Is LinkedIn Premium Really Worth It?

With over 600 million members, LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional social network in the world. Although free to join, LinkedIn’s capabilities run much deeper than the site makes available through their free accounts. For serious sales professionals, jobseekers and recruiters, upgrading to LinkedIn Premium (for a monthly fee) may be worthwhile.

To inform a decision today on if upgrading is worth it, we’ll dive deep into each plan and its core differences, along with specific use cases.

Differences Between LinkedIn Free and LinkedIn Premium

LinkedIn is the greatest B2B database on the internet, so the core difference between free and premium is how much data, job/sales insights and search tools it limits. For example, LinkedIn enforces a commercial use limit which restricts searches and profiles views to a small amount for free accounts. LinkedIn premium users get unlimited searches, more filters and great sales, recruiting and job insights.

What Are the LinkedIn Membership Levels?

  • Premium Career
  • Premium Business
  • Sales Navigator Professional
  • Recruiter Lite

What Do You Get with LinkedIn Free?

LinkedIn’s free membership makes the following tools and features available:

  • Ability to create a professional profile.
  • Basic search capabilities for people and jobs.
  • Three saved searches that can be used to create weekly email alerts.
  • Ability to provide and request recommendations from other members.

What Do You Get with LinkedIn Premium?

At present, LinkedIn splits their premium plans into four different categories -- Career, Hiring, Business, and Sales -- with each offering their own unique features and tools. Here are some of the benefits granted to LinkedIn Premium members across the different plans:

LinkedIn Sales Navigator Professional (starting at $64.99 per mo. w/annual billing)*

  • 20 InMail messages per month, even if you’re not currently connected.
  • Access to 30+ advanced search filters for building dream prospect lists.
  • See who’s viewed your profile over the previous 90 days.
  • View unlimited profiles (up to 3rd degree connections) across the network.
  • Get in-depth Sales Insights on accounts and leads for customized outreach.
  • Save unlimited leads and get recommendations on who to prospect to.

What you get with LinkedIn Sales Navigator

LinkedIn Premium Business (starting at $47.99 per mo. w/annual billing)*

  • Send 15 InMail messages per month, even if you’re not currently connected.
  • See who’s viewed your profile over the previous 90 days.
  • View unlimited profiles (up to 3rd-degree connections) across the network.
  • Access to Business Insights, offering data around a company’s growth and trends.
  • Access to Career Insights, allowing comparisons to other jobseekers, as well as salary information.

What you get with LinkedIn Premium Business

LinkedIn Premium Career (starting at $29.99 per mo.)*

  • Send three InMail messages per month, even if you’re not currently connected.
  • See who’s viewed your profile over the previous 90 days.
  • Listed as a featured applicant for jobs.
  • See how you compare with other candidates through Applicant Insights
  • Access to Salary Insights on average pay ranges.

What you get with LinkedIn Premium Career

LinkedIn Recruiter Lite (starting at $99.95 per mo. w/annual billing)*

  • Send 30 InMail messages per month, even if you’re not currently connected.
  • See who’s viewed your profile over the previous 90 days.
  • View unlimited profiles (up to 3rd degree connections) across the network.
  • Advanced search tools and Smart Suggestions for helping to find talent.
  • Candidate tracking and integrated hiring tools to manage talent and roles.

What you get with Recruiter Lite

Extending Your Network

With LinkedIn Premium accounts, members can view an unlimited amount of profiles and are given InMail message credits, which allow users to bypass connection requests and get into the inbox of anyone on LinkedIn.

The most practical business application of premium is based on volume. Only premium allows someone to send hundreds of connection requests a week, building a targeted network for nurturing through the LinkedIn inbox or the newsfeed with content.

Top LinkedIn Premium Benefits

LinkedIn Learning

Premium members get access to a wide range of video courses through LinkedIn Learning, which hosts over 15,000 videos from Lynda.com (LinkedIn acquired Lynda.com for $1.5B in 2015) and offers detailed tutorials to build new skills in areas such as Business, Creative, and Technology.

How Can Your Business Use LinkedIn Learning?

