Email Term Glossary

A listing of common email marketing terms for quick reference.

Alexa Ranking
A ranking by Alexa. Ranking is from 1 to 20,000,000. 1 is best. Ranking is displayed on the Alexa Toolbar. One can use the Alexa Ranking when analyzing whether it is worth investing time in going after an affiliate. The Alexa Ranking is a ranking of web sites based on visits. The lower the number, the higher the number of visitors the web site receives.
Application Service Provider.
Database software. Part of Office Suite.
a set message that is emailed to someone immediately after they request it.
Lists of domains and IP addresses that have been reported or accused of sending spam. Check at
Bounce back handling
The process of dealing with email messages that bounce. Caused by a ‘bad’ email address or an address that is temporarily over its size quota or on a server that is temporarily down.
Emails that have been sent back to sender as the recipient email address was invalid or presently not working.
Click through tracking
the ability to track the number of persons who click a specific link in an email
customer relationship management. The ability to keep track of every interaction with every prospect and customer and keeps tracks of trends and tabulates results of such notes on an aggregate scale. Essentially, an intelligent interface that allows keeping notes of every action, sale, phone call, email, fax, etc. Allows businesses to better know their customers and target messages to portions of their customers and prospects.
Comma separated value. A specific format in which each new field is separated by a comma. Ex: John,Doe,
Custom fields
Within email list management software programs there are certain fields that one may use to personalize each message (see mail merge personalization). Currently these fields are prefix, first name, last name, suffix, email address, and three custom fields (field1, field2, field3). These custom fields allow our customers to import and store additional data such as address, city, state, zip code, country, birthday, spouse’s name, dog’s name, product purchased, date of purchase, notes, or any other data.
A storing of records. Databases are made up of tables. Tables are made up of columns and rows. Data is stored in a field (aka cell). Popular types of web databases include SQL and MySQL
The act of removing duplicates from a list.
Delivery speed
How fast a mailing software can deliver mail.
what one types in to go to your web site. is an example of a domain. The “.com” is a TLD, which is called a third level domain.
Double opt-in
(confirmed opt-in) – Single opt-in is when a visitor subscribes to a newsletter via a form on the web site. They have opted-in once. Double opt-in is when a visitor subscribes to a newsletter via a web site and then is sent a confirmation email. The visitor will only be added as a subscriber if they verify their email address and desire to receive the newsletter. Generally, the visitor must either a) click a link in the email or b) reply to the email. Using double opt-in will give a listowner a cleaner list (no bounces) and less spam complaints, although they will lose many of their subscribers who, for one reason or another, forget to or do not confirm their subscription.
Email client
what a person uses to view their email. Popular email clients include Microsoft Outlook, AOL mail reader, and Eudora. There are also popular web-based email clients including Hotmail and Yahoo. Often, HTML messages will display differently in different email clients. If a customer reports a message that has displayed improperly, one of the first questions to ask is what email client they were viewing the message in.
Email Harvesting
to use a spider to extract emails from pages on the internet, either through a search starting from a single page or a search based on a specific term put into a search engine.
Email list management software
Software that allows users to collect, import, and manage subscribers.
Email marketing software
Allows users to send out newsletters to their lists and track results. Standard features include mail-merge personalization, message scheduling, and bounceback handling. Generally, email marketing software is also email list management software.
A spreadsheet program which is part of the Microsoft Office Suite. Can be used to convert data into CSV format.
An ‘electronic magazine.’ Essentially the same as an email newsletter. Usually sent on a regular schedule. Contains content. Not an announcement or promotion list.
Feedback loops
Set up with Internet Service Providers. Once a feedback loop is set up, the ISPs will contact you and ask you to deal with the complaint. If a feedback loop is not set up, the ISPs may blacklist you without giving a chance to defend yourself.
Hypertext markup language, the basic programming language of the Internet.
HTML Built-in Editor
Allows someone to create their own HTML newsletters right on the sending page, without knowing HTML. Similar to using Microsoft Word.
HTML templates
An arrangement of graphics within which an email newsletter can be pasted. We offer a service of custom HTML newsletter creation. Many customers have their own template already, or customize one of our templates for their use.
Bringing subscribers into the system in mass quantities. Once a data file is in the proper CSV format, it can be imported into the system. We require that customers send the file to us for import if it is over 5000 subscribers.
IP address
The Internet Protocol Address. Ex. Before DNS, domain name service, one would have to type in numbers (the IP addresss) to go to a web site. The DNS system allows one instead to simply type in the domain name. The DNS translates the domain name into the IP address and then directs the visitor to the server (or part of the server) that the requested domain name is hosted on.
Internet Service Provider. The provider of dial-up or broadband internet service that a consumer or business uses.
Mail merge personalization
The ability to, on the fly for each email, insert data from the database into specific fields in an email. For example, one may place Dear [firstname] in an email. When each email is sent out, a call to the database is made to retrieve the actual first name of that subscriber. It then ‘pastes’ this data into the email. Dear John or Dear Judy will result. This is a powerful tool as it allows our customers to send out personalized emails to their subscribers.
Message archives
A record of messages sent in the past.
Message headers
The ‘hidden’ lines of text/code that is above each email message. Every email sent has a header. A sample header from an email looks like:

