Email Marketing Glossary

A/B Test: Creating 2 versions of an email to see which variation converts better. After continual testing, you can identify your best options for subject line, delivery time, and content. 

Abandon Cart: When a user adds a product to the online shopping cart of an e-commerce site but doesn’t proceed to checkout and complete the purchase. Setting up automatic, personalized email alerts to remind users they have items in their cart is often just the nudge they need to finish checking out.

Acceptance Rate: The percentage of email messages that a mail server accepts. 

ALT text: Text that shows in place of images or pops up when you hover your mouse over an image. Alt text, or alternative text, is written into the HTML code of a web page to describe an image in case the image doesn’t show.

Animated Gif: An image that changes, like animation but with only a couple of frames. Animated gifs can be used in emails; videos cannot.

Behavioral Email: A way to customize which email messages a subscriber gets based on how they have behaved in the past. 

Bounce Rate: Can be measured as hard bounces, soft bounces, or both. Bounce rate is shown as a percentage. It measures how many emails have been returned by a email service. A bounce can happen because a subscriber’s email address either no longer exists, their inbox was full, or because a server was unavailable.

Call to Action (CTA): The call to action (CTA) clearly articulates the next step in the form of a button or text link like, learn more, contact us, shop now, follow us, sign up.  

Click Through Rate (CTR): A percentage that shows how many subscribers clicked on a link in your emails. 

Click-to-Open Rate: A percentage of how many of the subscribers who opened your email clicked on one of the links.

Conversion Rate: A percentage that shows how many people completed a specific action. 

Deliverability: The art and science of getting emails from a sender all the way to subscribers’ inboxes.

Delivery Rate: A percentage of emails sent from the sender actually reach subscribers’ inboxes.

Double Opt-in: As opposed to single opt-in, this requires new subscribers to confirm their email address before they are on list.

Dynamic Content: As opposed to static content, this adds personalized text like a first name, location, birthday, etc. for each subscriber.

Email Campaign: A promotional email to your subscribers.

Email Client: The software that a subscriber views their email messages in, like Gmail, Yahoo, Mac, Outlook, etc.

Email Domain: The domain name, website or URL that an email is sent from. Typically, this is your company’s primary domain name, ie. info@yourwebsite.com.

Emoji: Special characters that create tiny images that you can embed in an email subject line, or anywhere else. Often seen to increase open rates depending on your audience. 

Engagement: Any interaction an email subscriber can have with your message, like opens, clicks, shares and more.

ESP (Email Service Provider): The company that provides software and hardware to manage your list and deploy and track your email messages.

Footer: The standard bottom bit of an email campaign that contains your company information and an unsubscribe link. 

Forward: A count of how many times a subscriber forwarded an email to someone else.

Google Analytics: A platform that measures and reports on website traffic. It provides information about how people use your website, including the most popular content, the time spent on each page, and what devices are used to browse. 

Hard Bounce: When an email cannot be delivered to someone’s inbox because that email account no longer exists or the email server was down.

Header: The top bit of an email that often includes your logo, view in browser link, and pre-header text. 

Inactive Subscribers: Subscribers that have not opened or clicked in a month or more.

Merge Tags: Tags that can be added to an email to add personalized or dynamic content.

    Opt-in: A sign up form where people can opt-in to your list. Note that the opt-in form itself is embedded into the web page for opt-in boxes.

    Opt-in Rate: A percentage of your visitors that sign up for your email list.

    Opt-out: When people unsubscribe from your email list.

    Pre-Header Text: A short bit of text that appears right after the subject line when viewed in an inbox.

    Permission: A term for asking people to get your marketing materials, rather than just broadcasting your marketing at them.

    Personalization: A marketing strategy that customizes marketing messages based on customer or client information. Dynamic content is a personalization technique, as is inserting each subscriber’s name into the subject line.

    Plain Text: As opposed to an HTML email. Plain text is an email format that uses no markup or layout in the email. The entire content of the email is just lines of text.

    Segment: A portion of your email list defined by a set of criteria, like open and click activity, location, add added, and more.

    Sender Name: Also referred to as the “from” name, this is the part of your emails where a subscriber can see who sent them the email. Sender name is visible from the inbox. In some email clients it is more prominent than the subject lines.

    Single Opt-in: As opposed to double opt-in. A way of letting new email subscribers opt-in without requiring a confirmation their email addresses first.

    Soft Bounce: As opposed to a hard bounce. When an email cannot be delivered because the inbox is full or the server is temporarily unavailable.

    Spam: There are two definitions of spam. The first is the legal definition of spam, as defined by the CAMSPAM Act and Canada’s CASL legislation. The other definition is from subscribers, who consider spam to be any email message they don’t want.

    Subject Line: An email message’s equivalent of a headline, or title.

    Subscriber: The people who have signed up to receive your emails.

    Subscriber Value: How much a subscriber is worth to you financially.

    Suppressed Email: An email address that should not be mailed to due to them unsubscribing.

    Thank You Page: The page new subscribers see after they’ve entered their email address into the opt-in form and clicked the subscribe button.

    Transactional Email: Automated emails related to online transactions, like order confirmations, shipping confirmations, account creation, etc.. They have higher engagement rates than promotional emails.

    Trigger Email: Emails sent whenever a specific event happens or a specific period of time has passed, like a birthday, entering a challenge or course, downloading a digital good, etc, 

    Welcome email: An email message or a series of email messages sent to new subscribers. 

    White List: Email marketers often encourage subscribers to “white list” their emails. A subscriber white lists the email by marking it as important or moving it to an appropriate folder in their inbox.