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    51 Common Email Marketing Terms, Explained

    Posted by FMiD Team on Oct 23, 2017


    Common Email Marketing Terms Explained

    Are you new to email marketing?

    Have been doing some email marketing here and there but want to take it to the next level?

    Are you confused by all the terms that you’re all of sudden expected to know as soon as you start doing email?

    We’ve all been there.

    So rather than have you scour the Internet for hours looking for definitions to all the various terminology, we’ve taken 51 commonly used email marketing terms and explained them, right here.


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    Here are 51 common email marketing terms, explained:

    Above the fold: The part of the email message that a person sees without scrolling. Typically, you want to put your most valuable content “above the fold” so that it will be seen. The “fold” varies depending on the type of preview pane and monitor size/resolution of the recipient.

    A/B testing: When you divide your list into two segments and deliver an email to each segment with one changed element, or variable, to test. Testing is frequently done on subject lines, offers, images, or copy.

    Affirmative consent: An active request by a reader or subscriber confirming that they wish to receive advertising or promotional information, newsletters, etc.

    Blacklist: A list developed by anyone receiving email, or processing email on its way to the recipient, that includes domains or IP addresses of any email marketers suspected of sending spam. Many companies use blacklists to reject inbound email, either at the server level or before it reaches the recipient’s inbox.

    Block: Refusal by an ISP or mail server to forward your email message to a recipient. Many ISPs block email from IP addresses or domains that have been reported to send spam, viruses or contain content that violates email policy or spam filters.

    Bounce: A message that doesn’t get delivered promptly or at all. Emails can bounce for many reason: the email address is incorrect or has been closed; the recipient’s mailbox is full; the mail server is down; or the system detects spam or offensive content.

    Bounce rate: The number of hard and soft bounces divided by the number of emails sent. This is an inexact number because some systems do not report back to the sender clearly or accurately (see also hard bounce and soft bounce).

    Broadcast or Deployment: The process of sending the same email message to multiple recipients.

    CAN-SPAM: Popular name for U.S. law, Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003, which regulates commercial email. The law establishes requirements for those who send email for the primary purpose of advertising or promoting a commercial product or service.

    Churn: Subscribers who leave a mailing list, or email addresses that become undeliverable over a certain length of time, usually expressed as a percentage of the whole list.

    Co-registration: Arrangement in which companies collecting registration information from users include a separate box for users to check if they would also like to be added to a specific third-party list. This can occur as people sign up to receive newsletters or during the checkout process during an online transaction among others.

    CPM: Cost per Thousand

    Creative: Copy and content of an email. Creative can be text-based or HTML-based.

    CTR: Click-through rate. The percentage of people who click a link in your email out of all the people who opened your email.

    Delivered email: Number of emails sent minus the number of bounces and filtered messages. This an inexact number because not all the receiving ISPs report accurately on which email didn’t go through and why.

    Double opt-in: A process that requires new list joiners to take an action in order to confirm that they do want to be added to receive communications. The most common double opt-in process requires the person to click on a link that is email to the reported email address to confirm the opt-in.

    ECOA: Email Change of Address is a service that tracks email addresses changes and updates.

    Email Validation/Authentication: Practice of validating that an email sender is legitimate to cut down on spam and phishing scams.

    Email client: The software recipients use to read email, such as Outlook or Gmail.

    Email vendor: Another name for an email broadcast service provider that sends email on behalf of their clients.

    Footer: An area at the end of an email message containing information that doesn’t change from one edition to the next, such as contact information, the company’s postal address, the unsubscribe link or the email address the recipient used to subscribe to mailings.

    From: Whatever appears in the email recipient’s inbox as your visible “from” name. This is chosen by the sender and is different from the actual sending email address. This may be a company name, a brand name, or an email address.

    Hard bounce: Undelivered message sent to an invalid, closed or nonexistent email account.

    Header: Routing and program data at the start of an email message, including the sender’s name and email address, originating email server IP address, recipient IP address and any transfers in the process.

    HTML message: Email message which contains any type of formatting other than text. This may be as simple as programming that sets the text in a specific font, or may be a message that includes graphic images, logos and colors.

    Introductory message (permission pass): The message that is sent out after appending email addresses to your customer file. Sending this message tells your customers how to you intend to communicate with them and gives them a chance to opt-out of receiving email communications from you.

