"The Un Magazine"

20 Email Marketing Terms You Need to Know

Making sense of email marketing terms can sometimes feel like you’re trying to learn a new language, and it’s normal to feel lost. But intense as the jargon is, it’s important to have a clear understanding of the basics. Some terms have legal implications that are crucial to be aware of, while others represent trends and practices that you’ll want to work into your strategy.

So, instead of smiling and nodding along in those marketing meetings, get to know some of the most-used terms. To help you get up to speed, we’ve put together this quick glossary of email marketing terms that you need to know, along with some of our resources that will give you more in-depth knowledge. Let’s get to it.

A/B Testing

It can be difficult to tell which aspects of your campaigns — email subject line, CTA or opt-in forms, for example — will yield the best results. A/B testing allows you to test two variants of a single item to see which is the most effective. 

Acceptance Rate

This is the percentage of emails you send out that are accepted by your recipients’ email servers and is sometimes referred to as the deliverability rate. It doesn’t necessarily mean that an email made it into an inbox, just that it didn’t bounce back.

Acceptable Spam Report Rate

The rate at which your emails can be reported as SPAM but without negatively impacting your sender reputation. Typically, anything over 0.1% (1 report per 1000 emails) will get a warning​​.

Blast (Batch-and-Blast)

The same exact email sent to a large number of recipients or your entire subscriber list.

Bounce Rate

Speaking of bounces, the bounce rate refers to the percentage of emails you send out that are not accepted by your recipients’ email servers.

Bulk Emails

Marketing or advertising emails sent out to large groups of people at once. These are generally canned text emails, meaning they are not personalized to each recipient — though they may still be targeted to a specific segment of your audience.

Buyer Persona

A buyer persona is a fictitious representation of your ideal customer. The persona bears the archetypal traits of your customer such as their age, interests, location, occupation, marital status, income, and more. By putting a (fictional) face to a nameless audience, you can better personalize your marketing.

Call to Action

A proper call-to-action (CTA) guides your audience to take the next most relevant action, such as buying, starting a free trial, or signing up. A CTA invites a lead to perform the desired action, which in turn helps you achieve your marketing goals. Focusing on a single CTA can help you optimize conversions, from your email template to your landing page.


The Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003, which dictates guidelines that businesses must follow when sending commercial emails. Under CAN-SPAM (which is enforced by the FTC, or Federal Trade Commission), recipients must have a visible and operable way to unsubscribe from your messages, and your emails must contact accurate “from” lines, among other provisions.

Content Delivery Network (CDN)

A network of servers used to distribute the load of delivering content, improving the speed and reliability of email delivery.

Content Marketing

As the name suggests, content marketing is an inbound marketing tactic that entails the use of content to generate awareness and demand for your product or services. As you create value-packed content, you can leverage email marketing to distribute it to your audience and drive profitable buyer actions.

Conversion Rate

The number of people who follow through on your email’s call to action. This can be a click, a download, a purchase, or some other action, and is one of the top indicators of your email’s performance.

CTR (Click Through Rate)

This is the percentage of recipients that click on a link in your email and is calculated by dividing the number of unique clicks on a link by the number of emails that were sent. The higher your CTR, the better.

Customer Acquisition Cost

When a customer takes the desired action, we call that a conversion. The customer acquisition cost (CAC) is the cumulative amount you have spent to generate a conversion. In other words, it’s a measure of the amount spent to acquire new customers.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

Software that manages a company’s interactions with current and potential customers, often used in conjunction with email marketing for personalization and segmentation.


When an email sender sends an email campaign to a specific email list or segment.

Double Opt-In

A double opt-in is when you require that a subscriber goes through a two-step process to subscribe to your email — usually a standard sign up followed by a confirmation email with a link.

Dynamic Content

Email content that changes depending on the recipient’s characteristics or actions, enabling more personalized and relevant messaging.

Email Campaign

An email or series of emails driven toward a unique marketing goal.

Email Editor

The tool within an email service provider’s platform where emails are designed and composed.

Engagement Rate

The rate of engagement is a measure of how people react and interact (like, share and comment) with your content on a brand’s website, social media, or email. A high engagement rate shows your content is doing great at grabbing the interest and attention of your audience.

False Positive

Occurs when a legitimate email is mistakenly identified and filtered out as spam.

Hard Bounce

This is a type of bounced email where delivery fails due to a fixed reason, such as a blocked or invalid email address.

Honey Pot

An email address used to identify and track spam. It appears valid but is solely for monitoring unsolicited emails.


A type of email that allows you to customize your design and format more so than you can with a standard plain text email.

Inbox Service Provider (ISP)

A platform that allows users to send and receive emails​​.

IP Warming

Sending emails to a recipient at a gradually increasing volume to establish the relevancy of your IP address.

