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Key Email Marketing Phrases You Need to Know

Thomas Griffin
at OptinMonster
Updated Jun 29, 2022

Make sure you know these key terms used in email marketing.

Despite all of the technology we have at our fingertips, people still love using email as a reliable source of communication for both friends, family, and businesses. How popular are emails exactly? The Radicati Group researched email habits from 2015 until now, and they have some bold predictions. It’s being predicted that by the end of 2019 there will be 246 billion emails sent out per day.

This jaw-dropping statistic should tell you a couple things. First, it’s clear that there is a huge opportunity for marketers to reach out to their audience via emails. Second, it’s also clear that in this space, only the most knowledgeable will succeed. For this reason, it’s vital that you understand some key email marketing phrases so that you can make the most of your next big campaign.

We are here to break it down and explain some of the key terms used in email marketing so you can start pulling in leads as soon as possible.

Editor’s note: Looking for the right email marketing service for your business? Fill out the below questionnaire to have our vendor partners contact you about your needs.

Click-through rate vs. open rate

The first phrase you should know is click-through rate. Your click-through rate is the number of people who actually clicked through and followed your link or image within your email. This is different from the open rate, which is the number of people who simply opened the email.

It’s important to know this term because you need to know who is following through after they open your email. If your click-through rate is low, but your open rate is high, then that is usually indicative of a problem within the email copy. Since the subject line got the potential customer to open the email, something in the copy is keeping them from following through on your link.

What is an average click-through rate?

A study titled Email Insights and Reporting says a healthy click-through rate is around 15 percent. If you’re slightly below this you’re not doing bad, but there is room for improvement. On the other hand, if your percentage is above 15, great job! People are not only opening your emails but also interested in your proposition.

Split testing

Another important term you should learn is split testing, also known as A/B Testing. This phrase is applied to website and social media campaigns, but it’s vital to email marketing, too.

A split test is when you create two separate adverts, email copies, or other promotion and introduce it to two groups of customers. The goal is to see which method gets better results through sales and conversions.

For example, you may want to set up an email split test where you send one email to half your lead list offering 20 percent off their purchase if they buy in the next 24 hours with a limited time code, and offer 10 dollars off a purchase to the other half of the lead list. Now you sit back and see which offer does well. Once the data starts coming in you’ll be able to refine your process and give your customers what they want and expect from your emails.

One case study by OptinMonster revealed that a split test that started on-site that resulted in email subscribers landed a company a whopping 158 percent increase in conversions. Those are results worth keeping in mind.

Hard bounce and soft bounce

The next two phrases are hard bounce and soft bounce. Basically, both phrases describe the same thing but for different reasons.

A soft bounce is when you send out an email to your subscribers and some come back, but it’s usually only temporary. The most common reason the email gets kicked back is that the user has a full inbox or currently isn’t accepting new emails at this time. Your email service provider will typically try to resend soft bounces in an attempt to reach the intended subscriber.

On the other hand, a hard bounce is an email that comes back and absolutely cannot be delivered. There are three common reasons for this issue.

  • The account doesn’t exist
  • The account was shut down
  • The domain is incorrect

When a hard bounce occurs there is little you can do to solve this problem. You may want to consider removing these emails from your subscriber list since one hard bounce usually means every email you send is going to get kicked back. You can save your resources and focus on customers who will receive, and potentially act on, your emails.


As you get more familiar with your email marketing campaign, you’l begin to expand your knowledge on the different terms involved in this branch of marketing. There are quite a few that cross over, such as split testing being applicable in three big areas of marketing. 

There’s no doubt that you’ll start to learn more marketing phrases on your journey to success. Keep your mind open and absorb everything like a sponge. The more you know, the better chance you have at one day owning your own online empire.


Image Credit:

AFANASEV IVAN / Shutterstock

Thomas Griffin
I'm president and CTO of OptinMonster, a powerful lead generation tool that's installed in over 700,000 websites.