LinkedIn InMail VS Message: What Is the Difference?

LinkedIn offers two options to start private conversations on their platform: regular messages and InMails.

You may wonder: should I use LinkedIn InMails or messages to reach out to people on LinkedIn?

That is what we answer here.

What is the Difference Between LinkedIn InMail and message?

InMail allows you to directly message another LinkedIn member without sending a connection request first. Regular LinkedIn messages can only be sent to people you’re already connected to. InMail is a paid feature only available to LinkedIn Premium users.

1. The limit of regular LinkedIn messages

With LinkedIn regular messages, you can only DM your 1st Degree connections. That is to say, the people you are already connected with on LinkedIn.

linkedin inmail vs messages

LinkedIn users are in your first degree connection if you send them a connection request, and they accepted it, or the opposite.

With LinkedIn message, you can’t directly contact 2nd degree connections (people with whom you have connection in common) nor 3rd degree connections (people with whom you have no connections in common).

2. The power of LinkedIn InMail messages

LinkedIn InMail messages allows you to contact 2nd and 3rd degree connection without sending a connection request first.

linkedin inmail vs message 1

That way, you can skip the connection request step and land directly into your prospect’s inbox.

When you send an InMail message, the mention “InMail” appears on the inbox of the recipient.

linkedin inmail message

You can also add a subject line to your InMail messages.

Important thing to note: you can’t send follow-ups with InMails.

If your prospect doesn’t reply to your reply, you will need to send a connection request to try to make contact.

3. How to get InMail Credits on LinkedIn

InMail is a premium feature. You can’t send an InMail with a free account.

To get InMail credits, you need to have a LinkedIn premium account.

Each LinkedIn premium offer gives you a different number of InMail credits:

  • LinkedIn Sales Navigator: 50 InMail credits/month
  • LinkedIn Recruiter: 150 InMail credits/month
  • LinkedIn Premium Career: 5 InMail credits/month
  • LinkedIn Premium Business: 15 InMail credits/month
linkedin inmails credits

If you are working in Sales, you will probably go with LinkedIn Sales Navigator.

inmail linkedin sales navigator

Linkedin recently changed it policy regarding the refund of InMail credits. Here is what is written in their documentation:

Every InMail message that is accepted/declined or responded to directly within 90 days of it being sent is credited back. A pending InMail message isn’t counted as either accepted or declined

The more you get replies, the more you get InMail credits. So make sure to work on your LinkedIn prospecting messages to get the most out of your InMail credits.

LinkedIn InMail Vs Message: Which Is the Best for Cold Outreach?

There is no definitive answer to that the question. InMails and regular LinkedIn messages are complementary.

The best thing is actually to use both LinkedIn message and InMails in your lead generation campaign.

1. How to use LinkedIn InMail for Lead Generation ?

InMails are your rarest resources to contact LinkedIn members. You only get 50 per month if you have a Sales Navigator account. So you need to use them with caution.

For LinkedIn and email outreach, you can send:

  • 200 emails per day
  • 100 LinkedIn connection requests per week
  • 50 InMails per month

To reach out to your prospects, you want to use these resources in order of rarity. InMail cost is the highest, so you want to use them last:

  1. Email
  2. LinkedIn connection requests (and messages)
  3. InMails

That way, your LinkedIn prospecting campaigns will look like this.

These are called email-first sequence.

linkedin inmails outreach

If you prefer to start with LinkedIn anyway, you can use LinkedIn-first sequences.

how effective are inmails on linkedin

To wrap up, you only have a few InMails every month. Better use them as a last resort to reach out to people you absolutely need to get meetings with.

2. LinkedIn InMails VS Emails

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

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

But as I said earlier, there is no need to oppose them.

They are also complementary if use you use a multichannel outreach strategy (combining cold email and LinkedIn outreach).

It’s actually pretty easy to get emails from LinkedIn Sales Navigator. Here is a video tutorial:

When you have LinkedIn URL’s + pro emails, you can use a multichannel outreach tool like LaGrowthMachine to automate your messages.

3. How to automate LinkedIn InMail sending

It’s possible to automate LinkedIn InMail sending by using tools like Linked Helper or Expandi.

linkedin inmail automation

These LinkedIn prospecting tools allow you to send InMails on autopilot without needing to write every InMail manually.

A big time saver if your manual InMails are already working.

However, don’t automate InMails if you don’t get replies to your manual InMails!

Scaling bad practices will only scale bad results.

LinkedIn InMails Best Practices

Here are 3 LinkedIn InMail best practices you need to respect when you are sending LinkedIn premium messaging service.

1. Write short InMails

According to LinkedIn data, shorter InMails tend to have higher reply rates than longer InMails.

linkedin inmail best practices

Why is that?

Because you are asking less effort from your prospect to read and answer your messages.

Nobody likes to read super long messages like this. It’s too much effort to make for a complete stranger:

shorter inmails get more replies

The same rules apply for the InMail subject lines. Keep it simple.

One or two word is enough. Your prospect needs to feel like a co-worker could have sent this message.

2. Personalize your InMails

We may have read it a thousand times already, but personalization is the #1 performance factor of prospecting campaigns.

linkedin inmail personalization

According to LinkedIn data, InMails sent individually perform 15% better than InMails sent in bulk. Same thing for template-based InMails vs individual InMails.

linkedin inmail template

Here is a great example of a personalized message (sent by a Recruiter).

It’s hard to replicate this level of personalization at scale, but this is what you should aim for.

4. Don’t send InMails on Friday or Saturday

According to LinkedIn data, InMails sent on Friday and Saturday get lower response rate.

linkedin inmail tips 21.21.44

When you are launching your InMail campaigns, make sure to send earlier in the week.

How to Send Unlimited InMails on LinkedIn?

There is a way to send unlimited InMails on LinkedIn. For this, you need to identify Open Profiles.

Open Profiles are LinkedIn profiles that accepts to be contacted by anyone on LinkedIn without being connected.

To identify them, you can use Sales Navigator and export the leads in your search.

Go to the column Open Profile and filter on TRUE.

send unlimited inmails linkedin

LinkedIn Messages Ads VS InMails

LinkedIn InMails are not the only way to get to your prospect’s inbox without sending a connection request.

You can also use Messages Ads (formerly called Sponsored InMail)

1. What are LinkedIn Message Ads?

Message Ads (or Sponsored InMail) reaches appears directly in your audience LinkedIn Inbox.

message ads linkedin inmails

Instead of “InMail”, the mention “Sponsored” appears on the message. You don’t need your prospect to be a 1st degree connection to send a Message Ad.

Message Ads will only be delivered when you target is active on LinkedIn to optimize open rate.

2. How to use InMail Message Ads for Lead Generation?

Message Ads can be the ultimate LinkedIn follow-up that you send to a prospect when you go no reply to:

  • Email
  • LinkedIn regular messages
  • InMails
message ads linkedin lead generation

So if a prospect doesn’t reply to your InMail, you can try Message Ads as a follow-up.

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