The Power of Sending Personalized Messages on LinkedIn

Personalized Messages on LinkedIn

Do you send messages on LinkedIn? Your LinkedIn account is connected to an email account, which means that any messages you send or receive on LinkedIn reach an actual email inbox as well.

There are several opportunities to send 1-on-1 messages on LinkedIn. However, unless you are taking the time to personalize your messages, you are missing out on a big opportunity to differentiate yourself and be remembered.

It is true that the frequency of emails in our inboxes from LinkedIn has increased over the past couple of years. Depending on how you have configured your email settings in LinkedIn, you may be receiving frequent messages from LinkedIn GroupsLinkedIn PulseLinkedIn Updates (these are updates about your connections) and LinkedIn Mentions (when members of your network mention you in a status update).

In addition to the above emails you get from LinkedIn, you can also receive 1-to-1 emails that include invitations to connect, messages from your existing connections, and InMails. InMails are messages that come from individuals outside of your network. Typically as a member of LinkedIn you are allotted a certain number of InMail messages each month based on your membership level.

These 1-to-1 messages offer the best opportunity to personalize your communications! In my experience, these types of messages have better open rates than a typical email message outside of LinkedIn.

3 Types of Messages to Personalize on LinkedIn

1. Invitations to Connect

Sending a personalized invitation to connect with someone on LinkedIn is really a no brainer. However, most people don’t take the time to do this. It’s very simple and doesn’t take much time at all to personalize your invitation to connect. Tell someone why you would like to connect and give a relevant reference point as to how you may already be connected. Maybe you have a mutual connection, met previously somewhere, or share a group together. Regardless, make it personal.

Alert: You are unable to personalize your LinkedIn invitation at this time via the mobile app at the present time.

(When you use the mobile app to send invites to connect, just be aware that you can’t personalize your invitation. This may be acceptable in some cases, such as letting the person know you will be sending an invite, or if you’ve just spent time with someone at a conference or meeting.)

If you are attempting to connect with someone you don’t know (maybe you share a group, a connection, or you have someone’s email address), do your homework on that individual to creatively personalize the invitation.

For example, whenever there is an influencer in my market that I want to connect with, I’ll research their work and personal interests first in order to find a common intersection. With the transparency of social media profiles, this is not difficult to do!

Another nice touch is to send a personalized “thank you” once someone has agreed to accept your invitation! Thank them for connecting with you, or even offer to help grow their network through introductions to people you know. Consider creating an email signature in this message that shows where else you can be found across the web.

By sending personalized invitations to connect on LinkedIn, you make a great first impression and become more memorable!

2. Messages to Existing Connections

The messaging feature from LinkedIn allows you to send a single message to up to 50 of your existing connections per day.

This feature offers a great opportunity to connect on a more personal level with your network members. Ask a question or the advice of your connections, invite someone for coffee, or let someone know you are going to be in their city. There are all kinds of ways to go deeper with your existing connections through the messaging feature.

Unfortunately I’ve also found this feature to be one of the more abused messaging tools on LinkedIn. I’ve received random blog posts, irrelevant promotional offers, and various unsolicited communications from a number of my own connections.

My recommendation is when you have something to promote to the members of your network such as an event or a new book you’ve published, be selective. Only send it to the connections you know well and consider offering them a gift or incentive (such as a free copy of your book) in exchange for helping you promote your offer.

Jaime Tardy, author of the book The Eventual Millionaire, recently did this sort of promotion for her new book. First of all, I know Jaime and have met her in person, so I was very receptive to the LinkedIn message. Secondly, she sent me a free copy of her book to review.

Whatever you do, refrain from sending “bulk” messages out to your connections. It may save time, but in the long run it could damage your reputation. Take the time to personalize your messages.

Sending personalized messages to your existing connections will position you as someone who is thoughtful and trustworthy.

3. InMails

LinkedIn InMails give you the ability to send a message to anyone on LinkedIn, whether you are connected to that person or not. InMails have some of the highest open rates of any messages that come from LinkedIn.

To increase the number of InMails that you can send each month, you do have to upgrade to a premium LinkedIn account. However, at the free account level you do get to send a few of these each month.

If your InMail is not responded to, LinkedIn will credit it back to you.

Most of the time, I find that LinkedIn members respond to my InMails unless they just aren’t very active on the network.

LinkedIn has also given InMail capabilities to recruiters who have premium accounts, so they have become somewhat less effective and overused. However, I still love InMails. I use them quite a bit. I’ve landed new connections, speaking opportunities, and even new clients from InMails.

When you send an InMail, you have several choices that can describe what the message is about such as “consulting offer” or “expertise request”. What you select here doesn’t matter as much as your subject line.

You need a strong subject line to grab the attention of the InMail recipient.

InMails are great for setting up connection opportunities with people you want to connect with who don’t know you.

When you come across someone you would like to connect with but don’t have any way to do so given the parameters set by LinkedIn, send an InMail first. Compliment the individual on his or her work, ask a thoughtful question, and most importantly let them know you would like to send an invitation to connect.

With LinkedIn InMails, you also have much more room to work with in terms of the number of characters that can go into the message. This allows you to adequately set the stage and explain your reasoning for reaching out.

Personalized InMails can be a powerful way to start a conversation, create a new connections, and develop a relationship with someone on LinkedIn.

