At its core, social selling is about building relationships and helping others. You need to convey empathy, interest in collaboration, and a problem-solving mindset—and these characteristics can be reflected via LinkedIn and its message service, LinkedIn Message Ads (formerly known as Sponsored InMail).
What are LinkedIn Message Ads?
As most professionals know, LinkedIn is one of the best places to connect with other people in your industry. An active and helpful presence on LinkedIn can help you gain familiarity among B2B buyers, making it a goldmine whether you’re trying to expand your reach or generate new leads. It also helps that the platform provides plenty of tools to make your sales activities even easier.
One such tool is LinkedIn sponsored InMail, which has since been rebranded into LinkedIn Message Ads. Message Ads allow users to send direct messages to your prospects to spark immediate action. The service offers users a means to reach out to potential buyers outside their network and capitalize on opportunities. It’s a great way to reach industry experts and generate new leads, making it an indispensable communication channel for B2B sellers.
There are three main reasons why LinkedIn Message Ads work:
- It delivers a targeted message with a single CTA: The straightforward, no-fuss layout allows you to communicate clearly and effectively with your prospects without worrying about character limits or broken email layouts.
- It lets you see the impact of your messages: LinkedIn Message Ads, like any other digital ad platform, offers analytics to keep track of ad performance. Users can track campaign metrics such as sends, opens, open rate, clicks, clickthrough rate, cost per lead, and more.
- It drives stronger engagement compared to traditional emails: Message Ads are prioritized in the recipient’s inbox. They are highlighted and delivered in an uncluttered environment so your brand stands out. According to LinkedIn, more than 1 in 2 prospects open a Message Ad—and that’s a huge statistic.
Email vs InMail
We often get asked if LinkedIn InMail should or has replaced email as the most effective communication medium for B2B sales. For certain buyers, certain markets, and certain companies, this is definitely the case.
One of the biggest problems with sales prospecting emails is that they often arrive in your inbox from out of nowhere, with generic messaging that bears minimal relevance or value to the recipient. And since they are unsolicited (not to mention usually part of a sequence), they tend to be more annoying.
On the other hand, Message Ads are exchanged on a platform that your prospects are already using to converse and network professionally. The relevance and purpose are built-in. Plus, they can see your name and face and can click on your profile to learn more about you.
In an impersonal world of digital interactions, this goes a long way.
Another thing that makes LinkedIn Message Ads better than email can be attributed to the principle of double potency. When someone sends you a message on LinkedIn, you’ll also get an alert in the email connected to your LinkedIn account. The sender hits you in two spots because you’ll see the message in both your LinkedIn inbox and your email, increasing your awareness of the message.
Making Your Message Ads More Potent
Before you fire off another LinkedIn message, be mindful of the best practices you should follow in order to maximize the impact your message will make.
- Consider your first message to be a conversation starter. Don’t sell your service immediately at the first point of contact—that’s too much, too soon. Use the platform to build a relationship with your prospect the same way you would do so in a non-virtual world: By offering them something that will help them in their professional lives. This is the most natural way to get the recipient to warm up to you and your company.
- Be brief and to the point. Keep your messages as simple as possible. The decision-makers who’ll be reading your messages (probably on their phones) don’t have the time to read too-wordy messages. Optimize your messages for mobile, try to limit the word count to around 100 words (less is best), use bullet points and short paragraphs to keep the reader’s attention, and have a written CTA.
The same logic goes for the subject line. Keep your subject lines short and personal—aim for 5 words or less.
- Adopt a conversational, enthusiastic tone. It’s tempting to use a formal, overly polite tone when conversing on LinkedIn—you’re representing your company on the platform, after all. Shouldn’t you put your best foot forward?
However, it’s highly recommended to keep your LinkedIn messages polite yet informal. Your recipient shouldn’t get bored while reading about the benefits of your products or services, and a soulless message that reads like a formal introduction can drive them away.
- No credits, no problem: You don’t always need to buy more Message Ad credits to be able to send messages to the people you need to sell to. By joining the LinkedIn groups where your ideal customer profiles (ICPs) can be found, you’ll have access to everyone within those groups and you can send them messages for free.
LinkedIn’s promoted message service allows you to easily reach out to leads within your ICP, making it a B2B seller’s best friend. But if you don’t use it well, you’ll end up being ignored by potential leads, wasting time and money.
Take the time to build a worthwhile campaign. Craft messages that resonate with your audience, optimize them for maximum impact, and use the platform’s analytics tools to track your results.