Our friends at EmailBrain have put together a comprehensive glossary of eMail marketing terms. It’s a living document and we’ll keep adding to it as needed.
Takeaway: Knowledge is power but, sharing is wisdom.
Please feel free to post any additions you think we should add!
A mailing list is divided into two equal segments, and each is tested for different offers in order to determine which is more effective.
The portion of a web page that you first see without scrolling. “Above-the-fold” is generally the more desirable location on a Website because it is the most readily visible. Any opt in links, tags or banners are better placed at this location.
Ads or sponsorships
Advertising space purchased in an email newsletter or that sponsors a specific section, article or series of articles in an email newsletter and that targets a given audience. The copy can be inserted into the body of the email as text, HTML or both.
An automated reply message usually set up by the user that alerts the sender when the intended recipient of the email is ‘out of the office’ or ‘away on vacation’.
Bandwidth refers to the volume of information that can be moved over a network such as the Internet in a specific amount of time.
List of domains or IP addresses that have been identified as senders of SPAM (unsolicited commercial email). ISPs often use blacklists in their filtering process to determine which IP addresses will be banned from their servers, thus protecting members from unwanted email.
Blacklists, however, also include legitimate email service providers that end there after a few spam complaints.
Action usually taken by an Internet Service Provider (ISP) or corporate servers that prevents email messages from suspected spammers to reach the inbox in their intended destination. Usually, the ISP bounces back a message to the sender to inform the their email has been blocked.
Bonded Sender Program
The Bonded Sender Program identifies legitimate email traffic. Legitimate email originators post a financial bond to ensure the integrity of their email campaign. If you receive an unsolicited email from a Bonded Sender, you can complain to their ISP, enterprise, or to IronPort Systems (sponsor of the program) and a financial charge is debited from the bond. This allows email senders to ensure their message reaches the end user, and provides corporate IT managers and ISPs with an objective way to ensure that only unwanted messages are blocked.
A ‘bounced’ email is one returned to the sender, usually with a message, which indicates that an email sent to a particular address could not be delivered. This happens when the address is no longer valid or the recipient’s ISP and/or email servers were not functioning for 3 days in a row. Bounces can be ‘hard’ or ‘soft’.
(See also: Hard bounce; Soft Bounce)
Wording that encourages taking a certain action: “Click here to subscribe to the newsletter”, “Register today for a free trial of our marketing resources!”
The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act) establishes requirements for those who send commercial email, describes penalties for spammers and companies who advertise their products in spam messages if they violate the law, gives consumers the right to ask spammers to stop sending their messages.
The CAN-SPAM Act can be found here
Canadian ecommerce bill similar to the U.S. CAN-SPAM act. The bill is comprehensive, wide reaching and and eMail marketers must be compliant with the new law which is expected to be passed by the end of 2009 – more info here.
Click through Rate (CTR)
CTR is an indicator of response to a given email message. It is measured by the percentage of recipients that click on a link enclosed in the email. To determine the click through rate, you divide the number of responses by the number of emails opened and multiply the result by 100 to express it as a percentage.
Confirmed Opt In (or Double Opt In)
This formula of obtaining permission to send email messages and/or campaigns requires that the subscriber confirms his subscription by clicking on a confirmation link or by replying to a confirmation email, before you include them in your opt in list. See also: Double Opt in
The copy (text), graphics and images in a web page, Website and or presentation.
A link to a Web location that is incorporated into a line of text in a simpler way than a conventional link. For example, click here [[not an actual link]] to return to the EmailBrain home page.
A measurement of a campaign’s success, this is the number or percentage of people out of the total population reached with a specific campaign that actually respond to the call-to-action in a message. The conversion can be measured in sales, subscriptions, appointments, phone calls, etc.
The text in a web page, Website or campaign, as opposed to the images and graphics.
CPA (or Cost per acquisition)
A payment model where payment is contingent on certain actions, such as sales or registrations.
