Understanding the Legal and Ethical Boundaries
Email addresses are valuable pieces of personal data. It's important to be aware of the legal and ethical considerations when obtaining someone's email address.
Depending on what state or country you live in, there may be established regulations governing how and when you may access someone's email address or other personally identifying information.
For example, your European customers fall under the purview of GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) which requires businesses to obtain explicit consent from people prior to contacting them via email. It also means you need to make it easy for people to request that their data be deleted from your servers.
While there is no such unifying law, in the United States, several states have enacted their own data privacy laws. The CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act) governs how you must handle email communications for your customers in California. It is similar to the GDPR.
Beyond the explicit legal considerations, you should also take into consideration your own ethical standards. Don't use email addresses obtained online to harass people or spam them with unwanted content. Don't share email addresses without the explicit consent of your customers and users. Make sure that the service you use to find someone's email address is legitimate and adheres to all regulations and legal standards.
Methods to Find Someone's Email Address
There are several ways to find someone's email address, whether that be a personal email address or a business address from a company website.
Using Professional Networking Sites
LinkedIn is the easiest and most secure way to find someone's email address. Simply go to your LinkedIn, search for the person whose email address you are looking for, and use the connections box to send them a connection request.
Most people on LinkedIn will accept a connection request even if they don't know you (the acceptance rate for new connects is around 78%), and once you are 1st degree LinkedIn connection, you can find their email address through their LinkedIn profile page.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator
To find the email addresses of people you aren't in your LinkedIn connections, you can use the LinkedIn Sales Navigator. This lead generation tool from Uplead allows you to view additional information about people you aren't connected with on LinkedIn. While it won't give you email addresses directly, you can use the information you gather from this tool to work out what the email addresses might be on your own.
Xing is a German career-oriented social network similar to LinkedIn. It is the number one career-oriented platform (ahead of LinkedIn) in German-speaking countries, however, it also has over 16.4 million users worldwide.
Finding email addresses using Xing is the same as finding them through LinkedIn. Send a connection request and once it is accepted, you can view their email address on their profile page.
Using Social Media
Many people have their email addresses listed on their social media profiles. As with LinkedIn, you will need to connect with the person before you can view personal email addresses. You can also send direct messages on Facebook that allow you to make an initial connection before seeking contact info.
Twitter and Instagram
Twitter and Instagram are great ways to connect with cold leads because you can connect over a shared interest, or position yourself as an industry expert that people in your niche will be naturally drawn to. Once you've established some brand recognition, it is much easier to make connections and gather contact details.
Use Twitter advanced search and social media tags to search Twitter and find past tweets by people in your industry and start a dialogue with them on the platform. Once you've established a rapport, you can utilize direct messages on Instagram and Twitter to reach out to people and deepen the connection or take it off-platform.
Using Alumni Networks
Alumni networks are often overlooked but powerful ways for finding email addresses for people in your industry. It's likely your alma mater maintains some kind of online database as part of the school help desk for students and alumni. Many of these people are likely to be in adjacent industries to yours, particularly if you went to a specialized school or technical institute, or through a competitive master's program.
Using WHOIS Search
A WHOIS lookup allows you to trace the ownership of a domain registration. When a person or company creates a website, they must register their email address as the owner of that website.
The downside to this method is that these days it is very easy to pay for WHOIS protection when you register a domain. This effectively anonymizes any identifying information for the owner of the website, rendering a WHOIS lookup useless.
Using Email Lookup Services
One of the most effective ways to gather email addresses for your leads database is to use an email lookup tool. Email lookup tools are third-party automated software solutions that allow individuals and businesses to find email addresses online - usually by providing a company website or company name.
We'll take an in-depth look at the 6 best email lookup tools available in a moment. Be aware when using an email lookup tool that the service is legitimate and adheres to all data privacy laws and regulations. If it turns out they do not, you and your company could face serious legal repercussions.
Guessing and Verifying
This is the slowest and most manual method for a target's email address. It simply involves making an educated guess about the address and sending an email to see if that email bounces or not. We don't recommend this method as it is time-consuming and incredibly painful.
Tools That Can Help Find Email Addresses
Now that we've discussed the best methods for how to find someone's email address, let's take a look at some of the previously mentioned free tools and paid services that can help you with your email outreach.
