HARRISBURG, Pa., May 5, 2013 – Writing an effective business email is important but pointless if you don’t have a valid email address to send it to. With the everyday nuisance of spam, website owners, bloggers, journalists and other professionals often hide their direct email addresses on their websites and social networks. Fortunately, there are two free tools that can help you figure out almost anyone’s email address: Rapportive and Linksy.
First Things First: When to Use These Tools
If you are going to use these tools, you must have good intentions. Don’t use potential discoveries as an opportunity to spam. Professional email discovery can be used to possibly pitch your brand, product or event to appropriate media contacts.
These tools can also be used to connect or reconnect with industry colleagues or other professionals. Perhaps you met someone at a trade show, but lost their business card. If you remember their company but can’t find their email address on the website, these free tools might come in handy.
Rapportive for Gmail
Rapportive is a free add-on for Gmail. It can be used in Firefox, Safari, Mailplane and Chrome. Once installed, Rapportive will display an email recipient’s contact details on the right side of the screen. Details (if available) will include name, email and location along with social media links to known Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Skype accounts.
Using Rapportive to discover contact information is used best when you have an idea of a company’s email address structure.
Here’s an example: AnySizeBasket, a small wire baskets manufacturer, might use their employee’s first initial and last name for their email addresses (e.g. email@example.com). You just met one of their employees, Jared Berger, at a trade show. Unfortunately, you lost Jared’s business card. Since you know his name and have a basic understanding of the company’s email structure, you can use firstname.lastname@example.org as your email recipient. If Jared’s information is stored somewhere in a public database, Rapportive will match it up and show you all of the available contact details for Jared.
Unfortunately, there’s also the possibility that you don’t know a company’s email structure. This happens when you haven’t interacted with anyone from the company before. It’s also hard to deduce if the company simply has a “contact us” form on their website instead of an email directory.
In this case, Linksy can help. Linksy’s email guesser also only uses publicly available data and should only be used to find emails of professional connections. Simply enter your contact’s first name, last name and domain (optional) to generate a list of possible email addresses. This is illustrated in the screenshot below for a fictitious employee at an organic lawn care company.
If Linksy finds a match, it will display results along with a Gravatar photo. However, Linksy also provides variations. They recommend copying and pasting these recommendations into Rapportive as mentioned above.
Sound off in the comments: What other tools have you used (other than Google!) to discover email addresses?
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