10 proven ways to grow your email marketing list in 2023

A computer engineer named Ray Tomlinson sent the very first email in 1971. The message he sent was just a string of numbers and letters that did not make any sense, but it was the beginning of a new era of communication. The exact message was entirely forgotten, but experts say, most likely the first message was QWERTYIOP or something similar. Tomlinson was also the person who introduced the usage of the “@” symbol in email addresses.

In 1978, a marketing manager at Digital Equipment Corp named Gary Thuerk used this new method of direct communication to send out the first commercial email to let people know about a new product. The rest is history. Now, here we are in 2022. We have Social Media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, TikTok, Instagram, and many more. We also have instant messaging apps like Telegram and WhatsApp.

Why do we still need email marketing?

The reason is simple: for over 10 years in a row, email marketing generates the highest return on investment (ROI) for marketers and companies. And this ROI is mind-blowing. According to Direct Marketing Association (DMA), for every $1 marker spent on email, the average ROI is $38. And if the returns do not scare you, the growth will. And that growth is that, by 2025, the global email users are expected to reach 4.6 billion. This makes it a must for every company or institution to grow its mailing list. 

Below are 10 proven ways to do that.

  1. Import existing customers: assuming you have existing data, format it as first name, last name, email, mobile, etc. If you have a column for “Name” in the data, make sure you split that into first name and last name. It looks friendly and more approaching to address someone as Hi Dr. Bawumia, instead of Hi Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia. But make sure you have their permission before importing it into your email marketing platform. Someone giving you his/her email when they buy something from your online portal does not mean you automatically may send them marketing emails. Seek that permission explicitly.
  2. Catchy subject line: Make sure your title or subject line is catchy, and the content is interesting. This is important because 35% of people open emails based on the title. If the title of your email is not convincing enough, 35% of the subscribers will not open it at all. Not just that, 69% of people will also mark your email as “Spam” based on the title. They will not even read the content. Once they do not find the title interesting, they will mark it as spam, or if you are lucky, they will delete it. But, either way, is not good for you. Deleting it will reduce your engagement rate, and in effect, affect your reputation. Both Delete and Spam increase the chance of your email landing in the trash folder of other subscribers. Later, I will talk about some indicators you must get right when crafting your heading.
  3. Make your content sharable: Make sure your subscribers can share the content they receive in their email, and this is done by adding a Share button or social media buttons to the email. Preferably, put that at the footer of the email so that it does not distract readers. After all, they will finish reading it before deciding whether to share it. In my mailing list, for example, I have another link that points to all the previous posts/email content I have sent. This helps subscribers to have easy access to old content or references.
  4. Use lead magnet: A lead magnet is a valuable content you provide for free from contact details. Use a lead magnet to get the contact details of new subscribers. If it is a product you are promoting in the email, you can also provide discount or coupons, or refund for people who are not happy with the product.
  5. Should you use pop-ups? Well, you can try it, but to be honest with you, just as I do, many hate pop-ups when they appear on a website. I find it so destructive and I do not think I have ever entered my email address in any pop-up. If you want to test it, you can use a platform like Popusmart to achieve that. Good luck!
  6. Social media call to action: Add a signup form on your Facebook page or any other social media platform that supports Signup. The link must be your newsletter form. Therefore, it is important to consider “Integration” when selecting your email marketing service provider. You must be able to integrate your email marketing campaign with other platforms. Your newsletter form must integrate well with Facebook or any other popular platform.
  7. Blog post: Add the subscription form or the newsletter form or the lead magnet to every blog post. This way, readers will subscribe right after reading an article. This is what I will highly recommend instead of the destructive pop-up form. Remember: you can also convert your blog posts to pdf and send them to your subscribers as attachments. And you do not need to be told you must have a subscription form or the newsletter form somewhere in there.
  8. Ask a friend: During programs and networking, either online or offline, take as many emails as you can, but remember to ask their permission. Let them know you will send them valuable content occasionally.
  9. Call Card: Add your newsletter link to your call card or business card. This way, whoever you give your call card to will have the option to visit that link and subscribe.
  10. Social Media post: Add the newsletter link to all relevant social media posts you make, and occasionally too, update your WhatsApp status with the link.


To conclude, regardless of how you acquired the email, you must occasionally clean your list to remove inactive ones. There are tools for that, and you can do that manually too if your list is not huge.

How to clean your email list will be an article for another day.

Author: Kaunda Ibn Ahmed (Online President) | Communications Team Member, Institute of ICT Professionals Ghana, Communications Team.

For comments, contact author kaunda@outlook.com | +233234809010.

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