Return-Path: <>
Received: from ( [])
by (8.11.6/8.11.6) with ESMTP id hBFGUQV29489
for < >; Mon, 15 Dec 2003 10:30:27 -0600
Received: from localhost (localhost.localdomain [])
by (Postfix) with ESMTP id 47BC99802B
for <>; Mon, 15 Dec 2003 08:30:26 -0800 (PST)
Received: from ([])
by localhost ( []) (amavisd-new, port 10024)
with ESMTP id 23970-04 for <>;
Mon, 15 Dec 2003 08:30:26 -0800 (PST)
Received: from ( [])
by (Postfix) with ESMTP id 30E909801D
for <>; Mon, 15 Dec 2003 08:30:26 -0800 (PST)
Received: by (Postfix, from userid 500)
id 16FF8188E8F; Mon, 15 Dec 2003 08:30:26 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Customer Support Center
Message-Id: <>
Date: Mon, 15 Dec 2003 08:30:26 -0800 (PST)

Message preview
The ability to see what a message looks like before it is sent.
Message scheduling
The ability to set a time in the future for a message to start to be delivered to recipients.
Term used to refer to message statistics such as open and click through tracking, number of bounces, number of unsubscribes, etc.
Multi-part MIME
All messages have a header on them called Content-Type. A message can be sent as text, text/html, or multipart/alternative. If it is sent as multipart/alternative, the message is sent using formatting referred to as Multi-part MIME. The advantage of sending via multi-part MIME is that the email will automatically display as HTML if the subscriber’s email client can read HTML, but revert to text if the subscriber’s email client cannot read HTML, or has it turned off. Within a multi-part MIME email, both the HTML message and text message are sent. Between the HTML message and the text message there is a boundary. This boundary is defined in the Content-type header. An example of the boundary part of this header is:


So B_2F.9F9_BEFC3 will separate the HTML message and the text message. The email client will choose which to display, based on its abilities and user settings.

Multiple message autoresponder
A series of messages that is sent out at certain time intervals which are set by our customer. One could use a multiple message autoresponder to send out a ten day ecourse for example. One email (“tip”) would be sent each day for 10 days. This can be a very good way to increase a visitor to sale conversion rate, build a relationship with a prospect, and improve the likelihood of a prospect or customer remembering your brand.
Commonly used database. Runs on servers. Pronounced “My Sequel.”
Open Tracking
The ability to keep track of the number of opens (“reads”) a message gets.
Web site through which one can view what blacklists a site is on.
A term that refers to any subscriber that has specifically requested an email newsletter. If they have signed up through your web site, they are opt-in. If you used a spider to harvest emails from the Internet and then added these persons as subscribers to your site, they are not opt-in. This latter tactic is often used by those who send out spam.
(PR) A ranking by the search engine Google. Ranking is from 0 to 10. Ten is best. Ranking is displayed on the Google Toolbar. PR is calculated using an algorithm that takes into account the number and quality of incoming links to a site.
the alphanumeric word that one must know in order to log into web based software. One must know both their username and password to log in.
(see opt-in) Essentially, any list that contains only opt-in subscribers and does not contain any purchased lists or lists of persons who have asked to receive one type of newsletter and will be sent what they have not requested, such as additional promotions or newsletters on a different topic.
Return on investment. The amount of money one makes from an investment divided by initial investment.
A type of delivery insurance, stamp of approval company for email marketing companies. If you purchase the SenderBase IronPort Bonded Sender Certificate, they will guarantee that your mail gets delivered to the large ISPs that they have relationships with. While it is expensive to obtain this certification ($7500 a year or so), it may be a good investment for mailing customers.
Setup fee
A price paid to get setup with a service.
Sign up form
A form that is to be put on a web site and allows visitors to subscriber to a company’s newsletters and announcement lists.
Single opt-in
A subscriber that joins via a web form who does now have to ‘verify their email address’ or reply to a confirmation email to join.
unwanted email that was sent without the permission of the recipient. Also known as unsolicited commercial email.
A blacklist (but time based). A service that tracks spam and forwards spam complaints to ISPs and hosting companies. If one does not have the proper relationships or feedback loop with the ISPs, a few complaints to an ISP or hosting company can get your internet access and hosting turned off. If you are blacklisted by Spamcop and stop sending email, you’ll be out in 48 hours or so.
An automated software tool that can visit hundreds of web sites per second and extract (‘harvest’) any information on those sites (such as phone numbers, mailing addresses, or the most commonly extracted item-email addresses). Spiders are often used by spammers. Other types of spiders (also known as robots), simply record all text of the page and store it in a database. These spiders are used by search engines to collect data, which it then uses to rank each site for every possible search term, based on its unique algorithm.
Unsolicited Commercial Email. Another name for spam.
Uniform resource locator. Another name for a web site address.
Unsubscribe link
The link at the bottom of each email which allows visitors to unsubscribe or modify/update their information.
Can log into online.
Welcome email
Email that is sent to subscribers after they subscribe to a newsletter. Doesn’t go out unless the client (our customer) sets this option.
Opposite of blacklisting. Many ISPs have lists of sites with which they have built good relationships with and trust. If your sending fits their standards, it may be possible to add yourself to a whitelist. If you are on a whitelist, your mail has a much better chance of being delivered.
Extension for Excel files. Files to import must be saved as CSV files.
Extensible markup language. A common language used in corporations to store and format data.

If you are are looking for a solution to your email marketing software needs we recommend iContact. iContact allows you to easily create, track, and send professional HTML or text permission-based email newsletters. Learn more about iContact.



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