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LinkedIn InMail Vs Email – A Practical In-depth Comparison

13 min read
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With each passing day, in this digitally advanced world, everything is changing at a pace which can be difficult to keep up with. And as far as B2B communication was concerned, there was only one giant in the game: Email. But the days are changing, and a new giant is on the playing field: LinkedIn InMail.

In this blog about LinkedIn InMail Vs Email, we will present a thorough analysis of the similarities, differences, their unique points and which one will rule the B2B communication segment in 2022?

Email (Electronic Mail) is something everyone is familiar with. This is the easiest & most effective way to communicate with professionals.

While LinkedIn InMail helps you connect with professionals on LinkedIn who are not in your network. If you are familiar with LinkedIn & how it works, then you must know the agony of not being able to send a message to 2nd or 3rd connections even though you know it is beneficial to both parties.

LinkedIn InMail helps you do just that. It eliminates the waiting you have to do after sending in the connection request and helps you reach out to your prospects easily.

But this LinkedIn feature will cost you money. LinkedIn free account users are not privy to this premium feature.

A Core Professional account of Sales Navigator is the most affordable. It will cost you $79.99/month, and you get 50 InMail credits. So you will be paying $1.60 for every InMail.

Now, we have made you familiar with LinkedIn InMail, Let’s dive in and explore our main topic: LinkedIn InMail vs Email.

LinkedIn InMail vs Email: Which is more effective?

In our introduction part, we have cleared one thing LinkedIn InMail will cost you money. Still, the questions we are going to answer here are: “Is LinkedIn InMail worth investing in?” or “Is Email still ruling the B2B communication?”

Here’s a table of differences between Email and InMail, which will help you put things into perspective:

Comparison of LinkedIn InMail vs Email
Comparison between LinkedIn InMail and Email

1. Is LinkedIn InMail worth investing in?

Free. A word that everyone loves especially when something free can bring in business for you.

Email is that something. Emails have stood the course of the time and have proven it’s worth for every kind of business.

Shooting an email to your prospect is free but crafting an email that can make a lasting impression on your prospect might cost you time & money. For every dollar spent on Email, you get $40 as a return on that investment.

Using a combination of Gmail’s G-suite account and good cold email software, you can send 2000 emails daily. This daily sending limit varies among Email Service Providers (ESP) that you’re using.

Can LinkedIn InMail beat those numbers?

LinkedIn InMail is the feature available to the premium users. LinkedIn InMail cost $79.99/month for 50 credits of InMail.

But here’s where it gets interesting. With LinkedIn InMail, you get a credit back for every positive or negative response.

So, if your team can score over a 40% response rate for your InMails then only you can get your money’s worth.

2. Which platform is more data-driven?

Data-driven actions are proven to be the most successful strategy there is for any business. Especially when it’s B2B communication & marketing strategies.

And while replacing Emails with LinkedIn InMail, the question you have to ask is if you will be able to track the performance of your InMail’s.

Because with Emails, there are multiple tools out there, like Saleshandy, which can help you enhance the results you are getting out of your email outreach campaigns.

You can track your emails’ open & reply rate, send at the time when it is more likely that your receiver will open & reply to your email, track attached documents and much more.

All these performance enhancer tools give an edge to Emails over LinkedIn InMail’s.

So, what would you choose?

Emails, where you can track your performance & improvise according to the gathered data or would you want to shoot in the dark with LinkedIn InMail’s assuming that someone might be your perfect prospect?

3. Other resources required

With LinkedIn InMails, you require money, time, expertise, and the art of crafting a perfect email to generate action from your prospect.

The only way you get your money’s worth with LinkedIn InMail is when your email response rate is higher than 40%. Otherwise, say goodbye to all the money & resources you spent on chasing the prospects on LinkedIn.

With Email, you craft that perfect email, and that’s it. Chances are you already have those perfect emails backed up with the impressive open & reply rate data. You need not spend more money or time to start your cold email strategy.

And the Email game is as old as time. Everyone is familiar with the specifications and works. You need not put in extra time to learn different features like you will have to with LinkedIn InMail’s.

4. Follow-ups

If your product or service doesn’t scream out the solution for certain problems or questions, then emails might be the best option for you.

With emails, you can warm up your cold prospect with automated follow-ups and convert them into your clients, explaining how your product or service works throughout the follow-up emails.

Sending automated email follow-ups using Saleshandy
Setting up auto follow-ups on Saleshandy

And for LinkedIn InMails, your product or service only gets one chance to make a lasting impression on the minds of your prospects, and if you fail to do so, then all your money & time is down the drain.

5. Prospect segmentation – The Winning Key

Identifying your perfect customer is like bliss for any company, business, or startup. After noting down the characteristics, demographics, and checking the market segmentation of your perfect prospect, the next step is to reach out to them and make a point about your solutions & why you are worth it.

But identifying the right customer is one of the biggest obstacles a business faces, and it’s among the top 5 reasons why 8 out of 10 businesses fail.

So, if you are unsure about your prospect segmentation, then it is advisable not to pour your money into LinkedIn InMails and stick to good old-fashioned Emails.

From the above points of difference, we can conclude that Emails have a strong hand over LinkedIn InMails.

But there are standout points of LinkedIn InMails that shouldn’t go unnoticed.

USPs of LinkedIn InMail

  • You can use LinkedIn’s active status to send the InMail at the perfect timings
  • Inbox can be full of promotional emails & other junk & your email can be lost in that sea while your InMail won’t get unnoticed at any point.
  • LinkedIn InMails are mobile optimized and their app provides fluid customer experience.
  • You can get extra attention from your prospect by sponsoring your LinkedIn InMail.

