You can reach almost anyone with a well-written cold email, but how do you find their email address in the first place?
Are you struggling to find someone’s email address?
Whether you want to land a guest post, ask an important person a question, or promote your content, email is often the best way to do it.
But first, you need to find their email address.
As a content marketing agency, email is one of our primary tools. We use it to reach subject matter experts with interview requests, build relationships with publications, and occasionally even pitch potential clients.
That means we’ve tried every method under the sun to find people’s email addresses. Below you’ll find a step-by-step guide that walks you through our proven methods to find emails.
Ready to find that email? Let’s dive in.
These days, there are a plethora of email-finding tools available.
Not only will they help to save you a ton of time, many of them also have a free plan so you can test them out before committing to one.
Let’s look at the best email lookup tools out there:
One of the most popular and reliable email search tools available today is Hunter.io.
To use this tool, create an account and then decide whether you are a casual user (meaning you will be using the free option which gives you 100 email searches per month) or are a power user who needs to pay for any one of the other plans (Starter, Growth, Pro, or Enterprise).
Using Hunter.io to find emails is dead simple. Simply input the domain name of the site you’re interested into the search box and you’ll typically be presented with a list of emails Hunter.io has found for that website.
From there, if you need to drill down your search further, you can enter a specific name in the “Find someone” search bar.
Once you’ve found the contact you're after, you can confirm that it’s a verified email address (look for the green shield with a check-mark inside). Furthermore, you can toggle the source option on the right side to see where the tool uncovered the email.
There is a lot more you can do with Hunter.io than just find someone's email address (of course, the "finding the email address" part is the most important in this context). That being said, here are some features you can use to make your life easier when using Hunter.io:
To make your work that much easier, you can simply install the browser extension of Hunter.io so that the tool displays the publicly available email addresses for any website you search. This extension is free, though the number of emails displayed will depend on your email hunter plan.
Rocket Reach is unique in that it allows you to search for emails using the prospect’s name, company, and LinkedIn profile URL.
The LinkedIn URL option, in particular, is an excellent professional touch on their part. Even better, you can use the prospect's professional or even personal LinkedIn profile to find associated email addresses. On top of that, you can search for prospects from AngelList and Crunchbase.
Here's how it works:
The free option only gives you five free lookups per month, but you can upgrade to the different paid options depending on your particular needs.
Clearbit is a business intelligence company with a variety of solutions designed to help companies collect and enrich data to power their sales & marketing efforts.
They also happen to have a free Chrome plugin called Clearbit Connect that can help you find email addresses in a matter of seconds. Here's how it works:
You can use the Free version (25 emails per month) just to get a feel for how it works before you decide to upgrade.
Another nice feature of Clearbit Connect is that it allows you to collect the details of anyone who sends you an email. This comes in handy when you get unsolicited emails and you want to know more about the sender.
Just open the email, look to the right of the screen, and Clearbit Connect will give you a sender's personal information including associated links, profiles, and more. For instance, in the screenshot below, you can clearly see the associated link is from LinkedIn.
Similar to Hunter.io, Voila Norbert is a very straightforward email search tool. It works a lot like Hunter.io and lets you search for email addresses using the following avenues:
The free version of Voila Norbert lets you search 50 email addresses per month. They also offer four other paid plans that let you search from 1,000 emails all the way up to 50,000 emails:
The biggest difference between Voila Norbert and Hunter.io is that Voila Norbert allows you to search for email addresses with free email providers such as Gmail.
All you have to do is enter the person's name and the tool will give you a plethora of possibilities. The only problem with this is that if you are searching for a Gmail address using the recipient's name, the results you get may not correspond with the person you want to contact (many people have rather common names, so without the company modifier, it's tricky to be sure if it's really the correct email).
Disclaimer: This method should not be used in EU countries, as it can uncover email addresses that are not published publicly, and cause you to violate the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Most companies follow a common pattern when creating their email addresses. In fact, we’ve found that 90%+ of companies adhere to one of the following patterns:
With that in mind, we can leverage this in one of two ways:
Of course, manually checking every possible pattern one-by-one would be time consuming & exhausting.
While this option is often effective, manually checking all the possible combinations can become time-consuming. That is why it's often best to use a tool called "Email Permutator".
With this tool, all you have to do is fill in the appropriate fields such as first and last name + company.com and let it do its thing. The tool will give you a list of possible suggestions that you can try.
To make your chances of finding the right email address even better, you can use a server ping software like MailTester or Strikeiron to test whether these email addresses are valid before sending, as sending emails to addresses which don’t exist repeatedly can damage your email deliverability. Better yet, use the LinkedIn Sales Navigator Chrome Extension.
All you have to do is:
As you slowly move down the list, Gmail will give you hints or outrightly show you if any of the possible emails are associated with a Google Profile. That is the one you want to use. If you are logged into LinkedIn, LinkedIn Sales Navigator will tell you when you find an email that is associated with a LinkedIn account.
For the most part, you will find that people often share their email addresses in some of their tweets. In many cases, you will find the emails have been written like this: name "at" company "dot" com. They do this to hide those email addresses from bots. Now, all you have to do is:
You could also use a tool called SnapBird to dig deeper into the user's Twitter history. Use the same search parameters as on Twitter's Advanced Search.
Or you could just inbox them on Twitter asking for their email address!
Often, it’s possible to find someone’s email address simply by doing a bit of digging within their company website. This is especially true with smaller companies that aren’t usually receiving as many inbound inquiries. There are several ways to do this:
By simply checking for a "Team Page" or an "About Us" page, you can find out if your prospect is listed there and often collect the email address. As an example, you can easily find the email of the managing director of Fish Financial (and other team members) on their website. See screenshot below.
Granted, this is a little risky, but most companies list a generic email address you can use to contact them (firstname.lastname@example.org). You can send a simple message asking whoever handles that email inbox to connect you with [full name or designation of prospect].
These emails are often handled by secretaries or VAs; most of the time they will ignore your message, but in some cases, they wouldn't know if what you have to say is important and might just pass the message on to the prospect. This would work best if your email signature tells them who you are; they can tell whether or not you can be of help to them.
If the more modern methods aren't yielding the desired results, you can always fall back on an old classic - leveraging Google search operators to find contact info. Here are a few of the search operators we test when searching for hard-to-find emails:
Of course, there are other operators you can use to drill down further, but the ones above will uncover most email addresses, assuming they're published on an indexed page.
As a last resort, if whoever you want to contact has a blog or a website that sends out a newsletter, you can subscribe to that and wait to see what email address they send from. In many cases, this will be a generic email, such as email@example.com, but it may also be a personal email.
Even if they don't use a personal email, you can always try replying to one of their newsletters with a thoughtful email, and wait to see if you get a response.
With these methods, you should be able to find most email addresses.
Of course, there will always be those people who simply don’t want to be reached via email, and you may need to connect with them on social media or via phone.
That being said, if the first method you try doesn’t yield results, keep going!
Often, the email addresses that are hardest to find end up yielding the best results, because these people aren’t being bombarded with high volumes of outreach.
If you truly have something valuable to offer the person you’re trying to reach, it’s worth testing each method to see if you can uncover that needle in the haystack. Good luck!
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