A database is an organized collection of information stored in a computer, which can be accessed and consulted in different ways. In terms of email marketing, your database is the software where you store your records, forms and lists. There are numerous forms of databases, including MS Excel, Outlook, Outlook Express, Netscape, Oracle, and Sybase.
Double Opt In
“Double opt in” or “Confirmed opt in” is a means of additional security that consists in requiring that email accounts are first opened and later verified by means of a validation message via email that only the person who has access to the account can respond to. Double opt in is regarded as the gold standard for secure email marketing. (See also: Confirmed Opt in)
When you build an email and send it to your recipients using EmailBrain this is defined as an email campaign. Your campaign may be a newsletter or may consist of offers. Some marketers may define a campaign as a series of email messages using a common theme, but in the EmailBrain system, any email sent is classified as a campaign.
An application used to send, receive, store and view email.
“Filtering” is a technique used to block email based on the content included in the “from:” and/or “subject:” lines, or in the copy of an email body. Filtering software finds key words that identify an email as spam. In this case, the email messages are blocked on an individual basis.
Email Service Providers (ESPs) are companies like EmailBrain that provide a service that enable a user to send permission-based email campaigns to other designated users. They are usually Application Service Providers (ASPs) who offer their services in an online fashion. There are also software ESPs as well.
ESPC (Email Service Provider Coalition)
A coalition formed to fight spam and protect the delivery of legitimate email. ESPC members are active in the war against spam.
A legitimate, permission based email that is false positive occurs when a legitimate permission based email is erroneously filtered and/or blocked as spam.
A type with dimensions and style that are specific to a type family (for example, Gill Sans Serif Condensed Bold 12).
An area at the bottom of an email where you find information such as disclaimers, privacy policies and subscribe/unsubscribe instructions.
Periodicity in the distribution of an email message, newsletter, campaign, etc. Frequency can be daily, weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, bi-monthly, etc.
The line at the top of an email message where the sender typically types his/her name/company.
The failed delivery of an email message that is rejected and returned to the sender due to a permanent reason that cannot be resolved, such as a non existent address, an unknown recipient or a domain that doesn’t exist.
Hard bounced email
(see: Hard bounce)
The header of an email is a part of the document that is usually not visible to the recipient unless ‘view headers’ feature of their email software is selected.
Headers include information such as the server from where the email was sent, the program used to originate it, the route it followed through the Internet, and more.
The headline in an email marketing message usually speaks of the company sending it and entices the recipient so that he/she reads the whole message.
House List (or retention list)
This is a permission based list that you build over time through your relationship with your customers and use to market, cross sell and up sell, as well as to connect with your customer base. This list is one of your most valuable assets (remember the notion that it is seven times less expensive to market to an existing customer than it is to procure a new one), so make sure you update it and make it grow.
This is an email message composed with Hypertext Markup Language (HTML, a language designed for the creation of web pages and other information viewable in a Web browser), as opposed to plain text. Since HTML allows you to apply a wide variety of text effects, graphics, images and background colors, the result is a more appealing message that can increase response rates up to 35%.
An Internet Service Provider is a company that provides access to the Internet. AOL, Juno, Yahoo!, MSN, Comcast and various local phone companies are common
The page on a website where the visitor arrives, It is not necessarily the home page, but maybe a bookmarked page or a linked page. In the sphere of email marketing, the landing page is the page where the message directs the recipient via link.
The way the content -copy, images and graphics- is organized in an email message, with the intention that it effectively captures and retains the recipient’s attention.
Text, graphics or images that direct to another online location when clicked.
The amount of time it takes for a web page to open completely in the browser window.
A list of email addresses to reach with specific campaigns or email messages.
Multi-part MIME Email
Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (MIME) is an Internet standard format for email. Almost all Internet e-mail is transmitted in MIME format.
Moving click by click -around the Internet- from website to website and from page to page in a single website, as well as within a single web page.
