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Published on August 17th, 2010 | by Janine Popick

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11 Email Marketing Terms You Need to Know

Copy ROIAs an email service provider we are constantly throwing around terms that sometimes our customers may or may not know. So I decided to pick 11 email marketing terms and give you the low down on what they mean. Don’t be offended if you know some of these, I’m trying to cover a lot of bases here. Here goes!

ROI (Return on Investment) – Your ROI is the measure of the profit you make and/or costs saved at your business. For your email marketing campaigns you calculate cost of sending email plus time.

ROI = [(Payback - Investment)/Investment)]*100

So if you made $780 on your email campaign, your time was worth $50 to create it and it costs $15 to send it it would look like this:

(($780 – $65)/$65)*100 = 1100% ROI (which is really good!)

If you want to take it a step further subtract your cost of your products or services as well.

Open Rate – Your open rate is simply the number recipients who opened your HTML emails. It is typically measured as a percentage of the total number of emails sent, although calculation methods may differ. The open rate is considered a useful metric for judging response to an email campaign but it should be noted that open rates for text emails can’t be calculated AND some email clients don’t display images as a default which would under report your total number of opens.

Above the Fold – The bottom of your browser window or the bottom of your email before you have to start scrolling is commonly referred to as the “fold”. These viewable areas should be where your most important information should be located since it’s the first thing your viewer will see.

Preview Pane – Email programs like Microsoft Outlook, Entourage, and Mac Mail allow users to view email through a preview pane before your recipient clicks to open. The preview pane is important to bear in mind when composing the opening lines of an email so you can get your recipient’s attention fast.

Copy – Your copy is simply the text of the email you write.

Hosted Email – A hosted version of an email allows users to view the email message as a web page, ensuring that all formatting remains intact. VerticalResponse does this for you for free you just need to include the “hosted version” link. Hosted versions of your email are also great for you to send your Twitter and Facebook followers to when you launch your campaign.

Spoofing – Email spoofing involves forging a sender’s address on email messages. It can be used by malicious individuals to mislead email recipients into reading and responding to deceptive mail. These fake messages can jeopardize the online privacy of consumers and damage the reputation of the companies purported to have sent the messages. Spoofed email often contains phishing scams. VerticalResponse doesn’t allow for this in our systems.

Phishing – In a phishing scam, a spammer, posing as a trusted party such as a bank or reputable online vendor, sends email messages directing recipients to Web sites that appear to be official but are in reality fraudulent. Visitors to these Web sites are asked to disclose personal information, such as credit card numbers, or to purchase counterfeit or pirated products.

TargetingTargeting gives you the ability to deliver emails to those most likely to respond to your emails, based on a variety of things like their geographic, demographic, psychographic and behavioral information.

Whitelists – Whitelists are usually created by an ISP (internet service provider) and are made up of commercial emailers (including ESPs) who have been approved to send email through their gates. The ISP requires a list of IP (internet protocol) addresses that email will be sent from, and in some cases a test period where the commercial emailer will be approved or rejected. VerticalResponse is on all available whitelists.

Web Friendly fonts – Almost all web browsers are capable of displaying four primary fonts properly: Times, Arial, Helvetica, and Verdana, as well as their variants (Arial Narrow, Times New Roman, etc.) If a web developer decides to stray from one of these fonts he or she risks browser compatibility problems and the prospect that their pages may render inaccurately when viewed through certain web browsers.

Got any other terms you were wondering about? Let us know!

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About the Author

is the CEO and founder of VerticalResponse.



17 Responses to 11 Email Marketing Terms You Need to Know

  1. Garrison Dietrich

    Very informative article post.Thanks Again. Really Great.

  2. Chris says:

    Sweet I didn’t know some of those terms before I read this. good informative post!

  3. This was really useful, thanks so much! Really helpful for small business owner who just started! Thanks for posting.

  4. Great information specially if your doing business online. I did not know how important Above the Fold was until recently and I have noticed a bid difference in my ROI’s. Great Stuff!

  5. Great list! If you are attempting to launch your first, or enhance your existing, email strategy – these are all must have’s. Er….or rather must-knows.

  6. Yomar Lopez says:

    This is a neat little guide for those that need to translate business speak. I make it a point to avoid too much jargon yet you need to be aware of standard terminology so we speak a common language, right?
    The formula for ROI is always a handy one to share. As a bit of a math nerd and data cruncher, I love this sort of stuff!
    Thanks for sharing.
    P.S. I found you via StumbleUpon while stumbling for SEO-related stuff.. Pretty neat! Feel free to follow me and I’ll follow back.
    –Yomar (a.k.a. Yogizilla)

  7. InSync Marketing Andover says:

    Thanks for that,
    Was a helpful list. Not to me, but to people just getting started in Email Marketing – I often have people ask me about Phishing and Open Rates

  8. This is a great, easy to understand intro to email marketing terms. There are 2 other terms that I think are important to note in regards to ROI.
    Click Rate: The percentage of people who clicked on the link in the email. (# of people who clicked on you web page link / # of people who opened the email)
    Completion Rate: The percentage of people who purchased an item after entering your website from the email.
    ROI tells you how well you did on your marketing campaign. Open Rates, click rates, and completion rates show you what customers did and did not like about your campaign. Typically open rates are small (1-10%) whereas click rates and completion rates should be much higher.
    Best,
    Diana Nicholson
    @diananicholson2

  9. Josh Malone says:

    Thanks for the detailed explanation of some of the unfamiliar terms. We have been doing a lot of testing for our open rates using different subject lines ect. A interesting way to get some ideas is to look through your spam folder at different catchy phrases.

  10. Dont forget to review “email list cleaning” :)
    Good write up here for those who want some simple ideas of how to implement…
    http://blog.verticalresponse.com/verticalresponse_blog/2007/07/cleaning-your-l.html

  11. Your break down of how to calculate your ROI was really useful, thanks a lot for this info!

  12. Daniel says:

    Thanks for this helpful post! There were actually things I didn’t know already :)

  13. Bigredtomato says:

    Wasn’t familiar with all of these terms, but I’ve learnt a few things.
    Thanks!

  14. Email marketing continues to take off in this new generation and world of technology!

  15. gary ashton says:

    Thx for explaining some of these terms. Too often people use jargon that isn’t always easy to research and find out the meaning.
    I was always aware of above the fold for webpages but doe some reason hadn’t considered that for email so I will be reviewing all my emails :)
    Thx
    Gary :)

  16. Ganti Murty says:

    What about Single optin and Double optin. Which one to use and when to use Thank you

  17. A good start to some terms that often are confused, thanks.
    One commonly misunderstood set of terms is the “delivered” vs. “inbox deliverability.” The first is usually the inverse of your bounce rate – records that are actually real addresses. The second is inbox placement. They are not the same number.
    Folks may be aware that the DMA/Email Experience Council (of which I am a volunteer Vice Chair) just published new definitions for key metrics – the render rate (formerly open rate), click through rate, and accepted rate (often reported as “delivered”).
    You can read the definitions and get involved with adoption here:
    http://blog.emailexperience.org/blog/email-experience-council/0/0/a-call-to-action-for-standard-email-metrics
    Thanks!
    Best,
    Stephanie Miller
    Return Path, Inc.
    @StephanieSAM

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