To many professionals, especially sales professionals, your LinkedIn contacts in many ways represent your contact database or your rolodex. However, LinkedIn is an "inclusive" social network, which by definition limits your ability to engage with those contacts. They try really hard to ensure you do all your contact engagement inside of LinkedIn.
LinkedIn offers a messaging system, and a paid for InMail messaging system, both of which require the recipient to view the message inside of their own LinkedIn account. While this internal system has it's perks, it is limiting. For the following reasons, I believe sales people prefer (and should prefer) email over InMail.
Ironically, InMail is More Spam-Filled Than Email
In my experience, the vast majority of messages I receive on LinkedIn - free or via InMail - are junk. To anecdotally test my opinion, I scrolled through all of the messages I received in the last year. Only one was not junk. One.
If you are a sales person, you have certainly experienced what has become a cliche exchange on LinkedIn: someone connects with you, and within 24 hours sends you a message you to ask if you need help with your leads or product development.
I have received many more marketing emails that I have actually been interested in, and thus, I believe LinkedIn has become more spammy than email. The irony of LinkedIn's InMail messaging system is that it has become filled with junk while the spam filters on Gmail and other traditional email exchanges that InMail sought to beat have greatly improved.
The irony of LinkedIn's InMail messaging system is that it has become filled with junk while the spam filters on Gmail and other traditional email exchanges that InMail sought to beat have greatly improved.
Email Probably Has a Better Read Rate
As a result of my conclusions in #1, I have taken every step imaginable to not be notified that I have a new LinkedIn message. I no longer receive any emails about InMails, and I no longer receive mobile notifications. So the only way I learn about a LinkedIn message if I actually go into LinkedIn.
On the other hand, an email tab is open in my browser nearly 100% of the time. The spam filters weed out the junk, and if I receive an unsolicited email I either unsubscribe or mark it spam.
The combination of the improved deliverability and the increased likelihood of being in email over LinkedIn, leads me to conclude that email has a better read rate.
Email is Not Dying, It is Getting Better
Email is only getting better. It has a strong foundation of daily usage for most professionals, and the experience is continually improving - threads, tabs, go to action links in the subject. We at VipeCloud have even developed a gmail sidebar for sales professionals.
On the other hand, InMail is getting worse. The rub with LinkedIn's business model is that it makes money by allowing people to send solicitation InMails, however, the more unwanted solicitations that are sent, the more people like me start to move away from reading any of my InMails.
LinkedIn Cost Becomes a Factor
The paid for sales-related options in LinkedIn - Sales Navigator, Recruiter Lite, and Recruiter - are fairly pricey. And with the aforementioned issues, cost becomes a significant factor when email marketing, landing page, social selling and other products out there often provide a lower price point.
In conclusion, LinkedIn is a good professional network but a questionable messaging outreach platform. Of course, these are our opinions. Let us know yours!
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