Want to find anyone’s email address for free by name alone?
I’ve been harping on and on about the importance of email in growing your business and your network.
But you might be wondering: How do you actually find someone’s email address?
And how hard is it to find those email addresses?
Search Twitter for “can’t find email” and you’ll get the idea. There are countless people every second failing to find email addresses:
Truth is, the more important a person is, the harder it is to find their email address.
So, to help you employ the 26 cold email templates and resources I shared with you earlier, I’m going to give you my own foolproof methods to find obscure email addresses in minutes.
Follow these simple steps to get in touch with important people.
Ready? Lets roll!
This is the first thing you should try before attempting any of the fancier methods.
To Google for your target’s name, use queries like:
firstName lastName + email
firstName lastName + contact
(PersonalWebsiteURL) + email
site:(domain.com): “firstName lastName”
For important people, it likely won’t yield anything. But it doesn’t hurt to try. You never know. You might get lucky. Plus, it’s free and won’t cost you more than 5 minutes.
Guess, then confirm
This is one of the best methods to find anyone’s email address on any domain, especially for small to medium sized companies:
Step 1: Find out email pattern used on a domain
I like to use a tool called AnyMailFinder.com as well as Hunter.io to look up all emails associated with a domain. My startup JustReachOut which helps startups find journalists and pitch them daily uses Hunter API to find email addresses for journalists.
Both AnyMailFinder and Hunter help you figure out the most commonly used email pattern on the domain. For example, plugging in HubSpot.com shows that most emails on HubSpot follow this pattern:
To confirm whether you’ve got the right pattern, use LeadIQ. LeadIQ uses many more sources to verify the email address vs. EmailHunter. You type in the person’s name and company into LeadIQ and it shows that EmailHunter was right on the money.
Thus, if you wanted to get in touch with Dharmesh Shah at HubSpot, you’d have a good shot by using an email like [email protected].
However, this isn’t always foolproof.
Large companies might have different formats across departments. Early founders and employees at a mid-sized company might also have different patterns than later employees.
To confirm whether you’ve guessed the right address, move on to step #2 below.
Step 2: Check whether guessed email exists
For this, we’ll use a simple tool called MailTester which pings an email address and confirms whether it exists or not.
To use it, plug in the email you guessed in step #1 and click Check Address.
If the email exists, you’ll see something like this:
MailTester clearly states that the email address is valid, which probably means that you can hit ‘send’ on that cold pitch.
Warning: Don’t see this as a license to spam Dharmesh!
Use a lookup tool
Email lookup tools ask you for a name and a domain and scan the mail server for a matching email address. That is, instead of checking whether an email exists on a server, you check whether a name matches an existing email on the server.
NinjaOutreach folks compiled a very comprehensive list of tools for finding anyone’s email.
Probably the best tool to lookup an email right now is SellHack. It’s delightfully easy to use:
Plug in the first and last name of your target, their business, their mail domain, and hit Search.
Here’s what SellHack thinks is Dharmesh Shah’s email address on his personal blog:
An alternative to SellHack is VoilaNorbert. It’s far better designed, but it isn’t quite as reliable for all domains. But it’s still something you should have in your toolkit in case SellHack doesn’t work.
Here’s what VoilaNorbert thinks is Rand Fishkin’s email address:
Just to double check, you can plug this email into MailTester to see whether it exists:
It’s not foolproof. Rand may or may not check this email. But, since the email exists, there is a good chance you’ll find someone at it.
Both SellHack and VoilaNorbert are free to use. But if you want to make a lot of searches, you’ll have to upgrade to a paid plan.
If neither SellHack nor VoilaNorbert get you results, give Datanyze Insider a whirl.
This Chrome extension kicks ass.
Once installed, simply highlight any name on any webpage and right click:
Make sure to add any info it asks you for:
And you’re done! It finds the email right then and there.
The latter is extremely powerful and is pretty much the single tool you’ll need for finding emails, but it’s also a bit too much for a rookie. FindThatLead, on the other hand, works similarly to Datanyze Insider – it searches social media profiles for the right contact info.
In my experience, email lookup tools work best for small companies and startups where employee headcount is low, and there aren’t a lot of people with similar names.
As businesses grow larger in size, it becomes harder and harder to find emails of specific employees.
Keep this in mind when you’re figuring out how to find anyone’s email.
