Are you running an outbound email marketing campaign? Or perhaps you need to contact people to ask for backlinks?
Whatever your reason, many businesses rely on getting in touch with people via email. And for good reason.
Despite the remarkable rise in communication apps available, email is still seen (arguably) as the best way to get in touch with new people.
It’s hugely valuable to businesses, but it can be challenging and time-consuming to find a personal email address — that actually works.
Fortunately, there is a multitude of ways you can uncover the correct email addresses, leaving you free to crush your outreach goals.
Read on to find out how.
The importance of finding the right personal email address
While email outreach is undoubtedly a valuable weapon in any business's arsenal, it comes with its own challenges. Only a small percentage of outbound emails actually receive a reply. What’s worse, an even smaller number of your messages ever land in the recipient's inbox.
If your emails don’t even reach the reader’s screen, you're sabotaging your outreach and reducing conversion rates. The dreaded bounced email is inherent in outbound, but there are steps you can take to improve your chances.
The best ways to lookup email addresses
There are a ton of ways to find personal email addresses, free techniques involving a bit of elbow grease, and paid options if your budget allows. We’ll cover each technique in detail, offering the exact steps to implement your chosen method into your process. Ready?
1. Email lookup services
If you’ve got the budget, you can make your life easier by using an email lookup tool. There are many available options, but they all work on the same premise — enter your prospect’s name or website address, and leave the tool to work its magic.
We use Apollo’s searcher option. And it’s as simple as this:
- Navigate to Searcher on the main menu.
- Enter your prospect’s name (or use one of the advanced filters).
- Click Search…. and Hey presto — you’ve found your email address.
Of course, it’s not foolproof. Not all email addresses can be found successfully, meaning you’ll still have the occasional dud on your list.
This comes with the territory, and you may be happy to accept it as a cost of doing business, but for those on tight budgets, it may seem like a waste paying for a service that’s not 100% bulletproof.
You can play around with different providers or use paid tools along with some of the free techniques we’ll discuss below. Some paid tools will work better for different locations or industries, so before making a choice review our list of paid tools to see which is the best fit for you.
Paid email lookup services
- Find That Email
- Finder Expert
- Voila Norbert.
- eMail-Prospector Pro
Free email lookup tools
2. Use DuckDuckGo
DuckDuckGo may not be your go-to choice as a search engine, but it offers a nifty little trick for finding email addresses.
Go to the alternative search engine and conduct an exact match search for your domain name, preceded with @, like this:
If I was searching for someone at Ahrefs, for example, I would search for
I tested this technique and found it a bit hit-and-miss. I had to search for quite a few domains before I eventually found a match.
I searched our domain name “@strategically.co”, and despite the fact I know I have an email address publicly available on my website here:
It came back with no hits — nada:
Never one to be deterred, I kept searching and did find a match for this London-based software company:
This may not be the best technique, but it’s worth a quick go (or even a DuckDuckGo) as you could come up trumps; you never know.
3. Ask Elon for help
If anyone can find an email address, Elon can! OK, we’re not literally suggesting asking Elon (you’d have to find his email address first!) but head over to Twitter and see what you can find there.
It’s not uncommon for people to include their email address within their Twitter bio. Occasionally, it’s written in the correct format, but to fend off the bots, savvy Twitter users will use:
- “dot” instead of “.”
- “at” instead of “@”
This may deter bots, but it won’t stop you. You can use the advanced search feature on Twitter to search for exact phrases
Some people may also include their email addresses in their tweets.
Head to the Twitter advanced search and search for specific terms, for example:
And the brand you are trying to find the email address for:
If you’re lucky, this could pull up a message with the brand saying “email X at YZ”, and boom, you’ve got your contact details:
4. Use the businesses newsletter
Nowadays, most businesses have an email list on their website. This can be a really simple way to get the contact info for the company.
Sign up for the newsletter and wait for your first email. Chances are it will come from a generic address (info, hello, contact), but don’t let that stop you. Send them a quick email introducing yourself and asking for the contact details of the person or department you are looking for.
5. Email the generic email address
There’s no need for the cloak and dagger with this technique. Hop on to live chat, send a message on the website’s contact form, or email the generic email address provided for general information.
Send a polite request asking for the contact details of the person you are hoping to get in touch with. Depending on your ask (is it valuable to the company) and how fierce the gatekeeper is, you may just get the email address as easily as that.
6. Search company website
You may not find the contact information on the contact page, but if you dig a little deeper into the company website, you may stumble across it on other pages. Check out the about page, team page, Linkedin page, and so on.
You can do this manually, but you can also employ a cheeky trick (aka advanced Google search) to speed it along. Head to Google and enter this into the search bar:
This searches all indexed pages on the domain for “@” and returns the list of results. You can see it’s found the hello@ email address on my contact page, something the DuckDuckGo method did not manage.
7. Try a WHOIS Lookup
Another easy way to find verified email addresses is to use whois. When you purchase a domain with a company like GoDaddy, you must register your contact details. Every domain that’s registered is stored in this database, giving you access to a vast amount of data.
The only snag is that you’re able to choose to keep your contact details private, meaning they won’t be included in the database. That said, it’s often a paid extra with domain hosts, so there’s a decent chance you will be able to find some information.
To use this method, head over to whois and enter the website URL of the business you are trying to contact.
If the information is available, you will find it under the Registrar info section on the next page. Pretty easy, huh?
8. Use the search engines
Almost too obvious to mention is the good ol’ search engine. Head over to Google (or your weapon of choice) and play around. Search for the business name + email, or a plentitude of variations of this and see what comes up.
If you were looking for our email address, all you would need to do is enter:
And this would come up:
It’s almost too easy.
9. Use Linkedin
Businesses use Linkedin to get the word out about their products and services. It makes sense that they would also use it to provide ways for potential clients to get in touch with them.
Head over to Linkedin and review the business page and the prospect's Linkedin profile. You might hit the jackpot and find a direct email address to the exact person you need, or you might find a generic info@ address. Either way, you’re a step closer to smashing your outreach goals.
If you head to my Linkedin page, all you need to do is click on Contact Info, and you’ll be able to get in touch with me personally.
Of course, not all founders, CMOs, CEOs, and so on make it so easy to contact them, but you never know.
When all else fails — guess. Hey, we’re only human :)
The good thing about emails is that they can follow a fairly standard format. If you know the name of the person you want to contact and the domain name, you’re off to the races.
Create a spreadsheet with the various combinations it could be, such as:
- First name + domain name
- First name Surname + domain name
- Firstname.Surname + domain name
- First letter of first name Surname + domain name
It will look something like this:
And so on. Until you have a long list of various email address suggestions.
Not only is this technique time-consuming, but you will also need to send emails to multiple variations of the email address, most of which will fail. This isn’t good practice.
Luckily, you can use email verification tools to check the email addresses before sending them from your email address. Tools to check out are:
Time to start looking for email addresses
Alas, we’ve come to the end. There are ten easy ways to find valid email addresses to help you kickstart your outreach campaigns. By taking the time to find valid emails, whatever your campaign objective, you will:
- Decrease your bounce rate
- Increase your open rate
- Improve your conversion rate
So it’s well worth the effort.
Which technique will you try first? Let us know.
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