Today I’m starting something new: it’s called Sales Tool Tuesday’s. Every week, I’ll pick 1 tool to try out and see how it can be used to grow revenues and/or drive sales productivity. Today’s tool is import.io, a simple web app for scraping website without writing any code.
This Week's Tool: Import.io
What does it do: import.io is a web-based platform for extracting data from websites without writing any code.
Cost: FREE! They have an awesome free plan allows up to 500 queries per month, which is pretty awesome. Of course they have paid tiers too, but this is more than enough from a sales standpoint.
How does it help me sell: List Building and Lead Generation
Sample Use Case:
Let’s say I wanted to build a lead list of all the Design Firms in Toronto. After doing a quick Google Search, I come across the this directory over here: https://www.topdesignfirms.com/directory/international/canada. Now wouldn’t it be awesome if I didn’t have to go through all the 10 different pages of firms, copy and paste all of the data, and then format it for use in my CRM?
Here's what the site looks like:
How do I use import.io for web scraping?
1. Go to import.io and click sign up to create a new account
2. Once you're done that, Log in and select NEW EXTRACTOR
3. When prompted, type in the URL and click GO.
3. Let import.io do it’s magic. You'll probably see a screen that looks like this while you wait.
4. Get a beautifully formatted list of leads for your first page and click Done.
5. Now that you import.io has learned the general formatting of the website, add in some additional URLs in the dashboard view so you can build a complete lead list. Then click save. (Note: You can generally figure what the additional URLs are based on it's format. In this case, each URL increases by 1.)
6. Let import.io do its magic and wait. Once completed, you can go ahead and download your data into a nice csv by clicking download.
7. Voila! Get a beautifully formatted .csv that looks like this:
Verdict: import.io is pretty awesome.
If you’re trying to grow sales and improve your lead generation efforts, you’re likely spending a lot of your time finding leads and building lists. If you’re not, I’d consider reading this post on 3 Ways to Hack List Building in the Early Days. With that said, how many times have you found yourself having to ask a dev for some help in scraping data off of a website? I’ve done it a lot, and I hate asking. Every. Single. Time. I feel like I’m slowing the devs down, when they could be doing something way more important. Honestly, if there’s something that I can do myself, I’d rather do that, and have the devs building awesome product features to make my life easier as a seller. Enter import.io, a magical solution that makes scraping websites super easy.
1. More best practices for learning import.io
If you really want to learn how to use Import.io with some if its additional functionality, check out Matt Ellsworth’s Udemy Course over here: Web Scraping for Sales & Growth Hacking with Import io. It’s a great little course with step-by-step tutorials on how to scrape websites like Reddit, Yelp, and Hacker News. Note: since this course was released, import.io released a new version of their app. So while some of the course material is slightly dated, I still found it really useful and would recommend it those wanting to learn more.
2. Dealing with Websites that have an Infinite Scroll
Sometimes you’ll come across websites that have an infinite scrolls. This means that you're not able to load all the data at once, and need to scroll down every time to load more data. Think of Pinterest, this is the perfect example of a website with infinite scroll. When it comes to web scraping, this gets a little annoying because you want to scrape all of the data in it, but you can’t because the hyperlink in your browser doesn’t actually get all of the data at once. Don’t fear, check out this help article that solved the issue for me: http://support.import.io/knowledgebase/articles/389408-infinite-scroll-without-prerender
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