Glossary of Terms - Email Marketing / Marketing Solutions / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

List of terms associated with email marketing

Blacklist: Used by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to block emails from suspected spammers. Marketers who violate email laws or customs can find themselves added to blacklists, which can result in their email being completely blocked.

Bounce Rate: The undeliverable rate for messages sent by bulk email. A bounce rate of 10% is common for monthly newsletters, even with a very clean or new list. A bounce rate that's too high indicates a problem with the quality of a list and can result in the suspension of mailing services by email marketing providers.

CAN-SPAM Act: Passed by the U.S. Congress in 2003, this act prohibits sending unsolicited commercial email (UCE) and establishes rules for how commercial email messages must be formatted and what disclosures they must contain. All email marketers in the United States are subject to the provisions of the CAN-SPAM Act.

Clickthrough Rate: The percentage of those who receive or open a bulk email message who then activate a hyperlink ("clicked through") for more information. It's a measure of how engaged a list is.

Custom Fields: The number of variables that can be tracked in a segmented mailing list. The number of custom fields and the ability to do multiple sorts based on custom fields is a measure of how versatile a mailing list is.

Direct Email: Any message sent to a contact's email address. Some people use the term to distinguish between regularly scheduled messages (newsletters) and all other messages (direct email).

Drip Campaigns: Email marketing campaigns that use a sequence of automated, timed messages to stay in contact with prospects and entice them into taking an action.

House List: The core or central mailing list maintained by an organization, as opposed to a rented or test list.

Lead Nurturing: This refers to moving prospects along through ever-deeper levels of engagement with an organization. The prospect may start as a list subscriber and, through lead nurturing, become a valued repeat customer.

Lifecycle Segmentation: This is a powerful blend of timed messages (drip campaigns) and list segmentation based on everything that's known about a contact. Messages are both timed and customized based on previous behavior by the contact. Lifecycle segmentation can dramatically improve the results of email marketing to a specific list.

Mailing List: This term has two different meanings in email marketing. Some people use the term as a synonym for newsletter; newsletters are sometimes called "mailing lists." A mailing list is also a database of contacts.

Mobile Optimization: There are two main ways the increasing use of mobile devices to process email has changed email marketing. The first is the need to design messages to be viewable and appealing on mobile devices. The second is making it possible for marketers to manage the back end of email operations from mobile devices.

Newsletter: An online newsletter, email newsletter, or ezine is a subscription service for delivering messages using email.

Open Rate: The percentage of those receiving a bulk email message who actually open it. Most email marketing providers can track whether or not a message is opened and whether or not a link in that message is clicked.

Opt-In or Subscribe: To opt-in means to actively consent to receiving email messages from an organization. Most email marketing providers will only allow you to send messages to people who've subscribed or opted in.

Opt-Out or Unsubscribe: Opting-out means leaving a mailing list service or unsubscribing from a newsletter. Under the CAN-SPAM Act, commercial email messages must include an easy mechanism for opting-out or removing one's email address from a mailing list.

Segmentation: The ability to divide a list based on the attributes of those on the list. Segmented lists offer ways to break a list into smaller pieces based on many variables, such as the size and frequency of purchases.

Social Sharing: Features built into email messages that make them easy to share with others. They include sharing messages with social networks, forwarding emails to others, ranking messages, rating messages, and other ways for easily bringing a message to the attention of other people.

Spam: Spam gets its name from the processed, canned meat product. In email marketing, it means any email message that someone either didn't ask for or doesn't want. "Spamming" is the act of sending out these messages.

Spam Analysis: Software that analyzes the reason an email has bounced. Knowing why email has bounced can help marketers improve their results while keeping good contacts on the list.

Unsolicited Commercial Email (UCE): A more technical term for spam. It means just what it says: email with a commercial purpose that the receiver did not ask for. It's also called junk email.

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