Notified Opt In
Notified opt-in a format in which, once an email address is subscribed to the list, a message is sent offering the subscriber a chance to be removed from the list. If the subscriber decides not to unsubscribe, his/her information remains in the list until he/she opts out. This method subscribes the account by default, so it does not require active confirmation by the subscriber.
A secondary mailing list that is produced based on every Nth address. For example, in a Tenth Testing, an email is sent to every record in the list that is a multiple of ten (10, 20, 30, 40.).
The number of recipients who actually opened your HTML email message -of the total messages sent or in a given marketing campaign. In either case, it is typically measured as a percentage of the total number of emails sent.
The open rate is considered a useful measurement of the response to an email marketing campaign. Open rates for messages in text can not be calculated.
The rate is only valid when the message has actually been opened, but some email clients allow recipients to scan the content in their messages before opening them, which renders false opens.
Opt In (or subscribe)
The action of actively agreeing, via email or other means, to receive messages from an email marketer, thus giving the particular individual, website or company permission to send their messages to you.
The opt in or subscribe to formula often fans out an assortment of products, services, and areas of interest for the potential customer to choose from. It tends to render a higher response rate than the opt-out method.
There are different types of opt in practices, some more complex than others.
(See also: Double Opt in, Notified Opt in, Opt out, Single Opt in)
Opt Out (or unsubscribe)
The action of actively demanding, via email or other means, to be removed from an email marketing or membership list. The recipients will continue receiving messages unless they clearly state that they no longer want to remain in the list.
Usually, in order to opt-out or unsubscribe, the individual has either to click an “Unsubscribe” link placed in some conspicuous area of a website or email message, or reply to an email message after typing the word “Unsubscribe” in the subject field.
The opt out formula of building a list tends to render lower response rates than the opt in method.
Permission based email
The practice of only sending email marketing messages/newsletters to a list of recipients who have agreed (opted in, subscribed or requested) to receive them from an individual, a website or a company.
Legitimate, professional, reputable email individual or company marketers use this method to build their business.
(See also Acquisition list)
The practice of writing the email messages in a way that makes the recipient feel that it was composed specifically for him/her.
Including the recipient’s name in the salutation line, references to his/her message/purchase in the body, and suggestions based on previous business with the recipient, all contribute to the personalization of your message.
A scam in which a spammer poses as a reputable third party -such as a bank, a government agency or an educational institution- that might be trusted by the recipients of an email designed to impel these recipients to disclose personal information (Social Security numbers, credit card numbers, bank account numbers) or to purchase illegal or counterfeit products or services. (See also: Spoofing)
A thorough description of how a website or company uses the information collected from and about subscribers and/or visitors to the website.
A rented list of prospects or targeted (by interest category, demographics, profession, etc.) group of recipients who have opted in to receive information on chosen topics.
A rental list must be permission based, usually costs between $.10 and $.40 per address and is never sold.
Beware of inexpensive ‘targeted’ or ‘clean’ list offers that don’t certify that they are opt in, permission based.
(See also: Permission based email/email marketing)
The first line in an email message, where you address the recipient. It can be a generic salutation (‘Dear/Valued subscriber’, ‘Dear/Valued member’) or a more personalized one (‘Dear Jean’, ‘Hi, Peter.’, ‘Hello, Tom!’)
An email industry initiative headed by Microsoft and other industry leaders to offer a technical solution against phishing/spoofing -a popular deceptive practice used by spammers. (See also: Spoofing and Phishing)
A short block of text automatically posted at the end of an email message identifying the sender and providing contact and other information on them.
It can be used as a means to communicate a message and/or add a call-to-action with a link.
Single Opt In
It is the most widely used method of winning subscribers, compiling email addresses and obtaining permission -through the subscriber’s proactive participation and after an acknowledgement email.
A single opt in list is created by inviting visitors and customers to subscribe to your email list through a sign up tag on your Website. The subscriber immediately receives a message from you acknowledging the subscription, and should state what the subscriber signed up for and indicate how he/she can edit his/her interests or opt out.
