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Email Marketing Terms You Should Know

Want to learn more about email marketing? We’ve put together this glossary of email terms to help you get started.

Acquisition list – See “prospect list”

Bounce – An email that is not successfully delivered to the intended recipient; causes include: the address is invalid, the mail server is down, or the recipient’s mailbox is full; see also “hard bounce” and “soft bounce”

Call to action (CTA) – A statement urging the reader to take immediate action; in emails the CTA is generally delivered in the form of hyperlinked text or a button that, when clicked, takes the customer to a landing page or website

CAN-SPAM – An act passed in 2003 establishing rules for commercial email messages; the act gives recipients the right to opt out of receiving messages from a business and outlines the penalties for violators

Click-throughs – The total number of times a recipient clicks upon a link within the email message to arrive at a destination site

Click-through rate (CTR) – The percentage of click-throughs compared to the number of emails delivered

Conversion rate – The percentage of recipients completing a desired action (i.e., made a purchase, registered for an account, subscribed to a newsletter, etc.) compared to the number of emails delivered

Deliverability – The ability to successfully deliver an email to the intended inbox without being blocked or rerouted by spam filters

Forward to a friend – A link within an email message that allows recipients to send the message to another individual

Hard bounce – Indicates a permanent issue that causes the email to not be delivered; examples include: an invalid or malformed email address, an unknown host, denied access, or an inactive user account

House list – A list of opt-in subscribers’ email addresses that is independently compiled and maintained by a company purely for its own use; also known as a retention list

HTML email – An email that is designed to include non-text elements, such as logos and images, and is formatted using hypertext markup language (HTML)

Landing page – A web page that email recipients are directed to via a hyperlink

Opens – The minimum number of people that have opened an email message; the actual number of opens may be higher as it is not always possible to determine whether a plain text email was opened

Open rate – The percentage of opens compared to the total number of emails delivered

Opt-outs – Individuals who have indicated they no longer wish to receive further email communications

Percentage of click-throughs – See “click-through rate”

Personalization – The process of tailoring an email message based on the recipient’s personal information and/or unique interests or behaviors

Physical address – The sender’s street or postal address, which must appear in all email messages in order to be CAN-SPAM compliant

Plain text email – An email message that includes only text

Prospect list – A list of potential customers

Received – The net amount of delivered records (bounced emails are excluded from this count)

Retention list – See “house list”

Sent – The total number of emails deployed for an attempted delivery

Soft bounce – Indicates a temporary issue that causes the email to not be delivered; examples include: a full mailbox, a server that is down or offline, a communication error, or a message that is too large to be downloaded

Spam – An email message that is both unsolicited (the recipient has not granted permission to the sender) and bulk (the message was sent to a large number of recipients)

Unsubscribes – See “Opt-outs”

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