Imagine you went to a networking event last night and met a potential business partner. You’re all set to send a pleasant follow-up note but realize you’ve forgotten the one thing you need–their email address.
While you can find most people on various social networks–from professional ones like LinkedIn to personal ones like Facebook–email still reigns supreme as the preferred method of getting in touch. Email’s more personal and professional at the same time, and your contact is all-but guaranteed to have an email address, as there are 2.9 billion email addresses in the world.
Contacting people over social media has more hurdles than sending a simple email. You might have to pay to send a LinkedIn message, or the person might not accept Direct Messages on Twitter from strangers. It’s worth the trouble to just email instead.
Finding email addresses isn’t always easy, though. Most people are protective of their email address, for good reason: We all hate spam. With a little investigative work, though, you can find almost anyone’s email address. Here’s how.
Start with Quick Email Searches
The first place you should look for email addresses is the “About” page of their company’s website. You might find anything from a brief bio to detailed contact info for every team member. Dig around a bit, and you might find email addresses in unexpected places. For instance, on Zapier’s About page, you’ll find team members’ contact information by hovering over their photos.
Personal websites are another great place to check. If you can find a personal blog or landing page for that contact, you’ll likely find an email address on their Contact page. At least, it’s worth checking.
Google can help out, by finding other personal sites or the email address itself. There’s a chance your prospect’s email address is listed somewhere online, so just search for their first and last name along with the word and
If you can find your prospect’s social media account, check their profile for contact information. Users sometimes list this information on LinkedIn or Twitter, often with a space between their email address and the domain. On Twitter, for example, use the search
from operator to find an email address (e.g.,
Alternately, use 3rd party Twitter search app SnapBird. It can search through all of the Tweets from your feed or followers; just enter a keyword such as “email” and the user’s name, and it’ll do the rest.
LinkedIn is also worth exploring for email addresses. It lets you export contacts and their email addresses if they’re available on their profiles, for an easy way to find addresses of anyone you’re already connected with. You can also use a tool such as Lusha to find contact information for people on LinkedIn, including their corporate email address, personal email address, and phone number.
Then, there are also several “people search” websites that can be helpful, including Spokeo, PeopleSmart, and Pipl. Some sites are free to use (including Pipl), while you’ll need a paid subscription to unlock most people search sites’ full features.
When all else fails, you can try guessing. Seriously. If you can find the naming convention the company uses perhaps from another employee at that firm (in some cases,
email@example.com), you can try that format with your prospect’s name and wait to see if the email bounces back. Guessing might not be efficient, but it could work.
Try an Email-Finding App
If you’ve completed your web and social media search and still can’t find a trusted email address, it’s time to use a tool designed for this email search. Fortunately, there are lots of apps just for this.
Just enter your prospect’s name along with their company name, and you’ll receive either the app’s best guess or a list of viable options. Here are the best options:
Part of your initial email search may involve entering various name and company domain combinations into Google. This is not only time consuming, but it can be frustrating considering the various combinations that can exist. That’s where Email Generator comes in. It generates over 50 popular email combinations for that name for you in seconds just from their name and company domain.
As an added bonus, Email Generator will also give you potential email variations for popular email services like Gmail and Outlook. If you’re confident that you’ve found the correct email address, consider installing Email Generator’s email tracking software, MailTrack.io, which will let you know when your email recipient opens it.
Once you’ve found a potential email address, use Mail Tester to see if the email address is valid. It can’t tell you if that’s the real email for the person you want, but it can confirm whether or not that email address exists on that domain name.
If the email address is valid, Mail Tester shows the server info it found. If it’s unable to confirm the accuracy of an email address, it will display a message stating that the company’s server doesn’t allow email verification.
Keep in mind, even if the app can’t confirm whether an email address is accurate, that doesn’t mean that there’s anything wrong with the email address. Sometimes it comes down to whether or not a company’s server will allow Mail Tester to connect to it and provide users with valid information. The only way to be 100% certain is to send an email to the address and see if you receive a bounce-backnotification stating that the email address doesn’t exist.
