Cold Email · · 9 min read

Finding Sales Leads With LinkedIn Inmail

LinkedIn InMail is an outreach tool accessible to premium platform users. But is it even worth it for salespeople? Here’s our verdict.

linkedin inmail

LinkedIn is the best place for professionals and businesses to network or find opportunities. But for business owners, salespeople, or department heads—that’s an entirely different story. Using LinkedIn messaging to sell or promote products/services will likely be ignored. 

That’s where LinkedIn Inmail comes in. It’s a way for users to message another LinkedIn member directly without needing a connection request, and we’re here to tell you all about it. 

  • What is LinkedIn Inmail?
  • Is LinkedIn Inmail worth it?
  • Who should use LinkedIn Inmail?
  • LinkedIn Inmail for cold emails/sales
  • LinkedIn Inmail + Instantly News Filter Email Enrichment
  • Cold email examples for LinkedIn Inmail

What is LinkedIn InMail?

LinkedIn Inmail is a feature included with a premium LinkedIn subscription. It acts like a typical email. You can write subject lines, email bodies, or attachments. 

As of writing, users can try Premium for free for one month. Pricing for Premium accounts depends on your region. Here’s what you can expect when you try InMail for the first time:

InMail Monthly Credits

LinkedIn gives Premium users monthly Inmail credits based on their subscription plan:

  • Premium Career: 5 Inmail credits
  • Premium Business: 15 Inmail credits 
  • Sales Navigator Core: 50 Inmail credits

Credits expire after 90 days. They are refunded when prospects accept your InMail. Ensure you optimize subject lines and follow proper email formatting. 

Enrich each prospect. Do in-depth research. Remember, you can send messages without connection requests, so use your allotted credits wisely. 

Direct Messaging Without Connection Requests

Direct messaging streamlines prospecting. A basic account must send a connection request and wait for prospects to accept before you can send a message.

If you connect with a user, you have a “1st Degree Connection. " If you have a mutual connection, that’s a “2nd Degree.” But if there isn’t, you have a “3rd Degree Connection.”

Messages are only available to users with a 1st Degree Connection. With LinkedIn Premium, you can send messages with high open rates even if you have a 2nd or 3rd Degree Connection.

Higher Open Rates

LinkedIn statistics reveal that InMail, on average, has an 18-20% open rate, compared to 3% of most cold emails outside the platform. That’s because trust and authority are higher from within a network of professionals. 

Who Uses LinkedIn Inmail?

LinkedIn inmail for salespeople

Sales teams, agencies, or freelancers benefit from InMail. You can immediately reach out to qualified prospects, high-level applicants, or dream clients. 

However, you can always do this outside of LinkedIn. All you need is your prospects’ contact information. So, is InMail even worth it?

Is Cold Email For LinkedIn Inmail Worth It?

With lead finder tools like Sales Navigator, you can easily scrape contact information from LinkedIn, build an email list, and send cold emails in bulk. Why should we bother with InMail?

InMail lacks the advanced features of most email marketing software. But it makes up for it by being a trustworthy platform. Users have a cap of 150 credits, even for the highest-tier plans. 

Let’s say you’re a freelancer looking for B2B SaaS companies to sell your services to. You could decide to look at ten qualified companies. For each company, you reach out to 3-5 people. 

That’s already 30-50 InMail credits. You can’t rely on a spray-and-pray method for email outreach.

Each InMail must be hyper-personalized and optimized to convert. But that doesn’t mean InMail is better than traditional cold emails. 

Linkedin InMail Vs. Traditional Cold Email

LinkedIn InMail credits are not cheap. Users get 50 monthly credits for $79.99 for a Sales Navigator account. You better write a persuasive email if you’re selling a product/service.  

Meanwhile, marketers using traditional cold email outreach (with the right tools) can send thousands of emails monthly. But the difference doesn’t stop with sending volume. 

