Email marketing is the act of sending a commercial message using an email marketing application. Generally, we can consider every email sent to a customer as a email marketing effort. The email contents usually involves some type of advertisement and/or a solicitation of a sale. These days, though, it is meant more to invite the exchange of information, build loyalty and trust, or brand awareness. Even though email marketing itself is ever evolving some of its base language remains the same. Below are some common email terms that have remained constant over the years.
A/B Split Test: A method used for testing the response of sending two different email campaigns to two equal segments of an email list. Marketers can then track the response rates based on which results where most successful. The remainder of the list is sent the best performing email campaign. An example: testing two different subject lines.
Absolute URL: A URL that gives the exact location of a target page or document including the “http://www” part of the Internet address.
Above the fold: The top part of an email or web page that can be seen, without scrolling down.
Acquisition Cost: The cost of generating a lead, determined by: campaign expenses, divided by the total # of leads, sign-ups or conversions.
Alt Tag: An HTML tag that provides alternative text when non-textual elements, typically images, cannot be displayed. Also useful for search engine indexing, slow Internet connections, and any ESP’s displaying emails with the graphics disabled.
API: An Application Programming Interface that enables two software programs to integrate and communicate with one another. An example: list management through an ESP’s interface.
ASP: An Application Service Provider is a business that offers Internet-based software to customers over a network. An example: Email Service Provider or software as a service (Saas).
Auto Responder: A set of pre-designed emails that are programmed as time-delayed messages and are emailed automatically as a response to a request. An example: subscribe and unsubscribe confirmations, welcome emails, and customer support emails.
Authentication: This process refers to ensuring a valid identity on an email to prove and protect email sender identity and an email sender’s legitimacy and to cut down on spam and phishing scams.
Bayesian Filter: A spam filter technique, sometimes embedded in the mail server software itself, that is adaptable and “learns” to identify new patterns of spam, beyond the subject line, by examining character strings, words and punctuation of both valid and spam email.
Blacklist: List of domains and IP addresses that have been reported or accused of sending SPAM. Blacklists are often used by organizations and ISPs as part of their filtering process to block all incoming mail from a particular IP address.
Bonded Sender: A type of delivery insurance or stamp of approval for email marketing companies that is offered by a private email registration service, guaranteeing email delivery and whitelisting to its clients that follow stringent email guidelines.
Bounces: A message that is returned to sender due to an invalid or presently not working email address. See: Hard Bounce and Soft Bounce.
Bounce Rate: The number of bounced emails returned divided by the total number of sent emails.
Call to Action: A desired action that is requested of prospective clients and customers by an advertiser’s marketing message.
CAN-SPAM act of 2003: Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act. A Federal law that requires the following in each email: a legitimate header, a valid “From” address, a straightforward “Subject” line, an unsubscribe/opt-out link with instructions and a physical address. It also states that all unsubscribes be removed within 10 days of receipt. Click Here For more information
CAUCE: An anti-spam advocacy group called Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial Use.
CMS (Content Management System): is an application designed to store, format, reproduce and manage Web/intranet data.
Conversion Rate: The number of recipients who completed the desired action divided by the number of emails sent.
Confirmed Opt-In: An additional step to the opt-in process when subscribers are sent an email after signing up for an email list. Subscribers must confirm that they want to subscribe to the list by validating their email address. Only subscribers who take this additional option are added to your list.
CPM (Cost Per Mille/Cost Per Thousand): is commonly referred to the cost per 1000 names on a list rental or impressions on a banner advertisement.
CSV (Comma Separated Value): is a specific format in which each new field is separated by a comma. An example: first name, last name, title, company name, email address, etc.
CTR (Click Through Rate): The CTR is calculated as the number of unique clicks divided by the number of emails that were sent.
Demographics: The Key attributes that make up a group of people such as: gender, race, age, income, geography, education, # of children, home ownership, employment status, and more.
Domain Keys: Email authentication system designed to verify the DNS domain of an email sender and the message integrity.
“Domain Knocking”: A process that determines both if a domain exists and if a mailbox on that domain is able to receive emails. See: SMTP Validation.
Dedicated IP Address: An IP Address that is used by only one sender. To help maintain a good reputation, email marketers should send all of their emails from a dedicated IP Address. Validation.
DMA Do-Not-Mail: Organized by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) allowing consumers to nationally opt-out from receiving advertising mail.
Dynamic Content: Email content that changes per recipient according to a set of predetermined rules based on each recipient’s history, preferences or other behaviors (purchases, document downloads, etc).
ECOA (Email Change of Address): is an email address update service that provides new email addresses for people that have moved, changed jobs, added extra email addresses or changed their Internet Service Provider.
Email Appending: A service that matches email addresses to postal addresses, typically followed by a permission-pass email. For more information visit: http://www.e-append.com.
Email Client: A computer program used to send, receive and manage a user’s email. These programs include Outlook, as well as “webmail” programs such as Hotmail, Yahoo! and Gmail.
Email Frequency: The intervals at which email marketing campaigns and newsletters are sent: weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, bi-monthly, etc.
Email Address Hygiene: The process of identifying invalid email addresses due to syntax errors, profanity, typos and removing them from email marketing list, before a message is sent. See: Email Validation.
