A Ninja’s Guide to Finding Any Business Email

You might be wondering – why dedicate an entire post to a task that can be done with the help of numerous tools, extensions, tricks and magic potions out there in the virtual world? Well, that is exactly the reason why! Many tools have been invented to help you circumvent good, old-fashioned web scraping and email guessing to save you time and energy. Yet, it seems that none of the methods and tricks to find an email address is 100% efficient. So you are bound to mix and match in order to get the best possible results.

I would like to help you with this, but before I move on to the actual advice, I want to go back to the entire process of cold outreach and point out certain facts.

First of all, why opt for email in particular as a means of reaching out to prospective leads? Well, simply because email represents a personal but also professional way of getting in touch with people. Just imagine, for example, how you would react if you got promotional content on Facebook or Twitter, right next to a message from your friend stating the time and date for the next party or get-together? Well, you wouldn’t think of it seriously, to say the least. While social media are definitely a personal channel of communication, they are way too personal for doing business. On the other hand, email allows you to be personal but also professional – it represents a barrier that needs to exist between the prospect and the business owner upon their first encounter. Just imagine the hurt feelings upon getting a “seen” with no reply in the Facebook inbox. The follow-up would be much more difficult after that 🙂

I also have some numbers to back this up. Studies show that a staggering 72% of people prefer getting promotional content via email marketing as opposed to the meager 17% of people who opt for getting it via social media. Still not convinced? Let’s move on to some more hard data and statistics.

Secondly, it seems that everybody has an email address today. An unbelievable fact is that the number of email accounts is three times larger than the number of Facebook and Twitter accounts combined. And that means that your prospect is guaranteed to have an email address as well.  
Email vs other channelsEmail vs Twitter and Facebook 

Finally, there is the whole issue of email marketing generating an unbelievable 3800% ROI! In other words, it costs you 1$ to send an email, and the money you get back from sending it is 38$. Not bad at all!

Now, I would like to present to you the ways in which you can find domain owners and their email addresses so as to promote your business. Those include buying lists, searching the web, guessing, outsourcing and using different tools. So, without further ado, here they are, discussed in detail:

  1. Buying an Email List

Well, this is the easy way out of your problem. You don’t need to spend hours on web scraping, you don’t spend money on outsourcing, you don’t rack your brains about what tools best suit your needs. You simply spend money on an already prepared list that contains the names and email addresses of prospects, and all else you need. However, you are bound to have some problems.

These lists are usually out-of-date. As such, they probably either don’t contain valid information and don’t include startups and other young companies you wish to target. Also, you are bound to take for granted that the businesses on that list are your target audience, which might not be the case. So, you don’t check all of them and thus end up either falsely personalizing your outreach emails, or you send them to the people who never wanted anything to do with your business in the first place and their name got there because they didn’t read carefully to what they were signing up for. All of these scenarios will result with your emails being sent to the place of no return – the dreaded spam. In the long run, ending up in spam is going to damage your business severely. You might be wondering – how come? Simply because by sending emails to addresses on bought lists reduces deliverability. Finally, by sending these emails you are probably also violating ESP’s terms of service.


  1. Good, Old-fashioned Web Scraping

You can always decide to do some manual research as in the olden days. You sit in front of a computer, mentally prepare yourself that it will take hours and days to search for all the contacts and that your body is gonna ache all over after you are finished. Just like students before the Internet – spending hours, days and weeks in library doing research.

When you have targeted your prospects, you need to go through the Contacts Page or the About Us page to check the domain owner and the email addresses. And if that fails, you have to turn to LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter in search of the right email address. Undoubtedly, this method is time consuming and takes a lot of effort. Moreover, people tend to hide their email addresses to avoid spammers, so this method will not always yield the results you need.


3. Guessing

In order to be efficient, businesses usually have the practice of generating the email addresses of their employees using certain formulas. These include:

  • firstname@domain.com
  • initial_lastname@domain.com
  • firstname.lastname@domain.com
  • sales@gomain.com
  • business@domain.com

and endless similar combinations you can think of. And whereas on Etools Revealer the guessing feature is done automatically (it tries out the different combinations and shows valid emails it has found via this process), there are tools like VoilaNorbert, Anymail or Email Generator that automate the process of guesswork for you. They provide you with a list of possible emails based on the domain and the name you type in. Moreover, there is a little trick that can help you verify if the email address you have come up with really exists. It’s called Mail Tester and it shows you if a certain email address you entered exists. If you are using Gmail, Etools’ extension is indispensable for that.

