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How to Create a LinkedIn Sponsored InMail Campaign

Published: January 30, 2019

Author: Kaylee Lucas

As digital marketers, it’s very easy to get stuck in the “upper-funnel mindset” and drive tons of leads that we leave it up to the salespeople to close. While down-funnel events might not be fully in our control, there is a lot we can do to nurture our leads downstream after capture. One of our favorite channels for nurturing is LinkedIn Sponsored InMail, which is a great way to engage with leads and encourage them to take the next step in the funnel.
LinkedIn InMail allows you to send messages directly to another LinkedIn member who you aren’t connected to. Let’s say you are an online university trying to recruit new students. You can use LinkedIn InMail to encourage prospective students to start their application, app starters to finish their application, and admitted students to enroll. You can also use Sponsored InMail for acquisition efforts; it has the same audience functionality as a Sponsored Content campaign.

Sponsored InMail will only be delivered when the recipient is active on LinkedIn. Each LinkedIn member can only receive one Sponsored InMail every 45 days, so you won’t be competing with a bunch of other advertisers for share of voice (unlike a typical email inbox).
Now that you’re convinced it’s time to test out this feature, here’s how to set up your first campaign:

  • Click create new campaign and select Sponsored InMail.

  • Name your campaign, select a target language, and choose whether you want to send people to your website or collect leads using LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms.
  • Name your sponsored InMail ad and choose a sender. For your first Sponsored InMail campaign, you’ll need to add a sender. You can select yourself as a sender or someone else. The only caveat is that you must be a first-degree connection with the sender.
  • Once you choose the sender, you’ll be prompted to send an approval request. The sender will receive a notification asking them to approve your request. It’s best practice to always use a person rather than a company as the sender. (Don’t worry, Sponsored InMail recipients are not able to respond to the sender.) Make sure your sender has a LinkedIn profile picture before sending the Sponsored InMail to ensure your message is personable.

  • Now it’s time to create your ad. Write up to a 60-character subject line and up to a 1,500-character body message. Consider using some of these impactful keywords: thanks, exclusive invitation, connect, opportunities and join us/ me. Add a custom greeting by using “%FIRSTNAME%, %LASTNAME%” – this will dynamically populate the name of your recipient. It’s also best practice to use a hyperlink in the message body itself to increase click-through rate.

  • Add your landing page or lead form and a call-to-action button. You can also upload a banner creative. The banner must be 300×250; a logo is usually a good choice here.
  • You can preview your InMail by clicking the envelope and sending yourself a test version of the message.
  • Define your audience. If using a customer list, you must have at least 300 people in your list.
  • Select which conversions you want to track, your daily budget and your cost per send bid. Launch your campaign, and let your InMail drop!

You’ll also want to make sure that you have a means of tracking success of your campaigns. Make sure you and your client align on the metrics you’re tracking from the InMail campaigns so you can gauge progress and learn where to optimize.

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