If you find yourself on Linkedin frequently, looking for new sales prospects or just trying to expand your network, you’ve likely thought about upgrading to Linkedin Premium. Linkedin is by far the best social media tool for professionals looking to connect with other professionals, so it makes sense that a “premium” version of it could be even more beneficial for your business.
However, if you’re not sure which features are included in Linkedin Premium, or if you’ve taken a glance at the pricing, you may wonder whether the monthly cost of membership is worth it.
In this guide, I’ll help you understand some of the benefits of Linkedin Premium for both job seekers and marketers/salespeople—and hopefully, make you feel more confident in whatever you ultimately decide.
Linkedin Premium Career vs. Linkedin Premium Business
First, you should know that there are slightly different versions of Linkedin Premium: the two main versions we’ll be exploring in this article are Linkedin Premium Career and Linkedin Premium Business.
The former is geared toward job seekers, while the latter is made for networkers, marketers, and salespeople. There are also options specifically for salespeople (Linkedin Sales Navigator, which we’ve written about before) and recruiters.
Many of the features included in these plans are the same, with slight differences. For example, in both plans, you’ll gain access to InMail (private messages that can be sent to any Linkedin user), but in the Career plan, you’ll get 3 per month, while in the Business plan, you’ll get 15 per month. We’ll explore more of these differences in the next section, where we list the key features of Linkedin Premium.
But to know whether these features are “worth it,” we have to know the costs. As of 2020, a Premium Career membership starts at $29.99 per month, when billed annually. A Premium Business membership starts at $47.99 per month, when billed annually. Additional, more expensive tiers are available as well.
Key Features of Linkedin Premium
So what are you going to get for that cost?
1. Linkedin Learning courses.
In both tiers, you’ll get access to Linkedin’s relatively new Learning series, which provides more than 1,000 courses to help you grow. You can search in categories like Business, Creative, and Technology, or conduct your own search to find courses teaching skills you need to land the job of your dreams—or just make yourself more valuable.
Many of these courses are video-based, and are led by experts in their respective fields. Over time, you’ll also receive recommendations for new courses that may interest you, based on your prior learning history.
With a basic, free account, you’re only allowed to send direct messages to Linkedin members with whom you share a connection. InMail, a feature of Linkedin Premium, allows you to send a direct message to any members, even if you’re not connected to them.
There are some limitations here; for example, InMail messages can only have 200 characters in the subject line and 1,900 characters in the body of the message. Additionally, you’ll be capped at a specific number of InMail messages per month, based on your subscription tier. You’ll get 3 per month as a job seeker, and 15 per month in the Business plan.
These can be a great way to introduce yourself to people who might otherwise remain strangers on Linkedin. You may also note that you can purchase individual InMail messages without a Premium account, at a cost of $10 per message.
3. Robust search results.
With a Premium account, when you conduct a search, you’ll see much more robust search results. For starters, you’ll get to see up to 300 profiles that match your description, rather than the default 100 profiles you get with a standard search on a free profile (not that this applies to the Business account only).
With the Business tier, you’ll also be able to see profiles up to a 3rd degree connection.
4. Advanced search features.
No matter what, you’ll have access to a smattering of search filters to help you find the people you’re looking for. But with a Premium account, you’ll have far more search filters to work with, allowing you to narrow down your demographics to exactly the right audience.
For example, you’ll be able to search for people based on seniority, company size, interests, and whether they work for a Fortune 500 or Fortune 1,000 company. At higher tiers of membership, you may also get access to search features for groups, years of experience in a certain job, and whether someone is new to Linkedin.
Note that these advanced search parameters aren’t fully available in the Career plan.
5. Saved searches.
Additionally, at the Business tier and higher, you’ll be able to save your searches and set alerts for those searches. This way, you don’t have to keep running the same advanced searches over and over; you can call up the search parameters you used the last time you searched for new prospects, and repeat the search easily.
6. Better profile views.
With a Linkedin Premium account, you’ll be able to get much more detailed information on companies and individuals you encounter, again up to 3rd degree connections. For example, with a free account, you can only see very basic information, and whether each person is in or out of your network.
With Premium profile views, you can see each person’s name, photo, job details, education, skills, recommendations, and more.
7. Who viewed your profile?
With a free account, you can turn on a setting that allows other people to see when and if you’ve viewed their profile; if you do this, you’ll in turn be able to see the people who have viewed your profile within the past view days.
But with Linkedin Premium, you’ll get an even better feature—you’ll get to see everyone who has viewed your profile in the last 90 days, regardless of your own privacy settings. You’ll also get detailed information on those people, and you’ll be able to see which keywords those people searched to find your profile—so you can optimize your profile further.
