70 Essential Email Marketing Terms You Should Know

Email marketing remains an essential part of any good marketing strategy. However, it can seem daunting if you’re new to email marketing, thanks to all the email marketing terms involved. Even seasoned email marketers can sometimes struggle to understand all aspects of email marketing as laws are constantly changing.

To help you get to grips with email marketing, we’ve put together an email marketing glossary full of the essential email marketing terms you need to know to navigate the world of email marketing.

A

1. A/B Test

Sometimes also called an A/B Split Test, this is a way of optimizing your email campaign by dividing your email list in half and sending a variation of an email to each half to find out which has the better conversion rate, guiding your future decisions.

2. Acceptable Spam Report Rate

Your ASSR is the rate at which your emails can be reported as spam without harming your sender reputation. Anything above 1 report per 1000 emails or 0.1% will result in a spam warning.

3. Acceptance Rate

The percentage of emails that were accepted by an email server. Being accepted by an email server does not guarantee that your email will end up in an inbox.

4. Attachment

A file that’s attached to an email message. This isn’t recommended for marketing emails since malware and viruses are often sent as an email with an attachment.

5. Auto Follow-up

Follow-up emails are sent to remind the recipient of a previous email and an important tool in sales where, on average, only 2% are made during the first point of contact. With tools like Wishpond, you can automate your follow-up emails.

6. Autoresponder

An automated message or series of messages, triggered when an email is sent to a particular address. Examples include out-of-office emails and drip campaigns.

B

7. Behavioral Email

A behavioral email is an automated, targeted email sent to recipients based on their actions and behavior. They are sent after a user interacts with a business on social media, email, their website, and other channels, helping to increase customer engagement and sales.

8. Blacklist

A list of email senders marked as spam senders. If you are on a blacklist, it will negatively impact your email deliverability.

9. Bounce Rate

The percentage of emails that weren’t delivered to your recipients. They can be classified as either hard or soft bounces depending on why the message was returned. A bounce rate of less than 5% is acceptable.

10. Bulk Mail

Sometimes also called a mass email, this is a marketing mail sent by a business to a large group of recipients at once.

Bulk Mail

C

11. Call-to-Action (CTA)

A phrase or word used to encourage subscribers to do something. A call-to-action often appears at the end of marketing emails in the form of a button or linked text.

12. CAN-SPAM

An acronym for 'Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing Act of 2003,' the CAN-SPAM act governs sending commercial emails. It sets out the requirements for commercial messages, gives email recipients the right to opt-out, and lists the consequences for violations.

SPAM

13. CASL (Canadian Anti-Spam Law)

CASL is Canada’s anti-spam law that requires businesses that send commercial messages from, to, or within Canada to first receive consent from the recipient.

14. CPM (Cost Per Thousand)

Also known as cost per mille, in email marketing CPM refers to the price per 1000 recipients of an email rental list. The ‘M’ in CPM stands for ‘mille,’ Latin for thousands.

15. Click-Through Rate (CTR)

A percentage showing how many recipients clicked a URL in your email. It is determined by dividing the number of unique clicks by the number that opened your mail.

16. Cold Email

An unsolicited email sent to someone that doesn’t have a prior relationship with you or your business or may not even have heard of it, with the objective of turning them into a warm lead. It’s different from spam because it is sent to ideal customer profiles, not everyone, is personalized on multiple levels, features straightforward content, and allows you to opt-out easily.

17. Conversion Rate

A percentage showing the number of email recipients that responded to your CTA. It is determined by dividing the number of people who took the desired action by the number of email messages sent.

D

18. Dedicated IP

Generally, a dedicated IP means that your website has its own IP address that isn’t shared with anyone else. In email marketing, however, this refers to an IP address from which only you can send mail.

Dedicated IP

19. DKIM

DKIM stands for DomainKeys Identified Mail and is an email authentication method that links a domain name to an email message. It’s used to verify the authenticity of an email and to increase deliverability rates.

20. Double Opt-In

The double opt-in method is the recommended way of building an email list. Rather than simply adding email addresses to your list as soon as you’ve captured them, this method requires that you get subscribers to confirm they want to subscribe by clicking a confirmation link in an email or responding to it in another way.