ESP (Email Service Provider): Service that provides clients with a platform from which to create and deploy email messages, as well as additional email marketing services, which may vary depending on the ESP.
Event Triggered Messages: Pre-designed emails that are generated and sent based on when a certain action is taken, a specific event occurs, or change is made in a customer profile.
Email Validation: The process of identifying invalid email addresses due to syntax errors, profanity, typos and removing them from email marketing list, before a message is sent. See: Email Address Hygiene.
Ezine: An electronic magazine emailed to a list of subscribers.
False Positive: A legitimate email that is erroneously treated as spam.
Feedback Loops: Programs used by ISPs to inform email marketers which recipients report their emails as spam. Marketers can then manage the complaint and remove the address from their marketing lists.
Geo Segmentation: Target lists by geographic region such as city, state, country and postal code.
Hard Bounce: An email address that is permanently non-deliverable. Successful delivery of email address fails due to permanent reasons such as an invalid or expired email address.
HTML-based Email: HTML email is the use of a subset of HTML (HyperText Markup Language) to provide formatting and semantic markup capabilities in email that are not available with plain text
IMAP: Internet Message Access Protocol is the standard protocol for accessing email through a server.
Impression: A single page view by one person.
IP Address: A unique number assigned to each computer or device connected to the Internet.
ISP: Internet Service Providers offer access to the Internet. Common ISPs include: AOL, Netzero, Comcast, Earthlink, etc.
KPI (Key Performance Indicator): Quantifiable measurements that reflect business factors and success drivers. General email KPI’s include: email sent/delivered, opens, clicks, unsubscribes, viral sharing, sales, etc.
Landing Page: The first webpage a subscriber visits when an email’s call to action link or button is clicked. This page should provide relevant information and entice the subscriber in a simplified way to complete the desired call to action.
List Hygiene: The process of identifying invalid email addresses due to syntax errors, profanity, typos and removing them from email marketing list, before a message is sent.
List Segmentation: Breaking a list into smaller pieces for the purpose of targeting recipients with specific characteristics or demographics.
Multi-part Email MIME: An email that is sent with different versions – usually html, text and AOL. The recipient’s email client settings determine which version is delivered to that inbox.
Multivariate Testing: A method commonly used for testing the response of sending two different email campaigns to two equal segments of an email list. Marketers then carefully track the response rates based on which results where most successful based on different set variables. Finally, the remainder of the list is sent the email campaign that achieved the best performance. An example: testing two different subject lines.
Narrowcast: Used to describe targeted email marketing that aims for the highest possible relevance, as opposed to “broadcast” email marketing where one message is sent to an entire list with no segmentation applied.
Open Rate: The total number recipients who open a given email.
Opt-In Code: Code posted on the webpage of a company’s website that allows a subscriber to proactively signup for email from the company and be automatically added to that company’s email list.
Opt-Out: A request by a subscriber to proactively unsubscribe from future mailing by having their email address removed from a mailing list.
Permission-Based Email Marketing: Emails sent to recipients who have opted-in or subscribed to receive email communications.
Personalization: Target and send individual email messages by adding tailored information in the subject line or message body such as first name, title, customer number, etc.
Predictive Modeling: A mathematical strategy used to dynamically segment subscribers based on who is most likely to engage with a particular message.
Pre-Header: A text link that is displayed before the header or body of your email message that typically includes a call to action link, view as a webpage link and/or view as a mobile link.
Preview Pane: A window that displays a portion of an email message without the recipient actually having to open the full message.
Quick Poll: A survey built directly into the body of an email, allowing for quick and easy collection of research data.
Seed Emails: Email addresses that are placed on a list to evaluate the sender’s service.
Segmentation: Breaking a list into smaller groups for the purpose of targeting with specific characteristics or demographics. Segmentation is used to help increase the relevance of a message to the recipients.
Sender ID: Email authentication technology protocol that verifies the domain name from which email is sent.
Soft Bounce: An email that is temporarily unavailable It makes it to a recipient’s email server but is bounced back due to the recipients inbox being full, the attachment being too large, or their being a problem with the connection, this is most likely a temporary problem.
SMTP: A process that determines both if a domain exists and if a mailbox on that domain is able to receive emails. See: “Domain Knocking”.
SPAM Score: A determination of the probability that messages from a certain sender will be classified as SPAM when delivered to email clients.
SPAM Trap: An email address that is posted to the Internet as bait for spam and has been specifically created to detect individuals who have illegally scraped or collected email addresses.
Subscriber: Any member of a mailing list who requested to be added to a mailing list.
Suppression File: A collection of subscribers’ email addresses that have opted-out of a list.
Targeted Messaging: The act of sending relevant messaging to a segmented group of subscribers.
Unique Clicks: The actual number of individual recipients who click on a link within a given email.
Unique Opens: The actual number of individual recipients who opened a given email.
Unsubscribe: When an email recipient opts-out of an email list.
Viral Marketing: Often referred to as word-of-mouth advertising. When a message starts to spread from person to person voluntarily. An example: ‘forward to friend’ tools.
Whitelist: A list of sites which email addresses have built a good relationship with ISPs and are considered as safe to receive email from.