LinkedIn InMail best practices

Below are some best practices that you can follow while sending InMail.

1. Keep it short

Shorter InMail’s get more responses. It does not mean all your InMail should be under 400 characters. However, keep it brief if you wish to stand out from the rest. Your conciseness will help you stand out from other InMail’s your prospects receive.

2. Personalize your InMail

Just like personalizing your email, InMail also need personalization. Personalized InMail demonstrate that you’re aware of your prospects’ needs and that your message has been written specifically for them.

3. Use attention-grabbing subject lines

It is important to use short, catchy subject lines. Your subject line should include a personal touch or business topic to grab prospects’ attention immediately. Addressing them by their first name is also a good practice.

4. Avoid sending InMail on weekend

It has been shown that Saturday and Sunday are the worst days to reach out to prospects. LinkedIn is a professional network, so fewer people will respond to InMail on weekends.

Cold Email best practices

Below are some best practices that you can follow while sending cold emails.

1. The short and crisp subject line

It is the factor that will decide whether the prospect will open your email or not. Keep it short and try to personalize it by adding their first name. Many people check emails on their phones, so short subject lines are easier to display on the mobile screen.

If your subject line catches your recipient’s attention, it will move them to open it.

2. Keep email body slim

Technology has changed our daily consumption habits so rapidly that the human attention span is diminishing quickly.

Try to keep it short as much as possible. There are 3 parts of a cold email body:

Introduction – A section to introduce yourself
Purpose – Reason to contact the prospect
Salutation – A greeting to thank them for their time

3. Personalize your email

Email personalization is very crucial. It improves the user experience as well as improves the relationship. Personalized correspondence also shows the prospect that the sender cares about their experience and will put forward the best foot. Its importance of it cannot be overstated.

Personalizing cold email using Saleshandy merge tag feature
Screenshot from Saleshandy dashboard showing email personalization using merge tag feature

4. Follow-ups

80% of sales require at least 5 follow-ups after the initial contact. Nowadays, prospects consume so much information online that they have short memory spans. That’s why follow-ups can’t be skipped.

LinkedIn InMail has its advantages and hooks to reel you in but is your pitch being delivered & opened by your prospect or are you sending all of your hard work into internet oblivion?

Email is a professional necessity which makes it the prime platform for any kind of communication. We are always on our phones, checking in on our personal & professional emails which gives an assurance to the sender that there are high chances of their email getting read.

A study by Propeller CRM states that depending on the industry, average email open rates vary from 15.22% to 28.46%.

But can we say & prove the same for LinkedIn InMails?

Apart from opting for LinkedIn premium for LinkedIn InMail and pay $79.99 for a certain amount of InMail credits, there is one other option that LinkedIn provides to its users. You can pay more & sponsor your LinkedIn InMail, which costs extra.

Regular LinkedIn InMail won’t get you results like emails but sponsored LinkedIn InMails to get a minimum open rate of 20%, which is as close to Emails when comparing the outcome.

With the above stats, we can paint a picture that Emails are winning the race at the present. But what the future holds for Emails and LinkedIn InMails?

Are Emails here to stay?

According to a recent study by Adobe, people are including their email checking habits more & more into their daily lives.

The Netflix & chill routine is changing into Netflix & work, where 41% of people claim that they check their work emails during this nighttime routine.

The BBC reports that 54% of daily commuters are now checking their work emails while covering the distance.

All these changes in the habits of people suggest that Emails are nowhere near extinction, and they are here to dominate professional communication.

Email is going to give LinkedIn InMails strong competition, and the scenario doesn’t seem to change much in the future.

But what are the future prospects of LinkedIn InMails?

To quote Adrian Tan, “InMail is dead.” This was his statement in 2016, when he made the case that professionals hate when someone reaches out to them through LinkedIn InMail’s.

Wrap up!

LinkedIn InMail is a huge hit among the recruiters but the professionals were not a big fan of getting thousands of InMails throughout the day. They simply filter out the InMails.

This tells us the story about the past & future of LinkedIn InMails.

However, it would be foolish to ignore 850 LinkedIn users. You have to weigh in the ROI that LinkedIn InMails can provide and if your company can afford the same or not.

While LinkedIn InMail is your easy leap into the professional world, email is one of the most effective communication tools old as hills. Both used in a perfect balance can make your business unstoppable.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What is LinkedIn InMail?

LinkedIn InMail allows you to send a LinkedIn message to ANYONE on LinkedIn without an introduction or contact information.

InMail’s are one of LinkedIn’s Premium features, available to paid members based on their subscription plan (50 InMail credits under $79.99/month under Sales Navigator professional plan). Sending an InMail should be limited to important targets only.

2. Does LinkedIn InMail go to email?

The answer is No. A LinkedIn InMail message is nestled in the recipient’s inbox until the recipient revisits their account. However, they are clearly labeled as “InMail” so the recipient will have a clear idea.

3. What is the difference between an InMail and a message on LinkedIn?

If you’re not connected with someone or in the same LinkedIn group as them, you can’t message them. However, LinkedIn Premium gives you some credits every month which allows you to send InMails without being connected.

As LinkedIn InMail messages are clearly marked as InMail, the recipient knows that someone paid for the privilege of sending you a message. It encourage them to open it, since they know it isn’t spam.

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