LinkedIn InMail vs. Email: Which Channel Is Better

Here we go: LinkedIn has become the champion of B2B prospecting, as around 80% of B2B leads come directly through this platform. However, when it comes to outreach, companies are not quick to claim that LinkedIn InMail has surpassed its predecessor – Email.

So which one should YOU use?

In this post, we will compare the two outreach channels with eight parameters and help you find the best solution to present your offer to potential customers. But first, let’s make sure you’re familiar enough with LinkedIn InMail. How To Use LinkedIn To Market Your Business: Why Is It Important?

What is LinkedIn InMail?

If you’ve ever tried reaching out to people on LinkedIn, you know how difficult it can sometimes be to achieve 2nd or 3rd connections, even though you’re confident that your communication will benefit both parties.

Under normal circumstances, you cannot send a message to someone unless you are connected to them. But LinkedIn InMail makes communication outside your network possible.

InMail is a premium feature of LinkedIn that allows you to directly contact other LinkedIn members who are not among your connections.

From a convenience standpoint, reaching out to a potential customer you just found on LinkedIn, directly on the same platform seems like a really time-saving option. But does that mean you should swap your old friend, email, for LinkedIn InMail? Let’s find out the answer. How can I make my Linkedin profile attractive to stand out?

InMail vs. Email: Which is more effective?

Undoubtedly, both LinkedIn and email have advantages and disadvantages over each other. So instead of reaffirming that truth, it’s time we compare these two channels by the parameters that matter most for B2B’s cool reach.

1. Price

The first aspect you should consider before making a decision is the cost to your business, right? Considering that email is a free channel of communication with your leads, LinkedIn InMail, as mentioned above, is a premium feature, so it will definitely cost you quite a bit.

The cheapest option is to buy the annual Sales Navigator account. It will cost $79.99/month for 50 InMail credits (so for each InMail you will pay $1.6).

Good news: Per LinkedIn policy, you can get credit back for messages that have received a reply within 90 days from the date they were sent. In addition, you can accumulate InMail credits month by month. However, there are limits to the total number of InMail credits – the maximum you can accumulate is 150 InMail credits. Most Valuable Job Search Tips

2. Follow-up

Building meaningful relationships and driving your prospects to conversion is impossible without follow-up. As a rule, 50% of all sales happen only after the 5th contact!

Let’s say that if your prospect hasn’t responded to your previous message, you can send them as many follow-ups as you want, free of charge, with emails, unlike InMail. Unfortunately, if you want to send an InMail to a potential customer that you’ve contacted before but haven’t responded to your initial message yet, it will result in another credit being used.

3. Analysis

No matter which sales and marketing outreach strategy you choose, your actions must be data-driven. You need to keep track of all your messages with potential customers, stay in sync with your team, analyze your performance results, and improve your communication and outreach approach for future campaigns.

With Email, you can always measure the effectiveness of your campaigns – there are many tools that will give you valuable data about your email reach. For example, with Free InMail Tool Email Tracker, you can track email opens and link clicks right in your Gmail, see full email open history, and get reminders to follow up.

And with the Free InMail email drip campaigns tool, you can always get important data by checking the detailed statistics of your emails.

With LinkedIn InMails, you can also derive data. You can check the response and acceptance rates of your InMails, and see how many messages were declined or received no response. But again, unlike free email tracking tools, InMail analytics is a paid feature. Email Marketing for e-commerce: where to start?

4. Timing

The success of any cold outreach campaign depends on you reaching out to your prospect at the right time. And this is where InMail has indisputable merits. On LinkedIn, you can see who among your connections is currently active, so you can send your InMail message right away.

On the other hand, with email, you can’t guarantee that you’re capturing your prospect exactly as they’re looking through their inbox. It’s no surprise that the perfect timing and frequency for sending emails have been the subject of many studies. Marketers and sales experts are trying to find the right day and time when emails can get the best open and response rates.

5. Open and response rates

When it comes to statistics, LinkedIn InMail looks more promising than Email. The average email open rate is around 21.6%, while InMail can bring in open rates of 57.5%. The response rate, on the other hand, reaches 10-25% for InMail messages, while for emails, it can be from 1 to 10%.

The reason for such a gap is clear: the number of email and InMail users is different. With nearly 756 million LinkedIn members and over 4.1 billion email users, you’re more likely to reach potential customers with your InMail message than with an email.

Also, if you’re sending an InMail, your potential customer can click through to your profile to learn more about you, your company, and the product you offer, which makes the InMail reach more interactive.

6. Segmentation of Potential Customers

Personalization and Segmentation of potential customers is the main basis for successful outreach, especially when contacting potential customers occurs in bulk.

You can’t prospect them all as it’s a huge waste of resources. Once you’ve built your ideal customer profile and started looking for potential ideal customers, you need to think about segmenting your list so that each of your potential customers can receive a highly personalized message.

While with the email you can divide your prospects into multiple segments – from specific demographics to a potential customer’s position in the sales funnel – with InMail, this is not possible. 5 email marketing metrics for you to analyze

7. Automation

If your business aims to send bulk messages, you should have automation tools in your arsenal that will do the bulk outreach for you. Fortunately, you can now use software like this for both email and InMail.

Email automation services allow you to send triggered messages based on the specific actions of recipients. For example, with Free InMail Tool email drip campaigns tool, you can create and send complex multi-stage email sequences, schedule automatic follow-ups, and analyze your campaign performance.

LinkedIn’s automation tools, meanwhile, will be eager to send InMail messages and follow-ups on your behalf, allowing you to set your desired level of engagement with prospects and track the performance of your InMail campaigns.

