The amazing thing about LinkedIn is that it allows you to connect one-on-one with nearly anyone in the world.
This has sadly led to the LinkedIn inmail becoming perhaps the most abused piece of communication ever.
Sadly, a few recruiters have ruined it for everyone. Candidates almost expect unsolicited inmails to be untargeted and spammy.
As a result, candidates are no longer interested in the majority of your messages. In fact, your inmails might even be seriously damaging your brand.
Here are 10 LinkedIn Inmail tips that you can use to change this and send your response rates through the roof:
Whenever you reach out to a candidate you don't know, the goal should be to start a conversation. They probably don't know who you are, and you're trying to convince them why they should spend time talking to you.
This means you can't just go in all guns blazing talking about your "opportunity". You have to make a connection first,
Think about how receptive you are when you get a sales email out of the blue, pitching a product you've never heard of. You have no idea about the company, you don't know the salesman and you don't know how they got your email.
How many of you would reply? How many of you would even open the message?
You're not going to seal the deal with your first message. It can be the first step towards making a great new hire or, if you get it wrong, it can be hugely damaging to your brand.
The goal should be to find out about the candidate's career path and goals, introduce yourself and tell the candidate _why _you're messaging them. These are the only KPIs at this stage.
When you find out a little more about their motivations, you can adapt your job pitch to fit their motivations and increase your chances of success.
As many as 35% of people will only open your message if the subject line resonates with them. Get this step wrong, and the candidate will never see your carefully crafted, witty message.
You need to strike a delicate balance between personal, the recipient needs to think that your message was hand-crafted for them, and grabbing their attention.
Avoid generic subject lines like: "Job Opportunity at" and "New Role" - you can do better.
A personalised subject line is one of the easiest ways to convince a candidate that your message is just for them.
The simplest way to do this? Just mention the candidate's name. This alone will increase your open rate by as much as 26%!
A subject line formula that we've found particularly effective is: "[Candidate Name: From [University or College] to [Company]?"
This is how this might look if Beamery were trying to hire me again: "Ben: From Oxford University to Beamery?"
This subject line works particularly well because it shows that you've taken the time to research their education.
Better still though is mentioning a mutual connection in your subject line. This increases your chance of getting a response by as much as 27%.
The reason for this is simple. The candidate may not have heard of you, but by mentioning a friend, colleague or acquaintance in the subject line you're providing an endorsement of trust and giving them a reason to speak to you.
How much more likely are you to watch a film or visit a restaurant that a friend has endorsed? That seal of approval makes a huge difference to your decision-making process.
You can tap into that same impulse to get more opens and replies by mentioning mutual connections in your LinkedIn Inmails.
Inmail subject lines should be as direct as possible.
You need to state exactly why the recipient should open the message in as few words as possible. If you're wondering how many words is 'perfect', take a look at ubject line lengths and their corresponding open and click rates:
If your not sure about your subject line, there's even a tool that will let you test it for free!
There's nothing worse than opening an inmail to be greeted with "Hey *FName* etc". It's the quickest way to guarantee a candidate will never open a message from you ever again.
Instead, start your LinkedIn message with a brief and personal greeting.
Make sure that you mention the candidate's name. Recent research studying brain activation shows that our brains light up when we hear or read our own name, and we’re more likely to pay attention to the message at hand.
We've found that keeping it short and sweet works well:
"Hey Ben, loved your last blog on 'Bringing Candidates Back from the Dead' - interesting angle on ATS data."
This might be a good way to get my attention for example. It shows me how you know me, that you've done a little research and that you've taken the time to make your greeting personal, all without 'sucking up'.
If you bumped into your candidate on the street would you just launch into a pitch? It would be pretty strange if you did...
You don't need to get into your life story, but you do need to make sure the candidate knows who they're talking to. You should include your name, position and a one-liner on your company or agency.
Try something simple like: "I'm Ben Slater, VP Growth for Beamery all-in-one Sourcing, CRM, Engagement & Employer Branding platform."
