I’ve sent thousands of emails and used dozens of email discovery tools over the years.
Now we want to show you what works based on our experience.
I won’t talk about obvious email finding methods here. I’m going to assume that you’ve already checked contact pages and “about” sections on social media without luck.
If that’s not the case, give those tactics a shot first.
Otherwise, try these methods:
- Use email lookup services
- Make your best guess (and test it)
- Use Twitter’s advanced search
- Subscribe to your target’s mailing list
- Reach out for an email address on Twitter
- Ask for a personal connection
- Find email addresses at scale
Email discovery tools provide perhaps the easiest way to find an email address.
Just feed them a person’s name and website, and they’ll work their magic to find their email.
There are hundreds of these tools on the market, and some are better than others.
To keep this post up to the date, each year, I take popular email lookup services and search for 100 email addresses that I already know.
Meet the contestants:
- Hunter: 50 free searches per month. Paid accounts start at $49/month for 1,000 searches ($0.049 per search).
- Find That Email: 50 free searches per month. Paid accounts start at $29/month for 500 searches ($0.058 per search).
- Voila Norbert: 50 free searches as a trial. Paid accounts start at: $49/month for 1,000 searches ($0.049 per search).
- Clearbit Connect: Chrome extension. 100 searches per month. Free access.
- FindThatLead: 50 free searches per month. Paid accounts start at $49/month for 5000 searches ($0.010 per search).
- Snov.io: 50 free searches per month. Paid accounts start at $29 for 1,000 single searches or 500 bulk searches ($0.029 per search).
- Skrapp: 150 free searches per month. Paid accounts start at $34/month for 1000 searches ($0.034 per search)
- Name2Email: Chrome extension. Unlimited searches per month. Free access.
The results are in!
Name2Email is the new champion with 91% success rate.
Their Chrome extension is free and does not limit the number of searches.
It has just one drawback: you can’t search email addresses in bulk.
Hunter, Find That Email, and Voila Norbert showed very similar results and share the second place with a success rate of ~80%.
FindThatLead also performed well with a success rate of 71%. Considering the price of $0.01 per search, it’s potentially an excellent solution for big outreach campaigns.
If you own or manage a similar tool and would like to see it included in this test next time, find my email address, drop me a line, and I will gladly add it. 🙂
While email discovery services offer a good solution for finding emails, they’re not perfect.
Even the winner suggested no results for every 10th search.
If you want to learn a few more effective ways to find an email address, keep reading.
Most email addresses follow one of several formulas.
If you know the first name, last name, and domain of your target, you can simply guess someone’s email address.
Around 70% of my contact list consists of email addresses that use the firstname.lastname@example.org format.
The most common formats for an email address are:
|First name + last email@example.com|
|First name + the 1st letter of their last firstname.lastname@example.org|
|The 1st letter of their first name + last email@example.com|
However, picking out all the possible variants manually is time-consuming.
So here’s a shortcut:
Email Permutator+ from Metric Sparrow automatically creates a list of possible email addresses. Just fill in the fields and let it work its magic.
These tools will get you a list of possible email addresses in seconds.
From there, you need to check the suggestions.
Head over to Gmail, click the “Compose” button and paste all the email permutations into the “To” field. Move the cursor over the email address one by one and observe.
A pop-up will show you if the email address is associated with a Google profile.
If this does not help, you can run another check by searching for the exact match of your best guess on Google or another search engine to see if it was mentioned anywhere on the Web.
People often share their email addresses in their tweets. But to hide them from bots, they replace “.” and “@” symbols with “dot” and “at” words.
Have you already guessed your next step?
Go to the Twitter Advanced Search and look for the words “at” and “dot” in tweets from your target person. You can also include words like “email,” “contact,” or “reach” in your search to narrow down the results.
Let’s see if this works for Sam Oh, our Grandmaster of video content here at Ahrefs.
Some people don’t even bother ciphering their email addresses in their tweets.
If a person you’re targeting has a newsletter on their blog, you can subscribe to their mailing list using an opt‐in form on their website.
Most newsletter emails will come from their personal email address.
Besides, this also provides an excellent opportunity to start building relationships.
Just reply to one of the newsletter emails with a quick question or ask for an opinion.
Here is one of the very first email outreach messages I ever sent:
I signed up for Brian Dean’s newsletter and replied to the first email I got.
Sometimes email addresses like firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com or similar are used for newsletters.
But if you reply to these, the person might reply from their personal email address.
I’ve seen plenty of contact pages where people say that the best way to reach them is to drop them a line on Twitter.
But generally, the message you want to send is more than 280 characters long.
So don’t hesitate to find that person on Twitter and ask for their email address.
Our Head of Marketing, Tim Soulo, does that quite often.
Trust me; most people will eagerly answer such a message.
Just make sure you have a real Twitter profile that clearly states who you are.
Most big companies have either a contact form on their website or list a generic email address for inquiries (e.g., firstname.lastname@example.org). Those inboxes are mostly handled by support teams or by VAs.
Just shoot a simple message and ask them to connect you with the person you want to reach.
This works best if your email signature clearly explains who you are.
If you’re using a VA to collect email addresses for you, make sure that their signature mentions you as their boss. 🙂
Reaching out to the authors of articles is a crucial part of any link-building or promotional campaign. Let me show you how you can find prospects AND their email addresses in bulk for your outreach.
Let’s say you’re promoting a mobile app for weight loss.
Head over to our Content Explorer and search for the topic you’re interested in.
If the article specifies the author, Content Explorer will show you their name.
You’ll also see the author’s name in the export file.
The only thing that’s missing is the domain. But you can pull that easily from the article’s URL with this formula in Google Sheets:
Now that you have the domains and the authors’ names, you can upload the list to your favorite email lookup tool, e.g., Hunter.
What did I miss?
That’s how we find email addresses here at Ahrefs.
I’m begging you once again! Use these methods responsibly. Don’t make people that you’re reaching out to hate me for writing this article. 🙂
And if you know any other good ways to find someone’s email address, ping me on Twitter or drop me an email. I’d love to learn them!