8. Limits

No matter which advertising channel you choose, you should keep in mind that you will have to deal with sending limits, and going beyond that will cost you a temporary account ban.

Email sending limits depend on your email provider. With some, you can send over 10,000 emails a day, or even take advantage of unlimited email sending. As for LinkedIn InMails, having a Sales Navigator account and imagining that all your emails have been answered, you can send about 100 InMails a month.

However, there is something else you should know. If you want to use LinkedIn as a single platform for prospecting and outreach, you will have to deal with other LinkedIn limits related to the number of connection invites, monthly surveys, and regular messages sent. You can read more about these limits in one of our articles.


We just compared email and LinkedIn InMail based on eight parameters. Let’s summarize our findings in a table, so you can better understand which channel would be best to choose for your outreach.

PriceFree of chargemin. $1.64
Side dishFreefor an extra price
AnalyticsFreePaid out
Finding the perfect time to messageDifficultEasy
Average open rate21.6%57.5%
average response rate1-10%10-25%
Segmentation of potential customersYeaNo
limit10,000+ messages per dayAbout. 100 per month

So, which channel to use for dissemination?

As you can see, both Email and InMail have their benefits, and one may be better than the other based on a few parameters. Your choice will mostly depend on your main outreach goals. If you’re used to using LinkedIn to find potential customers, don’t aim to reach people in droves, and have the money to invest, you might do well with InMails.

However, the old friend Email is arguably the best solution for those who don’t want to rely solely on LinkedIn, want to get in touch with lots of potential customers, and just don’t want to pay too much. In addition, it is a much better option for companies that follow the Smarketing strategy, that is, they synchronize their sales and marketing teams for greater results.

As a rule, these companies use CRMs with an integrated e-mail service that allows prospecting, advertising, and managing leads from the same platform, where the system monitors all interactions with potential customers and the performance of the sales campaign. e-mail and that makes the movement of the potential customer through the sales pipeline very visible.

LinkedIn InMail Best Practices

No matter which channel you prefer, you won’t get far if you don’t understand how to use it to its fullest potential. But don’t worry, please. We know how you can get the most out of your InMail and Email outreach strategies and ensure the effectiveness of your cold campaigns.

In one of our previous posts, we already talked about writing a cold email that converts. Many of these tips also work well for LinkedIn InMail reach. Here’s what you can do to successfully run your InMail outreach:

Keep your InMail messages short

The numbers show that shorter InMails get more responses. If you look at the chart below, you’ll see that the response rate for the shortest InMails (400 characters or less) is 16% above the average rate.

It does not mean that all your InMails must not exceed 400 characters. However, if you want to stand out from the rest, I recommend trying short messages. The reality is that nearly 90% of all InMails are typically over 400 characters long. Therefore, your brevity is likely to help you gain a competitive edge over other InMails your prospect receives.

Use impactful subject lines

Subject lines that make an impact are short (no more than 8 words) and catchy. As a hook, you can mention something related to the prospect that prompted you to write a message to them, for example, “I love your new post about…” or something that summarizes your value-added message, for example, “8 ways to sales automation tools increase your revenue.”

Introduce yourself

Even though your potential customer can easily visit your profile to see who the charming InMail sender they just received is, don’t miss the chance to explain who you are and what you do right in the intro.

This is a matter of respect, which, when neglected, can leave InMails ignored by potential customers. See the example below to see how you can present yourself in your InMail message.

EXAMPLE: Hi Tamara,

I’ve been following the work you’ve been doing for Free InMail Tool these past few months, and I’m very impressed with your results in such a short time! I’d love to chat a little more with you, and find out how you got the opportunity to work on this project!

Customize your InMails

Again, the numbers don’t lie: individual InMails are 20% better than bulk InMails. The same goes for non-model-based and model-based InMails.

This doesn’t mean you should message prospects one by one and never use a template as a backbone. If your company operates at scale, unfortunately, this is simply impossible. These statistics just show that the most personal InMails receive feedback from potential customers more often.

To make your InMails more personalized, you must demonstrate that you are truly aware of who your prospects are and what they are doing, to ensure that your message has been crafted specifically for them. Just take a look at an InMail example with a custom intro.


Hello Vienna!

I’m a big fan of your work, especially your book “Integrated Digital Marketing”. He helped me when I was starting my company. I’d like to connect with you to ask about some things that weren’t covered in the book.



Do not send InMails on the weekend

You can see when a potential customer is online and send them a message so they are instantly captured. This is the ideal option, but it’s not entirely possible if you’re sending InMail in bulk.

So when it comes to the right time to send InMails, studies have shown that the worst time to contact your prospects is Saturday and Sunday, while sending InMails midweek demonstrates the best response rates.

Well, it seems logical. LinkedIn is a professional network, and few people prefer to read and reply to your InMail when the kids are jumping on your head, or when the smell of backyard barbecue is so tempting, that LinkedIn notifications on mobile are silenced on their own.

In short

LinkedIn’s growing popularity has caused a real dilemma for sales and marketing teams – to choose LinkedIn InMails or rely on traditional email campaigns for cold outreach.

InMails are a good solution for professionals who don’t have large-scale ambitions and are willing to pay for the convenience of using the same platform for prospecting and outreach.

Meanwhile, email remains a universal outreach tool that you can use for free and rely on for bulky campaigns. Furthermore, it allows you to send highly targeted messages to a completely targeted list of prospects, analyze their performance and increase your conversion rate due to the persistence of your follow-ups.

And if you want to automate your email outreach, Free InMail Tool will easily do that for you. And much more! With Free InMail Tool CRM, you will not only be able to organize your prospecting and outreach campaigns in cold weather but also build the entire sales process from scratch.

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