InMail, LinkedIn’s email service, allows users to contact just about anyone with a profile on LinkedIn, even if there’s no formal connection. Depending on your subscription level, you could have as many as 25 InMail credits available to use per month. Prior to January 1, 2015, if you sent an InMail and got no response, LinkedIn would nullify the credit charge, essentially giving you a “free” credit because the person you pursued didn’t respond. But the social network flipped the script, penalizing correspondences that don’t get a response and rewarding those that do.
Sankar Venkatraman, a senior product marketing manager at LinkedIn, explained the policy change in a recent blog post, indicating that the old system encouraged people, especially recruiters, to send generic InMails, creating a poor member experience and reducing the likelihood that members will be responsive to other InMails. The average InMail open rate is unknown, though some speculate that it is between ten and twenty percent. LinkedIn hopes that rewarding its InMail users will encourage them to develop quality content for prospecting campaigns, thus increasing open rates.
So, as Chow notes, ‘the obvious question is, “How do I craft InMails that generate more responses?”’ He offers four simple tips, all of which fall under the rubrics of “good writing” and “good marketing”:
- Make your headline relevant to your audience, whom you can know well thanks to LinkedIn.
- Share content—don’t just hard sell. The content could be your own or something you read that would interest your audience.
- Use action-oriented keywords (e.g., such as “download,” “read,” “experience”) in your subject line.
- Personalize each InMail instead of just copying and pasting the same message to different prospects.