Email Marketing Glossary

Auto Responder
A program or a script that automatically sends a response when someone sends a message to its address. The most common uses of auto responders are for subscribe and unsubscribe confirmations, welcome emails and customer-support questions.

An email marketing message or a series of messages designed to accomplish an overall goal.

Challenge Response
An automated message triggered by the receipt of an email for the purpose of identifying the sender as a trusted source. The challenge is a message to the sender of the email with instructions on how to validate themselves. If the sender provides a valid response, his email address is added to the recipient's list of trusted senders and his message is passed along to the recipient.

Click-through Rate
The percentage (the number of unique clicks divided by the number that were opened) of recipients that click on a given URL in your e-mail.

Double Opt-In
A more stringent method of obtaining permission to send email campaigns. Double opt-in adds an additional step to the opt-in process. It requires the subscriber to respond to a confirmation email, either by clicking on a confirmation link, or by replying to the email to confirm their subscription. Only those subscribers who take this additional step are added to your list.

Email Blocking
Email blocking typically refers to blocking by ISPs. E-mails that are blocked are not processed through the ISP and are essentially prevented from reaching their addressed destination. ISPs actively block email coming from suspected spammers.

Email Newsletter Ads or Sponsorships
Buying ad space in an email newsletter or sponsoring a specific article or series of articles. Advertisers pay to have their ad (text, HTML or both depending on the publication) inserted into the body of the email.

From Line
The from line has two parts: part one is the "From Name" - such as "Constant Contact's Email Marketing Diva, Michelle Keegan." Part two is the "From Address" - the electronic address including "@" such as, "" Your recipients may see just the from name, just the from address, or both depending on the configuration of their email client.

HTML E-mail
An e-mail that is formatted using Hypertext Markup Language instead of plain text. HTML makes it possible to include unique fonts, graphics and background colors. HTML makes an e-mail more interesting and when used properly can generate higher response rates than plain text.

Hard Bounce/Soft Bounce
A hard bounce is the failed delivery of an e-mail due to a permanent reason like a non-existent address. A soft bounce is the failed delivery of an e-mail due to a temporary issue, like a full mailbox or an unavailable server.

House List
A permission-based list that you built yourself. Use it to market, cross sell and up-sell, and to establish a relationship with customers over time. Your house list is one of your most valuable assets because it is 7 times less expensive to market to an existing customer than it is to acquire a new one. Use every opportunity to add to it and use it.

Landing Page
A web page that is linked to an email for the purpose of providing additional information directly related to products or services promoted in the email.

Text links, hyperlinks, graphics or images that, when clicked or when pasted into a browser, send the prospect to another online location (e.g. a landing page or other pages of a website). Links in emails are a call-to-action. To be most effective in motivating action, links should be visible, clear and compelling.

Open Rate
The percentage of e-mails opened in any given e-mail marketing campaign, or the percentage opened of the total number of e-mails sent.

To opt-in or subscribe to an e-mail list is to choose to receive e-mail communications by supplying your e-mail address to a particular company, website or individual thereby giving them permission to e-mail you. The subscriber can often indicate areas of personal interest (e.g. mountain biking) and/or indicate what types of e-mails she wishes to receive from the sender (e.g. newsletters).

To unsubscribe from an e-mail list is to choose not to receive communications from the sender by requesting the removal of your e-mail address from their list.

Permission-Based Email
E-mail sent to recipients who have opted-in or subscribed to receive e-mail communications from a particular company, website or individual. Permission is an absolute prerequisite for legitimate and profitable e-mail marketing.

Single Opt-in (with a subscriber acknowledgement email)
The most widely accepted and routinely used method of obtaining email addresses and permission. A single opt-in list is created by inviting visitors and customers to subscribe to your email list. When you use a signup tag on your website, a message immediately goes out to the subscriber acknowledging the subscription (this is often accomplished using an auto-responder). This message should reiterate what the subscriber has signed up for, and provide an immediate way for the subscriber to edit her interests or opt-out.

Spam or UCE (Unsolicited Commercial E-mail)
E-mail sent to someone who has not opt-in or given permission to the sender.

Subject Line
The short line of type in an email that indicates what the message is about. Your subject line should be short (30 - 40 characters including spaces, or 5-8 words), and it should include a specific benefit that accurately reflects your offer in order to be effective. Federal law prohibits the use of misleading subject lines.

Universal Resource Locator (URL)
A website, page or any other document address or location on the Internet. URLs indicate the location of every file on every computer accessible through the Internet.