The Ultimate List of Email Marketing Terms

One of the best tasks a virtual assistant can do is email marketing. What is email marketing? It is one of the types of internet marketing or online marketing. This is a kind of marketing where an email message is used to promote services or products.One of the best tasks a virtual assistant can do is email marketing. What is email marketing? It is one of the types of internet marketing or online marketing. This is a kind of marketing where an email message is used to promote services or products.

A virtual assistant usually asked by the client to write, design, or send out emails to help the client sell goods or services. For newbie VAs, these terms are a bit intimidating because there are too many and a lot of "new" terms are created. Even seasoned VA marketers refer to a glossary to check.

So, I put together this email marketing terms that you can use to refer to any time your client, an ESP, or an article is referring to. For an email marketing glossary, this list is the most comprehensive I know of.

Whether you're a pro or newbie, if you come across a term you aren't sure of, chances are it's listed here.

Without further ado, let’s jump right into the list.


A/B Split Test: A technique used by email marketers to test which variations of the email is best. They create two variations of the same email then split the email list into two, and finally send out two variations of the email to this separated list of email subscribers.

Acceptance Rate: It is the deliverability rate. This counts the number of emails that a mail server accepts.

ALT tags: When an image cannot be displayed, a coded text is used to replace it.

Animated Gif: A type of Graphics Interchange Format in which an image changes or animates within a few frames.

Attachment: A document or a file that is attached to an image. Using this will slows down the sending of large or bulk emails for campaigns, it requires a lot of time.

Authentication: A data encoded into an email message. This verifies the email sender and origin of the email or newsletter.

Autoresponder: A drip campaign which is an automated message or series of messages.


Behavioral Email: An automated email sent to a subscriber based on their actions and behavior.

Blacklist: These are email addresses from senders considered as spam. Their emails will not get to inbox but on the spam, bulk or trash bins.

Block: When none of a sender's email messages are delivered.

Bounce Rate: Percentage of emails returned by email service. This can either be soft or hard bounces, or both. A bounce happens when a subscriber's inbox is full, no longer exists, or the server was not unavailable.

Broadcast: This is an email blast. Sending an email message all at once to your email list.

Bulk Folder: Also known as a spam folder.


Call to Action (CTA): A link text or button in an email that incites a subscriber to do something.

CAN SPAM: It is the 2003 American Law created to reduce spam on emails.

CASL (Canadian Anti-Spam Law): The Canadian equivalent of CAN SPAM law.

Cinemograph: A very short movie embedded into emails or on websites.

Click-Through Rate (CTR): Percentage of subscribers that clicked on a link in your emails.

Click-to-Open Rate: Percentage of people who opened your email then click on a link in that email.

Complaint Rate: Percentage of subscribers marked an email as spam.

Confidence Level: This is a testing term using the A/B test of two variations of an email to select the best based on the percentage result.

Contact List: Another term for mailing or subscriber list.

Conversion Rate: Percentage of email subscribers completed a specific action.

CPM (Cost Per Thousand): Known as cost per mile which is the price for sending a thousand email messages.

CSS: Cascading Style sheet which is a markup language. It is used to design web pages and emails.


Dedicated Server: A computer server used to send email campaigns. This is an upgrade from a shared server.

Deliverability: This is the ability to send emails to the subscriber’s inboxes.

Delivery Rate: Percentage of emails sent to the subscriber’s inboxes.

DKIM (Domain Keys Identified Mail): An email authentication method. It links a domain name to an email message. This verifies email authenticity which increases deliverability rates.

Deploy: Another term for "send".

Double Opt-in: A two-step process where a subscriber enters their email address in the signup box then a confirmation email where they need to click to confirm they want to subscribe before being added to the list.

Drip Marketing: An automated series of messages sent to prospective subscribers. An example is an autoresponder.

Dynamic Content: A type of email content in which you can change the texts or images in that email. To get more contacts to become customers, you can serve up different messaging to different groups of people and.


Email Analytics: This is used to know who read your email, what your subscribers find interesting through clicks, analyze when is the best time to send your email, on what device people read your email, find out areas where you want to improve your data-driven marketing strategy.

Email Appending: A data overlay or e-appending. This is the process of adding or updating a missing email address of a customer to that customer's record.

Email Campaign: When sending a promotional message to your subscribers.

Email Client: A subscribers' software which is used to view email messages.

Email Domain: Domain name, URL or website which an email is sent from.

Email Harvesting: A technique used by spammers to steal people's email addresses then adding them to their email list without their permission.

Email Phishing: A deceptive email message sent from spammer which is used to steal an email recipient’s user data, login credentials, and credit card numbers.

Email Queue: An email that is set up and ready to go, waiting for deployment via an email service provider.

Email Shares: Number of times an email has been shared or posted on social media.

Emoji: Tiny images from special characters that you can use anywhere in the email.

Engagement: This refers to the interaction of a subscriber to an email, clicks, opens, shares and more.

ESP (Email Service Provider): A company with software and hardware that manage, send, and track emails.


Forwards: Number of times when a subscriber forwards the email to someone else.


Gif (Graphic Interchange Format): A type of image format used commonly online.

Google Analytics: Most widely used tracking software by Google. It can track interactions with an email.

Gravestoning: Action done by ISPs where inactive email is changed into a spam trap.

Grey Mail: Emails that are not marked as spam or subscribers have not unsubscribed from.