BuzzStream is another fantastic app to use to boost your email search. It can find contact information (including social network profiles) for “influencers”, people who are active on social media and blogs. Once you’ve gotten in touch with an influencer, it will save those messages, and let you share them with your team to easily follow up.
When you need to find email addresses, simply add in the company URL and the app will display both employee email addresses and the company’s Twitter handle. If the app can’t find the email address of a specific person, it will provide you with the about and contact pages of the company as a starting point. Or, use its free email research tool to get auto-generated Google Search links that’ll help you find their email address.
Price: Free 14-day trial; from $24/month for one user
Voila, Norbert is one of the simplest ways to find an email address. Just enter the first and last name of anyone you’re trying to find, along with the company’s domain name. It’ll then ping the domain to show any addresses it finds that might match the name, along with reviews from users to show if the address is actually valid or not.
It works surprisingly well for finding company addresses. Keep in mind that some companies strive to keep the email addresses of their employees private, though, so if Voila Norbert isn’t given access it lets you know.
Price: Free for searching up to 50 email addresses; plans from $49/month
Voila, Norbert Zapier integrations coming soon!
Email Hunter lets you find email addresses right from its homepage. Just enter the company domain name into the search field, click search, and the app will find all of the publicly available email addresses for that company domain.
It also shows the number of sources found online for each email address, to add to the verification and validity of each one. That makes it an even better bet for finding email addresses that actually work.
Price: Free for searching up to 150 email addresses per month; plans from $49/month
Conspire is a little different from the other apps on this list. Rather than solely providing emails, it operates on the “six degrees of separation” theory. Like the game “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon,” where you try to figure out how a person would be connected to Kevin Bacon or some other celebrity, Conspire assumes you might know someone who knows someone who knows your prospective contact.
If you’d like to meet a new potential client through the people you already know, the app will show you the best possible path—based on people in your network—to reach out through. You can then connect with folks just outside of your network even if you haven’t met them by mentioning your mutual contacts.
Conspire uses data from your linked Gmail account to get a sense of your current network. It then scores each relationship to give an idea of how “strong” the connection is, using the To, From, CC, Subject and Date fields of your emails—along with your frequency of communication—to determine connection strength. This data determines how you and your contacts communicate.
Find an Email with a Browser Extension
Another handy way to find email addresses is with a browser extension—many of which work right inside your Gmail inbox. With just a couple of clicks, you can quickly look up an email address without opening a new app or webpage.
Rapportive (Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer)
Rapportive puts contact info discovery right inside Gmail. It can be used in conjunction with an app such as Email Generator. Simply enter a few email variations into the “Send To” field when composing an email in Gmail. Hover over each email address and Rapportive will show as much profile information as possible.
For example, with a real email, Rapportive can show you the contact’s full name, profile pic, company name and location, and links to websites (both personal and professional) and social networks. That’s enough to be confident that you’ve found the right email address. Or, if it doesn’t find any info, you’ll see a grey block which means you’ll need to keep searching for the right address.
And, when you’re reading emails, Rapportive will show that same contact info in the right sidebar for a simple way to learn more about your contacts.
Similar to Rapportive, this Chrome extension integrates with Gmail. However, instead of checking variations of an email address, Clearbit quickly finds email addresses from its database, along with other company and personal data. Just enter a company’s name, select the correct one, then filter through the contacts it finds there.
Then, when you receive an email, Clearbit can also give you extra info about each email—something extra helpful when trying to remember how you met a contact.
Price: Free for up to 50 searches per month
Datanyze Insider (Chrome and Firefox)
Datanyze Insider can find any email address with just the first and last name of the contact—no need to enter a company domain name.
To use the extension, highlight the contact’s name as it appears online (for example, in LinkedIn or the company’s about page), right click, choose “Datanyze Insider” and click “Find email”. Datanyze Insider will then ping email addresses that are most likely to be valid (based on name and company domain variations) and display the ones that appear to be valid. It also provides a percentage for how confident it is that it found the correct email address.