To pay for LinkedIn Premium membership, or not to pay?
That is the question I get asked all the time by my students and people at seminars I speak at around the world.
If you use LinkedIn to find, connect and build relationships with your leads or prospects, you may find that the free version of LinkedIn limits your efforts.
But is LinkedIn Premium worth the investment?
In this post, I will review the benefits of LinkedIn Premium. (You can see a comparison of the free, Premium and Sales Navigator LinkedIn membership levels here.)
5 Benefits of LinkedIn Premium
Here is a list of tools and features you can access with your LinkedIn Premium Business subscription to help you decide whether it’s right for you:
1. Extended LinkedIn Network Access
Perhaps the most useful feature you get with LinkedIn Premium is the Extended LinkedIn Network Access, which removes the search limitations of the Commercial Use Limits of the free accounts.
If you use LinkedIn’s Advanced Search to find and connect with prospects, the Commercial Use Limits can greatly hinder your efforts. With the Premium membership, you will not lose access to search results part way through the month, which will negatively affect your lead generation capabilities.
Activities LinkedIn counts towards the Commercial Use Limits include:
- searching for LinkedIn profiles on LinkedIn.com and the mobile app
- browsing LinkedIn profiles using the People Also Viewed section located on the right rail of a profile.
Activities that do not count toward the limit include:
- searching profiles by name using the search box located at the top of every page on LinkedIn.com
- browsing your 1st-degree connections from the Connections page
- searching for jobs on the Jobs page
If you want to send a message directly to someone you are not connected to (and with whom you don’t share a group), you must send them an InMail.
InMail messages can be useful when you want to message a prospect before you send them a connection request or when they haven’t accepted your connection request. Sending an InMail, particularly to an in-demand decision-maker, is a great way to establish an initial connection, without that person feeling they are obligated to accept an invitation to connect with someone they don’t know.
Additionally, InMail gives you more room to write your message as connection requests can have only 300 characters while an InMail message can have up to 200 characters in the subject line and up to 1900 characters in the body of the message. This can make it easier for you to explain why you are reaching out.
InMail is possible only with a paid membership subscription (Premium or Sales Navigator). Based on your subscription level, you are given a certain number of InMail messages to send every month with an opportunity to purchase more. You get 15 InMail messages a month with the Premium Business membership.
Additional Reading: LinkedIn Membership Levels: Free vs. Premium Business vs. Sales Navigator
3. Who’s Viewed My Profile
You can find an excellent source of new leads in the Who’s Viewed My Profile section.
This section lists all the people who have viewed your profile over the last 90 days (you can see only the last five people with a free account).
At the top of the page, you will see a graph showing you how many people are viewing your profile each week. This can help you spot increases or decreases of traffic to your account. When you see an increase, figure out what activities you did that week that could have caused the increase, and then do that activity more regularly to increase the number of people viewing your profile.
LinkedIn also provides you with a couple of basic filters below the top graph, showing you the companies the people were from, the most common job titles of the viewers and how they found your profile.
Review the people who have viewed your profile for leads and prospects. For example, let’s say some of my ideal clients are corporate trainers. LinkedIn data shows some of them have visited my profile. Using that information, I can quickly and easily compile a list of prospects who already know a little bit about me as I know they have viewed my profile.
When you reach out to these people, don’t say “I saw you viewed my profile” or go directly into a sales pitch for your products or services. Instead, review their profiles and look for commonalities. Then send them a thoughtful personalized connection request.
4. Open Profile & Gold Badge
Open Profile is a great feature of LinkedIn Premium as it gives you the option to allow people outside your network to send you a message.
This can be a significant benefit to you as a Premium subscriber if you are using LinkedIn for lead generation. InMails can be costly, and in most cases, prospects won’t pay to message you. Open Profile removes a key barrier between you and the prospects outside your 1st level network.
When you have the Open Profile feature, LinkedIn members not connected to you will see they can send you a message in the the top portion of the profile, even though you are not 1st degree connections.
Plus, your LinkedIn profile looks more eye-catching in the search results because it has a small gold LinkedIn badge beside your name.
Seemingly a very small benefit, this feature, identifying you as a LinkedIn Premium user, makes you stand out in the search results. This badge can also increase trust and improve your credibility in the eyes of the people you are trying to connect with as most fake accounts and spammers are not paying for the Premium membership.
5. LinkedIn Learning
LinkedIn Premium makes it easy for you to keep your skills sharp and learn new ones to offer more services to your clients – which is crucial in such a competitive market!
LinkedIn Premium gives you access to more than 13,000 courses created by industry experts on LinkedIn Learning and Lynda.com.
To make sure you remain at the cutting edge of your industry, LinkedIn collects and analyzes the skills and jobs data to identify emerging training trends and needs. It then uses that data to create new high-quality courses to keep its library fresh with dozens of courses added every week.
You will find courses in the business, technology and creative categories. Business courses will help you sharpen your leadership, communication, digital transformation skills, etc. Technology courses will help you build your expertise in modern programming languages and computing platforms. And creative courses from Lynda.com will teach you how to bring your ideas to life.
Is LinkedIn Premium worth the investment?
If you are not sure whether you would benefit from upgrading to the Premium membership, you can start with a free 30-day trial so you can test the features.
How much does LinkedIn Premium cost?
After your free month, you will pay USD59.99 a month when billed monthly, and less when billed annually. (Amounts vary based on currency and country.)
If you use LinkedIn for lead generation, Sales Navigator is a far wiser investment than LinkedIn Premium. For an additional $20 a month, the exceptional number of additional features and benefits Sales Navigator offers makes it a clear winner for the serious social seller.
But don’t take this post as a promotion for LinkedIn Premium or Sales Navigator. My advice is unbiased as I have no affiliation with LinkedIn, nor do I receive any financial compensation from it.
If you don’t think the features mentioned in this post will be useful to you, a free LinkedIn account may be all you need. In fact, I still highly recommend the free account to many clients and friends if it’s clear they won’t take advantage of the additional benefits of LinkedIn Premium.
On the other hand, if you are responsible for business development, lead generation or sales, I would advise you to consider signing up for Sales Navigator. It far exceeds the benefits of LinkedIn Premium when it comes to aiding you in your lead gen efforts, giving you access to the Sales Nav features.
Have you found that the LinkedIn Premium benefits are worth the investment, or have you moved on to a free or Sales Navigator account? Let me know in the comments.
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