However, single opt in email practices are susceptible to spam traps -email addresses or domains that have not registered to receive any email. Sometimes people deliberately or inadvertently subscribe spam trap addresses to their lists, and are then blacklisted by the ISP or the organization operating the spam trap.
The failed delivery of an email message that is rejected for a temporary reason -such as full mailbox on the recipients end- or because the receiving server is unavailable due to maintenance or repair.
Soft Bounced Email
(See: Soft bounce)
Spam, the common reference to UCE (Unsolicited Commercial Email) refers specifically to email of a commercial nature that a recipient has not subscribed to or actively requested.
Spam is unwanted, unexpected email from a sender unknown to the recipient.
Sending email to people who have not requested your messages will likely result in spam complaints.
Spoofing is a scam in which malicious individuals forge a sender’s address on email messages in order to impel the recipient to read and respond to deceptive mail.
‘Spoofed’ mail often involves phishing scams, damages the reputation of the individuals or companies whose names are used to send the messages, and threatens the online privacy of consumers.
(See also: Phishing)
Subheadings (also referred to as ‘subheads’) are lines of text in the copy that serve as subtitles for the content that follows. In a layout, subheads break up columns of type and render a page more dynamic, appealing, and easier to read.
The field in an email message where the sender indicates the topic of the message. In email marketing, it is often used to motivate the recipient to open the message and read its content.
Delivering your emails to those recipients who are most likely to be receptive to your message, according to geographic, demographic, psychological and behavioral criteria.
A short, enticing text or compelling image in a message designed with the purpose of causing the reader to explore further into the message or website before the actual offer or promotion is revealed.
Scheduling the delivery of email so that it reaches the recipient at the best time.
Timing might be seasonal (spring break, summer vacation, back to school), dependent on holidays (Christmas, Easter, Independence Day), etc. or on a standard schedule (Monday mornings, Friday evenings, every two weeks).
The day of the week and the time of day when a mailing goes out are important. Mailing out messages on a Friday afternoon can be great for a retailer, but Monday mornings are best for business to business, for example.
Identifying, collecting and evaluating data that reveal the effectiveness of an email, a mailout or an email campaign.
A size or style of typewritten or printed character. For example, a serif typeface, a sans-serif typeface, a bold type, a 12-point type, 14-point type.
The number of unique individuals who forward an email. Each person that forwards a particular email counts as one individual, no matter how many times they forwarded that particular email message.
(See: opt out)
Up Selling / Cross Selling
Offering existing customers the opportunity to purchase products or services related to items in which they have shown interest or purchased previously.
Acronym for Universal Resource Locator, a website, web page or address to any other document located on the Internet. URLs pinpoint the location of every file on every computer accessible through the Internet.
A measure of how easy it is for a user to complete a task on a software or online. In the context of email marketing, it refers to how easy a subscriber or prospect can opt in and opt out of a list, and how easy it is to find and use the resources they are offered.
The overall appeal and usefulness prospects and customers find in a product or service.
Elements, functions and content included in a communication that render the message ‘contagious’ in the sense that recipients feel impelled to pass it on to others, thus leveraging the marketing effort.
The number of referrals sent.
The number of recipients who actually opened a forwarded message and clicked on a link.
A method of marketing in which a company’s customers participate voluntarily. It is often referred to as word of mouth (or WOM) advertising. With tools that motivate people to refer or recommend a product, service or specific offer to others (lines such as “send this to a friend”), this method is very popular for email marketing.
The opposite of a blacklist, this is a list of commercial emailers (individuals, companies and ESPs) who have been approved to send mail through a certain ISP. Each must provide the ISP with a list of the IP addresses from which email will be sent, and sometimes must also complete a test period after which each will be approved or rejected.
An IP address included in a whitelist is authorized to deliver email even when blocking measures are in place.
When an email service provider states that they are ‘whitelisted’, this means that their IP addresses are registered with and authorized by specific ISPs, which is a guarantee that the messages sent through this provider will be delivered.
(See also: Blacklist)
Thanks again to our friends at eMail Brain!