With LinkedIn’s premium service, you have the ability to send inmails to anyone, so it’s a great lead-generating tool. Just be sure to draft inmails that people will read and respond to. Follow these tips:
• Be personable. Don’t push the hard sell. Instead, focus on nurturing the relationship. Selling can come later.
• Personalize your subject line. Make a great first impression by referencing mutual connections, recognizing recipients’ achievements or mentioning common interests. Examples: “Congrats on the new job,” “John Doe suggested I contact you” or “Your recent post on ...”
• Provide an introduction in the message. Briefly identify your connection, for example, you met at a conference or you are both members of the same association. If you have never communicated, state that upfront.
• Comment on people’s profiles. Scan their profiles and share tidbits that you found interesting, or mention a recent update they shared. That shows that you are interested in them—not just adding another contact to your list.
• Offer a benefit. Suggest at least one way that you can benefit them or their organization. For example, “I’d love to share my ideas with you about how to cut your manufacturing costs this year. Can we schedule a call for next week?” Don’t overwhelm people with details; offer just enough to prompt a discussion. Then provide your contact information.
• Request to be added to their network. Even if people aren’t interested in doing business right away, ask to be added to their personal networks. Those connections can always lead to business down the road.
— Adapted from “10 Tips for Writing Effective LinkedIn Inmails,” Altaf Gilani, Search Engine Journal, www.searchenginejournal.com.