social media toolsDo you have a free LinkedIn account?

Are you wondering if you should upgrade to a paid account?

LinkedIn is known for providing an amazing connection and networking service, with many of its best and most useful tools available for free.

So why should you consider upgrading to a paid account?

In this article I will share three compelling reasons why you should consider upgrading to a LinkedIn Premium membership.

These three useful features include the Advanced Search, Who’s Viewed Your Profile and InMail.

3 reasons to upgrade

Check out why you may want to upgrade.

While there are a number of different types of paid LinkedIn accounts you can choose from (LinkedIn Premium, For Recruiters, For Job Seekers, For Sales Professionals), LinkedIn Premium is the most balanced paid account type that will generally suit most business owners and professionals.

The LinkedIn Premium account has four different levels of membership that you can choose from depending on your budget and needs:

  • Free
  • Business Plus
  • Executive
  • Pro

Here are three of the benefits that may have you wanting to switch from a free account to a LinkedIn Premium account.

#1: Narrow Your Target With Advanced Search

The left section of the Advanced Search is available to all LinkedIn members and includes several fields such as keywords, location and company. In the right-hand section of the Advanced Search are several Premium fields that are valuable because of their ability to help you greatly narrow down and target your searches.

advanced people search

Both paid and free members can use the Relationship, Groups, Location, Current Company, Industry, Past Company, School and Language fields in the Advanced Search.

While several fields (Industries, Groups, Relationship and Current Company) are available to all members, there are eight fields that are available to the different levels of paying members only (all eight fields are available only to the Executive and Pro Premium level members). Premium Members with the Business or Business Plus level membership have access to the following four fields:

  • Company Size—This can be beneficial; for example, for businesses that target small businesses and freelancers (select the 1-10 option), members looking for very large businesses (select the 10,000+ option) or any size in between.
    limit your search

    You can limit your search by company size.

  • Seniority Level—Narrow your search by seniority levels such as VP, manager, senior, owner and partner.
    search seniority level

    Only search for the seniority level or positions that are useful to you.

  • Interested In—Choose from options such as Industry Experts, Entrepreneurs, Potential Employees or Consultants/Contractors to look for specific groups of people.
    quickly search for people

    Quickly search for people like industry experts and entrepreneurs with the Interested In field.

  • Fortune 1000—Search strictly for employees at Fortune 1000 companies. There are a number of options that allow you to select the Fortune 50, Fortune 501-1000 and several choices in between.
    narrow your search

    Narrow your search to Fortune 1000 companies.

For example, you may want to search for facilitators within your local area whom you may not already be connected with but you share a group with. To do this, you would simply type “facilitator” into the Keyword field, select the country, enter your ZIP code or postal code and select within 50 mi (80 km) and finally select Group Members under Relationship.

multiple search fields

Finding the people in whom you are most interested using multiple search fields.

use advanced search

Search results are more relevant using Advanced Search.

Another example would be if you were looking to connect with the Communications VPs of Fortune 50 companies whom you share a connection or group with. For this search, you would type “communications” into the keyword field, select Location Anywhere and then check 2nd Connections and Group Members from Relationship, VP from Seniority Level and Fortune 50 under the Fortune 1000 section.

meet search requirements

Save time prospecting by searching for LinkedIn members who meet your search requirements.

best search results

Get the best search results using Advanced Search.

Finally, Advanced Search allows you to save your searches. Not only will this feature remember your search, it will also send you weekly or monthly notices of any new member profiles that become a part of your network. You can also scan these new profiles from the Saved Search Tab by clicking on the number under New.

As a free member, you can save three searches, while Premium members have the ability to save up to 7 with the additional bonus of 500 profiles showing up in the search results rather than the standard 100 that comes with free membership.

saved searches

Saved Searches make it easy to locate new people in your network who meet your search requirements.