Here’s a quick overview of the significant differences between LinkedIn InMail and traditional cold email marketing campaigns:


You can’t scale outreach using InMail, and there isn’t a way to buy more credits. The only way to get more credits is for prospects to reply to your InMail message. 

Even if every prospect replies, the maximum number of credits is capped at 150. Meanwhile, free accounts are unlimited as long as you send within your network.

But to be safe, it's recommended that marketers limit daily sending to 100 messages. Marketers won’t have these limitations using traditional cold email outreach. 

As long as you follow email marketing best practices, warm up sending accounts, and have the correct number of alternate domains, you can send thousands of emails daily. 


Automating messages or InMails is possible. Agencies can automate messages using bots, scripts, and other third-party software. However, these aren’t the most efficient methods. 

If you aren’t tech-savvy, your best bet is to use templates to streamline prospecting. However, personalizing each message using templates can take up hours of your time. 

With email marketing tools like Instantly, users can automate personalization and follow-ups and send variations of email copies to see which performs best. 

Leveraging these advanced automation tools allows your representatives to focus on closing prospects rather than prospecting itself, significantly reducing outreach campaign costs.

Campaign Costs

Let’s be honest; you won’t get significant results with 5 InMail credits per month. You'd need a Sales Navigator plan to have a better chance of moving the needle for your prospecting. 

As mentioned, the subscription isn’t cheap. And that’s just the cost of your lead generation. You must still account for overhead such as lead enrichment tools, CRMs, or automation tools. 

On the other hand, cold emails are significantly more affordable. Running outreach using Instantly gives users access to a built-in CRM, lead finder, and several automation tools. 

And, with Instantly’s latest News Filter, enriching and personalizing emails has never been easier. Here’s a quick look at what it can do for your prospecting. 

LinkedIn Company Enrichment + Instantly News Filter

Personalization makes for winning cold emails. You’d want to take your time and do in-depth research for high-value prospects.

But what if this time-consuming task is directly integrated into your cold outreach workflow? Enter Instantly Lead Finder’s new “News” filter.

It helps users stay current on data signals for company news. The filter covers everything from product launches, market expansions, partnerships, mergers, and even hiring opportunities.  

Users can leverage this new feature to automate and hyper-personalize cold emails, making it essential for any sales enablement strategy

Rather than just automating a prospect’s {{first name}} or {{job position}}, you can include {{specific relevant details}} about their company. 

This level of personalization is sure to set your emails apart from generic cold emails that merely scratch the surface. Here’s an example of using it in a cold email workflow. 

  1. Importing leads from Instantly Lead Finder using the “News” filter
  2. Using LinkedIn enrichment tools to update lead information
  3. Upload enriched leads to Instantly campaign
  4. Use templates and merge tags to enrich cold emails with specific company “News.”

From here, all that’s left is to add your email nurture sequences or A/B testing variables, monitor the campaign, and iterate your copy as you go. 

Email Copy Examples for InMail and Cold Outreach

Whether you’re sending emails on InMail or using your preferred service provider, the fundamentals of a good email remain. Here are some examples and templates to inspire you. 

Approaching Job Candidates

Headhunters or recruitment agencies can use InMail to reach out directly to high-level prospects. When writing your copy, make it clear that you’ve selected the prospect from a handful of applicants and provide a quick overview of the job. 

Subject line: We need {{position}} rockstars like you in our team

Hey {{first name}},
I’m {{your name}} from {{your company}}. We’re building a team of superstars to conquer {{industry}}. We looked at hundreds of profiles on LinkedIn, and yours is one that immediately caught our eye. 
I’d love to discuss a potential job opportunity for {{position}}. I think you’d be a perfect fit for our team. With your skills and talents in {{area of expertise}}, we’re sure to hit {{goals}}. Hoping to hear from you soon.
Thanks in advance, 
{{your name}}

Free Trial + Instantly News Filter Enrichment

Getting prospects to try a free trial of your products is an excellent way of streamlining the sales process. With the News filter, you can position your product’s unique selling point to fit your prospect’s most relevant needs. 

