Your LinkedIn InMail How-to for Higher Education

woman opening a LinkedIn InMail

Email campaigns produce some of the best engagement metrics in higher ed marketing. It’s probably no surprise, then, that LinkedIn’s version—InMail—can also yield some pretty impressive results. While sponsored InMail campaigns don’t have the opt-in benefit of email (you can, however, opt out), they can still appear as powerfully personal messages in your prospects’ inbox. But how you create, run and optimize your campaigns can ensure InMail success instead of squandered opportunity. Here’s how to leverage the platform to its full potential and build out effective InMails and ads that make them worth a slice of your digital marketing budget:

Understand the Basics of LinkedIn InMail

If you have a LinkedIn account (of course you do!), you probably already know that you can send an InMail to your contacts by simply clicking on their introduction card. If you upgrade to a Premium account, you’ll be allotted credits that vary depending on your subscription type:

  • Business
  • Sales
  • Hiring

With these credits, you can send InMails, even to people you’re not connected with. You can even buy additional credits. Which means for a very small investment, you can target and contact LinkedIn users who are most likely to be interested in the degrees and programs you offer.

Choose Sponsored InMail

The few credits you get through a Premium account won’t get you far if you’re looking for an all-out marketing campaign. If you are ready to invest in the platform, you’ll want to move to sponsored InMail. One of the top benefits of sponsored InMail is the ability to customize your audience. You can target by:

  • Followers
  • Location
  • Job Title
  • School
  • Degree
  • Company
  • Industry
  • Company Size
  • Company Connections
  • Skills

Another benefit to Sponsored InMail is that your messages are only delivered when LinkedIn members are actually on the platform. That means you’re more likely to engage with individual users. LinkedIn also says that they have “strict delivery frequency caps”1 so it’s more likely your message will get noticed.

Narrow Your Focus

Although you can send your InMail blast to hundreds of people, the targeting options are designed for you to choose quality over quantity. For example, if you hope to enroll students to a master’s degree program in your area and you know certain companies offer tuition reimbursement, target to employees of those companies. And of course, you wouldn’t target a user without a bachelor’s degree.

As part of that narrow focus, make sure to personalize the message. That doesn’t mean just using an autofill for the user’s name. Use personas to get into the heads of your prospects and customize your message accordingly, from the way you greet them to that ending call to action.

Choose the Right CTA

A compelling call to action can be the difference between a pass and a click. Make sure yours are direct, concise and relevant. Want them to download a whitepaper or eBook? Tell them how. Attend an event? Give them the details and make the deadline crystal clear.

Add an Ad

In addition to the actual InMail, you can create an accompanying ad. You should. If you don’t, it’s very likely that in the spot where your ad could appear, your prospects will instead see a competitor’s ads. Because your competitors may set the same objectives, target the same audience, with a similar bid strategy and easy to click CTA, they could ride your InMail coattails for the users’ clicks that should have been yours. Now that’s definitely something that you don’t want to happen.

~Linda Emma