As a job seeker or as a marketer/salesperson, this is incredibly valuable information.
8. Profile folders and organization.
With a Premium account, you’ll get access to more features that allow you to organize the different Linkedin profiles you encounter. You can apply tags to categorize individuals, save profiles to a Profile Organizer, and even create different folders for different types of prospects.
Benefits of Linkedin Premium for Job Seekers
So let’s recap some of the best benefits of Linkedin Premium for job seekers:
- 3 InMail messages. If you’re paying for InMail messages individually, the monthly cost of Premium will pay for itself. If your network is small, these InMail messages can help you get in contact with the people you need to reach.
- Better company analyses. You’ll also get more information on the companies and recruiters most relevant to you. Of course, this is often supplementary information; much of the information you can find on Linkedin can be found elsewhere.
- Learning courses. If you’re a new job seeker, or if you’ve been out of the game for a while, Linkedin’s Learning courses could be a great help to you. Then again, you could also find truly free educational courses elsewhere if you know where to look; Coursera and EdX are popular choices.
- Profile views. Possibly the best benefit for job seekers is the ability to see who’s viewed your profile. If you can learn which types of recruiters are looking at you, you can better optimize your profile, better understand your strengths in the job market, and even get promising leads for new jobs and new connections.
Benefits of Linkedin Premium for Marketers/Salespeople
And here are the best benefits of Linkedin Premium for marketers and salespeople:
- 15 InMail messages. Direct messaging is a powerful tool. If you’re eager to get in touch with new prospects, this feature could be very beneficial for you—and you’ll basically get a new message you can send every other day.
- Organization and automation. Salespeople get a ton of tools that make it easier to keep track of various people in your network, organize your leads, and sort your data. You’ll also get features like saved searches and automatic recommendations, simplifying at least some of your work.
- Learning courses. Again, if you’re new to the sales and marketing game, these can be helpful—but you’ll also find courses and opportunities to grow elsewhere, so this isn’t a feature that makes Linkedin Premium unique.
- Profile views. Profile views are also effective for salespeople and marketers. When someone looks at your profile, it’s often a cue that you should follow up with them, or at least introduce yourself.
- Demographic research. Thanks to advanced search filters and robust profile views, Linkedin Premium actually functions as an impressive demographic research tool. Use it to learn more about the people you’re selling to—rather than just selling to them.
It’s worth pointing out that Linkedin Sales Navigator is an even more robust tool for marketers and salespeople looking to learn more and do more with the Linkedin platform.
The Bottom Line: Is Linkedin Premium Worth It?
So is it worthwhile to upgrade to Linkedin Premium? Well, it depends.
As a job seeker, you’ll gain access to a handful of nifty features that can help you learn more about companies, keep an eye on your profile views, and reach out to new people, but these may or may not be worth the $29.99 per month; there are other free platforms that offer similar features, and there are plenty of ways to find jobs other than with Linkedin.
For salespeople and marketers, Linkedin Premium is an effective tool—especially if you want to learn more about your audience. But the price point is a bit steep compared to other sales productivity tools, sales prospecting tools, and email outreach tools like the ones we’ve covered.
Honestly, if you’re considering upgrading to Linkedin Premium, then you might as well upgrade to Linkedin Sales Navigator instead. As we concluded in our guide comparing Linkedin Sales Navigator vs Linkedin Premium, Linkedin Sales Navigator seems to be a better bang for your buck; you get a lot more, for only $17/month more.
If you’re not sure whether Linkedin Premium is worth the cost, just go ahead sign up for a free trial. No matter what, you can gain access to all these features, for free, for a full month, to see if they’re useful enough to warrant the price.
In the meantime, if you’re looking for a tool to help you manage your professional interactions, or improve your productivity as a job seeker, salesperson, or marketer, consider utilizing EmailAnalytics.
EmailAnalytics is a data visualization tool for Gmail that allows you to dig into metrics related to your Gmail usage, like number of messages sent and received, busiest times of day and days of the week, and average response time. Sign up for a free trial today, and learn more about your email habits!
Jayson is a long-time columnist for Forbes, Entrepreneur, BusinessInsider, Inc.com, and various other major media publications, where he has authored over 1,000 articles since 2012, covering technology, marketing, and entrepreneurship. He keynoted the 2013 MarketingProfs University, and won the “Entrepreneur Blogger of the Year” award in 2015 from the Oxford Center for Entrepreneurs. In 2010, he founded a marketing agency that appeared on the Inc. 5000 before exiting it in January of 2019, and he is now the CEO of EmailAnalytics, and co-host of the podcast The Entrepreneur Cast.