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Glossary

Email marketing terms A through Z

A/B/C split testing: A test in which a list is split into three parts and sent different subject lines so that the sender can see which performs better.

Alt text: Text that appears in place of an image before it’s downloaded in the inbox.

API (Application Programming Interface): An interface that allows communication between two different applications via software.

Automated email: Messages sent automatically based on individual trigger actions (like clicking on a link) or dates (like someone's birthday). (Read more about automated emails here.)

Bounce: An email message that doesn’t get delivered to a recipient's inbox. There are two types of bounces:

  1. Soft bounce: An email sent to an active email address, but then is turned away before being delivered. Often, the problem is temporary -- The server is down, or the recipient's mailbox is full. The email might be held at the recipient's server to be delivered later, or the sender's email program may attempt to deliver it again.
  2. Hard bounce: A permanent obstruction to email delivery, such as a nonexistent email address, a block due to a content or the server is rejecting your email as junk mail. Hard bounces are deemed invalid and moved to Error status. They won't be emailed to again unless you reactivate them.

Best practices: Guidelines for email marketers and designers to follow that will ensure the most effective results in an inbox.

CAN-SPAM: The U.S. law regulating commercial email -- requiring a truthful subject and from address, an opt-out link and a physical mailing address.

Deliverability: An ESP's ability to deliver emails to various recipient servers.

Email client: The software recipients use to read email. (Example: Gmail, Yahoo!, Hotmail, Outlook, MacMail, AOL, etc...)

Email marketing: The use of email for commercial messaging.

ESP (email service provider): A service that companies use for email marketing, allowing them to manage lists, create and send emails and then track the results. All of those services are hosted on the ESP's server.

Filter: A software tool that categorizes, sorts or blocks incoming email. Filters may be applied at the recipient level, the email client level or by the ISP.

Footer: The area at the bottom of an email that contains information such as company or contact name and the sender's postal address. Below the footer is the preference panel.

Header: The image (or "banner") at the top of an email, usually containing branding.

HTML messages (Hyper Text Markup Language): Email message which contains any type of formatting other than text, including any images, logos and colors.

IP address (Internet Protocol address): A unique number assigned to each device connected to the internet.

ISP (internet service provider): A service that offers customers access to the internet. (Example: Comcast, Charter, AT&T, etc...)

Layout: The content area of a mailing, generally a mix of image placeholders and text boxes. (Read more about arranging your layout here.)

List hygiene: The process of examining and maintaining a list so that it complies with permission standards.

Manage preferences: Options provided by an ESP where audience members can update their personal information. (A recipient can click on the manage preferences link in the preference panel of a mailing.)

Permissions-based sending: Sending relevant content to targeted lists of people who have signed up to receive emails from a certain company or brand.

Personalization: Pulling individual contact information into the body of a mailing automatically. (Example: Dear [% member:name_first default="first name" %],) (Read more about personalization here.)

Plaintext email: An email message that includes only the text of an email’s content, excluding any type of formatting (images, font or text color).

Pre-header: A few words about the email that appear above the header. Often, the pre-header provides a link to the online version of the email.

Preference panel: Content below the footer of the mailing that often includes the email address the recipient used to subscribe to mailings, a manage preferences link, an opt-out link and signup link.

Preview pane: The screen in your email client that allows you to see the beginning of an email message without displaying the whole email.

Segment: The ability to target specific recipients based on specific contact information. (You can segment your contacts using the segment feature on the Audience page.)

Signup form: The online form someone fills out when they want to start receiving emails from a company or brand.

Social sharing: A function handled by an ESP that allows recipients to forward a mailing to the email inboxes of their friends, colleagues or anyone that might be interested in the mailing's content, or share the mailing directly on social networks (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn).

Spam: Any emails that come to a recipient’s inbox that they didn't sign up to receive. (Even if they have signed up to receive an email, those emails could end up in the spam folder, until they've added the sender's "from address" to their address book or trusted senders' list.)

Subject line: Copy that identifies what an email message is about. It is often designed to entice the recipient into opening the message. (It's also the first thing the recipient sees in the inbox.)

Subscribe/opt in: The process of joining a mailing list, meaning an individual has agreed to receive emails from a particular company or sender.

Template: The design that frames the content of a mailing, including the header, border and footer.

Test group: An audience group that contains up to 10 email addresses for the purpose of testing mailings before they're sent. (You can send to this group at no charge.)

Unsubscribe/opt out: The process of removing oneself from an email list, meaning the brand is no longer legally allowed to send that contact emails. A person can opt out at any time by clicking the opt-out link at the bottom of your mailing.

Webview (private): The online version of a mailing, which a person can access by clicking the "see it online" link in the mailing in their inbox.

Webview (public): The online version of the mailing, which can be archived on your website or posted online. This is a public version, so any identifying information about the recipient as well as the preference panel are stripped out. You can access the webview URL by clicking on the name of your mailing on the main Response page and clicking on the webview link at the top-right of the next page.

Whitelist: Adding an ESP's domain (such as our domain, e2ma.net) to a customer's server, which allows email messages to be delivered regardless of spam filters. (Read more about whitelisting here.)

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