Cold email outreach is a powerful tool for making valuable connections and driving sales for your business. But to be successful, you first need the email addresses of the people you want to reach. Only about 8% of outreach emails get a response and using the correct email address for your prospect is a necessary part of being in that 8%.
What about the usual email contact addresses listed on their website?
Sure, you could use that, but that just means your email is going into a generic company inbox. As more emails are sent and received every day, generic emails such as [email protected] and [email protected] are becoming increasingly saturated.
Using your prospects’ individual email address will ensure that your email does not get lost in the ever growing pile of cold outreach.
With this goal in mind, this article will provide a step-by-step guide on how to find people’s personal email addresses. The process is quite straightforward and easily repeatable, though you should be prepared to put in the necessary time to refine your search and double-check the addresses that you do find.
Before we proceed, we assume that you’ve already done the basics such as checking their about us/ team pages and social media accounts without much success. Let’s get started.
Step 1: Use Hunter.io – but always verify in Google
Hunter.io is a chrome extension that allows you to search the web for instances of someone’s email. After installing the extension, you’ll need to sign up for an account (which is free by the way), before you can start using it to scrape Google for email addresses.
Alternatively, you could visit the hunter.io website and select the Email Finder under the Product dropdown. All you need is the name of the person you want to send the email to and the domain name of the company. The system will then return a list of email addresses relevant to your search terms.
If it doesn’t find an email address, it will guess based on other instances of the @domain emails that it finds. This means the search result is not 100% accurate. In such situations, you can use the Email Verifier function to verify if the email address is valid.
You can also double-check it on Google. Simply add quotation marks before and after the email address then run a Google search. For example, “[email protected],” then hit search on Google. This will manually check if there are any exact match instances of it on the web.
Step 2: Use email permutators to find email variations – then validate on Google
An email permutator is a tool that lets you enter the name of the contact and the domain name of their business website. The tool will then create all the common email variations ([email protected], first name.last [email protected], firstname. 1st letter of last name, etc).
The reasoning behind this is simple — most email addresses tend to follow a format based on the names or initials of the person, followed by the domain. By using the permulator to pull up variations of the email address, you can try to guess the right one and eliminate the rest.
Notice all the variations that the permulator brings up with the contact name and domain provided. The next thing is to copy and paste these variations into the “To” section of your email.
Yes, that’s a lot of addresses to sift through. One great way to validate the actual email address is to hover your mouse over each email address. If an address is valid, it should pop up with an associated profile when you run your cursor over it.
Note, however, that this method will only work if that company is using G Suite as their email client.
If no profile pops up on any of the email addresses, then you’ll have to validate them manually. Follow the double-check process on Google as explained in Step 1 above for each variation to see if there are any instances of that email address on the internet.
Step 3: Search on Twitter
Lots of people mention their email on Twitter, especially if the prospect is a thought leader who has built a large enough following on the platform, or if they work in the media. If the person has ever mentioned their email on Twitter, you can run a simple search: “email (from:[Twitter handle])” to find it.
This will bring up any instances where the person has ever tweeted the word ‘email’. Check through the results and see if you can find the actual email address there.
If not, you can also do an advanced search.
It’s not uncommon for people to list their email addresses in their tweets, though they would often replace the ‘@’ and ‘.’ symbols with their respective word versions ‘at’ and ‘dot,’ so they don’t get targeted and spammed by bots.
All you need to do is open the Advanced Search on Twitter and search for the words ‘at’ and ‘dot’ from the person’s tweets. You can also narrow down the results by including other keywords like ‘email’ in your search.
If that fails too, then you could always reach out to the prospect directly on Twitter and ask for their email address. You’d be surprised how many people will actually be willing to give out their email addresses if you just asked in a personable way.
Of course, you’ll need to make sure you have a verified Twitter profile, and that you can actually provide value to the prospect once they give you their email address. No one’s going to hand out such information to just random strangers who have nothing useful to offer.
Step 4: Final search in Google
Even if an exact match search in Google using quotes does not reveal an email address, it can still turn up some instances where the person may have recently given out their contact email on the internet. For instance, the prospect may have written an article on a large industry publication and asked readers to reach them on a given contact email.
Simple Google the name of the prospect and some useful search terms like ‘email’ and ‘domain,’ then check the results if the email address is listed for the prospect.
Pro Tip – Refine your search results to only display instances from recent publications. Limiting the search to results from the last two years is a good cut off point. You can do this by clicking ‘Tools’ just under the search bar, and then selecting the history range. See the illustration below.
After selecting the custom range, select the parameters to cover the last two years only and click on ‘Go.’ It should then bring up results from only that time period.
Other Things You Can Do
If none of the methods outlined above is yielding any helpful results, don’t be disheartened. There are other things you can do to find that email address.
- Connect with them on Linkedin – Connecting with prospects on LinkedIn is a good way to grab their attention and possibly ask them for their email address. If not, you can also head to LinkedIn’s advanced settings to export your connections. This then allows you to export their up-to-date contact details, including their email address.
- Subscribe to their mailing list — If your prospect has an ongoing publication or newsletter subscription offer, sign up for it. Most of these emails are sent from the prospects personal business email address. Even if it doesn’t, you can always use this opportunity to respond to their newsletters and start building a relationship with them.
- Check out their author page — This is another simple method that you can use to find a prospect’s email address. Many blog authors include their contact information in the author page, so it’s a simple matter of checking it out and seeing if their email address is on there.
- Do a WHOIS Lookup — This method only works if the prospect is the owner of the domain or the information is registered to their name. You can just pull up the WHOIS data by checking who.is or any other WHOIS lookup tools and searching the domain of the email you are looking for.
The Bottom Line
A successful cold email outreach begins with finding the right email address. Play around with these tactics and see which ones bring the best results.
Be prepared to put in the work as some prospects, particularly those that are higher up the corporate ladder, tend to guard their contact details closely.