. Incorporate InMail email strategies into a comprehensive LinkedIn outreach campaign

InMail emails can extend the reach of your LinkedIn outreach efforts beyond the platform:

  • Use the email addresses provided by LinkedIn to send personalized emails to prospects, leveraging the professional context established on the platform.
  • Combine the formality of email with the personal touch of LinkedIn messages to create a balanced communication strategy.
  • Track email open and response rates to understand the effectiveness of your email outreach in comparison to your LinkedIn InMail and message campaigns.

Integrating email with LinkedIn outreach allows for a diverse approach that can adapt to the communication preferences of your prospects.

C. Case studies showing successful mixed methods of LinkedIn communication

Learning from real-world examples can provide valuable insights into the effectiveness of mixed LinkedIn communication methods:

  • Review case studies of businesses successfully combining LinkedIn InMail, messages, and other outreach tools to achieve their goals.
  • Analyze the strategies used, the sequence of communication, and the results obtained to identify best practices that can be applied to your campaigns.
  • Consider how different industries and target audiences may require tailored approaches, and use these insights to refine your strategy.

Case studies serve as a blueprint for what works in LinkedIn outreach and can inspire innovative approaches to connecting with professionals in your network.

Key Takeaways

To sum up, effective LinkedIn messaging and email strategies are rooted in:

-> Understanding the unique benefits and limitations of both InMail and regular messages.

-> Personalizing communication to resonate with the recipient, thereby enhancing response rates.

-> Leveraging Sales Navigator and analytics to measure the success of your outreach campaigns.

We encourage you to share your experiences and insights gained from implementing these strategies. Your contributions can help create a collective wealth of knowledge, fostering a community of professionals who excel in digital outreach and engagement.

Feel free to check out our YouTube channel and learn how to automate your LinkedIn outreach! 👇

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