Read our article to learn how to write a sales email from start to finish that gets opens, reads, and positive replies from your potential buyers.
As you cold email new leads, finding their email addresses in the right way is vital to your sales prospecting efforts. Emailing too many incorrect addresses can get you marked as spam, jeopardizing your business’s integrity and blocking you from sending emails. Locating valid email addresses for your target audience can be challenging, but there are several tried-and-true ways to find them so you can successfully connect with your leads and begin qualifying them for fit.
Check out the 11 verified ways to find prospect email addresses:
Because social media has taken a massive foothold in business communication, Twitter has become a good place to find a person's contact information. Once you navigate to their profile, check their bio. If it doesn't list their email address, use Twitter's Advanced Search tool, or simply ask the lead directly. Depending on who the lead is, these strategies will have varying levels of success. Let's look at each one more closely.
For those who run their own business, handle their own brand, or even are their own brand, check their bio for a business email. Professionals such as photographers, artists, and sales agents will often list their email at the top to make it easy for clients to get in touch with them so they can grow their own business pipeline. So, for your high-profile leads, the bio is a great first place to check.
Some business professionals have portfolios and/or other social media profiles or websites they want to promote alongside their contact info. To do so, some include a Linktree link in their bio, which allows users to provide more links than Twitter's standard number. This will usually be next to the chain link symbol, and clicking it will reveal web destinations that may have their email address.
If you can’t find the email in their bio, they may have shared it with somebody on Twitter in the past. You can use the Twitter Advanced Search tool to do a keyword search on their account for tweets containing “@,” “email,” or the names of email domains. This is a crafty way to find their email address on Twitter, even if it's not displayed on their profile.
Sometimes the easy ways don’t work, and you have to reach out to a lead to request their email address. In this case, consider including a soft pitch in a direct message, such as “Hey, I’ve got something I think might help you [perform business function]. Could I get your email and I'll send you a note?” Even if they don't provide their email, they may invite you to continue messaging them on Twitter, in which case you'll still have earned a high-quality point of contact.
Some of your leads will have a business page on Facebook, which may list their email at the top or in another area of the page. Facebook offers multiple options for displaying contact info on a business profile, which can make it even easier than Twitter to find the email addresses you need. While Twitter forces users to be selective with the information they list, Facebook gives them the ability to add more details — with fewer constraints, users are more likely to list their email address.
Just like Twitter, Facebook has plenty of options for displaying contact info on a business profile. The difference, though, is that Facebook allows a lot more depth. Facebook is longer form than Twitter in almost every way, and the About box on a Facebook page will make that clear. This means that you are far more likely to find their email here, and less likely to be dragged into a rabbit hole in search of it.
With Facebook Messenger, you can direct message your lead and ask them to send along their email address so you can talk off the platform. If they're unwilling to provide their email address until they know you and your business better, you can nurture them in the same message thread before asking them again to allow you to send them an email. Even if they don't end up providing their email address, you've still accomplished the ultimate goal of making solid contact.
For those in the B2B space, LinkedIn is a great way to find leads and create business relationships in your industry. The amount of quality market info you can get on a person’s LinkedIn profile is often unrivaled, and you can almost always find an email address. Since it is a business-focused social media outlet, LinkedIn users tend to be more willing to provide their contact information to those who ask and briefly explain why.
There is a free, reliable app for Chrome called ContactOut that allows you to find emails on LinkedIn. Download ContactOut to your browser and navigate to the person’s LinkedIn page, then you can click the icon next to your address bar to find their email. The program won't always show the information you need, in which case you can check the Websites list as a backup to see if you can find their contact information there.
LinkedIn offers a tool called Sales Navigator that gives you advanced LinkedIn functionality for identifying and contacting leads. With Sales Navigator, you can search without restriction and message prospects via InMail without needing to be their connection. If they don’t respond, you can use this tool to pull names and company names from their profile to type into email lookup services, which we'll discuss next.
To source more potential leads, check out your competitors' social media business pages and hunt through those who “like” their pages. This will give you a list of people who already have interest in a product or service like yours, and the ability to make contact within one or two clicks.
An email lookup service is free or paid software that allows you to input the name of the person you’re trying to contact and their company URL, and the tool will search the databases it has access to in order to find a relevant email. Some also work as a Chrome extension and even help source emails from social media sites. These services essentially do much of the legwork work for you and are simple to use, but they also come with drawbacks. We'll look at the pros and cons below.
