How To Find Someone's Email Address In Under A Minute

Learn how to find someone's email address in 58 seconds.

You just launched your awesome new startup, business or product (and you did a great job naming it) and now you're ready to tell the world about it.

You know exactly who you want to reach out to, so time to roll up your sleeves and email those folks!

Only one problem: you don't have their email addresses.

Learn how to find someone's email address in 58 seconds (faster than minute rice!) with this process.

Step 1: Check their website

Seriously, check their website first. If they have an email listed on their site, use that.

You'd be surprised how often this type of contact info is posted on a site.

Facing a large, hard to navigate site? Let Google be your guide. Type this format into Google:

site:[THEIR FULL DOMAIN, SUCH AS http://www.example.com/] [THEIR NAME]

So you could find my email on this site by typing into Google:

site:http://usersthink.com/ John Turner

This is a quick way to see if the email you're looking for is already publicly available.

And once you reach the page with the email, if you have Reprofiler installed in Chrome, it will give you a list of all emails on said page, so with one click you'll be able to copy any paste any email from the page.

Step 2: Install Rapportive (requires Gmail and a LinkedIn account)

Rapportive is a Gmail specific browser plugin that shows extra information (title of job, LinkedIn info, etc.) associated with an email address, and can be used to help verify an email address.

UPDATE: Rapportive has had a lot of issues lately, and may not deliver the performance it had in the past. For an alternative, try Rapporto (what I'm using right now) or Ark.

It used to provide info on other social accounts, such as Facebook and Twitter, but LinkedIn, which owns Rapportive, has removed that information.

Even without that additional information, Rapportive is still great for validating email addresses.

While not all emails will have connected data, the high majority of real email addresses will, letting you know if a possible email address is real or not.

Once Rapportive is installed, log into your Gmail account, open an email you've sent, and hover your cursor over your own email address to see how it works.

Step 3: Generate a list of likely email addresses

Now that we know how to test an email address to see if it's real or not, now we need a list of likely emails to test.

Rob Ousbey built a Google Spreadsheet to help you auto generate a list of likely email addresses (and he wrote a post describing his process).

It's a great approach, but using Google Spreadsheets for this kind of work can be a little cumbersome.

UPDATE: Email Guesser seems to be having problems right now, but there is an alternative.

Email Address Guesser does the same generation in a clean interface.

You'll need to enter a domain, as it's not optional for this tool, but will most likely provide more focused results.

Which led Adam Loving to build Email Guesser, a tool to auto generate a list of likely email addresses with a much cleaner, easier to use interface.

We'll be using Email Guesser from now on as our email generating tool.

Email Guesser Screenshot

Enter the name and domain of the person you want to reach, and Email Guesser takes care of the rest.

While Email Guesser checks emails against Gravitar info, it's better to test those emails with Rapportive, as Rapportive can validate emails that Gravitar can't.

UPDATE: As stated, Email Guesser seems to be having problems right now.

Email Address Guesser is the best alternative out there, and provides the same functionality in a very clean, easy to use interface.

Step 4: Test those emails with Rapportive

Copy all of the emails from Email Guesser (from the Variations box) into a new email in Gmail.

Start by checking the first email at the very top of the list by hovering your cursor over it.

If there is connected info displayed, chances are that's the real email.

If not, hover your cursor over the next one.

Rapportive Email Check

Often the real email is one of the first 10 variations generated (or the first one, in the case of my email on UsersThink).

It's easy to check the emails quickly, this approach generates fast results, and this is the approach I use.

Another approach: Automate email testing

If you've got a lot of folks you're hoping to reach, and you're comfortable with code and the command line, here's a different approach.

My friend Neal wrote a script that uses rapportive.py to automatically check different email variations.

If you're less comfortable with code, use the manual approach.

Step 5: Be cool about this

It would be possible to fully automate email detection and then spam everyone you find, but you shouldn't do that, cause then you'd be a spammer.

Besides being awful (and probably illegal), there are two other big issues with that approach:

It will hurt your reputation

People can smell when an email wasn't crafted for them, so even if you can send a lot of emails at once, it won't be as effective.

You'll get marked as spam

If you're really abusing this approach on cold outreach, people will mark your emails as spam, and soon none of your emails will reach their intended recipients.

But as long as you're reasonable in your approach and in your requests, you'll be cool!

Step 6: Writing a cold email

I'm planning to write a post on how to write a cold email, but in the meantime read these posts from Elizabeth Yin, John Corcoran and Steli Efti to get started with cold emails.

Two quick cold email hacks I haven't seen mentioned anywhere else:

Test cold emails on your phone

Write your cold email, but instead of sending it to the person you're writing it for, send it to yourself and read it on your smartphone.

Can you read the full subject line? Does it make you want to open the email? Do you have to scroll a lot before you know what the point of the email is? Does it come across as an endless wall of text? Is the email compelling?

So many people (especially busy people) read most of their emails on their phones (62% of email opens for the UsersThink newsletter are on mobile devices), and if it's an easy, compelling read on your phone, it'll be that on a regular computer.

Test and refine until you have a sense of what works and what doesn't.

Following up when you haven't received a response

There's lots of good advice on following up with a warm lead (someone who reached out to you or responded to your cold email), but what do you do when they don't respond?

If I send a cold email and haven't heard back from them in 7 days, I send ONE (only one) follow up email.

Here's the format for what I write:

Hi [FIRST NAME], did you get my last email?

That's it, nothing more. If they don't respond to that, I don't email them again.

You could track responses manually, but I recommend using an email tracking/reminder service to help you remember, such as Yesware (what I use).

Step 7: Start emailing

Now that you can find the email addresses of people you want to contact, start reaching out and making things happen!

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