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LinkedIn Inmail credit: cost, free InMails and alternatives (2024)

LinkedIn InMail credits are for some a survival kit in the recruiting world, but many InMail users are not aware of the actual cost and available alternatives.

September 29, 2020
Yuma Heymans
December 18, 2023

LinkedIn InMails are used to reach people on LinkedIn that you haven’t connected with yet.

On LinkedIn, only when you are connected to someone (called a 1st connection), you can send unlimited free messages to that person.

If you’re not connected, you have to send a connection invite or make use of InMails to send direct messages.

InMails are a paid LinkedIn feature but there are ways to send free InMails.

Cost of InMails

To get InMails, you have to get one of the LinkedIn premium subscriptions like LinkedIn Recruiter or LinkedIn Sales Navigator.

Every plan has its own amount of InMail credits.

You can refer to this blog for LinkedIn subscription pricing:

LinkedIn Recruiter pricing

The amount of InMails that you get as of 2022 are as follows:

Amount of InMail credits per plan

How to send free InMails: Open profiles

If you don't have any remaining InMail credits or you are on a free subscription, you can send InMails to "Premium Profiles" (profiles with a gold LinkedIn badge on their page) who have the Open option enabled, making it possible for you to send them free InMails.

Premium users can be recognized by the golden batch on their profile.

Premium profile

Golden LinkedIn premium batch

But the golden batch doesn’t necessarily mean that the profile is also open.

Users have the option to disable the Open setting, making their account closed off from free InMails.

Many premium users however leave the Open setting enabled because they simply don’t know they can disable it or because they are actually open to outreach from 2nd and 3rd degree connections.

If you have a Sales Navigator account you can see if profiles are open.

That way you can select the people who have open profiles and send them free InMails.

With a basic or premium account, you can’t search for open profiles anymore on LinkedIn with filters or tooling, but what you can do is just send InMails to your prospects or candidates and hope the profile is open so they can receive your message.

Another way of doing this at scale, is using a solution like Linked Helper that can help you send messages to premium profiles in a ‘trial and error’ approach with which you might still be able to reach 60-70% of premium profiles because they are open.

Alternatives to InMails

InMails might be too expensive for you and sending free InMails might be too much of a hassle.

You can use these three alternative way of reaching candidates:

1. Send connection invites

Any LinkedIn user can send connection invites. When a user accepts your connection invite, you are what LinkedIn calls ‘1st connections’.

The additional benefit of sending a connection invite over sending an InMail is that you also have the people you connected with on your timeline, and you can follow each other's updates.

When you send the connection invite you can add a message to the invite to introduce yourself and why you are connecting.

2. Use other outreach methods

You can use other outreach methods like email, phone or Twitter to reach the candidate.

Depending on the candidate, other contact methods can even give higher response rates.

Take software engineers for example, they might respond on email, but might not on an InMail.

You can use email finders or sourcing engines to find email addresses of candidates.

3. Use a talent search engine

A talent search engine finds LinkedIn profiles, just like you can find them in LinkedIn itself. 

If you use an advanced talent search engine, it also finds contact details for you so you can reach out.

An example of a talent search engine that finds LinkedIn and other profiles and contact details like email, phone and social links, is HeroHunt.ai.

Also read:

Guide to LinkedIn InMails: credits, templates and more (2022)

LinkedIn InMail examples: templates to win candidates (2022)

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