3 Steps to Building a Prospect List With Zero Budget
Step 1: Pick Your Data Source
Regardless of the strategy you choose, the first thing you need to identify is the source of where you are going to find basic information about your potential customers. In most cases B2B sales professionals prefer LinkedIn and other social media to search for certain types of leads. Using this source of data will give you the advantage of identifying decision makers in your target companies. It can also help you to enrich your leads with valuable information that can be used later to personalize your outreach.
However, many of us tend to forget there’s plenty fish in the sea apart from the usual LinkedIn or Twitter. Try using B2B databases for primary list building, blog comments can also be a resource to find targeted leads. In the end, pay more attention to Pinterest, an admitted emerging B2B leads source that is still to be discovered by marketers. Corporate websites can be a decent information provider in regards to contact’s name and title. Dedicate several hours to creating a list with companies you want to consider and identify employees you are going to reach out to.
Step 2: Finding Contact Information
Since you have a prospect list built according to your target potential customer audience, now it’s time to search for their contact information across the web. Most of the lists you can buy online only contain general email addresses (such as email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org) that don’t add much value when it comes to cold outreach. The more impersonal the email you have, the less likely you are to receive any response. However, if, for certain reasons, you have only this kind of contact, make sure your first email will include asking to point you to the right person.
Nevertheless, here are several tools to use if you want to find anyone’s email address in seconds with free of charge/freemium model:
Based on contact name + company domain:
name2email.com – a Chrome extension that helps find out the business address
voilanorbert.com – an online service for locating b2b contact data
sellhack.com – a super efficient plugin for social media account data
Email grabbers and extractors:
emailhunter.co – a plugin for corporate websites and LinkedIn, also shows a confidence percentage
datanyze insider – a tool from a famous lead generator
findthatlead.com – another good plugin to search for emails
You can use each individually or use them in combination. It often turns out that you need to use several tools to find one email address. But whether you have to use only one tool or all of them, you should also rely on your experience and intuition in terms of business email patterns and their look.
As a matter of fact, there’s always one more tool you can use anytime and it’s free of charge – Google. Make sure you try all means before you give up, including this one. Try the most common patterns such as FirstLastname@domain.com, First, Last name + @ + domain.com, site: domain.com + First, Last name, etc.
Step 3: Validate Everything
Having your email data found and collected to complement your prospect list is only half of your success. The other half of it depends on how correct your data is. To make sure your email campaign works for, not against you, you need to verify email addresses. This is one of the key factors to your cold sales.
Before you look at anything to do with open and reply rates, you have to look at deliverability. Incorrect emails carry danger as they result in bounces. The more bounced emails you have, the worse your server reputation is. Not to mention the more emails that bounce, the less replies you have.
mailtester.com – one of the best services out there to verify if your email address is correct
freebulkemailverifier.com – a service that can validate a bunch of email addresses at once
freeemailverifier.com – another service for email verifying
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