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Sponsored Message Ads/InMails

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Digital Marketing - Study Notes:

Sponsored InMails

For marketers, sponsored InMails are great for supporting inbound lead generation goals and sales teams, boosting registrations for events, seminars, webinars, open evenings, content downloads, increasing website traffic, and supporting any other CTA or direct response style marketing.

Differences from regular emails

There are a number of differences between email and InMails.

  • The CTA button appearing within the InMail, branding or imagery can appear on the right-hand side of the InMail. Real-time deliverability.
  • Sent out only when a user is engaged on LinkedIn. Once every 60 days, exclusive access to target audience not considered as spam.
  • Unlimited InMails per campaign. You will not be restricted to 40 or 50 InMails a month.
  • Another advantage of using sponsored InMail is that you can achieve direct response from your target audience at scale.

Elements of a successful InMail

Here are the key elements required to run a successful sponsored InMail in campaign planning.


Sponsored InMails should be addressed from a credible person that your target audience will trust. Ensuring your sender has a profile image will set your campaign up for success. It's also important that the sender be contextually relevant to your message. The requested sender must be a first-degree connection. It may take some time for a sender to accept your request. So using yourself as a default sender will enable you to set up the creative and save it as a draft.

The subject line

Subject lines with a clear value or opportunity to connect work best. Consider wording such as exclusive invitation, opportunities, and connect. Custom greeting. To insert a custom greeting, type your salutation like, "Hello" or, "Hi" and add their first name and last name, both bookended by the percentage symbol.

Banner image

A banner image on sponsored InMails provides additional promotional value to your creative. The banner image automatically redirects to your chosen landing page if the recipient clicks on the image. Banner images are optional, but if you don't include one, ads from other advertisers may appear in that slot.


The best sponsored InMails are brief, relevant, and conversational. Keep your message copy under 1,000 characters as your content is now part of the members' messaging experience. Avoid formatting overload. Custom CTA buttons. A clear CTA gets clicks and conversions. Try top performing CTAs like, "try" or "register", "reserve", and "join." Additionally, always make sure to include a 300 by 250 companion banner in your InMail.

Best practices

Follow these best practices:

  • Keep subject lines short: When using sponsored InMails, keep subject lines short and impactful. Best-performing subject lines often use some of the following keywords: Thanks, exclusive invitation, connect, job opportunities, join us.
  • Address your target audience directly: To increase relevance, customize the greeting with the member's name.
  • Refer to their job title: Try using the word "you."
  • Use a strong voice: Give your message a unique and genuine voice.
  • Use a strong visual: Enhance your message, but do not distract from it.
  • Be concise, personal, and relevant: Keep your copy under 1,000 characters and include a body link.
  • Use clear call-to-actions: Top InMail keywords are, try, register, join, confirm, and then finally, download.
  • Select a sender who is credible: Consider your audience. Pick a sender who's relevant to your message. For example, if you have a technical message, the sender should be a director of IT, or a chief technology officer, and not a VP of Marketing.
  • Target carefully: Influence the influencer. Focus on hands-on influencers. Target senior individual contributors as part of your audience, senior ICs, test products, and influence the purchase. Senior ICs represent a much bigger audience than the person that will ultimately sign the contract.
  • Optimize the content for mobile: For best mobile performance, make sure that the copy is fewer than 1,000 characters, that the CTA is clear, and finally, that the landing page is optimized for the small screen.
  • Create multiple ad variations for testing: Use two to three active variations per campaign to show variety to your audience, while also allowing you to see which strategy is most successful.
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Lauren Murphy

As Head of Social Media for the creative agency Goosebump, Lauren’s current role is to create and implement social media strategies and content strategies for a portfolio of clients spanning a wide range of industries. Her team of creatives and strategists specializes in delivering innovative and integrated social media campaigns that drive conversions. Her work has been recognised with a wide range of awards, including the Irish Social Media Awards and Digital Media Awards. 

Data protection regulations affect almost all aspects of digital marketing. Therefore, DMI has produced a short course on GDPR for all of our students. If you wish to learn more about GDPR, you can do so here:

DMI Short Course: GDPR

The following pieces of content from the Digital Marketing Institute's Membership Library have been chosen to offer additional material that you might find interesting or insightful.

You can find more information and content like this on the Digital Marketing Institute's Membership Library

You will not be assessed on this content in your final exam.


    Lauren Murphy
    Skills Expert

    This module focuses on LinkedIn and shows how you can use the platform to build and develop professional connections with your target audience. You learn how to use LinkedIn-specific features, such as Company pages and Showcase pages, to build your company presence on the platform. The module goes on to cover the different ad formats available on LinkedIn, such as Text ads, Sponsored ads, Sponsored InMails, Display ads, and Dynamic ads, and outlines best practices for advertising on the platform. Finally, it teaches you how to use analytics with LinkedIn to measure the success of your campaigns.