Keep an eye on your “LinkedIn Updates” emails

LinkedIn Updates are emails that come directly from LinkedIn to your email inbox on a daily basis. They also provide a unique opportunity for personalized communications. Make sure to keep an eye on them.

Within these updates, LinkedIn provides you with insightful information about your network. They are also time sensitive!

LinkedIn Updates contain information about your 1st degree network such as birthdays, job changes, and even mentions of your connections who are in the news.

It takes very little time to go through this daily email and send a “happy birthday” or “congratulations” to a member of your network. You should personalize these messages as well. A simple gesture like this can go a long way with a connection toward building a better relationship.

If one of your LinkedIn connections is mentioned in the news, consider sharing the link with your network and @mention the person in your status update!

Not only will he or she receive an email to their inbox that you’ve mentioned them publicly on LinkedIn, but they will appreciate the acknowledgement and most likely will engage with your update.

Here is an example of how I mentioned one of my connections in my own status update:

How to use LinkedIn mentions

Bonus Tip:  To get more mileage out of your LinkedIn Updates, upload your existing contacts into LinkedIn’s contact relationship manager. Once you do this, you will be able to see which of your contacts you are not yet connected with on LinkedIn and send them personalized invitations. From there, you will start to get the data on all of your contacts birthdays, job changes, and mentions in the news!

Your Turn

Are you truly taking the time to personalize your messages on LinkedIn? Do you see the benefit of getting more personalized in your communications with connections?

Share your thoughts with me below in the comments section or on Twitter:


About Stephanie Sammons

Welcome! I'm Stephanie Sammons, a corporate 'renegade' turned digital entrepreneur. I help entrepreneurs grow their impact, influence, and income in the digital age. I’m also an author (Linked to Influence - #1 Amazon best-seller), speaker, online teacher, consultant, and singer-songwriter.

  • Thanks for sharing Stephanie – I love engaging in an honest and transparent way on LinkedIn. A well written (honest & personal) LinkedIn Invite nearly always get’s accepted and a LinkedIn message that does not ask for anything until the relationship starts to build, is almost always answered.

    Thanks for your tips.

    • Thanks for your comment Teddy and for sharing the post! I appreciate it. Sounds like you already “get it”…the power of personalization on LinkedIn!

  • Stephanie, I learned your suggestions in 2010 and implemented the same and results are awesome! It’s a great reminder to to recall those things and thanks for writing this great post. I have same thinking about receiving bulk messages and people added me to their list without even my permission. My primary email was my personal email and I realized that now I need to set a different email for spammers and set that email as a primary email 🙂

  • Great post!

    I’m new to your blog and and am glad I found it; I’ll definitely be back for more.

    But hey, could you please do me a favor: Please add a DATE to each post. It’s of paramount importance for a reader to know WHEN exactly the post was written so he/she can make an educated guess as to how current the content is.

    Especially when it comes to tips and tricks about certain Online social tools; The climate is changing so rapidly that a tip that is relevant today might be out of date a month from now.

    And one last thing, about the ‘Bonus Tip’; You suggested that one should “upload your existing contacts into LinkedIn’s contact relationship manager”.

    I personally think that’s a horrible idea. One of the reasons being; Not too long ago, LinkedIn send unsolicited e-mails to a large amount of ones contacts there were NOT LinkedIn members, but had been uploaded to ones contact database. Sure, they said it was a ‘mistake’, and whether that’s true or not, one should guard ones contact like a crown jewel and not share them with anybody, especially a publicly traded corporation that is beholden to share holders to always strive for bigger profits.

    Other than that, keep up the good work!

    – Max

    • Hi Max, thanks for the comment and suggestions. On the date issue, I don’t do many posts that contain tips that would be outdated and if I do, I try to go back and update them. It’s a preference not to use dates because most (not all) of my content is more evergreen in nature. I might consider it in the future. As far as uploading contacts to LinkedIn, I feel the pros far outweigh the cons. That feature alone has allowed me the ability to grow my network more quickly with relevant people I’ve already communicated with at one time or another. Additionally I love the intel I get on all those contacts with regard to birthdays, job changes, news mentions, etc. It’s a personal preference of course but one that I do recommend if you want to grow your network and strengthen those relationships.

      • Sharon

        I have to agree with Max. When I teach LinkedIn classes I caution my participants against uploading their contacts for two reasons:
        1) I don’t trust LinkedIn not to somehow access them.
        2) If you are not familiar with LinkedIn and upload your contacts, you can easily be lured into sending a generic invitation to all of the people on the list. I’ve seen it happen more times than I care to remember.

        • Thanks for sharing, Sharon :). LinkedIn recently announced that it’s giving members the ability to export all of their contact data at anytime. You own your contacts. But to your 2nd point, I totally agree that if you don’t know any better it’s way too easy to make that mistake of sending the generic invite. They need to figure that out.

        • Stephanie Sammons

          So definitely use caution, but I believe the benefits outweigh the risks by far.

  • Stephanie,

    Fair enough; Let’s just agree to disagree… 🙂

    Hey, I do love your posts; And since you don’t post that often do I have to manually check back once in a while to see if there’s something new or would I automatically get an e-mail update from you since I just signed up on your list?


    – Max

    • Max you are sweet :). Yes if you sign up you will receive my posts as they are published.

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