#2: See Who’s Viewed Your Profile

An excellent source of potential connections lies in your Who’s Viewed Your Profile page. This page includes a list of people who have recently viewed your profile. While free members can only see the last five people to have viewed their profile, Premium members get the full list of people from the last 90 days.

whose viewed your profile page

See who has recently viewed your profile on the Who’s Viewed Your Profile page.

From this list you can find targeted prospects, potential clients or strategic alliances and reach out and connect or send them a message.

For best results when contacting these prospects, send them a personalized connection request to start a conversation with them, rather than mentioning you saw they viewed your profile.

Also located on the Who’s Viewed Your Profile page is a list of keywords that people have used to search when they viewed your profile. This can be extremely valuable; as it will tell you what keywords you are being found with most often.

With this information you can choose to further optimize your profile with these keywords or, if those are not the keywords you wish to be found for, you can go back and re-optimize your profile for the keywords you want to be found for.

top search keywords

Learn what keywords people are using when they find you.

Two additional benefits to the Who’s Viewed Your Profile page is the Views by Industry and Views by Geography sections.

The View by Industry area will help you highlight the top industries of people who have viewed your profile. If one of the industries listed at the top is not one that you currently are marketing to, this may indicate a potential untapped market that you should consider prospecting.

views by industry

Knowing which industries your profile viewers are from can provide useful information about potential markets.

Views by Geography can provide similar insight, as it will list the countries your profile is most viewed from. If it is appropriate for your business, you may wish to consider reaching out to people located in the top countries on your list to expand your market.

views by geography

Find out how many people from which countries are viewing your profile.

#3: Connect Directly With InMail

InMail is a message you send directly within LinkedIn to another member you are not already connected with. You might choose to send these to people with whom you would like to connect before you send a LinkedIn connection request to see if they’d be open to connecting with you on LinkedIn.

Using an InMail greatly increases your chances of success because they have a much higher open rate compared to that of email, as well as a strong lead conversion rate of 7%. This improves your ability to talk to and connect directly with top decision-makers.

This feature also includes a guaranteed 7-day response rate. If the person you contacted doesn’t contact you within 7 days, LinkedIn will credit you with another InMail to send, whether or not they reply to you after the 7 days.

send inmail

Reach out to people outside of your network by sending an InMail.

While all members can purchase InMails, there are a number of benefits that are exclusive to Premium members. As a Premium member, you receive a number of free InMails each month (this number depends on which type of LinkedIn Premium membership you buy), you can accumulate your InMail credits from month to month (but they will expire after 90 days) and you can purchase up to 10 more InMails than your account type allows.

Over to You

While the paid LinkedIn service is not for everyone, I hope that I have provided you the information you need to decide whether LinkedIn Premium membership is right for you and your business.

What do you think? Which Premium tools do you think are the most valuable? Leave your questions and comments below.

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  • Thanks Melonie for offering some very valuable advice on why someone should consider upgrading to a LinkedIn Premium membership. I really like how you ended your post, with “you need to decide whether LinkedIn Premium membership is right for you and your business.” Showing that it’s not a one shoe fits all, but on an individual basis.

  • Sam Peckinpah

    This ad was brought to you by Linkedin.

  • Thanks for the info Melonie. I couldn’t agree more that the premium membership is well worth it.

  • Diane Grant

    Thanks Melonie! I really didn’t have all the pieces to LinkedIn services, but this article really helps! Now to decide and put it into use!

  • Melonie Dodaro

    Great Diane, so glad you found it helpful.

  • Melonie Dodaro

    I wouldn’t expect anything else from you Stephanie! Hope you are doing well.

  • Melonie Dodaro

    Not at all Sam. I don’t have any affiliation with LinkedIn and I often tell clients when upgrading isn’t right for them. And it’s not right for everyone. But those who are really using LinkedIn actively as a business building tool can find benefits from upgrading.

  • Melonie Dodaro

    As I mentioned in my comment above, it is definitely not right for everyone. If you just have a LinkedIn profile and occasionally connect with new people and accept connection requests as they come in, it’s not of much benefit. However those who are actively using it and find great results with LinkedIn will find some benefits in upgrading!

