Using LinkedIn InMail to generate leads

In B2B marketing, all of us will agree that LinkedIn offers great options to promote your business. Though the LinkedIn Company page is also an option, the best way is to really manage promotions through a personal profile. In this post, we look at Sponsored InMail, which is now available to all advertisers. How does one go about using LinkedIn InMail to generate leads

What is LinkedIn InMail

It is an ad format that allows you to send personalized messages to a targeted audience within the LinkedIn platform. If you are connected to some person as a 1st degree connection, then you have the opportunity to send the person a message directly. Depending on the kind of subscription you have with LinkedIN, you might even have some InMails per month as part of your package. This means that even when you are not connected with people (your 2nd degree or 3rd degree connections), you can send messages to these guys using InMail.

With Sponsored InMail, this takes it even further. You can target a specific target profile, set a budget and send personalized messages to their Inbox’es (on LinkedIn). This way you can be using LinkedIn InMail to generate leads

One may argue that traditional email marketing is still one of the most effective inbound strategies, it has become a saturated market where your message can get quickly lost in user inboxes. Besides, the deliverability of messages is a big question mark with all the spam filtering mechanisms in place today.  LinkedIn Sponsored InMail is a great way to reach your audience in a similar way, through a platform proven for business professionals, but without all the noise. You might be also interested in reading about How to create a LinkedIn business profile

In many ways similar to an email broadcast

How can you be sure the user will take action on your message once it’s seen? Many of the best practices, which are used in email marketing come into play here, but there are also some key differences between email and InMail.

Let’s walk through some tips that you can implement on how you can ensure your LinkedIn Sponsored InMail ads will actually help you in increasing conversions.

Make sure that you have a remarkable offer

From promoting whitepapers, e-books to free trials of product, Sponsored InMail is really perfect for sharing promo content offers to your target audience.

Assuming your brand is creating remarkable content, InMail can help you capitalize on it to generate leads.  You can use InMails to send  personalized invitations to any digital or physical events that you are hosting or attending. You can use InMails to invite participants to a webinar. It is an very effective way to spread the word to a new audience. Through the InMail, you can link to a landing page to register or get more information.

Cater Your Message to the right Target Audience

Like segmenting and targeting your message for email, you should also be doing the same for InMail, and there are several steps involved in crafting the perfect message for your target audience.

With InMail ads, you automatically increase your chance of user engagement because the message is only delivered to those actively using the platform at that moment, whether on desktop or through the mobile app.

This means your InMail message is delivered in real-time and won’t get lost in a flooded inbox or blocked by spam — two things we’re constantly battling with, when it comes to traditional email marketing.

Of course, once the InMail is delivered, you still need to entice them to view and take action on it.

Selecting the right Target Audience

Just like LinkedIn Sponsored Content ads, Sponsored InMail allows you to select a target audience based on set parameters. These include:

  •   Locations
  •   Company Name
  •   Company Industry
  •   Company Size
  •   Job Title
  •   Job Function
  •   Job Seniority
  •   Schools
  •   Fields of Study
  •   Degrees
  •   Skills
  •   Groups
  •   Gender
  •   Age
  •   Years of Experience

Though all steps in the article are important, selecting the right target audience is critical. This is where you are choosing exactly who will be receiving your ad. Make sure they are aligned with your primary buyer persona to increase the value that your message will be providing.

Ways to optimize your ad, Choose an appropriate sender

Sponsored InMail allows you to choose who the sender of the message will be. The person you choose should have good credibility and relevant connections in the industry. This is needed to help establish trust.

Note that in order to add a new sender, the ad account manager will need to be a first connection to the individual and have a profile picture.

Really think through your subject line- needs to be crisp, short and engaging

The subject line will appear in the left column of the messenger and at the top of your message, therefore it needs to be short so no text gets cut off.  You’re limited to only 60 characters so think wisely and be sure that the subject you choose conveys a clear message.

LinkedIn recommends utilizing some of the following keywords:

  •   Thanks
  •   Exclusive invitation
  •   Connect
  •   Opportunities
  •   Join us/me

In addition to your subject line, you can also add Summary text similar to “preview” text in emails. This is an additional 60 characters that desktop users will see beneath the subject line for insight on what the full message entails.

Personalize your message

Yes, the message is being sent out in bulk, but make the recipient feel special. Personalization really helps with this. Talk to the individual in first person, involve some emotions and sentiment.

If your target audience includes people in the same industry or who have the same job title, bring up those specifics in your copy. These details will resonate better with the user and help keep their interest and attention.

Have a Clear Call-to-Action

Like an email, your InMail should have one clear call-to-action. Luckily, Sponsored InMail’s calls-to-action are designed to stand out in your message as a blue button.  Ensure that the text you choose to feature on the button is a direct action you want the user to take next. LinkedIn recommends using top-performing InMail keywords like:

  •   Try
  •   Register
  •   Reserve
  •   Join
  •   Confirm
  •   Download

Include a Body Text Link

In additional to your blue button, be sure to include a contextual link to your call-to-action or offer in your message. You can hyperlink a part of your text that relates directly to the offer or has a strong statement on the next step the user should take.

This will increase your chance for click-through rates as there is now more opportunities to drive the user to your landing page.

Test with the ad variations

Sponsored InMail allows you to craft up to 100 ad variations. Nope I am not messing with the zero’s. You read it right, 100 ad variations.

It is really upto you to experiment and test different combinations of offers, copy, images to see what resonates and performs best with your target audience.

Just because you can test 100 things does not mean that you should. Start off by creating 2-3 different ads and limiting what you change to one item in each ad (e.g. the subject line).  Then, see which ad received the highest open rates and use that as your base to test the next piece of your campaign, i.e. the message content or offer.

You can continue testing and tweaking your ads over time to keep the better-performing ones active and save on wasted ad spend for ones not getting results.

Make Sure Your Landing Page is Optimized for Mobile

This isn’t something you can set up when creating a LinkedIn Sponsored InMail campaign, but it needs to be noted nonetheless. The landing page used in the campaign needs to be responsive for mobile devices.  With 85% of LinkedIn engagement coming from mobile, the majority of the users engaging with your ad will already be on mobile.

The last thing you want is to deter a lead because the user has a terrible experience on a hard-to-read site once driven to the landing page. The Sponsored InMail ad is already responsive so having your landing page also responsive will aid consistent user experience and increase your conversion opportunity.

Follow these steps and you will be well on your way to using LinkedIn InMail to generate leads, You can expect to increase your conversions through LinkedIn Sponsored InMail ads. Planning is very important and make sure that you set your goals well before you launch any ads.

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