25+ Email Marketing Terms You Need to Know

Are you getting started in email marketing?

These are the terms you need to know. Learn them. Love them.

5 T's of Email Marketing: a common industry framework for viewing email marketing. Learn about the 5T's of Email Marketing over here.

500,000 Email Rule: When you send more emails, you make more money. Fully explained right here.

Abandoned Cart Sequence: A series of automated emails sent to people who visit a sales page, shopping cart, or order form without buying. 

A/B Test: a test of two or more emails to see which one generates a higher open rate, click rate, or sales. Also known as a split test. This lets us know which emails perform best.

Automation: a pre-programmed set of actions set up with an Email Sending Provider app. This can take the form of emails, account updates, SMS messages, and other actions. Automations allow us to set something up once, and it works on its own until we turn it off.

Autoresponder: a series of automated emails delivered by an Email Sending Provider to email subscribers. This is also known as a campaign in some Email Sending Provider programs.

Bounce Rate: the percentage of emails that were undeliverable. Calculated as the number of bounces divided by the number of email sent. If 10 emails bounce out of 1,000 emails sent, the bounce rate is 1%. 

CAN-SPAM: a set of laws the United States enacted in 2003 to combat spam activity. It includes restrictions on content, sending behavior, and mechanisms for unsubscribing from an email list. 

Click to Open Rate: the percentage of opened emails that clicked. The click to open rate is the number of emails clicked divided by the number of emails opened. So if 250 emails are clicked out of 1,000 opens, the click to open rate is 25%. A high click-to-open rate means we gave people a good reason to click the link.

Click Rate: the percentage of emails which are clicked. The click rate is calculated as the number of emails clicked divided by the number of emails sent. If 100 emails are clicked out of 1,000 sends, the click rate is 10%. A high click rate means people like your content. I wrote an in-depth tutorial on increasing your click rate.

Conversion Rate: the rate at which people take an action like fill out a form. A high conversion rate means your message is on point.

Double Opt-in: requiring a person to click a link in an email after they enter their email in a form or opt-in page. This is a good practice if you prioritize keeping a clean email list. Learn about single opt-in vs. double opt-in.

DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail): an email authentication method that adds a digital signature to outgoing emails. DKIM verifies that the email sender is the real sender and not an impersonator.

DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication Reporting and Conformance): an email authentication method that tells email servers what to do when DKIM or SPF fail. It may tell servers to mark your email as spam, deliver the emails, or disregard them.

Email Delivery Rate: the percentage of emails sent which are delivered.  It is calculated as the number of emails delivered divided by the number of emails sent. If 950 emails are delivered out of 1,000 email sent, the delivery rate is 95%. Learn about email deliverability here.

Email Segmentation. Email list segmentation is turning your email list into smaller segments based on data. You can create segments based on product purchase history, demographics, geography, and more.  Read about email list segmentation.

Email Sending Provider: a company that manages bulk email lists, sends, and automations. (like MailChimp, ActiveCampaign, ConvertKit, BeeHiiv, Substack, Drip, Keap/Infusionsoft, etc.)

Emotion Rate: the percentage of emails with an emotional reaction like an angry or happy response. More on this here.

Engaged Contact: a contact that regularly opens and/or clicks your emails.

Hard Bounce: a hard bounce is when an email gets rejected for permanent reasons. Hard bounces can happen because an email address was entered incorrectly, or if the email address is no longer active.

Honeypot Email Address: an email address posted online that is invisible to the human eye but will be detected by scrapers and bots. to be used in mass mailings. It is intended to be a spam trap, so if you send to these addresses, your email deliverability and sender reputation will be hurt.

Hook & Logic: a persuasion method which combines emotion and logic to generate better results. More on it here.

Internet Service Provider: a company that provides internet access to people and businesses. Examples include Verizon, Comcast, Charter, and Spectrum. Since Internet Service Providers deliver internet traffic, they may reject your emails. This is why you must work on keeping your Sender Score high. (more one this below)

Lead Magnet: a free item like an eBook, video, or checklist given as an incentive for joining an email list. If you join my email list, you get a free eBook teaching you 7 email marketing strategies. (scroll to the bottom of the page to get it)

List Cleaning: the removal of unengaged contacts from your email list. This will improve your deliverability, click rate, open rate, bounce rate, and other engagement metrics.

List Segmentation: the process of dividing your lists into individual segments based on engagement, interest, and other factors. This allows you to send more targeted messages to smaller groups of people.

Open Rate: the percentage of emails which are opened. The open rate is calculated as the number of emails opened divided by the number of emails sent. If 300 emails are opened out of 1,000 emails sent, the open rate is 30%. Here's my guide to boosting your open rates.

Opt-in: when someone enters their email address in a form or opt-in page.

Opt-in Page: a web page designed to capture email addresses from visitors.

Opt-Out: when someone unsubscribes from your email list.

Phantom Bounce: a Phantom Bounce is when an email is reported as delivered by your ESP, but fails to appear in the recipient's inbox. This is a non-standard term I invented which I discuss at length here.

RSS-to-Email: when your Email Service Provider automatically generates emails from blog content using an RSS feed.

Sender Score: an umbrella term used to describe how much Internet Service Providers trust you as an email sender. A low sender score means many of your emails will not be delivered. A high sender score ensures your emails get delivered fine.

Single Optin: when a person is added to an email list as soon as they enter their email in a form or optin page. Learn about single opt-in vs. double opt-in.

Soft Bounce: a soft bounce is when an email gets rejected for a temporary reason. Emails can soft bounce because an email box has no storage left or recipients email server is down.

Spam: an email sent to someone without their permission. These can get you in legal hot water and create email delivery problems. So never send email to someone that did not opt in to your list. The word Spam does not stand for anything. It is a reference to a Monty Python skit where people were forced to eat the canned meat product spam, whether they wanted it or not.

Spam Trap: email addresses used by Internet Service Providers and blocklist providers to detect email marketers engaging in wrongdoing like spamming. If you are sending emails to spam traps, your sender reputation will be hurt, damaging your deliverability.

SPF: an email authentication method that protects your domain from being spoofed. It can also stop servers from marking your email messages as spam.

Unengaged Contact: someone who doesn't open or click your emails. You should remove unengaged contacts from your email list.

Welcome Email: an email sent to new subscribers welcoming them to your list. Welcome emails set expectations for what the reader will receive, along with content and bonuses. This is one of the most important emails you can send. 

FREE eBook: 7 sales-exploding email strategies you can use right now: