Using InMails: Beginner to Advanced (LinkedIn)

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InMails are unsolicited messages.
They’re emails sent through LinkedIn.

InMail’s can be sent to anyone with a LinkedIn profile. You don’t have to be connected in any degree. You send an InMail by clicking the “Send InMail” link at the top of a profile.

There are over 30 million users on LinkedIn (October 2008). With InMail’s you have access to almost all of them.

Beginner Scenario 1:

I’ve read Keith Ferrazzi’s book. It was helpful and I have an idea for a guest post on my blog. I want to get in touch with Keith, but I don’t have his email address.

With an InMail I have access to him. Ta-da!

But that doesn’t mean he’ll respond.

Intermediate Scenario 2:

I use the warmth of an InMail to get response.

There’s a CEO of a management consulting firm I want to get to know. I was able to dig up his email address, but let’s face it: an email from an unrecognized source is quickly discarded. This CEO receives hundreds of unsolicited email each day. I'm no one special.

Instead, I choose to send an InMail. My avatar picture shows a real person behind the message, not a spam machine. I personalize the message. “I know a few of the same people…” or “I attend such-and-such a group as well…”

I don’t move too fast, too soon: “Let’s schedule a lunch meeting tomorrow” sounds needy. Honestly, would you date a stranger after a first email correspondence?

I never, ever, ask any variation of the question: “Could you tell me more about your organization? I want to see how I can help.” Why? Because everyone else does. People expect you to do your research.

Rules for Getting to the Advanced Level

One cardinal rule: if it sounds canned, it will be canned. If you wish to get to the advanced level of InMail connecting, try the following:

First, prove you’re a person by personalizing the message. Be creative. Use names. A good avatar will help prove you have a soul.

Second, prove your competency, and don’t blabber about it. Instead, associate yourself with a brand that your contact respects. Maybe a company your contact works with. Better yet, a person she knows.

Third, learn to write in IPL (important person language). IPL is unique, brief, value-adding, and prompting. The message must stand out, be on point, add value for a response, and prompt a reply. Actually, forget the IPL. Learn to write all business prose using these principles.

Bonus: Often, a well researched question gets results. Try this: “So-and-so at company X is having this problem. We were able to solve it. Does this problem exist at your company?” This adds credibility, shows research, and prompts a response.

Double Bonus: Read Seth Godin's post about sending personal email. It's gold. Apply the principles to InMail.

Before you get started

Remember, like any valuable resource, InMails are scarce. They also cost money.

Also, know that the quality of your InMail will be evaluated. Every time an InMail recipient denies your message, your feedback score will do down (a 5-star system). That’s part of the challenge fun.

If you’re consistently getting denied, you’re doing something wrong. (Again, just like dating, right?)

To date I’ve sent over 150 InMails. One in three gets positive response.

Views: 1586

Comment by Chris on August 7, 2009 at 11:20am
I'm finding them extremely valuable as well. I also luckily got my premium account back a few years ago when it was only 19.99.

Love the part about "IPL".

Not a recruiting guide, but Jill Konrath's book "Selling to Big Companies" has a ton of great tips and tutorials on writing emails that get read and acted on..

More on inmails:


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