Did you know that emails received from LinkedIn have some of the best open rates around?
There are several opportunities to send 1-on-1 communications on LinkedIn. However, unless you are taking the time to personalize your messages, you are missing out on a tremendous opportunity to differentiate yourself.
It is true that the frequency of LinkedIn emails 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 Groups, LinkedIn Pulse (formerly LinkedIn Today), LinkedIn Updates (these are updates about your network) and LinkedIn Mentions (when members of your network mention you in a status update).
In addition to the above emails you might receive from LinkedIn, you then have the 1-to-1 emails that include invitations to connect, messages from your existing connections, and InMails, which are messages come from individuals outside of your network. These are the messages where you have the opportunity to personalize your communications!
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.
If you are attempting to connect with someone you don’t know (assuming you share a group or you have their email address), do your homework on that individual to creatively personalize the email. For example, when there is an influencer I want to connect with, I’ll research their work and personal interests in order to find a common intersection.
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. You can include a link to your blog in your email signature as well and if it makes sense, encourage them to subscribe or take advantage of a complimentary offer you have on your site.
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. Unfortunately I’ve found this to be one of the most abused messaging features on LinkedIn. I’ve received random blog posts, promotional offers and more from my connections. Not only do I delete the message, but many times I remove the connection altogether. (The higher quality your connections are the less of a problem you will have with this)
In some cases, I provide constructive criticism back to the connection. For example, a financial advisor recently sent a well-written message, but the fact that it wasn’t personalized took away any value from the message. I suggested he try to personalize his message and send them individually rather than bulk messaging.
Whatever you do, DO NOT, send bulk messages to your connections. This will ultimately harm your credibility and reputation with your network.
Along the same lines, DO NOT add your LinkedIn connections to your email list without their permission. This not only can potentially be a violation of the CAN-SPAM Act, it’s very assuming and most likely not appreciated at all by the person receiving your emails. Anyone on your email list should have opted-in first.
Sending personalized messages to your existing connections will position you as someone who is credible and trustworthy.
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 need to upgrade to a premium LinkedIn account. If your InMail is not responded to, LinkedIn will credit it back to you.
In the past year or so LinkedIn has given InMail capabilities to lots of recruiters, so they have become somewhat less effective and overused. However, I still love InMails. I use them quite a bit.
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 recipient.
InMails are great for setting up connection opportunities with people who don’t know you. If there is someone you really want to connect with on LinkedIn but can’t find a way to do so, send a personalized InMail. Compliment the individual on his or her work, ask a thoughtful question, and most importantly ask them if it would be okay to send an invitation to connect.
When someone responds to your InMail, you will be able to gain access to their email address and then send the invitation. Remember to always ask them first if they are willing to connect.
With regard to InMails you have much more room to work with in terms of the number of characters that can go into the message. This helps to set the stage and explain your reason for reaching out.
Personalized InMails can be a powerful way to start a conversation and a relationship with someone on LinkedIn.
Keep an eye on your “LinkedIn Updates” emails
“LinkedIn Updates” are emails that come directly from LinkedIn on a daily basis. They also provide a unique opportunity for personalized communications. With these emails, LinkedIn is giving us access to data about our network. This is critical and I highly recommend that you reviews them when you receive them. They are also time sensitive!
LinkedIn Updates contain information about your 1st degree network such as birthdays, job changes, and mentions of your network connections in the news. Depending on the size of your network, you may have the opportunity to send a personalized message to a number of individuals every single day! It takes very little time to say “happy birthday” for example. A simple gesture like this can go a long way with a connection.
If one of your LinkedIn connections is mentioned in the news, grab the link to share it with your connections and @mention that individual in your update. Not only will they receive an email 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:
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!
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: Why You Should Personalize Messages on #LinkedIn (tweet this)