While this is a relatively new blog, we have already established that using cold email as a digital agency is one of the best way to land new clients. However, you can’t email somebody if you don’t know their email address, which is what this blog post is going to talk about.
I use a number of tools to identify and verify email addresses. The best part is that many of these offer free plans, which you can use to test out the service and maybe even land a client of your own. Getting the right email address is incredibly important, because it gets the past the gate keepers such as secretaries or assistants. If you find the right email address, you go directly to the decision-maker, which is the person that you want to be sending your cold email to.
In most cases, and info or support email will delete any cold email that they see. However, a CEO, founder, or business owner, may give your email a chance if it has the right subject, and if you draft your body correctly, you may be able to get a response.
I have found that finding the right email address is one of the most important things when it comes to open and conversion rates. Get to the right person, and that right person will make a decision then in there.
Let's talk about how to do that.
When searching for an email address, the first thing to do is understand who you actually want to be talking to. For this, I use the corporate website, Google Searches, Facebook and LinkedIn.
You can start your search on the about page or the team member page which is included on many corporate websites. Here, you may be able to find a founder, marketing director, or somebody else it would be the decision-maker for the product that you are trying to sell.
in the best case scenario, the email address for that individual person would be directly on the corporate website. However, this only happens around 20% of the time, because businesses are wise to marketers snatching these emails and putting them on lists and other undesirable platforms.
If you get a name from a website, file it away. If you are unable to find any information on the website, which sometimes happens if it’s quite outdated, move onto Google and social platforms.
A simple Google search for "Company Name" and "Position" can work wonders. For example, "Isotropic Design Founder" pops up my name as the first result:
If it doesn’t look like that, many times you can find a local article or profile on the owner of the company. In the best case scenario, the profile will include the contact email or phone number of that owner directly with in its content.
Sometimes Google dosn't work, so looking to LinkedIn and Facebook is great. On Facebook, if the company is active (this is typically the case with smaller businuesses), they may have an image of the team or owner.
In many cases, if you get onto the corporate LinkedIn page, you can get a list of everybody who works at the company. From there, it’s a simple as finding the job position that you were looking to contact, and getting the name of the person.
So, we've got our name and position to contact. The most important part is done, identifying the person that you want to contact, verifying that they work at the company, and figuring out their first and last name. Again, generic emails, or emails to an info or support inbox simply will not work.
Now, let's find that email address. for this, we’re going to use a collection of tools and methods. First, is the trusty Google search. There are several ways to do this.
Search Google for the following terms:
Utilize a combination of these terms and basic Google search operators to filter down your results. If the email is in plain text anywhere on the Internet, including websites, news publications, PDF listings, press releases, or anything like that, chances are Google will find it. If Google doesn’t find it, move on to Bing and see if they have this indexed anywhere.
Next up is Hunter.io. This is a tool that offers free access to its system. This is a tool that offers free access to it which is designed at finding an email address from and entered corporate domain. It works really well for medium to large companies, and sometimes produces results for small local businesses.
It’s indexed 100,000,000+ emails from the Internet, and offers filtering and scoring metrics.
It's also free for the first couple of uses (I think you get around 50 searches per month for free, and then you need to pay for the platform).
The drawback to this tool is that it typically finds the info and support email addresses, as those are the ones that are accessible to bots on most corporate websites. In your case, you’re looking for a personal address to a decision maker, so this might not always be the best tool for the job. However, it’s free, accessible to everybody, and if you can find your email address through this, good on you.
That's where the next tool comes in. Rocketreach.co. This is one of my favorite tools for finding personal email addresses. The only requirement is that your prospect has a LinkedIn profile (or at least a basic internet presence).
You get five free searches per month, and the credit is only charged if an email is found for the individual. To find them, enter their name or LinkedIn profile URL into the search bar. You can actually do as many searches as you want, but can only reveal the email 5 times per month.
Many times, RocketReach delivers a personalized email address that is already verified to be working. at the same time, you only get five free searches per month, and the paid plans are quite expensive. I do not subscribe to this service, and use this as a silver bullet for incredibly high value, high conversion emails.
For a last ditch effort, you can utilize an email verifier, and type in the common email address combinations. The verifier will let you know if this is a valid email with a working inbox. However, some companies block the ability for email verification services to see if their inbox works, so they should only be used as a last ditch effort, after exhausting all other options.
Hunter has an email verifier. You can simply type in generic email combos, and hope you get a hit. Here are some combos:
There are also several other tricks and sources that I've used with success in the past (I'm really spilling my secrets here, so drop an email subscription by clicking on that blue subscribe button if you like this‼)
If this final effort doesn’t work, then you will need to accept defeat. After trying everything and getting no email, you’ll probably want to move onto a new company, or try and find a phone number to cold call.
This typically only happens if the email doesn’t exist, has never been shared publicly, or has been scrubbed from the Internet.
Whatever the case is, the owner doesn’t want it out there.
Another reason behind this may be due to the fact that it hasn’t been shared, and it is also not utilizing the corporate domain. Think @gmail.com, @att.com... emails like that. This typically belogns to an older owner of a smaller, local business.
If you are able to find one of these addresses (one that's using a consumer service, or one thats super hard to find), the possibility of conversion is much higher, because nobody else is sending cold emails to the individual.
These are what I like to call "diamond in the rough" emails. Incredibly hard to find, but if you're lucky enough to get to it, you'll probably (at least) get a response. That's because they're not used to sales emails. At the very least, it shows initiative as you devoted all of the time to finding this address. Other prospectors would simply think this is too difficult, not worth the time, and skip over to another easily available target.
A question I hear a lot is "this all seems very difficult, would I be better off buying a list?".
In most cases, my answer is no. Most email lists are low quality, and scraped directly from the Internet. hunter.io does this same thing, but verifies it, and offers you the emails for free.
High-quality email lists do exist, but they are quite expensive, and you would be better off spending your money on something like RocketReach or Hunter. Assume that if you are buying this list of email addresses, 100 other companies are as well, and that prospect is being blasted with all types of called emails. That’s an instant turn off, and destroys your conversion and open rate.
I am experimenting with automated email finding platforms, and then combining that with the methods and techniques mentioned above to verify that this email actually belongs to the person that I need to get in touch with. I’ve just begun doing this, so I’m not sure if it will save any time or money, but will report back my future post.
Finally... With great power comes great responsibility. This article was not created to teach you how to gather hundreds of thousands of emails, and then blast them with spam. Instead, this article shows you how to find hyper targeted emails, which you can then cold email with a completely personalized message that offers value (something we discussed in a previous post).
This method of email finding takes time and patience, but pays off in the end, as you typically able to get to people that most other prospectors cannot reach. Again, don’t invest all this effort in finding the address, and then ruin your chances by sending a generic email. Offer value, personalize the message to match the person and the company that you were prospecting to, and follow up consistently but don’t be a pest.
Don’t invest all this effort in finding the address, and then ruin your chances by sending a generic email. Offer value, personalize the message to match the person and the company that you are prospecting to, and follow up consistently but don’t be a pest.
Best of luck on your journey.