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Practical Guide to Finding Anyone’s Email (Including Tools, Methods, and Tips)

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Practical Guide to Finding Anyone’s Email (Including Tools, Methods, and Tips)

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September 17, 2020

If you have someone’s email address, you have the ticket to get in touch with them in a direct and personal way.

But that’s easier said than done. Most people don’t publish their email address for everyone to see it. You’ll need to put in work to find it.

If you’ve relied on word-of-mouth growth up until now and this is your first attempt at cold outreach, I’ve got news for you.

Finding emails can be time-consuming. If you cut corners, your email list will end up full of unverified emails that will bounce, never seeing the light of day.

That’s why we’ve put together this article.

I’ll show you proven methods you can use to find anyone’s email address.

Some of these methods are easy. In a few clicks, you’ll find someone’s email.

Others will involve a DIY approach, and you’ll need to put in the work to discover the email you’re looking for.

Either way, these methods will help you find contact details of qualified prospects that you can then reach out to with a cold email.

Ready to start building your prospect list?

Let’s dive in.

Dangers of Emailing Non-Existent Addresses

If you’re making up email addresses and hitting send without being certain that the address exists, you’re putting your email address and entire domain at risk.

When your emails bounce – and they will if you’re relying on guesswork – you’ll start getting noticed by email service providers.

You’ll be seen as an untrustworthy sender, and risk having your personal email address and domain blacklisted. Your emails will end up in your prospects’ spam folder, and you’ll be leaving opportunities on the table.

To avoid that happening, take the time to create your prospect list. Verify that the emails you have are accurate, and don’t make anything up.

In the next section, I’ll show you some of the most effective ways to find your prospects’ email addresses.

12 Simple Ways to Find Anyone’s Email Address

Use Email Finding Tools

There are tools designed to help you find people’s email addresses.

Some will let you search for emails one-by-one. Others will make assumptions based on emails they have for other people in a company.

Most of these email finding tools crawl the web for emails that are listed publicly and bring them into their tool where you can get access to them.

Some popular and effective email finding tools include:

Most of these have a free trial or freemium plan, but you’ll need to pay if you want to access a high volume of emails every month.

If the person you want to email doesn’t have any publicly available contact information, some tools, like Hunter, will give you a ‘best guess’ email. It’ll be an assumption based on the most common email pattern used at a company, but the tool can’t verify that it actually exists.

The accuracy of these email finding tools can vary, so be careful.

You can also go to the sources directly to see what context the email is used in.

Understand Your Recipients’ Email Pattern and Make a Guess

If you’ve already been in contact with someone at a company, but need to email someone else there (for example, a key decision-maker above them in the hierarchy), you can use the company email pattern to make an educated guess.

Usually, these will be something obvious and simple.

Common email patterns include:

  • {first_name}@company.com
  • {first_name.last_name}@company.com
  • {first_name_initial}{last_name}@company.com

Small companies and startups will usually stick with {first_name}@company.com, and larger companies tend to use both first and last names in their email.

The risk of using this strategy is that you’ll end up sending emails to non-existent email addresses. But if you already know the email pattern a company uses, you’ll have a strong chance of getting a valid email address.

Use an Email Permutator

You can use a tool called Email Permutator to give you all of the potential email pattern options a prospect might have.

It’s simple to use but will require some manual work to verify if the email is correct.

Add in your prospect’s full name (or nickname) and the company website URL. The tool will then use that information to give you a list of all common email address combinations.

 

This is a process that you could do manually, but this tool automates it for you.

Once you have your list of possible emails, you can research to find out if any of them exist.

I’d strongly caution against sending an email to every single one of these options. The recipient company could have a catch-all email address, and if that’s the case, they’ll receive every email you send – it’ll be obvious you’re just trying your luck.

If they don’t have a catch-all email address, then you’ll see a dangerously high percentage of your emails bouncing.

This will send negative signals to your email service provider and you’ll be more likely to land in spam in the future.

There is a way around this, though.

Head to your Gmail inbox and draft a new email.

In the send box, paste in your email addresses.