AbstractAPI - Best for Verifying Known Email Addresses
The AbstractAPI Free Email Verification API is not an email lookup tool, however it plays a critical role in the email hunting process by providing an important service: email verification.
Email verification is the process of determining whether the email address for a target person is valid and active. AbstractAPI allows you to find this out without having to send an actual email to the address in question.
AbstractAPI has a free REST API endpoint that accepts an email address for verification and runs a number of tests to determine whether the address is valid. The API looks for typos and misspellings, does a real-time MX and SMTP check, looks for disposable email addresses and compares the address against a list of known spam traps and blacklisted emails.
The API can be used to verify one email address at a time or can be used to verify addresses in bulk via a CSV file upload.
Price: free up to 100 requests per month. $9/month up to 5000 requests. $499/month up to 750,000 requests.
Hunter - Best Overall
Hunter is a lookup tool that allows you to look up potential email addresses by company domain name, or find personal information about an individual by providing an email address. It also does verification and has a bulk verification option.
Hunter's interface is simple to use and very clean. Tap the "Search" option and enter a domain name into the search bar to get a list of email addresses registered at that domain. Alternatively, tap the "Finder" option (or use the Finder Chrome extension) and enter a person's full name and the name of their company website to look up potential email addresses for that person.
Hunter can be integrated with apps like Hubspot, Pipedrive, Salesforce, and Zoho to synchronize the leads you find with Hunter to your database.
Price: free up to 25 searches per month or 50 verifications per month. $49/month for 500 searches or 1000 verifications. $499/month for 50,000 searches or 100,000 verifications.
Voila Norbert - Most Accurate
Voila Norbert is an email finder and verifier that has a 98% success rate. All email addresses returned by Norbert come with a certainty score that tells you how sure the system is that this is the correct email address.
According to research done by AHREFS, Norbert is 1.3 times more accurate than Hunter, and 3.3 times more accurate than Snovio. This is due to the rigorous verification process they do for every email address looked up via their system.
Norbert also maintains a database of known contact details, which is regularly updated with the freshest and most relevant data. This means that searches are lightning-fast for known contacts who have already been looked up on the site.
Price: free for up to 50 searches. $49/month for up to 1000 searches. $499/month for up to 50,000 searches.
Snov.io - A Comprehensive, Feature-Rich Solution
Snov.io is the third-leading email finder solution after Hunter and Voila Norbert. In addition to email finding and verification, they also provide solutions to help with drip campaigns, email warm up through an AI-assisted conversation generator, and a sales CRM including Google Calendar sync.
Snov.io is a complete solution for prospecting, cold outreach, and lead generation. It allows you to not only look up email addresses but also automate the process of reaching out to those leads, following up with them, and ultimately converting them into your pipeline.
If all you need is to find email addresses, Snov.io might be a bit overkill for you. However, if you are a team or enterprise company looking for a complete solution to your email marketing needs, Snov.io is perfect.
Price: free trial includes up to 150 credits, which can be used for email searches or verifications, 1 email warm-up, and access to the drip campaign and sales CRM tools. $30/month for 5000 credits plus bulk capabilities, Pipedrive integration, and access to the REST API. $2999/month for custom enterprise solutions - call to schedule a demo.
Clearbit Connect - Quick and Simple Browser Extension
ClearBit's results are powered by machine learning and backed by rigorous QA to ensure accuracy in the email addresses they return. Their free Chrome extension Clearbit Connect claims to help you to find any email address in under 5 seconds.
To use the extension, install it into Chrome and then browse a company website to find valuable information about that company, including email addresses and other contact information. You can also type a company name into the browser extension to receive a list of known email addresses at that company.
Clearbit Connect also allows you to find the name and job title of an employee, given an email address. It also returns a list of known employees at a company for any role and level of seniority.
Price: Free (Chrome extension only.) For complete Clearbit pricing, visit the company website.
RocketReach - Best for Teams and Enterprise
RocketReach maintains the world's largest database of email addresses and phone numbers. They have information for over 700 million profiles across 35 million companies worldwide. Features include a browser extension and Salesforce and Zapier integrations.
RocketReach specializes in email lookup and verification, providing both one-off and bulk solutions. They have individual plans ideal for small businesses and sales professionals, team plans, and enterprise plans.
This solution is best for large teams and enterprise companies who need a quick and easy way to share results and pool contacts. They also provide a dedicated account manager and 24/7 email support.
