Glossary of Email Marketing Terms

Glossary of Email Marketing Terms  Woman working in a clothing shop checking her email.

Are you confused by email marketing strategy and terms? Here is my Glossary of Email Marketing Terms with common email terms defined.

Email marketing can be pretty intimidating. Don’t fret, because even us seasoned pros still learn new terms. I’m continually learning to keep up to date on terminology, legislation, trends, etc.

Now that you know we’re all in the same boat, let’s get on the same (web) page with a glossary of standard email marketing terms. Here we go!

Glossary of Email Marketing Terms


Acceptable Spam Report Rate

The rate at which you can be reported as SPAM without doing harm to your sending reputation. If it’s over 0.1% (1 report per 1000 emails), you will receive a warning.

Acceptance Rate

The percentage of email messages a mail server will accept. Don’t assume that emails go to the inbox once it’s accepted by the email server.



A list of the IP addresses that have been marked as spammer IP. If an IP address is discovered to be a spammer IP then emails from that IP address will be not be delivered.

Bounce Rate

The rate at which an email is not delivered to an email server. Hard bounce and soft bounce are terms in reference to the bounce rate and they’re defined below. A ‘normal’ rate is about 5% at most.

Bulk Mail

When the same content goes out to a large group of people. Large scale email marketing.


CAN-SPAM – ‘Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing Act of 2003’ 

This is the law outlining rules for commercial email and commercial messages. It established that email recipients have the right to make you stop emailing them (with violations for those who do not stop emails).

Clicks Per Delivered

Measures the number of clicks divided by the number of emails delivered to the intended inbox as a percentage.

Clicks Per Open

Measures the number of clicks divided by the number of opens as a percentage.

CTR (Click-Through-Rate)

The number of unique clicks by recipients that click on a specific URL in the email divided by the number of emails that were opened (as a percentage).

Conversion Rate

This is the percentage of recipients who take action in an email marketing campaign. It’s one measure of an email campaign’s success.


Dedicated IP

Refers to an IP address from which only you send email.

Domain Authentication

This is used to establish a sender’s identity. It also guarantees that the sender is allowed to send from a given domain.

Double Opt-In

Subscribers are required to confirm their subscription to your email list by clicking a link in a confirmation email.


Email Campaign

A series of emails designed to accomplish a marketing goal.

Email Filter

A digital method to blocks emails based on the sender, subject line, or content of an email.

Email List

This is a permission-based email list that you build yourself with opt-in subscribers. One of your marketing team’s most valuable lists.

Email Sponsorships

Advertisers pay to have their ad inserted into the body of the email. A one time ad or a series of ads depending on the number of emails in a sequence.


False positive

Occurs when a legitimate email is incorrectly identified or blocked as spam.


This is a short block of text at the end of an email message. It identifies the sender, may provide a bit more of additional information (company name, mail address, contact information) and fulfills CAN SPAM regulations.


Hard Bounce

This is the failed delivery of an email due to the destination address being non-existent, invalid, or blocked.

Honey Pot

A special email address created by organizations trying to discourage spammers. When a spammer harvests and emails, the unique email address identifies the email as spam.

HTML Email

An email coded with the HTML (Hypertext Markup Language). This language makes it possible to get creative with email design as it supports graphics, videos and image content as well as text.


IP Warmup

Slowly sending out an increasing number of emails from an IP address to build a positive reputation for the IP address.


Landing Page

A page on your website or landing page app. It’s used to promote a single service or product and gathers email addresses or makes a sale.

List Segmentation

This is a target audience or group of individual email addresses for which your email message is relevant. Because of this targeting / segmentation, you can expect to get a higher response rate and fewer unsubscribes and spam reports.


Open Rate

Refers to the percentage of emails opened. The number of emails open in the email campaign divided by the number of emails that were sent (as a percentage). 



Adding a name to your email content like, Dear Sam. Personalization also refers to the ability to send highly targeted emails based on past preferences and purchases.

Physical Address

This is the physical, street address of the company sending the email. Its inclusion (in the footer most often) is a legal mandate for all email marketing messages.

Plain Text Email

A plain email sent without HTML. It’s a good practice to always give your recipients the option to read emails in either HTML or plain text depending on their preference. A plain text email works well for the visually impared and screen readers like Google Home.

Privacy Policy

A description of a website or company’s policy on the use of information collected from and about website visitors. Additionally, this policy should indicate what the company does and doesn’t do with the data. It must be clearly explained.


Read or Open Length

The length of time from when a reader opens the email until they close it.

Rental List (or Acquisition List)

These are a list of email recipients and targeted individuals who have opted in to receive information about a certain subject. They are usually targeted by interest or profession or demographic data. These are lists you can purchase or rent. These types of lists are strongly discouraged by most email service providers.


Sender Score

It’s a reputation rating from 0-100 for every outgoing mail server IP address. The sender score is checked by the mail server to determine if your email is credible. Scores over 90 are good.

Single Opt-In

When users sign up for email list, but don’t need to confirm their email address with the email service provider. The downside is that someone can sign up email recipients without their permission. 

Soft Bounce

This is the failed delivery of an email due to a temporary issue (full mailbox or an unavailable server).

Spam or UCE (Unsolicited Commercial Email)

Over 90% of all email sent fall in this category. These are emails sent to users who did not subscribe or give permission to receive the emails.

Spam Trap

This email address is no longer valid, though it once was. You will receive a hard bounce notice from this address. If this repeats often, the server will stop informing the sender and will report the sender as a spammer.

SPF – ‘Sender Policy Framework’

A Domain Name Server (DNS) record that says on whose behalf an IP or domain sends email.

Subscribe (Opt-in)

This is when a potential email recipient chooses to to receive email communications. New subscribers can often choose sub-interests (biking, reading, outdoors etc) to receive emails that interest them.


Targeted Emails

Email recipients with ‘interest tags’ that indicate past purchases or interests. Targeted emails will suggest additional products and recommend products that are now available.

Total Open Rate

Refers to the percentage of total number of times the email campaign was opened. The total number of times that an email was opened divided by the number of emails that were sent (as a percentage). 


Unique Open Rate

Refers to the percentage of email addresses that opened a email campaign. The number of email addresses that opened the email campaign divided by the total number of emails that were sent (as a percentage). 

Unsubscribe (Opt-Out)

When a current subscriber chooses to discontinue receiving emails. Companies are legally required to provide a quick and easy way to opt-out in every email sent.



These are email addresses you’ve told your email inbox that are “ok to receive” emails from.


Now that you have some more info you may want email marketing terms that are specific to Mailchimp, The Mailchimp Glossary.

Leave a Comment