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How to Generate Leads with Sponsored InMail on LinkedIn

Marketing on LinkedIn is a-changin’. It’s been just over a year since the social network giant relaunched Sponsored InMail for marketers, and recently they announced another new offering: Account Targeting.

What is Sponsored InMail?

While any Premium LinkedIn user can send InMail to folks they’re not connected with, Sponsored InMail is a different breed. For one thing, these messages have a 100% deliverability rate because they’re only delivered when the recipient is active on LinkedIn. Not only that, but it allows you to reach your target audience at scale the way you would with an ad — but with the potential for astronomically higher conversion rates due to their personalized nature. InMail is great for promoting webinars, e-books, and other gated assets, allowing marketers to generate qualified B2B leads while educating their target audience.

Here’s an example of a sponsored message I received from LinkedIn itself in January. The truth is, I didn’t open it the second it hit my inbox — but I came across it a few weeks later when I was doing some research and downloaded the guide.

LinkedIn Sponsored InMail

Want to replicate this success with Sponsored InMail of your own? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of this unique marketing channel.

Pros of Sponsored InMail

  • Top-notch targeting options  Marketers can target by location, company, industry, job title, skills, education level, and more. And with the LinkedIn Account Targeting feature, you can now send your campaigns to a priority list of accounts in addition to the traditional targeting.
  • Guaranteed deliverability – As we mentioned above, InMail is only delivered when users are online, so they’re virtually guaranteed to see your message.
  • Not spammy – Purchasing an email list is a surefire way to hurt your IP reputation and send your emails straight to the spam folder. InMail is different. While prospects don’t explicitly opt in to your communications, they understand that partner emails come with the territory on LinkedIn. Plus, all LinkedIn users are given the option to unsubscribe from all Sponsored InMails.
  • Clutter-free – LinkedIn users can only receive one Sponsored InMail every sixty days, so your message won’t be competing for their attention.
  • Help from the LinkedIn team – The experts at LinkedIn are always on-hand to help you craft your messages to perfection.

Cons of Sponsored InMail

  • Expensive – You’re required to specify a budget ahead of time, and you can’t adjust your targeting once your campaign has begun. To get the biggest bang for your buck, make sure you’re absolutely confident in your selected audience before launching your campaign.
  • Not self-serve – While first-hand assistance from the pros at LinkedIn can be incredibly useful, some marketers dislike the lack of self-serve options. If you want to change your subject line, for example, you have to go through LinkedIn instead of just changing it yourself.
  • Lack of real-time insight – Similarly, you can’t access your results on demand. If you want updates on how well your campaign is performing, you’ll have to reach out to LinkedIn and get your results via email.

That being said, if you’ve got the budget for it and a little bit of patience, LinkedIn’s Sponsored InMail can be an excellent opportunity to generate qualified leads.

Your turn!

Have you used Sponsored InMail to generate leads? Are you trying out the new Account Targeting feature? We’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments.