If you could improve your email response rates by 558% would you do it? Stupid question, obviously you would.
The solution is easier than you think: switch from sending emails to sending LinkedIn messages to your prospects.
In a recent experiment, where one social selling expert sent out 100 InMails and 100 emails and made 100 phone calls, LinkedIn responses outperformed e-mail by 558% and phone by 209%.
The lowest cost per registration was also LinkedIn.
This is not that surprising given that we live in an era where messaging/chat is king. Messaging has come a long way since Samuel Morse sent the first Telegram in 1884, and even since the days when people IM’d over platforms such as AOL and MSN Messenger.
We’re now living in the golden age of messaging where platforms such as WeChat allow you to hail cabs and book movie tickets through the app. This golden age extends to business communication, with more and more companies choosing to use messages instead of email as part of their social selling strategies.
This is because LinkedIn messages trigger higher response rates than cold emails. Here’s why
Provides more context on the sender
If you receive a cold email from someone you don’t know, it takes time and effort to check who the person is and whether they are of interest and reputable.
When you receive a LinkedIn message, you can click on the sender’s profile and easily find out more information. You can see information such as connections and groups in common, which helps the recipient build up a better picture of the sender, as well as any previous interactions you’ve had.
You can also see recommendations for the person or the product, which is crucial in this age of social proof where reviews carry a lot of weight.
If you’ve optimized your LinkedIn profile, and are using it as a landing page for lead generation, then the ability to get these extra profile views from potential customers can help generate a lot more leads, and hopefully, lead to more conversions.
We’re addicted to notifications
Americans check their phone on average once every 12 minutes, which amounts to 80 times a day. We’re addicted to the high of checking our phone and getting that notification that we’ve got a new message, comment, like, and so on.
The LinkedIn Android app has been downloaded more than 100 million times, which means an awful lot of people both have a LinkedIn account and are using the social network on their phone. You can hook prospects and get a response easier when a LinkedIn notification pops up than you can with an email.
In fact, you can get two notifications for LinkedIn messages –– one through the app and one via email –– making it more likely you’ll check and read the message.
It’s still also easier to use the LinkedIn app to reply to messages than it is to use a (sometimes clunky) email app.
Maintain multiple conversations at once
Sending and receiving LinkedIn messaging is a similar experience to using a messaging app such as Slack of WhatsApp.
You can easily switch between conversations with just one tap, and it doesn't feel like that much effort to talk to multiple people at one time.
People view messages in a different way from an email: we normally keep our messages to look back on later, while we are all trying to delete as many emails as possible as quickly as we can to reach the holy grail of inbox zero.
It’s more personal and less informal
We live in an age where we crave more authentic interactions, which is why LinkedIn is a more suitable platform to contact people, even in B2B industries. You can be less formal on LinkedIn, more chatty, and more personal, which helps you build rapport with prospects quicker and helps with lead generation.
It’s a more immediate form of communication, as you don’t have to spend hours crafting the perfect email, which saves time that you can spend creating genuine interactions with more prospects.
You can also personalize messages more easily as you have the message recipient's professional details and history all in one place, which is just a click away.
Linked to the last point, the ability to be informal and personal means both salespeople and prospects can compose messages. This makes it more likely that people will respond than if you have to deliberate over how to formulate the perfect response and include all the formalities such as “Best Regards”.
LinkedIn messages can often be only a couple of sentences –– or even words –– long. People are busy; if they don’t have to put much thought and effort into the message then they’ll be much more likely to reply. It leads to less overthinking about what your response should be, and more just quickly doing.
Stands out more
We’re getting bombarded with emails all day every day, with everything from a flash sale at your favorite retailer to your Medium digest to confirmation of flights you’ve just bought for your upcoming trip.
With all this action going on in our email inboxes, it’s easy to accidentally delete an email or decide to deal with one later, and then never get round to looking at it again as you’re too busy dealing with the deluge that has come in since you last checked.
LinkedIn messages are still primarily used for business communication, such as job offers, product information, catching up and reconnecting with old colleagues. This makes it more likely that a prospect will see, read and reply to a LinkedIn message as they aren’t swamped with other communication on the platform.
All communication is stored in one place
When you email someone back and forth over a period of time, you end up with lots of different email chains. This makes surfacing the information you need when you need it a lot more challenging and time-consuming.
If you use your LinkedIn account to send messages, all your entire conversation history is saved in one stream so you can easily access and review information. You can even add multiple participants to conversations, and save all interactions with them in one stream.
Access to more information
There are a lot of best practices out there on how to analyze user behavior to understand when the best time to send an email is, but it’s mostly guesswork.
If you use LinkedIn, you get more useful information that helps you make informed decisions. You can see when a person was last active, as well as if they are currently active.
This gives you a good idea of when is best to send a LinkedIn message, as well as whether they have already read the message, and if they are likely to respond.
How LinkedIn automation tools can help
Using LinkedIn messages isn’t going to transform your social selling strategy if you haven’t already done the groundwork.
LinkedIn automation tools come in handy by helping you identify your target audience, as well as automating and sequencing Linkedin profile visits, LinkedIn connection requests, and follow-ups. This helps you avoid committing the cardinal sins of social selling and LinkedIn messaging: focusing too much on the sales pitch and not enough on building a relationship, as well as being spammy as you haven’t taken the time to research your pitch list.