You have a healthy email list — but your bounce rates are high. Your database is full of outdated contact information or generic info@ addresses. People aren’t opening your emails, or, if they are, they aren’t clicking through.

In short: your email efforts aren’t driving any registrations for your B2B event.

The LinkedIn marketing team recently faced this challenge for a webinar they hosted targeting executives. The C-suite target audience had such overflowing inboxes that the webinar invite email had a dismal open rate.

With so few registrations coming from email, the LinkedIn team was under pressure to find a creative way to fill the webinar. So they decided to stop relying on email and turned to their own product instead.

Here’s how they turned around attendance for their webinar — and how you can put their strategy into action for your B2B events.

Breaking out of the inbox with Sponsored InMail

The LinkedIn team used Sponsored InMail. The team targeted the same audience who didn’t open their email send and achieved a 50% open rate on their Sponsored InMail campaign — and a healthy number of registrations.

“When our email invites weren’t driving enough registration, Sponsored InMail saved the day,” says Renee Lowe, an associate demand generation manager at LinkedIn.

Sponsored InMail sends personal messages straight to the LinkedIn inboxes of your target audience. InMail is only sent to members when they are online and using their LinkedIn InMail, so you know they’ll get the message, and you don’t have to worry about inaccurate email addresses.

“Instead of sending to someone’s email inbox from five years ago, you know you’re delivering your message to someone who’s active,” says Cassandra Clark, a senior marketing manager of demand generation at LinkedIn. “There’s a 0% bounce rate.”

Using InMail, you can create one-on-one conversations with executives and other targeted decision-makers from your company wishlist. Overall, the LinkedIn events team has seen their InMails aimed at executives result in open rates as high as 67%.

Drive more registrations using Sponsored InMail

You can add more detailed information about your event to a Sponsored InMail,” explains Renee Lowe at LinkedIn. “You’re able to include more details about what they’ll learn if they attend and even personalize it with the recipient’s name. It makes the message feel much more personal.”

Here are the strategies the LinkedIn team uses to drive the most registrations through Sponsored InMail:

  • Make it personal: When the LinkedIn events team A/B tested sending InMails from “LinkedIn” versus an employee for one event, the InMails from the employee saw 16% higher open rates, 10% higher CTRs, and 10% higher conversion. Test sending InMail from your own name, the name of a Sales team member, and (with permission) a company executive. Personalize the recipient’s first name in your message as well.
  • Be casual: Don’t be afraid to try out a less serious tone than you use in email. “InMail is a bit closer to a messaging app than traditional email,” Lowe explains. The marketing team will take a more personal, casual tone in these short messages. For example:“Hi, [Name]! I sent you an email inviting you to [Event] and wanted to make sure you can attend! Click here to register.”
  • Use Sponsored InMail to circle back post-event: Sales reps spend a lot of time and effort connecting with unresponsive leads after an event is over. The LinkedIn team encourages sales reps to use Sponsored InMail to bypass a busy inbox to keep the connection warm and drive more ROI from each event.

If you use these tips, it won’t matter if the email list your sales team provided refuses to open your emails. Instead, you can use that information to target them when you know they’re online — with an approach that feels more personal than another email clogging their inbox.

Drive a 95% increase in your event’s InMail click-through rate

The LinkedIn team has found that using Sponsored Content in tandem with Sponsored InMail resulted in a 25% increase in InMail open rates — and a 95% increase in click-through rates. It makes sense: If people are already intrigued by your event or aware of your brand, they’ll be more likely to respond to these personal touches.

Find out how to combine InMail with other LinkedIn advertising strategies in the full guide: Promote Your B2B Event on LinkedIn: Inside Tips From the LinkedIn Team.

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