You can't assume that a candidate will click on your profile to find out more. They might, but people are busy and you a stranger are not their number one priority.
It's always better to respect their time and minimise the 'work' that they have to do.
Possibly the most important LinkedIn inmail tip of all - your message needs to have a goal. Why are you sending the message in the first place?
This is the part where you 'get down to business', concisely stating why you’ve sent your inmail remember that the “why” can just be that you were looking to connect.
What is more likely though is that you have a very specific goal in mind - for example, you're messaging with the hope of filling a job role.
If your goal is specific, make sure you get right to the point in your message.
It can work better not to include the job link in your first email, as it helps your email come across as more personal and less transactional. You should test both approaches and see what works better for you.
One thing to remember when you're setting your goal - emails without job links where you're just trying to introduce yourself to a candidate work pretty well. Not many recruiters do them so it's an easy way to stand out from the crowd.
Persuasion and personalisation are the keys to achieving your goal, without them you've got little hope.
Candidates should feel like your inmail has been written for their eyes only, not that you've just sent them your company's generic template.
Let's look at ways that you can pitch your new opportunity effectively:
The messages that stand out nowadays are the ones that use 'excessive personalisation'. Candidates receive some many generic messages, that going overboard with your personalisation is the best way to stand out.
Make sure you reference at least 2-3 unique details from their LinkedIn profile if you want to stand out.
There are no rules on what you should reference, you can mention anything from employment to education, from mutual connections to shared interests.
Here's an example:
If you're interested in more inmail personalisation tips, this piece goes into a fair bit of detail on a few creative ways that you can personalise your messages.
Want to know the simplest persuasion technique in the book? It's something you might even be doing already...
Easy. Just explain why the job could be beneficial for the candidate.
Candidates want to know how you might be able to help their career progression, boost their income or improve their reputation. If you feel that your role might be able to do that, make sure you make it clear.
Closing is not just for sales emails, one of the biggest mistakes we see recruiters make in their inmails is a weak close.
The most common closing line for headhunting messages is "Let me know if you're interested". This might be polite, but it is not the best way to get more inmail responses remember, getting a response was the reason that you've sent the message in the first place.
To get candidates to hit 'reply' you need to provide a highly specific call-to-action. Candidates are busy, they forget to reply and they don't have time to think about how best to respond.
Try a close like: "Can you take a call at 5.00pm to discuss this further?" or "How about a quick chat tomorrow at 130pm?".
This makes the next step clear to candidates and should improve response rates - according to research by psychologist Robert Sutton, people are more responsive and willing to help if they’ve been given clear directions.
How to get a signature wrong - 5,000 social media buttons and a huge logo of your company.
How to get a signature right - your name, position and company website so people can find out more about you. You can also include a link to your personal site too if you have one.
Keep it basic, let candidates know who you are and how they can find out more.
This is more important than you think. If you hit peak email and LinkedIn "checking" times, your message is far more likely to get a response.
The best way to work out your target candidates' checking time is through trial and error. Try sending inmails at different times during the week and compare response rates.
That said, we've found that inmails sent on Tuesday morning perform well. Candidates have had time to deal with the stress of Monday, and are settling down to the week and open to new tasks.
Surprisingly, Sunday evening also works well - candidates are often preparing for the work week and looking through any messages they might have missed.
The key to getting great results with LinkedIn inmails is making sure that you don't let the lack of responses or negative responses get you down.
Not everyone is going to be interested, and it's important to remember that no matter how good your messages are, you're likely to hear 'no' more than 'yes'.
Make sure you stay positive, and keep trying to send candidates personal messages about opportunities they might be interested in, and you should be alright!
If you're looking for more information on how to build and scale an outstanding talent acquisition operation, check out our online Recruitment Marketing University.
Ben Slater leads marketing globally at Beamery. He typically writes about the future of work and talent transformation.