20 Email Marketing terms everyone should know

If you’re needing an introduction to Email Marketing, or just need a refresher on some terminology, here are twenty email marketing terms that everyone should know:

A/B Test – An A/B test is a method of comparing two variations of an ad, piece of content, or other material so you can see which version performs better. Also known as split testing, A/B testing involves changing one small element at a time (like a headline or graphic) to refine your results. During A/B testing, only a portion of your audience sees each test. This allows you to create the most effective content before you release it to your entire following. (Hootsuite)

Anchor Text – Anchor text is the clickable, colored (usually blue) text that indicates a hyperlink. Anchor text is important for search engines and algorithms because it provides relevant information about where the link leads. Anchor text is changed using the HTML or CSS code. (ActiveCampaign)

Automation – a way for you to send timely, relevant, personalized email campaigns to individual contacts when they take a specific action, like signing up for your email list or making a purchase from your online store. (Constant Contact)

Bounce Rate – The number of emails that couldn’t be delivered to inboxes (see Soft Bounce Rate and Hard Bounce Rate) (Digital Marketer)

CAN-SPAM – A law that sets the rules for commercial email, establishes requirements for commercial messages, gives recipients the right to have you stop emailing them, and spells out tough penalties for violations. (FTC.gov)

Click Rate – The percentage of people who click on an email link after receiving an email campaign. Email click rates measure the immediate response rate of an email, and are often used as the primary conversion metric for a campaign. (Active Campaign)

Click-Through Rate (CTR) – A metric that measures how many people clicked on an image, hyperlink, or CTA in an email. (Campaign Monitor)

Contacts Segmentation – The process of separating contact lists into smaller sections according to shared characteristics. Marketers can then target different segments with tailored email campaigns based on what they know about subscribers. (Send In Blue)

CTOR – A metric/report used by email marketers to analyze their email marketing strategies. When the number of unique clicks for your emails is divided by the number of unique opens, the result you get is called the click to open rate (CTOR). Lower CTOR means you’ll have to streamline your email marketing strategies and aim to reach out to the right people so that they’ll open your emails. Doing this will improve the CTOR of your email campaigns. (Zoho)

Drip Campaign – A series of automated emails sent to people who take a specific action. For any given action, you can choose how many emails to send and the rate at which to send them. These emails can be personalized with data like the contact’s name, and specific references to the action they took. You might send a drip campaign to someone who signs up for your online course, for example. Or you could send a drip campaign to people who add an item to their online cart without buying it. (MailChimp)

Email Automation – Email automation is a marketing technique that lets businesses schedule and trigger emails based on date, characteristics of their subscribers, or the behavior their subscribers take. It is sending the perfect email, at the perfect time, to the right person. With as little — or as much— human interaction as you like, you can continuously market to your email list in a highly personalized way. (Active Campaign)

Email Campaign – One or a series of emails sent to achieve a specific goal for the marketer. (Active Campaign)

Email Personalization – Taking data of your leads and contacts that they have consented to you and use to create tailor-made email content that is relevant to their interests. (Zoho)

Hard Bounce – When an email is returned to a sender for permanent reasons. (Campaign Monitor)

Open Rate – The number of email recipients that opened an email divided by the total number of email recipients; shown as a percentage. (Digital Marketer).

Segmentation – The act of grouping your contacts by their characteristics or the actions they take. Segmentation lets you personalize your messages, so that each contact gets the information that is most relevant to their needs. (Active Campaign)

Soft Bounce – A percentage of addresses you didn’t reach because of temporary reasons such as a problem with a server, full inbox or file size is too big. Although these are the most common reasons, the whole list of reasons is really, really long. (Campaign Monitor)

Transactional Email – A transactional email is a type of email that is triggered by an action on a website or mobile application – usually a purchase. Transactional emails are confirmations of the action and include purchase receipts, order confirmations, password resets, download links, appointment confirmations, and welcome emails to new subscribers. (Active Campaign)

Unsubscribe Rate – The number of email recipients who unsubscribed divided by the total number of email recipients (shown as a percentage), also known as List Churn. (Digital Marketer)

Workflow – A sequence of automated emails triggered by a user’s behavior or data, for instance, placing an order, shopping cart abandonment, subscription, registration, etc. (Send Pulse)

Mike Nicholson

I've spent my career working in a variety of Strategic Communications, Public Relations, Public Affairs, Information Operations, and Executive Outreach positions. With a history of planning, preparing, executing, and assessing communication strategies in the U.S. and abroad, I use this site to write, think and share lessons learned on organizational communications.

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