For Better LinkedIn InMail Results Embrace Your Inner Mad Scientist

Many InMail users get stuck in a rut. Their response rate is stuck at three percent or six percent or sixteen percent, but it’s stuck at that number.  So I will ask them what they have tried doing differently. And invariably I get the response, “huh? What do you mean?”

That is because they don’t do anything differently. They send out the same message over and over. They think they have arrived at some ceiling response rate and this is as good as it’s ever going to get.  They don’t think about why their response rate is what it is.

They should be experimenting.  

They should take each sentence and look at it both on it’s own and in its fit with the rest of the message. They should ask “what is this sentence accomplishing?”

Is it too fat?  Too many words? For example: “In essence the core of your problem is not enough money for new initiatives” can become “Your problem is not enough money for new initiatives” or even “You need more money for new initiatives.” A more direct statement in half the words.

Or a sentence may be too thin, lack backup, read awkwardly, or not fit with the rest of the message.  

I found in one message that it made a difference if I referred to the recipient by name at the start of a sentence versus the end of the sentence.

The call to action may be too weak, or conversely, too unrealistic given the message.

And results should be tracked. Nothing is worse than going, “we did well back in January.  Now, which message was that?”

I have five core building blocks  in my InMail programs and one of them is constant experimentation.

So shake things up a little. You might be surprised.   

 

Rule Number One For Getting More Out Of LinkedIn InMail

Use them.

This is pretty obvious when you think about it, but bear with me for a moment so I can provide some context.

As someone who spends a lot of his day involved with InMail, I have found four broad categories of InMail users on LinkedIn.

The tiniest category of InMail users are the ones who use it all the time and are  successful with it.

The next smallest category are the people who use InMail and have a little success with it. Their attitude seems to be that “what the heck, we get twenty of these things each month in our premium subscription, we might as well use them.” Their attitude is that any responses they get to their InMail is a bonus, a windfall.  

Then there is the “fire, fail, and forget about it” crowd. These folks have tried using InMail, failed miserably, given up, and just ignore the InMails they receive from LinkedIn each month.

And lastly, the biggest group are InMail users who never use InMail at all. They either don’t understand how to use it, or they haven’t figured out where it fits with their other outreach efforts, or both.

So the vast majority of InMail “users” aren’t users at all. They have either given up or never tried.

And that is the biggest mistake InMail users make: they don’t use their  allotted InMails every month. And as the celebrated philosopher Wayne Gretzky once said:

              “You miss one hundred percent of the shots you don’t take.”

How will you ever get better with no practice? You get sharp at using InMail by actually using InMail. By experimenting and seeing what works and what doesn’t. I have one InMail message I have been using for over two years. I have probably made a couple hundred tweaks and changes to it as I constantly experiment, trying to find the optimal wording.  

To a lot of LinkedIn users, InMail is a dirty word and practically interchangeable with the word “Spam”. But that’s because most InMails are just embarrassingly  bad sales pitches. LinkedIn users will take a message they wouldn’t dream of sending via email and think nothing of sending it via InMail. Then they are mystified when they get no response.

A badly written InMail is spam.

A well written InMail is one where I stop and go, “That’s interesting.” I may respond, I may not. But it wasn’t spam. 

If you are a premium Linkedin subscriber, you have paid for these InMails. Get out there and use them. But use your brains. Try different wordings and calls to action. Experiment, experiment, experiment. If you are a Sales Navigator user, you get 20 InMails a month (and some plans get more). Going from zero to just a measly five percent response rate will bring you one extra conversation with a prospect every month for each sales rep on your team with a Sales Navigator subscription.

So take some shots. You may not score as often as Wayne Gretzky, but that’s better than watching from the bench.   

 

Goldilocks And The Three Bears’ LinkedIn InMails

a-bear
One day, Goldilocks was out for a walk in the forest, and she came upon a cottage. Going inside she found three tables with three laptop computers, all with LinkedIn accounts open on their screens. Each screen had an InMail message on it.

She went to the first screen and read the InMail, where the sender had made a naked sales pitch, asking for a meeting to showcase their product.

“Eww,” said Goldilocks, “this person doesn’t care about what my problems are, it’s all about her! This InMail is just too hot!” And she ignored the InMail.

Then she went to the second computer, where the InMail sender hoped that the recipient liked their message.

“Yuck,” said Goldilocks, who as a pre-adolescent didn’t have much of a vocabulary, “there is no call to action here, just some wishy-washy grovelling at the end. This InMail is way too cold.”

So she went and looked at the third laptop, where the InMail contained some ideas of value to the recipient, and ended with a pointed call to action to start a conversation between the sender and the recipient.

“Yowza,” said Goldilocks, “this InMail is just right!” And she was about to type in a response to the beautiful InMail when the three bears, who owned the little cottage returned, yelled “WTF are you doing with our LinkedIn accounts?” and ate her.

The End

Moral of the story: Keep your InMails short, so that the recipient has time to respond and get away before being eaten.

Didn’t see that one coming, did you?

Okay, okay, alternate moral: Have a call to action that…  

  1. Is appropriate for your message. For example, if you want to get a face to face meeting as a result of your InMail, your message had better be incredibly good.
  2. Is a real call to action. Being overly solicitous and asking someone to reply when they have time isn’t going to get you the response rate you want.
  3. Doesn’t make “no” an easy alternative. If you can get your recipient to want more – more information or more explanation – that makes “no” a tough answer.