50 Essential Email Marketing Terms You Should Know

Alicia Schneider

Aug 16 2020

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It seems like every day there’s a new addition to our ever-growing digital marketing vocabulary, and email marketing is no exception. While it may be time-consuming to keep up with each new technological development and the lingo that comes along with it, there are some terms you just have to know as an email marketer.

Some of these terms are probably familiar even to the novice email marketers, while others might have you scratching your head. Wherever you fall in your email marketing journey, here’s a selection of the jargon you should familiarize yourself with.

1. A/B Split Test

A technique to test two or more slight variations of an email (such as subject lines, CTAs, preview texts, etc.) and compare the results in order to better understand and optimize the conversion rate.

2. Analytics

Metrics used to measure the consumer’s habits towards your email campaigns. The most common platform marketers use for this is Google Analytics, a free software that allows marketers to track email interactions and visitor behavior on your website.

3. Auto Follow Up

An automatic email that is automatically sent to remind the recipient of the subject of a previous email.

4. Autoresponder

A script that sends an automatic email after a user’s specific action, such as subscribing, contacting customer service, changing an account setting, etc. Email marketers also use autoresponders to trigger emails such as birthday messages, cross-selling items, or an abandoned cart reminder.

5. Blacklist

A list of email senders identified by IP address with a bad reputation due to sending emails considered to be spam. If you’re on a blacklist, your emails may not find their way to your recipients’ inboxes.

6. Block

A block, or an email block, is when spam filters stop all of a sender’s emails from going out. This can be for a few reasons, such as your previously sent emails were spammy or if you’ve exceeded your daily send limit.

7. Bounce Rate

A percentage based on the emails that do not reach recipients’ inboxes. A bounce can occur when a recipient’s inbox is too full to receive more emails, a server was not available, or the email address doesn’t exist.

8. Campaign

Either one email or a series of promotional emails you send to subscribers is considered an email campaign. The purpose of an email campaign is to support a marketing goal.


A law created in the USA in 2003 with the purpose of reducing spam coming from commercial emails. The CAN SPAM law set rules and regulations for commercial emails, gave recipients the right to stop receiving them, and also established penalties.

10. CASL

The Canadian Anti Spam Law, abbreviated as CASL, is similar to the American CAN SPAM law. It was established in Canada in 2014. In order to be CASL compliant, you have to have obtained consent for sending commercial emails, you must provide identifying information, and you must include an unsubscribe option.

11. Clicks Per Open

A percentage determined by the unique number of clicks divided by the number of email opens. This is a helpful metric in understanding whether or not your email campaign was successful.

12. Conversion Rate

A metric that shows the percentage of people who completed your desired action, usually by performing the call to action. The percentage is measured by the number of people who performed your CTA divided by the total number of people your email campaign was delivered to.

13. CPM

CPM stands for Cost Per Mile and is also sometimes referred to as CPT, Cost Per Thousand. In the field of email marketing, CPM refers to the cost of sending a thousand emails. It can also refer to the cost per name or email address when it comes to list management.

14. CTA (Call To Action)

A short phrase or a word that denotes the action you’d like your recipient to take after opening and reading your email. Can be in the form of a button or hyperlinked text. Some examples of common CTAs are: shop now, download, subscribe, sign up today, etc.

15. CTR (Click Through Rate)

A percentage that denotes how many recipients clicked on a button, image, or a link in your email. Analyzing your CTR is a good metric to measure how well an email is performing.

16. Deliverability

A metric that shows an email’s ability to reach the intended recipient’s inbox. Email marketers want to achieve the highest deliverability rate as possible in order to maximize the effectiveness of their campaign.

17. Deploy

Another way those of us in the email marketing business like to say “send,” as in “the email campaign was deployed yesterday.”

18. Double Opt-In

When new subscribers fill out a form on your website or somewhere else, a double opt-in is the email confirmation they receive asking them if they’d really like to be added to a mailing list, often by verifying their email address or clicking a link.

19. Drip Marketing

Drip marketing is a series of automated emails that are scheduled to be sent to recipients over time, sometimes depending on their behavior.

20. Dynamic Content

Personalized content in an email that changes depending on individual recipient’s data or preferences. Examples of dynamic content in an email are location, gender, past purchases, etc.

21. Email Service Provider (ESP)

An ESP is a company that provides a platform, service, software, or hardware that hosts your list of subscribers and that is used to send out marketing emails. Some examples of popular ESPs are Constant Contact, SendinBlue, and Benchmark.

22. Footer

The bottom portion of an email. Often, the footer contains important information such as your privacy policy, an unsubscribe button, legal information, contact details, or your company’s location.

23. GDPR

General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, is a European law established in 2016. Its purpose is to provide regulations on how individuals’ personal data is collected and stored.