Businesses can use LinkedIn Learning to upskill employees in specific areas. With courses such as Building Dashboards for Excel, Customer Insights and Consumer Analytics for Organizations, Marketing to Generation Z, and thousands more, LinkedIn Learning offers novice to expert-level training.

InMail

What is an InMail?

InMail allows you to directly message LinkedIn members that you're not connected to.

While free members can only message people they’re directly connected to, Premium members are given a certain amount credits (depending on the plan) that allow them to reach members outside their circle.

Here’s an example of an InMail:

How Can InMail Help with Prospecting?

While other outreach tactics (email, phone, referrals) can book sales meetings, the LinkedIn inbox is often less saturated. So, InMails have higher open rates, 100% deliverability and enable a unique way to start a sales conversation. Additionally, prospects can click on your LinkedIn profile from an InMail message, which builds trust.

What to Expect from LinkedIn Premium

To generate a meaningful amount of leads and conversations through LinkedIn premium, a great LinkedIn profile combined with well-written messages, a targeted prospects list, and consistent outbound volume is key. If you’re strategically using the platform at least 2-3 times a week, you will get leads. For sales teams, the best way to build tight targeting lists and send messages at scale is through Sales Navigator Professional.

LinkedIn Premium Business vs. LinkedIn Sales Navigator Professional

Sales Navigator Professional gives users access to advanced search filters that deliver nuanced results across LinkedIn’s entire database of users. Sales Navigator also generates talking points for warm and dark leads, such as job change alerts, as well as prospect and company news alerts. Combining these capabilities with unlimited profile views and increased InMails, Sales Navigator grants more access than Premium, while delivering highly specific and meaningful leads in return. Sales Navigator also offers two additional tiers above Professional, including Team and Enterprise that allow businesses to scale their social selling practices.

If you'd like to speak to a LinkedIn expert on how we use Sales Navigator, find a time here.

Is LinkedIn Sales Navigator Really Worth It?

Here are the top three benefits and reasons why Sales Navigator is absolutely worth it:

  1. More Targeting Filters: Sales Navigator grants access to LinkedIn’s entire database of users, making it super easy to build highly specific lists of using advanced search filters only made available for Sales Navigator users.
  2. Unlimited Prospecting: There is no cap to the amount of profiles you can view. Additionally, Sales Navigator allows you to send more connection requests and messages than a free membership, which is essential to scale outreach to a volume that results in a meaningful amount of replies.
  3. Talking Points: Sales Navigator generates timely lead alerts that you can use to engage warm or dark leads, through features like job change notifications, alerts when a prospect posts content, and company news alerts.

Who Should Use LinkedIn Premium?

Recruiters

Recruiters looking to connect with talent across LinkedIn can use Recruiter Lite’s custom tools to search, organize, and interact with the network’s many members.

Business Sales Teams

LinkedIn states that Premium Business member profiles get viewed an average of six-times more than free accounts, while top sales professionals using Sales Navigator have a three-times better chance of exceeding their quotas.

Jobseekers

The ability to reach out to recruiters and become a featured applicant on job listings increases a jobseekers visibility on the platform. Moreover, LinkedIn Learning makes skills needed to reach new levels of proficiency easily accessible. LinkedIn claims that Premium Career users get hired an average as twice as fast as non-members.

Is LinkedIn Premium Worth the Fee?

With all plans costing between $29-$100 a month, the amount of data/insights, search filters and unlimited profile views gives users far more use-cases than the free version. For jobseekers, Premium Career creates visibility and outreach opportunities that could lead to a new role or career advancement. For social sellers, Premium Business and Sales Navigator opens up hyper-targeted search filters, making it easier to start conversations with prospects. For recruiters, Recruiter Lite allows access to top talent across the network. Each plan also comes with specially designed insight tools, LinkedIn Learning, and many other benefits.

The question of whether LinkedIn Premium is worth the money ultimately comes down to how often you use the platform, and your goals. Currently, LinkedIn offers free first month trials of Premium to eligible members.


*Prices current at the time of publishing. Plan features highlighted throughout are not necessarily complete lists. See LinkedIn.com for most current tiers, pricing, and feature lists.



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