Glossary of Email Marketing Terms - Part II

Previous post: Part I of the Email Marketing Terms

Part II: M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


  • Mailing list: A list of email addresses that receive mailings or discussion-group messages.

  • Mail loop: A communication error between two email servers, usually happening when a misconfigured email triggers an automated response from the recipient server.

  • mailto: A code to make an email address in either a text or HTML email immediately clickable ( When the link is clicked, it usually opens the user's email client and inserts the email address in the To: link of a blank message.

  • Mail service provider (MSP): A mailbox provider, mail service provider or email service provider is a provider of email hosting. It implements email servers to send, receive, accept, and store email for other organizations or end users, on their behalf.

  • Mail Transfer Agent (MTA): . A computer that forwards email from senders to recipients (or to relay sites) and stores incoming email.

  • Mail User Agent (MUA): A mail user agent (MUA) is a program that allows you to receive and send e-mail messages; it's usually just called an e-mail program.

  • Marketing automation: When it comes to email, marketing automation refers to the process of an email marketing software sending email campaigns to your customers and prospects based on a set of triggers you have pre-defined.

  • Multivariate testing: A method of testing different variables in an email to find what works best. Different audiences respond better to different images, colors, copy, font, offers, etc., so marketers will use this to see which combination is ideal in leading to the end goal.

  • Multi-part MIME: Multi-part mime refers to sending both an HTML and TEXT part of an email message in a single email. When a subscriber's email client receives a multi-part message, it accepts the HTML version if it can render HTML, otherwise it presents the plain text version.

  • Mail Exchange Record (MX Record): A domain name system (DNS) server record that contains information about which mail server the domain uses to receive mail.


  • Nth name selection: (aka Systematic sampling) The act of segmenting a list for a test in which names are pulled from the main list for the test cell by number -- such as every 5th name on the list.


  • Open rate: The number of HTML message recipients who opened your email, usually as a percentage of the total number of emails sent. The open rate is considered a key metric for judging an email campaign's success, but it has several problems. The rate indicates only the number of emails opened from the total amount sent, not just those that were actually delivered. Opens also can't be calculated on text emails. Also, some email clients also users to scan message content without actually opening the message, which is falsely calculated as an open. See preview pane.

  • Open relay: An SMTP email server that allows outsiders to relay email messages that are neither for nor from local users. Often exploited by spammers and hackers.

  • Opt-in: A specific, pro-active, request by an individual email recipient to have their own email address placed on a specific mailing list. Many list renters and buyers now require list owners to provide proof of opt-in, including the actual email or IP address date and time the request was received.

  • Opt-out: A specific request to remove an email address from a specific list, or from all lists operated by a single owner. Also, the process of adding an email addresses to lists without the name's pre-approval, forcing names who don't want to be on your list to actively unsubscribe.

  • Pass-along email: (aka viral email) It refers to a piece of marketing material, such as an e-mail newsletter, that goes beyond the original recipient. A pass along is "passed along" to a second person by the recipient.(Some emails offer "forward to a friend" in the creative, but the vast majority of pass-along happen using email clients, and not that tech.) Pass-along can affect the formatting of the email, often stripping off HTML.


  • Permission: The implicit approval given when a person actively requests to have their own email address added to a list.

  • Personalization: A targeting method in which an email message appears to have been created only for a single recipient. Personalization techniques include adding the recipient's name in the subject line or message body, or the message offer reflects a purchasing, link clicking, or transaction history.

  • Phishing: A form of identity theft in which a scammer uses an authentic-looking email to trick recipients into giving out sensitive personal information, such as credit-card or bank account numbers, Social Security numbers and other data.

  • Plain text: Text in an email message that includes no formatting code. See HTML.

  • Post Office Protocol (POP): An email client uses to send to or receive messages from an email server.

  • Postmaster: Whom to contact at a Web site, ISP or other site to request information, get help with delivery or register complaints.

  • Preferences: Options a user can set to determine how they want to receive your messages, how they want to be addresses, to which email address message should go and which messages they want to receive from you. The more preferences a user can specify, the more likely you'll send relevant email.

  • Pretty Good Privacy (PGP): Software used to encrypt and protect email as it moves from one computer to another and can be used to verify a sender's identity.

  • Preview pane: The window in an email client that allows the user to scan message content without actually clicking on the message. See open rate.

