Sending good prospecting emails is good, but sending them well is even better.
If you wish to contact a person that you do not know by email, you must necessarily go through 2 steps, that seem benign, but are less obvious than one might think:
- Find the lead's email address (a good start)
- Make sure the email gets to its destination (and that's where the problem lies).
No way it's going to work every time? Challenge accepted! 😏
We have concocted a selection of the best tools currently available, carefully sorted and approved by us.
As a true emailing expert, you will increase the deliverability of your emails, improve your reputation and even manage to find anyone's email address!
The guide that we will detail is not a universal solution. It is a toolbox you can adapt according to your needs.
It is intended exclusively for people working in the B2B sector.
Here are our favorites, then it's up to you.
Let's go! 🚀
Let's start with little reminders about the basis of an email address.
📧 The email address and its structure
There are 4 main categories of email addresses:
- Free addresses. Services such as Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail provide them.
- The addresses of a purchased domain name. Most often, these are companies email addresses.
- Addresses that are false or no longer exist.
- Disposable addresses. They are used to counter spam as a user, such as Yopmail, Clipmail, etc...
All addresses are structured in the same way. Here are the 5 elements which constitute them:
1) The user which can be composed of letters, numbers, periods (.), dashes (-), underscore (_) and, plus sign (+).
2) The "at" (@)
3) The domain name which may consist of letters, numbers, and/or a hyphen (-).
4) The dot (.) before the extension
5) The extension (com, co, io...). They are generic or geographical but their use is sometimes diverted (e.g. .co / .io).
Tips: A company almost always has a unique email address pattern—for example, email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
That's it. We've got the basics. Now let's get down to business!
Increase email deliverability 📈
We're soon going to see how to find an email address and test it, in order to avoid sending emails to non-existent addresses.
But before that, you need to know a few principles that guarantee a simple objective: your contact actually reads your email 👓.
First, you must be able to deliver it correctly.
You should not neglect these prerequisites. They are essential to your ability to deliver emails:
- Evaluate the reputation of your domain name
- Take the time to configure your domain name
- Prevent your email from ending up in spam/undesirable folders 🚫
As email services are becoming more and more efficient at detecting Spam, the slightest error or approximation will significantly increase the risk that your message will be considered Spam.
Take Radical measures!
Update your domain 👀
Take a look at Mxtoolbox and check that your domain name is not blacklisted.
⚠️ To establish your domain's reputation as a sender, the number of complaints, unsubscriptions, manual classifications in the Spam folder, the number of false e-mail addresses, etc. are taken into account. ⚠️
The reputation of your domain is a key element in your ability to send any email (not just when prospecting).
If your domain is blacklisted, you need to request an intervention to un-blacklist it on each of the services concerned. ✅
This can take several days or even weeks on some services.
How to improve your reputation🔧
It is imperative to configure the DKIM & SPF of your domain name. But why is that?
Don't forget the DKIM 🔩
This manipulation is not rocket science 🔮 and yet it greatly improves the deliverability of your emails.
DKIM stands for Domain Keys Identified Mail. It is an encryption authentication method used by many service providers to find out if the message comes from an authorized system. Therefore, a DKIM signature verifies the authenticity of the sending domain and guarantees the integrity of the message, protecting against Spam.
Configuration of a domain's DKIM (Domain Keys Identified Mail) allows you to add a digital signature, or a security key, to the emails you send.
The receiving servers can then know that your sent emails have not been modified and that the dispatch comes from your domain.
Without this configuration, your emails have a high probability of being filed in your recipients' spam folder. 🚫
If you are using a GSuite account (Google Apps) with your domain name, you can find the procedure here.
In other cases, it is the person in charge of your domain name who will be able to configure it. 💾
Configuring the SPF ⚙️
The configuration of the SPF (Sender Policy Framework) of a domain allows the receiving server to verify that the sending server is authorized to send emails from the domain.
The SPF "Sender Policy Framework" is a standard for verifying an email sender's domain name. The message contains information about the mail servers that are authorized to handle outgoing mail for this domain. This system also helps to avoid spam and especially identity theft via e-mail.
Check newsletters / HTML emails spam score 🚫
As far as newsletters are concerned, before sending, you should test the spam score of your email by taking a little look at the two tools Mailtester and Putsmail. To find out all about the rules to prevent your emails from being considered Spam, here is a summary on the subject.
Nowadays, more than half of all emails are opened from a mobile phone, so your newsletters and HTML emails must imperatively be responsive! If your emailing solution does not easily create responsive newsletters, Mail Designer Pro is a good software.
👉 It is mandatory to include an unsubscribe link in email campaigns. Unfortunately, this will lead to some of these emails ending up in the "promotion" box. But it's still a legal obligation...
