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Tips: E-Marketing Glossary

There is a lot of lingo associated with e-marketing. Here is a basic glossary that will get you up to speed in no time. Suggestions for additions are always welcome.

Address Book Whitelisting
This is the process by which a user adds a company’s email address to their email address book or whitelist. Encouraging all subscribers to do this helps prevent “false positives” in which legitimate, permission-based emails are filtered.

Affirmative Consent
Affirmative consent is an active request by a user to receive your newsletters or promotions via email. This does NOT mean having to uncheck a pre-checked box on an online form or being added to a newsletter list simply because you have purchased a product, for example.

This is a list of the domains or IP addresses of any email senders suspected of sending spam. Many companies use blacklists to filter out unwanted inbound email.

A bounce occurs when an email message is undeliverable for some reason and is therefore returned to the sender. There are a number of causes for bounces: server errors, use of an invalid or inactive email address, recipient's mailbox is full, etc.

Broadcasting is the process of sending the same email message to multiple recipients at the same time. (See also Campaign)

Bulk Folder
A bulk folder, also called a junk folder, is one where email clients (programs like Outlook or AOL) send messages that might be considered spam or messages from senders that are not in the user’s email address book.

An email campaign is described as any email broadcast (newsletter, promotion, announcement, etc.) you send to your list of subscribers. The results of individual campaigns can be tracked and analyzed immediately, and you can use those results to improve future e-marketing communications.

Campaign Management
Campaign management is the entire process by which email marketing campaigns are planned, produced, distributed and reported. This includes concepting the campaign, preparing your list, writing, designing, editing, testing, sending the email campaign and then reporting on the results.

This is the U.S. law that regulates commercial email. It stands for “Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003.”

Click-Through Rate (CTR)
For each link you include on your email campaign, you can track the percentage of subscribers who click through to a specific landing page on your website (or someone else's). You can also group those subscribers who click on a particular link into a targeted list.

Confirmed Opt-In
Confirmed opt-in (also called double opt-in) is the process by which each new subscriber is sent an "authentication" email message requesting that he or she confirm the intention to receive email communications from your company or organization. Generally, this process requires the subscriber to click on a link as confirmation. Many state laws require this confirmation, and it is certainly a best practice for all permission-based email marketers.

Confirmed opt-in protects you and your subscribers from the accidental delivery of unwanted email. It prevents someone else from signing you up for an email list without your knowledge.

Conversion Rate
The rate at which the recipients of a specific email campaign take action once they reach your landing page (by purchasing a product, filling out a survey, signing up for a drawing, etc.).

Co-registration is the practice of one organization, on its own subscription and membership registration forms, of offering subscriptions, memberships or leads to another organization.

Cost Per Action (CPA)
Cost per action is the cost to an advertiser for a specific, predetermined action taken by a viewer/consumer during an ad campaign. In such a campaign, the advertiser pays only when the specific, predetermined action is taken.

Cost Per Click (CPC)
Cost per click is the cost to an advertiser per the number of times a particular link is clicked during a campaign.

Cost Per Thousand (CPM)
The cost per thousand refers to the total cost of a campaign per one thousand unique recipients.

The creative for an email campaign (or any marketing campaign, for that matter) refers to the concept, copy writing and graphic design.

Delivered email
This is the number of emails sent less the number of bounced and filtered messages. Because not all ISPs provide ESPs with accurate data on which emails didn’t go through and why, this is not an exact number.

Digest Newsletter
A digest is a shortened version of a newsletter that contains headlines and/or brief story summaries and teasers with hyperlinks to the full stories on web pages (also called landing pages).

Domain Name System (DNS)
DNS is an Internet service that translates domain names into IP addresses. Because domain names are alphabetic, they are easier to remember. The Internet however, is really based on IP addresses. Every time you use a domain name, therefore, a DNS service must translate the name into the corresponding IP address. For example, the domain name www.sample.com might translate to

Double Opt-In
(See Confirmed Opt-In)

Dynamic Content
E-newsletters that incorporate dynamic content provide content elements that change from one subscriber to the next depending on preset variables or rules. Different content could be determined by where recipients live, their purchase habits or the database segments they belong to, for example.

email Client
This is the software used to read email. Microsoft Outlook, Groupwise and Lotus Notes are examples of email clients.

An e-newsletter (also called e-zine) is a newsletter sent via email to subscribers.

email Service Provider (ESP)
An email service provider, also called an email vendor, is a company that sends bulk (volume) email on behalf of customers.

(See E-Newsletter)

False Positive
A false positive occurs when a legitimate, permission-based email message gets caught up in a bulk folder or blocked by a spam filter.

The footer is the area at the end of an email message which contains content that does not change from one email to the next, such as instructions for how to unsubscribe or company contact information.

House List
A house list is one that a company or organization builds on its own, without renting or purchasing third-party lists.

