Email Marketing Glossary

Email Marketing Terms & Definitions

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email marketing terms glossaryA/B Test — Compare two different versions of the same email campaign with the intent on measuring the results to choose the one that provides increased results.

Accreditation — An email certification of a message’s reputation and quality.

Alt-text — A text tag that offers a description of an image inside of an email message. It is used when an image in your email is blocked by an email provider and the recipient cannot see the image.

Authentication — Certifying the authenticity of a message and its sender.

Autoresponders — A predetermined automated email technique that sends a series of emails after an action has been taken.


Bayesian Filter — A method used by spam filters to identify common elements of spam.

Blacklist — A database of email senders that are considered ‘spammers’.

Bounce Rate — The rate at which your emails are not delivered and are defined by two types of bounces, hard and soft.  An acceptable bounce rate is less than 5%.

Bulk Mail — Large scale email marketing sends in which the same content goes to a large group of people.

Bulk Email — Bulk email refers to sending a single email to a large quantity of email recipients. Marketing messages typically comprise bulk email.


CAN-SPAM — Short for ‘Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing Act of 2003,’ it’s a law that outlines rules for commercial email, provides email recipients with the right to make you stop emailing them, and lays out consequences for violations of the Act.

Catch-all — Address to which emails sent to non-existent mailboxes of a certain domain are redirected.

Click Through Rate (CTR) — The number of unique clicks divided by the number that were opened of recipients that click on a URL within your email.

Conversion Rate — The percentage of recipients who respond to your call-to-action in an email marketing campaign or promotion. This is one measure of your email campaign’s success. The Definitive Guide to Crafting Winning Calls to Action in Your Content | HuffPost


Dedicated IP — An IP address only, in which you send email from – It is more costly, an you may have to manually manage it.

Delisting — A removal from a Blacklist.

DEM — Direct Email Marketing, the activities of sending emails for advertising purposes.

Deliverability — Total number of emails deployed divided into the total amount successfully delivered.

Double Opt-In — A data collection method. After users fill out a form with all the requested data, they receive a second confirmation communication. Double Opt-In differs from Single Opt-In mode due to the presence of this double step.


Email Campaign — An email designed to accomplish an overall marketing goal.

Email Client — A computer program used to access and manage a user’s email. Example:,, Outlook

Email Service Provider (ESP) — A provider of email marketing software and or services. (Ex. Act-On, Jango, SMTP)


Feedback Loop — A signal sent to the sender when the user moves an email to a junk or spam folder.

Footer — A signal sent to the sender when the user moves an email to a junk or spam folder.


Grey Listing — A servers’ temporary rejection of an incoming email to combat the risk of spam.


Hard Bounce –A failed delivery due to permanent reasons like invalid email or blocked email address.

Header –the header section of an email, containing the main information such as sender, subject, and sending date.

Honey Pot — Another term for SPAM Trap.

HTML –Hypertext markup language, the web standard for composing multimedia content.


IMAP –The basic protocol used to read a mailbox.

Inbox — The main folder that your incoming mail gets stored in.

IP Address –A four-digit number that uniquely identifies PCs, servers, and devices. Read more from Business Insider on What is an IP address and what can it reveal about you?


Open Rate — Total number of emails opened divided by the number of emails delivered.


Retention List — A list of people who have given permission (opt-in) to receive emails from you.


Junk Mail — Folder where messages that the receiving mail system considers as spam with a good degree of confidence are automatically delivered.


Landing Page — A website page for an advertising campaign used to provide additional information on the products or services advertised in your emails.

Layout — The type of graphic setting of an email. i.e. texts, images, CTA button, tables, etc.

Link — A “hypertext” website link that can be inserted in emails in order to direct recipients to a web page.

List churn — The number of contacts who have unsubscribed from a service. The Definitive Guide to Crafting Winning Calls to Action in Your Content | HuffPost


Sender Score: — A reputation rating (0-100) for every outgoing mail server IP address. Servers will check score before deciding what to do with your emails.

Shared IP — An IP address that multiple people send from. It is typically used because it is less costly.

SPAM — An unsolicited email or email we did not give permission to receive.

SPAM Trap — Also known as a “Honey Pot” is an email address that was once valid, which an email service provider turned into a trap by not returning a hard bounce. If it is not removed from a sending database, each time an email is sent, the sender is reported as a spammer.

Soft Bounce — A failed delivery due to temporary issue like full mailbox or server unavailable.

Subscriber — A user(s) who has requested to receive email communications from a sender. This is also known as an Opt-In.


Transactional Emails — Personalized content that is sent automatically after users performs a certain action.

Triggered Email — Triggered refers to a “sending trigger”, which is a specific action a user takes to create an automated email response.


Unique Visitors — Unique visitors refers to individuals who are “clicking” for the first time. Typically, this metric is used for links inside of emails as well as websites or landing pages. If a single visitor clicks more than one item, the metric for unique visitors will only be counted once.

Unsubscribed — The classification for a user which has opted out of receiving specific emails.

URL — A URL is a complete internet address comprised of the domain name and other detailed information directing the browser to a specific web page online. Every web page has a unique URL.


Web Analytics — Website integration tools which let you measure campaigns and analyze visitor behavior.

Whitelist — A list of IP addresses approved to deliver email.

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