How to get anyone’s attention

Getting the attention of a high-profile or high-impact individual can be a daunting task. Say, for example, that you want to get an important CEO or investor to notice your startup. How would you go about doing this? Sure, cold-calling/-mailing is one way, but that probably won’t be very effective. Here’s a clever little ‘hack’ that is much more likely to get you there.

Step 1: Pick the individual

The first step is to pick your ‘target’. All you need to know is the full name of the individual, and the name of the company they work for. You can use Facebook or LinkedIn to find these details.

In this example we will be targeting Evan Spiegel, the CEO of Snapchat.





Step 2: Find the individual’s email address

The next step is to figure out what the email address is that the individual uses. To do this, start by going to and do a search for the domain name of the company. It will come up with a list of the possible name formats which the company is using, like so:




Note that this will not work for all companies. For example, email addresses and name formats are not listed on However, the name formats shown above are very generic and most companies are likely to use one of the formats listed above. So, in our example, the list of possible email addresses for Evan would be as follows:



Now, how do we figure out which one of these he is actually using? Well, that’s where Rapportive comes in. Rapportive is a browser plugin that shows LinkedIn profiles right inside Gmail, based on the individual’s email address.

So, install Rapportive, open up Gmail, compose a new email,  and add all possible email addresses to the ‘TO:’ field. Once you have the right email address, the LinkedIn profile of your target will show up next to the compose window:





Pro-tip: Can’t find the right email address using Email-Format? Try searching on, or just perform a Google search. Still can’t find it? Post a HIT on Amazon’s MTurk, and people will find the right email address for you for a dollar or so.


Step 3: Set-up a Facebook ad

This is where the fun begins. We’re going to set-up a Facebook ad with a custom audience to solely target the individual so that for the coming month (or however long you’d like) this person will be seeing nothing but your ads every time he of she is on Facebook. Here’s how to do that:


Create a custom Audience

  1. Go to your Facebook Ads Manager.
  2. Select Audiences from the left side and click Create Audience, then select Custom Audience from the drop-down list.
  3. Select Customer List, then select Copy and paste your customer list




Pro-tip: Facebook required you to add at least 20 email addresses, but we only want to target 1 person. To fix this, make sure you add your target’s email address, plus 19 additional (valid) email addresses for Facebook users of the opposite sex. Then when you create the ad, make sure to only target the individual’s gender.


Set-up the ad

Go back to your Facebook Ads Manager dashboard, and click Create a new ad. Now you can set up whatever type of ad you want, just make sure select the custom audience you’ve just created:





Finish the ad to your liking, but make sure you give it enough time to run. A month or so should suffice to capture someones attention.



And that’s how to get influential people to notice your startup! Now your target’s newsfeed will be filled with your ads each time he or she is on Facebook.


Thanks to @darnocks from Twoodo for showing me this technique.


Jerre Baumeister

Jerre is the founder of TweetFavy and the co-founder of Novim Media. He is also a web-developer & -designer who specializes in back-end development. If you'd like to connect with him, you can find him on Twitter @JerreBM

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  • –

    nice! thanks.

  • mildmanneredmillions

    holy crap this is brilliant

  • Smitty

    In theory it would only work if he used his business email for his facebook profile…..which, if I had to guess would be less likely. Still has a chance…but I’d guess that the majority of folks use a personal address on their FB profile and not a business one. Am I wrong??

    • Duraid

      You’re probably right, but Facebook charges per impression/click for that ad, so perhaps if that person doesn’t have a Facebook account with that email address then you won’t be charged. Never done this, but I’ll try targeting a fake email address to see if I’m right.

      • Jerre Baumeister

        That’s correct.

  • preslavrachev

    That’s a nasty, but brilliant hack!

  • Corey Quinn

    You can try the same tactic using paid search: bid only on the brand term “Snapchat” or “Evan Spiegel” exact match. Geo target to the company’s zip. Probably not as effective as the FB tactic, but technically feasible.

    • Jerre Baumeister

      Absolutely! That’s also a fun tactic to use. You can target web-wide banner ads based on zip codes as well, if you use the right RTB platforms like Adsuit. Can also be a cool strategy!

  • sergeitoom

    Get influential people to notice your startup . – Can You May ?!. Leadership’s Secret is Find New Paradigm for Development .