How to Find Email Addresses for Anyone

by Briana Morgaine 5 Minutes
find email address

Image via Unsplash.

Have you ever needed to find contact information for a lead?

It’s a common scenario: You come across someone online who would make a great contact, and you just have to get in touch with them.

They might be someone you’d like to network with, a new potential lead, or an experienced industry veteran whose brain you would love to pick. Whatever the situation, you need to find an email address by which to contact them.

The strategies below will help you do just that—find email addresses for just about anyone you’d like to contact.

1. Rule out the obvious: Check their social channels

Plenty of people have a professional email address listed in their Twitter bio, on LinkedIn, or similar. While it seems like an obvious strategy, make sure to check out all their social platforms first, before you worry about digging any deeper.

Another obvious starting point? A very thorough Google search—more often than not, a simple search of “Firstname Lastname email address” will give you results, and adding as many additional specifications as possible (like location, place of employment, industry, and so on) will increase your likelihood of success.

On a similar note, check out their workplace’s “About Us,” “Who We Are,” or similar introductory page, or see if you can find their own personal website or blog.

2. Leverage their network: Find their coworkers’ emails

If you can find, for example, the LinkedIn page for one of their coworkers, you may be able to deduce what your would-be contact’s email address is. For example, if you find out that their coworker has a listed email that is to the effect of “firstname@theircompany.com,” you can almost guarantee that all fellow employees will have an email address that follows this same structure.

3. Play the guessing game: Try variants of common email structures

Maybe you can’t find any of their coworkers’ email addresses listed, but you would still just like to try your luck. In this instance, try common email structures such as “firstnamelastname@theircompany.com,” “lastname@theircompany.com,” “firstinitiallastname@theircompany.com,” and so on.

find email address

Finding your would-be contact’s blog, or the “About Us” page of their employer’s website, can be a good way to find email addresses. Image via Unsplash.

4. Use their website: Check out WHOIS data

If your would-be contact has a website, you may be able to find an email address by looking it up via WHOIS. When you purchase a domain, your contact information is publicly available, unless you choose to pay to have it hidden.

However, this tactic will only work if your contact personally registered their domain, so you will have the most luck if you are looking up someone’s personal website, rather than the website of a larger company.

5. Leverage technology to your advantage: Use browser extensions to find email addresses

If you’d rather avoid playing the guessing game (I can’t blame you), there are plenty of tools at your disposal that will help you find an email address.

To start with, the Chrome extension Clearbit Connect promises to find any email address in under five seconds—a pretty bold claim, but with businesses like Uber, Slack, Zendesk, Asana, and many more using the service, it’s definitely one to try out.

In a similar vein, the extension SellHack was built specifically with sales lead prospecting in mind. The service is primarily paid, offering several pricing tiers, but they also allow you to search for 10 email addresses a month for free. Finally, LinkedIn Sales Navigator (as well as Rapportive) are extensions that allow you to see information about your LinkedIn connections.

find email addresses

Use the technology at your disposal to help you find email addresses. Image via Unsplash.

6. Pay to play: Subscribe to a SaaS solution

If you find yourself regularly needing to find email addresses for larger numbers of people (for example, in the instance of lead prospecting), you may want to look into a more sophisticated, long-term solution.

There are plenty of services designed specifically for this use case—however, most of them are paid. Headreach goes beyond just email addresses and can find the social profiles and employment positions of those you are interested in as well, something that can be extremely helpful when prospecting for sales leads (so that you know you are delivering your sales pitch to the correct decision maker at the organization in question). Another option is FindThat, which bills itself as the “yellow pages of email addresses.”

Both of these options come with a monthly price tag, however. Headreach starts at $49 a month, and FindThat’s most basic plan (which includes the ability to find, but not verify, email addresses) starts at $29 a month. Keep in mind too that there are plenty more SaaS products like these two, and do some research before committing to a monthly subscription.

7. Experiment: Try out free online software solutions

While the majority of software available that will help you find email addresses is paid, there are some free solutions as well—or at the very least, solutions that offer fairly robust free versions of their product. (It is worth noting that the solutions listed above also come with free or trial versions, so it’s a good idea to try those out—you might find that one is enough of an asset for you to subscribe, or that you actually only need it once in a while.)

For example, Hunter.io offers 100 free searches a month, so if you are only interested in a few specific contacts (or work with a smaller volume of leads), this could be perfect for you. While the software does have paid tiers as well, the free version is one of the more generous ones out there.

8. Just ask: Approach them on social media

While it makes sense that you’d often rather find an email address and formally reach out to someone, if you can find your would-be contact’s social profiles, it may save you time and effort (and perhaps money) to simply shoot them a message and ask for their email, to see if you can contact them further.

You can tweet at them, send them a DM on Instagram, or add them as a contact on LinkedIn and reach out to them there. The reality is that sometimes the obvious, direct solution is the best approach, especially if you are looking for someone to chat with, ask questions, and build a professional relationship with (read as: not someone you’re trying to woo as a prospective lead).

What method have you used to find email addresses? Which strategies worked, and which didn’t? Leave me a comment and let me know. Or, find my email address and send me an email with your response! (I’m kidding. Don’t do that.) 

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by Briana Morgaine
Briana is a copy writer, copy editor, and freelance writer, covering the various facets of the small business and entrepreneurship space. She can be found writing for Bplans, and also on Twitter.