The downside of inventing emails endlessly is that it is time-consuming and it seldom yields precise results. And, for this reason, it is everything but productive. What is even worse is that if you don’t verify your addresses, your emails will once again end up in the ninth circle of hell – the dreaded spam folder.


  1. Outsourcing

Outsourcing the tedious task of finding email addresses is another trick you can use to take the load off your back. There are numerous platforms, like Upwork and Freelancer, that provide you with budget friendly freelancers to do the job for you.

However, this is similar to buying email lists when it comes to the problems it entails. First of all, you need to find the right freelancer for your endeavor, which takes time. Secondly, although I am sure that the freelancer tries to do their job properly, it is always best to check their results, just to make sure the data they provide is legit and accurate. This is also very time consuming, so in the end, why not do it yourself instead?


  1. Time/Energy Saving Tools: Plug-ins, Extensions, Add-ons

Different tools have been invented to automate the process of manual research, not only in email marketing, but in all possible spheres of life (just think of students who used to spend hours in libraries doing research manually, flipping page after page, book after book, and what the Internet did for them.) When it comes to email marketing, numerous plug-ins, extensions, add-ons and whatnots have been developed by incredibly gifted and resourceful people to help us in our business ventures. These gadgets are usually very easy to use, and save a lot of time and energy. Some of them are free, and some of them you need to buy. Nevertheless, they make the process of finding the contact info of your prospective leads easier than ever before.

  1. Social Media Based Searching

More often than not, your business prospects will have a profile on social media such as LinkedIn or Twitter. There are some tools that help you gather information from their profiles easily. For example, Rapportive, which is an email tool that comes in the form of a Chrome extension, works really well with LinkedIn. When installed, it collects the data from  LinkedIn profiles and can even do some guesswork as well. It can suggest certain email addresses based on the name and domain. It can be a good complementary tool to other tools but, bear in mind that it only works with Gmail.

Similarly, Find That Lead is another tool that comes in handy for finding emails. It helps you find email addresses while prospecting on platforms such as LinkedIn or Twitter. It uses information that is available on the Internet to generate email addresses based on the domain of the prospect, their name and surname. The added bonus to this tool is that it immediately checks if the found email address is accurate. In this way, bounce rates are greatly reduced. Finally, Rapportive and Find That Lead are complementary to each other and work pretty well together.


  1. Domain Based Searching

Another useful way for discovering email addresses is to perform a search of the domain you are targeting. Tools such as Email Hunter and Etools Revealer help you find email addresses affiliated with a specific domain. Email Hunter requires you to type in the domain you wish to search. After that, it provides you with a list of email addresses if finds based on the different sources throughout the web. Email Hunter also includes the Verify option that checks the validity of the email addresses discovered. As already mentioned, this immediately reduces bounce rates (and let me reiterate how important that this for all your email outreach endeavors).

Etools Revealer also allows you to search domains in order to find relevant emails. When you type in a domain in the search box, the software will search many different sources, including current and past Whois records, different databases and many more. The results are then ranked based on relevancy – probability that a certain email is being used. In the end, the search will yield a list of email addresses that were automatically filtered so as to exclude those that are not valid or relevant. Pretty neat, right?

  1. Finding Other Websites Owned by the Same Person

Finally, I would also like to cast some light on the importance of checking if one domain owner is in charge of more websites. Why is this important? Well, because this usually means that on the websites with the same owner you can find the same contact info. Tools like Sameid and our own Revealer allow you to find if more websites are owned by the same person. You just type in one particular website in the search box and the magic happens. Finally, the chances are that on at least one of the websites from the search list, you will be able to find the email addresses you need.  

Et voilà! Phew, I am tired, I can only imagine how you might be feeling having read all of this. All in all, I tried to present to you some of the most dominant methods, tricks and tools to find email addresses. Unfortunately, you are probably going to need to resort to a combination of methods because, and I cannot emphasize this enough, relying only on one of them will usually not provide the best results. What I can say with certainty is that the different tools I mentioned are a gift to all of us doing email outreach. They save time and energy as opposed to outdated web scraping. And, instead of just buying email lists or outsourcing the work, they allow you to be productive, proactive and in full control of your marketing campaign.


Author: Jovana Petrovic

I'm a researcher and writer at Etools – a toolkit that lets you find the exact contact details of any business.

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