If your prospect has a Gmail account, Google will auto-populate their profile with their image, like so:

 

If the email doesn’t exist, then you’ll see a blank profile.

Search Engines & Operators

If you’re stuck, head to Google.

But rather than doing a broad search for your prospects’ email, use search operators.

The double quotation mark (“”) operator means the search engine will return an exact match of what you’re searching for. If you want to verify an email address, simply run a search with the email address you’re looking for between your double quotation marks.

“{first.name}@company.com”

If the email is listed anywhere publicly on the web, they should return it in your search.

For example, if I wanted to find Dustin Moskovitz’s (co-founder of Asana/Facebook) email, I can try “dustin@asana.com”.

As you can see, Google finds an exact match on multiple websites, so it’s safe to assume the email address is legitimate.

If there are no results, then either the email doesn’t exist, or it hasn’t been listed publicly anywhere, so I can try another verification method.

This is one of the more time-consuming methods if you want to build a list, because you may need to try multiple variations for every prospect, but it can still consistently deliver results.

LinkedIn Contact Info Section

You’re probably using LinkedIn as part of your sales prospecting workflow already.

As you’re reviewing your prospects’ profiles, check if they’ve filled out the “Contact Info” section.

First, see if they have it at all. Not everyone chooses to.

If you can see the Contact info link, click it, and a new dialogue will open.

You’ll be able to see the contact details they’ve made public, and if you’re lucky they’ll include their email in there.

It’s that simple.

As you can see in the example above, you won’t always get a company email address. If that’s the case, keep searching. Don’t use people’s personal email addresses in a cold email campaign.

This method has a low-to-medium success rate, but it can work, particularly if your prospect is active on LinkedIn and uses it as a way to expand their personal network.

Ask Them Directly

If you’ve already talked with someone on LinkedIn, Twitter, or at an event, then you can keep things simple.

Rather than trawling the web to find their email, just ask them for it.

Even if you’ve only had a single conversation, if you gave a good impression, most people will be happy to provide contact details for you to follow up with them.

The key part is that you need to promise value in some way.

This could mean:

  • Sending them a useful resource you mentioned
  • Continuing your conversation on a topic you’re both interested in

You can then build the relationship, continue to provide value, and if their company would be a good fit for your product/service, see if they’d be interested in learning more.

Check Their Facebook Company Page

Another place to find emails is on a Facebook Company Page.

If you’re targeting small businesses, the founder or CEO may have set this page up themselves in the early days of their business and included their own email address.

In other cases, you’ll see a generic company address, like “info@” or “support@”. If that’s the case, you can still send a friendly email asking to be put in touch with the person you’re trying to contact.

Checking a Facebook page will only take 30 seconds, and you won’t get a hit every time.

Dig into their Tweets with Twitter Advanced Search

Twitter’s Advanced Search tool is an undervalued feature of the platform

You can use it to search the whole of Twitter for tweets mentioning your prospects’ email address.

Narrow down tweets by:

  • Exact words they include
  • Accounts that sent the tweet
  • Date range

If your prospect is active on Twitter and regularly has conversations, chances are, they may have tweeted at someone to send them an email, including their email address.

This tactic has a surprisingly high hit rate, but you have to be willing to experiment with the search terms you’re looking for (some people won’t write their email out, but may add brackets or spaces to stop it being as easy to find).

Look at Your Local Chamber of Commerce

It’s not the first place you’ll think to look – but your local Chamber of Commerce is a gold mine for prospecting.

For example, if you were targeting marketing agencies in New York, you can head to the Greater New York Chamber of Commerce and run a search.

Business owners will list their company details here. You’ll be able to see information like:

  • Who owns the business
  • Contact phone number
  • Their email address
  • Information about their company

It’s all public and you won’t need to jump through hoops to see the business directory.)

This is a simple way to find emails for people in a specific locale.

It’s particularly effective if you sell to location-dependent businesses, like marketing agencies, real estate agencies, lawyers, or hospitality businesses.

And, you’ll already have a talking point as you’re both based in the same city.

Subscribe to Their Mailing List

If your prospect runs a newsletter or regularly emails their customers, consider signing up to their newsletter or product/service.

