Email VS Linkedin Message: What is Better for Cold Outreach?

Are cold emails better than LinkedIn messages?

Cold email is simpler, but it’s hard to get good results. Linkedin gives better results, but it’s harder to scale.

That’s why you should use both. They are two complementary outreach channel.

Here we analyze the benefits and disadvantages of each channel and how you can combine them for the best results.

  1. Cold Emails
  2. Linkedin Messages (Connection Requests)
  3. Linkedin Inmails

Want to know if you should use email or linkedin message?

Keep reading.

Cold Email: Pros & Cons

Cold Email is the most simple and popular channel for outreach campaigns, but it’s not so easy to get good results.

Benefits of Cold Email

The main two benefits of cold email is that the outreach is direct and easy to scale.

1. Your message lands directly in the main inbox

Unlike Linkedin messages, cold emails land directly into the main inbox of your prospects

cold email vs linkedin message

You are 100% sure that your prospect will notice your email if you manage to pass the spam filter.

This is not the case with linkedin message. On Linkedin, you need to first send a connection request to send a Linkedin Message.

2. Cold Email is easy to scale

Cold email is pretty easy to scale for two reasons. First one is that you can send up to 150-200 emails per day with your email address.

It means you can send up to 6000 cold emails per month (including follow-ups, so that doesn’t mean you can contact 6000 people).

email outreach scaling

If case you want to increase your prospecting capacity, you only need to create a second email address to double the amount of email you can send.

No need to create a fake identity like you need to do when you create a 2nd Linkedin profile, you can easily manage 2 email addresses with one person.

2. Disadvantages of Cold Email

There are 3 disadvantages to cold email. The channel is really competitive. Finding the right emails and manage deliverability is hard.

1. Finding the right emails

The main disadvantage of cold email is that you need to find the right email of your prospects. That’s the hardest step.

For this, you can collect them manually or use an email finder. The best strategy to date is to get emails from Linkedin Sales Navigator.

This way, you get a clean CSV of leads with all the data you need and verified emails.

The thing is you will never find 100% of the emails. Plus, among the email you find, not 100% will be verified emails.

Using an email finder, you can expect to get between 30% and 70% of verified emails in a lead list. If you can get the rest, you will need to find them manually.

2. Passing spam filters

To get into your prospect’s inbox, you need to work on deliverability, so you pass spam filters.

linkedin message vs email deliverability

Among the deliverability checklist there is:

  • Set up DNS Records (DKIM, DMARC, SPF)
  • Use a reputable provider (like Gmail)
  • Keep a clean email list
  • Warm up your mailbox
  • Maintain good open and reply rate

You can follow this step-by-step guide here. If you want to test your email deliverability, you also can take a look at Glockapps

3. Standing out in flooded inboxes

Our inbox get flooded with cold email every day. It’s harder and harder to stand out.

If you want to use cold email as your main lead generation channel, you will need to become excellent at copywriting.

stand out cold email inbox

Copy-pasting spammy messages to people won’t work. You will need to spend time to write personalized messages if you want to have results.

To wrap up, cold email looks easy, but it’s actually a lot of work to get good results. Let’s now see the pros and cons of linkedin messages.

Linkedin Messages: Pros & Cons

It’s easier to get good results with linkedin prospecting, but it’s way harder to scale it.

Benefits of Linkedin Messages

The 3 benefits of linkedin messages are that you don’t need to handle deliverability issues, the open rate is higher and your prospects can easily get more information about you.

1. No deliverability issues

Sending Linkedin messages is way simpler than sending emails. No complicated domain set up. No spam filters. No need to find emails.

When you send a Linkedin message, you are 100% sure that your prospect will get it.

2. Reply rate of Linkedin messages is higher

Linkedin inboxes are way more flooded than email inboxes (for now). Your messages have a better chance to stand out.

linkedin message inbox vs email inbox

That is why open and reply rate tend to be higher on Linkedin

Add a stats

3. Your prospect can check your Linkedin Profile

Linkedin messages also look more human. There is a picture of you next to your message.

If your prospect want to know more about, he can click on your picture to check your linkedin profile and get information

linkedin message benefits

Most people won’t take the time to make research on a person prospecting with email.

The fact that your Linkedin profile is one click away makes it really easy for your prospect to dig more into who you are and what you have to offer.

2. Disadvantages of Linkedin Messages

Linkedin outreach is easy but it’s more difficult to scale. First because you can’t send linkedin messages without sending a connection request first. Second, because the number of connection request you can send is really limited.

1. You need to send a connection request first

You can only send linkedin messages to your first degree connections, meaning the people you are already connected with on linkedin.

linkedin regular messages

You can’t send linkedin messages to 2nd degree connections (people with common connections) or 3rd degree connection (people without common connection)

It means you need your connection request to be accepted before sending a linkedin message.

linkedin connection request

You can send notes with your connection requests, but:

  1. They are limited to 300 characters
  2. Request without notes get higher acceptance rate
  3. You can’t use the following hack if you write notes

Let’s see this in details.

2. Connection request are limited to 100 per week

Linkedin recently reduced the number of connection request you can send: from 100 invitations per day to 100 invitations per week.