  • Privacy policy: A clear description of how your company uses the email addresses and other information it gathers via opt-in requests for newsletters, company information or third-party offers or other functions. If you rent, sell or exchange your list to anyone outside your company, or if you add email addresses to opt-out messages, you should state so in the privacy policy. State laws may also compel you to explain your privacy policy, where to put the policy statement so people will see it and even in form the policy should be displayed.

  • Promotional email: Common email promotions include coupons or other discounts, access to exclusive content, or admittance to an invitation-only event. The ultimate goal of an email promotion is to move a potential customer through the sales funnel to a conversion.


  • Queue: Where an email message goes after you send it but before the list owner approves it or before the list server gets around to sending it. Some list software allows you to queue a message and then set a time to send it automatically, either during a quiet period on the server or at a time when human approval isn't available.


  • Read email: Not measurable. Only opens and clicks are measurable in any way. You can never know if a recipient simply read your message.

  • Registration: The process where someone not only opts in to your email program but provides some additional information, such as name, address, demographic data or other relevant information, usually by using a Web form.

  • Relationship email: An email message that refers to a commercial action -- a purchase, complaint or customer-support request -- based on a business relationship between the sender and recipient. Generally are not covered by CAN-SPAM requirements.

  • Reply-to: The email address that receives messages sent from users who click “reply” in their email clients. Can differ from the “from”address which can be an automated or un-monitored email address used only to send messages to a distribution list. “Reply-to” should always be a monitored address.

  • Reverse DNS: The process in which an IP address is matched correctly to a domain name, instead of a domain name being matched to an IP address. Reverse DNS is a popular method for catching spammers who use invalid IP addresses. If a spam filter or program can't match the IP address to the domain name, it can reject the email.

  • Rich Media: Creative that includes video, animation, and/or sound. Rich-media emails often collect high open and click rates but requires more bandwidth and are less compatible with different email clients than text or regular HTML email-format messages. Some mailers also consider transactional email "rich".


  • Seed emails: Email addresses placed on a list (sometimes secretly) to determine what messages are sent to the list and/or to track delivery rate and/or visible appearance of delivered messages. Seeds may also be placed on Web sites and elsewhere on the Internet to track spammers' harvesting activities.

  • Segment: The ability to slice a list into specific pieces determined by various attributes, such as open history or name source.

  • Select: A segment of a list determined by any number of attributes, such as source of name, job title, purchasing history, etc. CPM list renters pay an additional fee per thousand names for each select on top of the base list price.

  • Selective Unsubscribe: An unsubscribe mechanism that allows a consumer to selectively determine which email newsletters they wish to continue receiving while stopping the sending of others.

  • Sender ID: The informal name for a new anti-spam program combining two existing protocols: Sender Policy Framework and CallerID. SenderID authenticates email senders and blocks email forgeries and faked addresses.

  • Sender Policy Framework (also SPF): A protocol used to eliminate email forgeries. A line of code called an SPF record is placed in a sender’s Domain Name Server information. The incoming mail server can verify a sender by reading the SPF record before allowing a message through.

  • Sent emails: Number of email names transmitted in a single broadcast. Does not reflect how many were delivered or viewed by recipients.

  • Server: A program or computer system that stores and distributes email from one mailbox to another, or relays email from one server to another in a network.

  • Shared server: An email server used by more than one company or sender. Shared servers are less expensive to use because the broadcast vendor can spread the cost over more users. However, senders sharing a server risk having emails blocked by major ISPs if one of the other users does something to get the server's IP address blacklisted. See dedicated server.

  • Signature: A line or two of information found in the closing of an email, usually followed the sender’s name. Signatures can include advertising information, such as a company name, product, brand message or marketing call to action (subscribe to a company newsletter with the email subscribe address or Web registration form, or visit a Web site with the URL listed).

  • SMTP: Simple Mail Transfer Protocol, the most common protocol for sending email messages between email servers.

  • Snail mail: Postal mail.

  • Soft bounce: Email sent to an active (live) email address but which is turned away before being delivered. Often, the problem is temporary -- the server is down or the recipient's mailbox is over quota. The email might be held at the recipient's server and delivered later, or the sender's email program may attempt to deliver it again. Soft-bounce reports are not always accurate because they don't report all soft bounces or the actual reason for the bounce.

  • Solo Ad / mailing: A one-time broadcast to an email list, separate from regular newsletters or promotions, and often including a message from an outside advertiser or a special promotion from the list owner.