Landing Page

This is a standalone web page where you direct your web traffic through email marketing campaigns, organic web traffic, pay-per-click campaigns and more. The page is conversion-focused and features a single CTA. Some examples of a landing page CTA include subscribing to a newsletter, registering for a webinar, downloading a whitepaper, or making a purchase. By directing a specific audience to a landing page with a single CTA, you can better optimize for conversions.


When a web visitor clicks the CTA and takes the desired action such as signing up for a webinar or booking a demo call, they become a lead. A lead is a person or business that shows interest in your product or service.

Lead Nurturing

Lead nurturing is the process of sharing valuable and relevant content through a series of touchpoints – often through an automated email journey or drip campaign – to convert a lead to a customer.

List Segmentation

Separating your contact list into distinct groups (usually those in the same phase of the funnel) for the purpose of sending more targeted and relevant content.

Marketing Funnel

A marketing funnel visually depicts the buyer’s journey. It often has three stages: awareness, consideration, and conversion. It’s shaped like a funnel because the first and topmost stage, awareness, will have the highest number of leads, and only some of these leads ultimately move down the funnel to convert.

Marketing Automation Platform (MAP)

A technology used for automating marketing actions, such as sending out emails in response to specific triggers.

Omnichannel Marketing

Omnichannel marketing means meeting and engaging your customers on all channels: digital or traditional. The goal is to send a consistent message across all mediums to improve customer experience which is what today’s customers crave.

Open Rate

This is the percentage of emails you sent out that were opened by their recipients.


To subscribe to an email. It’s important that your leads opt-in since this means they are interested in hearing from you and thus more likely to engage. Sending emails to individuals who haven’t opted-in can also be detrimental to your IP.


To unsubscribe to an email. It’s required that you provide a clear way for recipients to opt-out from your emails and that you honor removal requests when they occur.


Features within an email that are customized for their recipient. This can include using their name, inputting product recommendations based on their preferences, and sending unique content based on where they are in the buyer’s journey.

Preheader Text (Preview Text)

Text that usually appears next to or below the subject line in most mailbox providers, providing a preview of the email’s content​​.

Progressive Profiling

The practice of gradually collecting more information about a subscriber over time, rather than asking for a lot of details upfront.


When you meet a customer’s needs, they will be excited about your brand and won’t hesitate to recommend it to friends and family. If the friend or family they invite responds to your CTA or offer, they become a referral. Referrals are one of the most responsive and high-quality leads you ever get because they trust the referring party.

Responsive Design

An email design approach that ensures emails display optimally across a range of devices and screen sizes.

Return on Investment

Like other investments, in marketing, you have to make financial inputs. However, you want to put your money into campaigns that yield the best results. The return on investment (ROI) is a key performance indicator (KPI) that hints you on the amount you earn from each campaign. 

Search Engine Optimization

Your content needs to appear prominently in search engine results for your target audience to find it. Search engine optimization (SEO) enables you to achieve that goal. SEO is a multifaceted process that involves writing with the right keywords, improving page load speeds, building backlinks, and more. SEO drives more traffic to your website, where you can convert visitors to email subscribers and customers.


The practice of dividing an email list into smaller sections based on specific criteria, such as characteristics or behavior, to send more targeted and relevant messages.

Sender Score

The reputation of your IP address scored from 0 to 100. Think of it like a credit score, where the higher your score, the more reputable your IP. Email services use this score to help determine who gets sent to the inbox and who doesn’t.

Shared IP

An IP address that many people send emails from and is a less costly option than a dedicated IP address​​.

Single Opt-In

A one-step opt-in process to receive your emails. Unlike double-opts, this could lead to less engaged recipients since they haven’t confirmed their interest.

Soft Bounce

When emails were accepted by the server but still sent back to you undelivered. This can happen for a few different reasons, including full mailboxes and emails being too large.


Also referred to as junk email, these are messages that are unsolicited and unwanted, and thus filtered out of the inbox. Your emails can be classified as spam if they’re sent to recipients who didn’t opt-in to hearing from you. And in addition to missing the inbox, sending spam can harm your IP and hurt your acceptance rate. There can also be legal consequences.

Tracking Pixel

A tiny, invisible image embedded in emails to track opens, views, and other engagement metrics.

Transactional Email

An automated email sent to users that often includes purchase receipts or account notifications.

Unique Selling Proposition

When you create a product or service, chances are that it won’t be a pioneer in its respective niche; there are others already dominating the market. For your product to stand out from the crowd, it has to include a unique selling proposition (USP). The USP is a feature or benefit that sets the product apart from others.


Email services that are accessed via a web browser, as opposed to those accessed via an email client application.

We hope you found this crash course in email marketing terms helpful! If you want to dive in further, check out our email marketing glossary of 50+ terms.

Source link