There are numerous reasons hunting down email addresses may be part of your SEO strategy. Maybe you want to reach out to a publisher to ask if they accept guest submissions. Submitting guest posts to popular online publications can help you generate more backlinks and cast a wider net in general when implementing marketing and SEO campaigns.
That’s just one example. However, you may already know that finding an email address isn’t always as easy as you’d like it to be. Some email addresses seem harder to track down than a lost matching sock.
This doesn’t have to be the case. There are actually many ways to find emails that aren’t clearly listed anywhere. Most don’t cost anything but your time. They include the following:
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DuckDuckGo is an alternative web browser and search engine that can be particularly useful if you wish to track down an email address that’s been eluding you.
With DuckDuckGo, you can search “@[domainname.com]” to bring up a list of email addresses associated with that domain name. Because many people to whom you may want to reach out could have email addresses featuring the domain names of their companies, organizations, or publications, this could be a useful trick.
Why do you have to use an alternative search engine instead of Google or Bing? Social media. Google and Bing associate the “@” symbol with social media posts, so this method won’t work with those search engines.
Many Twitter users include their email addresses in their bios and Tweets. Check to see if someone whose address has done so.
That said, it’s important to understand that some who wish to share their email addresses with Twitter followers also want to hide their email addresses from bots. To do so, they sometimes use “at” instead of the “@” symbol and “dot” instead of “.”
If a prospect hasn’t included their email in their bio, they may still have included it in a Tweet using these substitutes. Luckily, you can use Twitter Advanced Search to search their Tweets for the use of “at” and “dot.” This is a quick method that can potentially reveal an email address you’ve been hunting down. Again, if you know the domain name their email is likely to be associated with, you can include that in your search as well.
It’s also worth noting that simply asking for someone’s email via Twitter is always an option to consider. Not everyone will be willing to share their address with a random Twitter user, but this is certainly worth a try.
Check Facebook and Other Social Media Platforms
Facebook is another social platform that can potentially help you find someone’s email address. Sometimes, when a person is setting up their Facebook page, they enter as much information as they can in the various forms and fields, then never think to go back and remove any information. As such, it’s not uncommon for the Facebook pages of individuals and organizations to provide their email addresses.
Depending on the industry of the prospect you’re trying to contact, they might also be active on other social media platforms, such as LinkedIn and Instagram. Check all their social media pages to see if any of them provide contact information.
If you’re already connected with your prospect on LinkedIn, you can also export your data to potentially find their email address.
To do so, follow these steps:
- Head to your LinkedIn homepage and click Me at the top
- Select Settings & Privacy from the dropdown menu
- Choose the Privacy tab
- Scroll down and find Getting a Copy of Your Data
- Check the Selections box
- Click Request Archive
After a few minutes, LinkedIn will send you an email providing the contact information of all your LinkedIn connections on a spreadsheet. Just make sure you’re not spamming or abusing your contacts via this method. If you’re discovered to be doing so, you could run the risk of having your LinkedIn account deactivated.
Ask via a Contact Form
Although the website of the person whose email address you’re looking for may not list their address in any easy-to-find location, there’s a good chance their website will nevertheless at least have a generic contact form.
Don’t assume no one will give you their email address if you reach out to them via the contact form on their website. Smart people know that checking and responding to messages sent via contact forms is a basic element of quality customer service. If you clearly explain why someone should provide their email address, they could be perfectly happy to give it if you first contact them through a form.
That said, those who check emails received via contact forms are typically admin staff members. You may want to phrase your message in a way that acknowledges they might not be the person you’re directly trying to contact, but they might be able to put you in touch with them.
Use the ICANN Data Lookup Tool
When anyone registers a domain name for a website, they are legally required to provide their contact details. This information is publicly available. You can potentially find it by searching for the relevant domain via the ICANN data lookup tool.
Try Some Obvious Tricks
Don’t make the mistake of overlooking the obvious when searching for someone’s email. There are some basic “tricks” that can often be more effective than you might assume.
For example, simply Googling the name of the person whose address you’re searching for along with words like “email address” or “contact” can yield results. You might also find contact information on the, well, Contact page of their website. Their About Me page or author bio might also provide contact info. Try these basic methods first before trying anything more complex.
Subscribe to Their Email List
Check to see if the person whose address you’re seeking has an email list. If so, subscribe to it. Although this isn’t always the case, sometimes, people send emails to their followers via their own addresses. This is another simple method that’s certainly worth attempting.