24. Hard Bounce

When an email permanently cannot be delivered for a specific reason such as the email address no longer exists, it is invalid, or the sender is blocked.

25. Honey Pot

An email address that is planted in order to attract and trap spam. A honey pot can be an email address deliberately left publicly on a website, so when spammers or bots pick it up and send an email the sender is automatically flagged as spam.

26. HTML Email

HTML emails allow marketers and designers to get a lot more creative with their emails. With HTML, you can send emails that include embedded videos, graphics, carousels, and more.

27. IP Address

A series of numbers that is used to identify a specific computer or computer network anywhere in the world. In email marketing, IP addresses are used to identify the sender of an email.

28. Landing Page

After clicking on a CTA or link included in an email, the page that opens is called a landing page. A landing page can be anything from a promoted item, a lead-capture page, a blog post, or a download page.

29. List Fatigue

List fatigue occurs when there is less and less engagement coming from email campaigns as a result of sending out too many emails or promotions over time.

30. Marketing Automation

In the context of email marketing, marketing automation is when emails are automatically sent out to your recipients based on defined triggers or behaviors. This is often accomplished by using email marketing software.

31. Mobile Open Rate

A percentage that shows how many recipients have opened an email on a mobile device, such as a phone or tablet.

32. Newsletter

A message or update sent out to subscribed members on a regular and reoccurring basis. Newsletters are often sent out daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly.

33. Open Rate

An important metric that shows the percentage of people who opened an email. It’s calculated by dividing the number of emails that were opened by the total number of email recipients.

34. Personalization

The act of adding content or elements to create a customized email that is based on knowledge or data of individual users. A personalized email might include the recipient’s name, a birthday wish, referring to previous purchases, and more. Email personalization is seen as especially important by email marketers since it can lead to significantly higher open rates and conversion rates.

35. Privacy Policy

A policy found on a company’s website that outlines regulations on how users’ information is collected, used, and secured. A privacy policy usually describes what a company does and doesn’t do with user data.

36. Reply Rate

The percentage of recipients who reply to a specific email. The metric is calculated by dividing the replies to an email divided by the total number of recipients that email was sent to.

37. Responsive Design

The design of an email that will adapt to display properly and accurately based on the desktop or mobile device it’s viewed on, such as a laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

38. Scraping

A technique used by spammers and bots. Scraping software searches the Internet for any email addresses it can find on websites and social media profiles then adds them to spam lists.

39. Segmentation

A key email marketing technique where marketers divide their mailing lists into different segments based on common traits, like behavior, location, gender, purchase habits, etc. Email campaigns sent to segmented lists often bring in higher open and conversion rates since the content is more targeted and relevant to each recipient.

40. Soft Bounce

When an email cannot be delivered for temporary issues, it’s called a soft bounce. The reasons for non-delivery can be the recipient’s inbox was full, the email was too long or had an attachment that was too big, or the server was unavailable. Unlike a hard bounce, it’s possible to try and deliver an email that was a soft bounce again at a later date.

41. Spam Filters

Filters that are set by ESPs to determine if an incoming email is spam. The filters often look for spammy language or unsolicited emails and redirect the email to the spam inbox. As an email marketer, it’s important to understand how to avoid having your emails filtered as spam.

42. Subject Line

The text that a recipient sees under or next to the title of the email. It’s often an opening line, personalized text, or promotional text.

43. Subscriber

A person who has opted-in to your newsletter or mailing list and has agreed to receive email communications from a business.

44. Targeting

A targeted list is a list of your subscribers who are grouped together for a specific reason, such as their interests, location, or behaviors. This is similar to segmentation.

45. Templates

Templates are pre-fabricated email designs and layouts that anyone can use and customized with their content. Templates can make creating an email campaign quick and easy while not sacrificing quality design. ESPs often come with a variety of email templates for different types of email campaigns.

46. Throttling

A common email deployment technique where email campaigns are sent out in large batches instead of all at once. The purpose of this is to increase deliverability rates.

47. Triggered Emails

Another form of automation, triggered emails are scheduled and sent out automatically when a specific event happens, on a specific date, or based on a set action. For example, an email confirmation after a purchase or a birthday email.

48. Unique Clicks

A metric that shows how many recipients have clicked on a link or button in your email after opening it. This doesn’t count links that were clicked on more than once, so it’s a more specific measurement than click-through rates.

49. Welcome Email

Usually the first email a recipient will get when they subscribe to a mailing list. Welcome emails are typically automated.

50. Whitelist

As the opposite of a blacklist, a whitelist is a list of IP addresses that have been approved by a recipient’s ESP. Generally, the more recipients that have you on their whitelist, the better your reputation is.

Bottom Line

There are plenty more email marketing terms we could have added to this list, but these are a collection of the most important ones that email marketers of all levels should know. Do we miss your favorite email marketing term? Let us know in the comments below.

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