LinkedIn Shares InMail Best Practices to Help Maximize Your Response Rates

Looking to make use of LinkedIn InMail as part of your marketing outreach?

If so, you need to read this – the team from email marketing platform Lavender recently analyzed 28.3 million emails to glean more insight into the key trends and message traits that can help to maximize your LinkedIn outreach success.

Again, if you’re looking to use InMail (yes, I realize LinkedIn has moved away from calling it ‘InMail’ in recent times, but it’s still a specific indicator of LinkedIn messages), then it’s worth taking note of these five analytics notes, which could help to boost your response rates.

First off, the analysis suggests that shorter is better in LinkedIn messaging outreach:

 LinkedIn InMail best practices

As per Lavender:

Emails that are 25-50 words get 65% more replies than the usual 125-word cold email.

Basically, people don’t have time to read a novella to understand your sales pitch – get to the point and give people a chance to quickly assess, as opposed to asking for too much time commitment up front to go through the intricacies of your message.

Worth noting too that, similarly, LinkedIn has previously reported that InMails under 400 characters perform best:

 LinkedIn InMail study

Fewer words, less time commitment = better response. Worth considering in your process.

Next – simplify your language:

“70% of emails are written at or beyond a 10th grade reading level. If you take that 10th grade writing and bring it to a 5th grade reading level, you’ll see 50% more replies.

 LinkedIn InMail best practices

Sure, you might sound smarter by using more verbose language (and I do realize the irony of using a term like ‘verbose’ in this context). But if people need to refer to just to understand what the heck it is that you’re saying, again, you’re asking them to commit more time than they’re likely going to on a cold pitch.

Yes, storytelling has been a key element of every content marketer’s slideshow presentation for the last decade, and there is value to sharing the ‘why’ of your business. But you also need to be wary of your audience at each turn, and for each element of your communication.

Your email outreach doesn’t need to explain your entire brand story, no matter how great you think it is.

Next up: Personalization.

 LinkedIn InMail best practices

Now, how you specifically measure personalization in this context is subjective, but the concept is that the more you can create messages intended for each specific reader, the more likely they’ll be to open and read what you have to say.

When you’re approaching someone on LinkedIn, the need for personalization only magnifies […] If you frame everything in your message to be focused on them, it is more likely to catch your reader’s interest.”

That can be hard to scale, but the idea holds true across the board – the more you can spell out why this message is specifically relevant to each reader, the more success you’ll ultimately see.

This is where audience segmentation is important. The person who just bought a pair of sunglasses from your business is probably not in the market for another set for a little while, but they may be interested in protective and care elements, or, of course, your other products. By segmenting your audiences, and continually refreshing which outreach list they’re on, you can improve response rates.

This is just one example of how to better personalize at scale.

The next key element is the tone of the language that you use – and specifically, the need to avoid trying to ‘educate’ the buyer.

 LinkedIn InMail best practices

The analysis suggests that you should avoid talking about yourself, or even your brand, and instead try to invite engagement based on your offering.

Prospective customers don’t want to be talked at. They want to be talked with. Instead of using an informative tone, try to create a more tentative, unassuming, or unsure, tone.

Asking questions like: “if that sounds right, then let’s connect” can be one way to invite engagement, and align with the readers’ thinking, as opposed to trying to tell them why they need to listen.

Finally, Lavender’s analysis suggests that, once you do get a reply, asking even more questions, and inviting further personalization and engagement, can be key.

 LinkedIn InMail best practices

This, again, leans into the concept that people want to be heard, not pitched to, and the more you are hearing them, and tuning into their questions, the better you can enhance that relationship, and improve connection, which will make them more likely to buy.

Conversion won’t always happen, of course, no matter how clever your outreach flow is, but these data-backed pointers provide some solid notes on how to speak to people, not at them, and how that can then invite more engagement with your brand messaging.

Worth considering in your LinkedIn outreach – and with LinkedIn just recently launching a new ‘Other’ folder in your inbox, where junk emails will go to die, you need to consider how you can maximize engagement, and keep yourself in the main InMail feed, in order to maintain connection with prospects.

You can read Lavender’s full analysis report here.

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