The first initial contact you make with a prospect, both online and offline, are essential in developing long-lasting business relationships.
If you work in sales or marketing, you’ll understand the value of spending time widening your business circle, making valuable connections as you do so. The social media platform, LinkedIn is a great place for lead generation, allowing professionals to reach out to others who they may be able to help or who may be able to help them.
LinkedIn users are able to directly message and get in touch with their 1st-degree connections. However, if someone is a 2nd or 3rd-degree connection (or out of your network with no connections in common with you), they can only be contacted via LinkedIn’s InMail.
InMails get a 10-25% response rate, 300% higher than emails. [Source - LinkedIn Sales Blog]
Don’t forget that you’ll need a premium LinkedIn account in order to send LinkedIn InMail - find out the different types of subscriptions available in our blog, LinkedIn Premium Accounts Explained for Personal and Company Use.
However, cold messaging, like cold calling, can be daunting. But it doesn’t have to be that way if you approach each prospect individually in order to be helpful, not pushy. Don’t take a cookie-cutter messaging approach - by sending spammy, untargeted messages, this will tarnish your personal brand as well as your business’.
Consider the Purpose of the InMail
Imagine that during your daily LinkedIn browsing, you’ve discovered the perfect prospect. They may be a great fit for your business’ service or products and you’re willing to use a LinkedIn InMail credit to get in touch. Even though you may be keen to show off how your business can help a prospect, chances are they won’t be as excited to buy from a company they’ve never heard of before.
If your main focus is to ‘SELL, SELL, SELL’, you will get ignored. You should focus on building rapport, finding out how you can bring value by connecting with that person.
Mention Any Personal Connections
Take some time to look at their profile and get a feel for who they are, their role within the business, past experience and their interests. You may discover you have a business connection in common or studied the same degree at university so don’t be afraid to mention it. Find common ground to show that you’re interested in that person and developing a relationship with them, not just in closing a deal.
Keep It Short and Sweet
The shorter your message the better - LinkedIn actually found that messages with 100 words or less increase your chances at getting a response! As with all types of marketing, people are turning to mobile and so if prospects are reading your InMail on a small screen, they don’t want to be scrolling down a massive essay on how amazing you are, blah blah blah.
Is your main goal to increase your valuable connections by reaching out to prospects? Your message doesn’t have to be complex, simply explain who you are and why you’d like to connect in a couple of sentences.
Pick the Right Time
Similar to email marketing best practices, you need to pay attention to the time you send your InMail messages too. Think about when your recipient is most likely to be scrolling through LinkedIn and in the right headspace to read your message and take action. If you know they’re going to be working 9-5, you might want to send your InMail at the start of the day or just after lunch so they can take a look, and hopefully respond before they get stuck into their workload.
Finish with a Clear CTA
After they’ve read your InMail, what’s next? Whether you want them to connect with you or arrange an informal meeting to meet in person, it’s important that you give clear instructions on next steps. By being straight to the point, the other person will be more likely to respond to whatever you have suggested.
By sending a clear, short InMail to introduce yourself, you can effectively engage with new prospects, opening the door to potential business in the future. For this reason, LinkedIn is a great tool for building your connections, and InMail is a fantastic way for business professionals like you, to reach anyone in your region, the nation or even the world!
Interested in finding out more about the potential of LinkedIn for your business? Get in touch today to discuss a specialised workshop focusing on improving your personal and business marketing on LinkedIn.