Email scraping or also called email harvesting
(Meaning getting a lot of emails from websites like LinkedIn, YellowPages, directories, databases or any other websites you want to scrap emails from) will allow you to get thousands of emails very fast. Then, this technique is often used to send bulk emails to the new emails’ addresses you collected.
Email scraping becomes more and more popular but at Growth Hackers
, we usually recommend against it (Especially if you are not experienced with it). A lot of so-called growth hackers will tell you to do it and tell you this is what growth hacking is all about. I totally disagree. In the growth hacking definition
, I talked about an entrepreneur who contacted us and explained that he wanted millions of emails of interested people for his product. I had to explain to him that growth hacking is a process rather than simple and cheap tactics. Growth hacking is more complex and the spectrum is much wider than simply scraping emails and then sending cold emails.
Email scraping and cold emails might have a good short-term effect because you might make some sales but this will have a negative effect on the long run. For instance, if you send 20,000 emails to people that didn’t allow you to contact them; you might make a few sales if your email is well-written and your offer is attractive but most people will flag you as a spammer. Therefore, you will make a few sales quickly but you will also lose a lot of potential clients in the long run. In the meantime, a larger part of your future emails will arrive in the spam box and this will not have a good effect on your image nor on your conversion. Why? Because if a lot of your emails are flagged as spams; then most of your emails will directly go to the spam box. This is not what I call growth hacking: I call this failure hacking. Growth is not only short-term but also long-term.
However, I want to note that email scraping and cold emails can work when done well (When done very well). So, when I say that I discourage people to do it, it’s not entirely true. What you need is scraping very well-targeted emails, verifying that the emails you scraped are actual emails and then sending personalized emails with great offers. Quality email scraping coupled with great cold email outreach
will work in this case. But, this will take more time than scraping thousands of emails and sending bulk messages. If you are interested in cold email outreach, I recommend you to have a look at this email outreach complete playbook
This is why you should be careful with email scraping, cold emails and “growth hackers” who promise you thousands of emails overnight. If you use an email scraping / cold email strategy, make sure that you know what you’re doing: don’t improvise and don’t do it randomly. It’s vital to have a structured strategy (If you actually do email scraping and cold emailing, make sure you follow a clear and well-defined plan). I also recommend starting small when doing email scraping / cold emailing (Start sending just a few personalized emails first, A/B test, check your results and optimize. Then, only if your strategy is successful you can scale. Sending thousands of random emails to emails you just scrapped is like scaling before testing.). So, if you are not sure about these strategies, just don't do it: there are many other ways to get qualified email subscribers and make sales.