According to The Radicati Group, there are almost 6 billion unique email addresses in the world. So when you really need to find someone’s email, can you really rely on guessing?
Of course not. In the business and marketing world, we can’t boost sales, increase web traffic, or run successful campaigns unless our contact receives our email. And most of the time, the biggest barrier to is simply 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.
We’ve found that we have the most success if we can reach the blogger or journalist directly, rather than just a standard email@example.com or contact form. While there are many factors that go into getting the email recipient to actually open and read your email, contacting them via their preferred channel is the first step.
Below is a list of 10 techniques that our team has had the most success with. They are listed as separate tips, but many can be used in conjunction with others to verify and validate findings. Follow these steps to find someone’s email address almost every time.
Step 1: Google Search Operators
As a first step, go with 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.
Step 2: Try Hunter to Find Verified Email Addresses for Free
Hunter provides a bunch of tools that make automating the email address look-up process easy.
You can use the Email Finder if you have the full name of your prospect and the company name. Just type in the information in a search bar, and you’ll get a verified email address in seconds.
Hunter also offers a Chrome extension to find the email addresses behind the websites you’re browsing, while Author Finder, helps discover the contact information of the authors behind specific articles.
Plus, Hunter provides 25 free email lookups and 50 verifications per month.
Step 3: Use Buzzstream
Buzzstream helps find on-page emails as well as uncover social media profiles of influencers. Similar to Hunter.io, this tool can be installed as Chrome plugin, but also as a standalone web app. If it can’t find the email address you need, you could still cross reference their social media profiles for email address mentions.
Step 4: Find a Pattern
One of the most useful pieces of Hunter.io or Buzzstream is that they can help identify a common email pattern. However, there are several other options for identifying patterns if those don’t work. For example, Email Format helps uncover patterns based on the domain name that you input.
This 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 pattern-matching is 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.
Once you know the pattern, you a try a manual search which we outline more extensively below.
Step 5: Use Email Permutator with Linkedin Sales Navigator
You could type in every permutation of a person’s name until it syncs — or you can use the Email Permutator.
Email Permutator is a Google Sheet that’s been around for a bit and created by Rob Ousbey, formerly of Distilled, now VP Strategy at Moz. It eliminates the work of manually inputting the common permutations for someone’s email.
This works best in conjunction with Linkedin’s Sales Solutions for Gmail (formerly Rapportive). This is a free Chrome plugin that will highlight people if their email address is linked to Linkedin.
To use it, visit the original copy of the Email Permutator and follow the instructions to save your own copy to your Google Drive. Then:
- Enter the name and domain of the person you wish to find.
- Add the email addresses to your Gmail “To” box
- Watch to see if a person shows up in Linkedin’s Sales Navigator
Step 6: Verify Emails
Verifying saves a step in the process that will otherwise return an email as undeliverable. Hunter.io listed above will verify the email address by telling you if it is deliverable. You get 100 free verification requests per month and then you are prompted to upgrade your account.
However, if you run out, there are a few more options for verifying email address deliverability:
These are especially helpful if you are unsure if someone still works at a company or if a website seems very old.
Each tool offers a varying degree of success and all have limits to their free use. EmailHippo offers notes within the results that reveal the degree of trust you should have for that email.
If these have failed you thus far, you can use Google search operators to power your way through.
Step 7: Search Twitter Feed via Google
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.
It’s as simple as typing in the following: Twitter.com/USERNAME email
NOTE: You’ll want to replace USERNAME with their actually Twitter handle.
Then, if the person you’re trying to contact meets these two variables, they likely have revealed their email on Twitter.
Step 8: Utilize VoilaNorbert
One of the most reliable tools 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.
However, you’ll 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.
Step 9: Try Facebook “About”
When trying to find bloggers’ email addresses, Facebook can be a good route to go. Simply visit their company page and check the ‘About’ section. Most smaller bloggers have no problem putting their names right into their linked Facebook page. Some other companies may put the email address of their social team, which is a little more relevant to your goal than just a standard firstname.lastname@example.org.
Step 10: Use @Name.com
When all else fails, let’s face it, when someone has a website that is their full name.com, they will most likely have an email address that reads email@example.com. You can verify this using most of the techniques above!
Step 11: Social Media Direct Messages as a Backup
If none of the above options work, you don’t always have to use email. LinkedIn allows you to message people directly, and Twitter and Instagram also have settings that default to open for direct messages.
Many people are not used to being contacted through these avenues, so they can often be very successful for standing out and reaching people that are otherwise hard to reach.
Successful Email Hunting
While 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, it’s often the hardest to find email that provides the most lucrative rewards – because it is an email that hasn’t been slammed by every marketer under the sun.
If you think your content is a great fit for the site, it’s worth the effort of running the gamut on these tools. Happy hunting.