30 Email Marketing Terms & Lingo You Need to Know (Glossary)

May 13, 2023
Written by
SendGrid Team
Opinions expressed by Twilio contributors are their own
Reviewed by
Ayanna Julien
Opinions expressed by Twilio contributors are their own

30 Email Marketing Terms & Lingo You Need to Know (Glossary)

New to email marketing? Don't worry—we've got you covered. We'll walk you through the essential email marketing terms, terminology, and lingo you need to succeed.

Promotional offers, monthly newsletters, and event reminders are just a few examples of email marketing campaigns that can lead to higher conversions and business growth. In fact, the average person receives over 100 emails per day, which means companies have to find effective ways to capture user attention and set themselves apart. 

The following key email marketing terms can help you run more impactful, measurable campaigns. We’ve also included helpful resources to fuel your creative growth strategy. 

30 email marketing terms and lingo

1. A/B testing

A/B testing is a type of user experience research where 2 versions of a page display to users—and users demonstrate which can drive more conversions. In email marketing, A/B testing can be a process where 2 versions of an email go out to recipients, and data reveals which version yields better results. (Need to learn how to A/B test your single send? We have a guide for you.)

2. Acceptance rate

Acceptance rate refers to the total number of emails that reach users’ inboxes. However, this metric doesn’t guarantee that the email reaches a user’s primary inbox—so inbox placement may be a better metric revealing whether you’ve built sufficient trust through best practices. (Find out what it means when an email is bounced, blocked, or deferred—and what you can do.) 

3. Bulk email

Bulk email is content sent to a high volume of inboxes at once. Companies use this feature for various reasons, whether  communicating product updates or promoting new product launches. (Learn more about what bulk email is and how to send it.) 

4. Buyer persona

A buyer persona is an accurate fictional representation of target users’ demographics, lifestyle, interests, and preferences. With this resource, marketers can map out user journeys across the lifecycle that correspond to higher conversions. (Learn more about creating segment-based buyer personas as part of your lead nurturing process.)

5. Call to action (CTA)

A call to action encourages a quick response from a user. CTAs are most common in emails, at the end of blog posts, and in strategic locations around a website as visitors browse through a company’s offerings. (Pick up best practices on how to write an email CTA.)

6. Click-through rate (CTR)

A click-through rate measures how many users click on an email, webpage, or advertisement. This provides needed insight into their needs so that marketers can change their strategy according to the interests of their site visitors. (Here’s how you can measure and improve your email CTR.)

7. Content marketing

Content marketing involves creating and sharing online content to encourage interest in a company’s products or services. In addition to email, other popular forms of content marketing include blog posts, webpages, social media posts, and ebooks. Content marketing often presents possible problems a user might have and a solution to that problem. (Find out how to create helpful content marketing in The Expert’s Guide to Email Marketing.)

8. Conversion rate

A conversion rate is the total percentage of site visitors who have reacted to a desired CTA. Depending on your company’s goals, a conversion may include anything from purchases, newsletter sign-ups, and downloads to repeat visits, registrations, and form completions. Conversion rates are crucial to assessing the performance of marketing campaigns and provide an accurate demonstration of growth. (Try A/B testing to get a better email conversion rate.)

9. Customer acquisition cost (CAC)

Customer acquisition cost is the amount of money spent to acquire a new customer. Various costs can qualify as a CAC: advertisements, marketing campaigns, and other sales efforts. This important metric helps determine the effectiveness of a company’s marketing strategy. (Side note: did you know it costs 5–25x more to acquire a new customer than to retain an old one?)

10. Double opt-in

A double opt-in sends the user a confirmation email to complete the sign-up process, unlike a single opt-in that immediately registers user information from a sign-up form in one go. This allows for more user engagement and blocks potential spammers. (Interesting fact: adding a double opt-in is one of the top 30 email marketing best practices and tips of 2022.)

11. Dynamic content

Dynamic content is personalized online material that shifts depending on user habits, interests, and data. Whether text, photo, or video, dynamic content changes as new user information avails itself. For instance, after noticing that a particular user clicks on GIFs in their email newsletters, marketers can use this type of CTA more frequently. (Here’s how to use dynamic templates for transactional emails.)

12. Email campaign

An email campaign is a sequence of email marketing efforts that reach multiple users at once, leading to positive interactions and, in ideal situations, higher conversion rates. Most email campaigns are themed and include relevant content, promotional discounts, details on upcoming events, or personalized recommendations. (If your email campaign falls flat, there are 4 tactics you can employ to bounce back.)

13. Email deliverability

Email deliverability refers to the success rate of delivered emails. When an email service provider sends out a mass email chain to a high volume of recipients, some messages may bounce or even end up in the spam folder—and never opened. Email deliverability ensures that emails end up where intended to ensure a higher chance of opening. 

14. Email service provider (ESP)

An email service provider is a platform that companies use to oversee, manage, and launch email campaigns. Examples of ESPs include Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo!, and Zoho. While there are many free and cost-friendly options available, others with additional features may require fees. (Still need to find a good email service provider? We can help.)

15. Engagement rank

Engagement rank measures users’ level of interest and interaction and engagement with a company’s marketing content. Relative to email marketing, measuring open rates, click-through rates, and real-time social interactions often determine engagement rank, which marketers can use to improve their strategy. (Looking to improve your engagement rank? Read this year’s Messaging Engagement Report to see what’s trending.)

