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17 Email Marketing Terms Every Business Should Know

by DJ Waldow  |  
February 2, 2011
  |  25,117 views

In this article, you'll learn...

  • 17 crucial terms that every email marketer must know
  • 17 tips and helpful facts to go with each term

Every industry has its own language. The email marketing community, too, has its own jargon that sets it apart. And if you are unfamiliar with it, navigating the world of email marketing can be confusing.

Whether you send email campaigns (as a marketer) or receive them (as a consumer), you need to understand email terminology.

The following is a list of 17 email marketing terms that every business should know. (Note: This list is not comprehensive, nor is the discussion of the terms, each of which could be the subject of an entire article. So consider this list a starting point).

1. Blacklist: A blacklist contains a set of IP addresses that are suspected of sending out unsolicited email (spam). If your sending IP has a high complaint rate, high hard-bounce rate, or a bunch of spamtrap addresses (see term No. 16), you are more likely to be blacklisted.
 
Bonus: Having your IP addresses blacklisted is bad. Do everything you can to avoid it from happening.

2. Bounce: An email that is rejected by the receiving mail system is said to have bounced. An email can be returned as "bounced" for many reasons, such as having an unknown alias (username), nonexistent domain name, or full inbox. (See more in the "Hard Bounce" and "Soft Bounce" sections.)


Bonus: Pay particular attention to the number and rate of bounced emails, both of which could negatively affect your overall deliverability.

3. CAN-SPAM Act of 2003: Signed into law in December 2003 by President Bush, CAN-SPAM establishes the standards for sending commercial email in the United States.

Bonus: This act is the minimum standard for sending commercial email in the United States. Most email service providers (ESPs) have much stricter requirements.


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DJ Waldow is an email marketing consultant, writer, blogger, speaker, founder and CEO of Waldow Social, and co-author of The Rebel's Guide to Email Marketing.

Twitter: @djwaldow

LinkedIn: DJ Waldow

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  • by Newspeak? Really? Wed Feb 2, 2011 via web

    You do know that newspeak was meant to remove freedom of thought and expression from the language, right? To keep the party members trapped in the same position from birth to grave?

    You might want to think about altering your opening paragraph there as I'm not sure the current trend of marketing terms really holds up as a comparison.

  • by Michael Webster Wed Feb 2, 2011 via web

    Useful list for some, but I agree - eliminate the use of "newspeak", you are sending the wrong message.

  • by Valentina Wed Feb 2, 2011 via web

    Good information, good to brush up on basics.

  • by John Caldwell Wed Feb 2, 2011 via web

    We don't want to confuse people on delivery/deliverability.

    The generally accepted definition of delivery are those messages accepted by the receiving server - the number of messages sent less bounced.

    The generally accepted definition of deliverability are those messages delivered to the Inbox.

    And you might want to brush up on what is and isn't "newspeak", or we just might have to send you to Room 101....

  • by DJ Waldow Wed Feb 2, 2011 via web

    Yikes! Wow. Sorry about the "newspeak" reference. How embarrassing! So much for my attempt to be cute. It has been quite a while since I read 1984, but that's no excuse. Again, my apologies.

    John: Regarding delivery vs. deliverability, you make some excellent clarifications. Just out of curiosity, where can one find these "generally accepted" definitions?

    DJ Waldow
    Director of Community, Blue Sky Factory
    http://www.blueskyfactory.com
    @djwaldow

  • by John Caldwell Wed Feb 2, 2011 via web

    I like how SMTP.com descrbes it:

    "It would seem on the face of it that Email Deliverability should simply mean "Email Delivery Rate," and

    %3Ebeginners at email marketing often confuse these two distinct metrics http://www.monthly.smtp.com/glossary/email-deliverability

    You might also want to reference this white paper from the IAB (PDF) --%3E http://www.iab.net/media/file/IAB-Email-Deliverability-White-Paper_Final-20...

    There's Deliverability.com --%3E http://blog.deliverability.com/glossary.html

    And there's the eec --%3E http://www.emailexperience.org/email-resources/email-faq#delivery

    And of course the DMA (pdf) --%3E http://www.dma.org.uk/_attachments/resources/5892_S4.pdf

    MailChimp talks about it here --%3E http://www.mailchimp.com/about/deliverability/

    Let me know if you need a few more. I'm always happy to do others homework before they attempt to teach others.... /sarcasm :-)

  • by DJ Waldow Wed Feb 2, 2011 via web

    Thanks for all of the links/references, John. Sarcasm, while noted, is not really appreciated. Not sure it helps move the conversation forward. There are no definitive definitions for many of these terms. As mentioned above...

    (Note: This list is not comprehensive, nor is the discussion of the terms, each of which could be the subject of an entire article. So consider this list a starting point).

  • by John Caldwell Wed Feb 2, 2011 via web

    And giving wrong information to people that might not know better moves the conversation?

    I think a better response than defending it is to admit it and make the correction.