There is some serious value in quality email lookup web tools, and they can even be the best way to find email addresses for cold emailing. While you shouldn't rely on them alone to find email addresses, they do come with the benefits such as time savings. However, they are sometimes inaccurate and can be potentially costly.
Still, they're worth exploring and a good option if you rely on cold emailing for sales or marketing:
Subscribing to a mailing list is a quick, easy way to get email addresses, but will only get you the right one in certain cases. Typically, smaller firms will have a mailing list sent by a person who makes decisions behind the scenes. Larger firms tend to dedicate a generic or otherwise unused email address to send out their newsletter. Regardless, this is a low-risk, quick way to get something to work with.
Depending on the size of the business or person you’re going after, you may find luck checking their website's About or Contact Us pages. For smaller companies or individual people, they might list their contact details directly on the site. For larger businesses or people with high-value personal brands, it may just be a contact form or the customer service department. Let's discuss these options more in depth, plus what to do in each case.
If you’re trying to contact a small business or individual, first check to see if their direct email address is displayed on their site. If not, see if there's an email listed that gets you close to your desired contact.
If they only have a contact form, submitting the form isn't a bad option, since it may get sent directly to your desired contact. However, we don’t recommend sending your pitch through this page, but rather a question asking who makes the decisions that involve your company’s product — for example, “Hi, I was wondering if I could get in touch with whoever handles your ____?”
With bigger companies, it’s going to be harder for this strategy to work. Most likely, they’ll only have a contact form or some way to contact customer service support. If it really is your only option, try using the contact form and asking for the department email that would handle processes involving your product or service. Then, once you have that email, you can work your way closer. This will take a while, and several tries, but it just might work.
"Just google it” is a common phrase, and it's actually a solid piece of advice for lead generation. If you don’t have a lookup tool that you use, a quick search on Google (or your preferred search engine) should be one of your first steps to finding an individual lead's email address.
To conduct the search, you can simply type in the name and company name of the person you’re looking for. At minimum, Google will provide links to their social media profiles, which might list their email address. Best case, you’ll see an email in the mix that may work.
If this doesn't work, you can try to search using Google search operators, which help you refine your searches. For example, you can Google "[name] + email" or "site:companywebsite.com + [name] + email" to try and search specifically for the lead's email address.
If you want to save some time and make sure you don’t miss an email, conduct your Google search, hit Ctrl + F, then type the @ symbol. This way, you’ll be able to click through every email displayed on the search results page.
Because Google uses the "@" symbol to denote social media tags, you can't do an exact search for email addresses. However, you can run an exact match search for email addresses on alternative search engines like DuckDuckGo. For example, you can search for "@domain-name.com" to see all the publically available emails for that domain.
If you’re struggling to find an email address, there are strategies for guessing that can work well. For example, you can guess a person's email address and then use an email verification tool to validate that it's an active email address before you send anything. This way, you can avoid sending emails that bounce back and potentially being marked as SPAM. Best yet, you can guess and check all potential email variations at once to save time.
Here are the steps to guess and verify email addresses:
Figuring out email addresses by assuming patterns or using popular formats isn’t necessarily a productive way to gather many addresses. However, it can work well for individual email addresses that you’ve been unable to find using the other methods in this article. Just be sure to verify each address before sending an email so you don’t jeopardize the integrity of your email domain.
WHOIS is a domain name tool that lets you search any domain and get information on the domain owner. If the contact information is publicly available, you'll be able to find it here. Simply search the domain in the search bar for registrar information, which includes the registrar's email. However, websites often use domain privacy to make the contact information private.
It is sometimes possible to purchase lists of qualified emails from companies specializing in this practice. This can either come in the form of a subscription service like ZoomInfo offering access to a searchable database, or as a list you directly purchase. While sales prospecting tools like ZoomInfo can be a good choice, we don’t recommend purchasing direct email lists.
There are a few free email lookup services that are reliable. Snov.io, VoilaNorbert, and Hunter offer limited free searches, and Name2Email is an additional tool that's a good option for those wanting a completely free tool. Name2Email offers unlimited free searches every month, and as a Google Chrome extension, it makes for a seamless and integrated experience.
You can search Whitepages or another website to try to obtain an email address from the phone number you have. However, this method usually takes more time and effort than it's worth, and doesn't always work. If you have a phone number for a lead, it's typically more productive to call or text them to request their email address.
With so many available options to find your leads' email addresses, your decision should come down to the time, money, and effort you’re willing to spend on this method of lead generation. Every one of these options takes a different level of each, so finding the balance that works for you and your company is the key to getting it right. Try out some or all of these methods, and take note of the ones that you find most successful.