  • Nicely done. This is such an essential for sales professionals and is only going to become more important moving forward.

  • Loknath Swain

    This is a nice article on LinkedIn subscription. I have been doing marketing on LinkedIn for last three years. I am also training people on LinkedIn. I found from my experience that one should go for subscription . Who is visiting feature gives detailed report on your visitor analytics. One person should expect to start leads / PR building if he is culturing it regularly. Advance search will help also in networking.

  • Melonie Dodaro

    I completely agree Jason, LinkedIn is a very powerful tool for sale professionals.

  • Melonie Dodaro

    I agree those are two very important features that make upgrading a good investment.

  • Thanks Melonie. I found Linkedin premium invaluable when I was doing B2B sales and well worth the money. The only complaint that I have with it and that I would caution other readers on is that it auto renews without notice (or at least mine did) so make sure you set a reminder to review wether you still need it before its auto renew time. Best Regards, Dave

  • James Morrison

    Melonie, I want to contact people in faculty development centers or in departments where their job is to assist faculty incorporate technology in their instruction about an open access manual on this topic. Is is possible to target people in these positions with a premium subscription?

  • AmandahBlackwell

    If you’re a writer or journalist, you can receive an upgrade to LinkedIn Premium by joining the LinkedIn for Journalists group and attending one of their teleseminars.

  • Melonie Dodaro

    A great point! Mine auto renews as well.

  • Melonie Dodaro

    That is great information. Thanks for sharing Amandah!

  • Melonie Dodaro

    When you search for prospects in this group, could you use the Seniority Level, Interested In, Company Size or Fortune to narrow down the results or are you able to use keywords and groups alone to find them when searching?

  • I totally agree that if you are in any sort of a job search you should upgrade. The ability to search, connect with hiring managers and see who is checking you out is invaluable.

  • AmandahBlackwell

    You’re welcome!

  • Melonie Dodaro

    That is another good reason to upgrade Michael!

  • Peter Zotti

    Thanks Melonie, two questions; firstly I have recently updated my website and looking to promote it to a range of businesses. There are a lot of people that come up as potential people to link to, is there any reason why I wouldn’t send a friend request to all of these people? Secondly if I advertise on Linkedin are there advantages in having a Premium membership or would I get these options anyway? Thanks in advance. Peter

  • Melonie Dodaro

    Hi Peter, it’s always great to check out the people to see if there is a reason to connect with them and then do so with a personalized connection request. Also there is no benefit to have a premium member if you are running ads.

  • amol

    Does upgrading allow sending connection request to unlimited account. I presently have free account and it says you have reached maximum number of connection requests?

  • CARtic

    thanks for screenshots, its sort of like a first look for me @ the premium account (with the new LinkedIn design)

  • Mark Gordon

    I don’t believe it does. I have a premium account a recently I had the same restriction. However this was only a temp situation and now I am free to connect with people without supplying their email address.

    Saying this though, I would only recommend you send contact requests to people who you have spoken to/InMailed before.

  • Melonie, could you say more about mentioning to people that you noticed they visited your profile? You suggest that you shouldn’t do it but a sales trainer I know sends a message like “Hi [name]. I noticed that you visited my profile on LinkedIn – what brought you by?”

  • The Countess Group

    This is great, Melonie. I’ve been a premium subscriber for a while now and am impressed with the added feature set. Thanks for sharing the info! – Ken

  • Jennifer Agrazada-Schreiner

    Hi! Thanks for the info. Could you also post the price differences and durations?

  • Steve

    Thanks. Added value at its best.

  • These seem to all be push marketing initiatives.

  • Melonie Dodaro

    All accounts (both free and premium) have the ability to make 3000 connection requests Amol. I have heard that if you email their support, they will often give you a small number more, but it is a good idea to use them wisely.

