How I Collected Emails of 358 Top Marketers Using Advanced Google Search Operators
When I wrote the complete guide on Bing SEO, I needed to do lots of email outreach to help it reach industry influencers. I already had connections with a decent number of well known people in the industry, but for a guide of such length and details, I thought, “it deserves more!“.
In fact, I later found out that because of the aggressive promotion strategy, it managed to get around 150 shares across all social platforms and bag a mention on Search Engine Land’s in their SearchCap article, the dollow link from a DA 90 site is just a bonus.
Moreover, I leveraged the same email list to repeat the feat with my next guide on white hat tiered link building. It again got numerous valuable social shares, a mention in another SearchCap post, and featured in leading industry forums such as Traffic Planet.
What’s more interesting is, as I was able to get people talking about them, they still constantly get fresh hits, mentions, links, and social shares. And due to the extensive nature of them, they’re now linkable assets that I’ll be able to often leverage to build links to this blog.
So, the initial outreach and surge of traffic are very essential for the success of blog posts published on a small/medium blog which lack tons of loyal readers like bigger sites. That’s why I was determined to email more people than I usually do, as I had a feeling that those posts deserved to be seen and read by people.
I was more concerned about emailing great online marketers that I didn’t know about yet than people I already had connections with. The problem was how I was going to know about great marketers that I didn’t already know about, and more importantly, how would I get their emails to reach out to them?
I thought, Moz has a nice collection of user profiles and the scoring system (MozPoints) could really come in handy to judge people’s influence. But it was impossible to go through tons of blog comments, Q&A threads etc. to find influencers. Plus, most of the people there don’t display their emails on their Moz profiles.
So, instead of going through 10 profiles and finding 1 email, I decided to use a combination of advanced (according to Google themselves) search parameters to search for exactly what I want.
Moz has thousands of user profiles. There’s not much use emailing someone with 50 MozPoints when emailing someone with a thousand might make the post reach to that person and many others like the one with 50 MozPoints.
Also, this post on the findings after scraping Moz’s user data by Michael King came in very handy, because it gave me an idea about how many people are really there who have more than 800 MozPoints,which was the minimum number of MozPoints someone had to have to be targeted by me.
The Search Query
- site:moz.com includes results only from the moz.com domain.
- inurl:/community/users/ displays only the Moz community profiles.
- “mozpoints:” 800..3000 displays the profiles (with emails) of Moz members who have MozPoints between 800 and 3000. This is the only part of the query that isn’t 100% accurate. I originally wanted to include the 800..3000 part within the quotes, to improve the accuracy, but due to the nature and function of the ” ” contained searches, Google was searching for the exact line “mozpoints: 800..3000” within the member profiles, which wasn’t what I was meaning to do.
The problem with what I used instead is that it turns up around 1 improper result per SERP (often due to years listed on their profiles, like 2011 and 2012). If you can omit them, you’re good to go. Basically they won’t do you any harm either, as you’re still emailing a valid person presumably interested in online marketing.
Now, you can collect the emails automatically using something like ScrapeBox, or you can do the job better manually, collecting the names and website URLs as well. What I did was keeping an Excel spreadsheet open and adding new user details as I go from one profile to another manually.
More Details Are Always Better
When you get the names and website details of people alongside their emails, you increase your chances of getting a reply from them by not sending a generic non-personalized email.
But obviously, if you are in a hurry, you don’t want to email 350+ people one at a time manually. As my message was the same for everyone, I created an email template in BuzzStream and made use of variables such as [firstname] and [website] for personalization.
My Conversion Rate
In my first attempt, I got 27 unique replies from the 358 people I emailed. So, the conversion rate was 7.5%. Considering around 90% of those influential people who replied to my email also shared my content with their huge followings, the effort was worth it.
I took approximately 15 seconds for each user profile to copy paste the details in my Excel spreadsheet, so for 358 people it took me around one and a half hour. Given the quality of those contact details, I think the time is well worth it.
If you don’t have the patience or time to do that yourself. Just prepare the query and hire someone on oDesk to do the job for you.
Here’s a pretty thorough list of lots of advanced search operators. Short and useful version from Google themselves. Again, this post is about how I used the advanced search parameters to extract emails from an active user base of a particular site. You obviously have to find footprints and work on your own custom query in case of other websites.
So, in what other ways do you use Google’s advanced search parameters?