What are Linkedin InMails and the Do’s and Don’ts of Using Them?

We are all on Linkedin to network and build our credibility and visibility. And to have access to a wider audience is a real bonus. InMails can help you do this.

What is an InMail?

InMails are private messages that allow you to reach out to people outside of your network – your 2nd and 3rd connections. They appear in people’s LinkedIn InBoxes.

You have a limit on how many you can send depending on your LinkedIn subscription type.

You have 2000 characters to use in the main body of the message. But that doesn’t mean you have to use the allowance. But more on that subject later…

From the get go let me tell you that you only have access to InMails if you have a Premium (paid for) account with LinkedIn

So is it worth paying for Premium to be able to message people beyond your 1st connections?

If your InMail campaign is successful then the cost of the monthly or even annual fee is insignificant compared to the business you will get down the line. Of course, your success depends on the quality and effectiveness of your InMail, the quality of the people you are sending it to and the appropriateness of the message to the audience.

Do not scatter your message far and wide

Like any marketing message, the InMail needs to be well targeted. Be nothing less than ruthless about it. It’s your reputation on the line.

Many people use InMails to send mass marketing messages. I don’t know about you but I get a lot of messages that haven’t been well targeted.

Why do people send me InMails to sell me LinkedIn lead generation services?! LOL! Or an invitation to in-person events in the USA (I am based in Europe).

If you are going to mass message people then be highly targeted. If that is impossible, don’t do it. Send a personalised message.

Make it about them – it’s not about you

Why do people talk all about their own company and/or services for the first million paragraphs before getting to what the reader wants to hear about – what is the offer, what are the benefits, how will it help me?

Find out what people’s pain points are and the solutions they are looking for before you begin to write your InMail. Do your research well.

Be concise and highly relevant

No one wants to read masses of copy. Just the sight of a block of copy is off putting. They want to know what it is about asap… What’s in it for them. Why they should take any action. And this all needs to happen in 3 seconds. Be concise or risk losing people before they have even started to read what you have written.

Be relevant. I received an InMail in July giving away ‘free 3-5 day stays at 5-star hotels worldwide’. Really!!!?? In the middle of a pandemic when people are not travelling? I don’t think so!

Unlike regular InBox messages, you have the opportunity to add a subject line. And you should. But please make it irresistible!

Think about the goal of your InMail – it is not what you might think it is

Your ultimate end goal is to sell something. I know that’s a bit blunt but ultimately that is why we are all on this platform. We want to build our businesses.

But don’t try to do it in one step. Break the process down into small steps.

The InMail is a small part of this process. Think what the aim of the InMail should be. It should be to take them to the next small step. Always think about how this process would pan out if it is in a face to face situation. You wouldn’t meet someone at a networking event and say “Hi, I am Joe Bloggs. I have this great product – wanna buy it?”

With the goal of the InMail in mind, you can more easily write the message and have a clear call to action at the end

“How you do anything is how you do everything”

Take care over your writing. Check what you have written. Get someone else to read it through, someone removed from the content so that you get feedback on how effective it is at communicating your message.

Here is a poor example of an InMail message I received recently:-


We are in the same group and I think it’s good to help each other.

What skills do you want to be endorsed for?

If you got a sec you can boost my 5 top skills.

Let me know what skills you want to be endorsed for.”

It is concise but not compelling and does not give a great impression. It is not friendly. It reads as if it’s been written in a hurry.

Be enthusiastic, conversational, using your personal, authentic voice
Be real. Don’t be salesy.

What experiences do you have to share about using InMails or receiving them?


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