Finally, LinkedIn has led you to the perfect match for your open position. But, it turns out, you’re not connected.

With InMail, LinkedIn’s messaging service, you can contact anyone – whether you are connected or not. This makes InMail a powerful relationship-building and recruiting tool. This tool is only powerful when used properly, however, which means you must take a targeted approach to your messages.

According to LinkedIn research, personalized InMails garner 37% higher response rates than generic bulk (1:2 or more) InMails.

If you opt to use InMail to reach out to prospects, commit to using targeted, personalized messages.

Before you even sit down to craft your message, there are two things that you should do to start off right. First, if you have a shared connection with your prospect, ask that connection for an introduction. If that person can’t make the introduction, or it isn’t appropriate for some reason, you can mention him or her in your InMail.

Second, check your prospect’s contact preferences. If your prospect is open to receiving InMails about business deals, then you’re all set. If not, you’ll want to consider another way to contact them.

Ready write your InMail message to that perfect candidate? Here are six tips to boost your response rate:

1. Keep it short and sweet

You know that time is money and that is as true for your prospects as it is for you. So keep your message brief. Your objective is to start a conversation, not hound your prospect with a sales pitch. Keep your InMail to three paragraphs at most, or about 100 words. Not only will this ensure that you don’t lose your prospect’s attention, but a short message lets your prospect know that a short response is appropriate so they’ll be more likely to reply.

2. Homework, homework, homework

Do your homework. Read your prospect’s whole profile, not just until you see that the second listing under Work Experience matches your job requirements. Read all the way to the bottom to gather all the bits of information that can help you connect on a genuinely personal level. Look at what they have posted, InShared, or commented on. Check out their volunteer experience, the organizations they were involved with in college, their top endorsements, and the Influencers they follow.

3. Make it all about them

OK, maybe not all about them. You do want to pique their interest with your opportunity but, for the most part, your first InMail should be all about your prospect. If you’ve done your homework, as suggested in tip #2, this should be easy. Why did the prospect jump out at you to begin with? What do you have in common? What is their unique trait that makes them an ideal fit for your company? Emphasize this. You don’t want your message to sound at all generic. Find your commonalities and highlight them.

4. Dig deeper

A LinkedIn profile gives you only so much information. Ask your prospect some leading questions that will increase the likelihood of engagement. Ask about their goals, or questions about their hobbies. Let’s say you’re a runner and you notice your prospect is a member of a running group on LinkedIn. After establishing that you both have running in common, ask about favorite races or distances, or what your prospect is training for now. Engaging them as a person, rather than just a potential candidate, will help you develop a relationship.

5. Show yourself

You’ve made your message (mostly) all about them, now show a little of yourself. Share your opportunity – briefly – and let them know what is in it for them. Whatever you do, don’t send a copy of your job posting. Instead, get them interested in how they would benefit from what you have to offer.

6. Ask for more

If you don’t ask to continue the conversation, it isn’t going to happen. Make sure your message has a clear call-to-action so your recipient knows what you expect. Do you want to continue the conversation via email? Set up a phone call? Engage and ask.

Bonus Tip

LinkedIn research shows that the best time to send an InMail is on Thursday between 9 and 10am (local time for your prospect). The worst time? The weekend, naturally. So, don’t waste your time. Instead, do your homework and develop your messages early in the week and press send Thursday morning!

Your first InMail to a prospect is about building a relationship. You may get lucky and that InMail will result in an amazing hire for your company. Or, you might find that the person who looked perfect in their profile is just not the right fit for your company culture. Whatever happens, if you attempt to engage in a genuine way, you’ll develop a relationship that could yield great results down the road.

Staff

Kinetic Search is a top San Francisco Bay Area boutique Creative, Marketing and HR staffing agency. Reach us at (650) 485-3025.