As a content marketer, outreach is one of the most important things you’ll do. In fact, Social Triggers founder Derek Halpern believes we should spend just 20% of our time creating content, and the other 80% promoting it (of which outreach is highly likely to play a huge part).
Unfortunately, even when all the ingredients are in place – an awesome piece of content and a great outreach email – one little problem can still manage to trip you up:
Not being able to find the email address of the person you want to contact.
Thankfully, if you know a few insider tricks of the trade, tracking down that elusive email address is much easier than you might think.
Here are 5 secret ninja tricks you can use to help you find prospects’ email addresses.
1. Use a Tool
Using a tool isn’t exactly a trick, but the more tools you have in your arsenal, the better equipped you’ll be for finding pretty much anybody’s email address.
While this isn’t a comprehensive list of all the email-finding tools out there, here are the ones I use or have used, and can personally vouch for.
Contact Out is the best email-finding tool I’ve used, by far. It’s a Chrome plugin that automatically pulls in any available contact details (or their email address and phone number, at least) when you visit a prospect’s LinkedIn Page. It gets multiple email addresses for most LinkedIn users, including personal (ie. @gmail.com) email addresses and business addresses.
Email Hunter’s an awesome tool, and it’s free for up to 150 requests a month. It doesn’t, however, let you search for a prospect’s name. Instead, you search by domain name and the tool will reveal all the addresses it can find associated with that domain. It’ll also show you the most common pattern for addresses at that domain, so if you can’t find the address of the person you’re looking for but you have their full name, you can make an educated guess as to what it might be.
This one’s really useful if you think you know the email address of the person you want to contact, but you want to double check that it’s correct before you waste time sending an email that’s going to bounce right back.
It works well in combination with Email Hunter. Email Hunter doesn’t check whether any of the addresses are correct or live; it simply searches the web for mentions of addresses that match the domain in question.
That means that once you have an address you *think* is correct, you can head over to Email Checker and confirm it’s genuine and live.
2. Check Twitter
People – especially journalists and bloggers who are open to emails from cold contacts – often put their address in their Twitter bio.
If you’re on their website, and they use Twitter, chances are the icon will feature pretty prominently on their site (often in the header, but if not, try the footer). Sometimes it’s a little more hidden (often on their contact page).
Alternatively, you can search Google for “their name + twitter.” Of course, if there are lots of people on Twitter with their name, it might be a little tricky to pinpoint the person you’re trying to find.
You can often get around this by adding the industry they work in to your search. For example, to find my Twitter profile you could search for “sujan patel marketing + twitter.”
But, if your prospect’s email address isn’t in their Twitter bio, all is not lost.
You can try performing an advanced Twitter search to see if they’ve ever been mentioned in a tweet.
Simply enter (at) (dot) in the “all of these words” box, and the Twitter handle of the person’s email address you’re after in the “from these accounts” box.
Alternatively, you can use All My Tweets to view, and search, all your prospect’s tweets on a single page.
3. Find the Company Format and Take a Guess
Most companies use a standard format for email addresses, so, if you can’t find the address for the specific person you want to contact, find the email address for someone at the company, and edit it accordingly.
4. Use an Email Permutator
An email permutator uses a person’s name and the domain they’re associated with to generate as many permutations (i.e. combinations) of addresses that, based on common email formats, could be correct.
I use this one. To use it yourself, open the doc, click “File,” then “Make a Copy.”
From there you enter your prospect’s name and domain into the yellow boxes. As you do this, possible permutations of the address will appear in the green box on the left-hand side.
What you’ll also notice is that the suggested permutations appear in order, according to how common the formats are (most common at the top; least common at the bottom).
5. Ask Them
If you’ve tried all of the above and you still can’t find your prospect’s email address, there’s one last thing you can try…
Chances are your prospect has listed a social media profile you can use to contact them, or if not, a phone number. Contact them through one of these mediums and ask for their email address (it helps to explain why you’d like it, too).
Better yet, this is also a great opportunity to “warm them up” to your real ask, and that means you won’t be sending a cold email.
That’s 5 ninja tricks for finding prospects’ email addresses, but I’m sure there are plenty more. Do you know of any other tricks or tools you’d like to share? If so, just leave a comment below.