21. Drip Marketing

Automated marketing campaigns where a recipient is sent a series of email messages automatically over a period of time, depending on their behavior. Drip marketing is a type of autoresponder.

22. Dynamic Content

A way of adding personalization to a message by swapping content into pre-determined parts of an email message based on a subscribers’ preferences, location, or past behavior.

E

23. Email Campaign

An email or series of email messages designed to help you achieve a specific marketing goal.

24. Email Client

The software or app that a recipient uses to read your emails. Apple iPhone, followed by Gmail, are the most popular email clients in 2021 by market share.

25. Email Harvesting

Also known as scraping, email harvesting is a spammer’s method of obtaining email addresses that involves finding people’s email addresses online and adding them to mailing lists without their consent.

26. Email Phishing

An email scam where bulk emails are sent pretending to originate from legitimate businesses to gain access to personal information like passwords, credit card numbers, and other sensitive information.

Email Phising

27. Email Queue

Your email queue is a list of email campaigns that are ready to send but are awaiting the completion of another campaign. All scheduled and automated email campaigns form part of your email queue.

28. Email Service Provider

An email service provider is a company that provides you with the software and hardware you need to manage your email lists and send and track your messages.

29. Engagement

All the possible interactions a recipient can have with your email message, including opens, clicks, shares, and more.

F

30. False-Positives

A false-positive occurs when a legitimate message is incorrectly marked as spam or blocked.

G

31. Grey Mail

These are email messages that are neither spam nor legitimate as the recipient did opt-in to receive them but is no longer interested in them yet won’t opt-out or mark them as spam.

H

32. Hard Bounce

A hard bounce is a failed email delivery due to a permanent reason such as an invalid, non-existent, deleted, or blocked address.

33. Honey Pot

An email address that serves as a spam trap. Honey pots work by placing an email address on a website so that spambots can easily harvest it. When that email is used, the system flags the sender as spam.

Honey Pot

34. House List

Also known as a retention list, a house list is a valuable marketing tool that contains a core list of subscribers that have explicitly opted-in to the list.

35. HTML Email

HTML stands for HyperText Markup Language and is the same coding language used to create web pages. An HTML email allows you to get creative with your email by letting you add images, videos, colors, table columns, links, and different font styles.

I

36. IP Address

A unique address that identifies a device on the internet or local network. It’s made up of a string of numbers separated by periods. IP stands for “Internet Protocol,” which are the rules that govern how data is sent over the internet.

37. IP Warmup

When you’ve set up a new IP address to send emails from you need to start by gradually increasing the number of messages you send to build the reputation of the IP address.

L

38. Landing Page

In email marketing, a landing page is a page where subscribers end up after clicking the CTA in your email. It is designed to capture leads and provide more information about the product or service promoted in your email.

39. Levels of Authentication

A method of establishing the identity of a sender to confirm that the sender is permitted to send from the given domain.

40. List Segmentation

Dividing your email list into different segments such as location, preferences, or other commonalities. Using list segmentation means your email campaign is more targeted and relevant to your audience.

N

41. Newsletter

An email update or message that’s regularly sent to the subscribers who have opted-in to receive it.

M

42. Marketing Automation

A marketing strategy of creating different messages for different customer segments and sending those messages automatically. An example of marketing automation are drip campaigns.

O

43. Open Rate

The percentage of emails that were opened in an email marketing campaign.

44. Opt-In

Also known as subscribing, to opt-in to an email list means that you consent to receive communications from the business you are supplying your email address with. In some cases, users can select topics that interest them and what type of email communications they’d like to subscribe to.

45. Opt-Out

Also known as unsubscribing, to opt-out of an email list means that you no longer wish to receive communications from the business whose email list you previously subscribed to. It’s a legal requirement to give subscribers a clear way to opt out of every email you send.

P

46. Personalization

The process of adding custom elements to your emails based on the information you already know about your subscribers, such as names, location, or previous purchases. Personalized emails are more relevant and ensure positive communication.

47. Physical Address

The street address of the business sending the email campaign. It is usually located in the footer of the email. You are legally required to include your physical address in all email marketing campaigns.

