If you have ever felt out of your depth in a discussion about email marketing, rest assured you are not alone. These top 25 common email marketing terms and definitions below will help you expand your email marketing vocabulary and make you look and feel like an expert.
- Above-the-fold - The part of a web page that is visible without scrolling. It is generally more desirable placement on a Website because of its visibility. If you have a “join our mailing list” tag on your Website, you should place it “above the fold” making it easy for visitors to opt-in.
- CPM (Cost per thousand) - In email marketing, CPM commonly refers to the cost per 1000 names on a given rental list. For example, a rental list priced at $250 CPM would mean that the list owner charges $.25 per email address.
- CTR (or Click-through rate) - Th e percentage (the number of unique clicks divided by the number that were opened) of recipients that click on a given URL in your email.
- Conversion rate - Th e number or percentage of recipients who respond to your call-to-action in a given email marketing campaign or promotion. This is the measure of your email campaign’s success. You may measure conversion in sales, phone calls, appointments etc.
- Email blacklist - It is common for an ISP to a use a blacklist to determine which emails should be blocked (see “email blocking”). Blacklists contain lists of domains or IP addresses of known and suspected spammers. Unfortunately, these blacklists also contain many legitimate email service providers. Just a few spam complaints can land an email service provider or IP address on a
blacklist despite the fact that the ratio of complaints to volume of email sent is extremely low.
- Email blocking - Email blocking typically refers to blocking by ISPs or corporate servers. Email blocking occurs when the receiving email server (e.g. Yahoo!, AOL, Hotmail etc) prevents an inbound email from reaching the inbox of the intended recipient. Most of the time the sender of the email receives a “bounce” message notifying the sender that their email has been blocked. ISPs actively block email coming from suspected spammers.
- Email filters – “Filtering” is a technique used to block email based on the content in the “from:” line, “subject:” line, or body copy of an email. Filtering soft ware searches for key words and other indicators that identify the email as potential spam. Th is type of blocking occurs on a per email basis.
- Email newsletter ads or sponsorships - Buying ad space in an email newsletter or sponsoring a specific article or series of articles. Advertisers pay to have their ad (text, HTML or both depending on the publication) inserted into the body of the email. Email newsletter ads and sponsorships allow advertisers to reach a targeted audience driving traffic to a website, store or office, signups to a newsletter or sales of a product or service.
- Email whitelist - A whitelist is the opposite of a blacklist. Instead of listing IP addresses to block, a whitelist includes IP addresses that have been approved to deliver email despite blocking measures. It is common practice for ISPs to maintain both a blacklist and a whitelist. When email service providers, like Constant Contact, say they are “whitelisted” it means that their IP addresses are on a specific ISP’s whitelist and are confident that emails sent using their service will be delivered.
- False positive - A false positive occurs when a legitimate permission based email is incorrectly filtered or blocked as spam.
- Hard bounce/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.
- House list (or Retention list) - A permission-based list that you built yourself. Use it to market, cross sell and up-sell, and to establish a relationship with customers over time. It is one of your most valuable assets because it is 7 times less expensive to market to an existing customer than it is to acquire a new one. Use every opportunity to add to it and use it.
- HTML email - Sending HTML email makes it possible to include unique fonts, graphics and background colors. HTML makes an email more interesting and when used properly can generate response rates up to 35% higher than plain text.
- Open rate - The percentage of emails opened in any given email marketing
campaign, or the percentage opened of the total number of emails sent.
- Opt-in (or Subscribe) - To opt-in or subscribe to an email list is to choose to receive email communications by supplying your email address to a particular company, website or individual thereby giving them permission to email you. The subscriber can often indicate areas of personal interest (e.g. mountain biking) and/or indicate what types of emails they wish to receive from the sender (e.g. newsletters).
Single Opt-In (with a subscriber acknowledgement email) - The most widely accepted and routinely used method of obtaining email addresses and permission. A single opt-in list is created by inviting visitors and customers to subscribe to your email list. When you use a sign-up tag on your website, a message immediately goes out to the subscriber acknowledging the subscription. This message should reiterate what the subscriber has signed up for, and provide an immediate way for the subscriber to edit interests or opt-out.
Confirmed Opt-In (a.k.a. Double Opt-In) - A more stringent method of obtaining permission to send email campaigns. Confirmed opt-in adds an additional step to the opt-in process. It requires the subscriber to respond to a confirmation email, either by clicking on a confirmation link, or by replying to the email to confirm their subscription. Only those subscribers who take this additional step are added to your list.
- Opt-out (or Unsubscribe) - To opt-out or unsubscribe from an email list is to choose not to receive communications from the sender by requesting the removal of your email address from their list.
- Permission-based email - Email sent to recipients who have opted-in or subscribed to receive email communications from a particular company, website or individual. Permission is an absolute prerequisite for legitimate and profitable email marketing.
- Personalization – Addressing individual recipients by first name, last name or both dynamically in an email. Personalization can also include a reference to previous purchases, or other content unique to each recipient. Avoid using personalization in the subject line of your emails as this is a tactic widely used by spammers.
- Rental list (or Acquisition list) - A list of prospects or a targeted group of recipients who have opted-in to receive information about certain subjects. Using permission-based rental lists, marketers can send email messages to audiences targeted by interest category, profession, demographic information and more. Renting a list usually costs between $.10 and $.40 per name. Be sure your rental list is a true permission-based, opt-in list. Permission-based lists are rented, not sold. Don’t be fooled by a list off er that sounds too good to be true or by someone who tries to mislead you by calling their list “targeted” or “clean” without certifying that it is permission-based.
- Signature file (or sigfile for short) - A tagline or short block of text at the end of an email message that identifies the sender and provides additional information such as company name and contact information. Your signature file is a marketing opportunity. Use it to convey a benefit and include a callto-action with a link.
- Spam or UCE (Unsolicited Commercial Email) - Email sent to someone who has not opted-in or given permission to the sender. Characteristically, spam is unwanted, unexpected email from a sender unknown to the recipient.
- 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.
- URL (or Universal Resource Locator) - A website, page or any other document address or location on the Internet that indicates the location of every file on every computer accessible through the Internet.
- Viral Marketing - A type of marketing that is carried out voluntarily by a company’s customers. It is oft en 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, service or specific offer to others.