Price: Individual plans: $39/month for 1200 annual lookups. $249/month for 10,000 annual lookups. Team plans start at $83/user/month for 3600 annual lookups/user. Contact RocketReach for custom pricing on Enterprise plans with unlimited lookups.
Tips to Make an Email Search More Efficient
Before you dive into an advanced Google search or start scanning your LinkedIn homepage for potential new connections, check out a few tips to make your email lookup efforts more effective.
Building a Hypothesis
It's often very easy to guess email addresses for people within a company - usually their email address will be something as simple as their first name at the domain name of the company website.
Using Boolean Searches
Using Google search operators like AND, OR, and NOT will speed up your search by limiting, broadening, or defining your search.
Leveraging Advanced Search Features
Twitter's advanced search is an excellent example of how to find someone's email address using advanced search features. You can use it to search within specific accounts, specified date ranges, or for certain keywords and phrases. Once you've found the tweet you're looking for, reach out to the person who created it via DM.
The Do’s and Don'ts of Email Searching
In addition to tips and tricks that will improve your search, there are some basic rules of etiquette when it comes to sending emails to cold leads and email addresses from a prospect's company.
If your emails aren't generating the responses you're hoping for, it can be tempting to send more emails to try and engage those people. However, sending more unwanted emails is never the way to win over a cold lead.
If your leads aren't responding to your outreach, it's likely they don't see value in your emails. See the next section for some tips on writing effective opening emails to new prospects.
Ensure Purposeful Outreach
Make sure your content is engaging and provides value. Not only that, make sure it's clear in the email why you are contacting the person.
Keep Communications Professional
Avoid slang and casual language. Treat every cold lead like a first date or a job interview. You're trying to impress the person, put them at ease, and convince them that you are trustworthy and an expert in your field.
How to Approach Someone After Finding Their Email Address
Finding someone's email address is only the first step. Once you have it, you must make sure that your outreach is effective.
Personalization and Relevancy
It can be tempting to send out generic emails en masse to all the new leads you find via email lookup. Don't! This tactic is easy to spot and comes across as spammy.
Take the time to include personal and relevant information in each email, and strive to make a real human connection with the person on the other end. After all, you are hoping to enter into a business relationship with this person.
Don't forget to follow up with your leads. We sometimes make the mistake of thinking people don't want to hear from us if they don't respond when sometimes, they just need a nudge to remind them that you're there.
Just make sure that your follow-up is relevant and timely - and that you resist the urge to spam your contact with too many follow-up emails.
Finding email addresses is a big part of lead generation, online marketing, and professional outreach. There are many ways you can find email addresses online, including through social media profiles, alumni sites, WHOIS, and email lookup services.
Top email lookup services include Hunter, Snovio, and Clearbit. You should also be validating and verifying all the email addresses you find using a verification service like AbstractAPI's Free Email Verification API.
Once you have an email address, make sure you're adhering to best practices, writing effective emails, and complying with all privacy and security laws before reaching out to that contact.
What are the best tools to find someone's email address?
The best tools for finding someone's email address include professional networking sites like LinkedIn and XING, social media platforms, WHOIS lookup, and various email lookup services. Notably, services such as AbstractAPI, Hunter, Voila Norbert, Snov.io, Clearbit Connect, and RocketReach are considered some of the best.
How can I verify an email address once I've found it?
You can verify an email address using AbstractAPI's Email Verification API. This tool allows you to determine whether an email address is valid and active without sending an actual email to the address in question.
What should I consider when reaching out to someone after finding their email address?
Once you've found someone's email address, make sure your outreach is effective by personalizing your communication, ensuring relevancy, and maintaining a professional tone. Avoid spamming and ensure your emails provide value to the recipient
Are there any potential legal issues involved in finding and using someone's email address?
Yes, there can be legal issues when finding and using someone's email address. It's crucial to ensure any tool or service you use adheres to data privacy laws and regulations. Moreover, your outreach should respect the privacy of individuals and abide by the rules of consent and unsolicited messages outlined in laws like GDPR and CAN-SPAM.
How can social media platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook help me find someone's email address?
LinkedIn and Facebook can be useful for finding email addresses as many individuals list their contact information in their profiles. On LinkedIn, once you're a first-degree connection, you can often find an email address on the person's profile page. On Facebook, connecting with the person might be necessary before you can see their contact information.