Finding leads for my Services Website- web scraping? Part 1

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People have their skills. I’m a bit of a techie and love to dive deep into things. Being freelance you have to be versatile though. Like having a modicum of understanding of accounts for tax and skills for running a business. One area I find challenging is marketing. I tend to get work by word of mouth and in interviews I usually have a good depth of knowledge to help influence the outcome.

I’ve had to put attention on the marketing side a few times in my life. I helped run a conference centre with my ex-wife and she suggested I do some of that, even though she was far better at it than I. Other times marketing my services  I have had average results.

Now I need to get some leads and harass people via email as I want to market my services overseas.  I am happy with the services I’m offering. They are tested and robust and I believe useful for Asset & Facilities Management Services. Now I need to persuade someone to use these services as solutions to solve their problems.

Watch some video’s and try it

I thought this was an interesting video on scraping.  I thought the first method in the video was pretty direct.

 

I tried using the following approach in google, from the first video :

Site:us.linkedin.com “*.com” OR “facilities management”or “*.net” or “*.biz”

and from the 2nd video I tried:

facility+managers+uk+email@

From, a couple of testings of some variations of the above processes and taking the results and pushing them into the Email Extractor Lite I ended up with 136 email addresses.

I then saw this video on how to clean or verify your email list:

And after downloading Dr. Email Verifier and running the list I had put in a text file through it of the 136 emails only 7 were valid a 5% success rate. I’m not sure what process its using but that’s a bit scary.

So, I’d say that that process does not look very effective. I’ll need to investigate other methods.

It seems there is a strong resistance to putting up valid email addresses on the site because of spamming. I’d mentioned in one of my recent posts how I kept coming on peoples web sites and having to fill in contact form as there was no emails to send information to, and this made me irate as I’d written a very descriptive email with attachments and screenshots so these could not go into forms as there was no file upload buttons on these sites, now I know why.  This is all very educational.

Next round

If at first you don’t succeed, try to stuff it up another way.

I then went back to the videos  and found the following two. I uploaded both extensions onto Chrome (which I have active for coda.io) and had another crack at it.

From looking at the previous videos I use a string in google search like:

@gmail.com” and “Facilities Management” Site:facebook.com (or Site:linkedin.com)

using, gmail, aol, outlook, yahoo, ymail, Hotmail with both Facebook and LinkedIn I ended up garnering about 1200 email addresses. I used the Email Extractor extension (2nd video) and cut/pasted the emails into a text file as in the 2nd video of the post. They were a bit more global as I did not put in a country.

I then used Excel go to Data Tab & used REMOVE DUPLICATES and cleared away about 19 duplicates.

I then used Dr Email Verifier to look at the emails. the programme only uploads 20 emails at a time for the free version, so there is a bit of a process in checking.

I think the Chrome extension Email Extractor will do verification but I think you have to upgrade to a paid version.

Google Trends

Looking at one of Neil Patel’s YouTube videos he suggested using Google Trends to look at a subject. I did so and this was the outcome of part of a search. There seems to be an interest in Qatar (actually on differed date frames UAE comes to the fore).

I think this may be a good way to target certain keywords and maybe LinkedIn or Facebook users in the countries where there is a higher interest.

Thunderbird and Mail Merge

I did a mail out once before and ended up sending a dummy rubbish emails to the relevant email addresses instead of test addresses. A bit embarrassing. So this time around I’m going to test this thoroughly with some dummy accounts prior to sending to relevant people from the web scraping exercise above.

In another Neil Patel’s YouTube video I was watching he said that if there were lots of images/videos and links in an email it would most probably be filtered to promotional rather than go to the inbox of the person it was sent to.

I have been testing with a Thunderbird Add-in Quicktest. I’ve spent a bit of time de-bugging and sen ding mail to my other accounts. One keeps on going to the junk folder. I had a HTML button in that. I have since taken it out and just put in a simple link. I think once its registered as Junk it will keep on directing that mail from account as junk. I could whitelist the address but I’ll leave it at the moment as I’m testing and just seeing that the email arrives. I will be deleting them until I have got the content and the process right.

The earlier time I used Thunderbird and I will use it again with the Mail Merge as per the video below. There is also an article about it here.

so the attempt below was a trial run with a simple copy using a CSV with 53 email addresses in and sent to DRAFT folder where I can check them.

So I tidied up the email and sent it out to those recipients. The first one errored as a wrong address, although this was supposed to be the Dr Email Verified. I did export only correct ones, although going back to the Dr Email Verified I see that that email is defined as BAD.

Overall it took about 7 minutes to send all 53 emails and 7 of them failed. so 13% failed, even after going through the Email verifier. Reviewing this , it lets some through as they are unsupported server, so @yahoo.com is unsupported, so its just green lighting them. A bit of a waste of time. I think I’ll need to be a bit more diligent in future

Google Analytics Goals

I have usually just had the basics of Google analytics running on my sites as I haven’t really been interested in “Conversions”. But I read this post on Goals in Google Analytics, seeing who went to which product and with a time limit on whether that was a successful goal or not . It is an easy enough article to follow, irritating pop-ups though. I then went onto Google Analytics gallery and downloaded the simple goal pack and that led me through identifying all the services for who goes to the actual product page. Another bit of learning.

On the way I found a bad link and had to fix it. First time that has happened to me in WordPress.

End thoughts

I dont think this was the most targeted campaign but as a process I thought it went reasonably well.

The web scraping methods in the videos are a bit wide. In one of Neil Patel’s you tube video’s he suggests scrubbing your email list to make it more relevant. I will go through and find the 7 unsuccessful ones and delete them from that particular list.   It will be interesting to see the response on google analytics on the site since that is now just up and running.

I think I’ll have to do a bit more delving into Google Trends to see if that will help target a more relevant client group.

I found the mail merge for Thunderbird quite easy to use and I was more confident with using it. I thought the setup as explained in the video was very succinct. It was also good to test to Draft folder.

I will test a couple of more lists out then review the process. I think I will try the Firefox web scraper add in and target a couple of Facility Management specific sites to see if I can get some more focused contacts.

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