9 Essential Email Marketing Terms

Email marketing is a critical component of your inbound marketing strategy. If you’re new to email marketing it can feel a bit overwhelming at first. Even seasoned email marketers are continually updating their knowledge base and familiarizing themselves with new terms. There are a lot of terms you’ll hear when it comes to email marketing, but like anything, it’s best to start with the foundation. We put together a list of the most common and critical terms to know and understand to get you started on your email marketing journey.

Email Service Provider (ESP)

It all starts with an ESP or email service provider. An ESP is simply the software service that helps you send out email marketing campaigns to your list. The best ESPs will allow you to:

• Create email subscriber lists
• Customize email templates
• Automatically or manually send emails
• View detailed analytics on your campaigns
• Test to find what’s working or not working
• And More

Marketing Automation

In the context of email, marketing automation refers to the process of your email marketing software sending email campaigns to your customers and prospects based on pre-defined triggers you have set. For example, you may send special offers to customers who have spent over a certain amount of money on your products or services. Other triggers may include subscribers opting into specific lists or make particular purchases. Marketing automation gives you the chance to reach more customers and prospects in a more efficient and personal way.

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Dynamic Content

Dynamic content can be displayed and triggered based on a subscriber’s information. For example, you can use gender to determine which type of content is appropriate to show. A clothing retailer would want to display their men’s Winter collection to male subscribers and their women’s Winter collection to female subscribers. A personalized marketing experience always helps drive more sales.

Multivariate Testing

Multivariate testing is a method that tests difference variables in an email to determine what works best. Different images, colors, copy, font, and offers all trigger different responses. Multivariate testing helps you determine which combination works best.

Transactional Email

Transactional emails are automated emails triggered by a purchase. These emails are important because on average they are opened eight times more than other marketing emails. Your ESP will allow you to easily edit, create, and optimize all transactional emails. These emails are great opportunities to say thank you and offer discount codes for the next purchase.

Click-through Rate

Your (CTR) or click-through rate measures how many people clicked on an image, hyperlink, or call to action in your email. By measuring the CTR you can determine how effective a particular email is. An email that is performing well would show a click-through rate of between 20-30%. Your ESP will provide reporting to allow you to monitor your CTRs for every campaign you run.

Email Deliverability

Email deliverability refers to your ability to deliver an email to your intended audience’s inbox. If your email is not reaching your customer’s inbox, then you might as well have not sent it because they’re never going to see it. A good ESP will help you achieve a high email deliverability rate and keep you out of spam folders.

Hard Bounce

A hard bounce occurs when an email is returned to you for a permanent reason. Things that trigger a hard bounce may include:

• Incorrect domain name
• Sending to an email address that doesn’t exist
• Recipient is unknown

It’s critical to monitor hard bounces and eliminate invalid email addresses. Having a high volume of hard bounces will negatively affect your deliverability rates, set off spam filters, and possibly get your address red flagged by email providers. A good ESP will automatically remove hard bounces from your subscriber list.

Soft Bounce

A soft bounce refers to an email that failed to deliver because of a temporary reason. The file could be too big or the recipient’s inbox might be full. Soft bounces are usually not a problem, and your ESP will try to deliver the soft bounces again following a failed attempt.

More to Come

Those email marketing terms should be enough to get you started. There’s plenty more, but those are the foundational terms you should have a firm grasp on and will help you better understand the other terms you’re sure to run into later!

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