Hard Bounce: When a subscriber’s email account no longer exists, an email cannot be delivered.

Header: A top section of an email message.

Honey Pot: A spam trap specifically an email address on a website used to harvest spam bot.

House List: A list of email subscribers.

HTML5: A type of markup language used by web developers, designers, and coders like video embeds, carousels, and more.


Image Blocking: A default setting in most emails that can be turned on or off by an email subscriber.

Inactives: Subscribers who do not open or click your emails in a month or more.

Inbox Placement Rate: Percentage of emails that have reached subscribers inboxes.

ISP (Internet Service Provider): Gatekeepers of email accounts. These are companies that provide internet access.


Jpeg (Joint Photographic Experts Group): File format of an image.


Landing Page: A location where a subscriber goes after they click on a link in an email.

List Broker: A person who makes deals with email marketers or list owners.

List Churn: Ways a subscriber can discharge from a list such as an inactivity, changing email address, or not opening emails.

List Fatigue: A state when subscribers get tired of receiving emails. They either send your emails to the spam bin, ignore your emails, delete them or unsubscribe.

List Growth: This refers to how much larger your list is getting.

List Hygiene: Keeping your list up to date by removing inactive and unsubscribers.

List Rental: A deal between an email list owner and email marketer where an email message from the email marketer sends to the list owner email list.


Marketing Automation: Using software to automate marketing activities like autoresponders.

MIME (Multi-Purpose Internet Mail Extensions): An extension of the original email protocol which allows people to send various file formats.


Onboarding: A welcome email that educates new subscribers about your business.

Opt-in Box: The set-off areas on your website where an opt-in form is embedded for opt-in boxes.

Opt-in Rate: Percentage of visitors to your website or landing page sign up for your email list.

Opt-out: Process when people unsubscribe to your email list.


Pre-Header Text: A text below the subject line, a part of an email message.

Permission: A term for asking people to get marketing materials.

Personalization: Inserting a subscriber's name into the subject line, dynamic content.

Plain Text: Opposite of HTML email. There is no markup or layout in the email. The entire email content is just lines of text with a link to a landing page.

Png (Portable Network Graphics): A type of file format. It is usually used online and in messages.

Preference Center: A page hosted by your email service provider or a website page.

Preview Pane: Top email section visible from the inbox view.

Privacy Policy: It explains to website visitors how their information is collected and used.

Promotional Emails: Opposite of transactional emails. A type of email that promotes a service or product.

Promotions Tab: A Gmail feature where promotional emails are moved on a promotion tab.


Re-engagement Campaign: A type of email campaign use to try to re-engage inactive subscribers.

Rendering: The way an email message appears in each subscriber's inbox.

Re-send: The second time the same email is sent. This is used to try to get more people to respond to it.

Responsive Design: Type of design that presents well on devices such as mobile, iPad, or any other device.

Retention: Marketing technique that focuses on getting existing clients or customers to do more business with you.

Revenue Per Email Sent: Earnings from each email sent out.


Scraping: A type of spamming technique.

Segmentation: Breaking a list of subscribers into various segments.

Sender Name: Known as "from" name which is visible on the inbox. An email part that a subscriber can see who sends the email message.

Sender Score: A reputation metric assigned by a company that sends an email.

Shared Server: Opposite of a dedicated server where your emails are sent from.

Signature File: A default file found at the end of an email message which includes contact information.

Single Opt-in: Opposite of double-opt-in. An email confirmation is not required for new subscribers.

SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol): A type of language servers use to each other when they send emails.

Soft Bounce: Opposite of hard bounce which is less severe than hard bounce. This happens when email cannot be delivered because the server is temporarily unavailable, or inbox is full.

Solo Ads: Commonly used in affiliate marketing. Same as list rental which an email market pays the list owner to send out a message.

Spam: An email message subscriber does not want.

Spam Trap: Use to trap spammers by using an anti-spam email address.

Spammer: A person who sends unwanted emails.

Statistical Relevance: Term used in A/B split testing an email

Subject Line: Title or headline.

Subscriber: People who signed up to receive your emails.

Subscriber Value: Worth of a subscriber to you.

Suppression File: A list of email addresses that you do not send emails to.


Targeting: To segment an email list that has similar interests.

Thank You, Page: A message when new subscribers see when they finally hit the subscribe button.

Throttling: A technique of sending emails like in batches rather all at once.

Transactional Emails: Opposite of promotional emails that are used to confirm orders, reservations, etc.

Triggered Emails: A type of marketing automation that is prescheduled by a marketer like birthday emails.


UCE (unsolicited commercial email): Another term for spam.

Unique Clicks: The number of subscribers clicked in your emails.

Unique Opens: Shows how many individuals opened your emails.

Unsubscribe Rate: Number of percentage of people opting out from your email campaigns.


Wearables: Type of devices such as Apple iWatch or Google glass. This is the future of email marketing after mobile devices.

Welcome emails / welcome series: A type of email message sent to new subscribers.

White List: Is the act when a subscriber marks an email as important or moved it into a folder.

If you happen to know a “new” email marketing term or terms not mentioned on this list, please contact me anytime so I can add it to the list.


Hi, I'm Paul. If you enjoyed reading this article you might like to read also:

A List of Commonly Used Twitter Terms

Web Design Terms Every Creative Virtual Assistant Must Know

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