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How Scraping Emails Can Kickstart Your Marketing Campaign

Depending on your target, finding the contact information for your leads can be challenging. In certain sectors, there are still companies who haven’t embraced the digital age. As a growth hacker, it is up to you to find unique ways to uncover the information that you’re seeking. Scraping emails is a tactic widely used to target leads. Having a collection of emails is quite important; that’s why there are companies profiting off of selling lead lists.

Nowadays, there are a ton of tools available for scraping emails, but only a few perform the actions they market. A majority of them obtain the contact’s corporate emails. This becomes an issue for custom audiences because few people sign up for Facebook or LinkedIn with the corporate email assigned to them. While some tools for scraping emails will produce results, there comes a time where writing a custom script is the preferred course of action. This is because the data you’re trying to access is more complex or you simply want to automate a cleaner and quicker process. This is what I did and it kickstarted a quite successful marketing campaign. Below, I’ll be going through the campaign that I ran step-by-step that started off by scraping emails.

Brainstorming

The group that I was targeting for my campaign was A&W franchisees. Our target market is the retail sector, restaurant industry, and financial institutions. The first step was figuring out where I could find the contact information of these franchisees. There are many online resources that give you store numbers, but scraping emails of franchisees is much more difficult as they’re generally not listed anywhere. I created a spreadsheet of web sources where franchisees could be listed before beginning the search. The Chamber of Commerce websites turned out to be very helpful for this specific market. After I narrowed that down, I began scouring Chamber of Commerce sites for the data of the franchisees.

Search Operators

Using search operators is a great way to narrow the focus of your search. I used this search operator to find the Chamber of Commerce websites where A&W franchisees were listed.

chamber-of-commerce-search-operator

From there, I had a list of websites that I began sifting through for franchisee data. This was a good start, but to begin scraping emails, I needed to find a contact within these websites that I could link to a list.

Scraping Emails

I began finding the contact information of franchisees, but I knew that for this to scale, I would need to find a larger source. Once I found a contact, I used quotations outside their emails in the search bar to focus in on the search. Eventually, I found an email that was linked to A&W’s mobile website. This discovery expanded my search.

 

hunsucker-a&w

I clicked on the first link and ventured onto their mobile website. The landing page below was the first step to finding the remaining contacts. Everything I needed was on that landing page. Before doing anything, I left their mobile website and surfed through their desktop version just to see if I could find the same information. It was clear that I could only get to this page using search operators.

A&W mobile website

This was the data I was searching for because I needed it for targeting purposes. The key was to find their personal email as their corporate email wouldn’t be helpful for Facebook’s custom audience and LinkedIn’s matched audiences.

Inspect

The goal now was to figure out how and where I could obtain the information of the remaining franchisees. The graphic above has the store address in the URL, but this wasn’t quite helpful. I wouldn’t be able to find the other pages without knowing the address of the store and even if I had the addresses, trying to determine the structure of the URL would have been challenging because there was no pattern. I right clicked on inspect to look for the source of where this data was being pulled from.

inspect-element

 

After clicking inspect, I selected the “network” column and refreshed the page to get the data listed above. The highlighted light blue line with the document type is what I clicked next. This brought me to the source of data that I was looking for.

 

aw-script

 

This is where I found the rel=”shortlink”. I copied that highlighted link and pasted it into the browser. Every time I replaced the last number in that link , I found a new landing page with another franchisee with all their data. To automate this process of retrieving the data, a developer wrote a script to gather the information. Once the script was run, the data was exported onto a spreadsheet.

scraping emails

This script got my marketing campaign started.

Targeting

The next step was to begin targeting the franchisees on social. I first uploaded the list on LinkedIn’s Campaign Manager using their “Matched Audiences” feature. It took a full day to populate and eventually, I couldn’t use the list because it had less than 300 contacts. Luckily, the list was big enough to upload it onto Facebook’s Custom Audience.

custom-audience-upload

The Custom Audience feature on Facebook is great for engaging your leads. It’s very useful for companies whose target audience is small on social media. If you’re marketing to these groups, scraping emails and later uploading them on Facebook for targeting is an avenue you should explore. Aside from creating a custom audience, you can also create a Lookalike Audience to expand your audience.

custom-audience-upload

After uploading the list, I targeted the owners with content related to our product. I’ve had the most success promoting content using the engagement objective on Facebook. Having a deep understanding of your target market’s personas and putting the right content in front of them will increase your CTR. These are the results from a campaign where I targeted a small list of franchisees with content.

custom-audience-campaign-results

 

These engagement campaigns give me a much higher ROI than the conversion campaigns for our target market. Other franchisees get tagged in the comments of content pieces and that grows our audience because I can retarget people who’ve engaged with our content. My A&W campaigns did well, but the audience was way too small for it to be statistically significant.

 

a&w-facebook

Email

The final step was to get them to opt in with an intro email. I have a simple automation for subscribers before segmenting them into different lists.

active-campaign-automation

I then segment the contacts into multiple lists based on their title and profession. That’s when the longer and more complex automation process begins. I do this to keep my engagement high and to ensure subscribers get emails that appeal to them.

The first email campaign did well with a 56.79% open rate, 7.41% CTR, 15.21% CTO, and no unsubscribes.

active-campaign-reports

Your open rate will improve if the receiver knows who you are and that’s why the custom audience campaign on Facebook was critical to raising awareness. Without the initial Facebook Campaign, they could have treated my first email campaign like any other cold email.

This was a good start to the email marketing automation and at some point during this cycle, some of these franchisees will convert into paying customers. Also for those wondering which email marketing platform I use, Active Campaign is my platform of choice. I’ve used it for a few years and so far it’s been great. Aside from being a full-stack email marketing platform, the CRM has everything you need.

Conclusion

Scraping emails is still quite valuable and the growing maturity of the ad platforms makes targeting much easier. The goal of this article was not only to detail how scraping emails can help your marketing efforts, but also the growth hacking mindset of digging to obtain the information needed. This gives you an insight of my thought process. I believe there’s always a way to get results, but sometimes you have to think outside the box to make it happen. If you want to read more of the same content, subscribe to our newsletter today to receive actionable marketing content straight to your inbox.

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