Additionally, if you have an email list and are fairly well-known in your industry or niche, it’s possible someone you’re trying to contact already subscribes to your email list. Check it to find out. Usually, email marketing software will provide you with the option to search for specific names or addresses.
Many professional email addresses follow predictable formulas, such as “[name]@[domainname.com]” or “[name].[surname]@[domainname.com].” Making an educated guess is yet another way you might uncover an email address you’ve been struggling to track down.
This tip can be very effective if you already have the email addresses of other members of the business or organization to which a prospect belongs. Typically, a company will not allow employees to choose their own email addresses. All employees will be provided with company email addresses that follow the same format. If you know how another employee’s email address is formatted, you can probably easily guess how your prospect’s address will be formatted as well.
Use an Email Lookup Tool
There’s no shortage of email lookup tools available online that may help you find the address of someone you’re trying to reach out to. Give a few a try to see if they’re helpful.
That said, some of these tools are free, while others require you to sign up for a plan or pay to search for someone’s address. If you’re on a tight budget, make sure you’ve thoroughly researched your options before paying to use a tool. While these tools can be helpful, they’re not always effective. You don’t want to waste your money using an email lookup service that won’t actually serve your needs.
Check Web Directories
Various web directories often provide email addresses of people you may be trying to get in touch with. Some are general web directories, such as Whitepages. If your prospect is associated with any organizations, universities, or similar institutions, they might also have their own online directories. Search to see if any exist.
Check a Business Card
Okay, this tip might only work if you live near the brick-and-mortar location of a potential contact’s business, or if you are attending the same industry or networking events as them. Still, it’s worth remembering that a business card will almost certainly feature the email address of the person associated with the card. If you have any way of obtaining someone’s business card, this is yet another simple means through which you can find their contact information.
Contact an Administrator or Supervisor
You may not have a prospect’s email address yet, but you might have the phone number of their company. Even better if you have the phone number of their department.
Call them up and ask to be connected with their admin or supervisor. Once you have them on the line, greet them warmly instead of demanding an email address.
In fact, you may want to be a little sly here. An admin or supervisor might not be inclined to provide someone’s email address simply because you asked for it.
Instead, consider pretending you think you already know their email address, and you’re merely calling to confirm it’s accurate. Then, provide a guess of what their email address might be (again, your best bet is to use standard email address formats here). If you’re very lucky, your guess will be correct, and the admin or supervisor will let you know. Even if your guess is incorrect, sometimes, when people hear someone make a “mistake,” they stop and correct them right away.
Check for Other Sites and Blogs
Professionals across a range of industries often own multiple websites and blogs for various purposes. For example, a prospect might have a website for their business, as well as a separate blog that’s more personal.
Search for other websites and blogs the person you want to contact may own. One or two of them may feature their contact information.
Search for Guest Submissions
A professional you’re trying to contact may also understand the value of submitting guest posts to publications. You can see if they’ve done so by searching for their name along with terms like “author” or “guest post,” or you can search for their name along with the names of any publications to which you think they may have contributed.
In some cases, when a professional submits guest posts, they also include their contact information in the bio section. They might also have included their contact information in the About the Author section of any books they may have written or contributed to.
Consider Your Own Network
If you’re searching for the email address of a professional in your industry, there’s a possibility you already know someone who would be likely to have their contact information. Consider asking them to connect you with your prospect.
They probably won’t be comfortable sharing it right away. However, they may feel comfortable asking the prospect if they would allow them to share it. Or they might share your email address with a prospect, who might then reach out to you directly first.
Why These Tips Are Worth Your Time
You may think that applying all these tips in an effort to track down a prospect’s email address could be a waste of time. That’s understandable.
However, you should know that getting the attention of a prospect is always fairly challenging. Although there’s no absolute consensus regarding the average outreach email response rate, most agree it tends to be somewhere between 8% and 10%.
Thus, when sending outreach emails, you need to optimize your chances of getting a response by sending emails to the right addresses. You’ll actually save time in the long run if you devote some time to looking up addresses because you at least will minimize the odds of wasting hours sending emails to addresses that aren’t actually associated with the people you’re attempting to contact.
On top of that, when you apply these tips consistently, you’ll start to feel more comfortable with the methods listed here. That means finding email addresses will become easier and easier the more you practice.