Guess, then verify
This method works only if your target already has a Google+ account.
Since pretty much everyone in startups or marketing is already on Google+, you’ll have a good chance of finding people with this tactic.
Here’s how it works:
Step 1: Guess your target’s email address
There are two ways to do this – create a list of possible email addresses based on the email pattern you discovered in EmailHunter (see method #2 above).
Alternatively, fill in your target’s name and website domain into this spreadsheet to automatically create a list of email addresses.
Once you’ve guessed a bunch of emails, move on to step #2.
Step #2: Check email address through Gmail
If your target is on Google+, typing in his email will show you the Google+ account associated with that email.
Here’s how you can use this to find anyone’s email:
1. Open Gmail
2. Hit ‘Compose.’ Type the emails you guessed in step #1 into the ‘To’ field, one by one.
3. Click the email address, then hover your mouse over it. If the email is connected to a Google+ account, you’ll see your target’s profile.
This confirms that this is a valid email address, so you can go ahead and hit ‘send.’
But this is still a lot of work. And I’m all about maximizing productivity, so I’m going to share with you a tool that automates step #1 and #2 within seconds.
Here it is: Name2Email.
Name2Email does both the above steps right inside the Gmail compose window. No more copy-pasting email addresses and checking them one-by-one.
Name2Email will populate the ‘To’ field with a bunch of emails, and you can immediately check whether they are active or not.
Here’s a quick GIF straight from their homepage showing how it works:
Yet another alternative to doing this through Gmail/Google+ is to use Rapportive. It works in the same way:
Type in a guessed email, and Rapportive will show the associated social media profiles in the sidebar.
The only reason I didn’t include it here is because Rapportive hasn’t been supported extensively after LinkedIn acquired it.
Does your target have an email newsletter? If so, finding their email address is just about the easiest thing in the world.
Here’s how you can do it:
1. Subscribe to their newsletter or email list.
For example, here I’m subscribing to Ramit’s email list at IWillTeachYouToBeRich.com:
2. Hit ‘Reply’ to the first email they send to you
Most email opt-ins will require you to confirm subscription. When you get this email, just hit ‘Reply.’ You’ll find your target’s actual email address.
Here’s what I got after hitting ‘reply’ to Ramit’s email:
You can do this for pretty much anyone with a newsletter or email list.
Go ahead, try it for this blog as well! 🙂
This is the last method on this list, but perhaps also the most effective:
If you really, really want to get in touch with someone, it doesn’t hurt to ask.
Want to get a blog post in, but don’t know who to contact?
Tweet the publication, and ask them.
Want to figure out the right guy to contact for a product pitch?
Message someone from the department on LinkedIn, and ask that person who to contact.
If your target is at a large company, you might even have to use the phone. But leave that as a last measure.
Methods I do NOT recommend
The 6 methods above should help you find pretty much anyone’s address.
However, there are a couple of methods I wouldn’t use. They’re a waste of time (or plain annoying).
1. Website contact forms
Contact forms might sound like the best place to get in touch with someone, but unless you’re dealing with individual bloggers, or really tiny companies, you won’t have much luck finding your target.
You can, however, use the contact form to send a query about the best person to contact in the organization (use the cold email templates from my last post). But don’t expect 100% results from it.
2. WHOIS emails
ICANN (the governing body for domain registrations) requires that all domain registrars maintain a public record of all registered domains and their owners. These are called ‘WHOIS’ records.
Some blogs recommend searching WHOIS records of a target’s website to find their email address. For example, typing in IWillTeachYouToBeRich.com into a WHOIS service such as Who.is shows this:
We did find an email, but there’s a good chance it isn’t active. If you wanted to get in touch with Ramit, this shouldn’t be the first email you’d want to use.
There are two things wrong with the WHOIS approach:
- The email might belong to the domain’s administrator/technical lead, not your target.
- Your target might perceive the WHOIS email as ‘private’ and won’t be too happy about you contacting him on it.
If you absolutely must use this method, use it only for individual bloggers/marketers. You won’t see good results using it with larger organizations.
You’re going to have to master finding email addresses before you master cold emailing. Sure, the difficulty tends to increase the higher you go up the corporate ladder. But with all the methods I gave you above, you shouldn’t have a hard time finding anyone’s email address, regardless of their position.