What is LinkedIn's Sponsored InMail and why use it?

B2B marketers don’t just want leads, they want qualified leads. But it’s that ‘qualified’ part that’s rather difficult. Search engine optimization is great, but without demographic data, there is no way to organically target your persona. Paid search requires educated guessing on what keywords your audience might type based on the services you offer. Now you have B2B organizations relying on referral partners, conferences, outbound sales, and social media. What if the solution to qualified B2B leads is LinkedIn’s Sponsored InMail? 

LinkedIn Sponsored InMail Best Practices

B2B Companies know that social media is a critical part of their marketing funnel. What they want is a targeted, personalized, and affordable way to advertise on social media. Sponsored InMail is a direct and personal way to target your B2B audience at a low cost through targeting, segmenting, messaging, and the right call to action.

What is LinkedIn Sponsored InMail?

LinkedIn Sponsored InMail is an advertising tactic that allows advertisers to target audiences with personalized messages within LinkedIn messenger.

LinkedIn Sponsored InMail Highlights

  • The most personalized form of social advertising because the ads are delivered from an individual within your organization. This could be the CEO, subject matter expert, or business development representative.
  • High deliverability since ads are delivered only when the targeted audience is logged in and active in LinkedIn.
  • Low cost compared to other LinkedIn advertising formats.
  • Easily integrates with LinkedIn Lead Gen forms for terrific conversion rates compared to driving users to a landing page.

LinkedIn's Sponsored InMail

Targeting  

There are three different ways to target for Sponsored InMail. You can use audience retargeting from your website, list-based targeting directly from your CRM (customer relationship management platform), or demographic-based targeting around LinkedIn data.

Two ideas of where to start with your LinkedIn Sponsored InMail targeting include uploading a list of all your dead prospects from your CRM to re-engage with them and target people who have downloaded a specific report.

For the dead prospects targeting, this could be a great chance to re-engage with this list in a new channel. As an alternative, you could also upload a list of all your current outbound sales prospects and use Sponsored InMail to add a new layer of sales touches.

As for retargeting people from your website, you could, for example, target everyone who has gone to your landing page but did not convert. Retarget users with Sponsored InMail, but exclude all converters, and you’ve used targeting in a very personal and direct way.

Segmenting  

Targeting is nothing without segmenting. If you don’t segment and narrow your audience, you’re missing out on the personal and direct touch that Sponsored InMail could offer. And you won’t see the conversions and performance that you want.

Beyond segmenting into verticals, you need to create persona-based messaging. You wouldn’t want to send the same message to a CEO as a CMO. Think about the needs of your audience and craft a unique message for each segment. You’ll be happy to know that these unique messages for different segments are easy to do in Sponsored InMail. You can create a campaign for each vertical plus each persona. Marketers can get as granular or broad as they want with combinations of targeting and segmenting.

Messaging  

You probably learned the parts of a letter in elementary school. Things have changed a bit, but you’ve still got a subject line, an introduction/body, and a conclusion. Once you’ve figured out your targeting and segmenting knowing what to put in your message should be the easy part.

Nothing grabs attention like using someone’s name in the subject line. When you combine that with how your message can help them you’ll have a message that gets opened. You can experiment with this a bit, but make sure to appeal to your segment in your subject line. You don’t want to waste spend with messages that don’t get opens or replies.

Once your message has been opened, you want to make sure the introduction/body is personal, whether or not you’ve used the person’s name in the subject line. Utilize merge tags to help personalize your messages, but make sure that they still retain a human touch to them. You’ll want to quickly explain your firm’s unique value and how it impacts them. This introduction/body section should be short, no more than a few sentences.

Call to Action  

LinkedIn InMail has lots of options here. You can use their native LeadGen forms and convert users right on LinkedIn, or you can send them to a landing page on your site.  In either case, keep your call to action simple and straightforward. Users can’t respond to your Sponsored InMail, so another best practice is to include your email address and phone number as part of your signature. If they’re interested in what you have to offer, they can save your message for when they are ready to contact you.

Elements of LinkedIn InMail

Elements of LinkedIn's Sponsored InMail

B2B marketers should be utilizing LinkedIn’s Sponsored InMail to find qualified leads. With the right combination of targeting, segmenting, messaging, and calls to action marketers can find and generate the qualified B2B leads.

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