  • Melonie Dodaro

    A great point Mark! You only want to send connection requests to people that you know or think will accept your request (and sending a InMail can be very helpful). First because you do have a limited number of requests and the second reason is that if you have a number of people clicking “I don’t know this person” or “Spam”, you will have to add an email address every time you send a connection request.

  • Melonie Dodaro

    Your welcome and some of the the look has changed already (such as the “See who’s viewed your profile” page)!

  • Melonie Dodaro

    Different people approach this differently. It is a good idea to make the most of them viewing your profile, but I have had the best success by focusing my message or connection request on something more relevant or personal. It can make people uncomfortable or defensive and less likely to respond when you take the “I saw you looking at my profile” approach.

  • Melonie Dodaro

    Your welcome Ken!

  • Melonie Dodaro

    Your welcome Jennifer. You can compare the prices and features of the different levels by clicking the “Upgrade” link located in the black bar in top right-hand side of the page.

  • Melonie Dodaro

    It depends on who is using the Premium features and what their goal is. I have found personally that LinkedIn is best used to find prospects, connect with them and then begin building my relationship with them. I use the Premium features to help me achieve that goal.

  • Well written Melonie – I think I fall into the category of it not being right for me even as I use the platform more and more going forward. This was a good breakdown that pretty much confirmed my thoughts on the matter. I want to use LinkedIn to share and find relevant content about branding, marketing and corporate photography and connect with people in the same type of organic way that we’ve used to build our photography studio all the way around. I find the Premium tools to be geared more towards old school sales tactics and not the organic word of mouth approach. Maybe that’s a simplistic conclusion but I’m just not sure it fits for building a small business brand. We don’t make “sales calls” like I did when I had to as a sales rep working for a big corporation.

  • James Morrison

    I would need to use keywords like “educational technology” or “faculty development”. Do you think that this will work?

    I also below to a number of related groups, but I can post notes to those groups with a basic membership.

  • margiezablefisher

    Well-written and useful information. Thanks, Melonie!

  • Melonie Dodaro

    I would try searching for your keywords using the advanced search with your free membership first. I am not sure that you would benefit from the Seniority Level, Interested In, Company Size or Fortune fields.

  • Melonie Dodaro

    Thanks Doug! The Premium features can be useful for both passive or more aggressive networking. Whether they are useful to you or not depends on your industry, goals and personal preference. LinkedIn’s current list of features for free members is impressive and even more so with the new Contacts!

  • Melonie Dodaro

    I am glad that you found it useful Margie!

  • I’m still not convinced, but I think the points you put out in this article. Specifically to see better data on who’s viewed your profile and how they found your profile through sites or keywords I think is nice. However it’s how you interact with people on the site that really has the best bang for your time – or buck.

  • Zia

    Thanks Melonie, your article was interesting. I wanted to ask you if youve ever used a technology called eGrabber? This tool allows one to do most of the things you mentioned and you need not upgrade to a premium account!

  • Alabi

    Thank for sharing this, I am presenting researching for material on Online Marketing, so your article will help me when writing on LinkedIn Media.

  • Guest

    Hi Melonie – thank you for valuable insight.

    I’m currently looking for a new job and was wondering about the advantages of upgrading to Linkedin Premium for people searching for a new job?

  • Tony

    WARNING: If you wish to discontinue your Premium Account you must notify LinkedIn in writing by snail mail in Ireland or they will continue taking the Premium Account amount without notifying you or giving you the choice of opting in or out. After 12 months I have found the Premium account to offer no real benefits at all. It’s just another sell-up opportunity for them that is very difficult to cancel when you find it doesn’t offer much at all.

  • Tony

    Why does everyone say….Moving Forward!

  • Tony

    There are no real advantages. With no income save your money. They will continue debiting the premium cost until you notify them in writing by snail mail in Ireland. No notification or opportunity to reconsider. Its all buried in the terms and conditions!

  • Sergio Chaves

    Don’t waste your money! It’s not very useful and they auto renew your Premium account if you don’t cancel it by the anniversary date.