There is still a way to bypass this limit and to send up to 500 invitations per week using the hacks described in this video.

Anyway, the prospecting capacity of a linkedin account is way lower than an email address.

You can try to create multiple linkedin accounts to increase your prospecting capacity, but this is harder than with email as Linkedin is fighting this practice.

Linkedin InMails: Pros & Cons

There is another type of messages you can send on linkedin: InMails. This is a premium messaging service that you can use if you subscribe to one of linkedin premium offers.

Benefits of Linkedin Inmails

The benefits of InMails are that you can skip the connection request step and the reply rate is usually higher than emails.

1. Inmails skip the connection request step

Linkedin Inmails is a premium linkedin feature that allow you to land directly into people’s inbox without sending a connection request first.

linkedin inmail message 1

It solves the problem you have with regular linkedin messages.

linkedin inmail vs email

You also have the option to add a subject line to your inmail that will be displayed in the message preview.

2. Inmail reply rate are higher than emails

LinkedIn InMails have better stats than emails. The average email open rate is 22%, while InMail average 57.5%.

Same for response rate, it goes up to 10-25% for InMail messages, whereas for emails stay between 1 to 10%

Disadvantages of Linkedin Inmails

Linkedin Inmails have two disadvantages. It’s a paid feature and it’s hard to scale

1. Inmail is a paid Linkedin Premium Feature

Well, the main issue with inmails is that you need to buy inmails credits to send them. For that, you need to subscribe to one of the premium linkedin offers:

  • Sales Navigator (50 inmails per month)
  • Recruiter (150 inmails per month)
  • Premium Career (5 inmails per month)
  • Premium Business (15 inmails per month)
linkedin inmails credits offers

The cost is not the same for every offer. If you work in sales, you will probably need linkedin sales navigator that cost $99 per month.

2. You have a limited number of Inmails per month

You can only stack up 3 months of linkedin inmail credits, after that, they disappear.

limited inmail messages

It means you can only stack up 150 inmails if you have a linkedin sales navigator subscription.

It’s easy to notice that you can’t rely on Inmails only for your outreach strategy. The amount of messages you can send is way too low.

Even if there are some hacks to send more inmails on linkedin (see the video below)

3. You can’t send Inmail follow-ups

To protect linkedin users from spam, Linkedin doesn’t allow inmail follow up. It means you get only one shot to get a reply from your prospect.

linkedin inmail message follow up

Difficult to say that to sales reps when everybody knows “money is in the follow-ups”

Multichannel Outreach: Send Emails and Linkedin Messages

You can see that emails, linkedin messages and inmails all have benefits and disadvantages.

Best sales teams combine these 3 channels to get the best results.

1. Emails and Linkedin Messages are complementary

Emails, linkedin messages and inmails work really well together. They allow you to use different platform to follow-up with your prospect.

You need to use them by order of capacity:

  1. Emails (150 per day)
  2. Linkedin Messages (Connection Requests: 100 per week)
  3. Inmails (50 per month)

This way, you are saving your connection request and your inmails for people who don’t reply to your emails.

linkedin message and email

This is a prospecting campaign template you can use.

Before you send connection request or inmail you can send 2-3 email follow-ups.

Multichannel outreach generates on average 2x more replies than single channel outreach.

2. You can automate your multichannel outreach

Multichannel cold outreach tools like LaGrowthMachine can automate your lead generation process.

automate linkedin message or email

Using this tool you can build mutichannel sequence combining linkedin, email and soon inmails.

I like this tool because the sequence builder is really visual and it’s really solid. it’s also connect directly to CRMs like Hubspot or Pipedrive.

They don’t automate inmails sendings yet but other linkedin automation tools like linkedin helper or expandi do.

Linkedin Messages and Emails follow the same rules

Whatever outbound channel you use to send your cold messages, they are 3 golden rules that you need to respect in order to get replies: personalization, copywriting and segmentation.

1. Use Personalization

Email and Linkedin inboxes are more and more floaded with spammy message. You need to personalize your message to stand out.

A study from Linkedin showed that Inmail sent individually performed 15% better than Inmails sent in bulk/

personalize email and linkedin message

A good proof that taking the time to personalize your message woth it.

See this message for example:

linkedin inmail template 1

The level of personalisation is very high and you got much more chance to get a reply if you send message that look like this.

2. Be Short

The same study from Linkedin also showed that shorter InMails tended to have higher reply rates.

write short emails or linkedin message

This study was made on InMails but you can totally extrapolate to regular linkedin message and email outreach.

The pricinciple is the same: sending a first message to start a conversation. So same rules apply.

3. Work on Audience Segmentation

A study from LaGrowthMachine showed that prospecting campaings launched on smaller audiences tended to have higher reply rate.

email linkedin audiences

It doesn’t mean that you should always target smaller audiences, but it means you need to work on segmentation.

A good lead generation campaign is composed of:

  • the right message
  • sent to the right people
  • at the right time

If you respect this 3 rules you will get meeting easily.

The era of spammy mass prospecting is over. Segmentation is key to get good results.

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