The Most Common Email Patterns for B2B Companies

The Most Common Email Patterns for B2B Companies

Almost any business that has an online presence and website will have numerous email addresses associated with them. Personal employee addresses, utility addresses, role based addresses, the list goes on. To put it simply, there is a mind boggling amount of email addresses that exist. If you have ever spent a decent amount of time visiting company websites or social media profiles, you might have noticed that many of these addresses share very similar qualities to completely unrelated addresses at completely unrelated businesses. The reason for this is that throughout a majority of the business to business (B2B) space, many companies have adopted very similar habits when creating email addresses for whatever purpose they need.

These patterns are commonly referred to as “Email Patterns” specifically, as there is a clear trend in what type of handles are used for specific purposes. Knowing what these handles are and what variants are the most common can be extremely useful to be aware of since knowing what possible patterns exist can allow you to potentially discover the email address of a specific contact or role based address at a company. Through trial and error paired with an email verification service, this potentially can allow you to make contact with the exact person you need to for whatever reason you may have.

In this article, we will be listing out the most common email patterns that exist online. To be as transparent as possible about the nature of this blog post, this information has been analyzed and extracted from the technology we utilize at Companywell. Considering that we crawl millions of web pages per day, alongside processing more than a million email addresses into our database, we have been able to break down which email patterns specific companies utilize, as well as be able to develop our own metrics based upon the extremely large dataset that we have accumulated through our efforts. Let’s explore our findings together.

What Is An Email Pattern?

To make sure that we are all on the same page before going over our data, let's explore what exactly an ‘email pattern’ is. An email pattern is essentially a manner in which an organization will consistently create email address handles in the same format. If a business hires a new employee and they need to create an email address for them, they will simply be able to create a handle for them that falls in line with other employees so that they are all consistently similar to each other. As an example, say a business hires somebody named John Doe. Depending on what patterns they utilize, they will simply just create a ‘john.doe@domain.com’ or a ‘j.doe@domain.com’ email address for them depending on what they have done in the past for employees.

A question you may be asking yourself is why would a majority of businesses follow the same type of guidelines when there is no real reason for doing so? To again put it as simply as possible, this usually tends to be the easiest solution for whatever department is responsible for creating and distributing these email addresses internally. Utilizing commonly used email patterns streamlines the process of creating new emails greatly, as you do not need to think about what to make a handle when the time comes. It also just makes internal communication much easier when an employee needs to communicate with another department or individual in the company, but has never been sent their email address. They can simply just follow the format and instantly connect with them without the need to look it up manually.

The Most Common Email Patterns In The B2B Space

Now that we are all on the same page, below we have listed out the 20 most common email patterns used in the B2B space. These metrics are coming straight from our database at the time of publication of this blog post (As we crawl millions of web pages a day and accumulating more and more email addresses as time goes on, the order of these patterns may not be accurate a year from now).

Commonality Email Patterns
1 {first}
2 {last}
3 {f}{last}
4 {first}.{last}
5 {first}_{last}
6 {first}-{last}
7 {f}.{last}
8 {first}{last}
9 {last}.{first}
10 {last}_{first}
11 {last}-{first}
12 {last}{first}
13 {f}_{last}
14 {f}-{last}
15 {first}.{l}
16 {first}_{l}
17 {first}-{l}
18 {first}{l}
19 {fl}{l}
20 {first}{m}{last}

It’s not much of a surprise that many of these patterns appear to be essentially the same with a few variations. Almost every business within the B2B space wants an address to immediately be known as belonging to an individual within the company. The only differential factor in these 20 patterns is how they choose to differently represent them. Sometimes companies prefer just using abbreviations of names for accounts, others like to mix them up a bit based upon the name, others separate names in such a way that make it much more apparent at a glance what their name is.

Why Care About This?

To put it as bluntly as possible, this blog post should be utilized moreso as a resource to keep in your bookmarks if you ever need to figure out someone's email address at a business. Most likely (unless you are us), you will never need to find a contacts email address on a daily basis, but I am positive that there have been certain situations in your professional life where you needed to find someone's contact information and was unable to discover it online or managed to lose track of it over a certain period of time.

