I Tested Which InMails Got The Best Response Rates—Here Are The Results

Jamie Shanks
Jamie Shanks

First of all, if you as a sales professional are feeling, or you as a leader are hearing, that LinkedIn InMails “just don’t work,” it’s user error, not medium error. The user error is simple – YOUR MESSAGING SUCKS!

As we launched a new Social Selling training product for the SMB market, I wanted to test an assumption on messaging effectiveness using LinkedIn InMails.

I have an empirical bias towards highly contextualized, humanized, “blended” messages that incorporate both video-based insights and short-text with a direct call-to-action. My empirical bias comes from training +75,000 sales professionals, but I thought I would publish the results of our recent campaign to convince you.

** Each Test Message Group received 300 InMails to the same Buyer Persona, Industry & Geography

Test Message A: The text-based HARD Selling CTA

Results: 5.5% response rate, $0 sales in 30 days from campaign

My message style was very simple a direct:

a. Question to push the buyer off their status quo

b. Statement with empirical data to solve perceived challenge

c. Landing page link

d. CTA to schedule a call

I didn’t have a lot of faith in this messaging style, and the data was pretty clear. Most of the 5.5% responses were a HARD NO, as I didn’t build any value. Some respondents were actually pissed off at me for being a product pusher!

Test Message B: The text-based open ended discussion starter

Results: 11.5% response rate, $12,000 sales in 30 days from campaign

This open discussion was meant to gauge two interests:

a. Has the topic of Social Selling been a key priority in your personal learning?

b. IF YES, has our content been a core staple to your learning?

The follow-up discussions had two paths, each based on the buyer’s interest in Social Selling and personal learning. Think of the message as a filtration process. The messaging style clearly showed me that LinkedIn InMails can be used similar to Facebook, Google or Twitter chats. Remember most buyers read and respond via mobile, where the InMail conversation thread is very chat-like.

Those that moved further into the sales process (and purchased) needed to have immediate, definitive interest in Social Selling – specifically as this campaign was for only 30 days. That doesn’t mean others that I had discussions with won’t become buyers in the future… they will!

Test Message C: The text-based highly personalized discussion + HARD Selling CTA

Results: 17.5% response rate, $12,000 sales in 30 days from campaign

These text-based messages were written specifically to each buyer. I leveraged one of the 3 Sales Principles of Social Selling – Triggers, Insights or Referrals that were very, very specific to the buyer or their business.

a. Major internal (such as Job Changes) or external (such as Merger & Acquisition activity) to contextualize the urgency to speak.

b. Relationship “Sphere of Influence” connection to our customer base.

c. Insights from their competitors showing a shift in the market, and the risk vs. opportunity.

Context really helped here. Buyers can clearly tell when I’m aiming my message directly at them.

Test Message D: The video-based 1-to-1 direct video message that includes a HARD Selling CTA

Results: 37.3% response rate, $27,000 sales in 30 days from campaign

I’m going to let the data speak for itself! I make highly humanized, highly contextualized videos in a 1-to-1 relationship with the buyer. It’s like I’m in the office sitting next to the buyer ☺️

Vidyard ViewedIT is a magical tool in sales professionals’ hands that can drive Social Selling activities!!

This approach may not work for everybody. Response and buy rates vary heavily on how aware the buyer is of the solution, your influence power, how well the message resonates with them, etc. However, these results are still valuable to consider for sales professionals who want to break out of the mold and try something different in their sales approach. Happy selling!

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