A common mistake I see LinkedIn users making is not keeping InMail  and invitations personal. In other words, don’t use InMail as another direct marketing message. It shouldn’t feel like another piece of spam for cheap prescription meds. If it does, you’re doing it wrong.
LinkedIn with its InMail tool does a good job of allowing you to create targeted, meaningful messages and save them as templates for tracking and future use. The following list will help you craft messages that get results.
I commonly get over 35% response rates on messages I send.
- Write a compelling subject line.
- Don’t assume too much. I’ve even written something like, “Forgive me if I’m missing the mark here…” Be a little bit vulnerable.
- Ask for help. LinkedIn is a community of professionals who like good karma and are willing to help because they know somewhere along the line the favor will be returned. Plant and harvest later or elsewhere.
- Identify the connection you have with the person(s) and reference it in the opening lines of your message.
- Be casual and personable, but not gimmicky.
- Tell them where, when, and what — the what being the most important thing your organization is trying to achieve with this position. In other words, the key performance objective.
- Promote your employee value propositionor the best one or two things about a career with your company.
- Don’t include the job description or tell them too much. Include just enough to appeal enough to their interest or willingness to help in order to create a dialogue.
- Ask for a brief dialog over email, chat, or an old-fashioned phone call.
- Ask for referrals if the opportunity is not right for them.
- Ask for a direct connection and offer to help them in any way at any time.
Here’s a sample InMail message containing these elements…
Subject Line: (Specify the industry) Career Connections
- Tell them why you’re contacting them and ask for help: I reviewed your profile today and found we share some commonalities in the (industry). Forgive me if I’m off target here, but I thought you might be able to help.
- Specify the position, location, and the key performance objective: We’re looking for a (insert position/skill set) in (insert location) — ideally someone with experience in (type of work/processes/technology) and who can (paint a picture using the most important position performance objective — or the most important thing one could achieve in the position and how it will make a difference).
- Promote your EVP: The best thing about working for us is that you (insert the best thing and make it personal).
- Ask for a dialog: Let me know if you have interest and we can talk live.
- Ask for referrals: If the timing or fit is not right, please let me know who you recommend.
- Ask for a direct connect: Also, please connect with me directly (insert email address). Perhaps I can be of help to you in the future.
Other tips for continued LinkedIn Recruiter sourcing success:
- Save your message as a template and track its results in LinkedIn Recruiter Reports.
- Connect directly with those who reply to your message, even if the opportunity is not right for them. By connecting you may be able to be of help to them in the future.
- Look through their connections for those who have similar skill sets and ask for an introduction.
- Save your search and go back later and see which of the top potentials did not respond. Perhaps they have not visited LinkedIn in a while or maybe they’ve been on vacation. In this case, call for them directly at the company where they work.
Thirty-five percent may not sound like much, but keep in mind targeted direct mail (that paper stuff we get in our mail boxes) only gets a 4% rate of response . I’m sure some of you do even better, which is great. If so, I hope you will comment with your best practices.