Finding out if someone has a newsletter doesn’t take long – most sites have a clear call-to-action to get you on their mailing list.

Once you’re on it, wait for the emails to arrive.

In many cases (particularly if it’s a small to medium-sized business where a founder or head of marketing runs their newsletter), the email will come directly from a personal email address.

For example, Nathan Latka’s newsletter on SaaS comes from a personal email address.

If you wanted to cold email him, all you’d need to do is sign up for his newsletter.

Another major benefit of this strategy is that you can learn more about your prospect.

You can use the topics they write about to start a genuine conversation.

Listen to Podcasts They’re Guests On

If your prospects are actively building their personal brand, you can probably find them on a podcast.

At first, this is going to be time-consuming.

Do you have hours to spend listening to podcasts just to find one email address? No.

If you’re strapped for time, just fast forward to the end of the episode.

Podcast hosts will usually round off an episode by asking their guest a question:

“Where can people learn more about you and get in touch?”

Usually, people will provide a social media handle, but many will also give out their email address.

Most people will be happy to hear from you, particularly if you show you’ve listened and learned from them.

That said, I’d recommend listening to the whole podcast episode that your prospects are on. It can act as a great way to learn about how they think about their business, and you’ll likely find a few conversation starters.

Buy Access to an Email Database

There are a variety of email address databases out there, like Apollo, ZoomInfo, and others that you can find with a quick Google search or checking Capterra.

These email databases contain millions of data points about companies, including email addresses for decision-makers.

These databases can make your life easy. Search for the person or company you want to contact, and you’ll see any stored contact details they have.

But, there’s a catch.

A typical email database decays at 22.5% per year, for reasons like:

  • People switching jobs
  • People opting out of their emails being stored

Due to this, you can’t just export a list of emails and throw them into your cold email tool.

If you do that, you’re going to see a high number of bounces. As I’ve mentioned already, bounces will hurt future email deliverability, so it’s something you want to avoid.

After downloading a data set from these platforms, verify the emails in an email verification tool. It’s an extra step but will pay off in the long run. You can link your email verification provider with QuickMail to keep your workflow smooth.

Another factor to consider is that you’ll need to pay for access to these email databases.

If you’re confident that your cold email campaigns will generate new business, then the cost will be worth it.

Something to Consider: The Email Source Can Affect Your Response Rates

The source of your email can be a conversation starter.

I’d recommend using the more personal methods first, where possible.

For example, if your prospect is on a podcast and tells listeners they can get in touch via email, the podcast topic is a conversation starter.

If you met them at a conference or event and you swapped details, that’s a perfect way to open your email.

However, if you found their email using Google or an email finding tool, you’ll still need to research to find a conversation starter. Don’t assume that just because you found their address that they’re going to want to talk to you.

A Word of Warning: Finding an Email Address =/= Good Fit Prospect

Before we wrap things up, I need to warn you that just because you can find someone’s email easily, it doesn’t mean you should use it.

Before you use any of the tactics in this article, make sure you know who your ideal customer is.

It’s a cliché, but if you’re emailing people who don’t fit your ideal customer profile just because you can find their contact details, cold email isn’t going to work for you and your business.

You’ll get no replies, and risk getting marked as spam if what you sell isn’t a perfect fit for the person you’re emailing. After a few weeks, you’ll write it off as something that just doesn’t work for your company (even though it probably would if done well).

Take your time to narrow down your ideal client profile.

Figure out exactly who you should be emailing.

Identify their pain points, and make sure you’re emailing them about something they’ll care about.

 

Send Personalized Emails and Track Everything with QuickMail

Once you’ve created your prospect list, it’s time to start sending your cold emails.

Sending these manually is going to be hugely time-consuming and you won’t be able to track metrics like reply rates and open rates in Gmail or Outlook.

If you want to improve your productivity and personalize cold emails at scale, QuickMail is for you.

Our platform lets you import your prospect list, build customized outreach sequences, and track your cold email performance.

It’s the perfect way to scale up your cold email campaigns without compromising on personalization.

Try QuickMail with a free trial – just click here to get started.

 

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