How to Find Any Business Owner’s Name (and Email) In Seconds[Update 8/15/2016: This quickly became my top-performing post getting hundreds of visits a day. Because of it’s popularity, I was inspired to actually create a software that automates all of the processes listed below. Checkout ScopeLeads here!]
In my business we send a lot of physical mail and email to cold prospects in order to gain their business. It is a lot better than cold calling because you can stand out more (with physical mail), and you can scale better (with email).
The process usually starts with preparing a prospecting list. A list of potential leads that fits your “sweet spot” market criteria. The sweet spot could be a different post for a different time, but once you have the list is when you start to send out your marketing material.
However most of the time you’ll find a prospect online whose website or marketing sucks, and you know you can really help them, but the owner’s name isn’t listed on the site and his email is not there either. You need his name to make the mailer/email more personalized, and you need their email to actually send it to them as opposed to it getting lost with the sales reps!
The address is easiest to find and is almost always listed on the website of legitimate businesses, and of course we can send them a package addressed to “Owner” or “Marketing Manager”, but you have a feeling it simply won’t have the same effect as a personalized mailer.
Fear not! Here is a definitive guide outlining all the steps I take to find the business owner’s name and usually email along with it. The owner is the best person to reach in most small to medium sized businesses because he/she is still the decision maker when it comes to hiring you for marketing services! If I can only find the name and not email, I’ll send a package instead of an email.
Crucial note: Don’t spend more than 2 minutes trying to find any owner’s name. When you’re in the groove and doing dozens at a time, think about how much more prospecting you could have done with that time instead of getting frustrated that you can’t find one name.
Simply move on or label it “Marketing Manager” and get on with prospecting! Still, I constantly see this question so I decided to share my process.
Also note that whichever method you choose will work at different levels of effectiveness for different industries, countries, and TLDs. Try them all at first and then stick to the ones that are most effective. You’ll find out which those are very soon.
The Obvious Approach
Straightforward approach here. You’re checking their:
- Name of Business/Domain: If the business is called Jerry’s Roofing, guess who owns it?
- About Us page: Many times it will say the name of the owner and a story of how the business get started, especially if it is a family business.
- Contact Us page: The contact page not only will have their general business info, but will often include a directory of personnel along with their direct extensions, emails, and well… names. If the email isn’t something like email@example.com, but rather firstname.lastname@example.org, you know that’s his personal email and the owner is reading it.
- Testimonial page: Many people overlook this, but if their website has testimonials anywhere on it, or a page dedicated to service reviews and social proof, one of the reviews will most likely say “Jerry came and gave us a reasonable quote the same day we called…” . Look for consistent names and that will be a safe bet.
The Tech-Nerd Approach
This is my first go-to approach if I can’t find enough information on their website. Why call it tech-nerd? Because most people that aren’t tech savvy aren’t familiar with how websites and domains work. In this method, we utilize something called a “who is record.”
You see, every domain ever registered has to have their contact details listed with the registrar (the company they registered the domain with). This includes names, emails, phone numbers (!), and addresses of the Registrant, Admin, and Tech. Most of the time these three are one and the same person. The owner.
If you think about it, when someone has the thought to start a business or decides on a cool website name, the first thing they do is go and register the domain to lock it in. This is usually the owner of the site, and then he gives access to a web designer or someone more tech savvy to handle the servers and such.
How to find a who is record:
- Go to a website like www.who.is
- Enter the domain name
- You’re done.
It’s really that simple. The only times this doesn’t work is if the person paid extra to make the who.is info private (which just means they are paying a third-party company to put different info in their record so all spam gets routed through the third-party company first). This happens about 20% of the time for local business owners in my experience.
If you see that the email, address, and company listed there seems odd, like a company in a different city, that probably means it is their web design company or current marketing company that registered the domain for them on their behalf. Use your own judgement and remember to use two approaches to double check! (In one industry, I kept seeing the same marketing company registering all their clients’ websites for them, so it became familiar to me and I used a different approach).
Certain country TLDs (top level domain extensions, like .ca) will have different laws and might make it harder to find the info. If who.is keeps showing GoDaddy, that means you have to go to the Who Is checker on GoDaddy’s site and do the search from there (they block robots so you have to enter a Captcha). Just Google it.