Mailing solutions 📬
Whether you want to launch an email marketing campaign or a transactional email campaign, you can choose from the following list of tools:
- Amazon SES
- Campaign Monitor
Now you can send emails with peace of mind. But you still need to know who to...
Let's look for contacts!
Find an email address 🔍
You can find email addresses in three different ways: using a pattern, a dedicated tool, or by generating leads.
Searching from a pattern 🗂
It is a method of research by deduction:
1️⃣Finding the domain name of your "target company".
2️⃣ Generating email addresses from the first name, last name and domain name
This structure is an example of a pattern that a company uses to create its email addresses: initial of first name, period "." and last name.
To know a company's domain name and its emails patterns allows to know the email addresses of all its employees.😵
About 40 possible patterns are possible depending on their combinations.
Here are the most common patterns:
If you want to make an exhaustive list of combinations, it is possible to generate 34 different patterns using this Google Sheets file. It's our gift to you 🎁 !
Otherwise, Email-permutator offers an efficient and free online pattern generator, starting from a first name, the last name, and a domain name.
⚠️ Be careful. However, you should always check the existence of addresses before sending an email. Otherwise, there is a real risk of having your domain name blacklisted. ⚠️
We'll talk about that later.
Find an email easily 📍
The extensions below allow you to get an email address when visiting a LinkedIn profile:
- Clearbit Connect
- Contactout (also provides phone number)
- Hunter - (closing if the LinkedIn serch service on 31/08/2017 !)
- Lusha (also provides phone numbers)
- Overloop (previously Prospect.io)
What about the legal aspect? 🏛
This guide would not be complete without a brief focus on what the law has to say about all of this.
A simple principle to stay within the legal framework, never send a prospecting email to a free address (such as Gmail, Yahoo...). It is also recommended not to target generic business addresses (such as email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org...). They could damage your domain reputation and reduce your opening rate.
As for LinkedIn, it is mentioned on their site that the collection of user data is prohibited. An American court decision of August 14, 2017, ruled otherwise, and the appeal of September 9, 2019; their data being of a public nature. The Microsoft site had to remove the blockages preventing companies from collecting its data (data-scrapping).
Test email address validity ✅
The tool of reference to check the validity of an email address is Mailtester.
Nevertheless, it is possible to be much more efficient!
When working on an email addresses database file, it can be helpful to test them all at the same time; this is the case with the following tools:
- Bulkemail Checker.com
- Bulkemail Checker.net
- Bulk Email Verifier
- Captain Verify
- Emailable (previously Data Validation)
- Email Hippo
- Email List Verify
- Email Validator.co
- Email Validator.net
- Email Verifier Api
- Million verifier
- List Wise
- Mailbox Validator
- My CleanList
- Never Bounce
- QuickEmail Verification
- Zero Bounce
Keep in mind that it is not always possible to verify the existence of an email address. The reason? Wrestling! 😈
A company may have configured its mail server as "catch-all". That means the server accepts to receive all emails from the domain, even if the address does not exist. In this case, it will be impossible to know if an email address exists or not.
Your emails can end up never being read, while you keep on sending them for nothing...
Don't panic. You can know if a domain has a catch-all configuration. In this case, it is strongly recommended not to try sending an email reconstructed from a pattern on this domain unless you are 100% sure that the pattern you're using matches the company's one. 😇
If this is not the case, only one address among the 34 patterns will arrive, while the 33 false addresses will only degrade the reputation of your domain ... 📉.
NB: In order to avoid spam, providers of free email addresses (Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail...) generally have domains configured in catch-all. It will therefore be impossible to test an email address generated by this type of domain.
Generate new leads 💼
And now let's go even further. Imagine finding thousands of leads with their email addresses in just a few clics...
Here are some of the solutions to this problem.
These tools 🛠 should be considered as extras, but beware of wasting time and energy. Nothing replaces common sense and good targeting.
One more thing🍎
Your domain name is set up, your reputation is good, you know what to send and you will find lots of new prospects.
Forgetting something? 🤔
There is a resource that you already own and do not use.
This is all the contact data scattered in lines of excel or .csv files, not updated, badly sorted and just waiting to be used!
Taking care of it takes time and is tedious...
Yet there is an automatic solution that cleans, corrects and enriches these files, so you don't even have to think about it anymore!
We've created this solution: Dropcontact ✅
That's it. Now you're ready!
🤓 To go even further
- All about Catch-All
- Cold Email, your massive prospection weapon
- Enrich your BtoB emails with Dropcontact and Zapier
- Email finder : The best solution to find verified B2B emails and the only 100% compliant solution GDPR