Subject line: Congratulations on {{specific company news}}, {{first name}}!

Hey, {{first name}},
Just saw that {{prospect’s company}} finally got funding for {{specific detail}}. That’s such an incredible feat for such a company that’s just started {{x years}} ago.  
I’m curious to know how you’re planning to handle {{pain point}} now that you’ve got the funding to scale operations. That’s because our company, {{company name}} built a tool for {{unique selling point}}. 
It would fit well with {{prospect’s company}} now that it's about to scale. I could give you a personal tour anytime if you ever want to take it for a test drive. 
Hoping to hear from you soon, {{first name}}, and congratulations again! 
{{your name}}

Job Seeker InMail Email Copy

There are thousands of freelancing opportunities on LinkedIn. But if you want something more stable, you could always use InMail to reach out to recruiters or companies as a job seeker. 

Subject line: Inquiring about job openings in {{department}}

Hey, {{first name}},
I’m {{your name}}, an {{occupation}} with {{years}} of experience in {{area of expertise}}. I saw that you’re a recruiter for {{company}}, and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to reach out. 
I’ve always loved {{company}} and what it stood for. I believe it’s a place where my passions, values, and career merge. My resume and CV are attached to this email, and I’m open to hearing more about how I could fit within the dynamics of {{department}}. 
Best regards, 
{{your name}}

Competitor Comparison Email + News Filter Enrichment

Oh, I’m already using {{competitor}} for {{pain point}}.” This is one of the most common objects prospects have. So, why not address the objection directly with a competitor comparison?  

Subject line: {{competitor}} alternative 

Hey, {{first name}}, 
I’m {{your name}} from {{your company}}. I’m reaching out because I noticed that {{prospect’s company}} is using {{competitor}} for {{task}}. 
I know switching over to an alternative is a big risk, but since you’re {{specific company update}}, you might be interested in using a product that can help you scale and save on overhead. 
That’s where {{your product}} comes in. Unlike {{competitor}} we {{advantage 1}}, {{advantage 2}}, and {{advantage 3}}. I’d love to know more about your day-to-day so I can create an overview of how {{product}} can help you reach your goals as you scale. 
Would you be open to a meeting? 
Thanks in advance, 
{{your name}}

Providing Immediate Value 

Focusing on providing value helps you build lasting relationships with prospects faster. This pivots your prospects' perspective of you from a salesperson to an advisor. 

Subject line: {{first name}}, here’s how we solved {{pain point}} in {{x days}}

Hey, {{first name}}, 
Just saw you recently {{specific company news}}. Congratulations! I’m reaching out because I was wondering what your plan is for handling {{pain point}}. 
It’s definitely something a hurdle {{your company}} had to face when we hit this milestone. Luckily, we found a system that works and stuck with it! Here’s what we did:
{{step 1}}
{{step 2}}
{{step 3}}
{{step 4}}
{{step 5}
If you have any questions about {{pain point}} or {{relevant topic}}, reach out any time! I’d be happy to share some insights. 
Best regards,
{{your name}}

Key Takeaways

LinkedIn InMail is great for reaching high-quality prospects in an authoritative and trustworthy platform. However, prospecting with a premium LinkedIn account comes at a steep price. 

But that doesn’t mean InMail doesn’t have its own set of advantages. Here are some key insights you might’ve missed. 

  • InMail can lead to 18-20x more opens than regular cold emails
  • Using InMail allows you to send messages directly without needing to connect
  • InMail credits are refreshed each month or when prospects respond to your message

Traditional cold outreach is your best bet if you want to scale prospecting sustainably and with bigger volumes. When it comes to hyper-personalized and automated cold outreach, Instantly is king. Try it out today! 

Read next

10x your leads, meetings and deals.

Instantly scales your outreach campaigns with unlimited email sending accounts, email warmup, B2B lead database and generative AI