    If we don't want standards, let's just chuck them and embrace mediocrity so we don't hurt anyone's feelings....

  • by Vahe Habeshian, MarketingProfs Wed Feb 2, 2011 via web

    Hi, John and DJ. I think we can all agree that providing correct information, including various versions and sources of correct information, moves along the conversation. In that process, though, sarcasm surely isn't a necessary element. Thank you, both, for your contribution here.

  • by DJ Waldow Wed Feb 2, 2011 via web

    Vahe! Thanks for stepping in. See you in a bit, right? I'm on the plane right now and touch down in Austin shortly.

    Agreed that various versions and sources is always helpful. There is not one single agreed upon industry definition for many of these terms. This was my version of them. Maybe I should have made that more clear. Happy to edit the article if you would like me to.

  • by John Caldwell Wed Feb 2, 2011 via web

    If we're moving the focus off of inaccurate information to sarcasm, then I apologize for being sarcastic. :-)

  • by Vahe Habeshian, MarketingProfs Wed Feb 2, 2011 via web

    DJ, I'm not in Austin, but have a safe landing and enjoy the conference. John, the focus is the information, that's why sarcasm is extraneous. (Hey, some of my best friends are sarcastic!) :-)

  • by John Caldwell Wed Feb 2, 2011 via web

    I was asked where the definition of deliverability could be found and I listed three industry associations that post the definition, plus a couple of others. Maybe I was a little much when I did, but that's what you get when asking me to do your homework.

    If some have a different perspective than what industry associations post as the definition of a term, then it might be a good idea to qualify that when posting something to the contrary. These are definite industry definitions; like it or not.

    This post is about email marketing terms every business should know. Shouldn't they know the correct terms?

    And when shown the correct terms as defined by the leading industry associations, is the better response defend the incorrect definition or to admit the mistake and move on?

    Don't we have a responsibility to provide accurate information, and when we make a mistake admit it?

    I like DJ. He's a good guy, but on the definition of deliverability he's provably wrong.

    It's easier to just admit it - correct it if you'd like - and then let it go.... and don't get mad at me because I pointed it out and then supported it.... ;-)

  • by Vahe Habeshian, MarketingProfs Wed Feb 2, 2011 via web

    John, DJ thanked you for your input, and I thanked you for your input. I'm not mad at you, and I'm pretty sure DJ isn't mad at you. No one said you're wrong, and no one said DJ's definition is right (he even said he's willing to amend the article). I merely said sarcasm is unnecessary (DJ said it's unappreciated). So... I'm not sure what the problem is. Let's move on with our lives, shall we?

  • by John Caldwell Wed Feb 2, 2011 via web

    I've been done and haven't said anything different since I first posted.

    The same way that some might feel sarcasm is unnecessary - which I apologized for, BTW, others might view "Just out of curiosity, where can one find these "generally accepted" definitions?" in the context of this thread as snarky and equally unnecessary.

    But now the conversation has degenerated to me being a bad guy because I used a little sarcasm (which to the noticing eye hasn't abated), which isn't the focus of the post and shouldn't be the focus of the ensuing conversation.

    If you must have the last word, say, "Thank You" or "Have a nice day"; or you can always pat me on the head again and we can take it from there....

  • by Vahe Habeshian, MarketingProfs Wed Feb 2, 2011 via web

    John, you're right, that was somewhat snarky and unnecessary. So you got even, and the banter's been fun... but it's gone on for too long. So, considering that you have something to say, why not write an article yourself? Contact me via vahe@marketingprofs if you'd be up for it, and we can discuss a topic. Thanks.

  • by Michael Webster Wed Feb 2, 2011 via web

    As a point of etiquette, the thread reads better when the interchange between John and DJ not longer has the references to "sarcasm". We should thank the editor.

  • by Georgia Christian Thu Feb 3, 2011 via web

    "Newspeak" comments aside, I think this is a great reference, especially for newbies to the email marketing industry - and as @valentina says, not a bad idea to brush up once in a while. Thanks for the post!

  • by Danny Naz - Naz Creative Fri Feb 4, 2011 via web

    add this . . . . . SEGMENTATION. If you are not segmenting your lists, then you are not taking advantage of the full power of email. Everything should be more personalized as apposed to a general email to everyone. Target segments of your lists more effectively and watch your bounce go down and your conversions go up.

  • by DJ Waldow Sat Feb 5, 2011 via web

    Thanks for all of the comments. As mentioned before, I'd be happy to edit the Newspeak reference. As noted in my first comment, that was 100% my fault and I'm somewhat embarrassed about it. I'd also be happy to modify the definition of deliverability to be more in line with other industry publications. My intent of this article was to share a few email terms with this audience. As mentioned in the article:

    "(Note: This list is not comprehensive, nor is the discussion of the terms, each of which could be the subject of an entire article. So consider this list a starting point)."

    Apologies for creating a mini-storm....

    (Editor's note: The reference to "Newspeak" has been removed, per DJ's request.)

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