The ability to gather email data for potential leads is an immeasurable resource. Often the target audience is not aware of how relevant your products or services are until you reach out to them through email. Using an email scraper can automate this process to obtain bulk data for future marketing efforts.
What is an Email Scraper?
There are several ways to describe a program that collects data from websites. From a web scraper to a web harvester, or even a web data extraction tool, they all help gather necessary information. An email scraper is an internet bot or software application that combs internet pages for email addresses.
These programs can be helpful in many instances. The benefits of having a bulk amount of email addresses for potential sales are immeasurable if you collect and use them ethically.
Why Should You Use Web Scraping?
Using an automated software program for web scraping is helpful for many companies. You can customize this process to search for and extract any data that could aid your marketing efforts.
By targeting a specific demographic, you can increase the chances of converting these contacts into buying customers. If you need to send out a bulk email to potential customers, collecting data makes the task easier.
Things To Consider Before Scraping Emails
As with all marketing strategies, your intentions and goals may affect your methods. Here are a few things to consider before using an email scraper software:
- Check for the quality of the email addresses: To collect the bulk of emails from the internet and use them ethically, you should always first consider whether the source of emails is legitimate. In other words, were they publicly shared by the users or posted online without their knowledge?
- Define your goals and purpose for building the email list: The two main reasons for email scraping by most businesses are to either mass email potential buyers or use the emails to create genuine relationships with their potential customers. Whichever the case, you’ll need to always identify what you want to achieve before scraping emails. Plus, it’s also common to use this generated list for Google Ads or Facebook Ads by helping you to construct your target customer profiles.
- Check with your state laws: When it comes to compiling vast amounts of customer data or emails for lead generation, looking into what your local regulations have to say about that is another important consideration. Find out what you can do with scraped email addresses to operate both legally and ethically.
With these initial factors in mind about email scraping, you are then more prepared to start using an email scraper program.
Email Scraper Programs
There are numerous email scraper software programs that are available to use. Each program will have various tools and features that can give the results you desire. For those individuals who are more tech-savvy, some software choices will allow you to custom-make your parameters. This element can give you the most flexibility outside of pre-made tools and options.
One popular choice for web scraper software in Ruby. This program scrapes the internet for HTML code language and gathers any information you outline in the preset parameters. Programs like Ruby are helpful since they have built-in tools and elements if you are not diverse in creating a scraper yourself.
For an email scraper like Ruby to work, several subprocesses execute for a successful run. These operations include:
- Request and Response: Make the specific request as you determine beforehand to search for detailed information and receive it back in HTML format.
- Parse and Extraction: Parsing takes the HTML code and extracts it into a text format. It arranges the format, so a computer can understand the language and read it.
- Download and Save: Downloading the pertinent information and saving it as a memory structure that a computer can read.
Building a Web Scraper with Ruby
Ruby has many features that make it easy to use even if you are not a professional coder. Install the version of Ruby necessary for your computer. It is available for Windows, Mac, or Linux/UNIX computer systems. This downloaded version should include the DevKit libraries necessary, also called RubyGems.
Run the installer. The entire process is user-friendly and helps install the toolchain you will require. Once it is complete, you will need to install Nokogiri as a gem using the command “gem install nokogiri” at your terminal prompt.
Create Your Scraper File
Next, create a Ruby file on your system for scraping data. Call it something relevant, like First_Scraper. After that, you require a library directory for the file. Once the file is within the new directory, open your prompt to call Nokogiri to execute.
Create a Class
Create a class that you can call EmailScraper, or something appropriate, so it is recognizable later. After this is set up, you need to send the request to the web page.
Enter the Nokogiri Library
Enter Nokogiri::HTML construct, which will take the information and wrap it in the Ruby data object. This object will require its attributes to be equal to an instance variable that you can use throughout the class.
Create the Initialization
Create your initialize method and position the code with the HTTP request within it, along with the instance variable. For the scraping process to complete, you need to select an element from the Nokogiri Cascading Style Sheets (CSS).
Choose the Data Code
Choose the code for the data you want to scrape and paste it into the text editor prompt. The information you collect should be in a readable format to print out. Create a new class instance for the data. This element will enable you to open the data and view it for use later.
Create Display Method
Next, you create the method to display all of the data you scrape to view and print it off. Using Ruby Nokogiri can give you the flexibility to add additional elements you need when scraping data from websites.
To get the most out of learning how to scrape emails on websites in bulk for leads, we’ve compiled several leading questions regarding web scraping that may be useful for your business.
Is it legal to be web scraping?
The activity of web scraping is not illegal because it is merely a software for gathering information more conveniently and efficiently. Although, when using scraped emails to steal private consumer data, it then becomes illegal.
This further applies to when you scrape emails off websites that do not allow it without obtaining prior authorization. Plus, when the website never notes something legally about using their data. Therefore, before scraping, you should carefully read the targeted site’s Terms and Conditions.
Are web scraping and web crawling the same thing?
Although the two ideas relate, web scraping is the process of extracting data from websites while web crawling involves systematically browsing the internet and is commonly performed for web indexing.
How can I prevent myself from being blocked when scraping a website?
It is very possible to be denied access to a targeted website if you have been over-scraping that particular site. To avoid being blocked, you can make it appear as if you are scraping like a human instead of a robot. For example, consider implementing delays between requests, obtaining proxy servers, or using different and inconsistent techniques.
Is it possible to extract data from the entire world wide web?
Although powerful search engines like Google can crawl the web, they can only do so on the web’s surface and for which still covers a very small part of the internet. No tools can crawl the entire internet. So, it is strongly recommended to always first identify which websites are the most relevant and important for your web scraping project.
Are web scraping programs common for all websites?
There simply cannot be a web scraping tool that does it all since each program contains different rules. For example, how many sites you can scrape and the nature of the design as well as the code varies by program. Also, if it’s a small use case, DIY scraping programs are more suitable due to the nature of their limitations.
Using an email scraper like Ruby can help automate your marketing efforts immensely. By employing web scraping programs, you can have all the pertinent information right at your fingertips easily for future use.