I received about a dozen LinkedIn InMails this past week. They were cold emails disguised as requests to connect. What creamed my corn was how impersonal the InMails were, yet the senders certainly thought they were being genuine in their engagement. While LinkedIn allows companies to send many of these based on some search criteria, this goes into the concept of quantity versus quality. I would argue quality is a stronger quest for companies, and probably a more cost-friendly one.
Putting your research in the back seat: When marketers use an offering like LinkedIn to send out InMails and connection requests, many will not take the time to research what keywords and interests are truly applicable. I have lost count of the number of InMails I have received that were selling marketing services to my marketing agency (services my agency provides). Bring your marketing research up to the front and make sure you truly understand what companies you want to target. Having a narrower search with fewer targets is ok.
Skipping the connection to go to the sell: Many marketers are still missing the mark when it comes to emails and InMails. They launch right into what they are selling. Instead of working on a real connection (you are asking me to add you to my network), the communication is all about them and what they want. Use the first InMail as an ask – to be part of your prospect’s network. Take the time to develop a connection with your prospect first. Having a narrower search with fewer targets can allow you to cultivate relationships.
Sending a generic message with a large demand: This is by far the boldest way to go when sending InMails. The message is clearly canned and very generic, and the call to action is to book a half hour to chat about their products and services. Time is the most precious resource for your prospects – they cannot get time back. However, many marketers will send a flimsy argument as to why the prospect should hand it over without any relationship at all. Work on providing something, like expertise or knowledge, and give something away first.
LinkedIn InMail is not good or bad. How the mode of communication is used can be off the intended mark, however. Take the time to use this mode wisely – your prospects will notice.