    IP address: A unique number assigned to each device connected to the Internet. An IP address can be dynamic meaning it changes each time an email messages or campaign goes out, or it can be static, meaning it doesn’t change. Static IP addresses are best, because dynamic IP addresses often trigger spam filters.

    ISP: Internet Service Provider such as Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo! Mail

    Landing page: A web page viewed by clicking on a link within an email

    List hygiene: Maintaining a list so that hard bounces and unsubscribed names are removed from mailings. May also include an ECOA service to update old or abandoned email addresses (with a permission pass) as part of this process.

    Open rate: The number of HTML message recipients who opened your email, usually as a percentage of the total number of emails sent. This is not a good indicator of email’s success. The rate indicates only the number of emails opened from the total amount sent, not just those that were actually delivered. Opens are not calculated on text emails. Also, some email clients allow users to scan messages in a preview pane without actually opening the message, which is falsely calculated as an open.

    Opt-in: A request by an individual email recipient to have their email address placed on a specific mailing list. Opt-ins can be single opt-ins or double opt-ins.

    Opt-out: A request to remove an email address from a specific list, or from all lists operated by a single owner.

    Permission: The implicit approval given when a person requests to have their email address added to a list.

    Personalization: A targeting method in which an email message appears to have been created only for a single recipient. Personalization techniques include adding the recipient’s name in the subject line or message body, or the offer reflects other known information about the recipient, for instance including an invitation to visit a store in their area.

    Preferences: Options a user can set to determine how they want to receive your messages, and which messages they want to receive from you. The more preferences a user can specify, the more likely you’ll send a relevant email.

    Preview pane: The window in an email client that allows the user to scan message content without actually opening the message.

    Privacy policy: A clear description of how your company uses the email addresses and other information it gathers via opt-in requests for newsletters, company information or third-party offers or other functions via your website. Specific state laws may also regulate your privacy policy.

    Reply-to: The email address that receives messages sent from users who click “reply” in their email clients. Can differ from the “from address” which can be automated or unmonitored email address used only to send messages to a distribution list. “Reply-to” should always be a monitored address.

    Seed email list: Email addresses placed on a list to determine what messages are sent to the list and/or to track delivery rate and/or visible appearance of delivered messages. Or, email addresses included in an email deployment so that the marketer knows that a message was successfully deployed.

    Sender ID: The informal name for a new anti-spam program combining two existing protocols: Sender Policy Framework and CallerID. SenderID authenticates email senders and blocks email forgeries and faked addresses.

    Soft bounce: Email sent to an active email address but which is turned away before being delivered. Often, the problem is temporary – the server is down or the recipient’s mailbox is full. The email might be held at the recipient’s server and delivered later, or the sender’s email program may attempt to deliver it again.

    Spam: The popular name for unsolicited commercial email. However, some email recipients define spam as any email they no longer want to receive, even if it comes from a mailing list they joined voluntarily.

    Spamtrap: Spamtraps are decoys set up to catch spammers, they monitor and collect spam. They are set up by Spamhaus and other anti-spam systems.

    Subject line: Copy that identifies what an email message is about, often designed to entice the recipient into opening the message. The subject line appears first in the recipient’s inbox, often next to the sender’s name or email address. It is repeated in the email message’s header information inside the message.

    Suppression file: A Do Not Email list you run against any lists you plan on sending mail to prior to the send. A suppression file is required by CAN-SPAM and must be applied to all commercial email messages sent by your organization.

    Test email list: A list of email addresses to whom a test messages is sent prior to a live deployment. Usually this is the list of “approvers” who will confirm that the email message looks as it should, that all links work, etc., and will give approval to the deployment partner that the email can be deployed to the live list.

    Text email: An email sent in plain text without any HTML. Some email browsers will not or cannot open HTML emails and will accept/open text emails.

    Throttling: The practice of regulating how many email messages a broadcaster sends to one ISP or mail server at a time. Some ISPs bounce email if it receives to many messages from one sending address at a time.

    Unsubscribe: To remove oneself from an email list, usually by clicking on an unsubscribe link at the bottom of an email message.

    Whitelist: Advance-authorized list of email addresses held by an ISP, subscriber or other email service provider, which allows email messages to be delivered regardless of spam filters.


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