The Open Profile Hack For Sending Free Messages On LinkedIn

Nice, but definitely not free.


Did you know that you can send messages for free to some LinkedIn users that have Premium subscriptions? They are called Open Messages, and most people don’t even know they exist. 

Any premium LinkedIn member can choose to be “Open Profile.” If someone is Open Profile, they can be sent a free message, called an Open Message by any LinkedIn member. 

This is an elective choice that Premium members can make on their accounts. But if you were paying for a LinkedIn premium membership, wouldn’t you want to make it easy for people to contact you? I have a Premium Subscription myself and I get a half dozen messages every month from people who would not otherwise be able to contact me through LinkedIn. 

Open Messaging is a little sneaky. 

If you have Sales Navigator or a Business Premium Account you will be shown people who are Open Message. On their profile will be a green box that says “OPEN”, just to the right of the gold colored “IN” badge. Click on “Message” and a message box will appear. 

For free LinkedIn users, there is no OPEN designation visible, you have to click to send a message and you will find out then whether that person can be sent a free message or not. 

A ways back I ran an intensive outreach campaign. Over a four week period I sent just under two hundred outreach messages to second and third degree connections. I looked for Open Profile people in my searches and just sent my outreach messages to them. Yes, in essence I sent almost 200 InMails…for free.

This isn’t something you can use every day, in every situation. But any time you come across someone interesting or in a search with a premium subscription, it is worthwhile clicking on “message” to see if you can send them one for free. 

Take your edges where you can get them. They add up.

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Getting Better Outreach Response on LinkedIn: Dial Back The Call To Action

I have sent thousands of InMails and outreach messages of all kinds on LinkedIn. I have advised any number of LinkedIn users on their outreach program and specific messages they use.

And today I am here to tell you that one of the biggest factors for lousy response rates is asking for too much in your call to action.

Note I didn’t say what you are asking for but how much. As in how much of a commitment are you asking the other person to make?

In general, the more you ask for, the harder it is going to be to get a positive  response.

If you are asking for a sales call, you are asking for a lot in that outreach message. You typically need to establish your credibility or to establish that you have such a powerful offer that a sales call is a logical next step. It can be done, but you are asking for an awful lot in the outreach message.

On the other hand, if you ask for too little, like an opinion, the other person may not think it is worthwhile responding at all.

I have an approach that works reliably for me. Just start a conversation. My call to action is a question that isn’t easily responded to with a closed answer. I am looking for a response that I can respond right back to. And there is more information on most people’s profiles to work with between their summary, current job, work history and their activity on LinkedIn than you would think. Conversations can build credibility and lead to connecting.

The less risk there is in your CTA versus the possible reward in your CTA – as perceived by the other person – the more successful you will be.

How To Detect If Someone Is Home On LinkedIn

If you are going to use LinkedIn for outreach, it is probably a good idea to know if the person you are reaching out to will be there to answer.

I have talked umpteen times about how something like 75% of LinkedIn users check in less than once a month. If you are expecting a quick response to an outreach message from these people, don’t get your hopes up.   

But if that is the case, how do you figure out who is likely to be in the magic 25% that does use LinkedIn once a month or more? I have found that a reliable indicator is their LinkedIn activity.

I used to go by number of connections, the idea being that the more connections someone has, the more time they have invested in LinkedIn and the more likely it is that they use LinkedIn often. But after some experimentation, I have decided that activity is a better indicator.  

What do I mean by activity? When someone has been active publishing, posting, sharing, commenting or liking on LinkedIn, it shows on their profile, and prominently too, above their experience sections. You can learn a lot from looking at this activity – in particular, in their activity feed, look for the little date stamps right under their name and headline. Reviewing the date stamps will give you an idea of how often someone is using LinkedIn and what they are doing when they do use LinkedIn. I look for the type of activity too – publishing and posting tends to be best, followed by commenting.  

In my experience, the more active someone is on LinkedIn, the more likely they will be to respond to a message from a stranger. However, that doesn’t let you off the hook for the quality of your outreach message. It has to have the usual best practice ingredients – it needs to be personalized so it is obvious it is not a templated message, it has to address something of concern to the other person, it has to establish your credibility, and needs a call to  action.

So go back and have a look at those outreach messages that got no response. Were those people active on LinkedIn, or not home?