It’s no secret that anytime an InMail pops up in your message box the sender is trying to sell something: a product, a position or his or her career experience. InMail lets you contact professionals outside of your network, and LinkedIn advertises the service as the “most credible way” to reach anyone, (yes, anyone) on the professional network.
More and more though, InMail is losing its credibility. And it’s not because of the service; it’s because of us, the senders. Just like any good marketer, if you’re a Sales professional, a recruiter or a job seeker, you need to make your message content meaningful to your recipient.
This means more time, research and strategy to craft the perfect pitch… it means writing a powerful message that makes us stop powering through that Inbox because we want to see what you have to offer. It also means your messages won’t be flagged as spam or your recipient won’t be selecting from reasons “‘they’ are not interested”.
Sales: Show you know about my business before you tell me about yours.
Who likes receiving a form message? (Exactly, no one.) We’ve all opened an InMail that went something like this…
Dear John, I found you in the Content Marketing Strategy group and learned you are the Director of Marketing at insert-company-here. I would like to show you how insert-service can help you capture more leads online.
This brief intro showing that you know the recipient’s title and company name, (congratulations), is usually followed by a much larger paragraph about your business. Here’s the problem, just because you’ve sent me an InMail doesn’t mean it isn’t really Spam in a sharper, more professional looking package. In fact, if your message reads this way it is Spam and you risk alienating your recipients no matter how great your products or services are.
Instead, do a little research on your desired prospect and their company. What type of company is it? What makes this business different? What are the goals of said business? Once you’ve answered these questions, you can launch into how your products can support the company’s specific goals because you officially have my respect (and attention).
Recruitment: Does the job title synch with your would-be candidate’s current title?
This could be the most amazing Finance Manager position ever, (pumped up with competitive pay, 401K and relocation cost, all the frills), but don’t try to sell it to a Vice President of Finance. The majority of professionals are on LinkedIn because they want to advance in their careers, not look back at positions they had in their twenties and thirties.
Sometimes keywords and skills can guide you to some amazing profiles that seem just slightly out of reach, and you might think, what’s the harm in trying? There are always exceptions, but sending off positions that aren’t at least at the same level as your recipient’s current role usually comes across as you having no interest in his or her career goals.
Job Search: What makes you different from the other 20 applicants who Googled the hiring manager?
Not all job seekers are created equal. Anyone can use Google, LinkedIn and company websites to determine who the hiring manager is but it’s the heart of your message that could get you an interview.
Do your homework on the organization. Introduce yourself to the hiring manager and explain why their company’s mission statement resonates with you. Then give them examples of specific skills you bring to the table and how they can compliment their current department. Sign off by thanking them for their time and letting them know you’d like to discuss their goals in-person. Remember, even though you’re introducing yourself, it’s about them, not you.
Before you hit Send Message, reread and ask yourself if you’ve provided your reader with a meaningful message that’s centered around their business needs and goals. And remember, the most important element to InMail or any other message is simple: care about your reader and be authentic. It will be obvious every time.