Land Of The Canned: LinkedIn Messages That Are Wearing Thin

One of the great incongruities with the idea of social selling is the volume of messages that people wind up sending. Instead of cold calling a hundred people  once, it becomes a hundred people to monitor, share content with, comment on and send messages to.

To be social you need lots of engagement.

But lots of engagement sounds like a lot of work.

Enter the mass messaging.

Which sounds great. Come up with a message and send it to a hundred people.

But there are two problems with the mass messaging approach: zero customization and zero personalization. I receive messages all the time offering to help me…with my LinkedIn skills…or publish content on LinkedIn…or generate sales leads. It is apparent that these people didn’t bother looking at my profile, and that I was just one of a large number of people sent this same message.

Let me see if I can put this politely:

Actually reading the profile of someone you want to send a message to may seem like a lot of work, but there is a lot to be said for not looking like an idiot.

Not that polite? Sorry.

You wind up receiving messages like this: “I see you looked at my profile and based on your fascinating background I think we should connect.“ (this was an actual message a friend received a few weeks ago).

So what you have are irrelevant messages apparently being sent to a large number of recipients who didn’t request them. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what we call spam. So while people sending these messages may think they are being brilliant social sellers, they are actually closer to pond scum.

The worst part with this type of  messaging is the apparent contempt of the sender for the recipient. That’s what really grinds me the most. Your assumption that I will be flattered and stupid enough to fall for it.

The solution? Customization and personalization. For each person. And each message. The operative word is “person.”

And the people that send me those sad little boilerplate messages? I always respond courteously and thank them for my interest, point out that reading my profile would have saved them the effort, and wish them success in their next job.

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.