— January, 5 2020

How to choose an email finder

Choosing the best tools to find emails can be tricky.

How to choose an email finder


Often described as the Holy Grail by many outbound marketers.

But finding email addresses is not always an easy task, and can sometimes feel a little bit daunting, especially if you’re planning to find them manually.

How it works

It always starts with 3 attributes:

  • A name; let’s start with mine: “Guillaume Odier”
  • Then you got to find my company: Captain Data; easy enough
  • From there, you’ll be looking for our domain name: captaindata.co

With these 3 data points, you have what you need to get started. 

You can also work with only the company name OR the domain name, but having both generally gives you better results.

There a lot of third-party services you can use, among them:

Most third-party services will scrape the web and store related emails inside their database.

Technology, i.e. “how they do it”, is not really something you should pay attention to, because in the end you’ll never really know how their technology works; what you want, and what you get, are validated emails.

You’ll be able to upload a list to enrich in bulk, or to query their API with your inputs: our 3 previous attributes.

One of the biggest advantages of Captain Data is that we aggregate the data for you.

For example, if you use the LinkedIn Lead Generation Recipe, the email finder is already integrated inside the configuration.

That means that you only have to copy-paste a LinkedIn search URL, for people for example, inside Captain Data’s configuration launcher.

Scoring, Types & Validation

Most providers will give you some kind of a score.

It can be that the email is “validated”, “catch-all” or even “invalid”.

Scoring systems are generally based upon patterns.

When you have the domain name of your target company, you can test multiple combinations: e.g. guillaume.odier or godier and so on.

There are roughly 40 patterns that exist: here is a Google Spreadsheet containing most of the patterns

Then, there are four types of email address:

  • Free ones, like Gmail or Yahoo
  • Corporate ones, from a target domain name (like captaindata.co)
  • Invalid ones, emails that are false or that do not exist anymore
  • Disposable ones, generally used one time or for a spammy use

What you want are corporate emails, first to avoid any GDPR/ePrivacy issues, and then because it’s simply more qualitative.

Before sending emails, the following steps are absolutely required – believe me, you don’t want to end up as spam (and here you might need the help of a tech person):

  • Make sure the address with which you’re sending email is correct; I know it sounds stupid but a DNS error happens more easily than you might think, especially if you just got a new domain (and if you don’t know what a DNS is, ask your tech person)
  • Verify that DKIM and SPIF are correctly set up
  • Verify every email to avoid hard bounces

Third-party services like Dropcontact verify emails for you, so you don’t have to add an additional verification step.

Remember that as a rule of thumb, you should only work with verified emails.

Social Networks

You can also find email addresses on social networks like Instagram, Facebook or LinkedIn.

For companies' pages, you can try an Instagram Page Scraper for example, and maybe you’ll end up with a contact@ email address. Better than nothing!

For people, on LinkedIn, once you add the connection, there is a chance that this person shares contact information, such as their email and phone number. 

Auto-Connecting people is always a powerful way to find one or more conversation channels.

Which finder to choose

As always in marketing, iteration is key.

No third-party service is THE best or has it all figured out. 

Some of our customers are even using multiple services, in a “cascading” way:

  • Try to find with dropcontact
  • If not found, use ColdCRM
  • Then …. well, you get the idea

A few recommendations:

  • Dropcontact will find ~50% of emails in France with a +95% validation score (then a bit less depending on the country)
  • ColdCRM will find between 30 to 70% in Europe, with validation scores ranging from 50% to 95%
  • Hunter.io is a bit of a reference in the industry, they’ve been able to gather an impressive list in the past years; however, you’ll generally find that about 30% of the emails and they’re not always valid 😔

We’ll not talk about every email finder because there are simply too many to talk about.

You have to test them and make up your own mind about the tools 👍