Every business be it a small organization, a medium-sized team, or an enterprise. Revenue is generated when businesses have customers paying them.
To reach those customers businesses reach out to potential people who can be interested in the problem you are solving.
In this blog, we will know how web scraping can be one of the ways to generate leads, what are its advantages, and how different industries can use it.
What is Lead Scraping?
Lead Scraping is the process of collecting information such as emails, names, contact numbers, etc. using web scraping. The process involves using third-party software to do this very part of web scraping.
This way businesses can enjoy the freedom to focus on other tasks, while with scraping at the backend they can generate leads at a generous amount each day. The whole process has the advantage that it can be done at scale and the output can be sent to the CRM a company is using.
Challenges in Lead Scraping
Scraping leads can be a valuable strategy for businesses looking to expand their client base. However, it comes with its own set of challenges. Here are some common challenges faced in lead scraping and how to overcome them.
Lead Scraping is not a simple and straightforward task. You have to crawl websites that are quite sensitive to bots. These websites can easily block your scraper by blocking your IP which can stop your data pipeline.
Complex Website Structure
Websites like LinkedIn are not easy to scrape. They require a completely different infrastructure in order to crawl public profiles. LinkedIn is a lead warehouse and you can find tons of leads for your product over here. A dedicated LinkedIn Scraper can help you bypass the hurdle of maintaining a scraper.
Sometimes websites change their design due to which HTML tags also change. Due to this, your scraper can break because the tags you are picking and parsing are now gone.
Methods to scrape Leads
Scraping leads, or extracting contact information from various sources, is a common practice for sales and marketing teams looking to generate leads and grow their customer base. Here are some methods to scrape leads:
No-code Web Scraping
Let’s say I want to scrape emails from yellowpages.com then I can simply use the combination of Airtable, Web Scraping API, and data fetcher to pull fresh data and save it in a CSV file. Here Data Fetcher is an extension that can be downloaded when you sign up for an account on Airtable. Using this extension you can pull data through Web Scraping APIs and then save it to a sheet inside Airtable.
You can even schedule your tasks in Airtable. So, even when you are sleeping your scraper will keep running and it will keep scraping the leads. Isn’t that amazing?
Creating your own Scrapers
If you are a developer then you can build a scraper using Python or Nodejs. Websites like Yelp and Yellowpages can be scraped using these languages. You can crawl and parse the data to extract details like phone number, email, etc.
However, there is a limitation to this method because this method is not scalable. Normal scrapers get blocked easily due to IP blocking. We have discussed this above too in the Challenges section.
We can overcome this problem by using Web Scraping APIs.
Web Scraping API
Web Scraping API will handle all the hassles like the rotation of proxies, passing custom headers, or even headless browsers. This will help you create a constant flow of data through the data pipeline. You just have to send a GET request and you will get the data without worrying about getting blocked. Even websites like LinkedIn can be scraped at a speed of 1 million profiles per day using these services.
Websites where you can find your target prospects
Scraping leads from Yelp involves the extraction of business names, addresses, phone numbers, and websites, from Yelp listings. These leads can be potential clients or prospects. You can kickstart your journey by reading web scraping with Yelp.
When you make a search on Google it shows the Title, link, and description. Inside this description, you will sometimes find emails or phone numbers. This data can help you generate leads. You can extract the data from the box of Google Business. You can learn how to scrape Google search results with Python to start scraping leads.
Google Maps can also provide you with email, phone numbers, addresses, etc. Although scraping Google Maps is not an easy task, you should always use scraping APIs to scrape it. You can read this guide on scraping Google Maps with Python.
Personally, I prefer LinkedIn for generating leads. LinkedIn is like an ocean of leads and you can find your target customers over here. It is used by more than 900M users which means you can extract thousands of leads every day from Linkedin. If you want to scrape LinkedIn person and company profiles then read Scraping LinkedIn Profiles with Python.
Advantages of collecting leads via web scraping
- When you collect leads by scraping websites, the process becomes relatively faster than collecting leads manually.
- You reach out fast and the lead pipeline never goes empty.
- Ultimately customers and revenue go up.
How companies can take advantage of lead generation via web scraping?
Large enterprise companies have a set goal for customer acquisition. Here marketing and sales teams can lower their burden by web scraping websites from where they think their market-fit audience can be found.
Otherwise, they have to manually visit forums, social media, and other websites to collect leads. This becomes a tedious and manually dependent task and can leave the lead pipeline dry for a period of time.
Companies can even save bucks by not using a paid tool like LinkedIn Sales Navigator, Snov, etc. IT team can create a dedicated web scraper or can use a third-party tool like Scrapingdog that can be used by the sales team.
After this sales team can refine the leads by cold calling or by either emailing them. If somebody is interested then it can be passed on to the upper management for closing the prospect.
Web scraping can sometimes be a little rough and therefore you should avoid scraping those particular websites. For example, LinkedIn does not allow the crawling of public profiles. Do remember that the quality of the audience is far better than the quantity.
Our main focus should be on finding leads that can become our customers in the future otherwise there is no point in collecting emails like a robot just for the sake of keeping the lead pipeline open.