16. Hard bounce

A hard bounce refers to emails automatically returned to the sender due to a permanent issue, such as an incorrect email address. Hard bounces are especially dangerous for email marketers who send high volumes of emails, as this can lower their deliverability rate and trigger email spam filters. (Here are some useful bounce classifications to help you make sense of various SMTP responses.)

17. HTML

HTML is code used to structure a webpage. In email marketing, HTML can organize content in a certain format—usually with other interactive elements like GIFs, photos, or videos. HTML also helps an email look more visually appealing to the user, highlighting important information and leading to several CTAs. (If you’re ready to create HTML emails, here’s how.) 

18. Landing page

A landing page is a webpage specifically used for an advertising campaign. Its sole purpose in email marketing is to move prospects down the sales funnel. Persuasive elements like testimonials, reviews, and benefit-oriented content, alongside a straightforward CTA, can increase conversions. (If you’ve got 9 minutes, we’ve got email landing page best practices.)

19. Lead

A lead in marketing is a user that has the potential to become a customer. Whether a repeat visitor to your website or a new email sign-up, this individual shows clear interest in trying out your company’s services or products. (Take a page from Lead Nurturing 101: How to Nurture Leads for strategies that attract, target, and reengage email subscribers.)  

20. Lead nurturing

Lead nurturing is a process that builds positive, long-lasting relationships with customers to generate sales leads. To do so, marketers create content for multiple touchpoints at every stage of the journey—from browsing to purchase—to warm up, engage, and sustain a sales prospect or customer’s attention. (Get inspired by lead nurturing best practices and examples.)

21. List segmentation

List segmentation is the act of breaking up an email list into smaller, more tailored lists based on buyer personas, demographics, or behavior. This practice creates a more customized experience for different groups of users versus a broader, generalized email list with little-to-no personalization. (Wondering why you should segment your email list? This Essential Guide to Email Segmentation has the answer.)

22. Marketing automation

Marketing automation is when companies rely on technology to schedule and send campaign messages automatically without human interaction. This automation can include anything from social media updates to daily email delivery. (Ready to save time? Gather the latest email marketing best practices here.)

23. Marketing funnel

A marketing funnel, which is among the most common email marketing terms to know, illustrates the customer’s interactions with a company from the very beginning—from discovering services to browsing solutions to purchasing. Marketers rely on this type of visualization to identify their target audience and create marketing campaigns throughout the customer journey. (Understand the customer lifecycle so you can start moving prospects further down the marketing funnel.)

24. Open rate

An open rate measures the percentage of users who click on a marketing message in their inboxes. This action potentially indicates a compelling offer or effective subject line to help inform future campaigns. (We all want a great open rate. You’ll know how to get one after reading trends gleaned from our 5 trillion processed emails.)

25. Return on investment (ROI)

Return on investment is a metric used to measure the performance of a certain marketing campaign or method. ROI measurement ensures that CAC doesn’t go to waste and focuses the marketing team on efforts that draw desired outcomes. (Try this ROI calculator to find out how you can improve your inbox rate.)  

26. Search engine optimization (SEO)

Search engine optimization is what content marketers rely on to increase visibility and site ranking. SEO captures popular and relevant keywords that bring users from search engines to the company’s website. If a company has a solid SEO strategy, its webpage will likely appear higher up in the search results to capture more traffic—and more sales. (SEO tops the website launch checklist—learn more.)

27. Soft bounce

A soft bounce occurs when there’s a temporary problem with the recipient’s email server, unlike with a hard bounce, where the issue is permanent. Some examples include a full inbox or an incompatible file size within the email. Although soft bounces are temporary and fixable, these can still harm a marketer’s email deliverability. (Learn about the different types of bounce classifications.)

28. Sender score

A sender score, similar to a credit score, measures the legitimacy and health of a company’s email provider. With a lower sender score, it can be easy for a marketing email to end up in the spam folder. However, with a higher sender score, marketers can rest assured that their content will deliver to the correct inbox. (Use these 5 Tools to Check Your Sender Reputation.)

29. Spam

Spam is the digital equivalent of “junk mail”—often referring to unsolicited email marketing a user hasn’t opted to receive. Although many spam messages are relatively harmless, some advertise unreliable products and services. (Get 10 tips to stop your email from going to spam.)

30. Transactional email 

A transactional email is an automated email the sender delivers to the recipient. These emails usually consist of but aren't limited to reminders, purchase confirmations, or important updates a user needs to know about a specific product or service. For instance, if they buy an item on an ecommerce website, that site will then immediately send an email with information about their purchase, such as the cost and delivery date. (Learn how to get started and send your first transactional email today.)

Send email marketing campaigns confidently with Twilio SendGrid

The world of marketing is constantly evolving, requiring intuitive digital solutions at every turn. While familiarizing yourself with common email marketing terms is certainly helpful, a suite of email marketing tools can take your strategy to the next level—ensuring deliverability, increasing engagement, and driving conversions. Twilio SendGrid can help you with that.

Email marketing terms and terminology are just the beginning. You need a platform that can drive you to success.

Ready to begin an email marketing campaign that yields optimal results? Get in touch with Twilio SendGrid’s Email Marketing experts to learn more about our offerings—and how we can help you achieve desired opens, clicks, and conversions.

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