There is a saying in basketball – “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” In the outreach world, this quote transfers well – we can’t drive our preferred action unless our contact receives the request, and most times, the biggest barrier to getting this request in front of our contact is not being able to find their email address.
Thankfully, many tools have surfaced to make the task of being able to find an email easier and more scalable. This post will detail the many tools and strategies there are to find an email – beyond the beginner level “look for it” that most people already know.
A relatively new tool on the market, VoilaNorbert has taken email finding to a whole new level. Input the person’s name and the domain, and Norbert will return an address with surprisingly amazing efficiency.
In terms of accuracy and consistency, Norbert is the best tool on the market. The only weakness, if you can call it one, is that it’s paid – you only have a limited number of searches per day without needing to buy credits for more, so if you’re a power user, you may want to upgrade.
ToutApp For Speeding Up Email Finding
ToutApp is a tool to send email templates easily, as well as track opens. It seems useful, but I mainly use the free toolbar feature to speed up finding emails – it will instantly determine if there is an email address on the page, sparing you the time spent looking around the site in order to find it.
If the tool doesn’t show a number variable, that means there are no potential email addresses on the page – leaving you free to try and find the nearest “About” or “Contact” page.
If there is no clear email on the page, WHOIS is a great place to find contact information. This works best for one-owner websites without much reason to hide contact information, giving you a clear line-of-sight to their email – and the first and last name of that person.
EMail Format for Finding Common Syntax
Email Format is a tool that searches the web for any email addresses for a given domain, returning addresses for whomever it can find for that company – giving you some obvious clues about what the email of your preferred contact might be.
This works best for medium to large sized companies with decent age, as these companies had enough time to pick up a common email format and also put their email addresses somewhere public on the internet.
It’s not quite as good as VoilaNorbert, but worth attempting as a second option if it fails.
This advanced search operator was originally brought to my attention by Emma Still and Gaz Copeland – it’s a smart and stupidly effective way of finding the email address of someone A) in demand and B) that’s a frequent user of Twitter. If the person you’re trying to contact meets these two variables, they likely have revealed their email on Twitter.
Contact Finder from Citation Labs
The contact finder from Citation Labs is a great tool for bulk contact finding. If you have a lot of low-customization email work to do, inputting multiple domains into Contact Finder will give you a large number of contact options for easy emailing, including the website’s contact form and any email it finds.
Google Search Operators
When in doubt, go back to the basics – mining Google using search operators. Here are just a few of our favorites for finding webmaster contact information in addition to the Twitter one mentioned above.
- NAME email
- NAME contact
- “FIRSTNAME LASTNAME” email
- “FIRSTNAME LASTNAME” contact
- site:WEBSITE.com name email
- site:WEBSITE.com contact
- site:WEBSITE.com about
There are a lot of other operators out there that can be helpful/drill down more, but for the most part, the above four will pick up the majority of the email addresses, if they’re out there.
The “NAME” query is particularly useful for finding contact information on other domains your contact may work on/own, in case you can’t find the contact info on the first website you search through.
It’s really hard shooting 100% when trying to find email addresses – there will always be that webmaster that doesn’t want to reveal their contact information, or for whatever reason, they simply forget to include it on their site.
But it is often times that hard to find email that provides the most lucrative rewards – because it is an email that has often not been slammed by every marketer under the sun – so the effort of running the gamut on these tools to find it is worth it, if you think your content is a great fit for the site.
Do you have any other strategies for finding hard-to-find contact information? Please leave them in the comments – we’d love to hear them.