Sending good prospecting emails is good, but sending them well is even better.
If you wish to contact a person by email that you do not know, you must necessarily go through 2 steps, a priori benign, but less obvious than it seems:
- Find the lead email address (a good start)
- Make sure the email gets to its destination (and that's where the problem lies).
There's no way it's going to work every time? Challenge accepted! 😏
We have concocted a selection of the best tools available today, 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 addresses!
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! 🚀
We start with little reminders about the basis of the email address.
📧 The email address and its structure
There are 4 main categories of email addresses:
- Free addresses. Such services as Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail provide them
- The addresses of a purchased domain name. Most often, these are company 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 the addresses are composed in the same way. Here are the 5 elements which constitute it:
1) The user can be composed of unaccented letters, numbers, periods (.), dashes (-), underscore (_) and, plus sign (+).
2) The "at" (@)
3) The domain name may consist of unaccented letters, numbers, and only a hyphen (-).
4) The dot/dot (.) before the extension
5) The extension (com, fr, 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, firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
That's it. We've got the basics. Now let's get down to business!
Increase emails deliverability 📈
We will see how to find an email address and test it to avoid sending emails to non-existent addresses.
But first, you need to know certain principles that guarantee a simple objective: your contact had read your email 👓.
For this, you must be able to deliver it correctly.
You should not neglect these prerequisites. They are essential to your ability to deliver your 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!
Make an update on his 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 prospecting.
If your domain is blacklisted, you need to request an intervention to unblacklist 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?
Do not forget 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.
The configuration of the DKIM (Domain Keys Identified Mail) of a domain allows you to add a digital signature, i.e,. 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/undesirable folders. 🚫
If you are using a GSuite account (Google Apps) with your domain name, you can find the following procedure here.
In other cases, it is the person who set up your domain name who will be able to configure it. 💾
You can check that the configuration is correct with Mailtester.
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 the domain name of the sender of an e-mail. 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 the newsletters / HTML emails spam score 🚫
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 good software.
👉 You are obliged to include an unsubscribe link in email campaigns. But some of these emails will end up in the "promotion" box.
TIPS 😉 if you send your emails one by one, or by automating this with cold email tools, and you "forget" to put the unsubscribe link, then your emails won't end up there...
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...
For that, let's look for contacts!
Find an email address 🔍
You can discover addresses in three different ways, using a pattern, a dedicated tool, or generating leads.
Searching from a pattern 🗂
It is a method of research by deduction:
1️⃣ Finding the domain name of your "target company".
2️⃣ By generating email addresses from the first name, last name and domain name
This structure is the pattern that a company uses to create its email addresses: initial of first name, period "." and last name.
To know a company domain name and its emails patterns is to know the email addresses of all its collaborators.😵
About 40 possible patterns are depending on the combinations to determine the email address person.
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 a gift 🎁 !
Otherwise, Mailtrack offers an efficient and free online pattern generator, starting from a first name, the last name, and a domain name: Emailgenerator.io (closed).
We recommend using only the first 9 email addresses generated by Emailgenerator, i.e., those with the professional domain name.
You can also use another tool: Email-permutator.
⚠️ 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 search an email address when consulting 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)
- Voila Norbert (LinkedIn extension closing : 09/2017)
What about the legality? 🏛
This guide would not be complete without a brief discussion of the rules of law.
Here is what the Commission nationale de l'informatique et des libertés (CNIL) says about email prospecting. 📚
Tips: A simple principle to stay within the legal framework, never send a prospecting email to a free address (such as Gmail, Yahoo...). Conversely, the CNIL doesn't target generic business addresses (such as firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com...), but it is recommended not to target them. 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 the address validity ✅
The reference tool to check the validity of an email address is Mailtester.
Nevertheless, it is possible to be much more efficient!
When working on a file of email addresses, it can be helpful to test them all at the same time; this is the case with one of 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 Validation (fermé)
- Email Verifier Api
- Email Yoyo
- Million verifier
- List Wise
- Mailbox Validator
- My CleanList
- Nettoyage Email (fermé)
- Never Bounce
- QuickEmail Verification
- Verify Email
- 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 a "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 their life without ever having a reader or even an actual recipient, 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 to send an email reconstructed from a pattern on this domain unless you are 100% sure that the pattern matches the company's pattern. 😇
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 leads 💼
And now let's go even further. Imagine getting leads with thousands of email addresses...
Here are some of the solutions to this problem.
- Found.ly (désormais replyup)
These tools 🛠 are above all a help 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.
Don't you forget 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 it's laborious...
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 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