by Andrew Wise
According to LinkedIn, it is the king of B2B marketing. The numbers speak for themselves, too.
With the knowledge that 94 percent of B2B buyers use LinkedIn to distribute their content and 80 percent of B2B leads come from LinkedIn, the time is now to master LinkedIn so you can get more business by mastering InMail.
But, you need to know how to respond to InMail correctly. In fact, 48 percent of B2B decision makers won’t even respond to your InMail if it’s not personalized to them.
So here are the hacks to help get your InMail read, and lead to more closed deals:
1. Catch their attention in the subject line by mentioning a common connection (like your alma mater)
Thirty-three percent of email recipients will decide whether or not they want to open an email based on the subject line alone. Seriously. LinkedIn messages are no different. A catchy subject line may be the difference between receiving a response and having your email collect dust in their folders. There are several ways you can go about doing this, but it’s always a safe bet to either:
- Mention a mutual connection
- Mention a shared interest
- Mention an achievement of theirs
If you use one of these three tips in your subject line, you will catch the attention of your recipient and possibly intrigue them enough to open your message. Getting someone to open what you sent is half the battle.
2. Keep the email short and sweet
Time is precious and no one wants to waste time reading a 10 paragraph message from a random person on LinkedIn.
Use the word “because”—it’s been proven that the mere existence of a stated reason for doing something caused a 55 percent increase in conversion rate.
End the message with a call-to-action. In my case, I’m asking them to point me to the right person to speak to, which is an easier decision for many people than actually saying yes.
3. Personalize your message based on their profile
This goes hand-in-hand with the previous tip. If you’re sending out messages to people, you don’t want to send the same generic one out to every person on your list. Our example sales representative mentioned that they both went to Dowling College. How did they know their prospect went there? By looking at their profile.
The ultimate goal of these LinkedIn messages isn’t necessarily to get someone to agree to work for you, but rather to open the lines of communication so it can be discussed.
There’s no better way to get someone talking than to turn the conversation into one about him. Ask questions, refer to things they’ve mentioned in their profile, and make him feel special. That little personalized touch goes a long way.
4. Mention someone you know in common
LinkedIn is a website that thrives on mutual connections. If you see that you share a connection with someone that you’re interested in talking to, ask that mutual connection if they mind being name-dropped. Chances are, your mutual connection will be fine with it.
Having that name breaks the ice and gives you something to discuss when all else fails. It also brings some credibility to you and what you are saying, because the recipient is able to find some comfort in the knowledge that your mutual has vouched for you.
A prospect is 46 percent more likely to accept an InMail if she are connected to someone who works at your company. The business world is all about the people you know and what they can do for you—and LinkedIn is no different. Take advantage of it. LinkedIn even suggests you do this in the InMail compose window.
5. Don’t rely solely on InMail
In a perfect world, you would send out an email and the other person would respond immediately. There would be no waiting, no stressing, and no playing hard to get. Unfortunately, that’s not realistic.
Sometimes, a LinkedIn message isn’t enough to get a response. Frequently, LinkedIn users will have various social media accounts attached to their LinkedIn profiles, so you might as well take advantage of that information.
When you send someone a message on LinkedIn, make sure to follow them on Twitter, too. Send them a tweet to let them know you contacted them on LinkedIn. Not only will it catch their attention that you took the initiative to reach out elsewhere, but it’s double the notifications on their phone—that is attention grabbing.
6. If you don’t hear back, reach out again using this follow-up schedule
Sending a follow-up message six days after the initial message, and seven days after the second message resulted in a 24 percent response rate for Wise Startup Blog.
If someone ignores your first message, don’t be afraid to send another. There is a fine line between being persistent and outright annoying, however, so try to wade through those waters carefully. Waiting five days between messages is usually common courtesy, so don’t get discouraged if they don’t respond before that time frame.
Assuming that you really want to speak with this person, wait the allotted time then send another message. Forward the previous message back to them with a little something added to the title like “Just want to make sure you saw this.” They will appreciate your persistence.
Something to always keep in mind, however, is that many people do not like to deal with work related things on weekends. As a matter of fact, a LinkedIn message is 16 percent less likely to be opened on a Saturday than any other day of the week, so choose your days wisely.
7. Be professional, but inject some personality into your message
You’re the professional here, and you’re the one who needs something from them. You should make sure to always sound courteous and professional, but also be sure to show your personality and intrigue them enough to merit a response. You want to come across as easy to approach and conversational, but not so much so that they don’t take you seriously.
I like to think of it as talking to an old friend you haven’t seen in a long time. You’re not at that comfort level where you can make questionable jokes and say inappropriate things, but you’re not talking to them as if they’re your boss or another higher-up. Find that happy medium that works for you and stick with it.
The time is now
LinkedIn messages are still under-utilized, which is why people open them. It hasn’t (and hopefully won’t) reached a saturation point. So now is the time to take advantage of these fantastic open rates and make more connections and sales with LinkedIn.
Andrew Wise is a serial entrepreneur whose sites generate $1-plus million in revenue and receive 2.6-plus million uniques per year. On his blog, Wise Startup Blog, he shares actionable advice on how you can build massive, passive income streams, designed for the complete newbie. Follow him on Twitter @WiseStartupBlog.