The Industry Directory Approach
In Toronto and other major Canadian cities, almost every single local business search in Google is dominated with a company called HomeStars. If you search HomeStars or even Google for the business name, their profile on that site will show up first. They have details on the side of the listing with the owner’s name. Done.
This exists in the U.S too on sites like ThumbTack. Just find out which sites cater to that specific industry or is a directory for local businesses, and on their listing the owner’s name should be there with contact information.
In the rare instances where the owner’s name is missing or they put gibberish instead, simply look at the reviews on the site and you will see them referring to the owner and how it was dealing with him, etc.
The BBB Approach
The Better Business Bureau. Any business that takes themselves seriously tries to get certified and a good rating with the BBB. Search Google or the BBB website for the company name and it will list the owner and principal’s name at the bottom of the listing.
The Social Reviews Approach
Think Yelp, YellowPages, etc. These are gaining in popularity and business owners are starting to understand the benefits of being on there. Often the reviews will have the first name of the owner and the listing may have their email.
The last three approaches I covered could be duds. If they’re not on YellowPages, odds are they aren’t going to be on BBB or an industry directory, so you can know to move on from there. I only mentioned them because those three tend dominate Google when you search for the business name or even “industry+city”. Now let’s get into some more fun methods.
The Social Media Approach
Everyone has Facebook. Ok, you think there are older people not on Facebook. Then they have LinkedIn. If you think they don’t have either, then odds or they aren’t going to be receptive to digital marketing in the first place, and I wouldn’t bother spending so much time trying to track them down. The golden rule is: if they have a Facebook Page for their business, they have to have a personal page/name that opened the Page’s account…
- Head to their contact or about pages of the business website, and check for a link to their Facebook Page. Or search Google for “Business Name + Facebook” and if they have a Page it will almost always be #1.
- In the tabs/navigation under the cover photo, click About. Then on the left, click Page Info. There will be an email listed their in the email field, and sometimes a name in the copy.
- If not, head to the Reviews tab (if it is a local business), and look for a first name in the testimonials.
- Nothing there? Go back to the Timeline tab, and check if the owner responded to comments on any post, or accidentally posted on the Page’s timeline, using his or her personal Facebook account. This happens all the time.
- Using the search bar on Facebook – called Graph Search – we can type in some queries that can put two relationships together. For example, try searching “People that work at Starbucks”, and you’ll get a full list of people that put publicly in their profile that they work there. Do the same with the name of the company’s Page and you will get a list of people. One of them will have the title “Owner at Company Name”. There’s your owner.
- Check their website for an icon/link to their LinkedIn. Often they will have this instead of other social media accounts. Or, search Google for “Business Name + LinkedIn“, and their LinkedIn business Page and/or employees that work there will appear at the top.
- If you find the business’s LinkedIn Page, on the right side it will show connections and employees. Simply click on the number of employees or “See all”, and it will bring up an entire list of people that put that they work there!
- Many companies don’t have a page on LinkedIn, but employees will still manually enter that they work there. Searching for the company name at the top search box and clicking “People” on the drop down menu on the left of the search box will show only people with that company keyword in their profile or job title.
The Hail Mary Approach
If you already know the business owner’s name, but are still looking for the email, you can use some of these bots to try and find it.
Name2email – This tool is genius because it takes a true hail mary approach. Your last hope was to guess every combination of first name, last name, initials, etc that would eventually send to the right person if you BCC’d all of them.
But because it runs through gmail, one of those people will have a picture and Google+ account associated with one of the email combinations generated before you even send anything. Just hover over all the emails generated, find that one, and that is a legitimate person/email/Google account!
—[Update 8/15/2016: We have launched a new software that combines most of the methods above and not only finds the email address for you, but allows you to reach out to them automatically, all within the app. Checkout ScopeLeads here!]
That’s about it for finding out the name and email of any business owner. Remember not to spend too long trying unless you really need to. It will always be worth your time to just move on to the next lead!
Which method are you going to try next? Are there any that you currently use that I didn’t include? Share this post and let me know in the comments below!