Since one of the most critical methods of communication within the B2B space is email, having this knowledge in the back of your mind can come in handy in a multitude of ways. Let's look into how you can utilize this information to its max potential in your career.

How To Utilize This Information

The primary manner in which to utilize these patterns is to use trial and error to guess at a desired contacts email address. There is a lot of use out of pulling peoples names out of their email address if they do not have a correctly configured footer that displays their information, but realistically this type of information you either have beforehand or can easily find by searching their email via Google. However, being able to guess at a contacts email address is an extremely useful tool to have up your sleeve as depending on the circumstance this can directly put you in contact with someone when you would otherwise have to reach out to them through other means such as Twitter or Linkedin (which is not a bad avenue but as many of us who are not dialed into our social media presence as often as we should be, these types of outreach efforts can be not seen or forgotten pretty easily).

Below I have outlined the manner in which I have personally utilized pattern recognition based email identification in the past. This workflow is by no means the only way you can utilize this info but this is what I have had the most success with in the past.

  1. Take the {first} and {last} of a contact you wish to reach
  2. Get the domain of their current place of employment
  3. Format this data into all 20 patterns (I.E a contact named ‘john doe’ you would take the first name ‘John’ and the last name ‘Doe’ and replace it in the patters as you would see in a common email format)
  4. Utilize a verification service to see which pattern comes up as valid

Unfortunately, this process does come with some caveats due to the existence of email servers configured as “catch all” inboxes, where any type of verification can be marked incorrectly due to these types of servers accepting any type of mail that gets sent to them (If you want some incite on which verification services perform the best, I have previously written an article where I have tested out 20 of the biggest verification services that you can check out here). When you encounter any type of catchall server, unfortunately this workflow isn’t going to necessarily work. However, there is a workaround solution that can potentially allow you to still figure out the correct email address.

Below I have laid out what I do when I do encounter a Catch All server when attempting to find a specific contact email. I want to stress that you should only take the time to do this if the other workflow above does not work as intended based upon how the email server is configured.

  1. Take the {first} and {last} of a contact you wish to reach
  2. Get the domain of their current place of employment
  3. Format this data into all 20 patterns (I.E a contact named ‘john doe’ you would take the first name ‘John’ and the last name ‘Doe’ and replace it in the patters as you would see in a common email format)
  4. Take each email address pattern you generated for this contact, then perform a google search of it wrapped up in quotation marks (I.E take a johndoe@domain.com email address and perform a google search of “johndoe@domain.com”
  5. Go through the first page of results and see if this email address comes up exactly as you typed it. Some Google results will show something similar or break off the handle and show you the name, but what you are looking for is an exact match to what pattern you searched.
  6. If you cannot locate the email address on the page, move on and proceed to searching the next email address. If you can confirm that the exact email address is on a page and that its location makes sense to where it would be posted, than congratulations you most likely just located their email address.

In general, I honestly do not suggest this method but I did want to put this process out there as I have successfully found and made contacts with individuals by performing this exact process, so maybe somebody out there can get use out of it like I have in the past. But aside from that, this is a process that takes up a lot of time and unfortunately, doesn’t yield the best results normally. But it can work for the right circumstances.

There are definitely other ways in which you can utilize this information to the betterment of your needs. Due to the nature of patterns and being able to utilize data sources like CRM’s or lists of contacts from social media sites, there are manners in which you can automate this process in order to generate a large amount of highly specified contacts that you wish to reach out too. However you choose to utilize this information, know that you never know when having this in the back of your mind will help you further down the road.

To Wrap Up

A majority of the emails that exist with the B2B space follow a somewhat standard pattern that can be utilized to discover the contact information of those you wish to contact. If you have been online in any form, you probably have noticed these patterns but utilizing the data we have acquired, we have organized the most common patterns that we have found in the hopes that you can utilize this information in some way to assist you throughout your efforts for your career. As time goes on, these patterns most likely will change positions, but most likely these patterns will remain relevant as time goes on.

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