Top 25 E-mail Marketing Terms You Should Know
Sure, you might hear some really, really forward-thinking folks saying that e-mail and the Internet are so ’90s when it comes to nonprofit fundraising. But the truth of the matter is that a good deal of small and mid-sized organizations still are feeling their way.
That in mind, e-mail marketing firm Constant Contact offers this really basic and incredibly helpful glossary of terms for companies and organizations that are just starting to make e-mail marketing and fundraising a priority.
If you have ever felt out of your depth in a discussion about e-mail marketing, rest assured you are not alone. These top 25 common e-mail marketing terms and definitions below will help you expand your e-mail marketing vocabulary and make you look and feel like an expert.
Above-the-fold: The part of a Web page that is visible without scrolling. It is generally a more desirable placement on a Web site because of its visibility. If you have a “join our mailing list” tag on your Web site, you should place it “above the fold,” making it easy for visitors to opt-in.
CPM (cost per thousand): In e-mail marketing, CPM commonly refers to the cost per 1,000 names on a given rental list. For example, a rental list priced at $250 CPM would mean that the list owner charges 25 cents per e-mail address.
CTR (clickthrough rate): The percentage (the number of unique clicks divided by the number that were opened) of recipients that click on a given URL in your e-mail.
Conversion rate: The number or percentage of recipients who respond to your call-to-action in a given e-mail marketing campaign or promotion. This is the measure of your e-mail campaign’s success. You may measure conversion in sales, phone calls, appointments, etc.
E-mail blacklist: It is common for an ISP to a use a blacklist to determine which e-mails should be blocked (see e-mail blocking below). Blacklists contain lists of domains or IP addresses of known and suspected spammers. Unfortunately, these blacklists also contain many legitimate e-mail service providers. Just a few spam complaints can land an e-mail service provider or IP address on a blacklist despite the fact that the ratio of complaints to volume of e-mail sent is extremely low.
E-mail blocking: E-mail blocking typically refers to blocking by ISPs or corporate servers. E-mail blocking occurs when the receiving e-mail server (e.g., Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail, etc.) prevents an inbound e-mail from reaching the inbox of the intended recipient. Most of the time the sender of the e-mail receives a “bounce” message notifying the sender that its e-mail has been blocked. ISPs actively block e-mail coming from suspected spammers.
E-mail filters: Filtering is a technique used to block e-mail based on the content in the “from” line, “subject” line, or body copy of an e-mail. Filtering software searches for key words and other indicators that identify the e-mail as potential spam. This type of blocking occurs on a per e-mail basis.
E-mail newsletter ads or sponsorships: Buying ad space in an e-mail newsletter or sponsoring a specific article or series of articles. Advertisers pay to have their ad (text, HTML or both depending on the publication) inserted into the body of the e-mail. E-mail newsletter ads and sponsorships allow advertisers to reach a targeted audience, driving traffic to a Web site, store or office, signups to a newsletter, or sales of a product or service.
E-mail whitelist: A whitelist is the opposite of a blacklist. Instead of listing IP addresses to block, a whitelist includes IP addresses that have been approved to deliver e-mail despite blocking measures. It is common practice for ISPs to maintain both a blacklist and a whitelist. When e-mail service providers say they are “whitelisted,” it means that their IP addresses are on a specific ISP’s whitelist and they are confident that e-mails sent using their service will be delivered.
False positive: A false positive occurs when a legitimate permission-based e-mail is incorrectly filtered or blocked as spam.
Hard bounce/Soft bounce: A hard bounce is the failed delivery of an e-mail due to a permanent reason like a non-existent address. A soft bounce is the failed delivery of an e-mail due to a temporary issue, like a full mailbox or an unavailable server.
House list (or retention list): A permission-based list that you built yourself. Use it to market, cross sell and up-sell, and to establish a relationship with customers over time. It is one of your most valuable assets because it is seven times less expensive to market to an existing customer than it is to acquire a new one. Use every opportunity to add to it and use it.
HTML e-mail: Sending HTML e-mail makes it possible to include unique fonts, graphics and background colors. HTML makes an e-mail more interesting and when used properly can generate response rates up to 35 percent higher than plain text.
Open rate: The percentage of e-mails opened in any given e-mail marketing campaign, or the percentage opened of the total number of e-mails sent.
Opt-in (or subscribe): To opt-in or subscribe to an e-mail list is to choose to receive e-mail communications by supplying your e-mail address to a particular company, Web site or individual, thereby giving them permission to e-mail you. The subscriber can often indicate areas of personal interest (e.g., mountain biking) and/or indicate what types of e-mails she wishes to receive from the sender (e.g., newsletters).
Single opt-in (with a subscriber acknowledgement e-mail): The most widely accepted and routinely used method of obtaining e-mail addresses and permission. A single opt-in list is created by inviting visitors and customers to subscribe to your e-mail list. When you use a sign-up tag on your Web site, a message immediately goes out to the subscriber acknowledging the subscription. This message should reiterate what the subscriber has signed up for and provide an immediate way for the subscriber to edit her interests or opt-out.
Confirmed opt-in (or double opt-in): A more stringent method of obtaining permission to send e-mail campaigns. Confirmed opt-in adds an additional step to the opt-in process. It requires the subscriber to respond to a confirmation e-mail, either by clicking on a confirmation link or by replying to the e-mail to confirm their subscription. Only those subscribers who take this additional step are added to your list.
Opt-out (or unsubscribe): To opt-out or unsubscribe from an e-mail list is to choose not to receive communications from the sender by requesting the removal of your e-mail address from their list.
Permission-based e-mail: E-mail sent to recipients who have opted-in or subscribed to receive e-mail communications from a particular company, Web site or individual. Permission is an absolute prerequisite for legitimate and profitable e-mail marketing.
Personalization: Addressing individual recipients by first name, last name or both dynamically in an e-mail. Personalization can also include a reference to previous purchases or other content unique to each recipient. Avoid using personalization in the subject line of your e-mails as this is a tactic widely used by spammers.
Rental list (or acquisition list): A list of prospects or a targeted group of recipients who have opted-in to receive information about certain subjects. Using permission-based rental lists, marketers can send e-mail messages to audiences targeted by interest category, profession, demographic information and more. Renting a list usually costs between 10 cents and 40 cents per name. Be sure your rental list is a true permission-based, opt-in list. Permission-based lists are rented, not sold. Don’t be fooled by a list offer that sounds too good to be true or by someone who tries to mislead you by calling their list “targeted” or “clean” without certifying that it is permission-based.
Signature file (or sigfile, for short): A tagline or short block of text at the end of an e-mail message that identifies the sender and provides additional information such as company name and contact information. Your signature file is a marketing opportunity. Use it to convey a benefit and include a call-to-action with a link.
Spam or UCE (unsolicited commercial e-mail): E-mail sent to someone who has not opted-in or given permission to the sender. Characteristically, spam is unwanted, unexpected e-mail from a sender unknown to the recipient.
Targeting: Selecting a target audience or group of individuals likely to be interested in a certain product or service. Targeting is very important for an e-mail marketer because targeted and relevant e-mail campaigns yield a higher response and result in fewer unsubscribes.
URL (or universal resource locator): A Web site, page or any other document address or location on the Internet.
Viral marketing: A type of marketing that is carried out voluntarily by a company’s customers. It is often referred to as word-of-mouth advertising. E-mail has made this type of marketing very prevalent. Tools such as “send this page, article or Web site to a friend” encourage people to refer or recommend your newsletter, company, product, service or specific offer to others.
Read more, useful Constant Contact whitepapers here.