One of the key steps in account based marketing is transitioning from a list of target companies you want to sell to, to a list of contacts inside those companies to run outreach to. Finding the right person to speak to is critical to getting your product in front of a decision maker. In this post, we'll explore how to open a direct line of communication with those that can buy your product and give them a compelling and personalised reason to engage with you.
One great place to start your journey to the decision maker with their website. The vast majority of businesses with an online presence will list generic emails, such as email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org on there, as well as offical social media accounts. Sometimes, buried a few clicks deeper in the website, you even find direct email addresses to key contacts inside the organisation. These are often in procurement, recruitment or sales. Using these alongside social handles will allow you to open the door to the decision maker and ultimately make the sale.
Depending on your number of target customers, doing an extensive search through their website can very quickly become a massive time sink, especially if you're looking to through hundreds of pages. Luckily, web scraping platforms like Apify can provide a fast and efficient web crawler to extract all email addresses, telephone numbers and social media profiles to speed up to process.
Using a Crawler to Collect Contact Details
Apify's crawler works by navigating to the target website and collecting all the links on the home page, as well as any email addresses, telephone numbers and social media handles. Once the crawler has collected these links, Apify repeats the process - visiting each page, extracting all contact details and collecting links to further pages.
Using this approach, Apify can crawl deep into the target website, visiting each blog article, product page, job posting and even collect links out to other websites. Crawling over such a wide array of pages, Apify will often drag up email address and direct telephone numbers to contacts inside the organisation. Following links out to other websites can also be extremely effective in finding associated businesses, parent companies or suppliers that you can connect with to find a way to the decision maker.
Getting Starting with Apify's Contact Crawler
To get started collecting contact details with Apify, simply visit the Apify Store and copy the Contact Details crawler into your account. This crawler is pre-made and can be used immediately once copied into your account using the "Try for Free" button. To use it effectively, you will want to set the following parameters depending on your use case;
- Start URL - Homepage of your Target Site
- Maximum Link Depth - Number of times Apify follows the find links, extract details and click links loop
- Maximum Pages - Maximum Number of Pages to Collect
- Stay Within Domain - Whether or not to follow links out to other Websites
As you increase the crawling depth, the crawl will take longer, but will generate more results. For the majority of websites you visit, generic email addresses and social media accounts will normally be present on the first page, if not the second. If you are mostly interesting in collecting social media accounts for targeting or for research, restricting the crawl depth to 1 or 2 levels down should capture the details you need and allow you to speed up the proess. If you're searching for email addresses for individual contacts, you will want to crawl as deep as you can in the website, as these are often buried in blog articles or in the careers section in job postings.
If the number of companies in your target campaign is low, its likely worthwhile spending the extra time deeply crawling the website. Similarly when deciding whether to follow links off site, take into account whether the company is likely to be a part of a group that you would like to extract details from as well. If the site lists suppliers or sister companies, those could be approached for a warm introduction to the right contact.
Techniques for Finding Decision Makers
To get your product in front of a decision maker, you need two things. The first is a line of communication to them or to someone that can make an introduction. The second is a compelling and personalised reason to open a conversation. Using the social media profiles and email addresses you find on the site can tick both of these boxes.
There are many options available to you to begin reaching out to your target contacts, including LinkedIn and social media, however email and telephone are still the primary way of getting yourself in front of the decision maker. To find the email address of your decision maker, you can often guess this once you know how they format email addresses in their company more generally. If you can find a individual email address for a contact in the business, make note of the format they use. For instance, if John Smith has an email email@example.com, its likely Chris Jones will have the email of the form firstname.lastname@example.org. The key here is to get the format, so find any email addresses you can for a contact from their website, or use a tool like Hunter.io to guess the email address for your decision maker.
Once you have an email address that represents a direct line of contact to your decision maker, you will want a compelling reason to reach out to them. Using the social media handles, you can get a feel for the culture of the company and the tone they use in communicating with their customers. You can even built twitter or facebook lists of them to collate their posts. If you can reach out to them using a similar tone of voice and staying on topics they care about, you will find it much easier to communicate the value of your product.
To do this properly, take note of any promotions or campaigns they are running, any influencers they use or any new products they have recently released. These details can help craft a message that is both relevant and compelling to consider your product and service.
Playing the Numbers Game
To be successful here, there are really two numbers that matter. The size of your list and how successful you are at selling your product to each individual company. Using web scraping, you can widen the number of companies and contacts in your target audience while finding information you can use to write more personalised emails at scale. Ultimately, this should lead to getting your product in front of more prospects, and make more sales.
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