HTML email
An HTML email is a full-color, interactive email message. It usually contains color graphics and links to web pages, or "landing pages." HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) is the computer programming language used to build web pages and full-color, interactive emails. But you don't have to be a computer programmer to create an HTML email. There are plenty of user-friendly web design software programs that "write" the HTML programming for you while you design your layout. (See also Text-Only email)

The advantages of HTML email are:

  • You can create visual impact and consistent branding with graphics (color and b/w).
  • You can drive traffic to your website or others, to get further information, register for an event, fill out a survey, download files, etc.
  • You can track the success of your email campaigns:
    how many people open the email (open rate), how many people click on each link (click-through rate) and more.
  • Using your tracking information, you can segment your subscribers and send more targeted email campaigns.

HTML emails can be personalized with any information you collect upon sign up (name, occupation, hobbies, etc.). For example, you can address each subscriber with his or her first name. Or you might start with "Dear Teachers," for one group of subscribers and "Dear Administrators" for another.

IP Address
Every computer, printer or other electronic device that is connected to the Internet has an identifying IP address made up of a series of four numbers. Example:

Internet Service Provider (ISP)
Internet service providers, such as AOL, Earthlink or People PC, provide you with a connection to the Internet.

Landing Page
A landing page is a web page that is linked to, or landed on, directly from a hyperlink in an email campaign. For example, the reader might find more information, register for an event, fill out a survey or make a product purchase on a landing page. Sometimes a unique mini-site, or group of landing pages, is built to support an email campaign. Other times, an email campaign links to already-existing web pages.

Open Rate
The open rate is the percentage of emails that are opened by your subscribers. It should be a percentage of those emails delivered, not just those sent, as not all sent emails can be delivered.

Opting in is the process by which a subscriber requests (by submitting electronically his or her email address and any other required information) to receive information and/or advertising via email from your company or organization. An opt-in email list is also called a permission-based email list.

Opting out is the process by which a subscriber to your email list chooses to no longer receive email information and/or advertisements from your company or organization. Often this is accomplished by the subscriber clicking on a hyperlink to unsubscribe, or by replying to the email campaign with the word "unsubscribe" in the subject line.

Permission-Based email
Permission-based email campaigns are those sent only to voluntary subscribers—those who have given their permission to receive information and/or advertising from your company or organization via email.

Phishing is an identity theft scam in which "spammers" use an authentic-looking email to trick recipients into providing personal information such as credit card numbers or social security numbers.

Plain Text email
A plain-text email is an email message containing only text with no graphics, color or detailed formatting. It can contain links to landing pages, but generally only limited tracking options are available with this type of email campaign. (See also HTML email)

Return On Investment (ROI)
ROI, or the return on your investment, refers to the percentage rate of revenue generated by an email campaign over the total cost of the campaign, or the percentage gain in revenue.

Because you can track purchases made via your email campaigns, you can also accurately calculate the monetary return on your investment for any campaign. There are other ways to measure the success of your promotions, too. For example, you might measure return in terms of the number of sales leads or new subscriptions generated.

Sender ID
Sender ID is a method major Internet service providers (ISPs) use to confirm whether emails are actually coming from the company they say they are coming from.

Sender ID seeks to verify that every email message originates from the Internet domain from which it claims to have been sent. This is accomplished by checking the address of the server sending the mail against a registered list of servers that the domain owner has authorized to send email. This verification is automatically performed by the Internet service provider (ISP) or recipient's mail server before the email message is delivered to the user.

Sender Policy Framework (SPF)
SPF is an extension of SMTP that stops email spammers from forging the “From” fields in an email.

Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP)
SMTP is a protocol for sending email messages between servers. Most email systems that send mail over the Internet use SMTP to send messages from one server to another.

A spam message is an unsolicited, usually commercial email message. It is also referred to as UCE, or unsolicited commercial email.

SPF Record
In order to use SPF, the domain sending emails must establish an SPF record that is published in DNS records. This SPF record should include the domains of any third-party email service providers.

When an email is sent, the receiver's inbound mail server receives the email and checks to see whether the domain name in the "From" field of the message matches any of the domains listed in the sender's SPF record. If there is a match, the mail is authenticated and delivered to the receiver. If there is not a match, the mail fails authentication and is not delivered.

If you are using a third-party email service provider to send emails, you need to ensure that you post the service provider's domains in your SPF record.

Sponsorship is the process by which one organization or company sponsors another's e-newsletter or e-advertisements, usually at a cost to the sponsor. This usually involves placing a sponsor ad within the email campaign with a link to the sponsor's website or offer.

Spoofing is a technique used by "spammers" that forges an email header to make it appear as if it came from somewhere or someone other than the actual source.

Suppression File
According to CAN-SPAM law, each company is required to maintain a suppression file, or a list of those who have requested to be removed from your email list.

Text-Only email
A text-only email is an email message containing only plain text with no graphics, color or detailed formatting. It can contain links to landing pages, but generally, no efficient tracking options are available with this type of email campaign. (See also HTML email)

Unsolicited Commercial email (UCE)
(See Spam)

Unsubscribing, or opting out, is the process by which a subscriber to your email list chooses to no longer receive email information and/or advertisements from your company or organization. (See also Opt-Out)

Uniform Resource Locator (URL)
An URL is a web address for a web page. For example: http://www.kateycharles.com.

This is a list of “accepted” email addresses that an ISP, a subscriber or other email service provider allows to deliver messages regardless of spam filter settings.

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