  • Spam: The popular name for unsolicited commercial email. However, some email recipients define spam as any email they no longer want to receive, even if it comes from a mailing list they joined voluntarily.

  • Spamcop: A blacklist and IP-address database. Many ISPs check the IP addresses of incoming email against Spamcop’s records to determine whether the address has been blacklisted due to spam complaints.

  • Sponsorship swap: An agreement between email list owners, publishers or advertisers to sponsor each other's mailings or newsletters for free. See ad swap.

  • Spoofing: The practice of changing the sender's name in an email message so that it looks as if it came from another address.

  • Subject line: Copy that identifies what an email message is about, often designed to entice the recipient into opening the message. The subject line appears first in the recipient's inbox, often next to the sender's name or email address. It is repeated in the email message's header information inside the message.

  • Subscribe: The process of joining a mailing list, either through an email command, by filling out a Web form, or offline by filling out a form or requesting to be added verbally. (If you accept verbal subscriptions, you should safeguard yourself by recording it and storing recordings along with time and date, in a retrievable format.)

  • Subscriber: The person who has specifically requested to join a mailing list. A list has both subscribers, who receive the message from the sender, and pass-along.

  • Suppression file: (aka Do-Not-Email list) A list of email addresses you have removed from your regular mailing lists, either because they have opted out of your lists or because they have notified other mailers that they do not want to receive mailings from your company. Required by CAN-SPAM.


  • Test: A necessary step before sending an email campaign or newsletter. Many email clients permit you to send a test email before sending a regular email newsletter or solo mailing, in which you would send one copy of the message to an in-house email address and then review it for formatting or copy errors or improperly formatted links. Email marketers should also send a test campaign to a list of email addresses not in the deployment database to determine likely response rates and how well different elements in the message perform.

  • Text newsletter: Plain newsletter with words only, no colors, graphics, fonts or pictures; can be received by anyone who has email.

  • Thank-you page: Web page that appears after user has submitted an order or a form online. May be a receipt.

  • Throttling: The practice of regulating how many email message a broadcaster sends to one ISP or mail server at a time. Some ISPs bounce email if it receives too many messages from one sending address at a time.

  • Transactional email: also known as transactive email or “triggered” emails because they include any email that is triggered by a user's interaction with a web app (think of a purchase receipt).


  • Unique Reference Number: A unique number assigned to a list member, usually by the email-broadcast software, and used to track member behavior (clicks, subscribes, unsubscribe) or to identify the member to track email delivery.

  • Uniform Resource Locator (URL): The Web address for a page, always beginning with http:// (or https:// for a secure page) and followed by www. (or variations, although some URLs are set up not to include this information) and the domain name.

  • Unsolicited Commercial Email (UCE): see spam or junk mail.

  • Unsubscribe: To remove oneself from an email list, either via an emailed command to the list server or by filling in a Web form.


  • Vendor: Any company that provides a service. See email vendors.

  • Verification: A program that determines an email came from the sender listed in the return path or Internet headers; designed to stop email from forged senders.

  • Video e-mail: An email message that includes a video file, either inserted into the message body, accessible through a hotlink to a Web site or accompanying it in an attachment (least desirable because many ISPs block executable attachments to avoid viruses).

  • Virus: A program or computer code that affects or interferes with a computer’s operating system and gets spread to other computers accidentally or on purpose through email messages, downloads, infected attachments or network messages. See also worm.


  • Web bug (also Web beacon): A 1 pixel-by-1 pixel image tag added to an HTML message and used to track open rates by email address. Opening the message, either in the preview pane or by clicking on it, activates the bug and sends a signal to the Web site, where special software tracks and records the signal as an open.

  • Webmail (also Web mail): Any of several Web-based email clients where clients have to go to a Web site to access or download email instead of using a desktop application. Some examples are Gmail, Yahoo! Mail and Hotmail.

  • Welcome message: Message sent automatically to new list members as soon as their email addresses are added successfully.

  • Whitelist: Advance-authorized list of email addresses, held by an ISP, subscriber or other email service provider, which allows email messages to be delivered regardless of spam filters. See also enhanced white list.

  • Worm: A piece of malicious code delivered via an executable attachment in email or over a computer network and which spreads to other computers by automatically sending itself to every email address on a recipient’s contact list or address book. See virus.


#eCommerce #NewProductLaunch #RetailBusiness #MarketingStrategy #NewMarketEntry

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