Despite rewriting the rules of marketing and turning the traditional sales funnel model on its head, account-based marketing (ABM) still very much relies on good-old email as one of its most effective tactics. That’s why you still need to find email addresses that let you reach out to every decision-maker who’s part of the buying process at your target accounts.
Targeted and personalized emails work well as direct touch points in ABM campaigns. VC firm OpenView Partners outlines some strategies in the B2B ABM playbook that marketers should try out, and it’s clear that email plays a vital role in many of these activities, including:
- Pre-targeting – using account-based ad targeting and follow-up through personalized outreach by marketing or sales reps
- Account Nurture – reaching out to key stakeholders at your target companies that are already in your CRM
- Pipeline Acceleration – helps sales reps guide influencers and decision-makers at target accounts from one stage of the sales cycle into the next
So, how do you find email addresses of key contacts you’ll need to reach out to in your ABM campaigns? This requires a solid contact data collection strategy that’s slightly different from typical email address harvesting for bulk campaigns. Here are five proven tips to get you started on the right track:
- Master a few Google search tricks
Google lets you refine your searches with a number of operators you can type in together with your queries. Some of these search modifiers allow you to find email addresses faster and more accurately.
The “site:” operator lets you limit your search to a specific domain. So, if you know some information about the decision-makers you want to contact (e.g., name or job title), you can use these keywords along with the site: operator to help you locate contact details from within the company’s site (e.g., “John Doe site: companysite.com”).
Other useful Google tricks include:
- Putting keywords inside quotation marks (“”) to look for an exact match
- Excluding keywords using the “-“ operator
- Using “allintext”, “allintitle”, or “allinurl” to find keywords in text, title, or URL, respectively
- Combining queries using the “OR” or “|”
- Uncover the structure behind company email addresses
Work email addresses usually follow some underlying structure such as firstname.lastname@example.org. These conventions oftentimes remain consistent throughout an entire organization. That means if you can figure out a company’s email address format, you can also find email addresses simply by knowing the names of your target decision-makers.
Use these tips to make your guesswork more systematic:
- Look for LinkedIn connections who work at the target company and see their profile’s “Contact Info” section
- Find email addresses at the bottom of company press releases or within job postings
- Browse through a company’s blog posts and see if authors also place their contact information there
- Scour through social networks
We’ve already mentioned using LinkedIn as a potential source of contact information. But that’s assuming you’ve made the right connections already. Otherwise, it can get a bit difficult for you to find email addresses on the social network. So, craft a compelling request to connect. It’s only when the prospect accepts the invite that you’ll have his email address, which you can then export along with your other connections’ addresses.
Twitter also works well for finding email contact information, though not as extensively as on LinkedIn. Check if a prospect lists his email address on his profile page. Use advanced Twitter search to find email addresses tweeted out by target decision-makers.
- Pick an email verification tool (or two)
In case you haven’t noticed, there’s a great deal of guesswork involved when mining for email addresses. Even if you do find email addresses from a reliable source, you still need to worry about the accuracy and validity of the information you’ve collected.
That’s where email verification tools come in handy. There’s a ton of options available on the market, but most experts recommend getting started with the following:
- Email Checker – verifies validity of both domain and email address
- Rapportive – pulls contact info associated with a valid email from LinkedIn and other sources
- com – Checks if an email address is valid and reports details about bounces and server information
- Partner with a data vendor
If all this sounds like tedious work to you, that’s because it is. Building an account list takes time, effort, and other resources. A reputable data provider can help you find email addresses through prepackaged prospect lists or through data gathering solutions. Some data vendors even offer entire org charts filled with contact details.
To make sure that you partner with the right data provider, look at these five key qualities when doing your due diligence:
- Data sources
- Data shelf life
- QA processes
- Compliance practices
Whatever strategy you build and carry out to find email addresses for your ABM campaigns, the key thing is to always prioritize quality over quantity. B2B account-based marketing is all about developing relationships for long buying cycles. It’s the richness of each contact record that counts, not the record count itself.