Top 30 Email Marketing Terms

Whether you are a marketing veteran or someone coming in fresh here's a handy list of regularly used terms.

1. Bounce - Hard/Soft Bounce

A hard bounce is the failed delivery of an email due to a permanent reason like a non-existent address. A soft bounce is the failed delivery of an email due to a temporary issue, like a full mailbox or an unavailable server.

2. Preview Pane

The view email software provides an individual to see without fully opening the message. It is vitally important that your email design acknowledges this and has meaningfully text, not images, in the first 6 lines.

3. Above-the-fold

The part of an email or web page that is visible without scrolling. Typically represented by the Preview Pane.

4. Open Rate

The percentage of emails opened in any given email marketing campaign, or the percentage opened of the total number of emails delivered.

5. Click Through Rate (CTR)

The number of people per 100 (expressed in percentage terms) who click through to a URL embedded in an email, banner ad, text or graphic, to view a specific web page. Click-through rates can be reported against the total number of click-throughs (allowing multiple click-throughs from one IP address), or against the number of unique users who click through.

6. Conversion Rate

The key metric to evaluate the effectiveness of a call to action (often sales), reflecting the percentage of people converted into buyers (or whatever action is desired) out of the total population exposed to the conversion effort. For websites, the conversion rate is the number of visitors who took the desired action divided by the total number of visitors in a given time period (typically, per month). For email marketing, the conversion rate is the percentage of people who take an action out of the total number of people who received the email.

7. Personalisation

The practice of writing the email to make the recipient feel that it is more personal and was sent with him or her in mind. This might include using the recipient's name in the salutation or subject line, referring to previous purchases or correspondence, or offering recommendations based on previous buying patterns.

8. Dynamic Content

Variable content within an email message, including images and text that is displayed based upon information held in a database. This is an advanced form of Personalisation.

9. HTML Email

An HTML email is one that is graphically rich with colour and images and is emerging as the standard for email marketing. Marketers have to keep in mind that some recipients do not want to receive their emails in HTML. However, HTML messages often pull a higher response than plain text messages.

10. HTML (Hypertext Markup Language)

The language which gives a web browser specific instructions on how to display a formatted document in the browser window. HTML has a specific group of standards that makes it universal to all computer platforms.

11. Split Testing

When the list is divided into a number of discrete cells to allow for a robust test across multiple variables such as subject line or email design. To determine optimum response, response rates are measured for each cell.

12. Distribution (Gross)

The total number of emails sent as part of a single campaign/distribution to all (SMTP) addresses on the distribution list.

13. Distribution (Net)

The total number of emails sent and successfully delivered as part of a single campaign/distribution to all (SMTP) addresses on the distribution list.

14. Opt-in (or Subscribe)

Where an individual has positively indicated that he or she wants to receive email marketing.

15. Opt-Out (or Unsubscribe)

Where an individual requests not to be included on an email list at the point of data collection or with subsequent communications. This is also referred to as unsubscribe.

16. Soft Opt-in

Where an individual is considered to have opted-in, on the basis that they have provided their email address during a sale or during the negotiation of a sale and other conditions are met, including that the individual was informed of how the information they provided would be used and were provided with an opportunity to opt out.

17. Links

Text links, hyperlinks, graphics or images which, when clicked or when pasted into the browser, direct the prospect to another online location. To be most effective in motivating action, links must be obvious to the visitor or recipient.

18. Landing Page

The page on a website where the visitor arrives (which may or may not be the home page). In terms of an email campaign, one can think of the landing page as the page to which the email directs the prospect via a link.

19. CPA (or Cost Per Acquisition)

A payment model in which payment is based solely on qualifying actions such as sales or registrations.

20. CPC (Cost per Click)

Rather than paying a cost per 1000 emails delivered, or a cost per response, some suppliers charge a sum for all the recipients that click through on a marketing message.

21. CPM (or Cost Per Thousand)

In email marketing, CPM commonly refers to the cost per 1,000 names on a given rental list or the cost per 1,000 emails for distribution.

22. CPR (or Cost Per Response)

This term is used to track responses, where the desired result is not purchase, click-through or cost per number of emails for the campaign).

23. Privacy Policy

A clear description of a website or Data User's policy on the use of information collected from and about website visitors and what they do, and do not do, with the data.

24. Targeting

Selecting a target audience or group of individuals likely to be interested in a certain product or service. Targeting is very important for an email marketer because targeted and relevant email campaign, yield a higher response and result in fewer unsubscribes.

25. Segmentation

Segmentation is the act of taking your email list and separating it so that recipients get different content based on their demographics, buying patterns, interest areas, etc.

26. Tracking

Collecting and evaluating the statistics from which one can measure the effectiveness of an email or an email campaign.

27. URL

A Uniform Resource Locator (URL or, less formally, Web address) is a sequence of characters conforming to a standardized format, used for referring to resources (such as documents and images on the Internet) by their location, which is usually shown in the address bar at the top of a browser.

28. Solicited email or UCE (Unsolicited Commercial Email)

Where an individual has actively invited the Data User to send the individual commercial email.

29. Spam

Spam is the name given to random, untargeted bulk commercial email where recipients did not request communications.

30. Viral Marketing

A type of marketing that is carried out voluntarily by a company's customers. It is often referred to as word-of-mouth advertising. Email has made this type of marketing very prevalent. Tools such as send this page, article or website to a friend encourage people to refer or recommend your newsletter, company, product, or specific offer to others.