Phyiscal Address

48. Plain Text Email

An email message that doesn’t contain any HTML to create rich emails but only features text. For the sake of readability, you should always give your subscribers the option to view your email in either HTML or plain text.

49. Privacy Policy

A description of how a business handles the data it collects about and from its website visitors, along with what they do and don’t do with it. All websites are required to have a privacy policy.

50. Promotional Email

Unlike transactional emails, a promotional email is sent to highlight or promote a product or service.

R

51. Read Length

Sometimes also called open length, this is a measure of the amount of time a subscriber keeps the email open.

52. Rental List

Also known as an acquisition list, a rental list is not recommended in email marketing. It is an email list belonging to a third party that you pay to deliver your messages to.

53. Reply Rate

Also known as response rate, your reply rate is a percentage measure of the number of people that respond to your email.

S

54. Sender Score

A free service that rates the reputation of all outgoing email servers on a scale of 0 to 100. Receiving mail servers will check your sender score before deciding how to treat your message. A sender score above 90 is considered good.

55. Shared IP

Unlike a dedicated IP, a shared IP address is when multiple people send messages from the same mail server, saving costs. If someone is sending spam from a shared IP it can negatively affect the email deliverability of the other users.

56. Signature

A short text at the end of an email, used to identify the sender and give additional information like physical address and contact information.

Signature

57. Single Opt-In

Unlike a double opt-in, a single opt-in doesn’t require users to confirm subscribing to your email list. This method is not recommended in email marketing as people can sign up someone else or provide a fake or invalid email address.

58. Soft Bounce

Unlike a hard bounce, a soft bounce is when a message is returned due to a temporary issue such as the recipient’s mailbox being full, an offline mail server, or the message being too large for the recipient’s inbox.

Soft Bounce

59. Spam

Also known as unsolicited commercial email (UCE), spam is an email sent to recipients without their consent. In 2019, 28.5% of all global email traffic was spam.

60. Spam Filter

Spam filters automatically detect spam messages and put them into the spam folder. Ensuring your marketing campaigns don’t end up in spam folders is key to their success.

61. Spam Trap

Similar to a honey pot, a spam trap is a formerly valid email address that used to return hard bounces but in response to increasing traffic no longer do so, instead, adding the senders’ IP address to a spam list.

62. SPF

SPF stands for “Sender Policy Framework.” It is an email authentication method used to prevent spammers from sending messages from another domain. Authenticated domains will be known not to send spam or fraudulent messages.

63. Subject Line

The equivalent of a title or heading for an email, the subject line is what appears in your recipient’s inbox next to your name. A well-crafted subject line will have a positive effect on your open rate.

T

64. Transactional Emails

Unlike a promotional email, transactional emails are sent as a confirmation for the likes of orders, reservations, and more. Generally, transactional emails have a higher engagement rate than promotional emails.

65. Triggered Emails

Triggered emails are a form of marketing automation. They are pre-scheduled to be sent after specific events happen or time period has passed. An example is automated birthday wishes.

U

66. Unique Clicks

The number of unique subscribers that have clicked on links in your email. Unlike click-through rate, which only measures how many times your emails were clicked, this metric is more specific.

67. Unique Opens

Since some subscribers will open your email more than once, your open rate can be inflated. Your unique opens measures the number of unique subscribers that opened your email.

68. Unsubscribe Rate

Your unsubscribe rate is a percentage showing the number of people opting out of your email campaign. It is also sometimes known as list churn.

W

69. Welcome Email

A welcome email is sent to new subscribers to welcome them to your list. It can be a single message or a series of messages.

70. White List

As opposed to a black list, a white list is a list of mail servers approved to send messages to a recipient. The more white lists your mail server appears on, the higher its domain reputation will be.

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Wrapping Up

That’s it for our list of 7 email marketing terms all email marketers should know. What do you think of this list? Are there any email marketing terms you think are missing? Let us know in the comments below.

Written by Themba

Themba is a writer and content creator that has worn hats ranging from copywriter to culture journalist. When he is not writing he enjoys nothing more than tending to his cactus collection.