Email is perhaps the most personal and professional way to reach out to leads, prospects, or customers, and is a crucial step in any successful sales outreach strategy. Afterall, there must be a reason that 86 percent of B2B professionals prefer to use email when communicating for business purposes, and 59 percent of B2B marketers claim email to be their most effective channel in terms of revenue generation (source).
Yet what happens when you have the name and company of a prospect, but can’t seem to find their email address in even the smallest crannies of the internet? A lot of people are protective of their email address, and for good reason - it’s the best way to prevent spam.
You could simply guess, trying various first and last name combinations, and hope for the best. Or, you could reference some of these tried and true email format finder practices. Below are some tips for finding that elusive prospect’s email.
How to find someone’s company email address
1. Check their company “Contact Us” page
One of the first things you should do if you don’t know a prospect’s business email is to visit their company website. Nearly every company has a “Contact Us” tab that conveniently provides a phone number or a link to their main email.
You can call them up directly or send an inquiring email. Chances are the person in charge of monitoring that page will put you in contact with the person you’re trying to get a hold of.
2. Use social media to connect
Social media is supposed to be just that - social! If you don’t have a prospect’s email, but are connected on sites like LinkedIn, don’t be afraid to send them a direct message. Yet beware of your LinkedIn message becoming the sales pitch. Include something you appreciate about their company or the industry they’re in. Establishing rapport will give you more than just their email address - it will allow you to nurture the relationship as well.
Twitter is another form of social media that is great for finding emails. If you search for their Twitter handle you may be able to find their email or links to the websites they are associated with. If not, you can send them a quick message inquiring about their work, and eventually ask to continue the conversation via email.
3. Subscribe to their email list
A lot of companies today send out newsletters. When you subscribe to them, you can often reply to whoever sent it. Though it may not be the exact person you’re looking for at the company, it is an opportunity for you to get a foot in the door and to connect with someone who could introduce you to the prospect you’re actually seeking out.
4. Search for their personal website or blog posts
If you can find a personal blog or website for a contact, you might be able to find their email on the “contact” page. If not, they might still have a contact form that gets sent to their email without them having to publish their address for the world to see.
5. Call them up
As another somewhat last resort, you can try to call them. This step is only recommended if you have reason to believe that they have not received any of your other messages. You can contact the main company line and either ask to be connected with your prospect or leave your email address for them to reach out to.
Tread carefully when contacting someone by phone. If the prospect has made it very clear that they are not interested in connecting with you, then you should think about finding new prospects.
6. Use email look-up online services
There are a host of email discovery tools out there, and they are probably the easiest way to find an email address without having to do all the guess-work yourself. Below are some of the most popular email discovery tools:
- Vocus.io: a chrome extension that guesses and validates emails, particularly good for targeted searches.
- Find That Email: offers bulk email searches, and what’s more - you get 50 free searches a month.
- Clearbit Connect: a chrome extension that offers 100 free searches a month.
- Toofr: a great discovery tool that ranks its search results by confidence.
While these tools are helpful, they aren’t perfect. Sometimes they aren’t able to find an email address, or provide you with a nonexistent address. They also only allow a limited number of searches, and their subscriptions are often pricey.
Additionally, you should be wary of this kind of cold email outreach. While it may result in higher open rates, the reply rates are less than 2% (source).
7. Trial and error
Most companies use some sort of naming convention for the format of their email addresses. This is typically some combination of individuals’ first and last names, and the domain name for the company’s website.
I.e first name_last [email protected] name.com
First name.last [email protected] name.com
While trial and error is time consuming, it can be fairly effective. This is a good process to use once you’ve exhausted all other options.
Before you go digging for a prospect’s business email, remember that they are a real person, and that the relationship with that potential customer is more important than obtaining their email. If you can establish some kind of rapport with a prospect before immediately asking for their contact information, you can kill two birds with one stone: building customer trust as well as attaining a new contact.