These days, LinkedIn is regarded as the main social medium for professional use. The network has over 500 million members all over the world, 3 million of whom – according to De Tijd – are in Belgium. Today, LinkedIn allows you to reach 60% of the Belgian workforce. If you are active in the B2B sector, it’s a good idea to focus on the advertising opportunities offered by LinkedIn. In this blog post, I discuss Sponsored InMail.

 

As a LinkedIn user, you will certainly have received an InMail from time to time: not a chat message from someone in your network, but a personal message from someone who does not belong to your network. It’s a handy tool which allows you to approach profiles in your target group with specific solutions, services or products. Unfortunately, these kinds of emails can only be sent from a premium account. Not to worry, though: anyone can create and send a Sponsored InMail.

 

What is a Sponsored InMail?

A Sponsored InMail is one of the advertising opportunities offered by LinkedIn. It is simply a personal message which you can send to your target group in a focused way.

 

How does it work?

You create a Sponsored InMail in LinkedIn’s campaign manager. The message consists of a sender, a subject, the main text and a button with a call to action. You also have the option of adding several links and a modified footer which contains conditions or disclaimers.

Once you have created your message, simply define a target*, select the rates** you wish to apply and then you are ready to click ‘send’.

* Target: form a target group on the basis of locations, job titles, sectors, ages, fields of study, etc.
** Rates: LinkedIn requires a basic budget of 10 euros per day. This is certainly something you will need to bear in mind. I would also advise you to look at the budget which other people are offering for a similar target group to yours. This is an option which LinkedIn offers as standard. Choose an amount somewhere in the middle; you can always modify the amount on the basis of the initial campaign results.

 

Why would you use a Sponsored InMail?

A sponsored private message makes it easy to achieve an opening rate of no less than 50%. It also gives you the opportunity to focus on a very specific target group. This increases the chances of the recipient being interested in what you have to say. In addition, it is a very personal medium. As a result, it’s the ideal method of getting leads in a faster and more targeted way, inviting people to attend events, sending out a survey, etc.

 

InMail campaign for Univ’AirPlus

AirPlus organised an exclusive event for travel professionals. To increase the number of registrations, we decided to set up a sponsored InMail campaign. The results of the first test phase were promising:

  • We obtained an opening ratio of 59%
  • 19 people clicked on the registration link
  • We spent a total of 279.31 dollars (236.92 euros)

 

What are the best practices?

On the basis of our past campaigns, we have learnt that:

  • It’s best to keep the subject line short and get straight to the point.
  • It is a good idea for a credible person to send out the InMail. People are more likely to open an InMail from someone who comes across as trustworthy.
  • You must ask the ‘sender’ for approval in good time. This is because the message can only be sent once they have given their approval. The person in question will simply be sent an email in which he or she will need to click on the approval button.
  • For your advert, you will need to select settings for the language in which your text will be written. This increases your chances of ending up in the inbox of the right people: people who will be able to read and understand your message.

 

Finally, what about GDPR?

Landing in someone’s inbox without permission doesn’t exactly sound GDPR-compliant. As a result, Sponsored InMail has already been banned in the Netherlands. We contacted LinkedIn to find out how the GDPR will affect InMail in Belgium, but have not yet received a response. Perhaps they just haven’t prepared a suitable response yet? We will keep on fishing for answers… To be continued! 😉

Ready to launch your first Sponsored InMail campaign? Watch the LinkedIn demo and get started.

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