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Auto-Reply When an email recipient is "Out of the Office" or "Away on Vacation" they often set up an automated reply message alerting the sender to this fact. Some auto-replies are setup at the server level while others take place in the person's email client
B2B (business-to-business) companies that primarily sell products or provide services to other businesses
B2C (business-to-consumer) companies are those firms that sell products or provide services primarily to end-user consumers
The amount of information that can be transmitted over a network such as the Internet in a specific amount of time
Blacklists are created lists of IP addresses belonging to organizations that have been identified as senders of SPAM or unsolicited commercial email. Blacklists are often used by ISPs and corporations as part of the filtering process that determines which IP addresses they prohibit from sending mail to their members/users
Call To Action
Word usage that encourages a reader to take action. For example, "Click here to register for free seminar." or "Quickly signup for our free trial!" Marketers have found that explicit calls to action yield positive results.
An email marketing message or a series of emails designed to accomplish an overall goal. A marketer may have a campaign to drive more traffic to their website or to increase the awareness of a new product line.
CAN-SPAM Act of 2003
The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act) is a US federal law that establishes requirements for those who send commercial email. It establishes penalties for spammers and companies whose products are advertised in spam if they violate the law, and gives consumers the right to ask emailers to stop spamming them.
A Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart is used to determine whether or not the user is a real person or a computer. People are asked to type in a series of distorted images to prove that they are not a machine, since an automated computer program cannot decipher the letters within an image.
Challenge Response
An automated message triggered by the receipt of an email for the purpose of identifying the sender as a trusted & real source. The challenge is a message to the sender of the email with instructions for how to validate themselves (often this involves a CAPTCHA test). If the sender provides a valid correct response, their email address is added to the recipient's list of trusted senders and their message is passed along to the recipient.
Click Through Rate (CTR)
An indicator of response to a specific email message, as measured by the percentage of recipients that click on a link included in the email. To determine the click-through rate, divide the number of responses/clicks by the number of emails sent (multiply this number by 100 to express the result as a percentage). Marketers will often benchmark their current click through rate with past click through rates to determine whether campaigns are
The text/copy, graphics and images that comprise your email, website or marketing materials. Most marketers will spend a lot of time perfecting their content to ensure they can get the best possible results.
Conversion Rate
The number or percentage of recipients who respond to your desired action in a given email marketing campaign. This is the measure of your email campaign's overall success. You may measure conversion in sales, phone calls, appointments, traffic, etc.
Cost Per Thousand (CPM)
In marketing, CPM commonly refers to the cost per 1,000 (one thousand) names on a given list or impressions served. For example, if you buy a list priced at $10 CPM, you would be paying $0.01 per email address.
A database is a collection of information stored in a computer in a systematic way so that a computer program can easily and quickly lookup information. For email marketing purposes, a database is the software that stores your mailing list. Your database may be in the following forms: MS Excel, Access, ACT!, Filemaker, GoldMine, Outlook, Outlook Express, Oracle, Salesforce or many other programs.
Dedupe or de-duplication refers to a data cleaning technique where duplicate data is removed from a set. For example, if you have a database with the same email address multiple times and you dedupe that data, the results will only have the address once.
Domain Keys
An anti-spam software application that uses a combination of public and private keys to authenticate the sender's domain and reduce the chance that a spammer or hacker will fake the domain sending address. This technology helps fight phishing.
Double Opt In
"Double opt-in", also known as "closed-loop", provides an additional layer of security by requiring that email accounts be both subscribed and then verified by a confirmation email before they are added to the list. As a result, only those people with access to the account can respond to the confirmation message, which greatly reduces the chance of abuse. For this reason, double opt-in is regarded as the industry standard for email marketing.
Email Blocking
Email blocking typically refers to blocking by ISPs or mail providers. Emails that are blocked are not processed through the ISP and are essentially prevented from reaching their actual recipient. ISPs actively block email coming from suspected spammers.
Email Client
An application used to send, receive, store and view email. Popular email clients include Outlook, Mac Mail, Yahoo! Mail, Thunderbird, Hotmail, Gmail, etc.
Email Newsletter
An email newsletter is a message that is sent out to subscribers typically on a regular interval. Email newsletters may be sent daily, weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, or even annually. The content of email newsletters varies with each edition. Some email newsletters are so popular that they can sell advertising space.
Email Service Provider
Email Service Providers (ESPs) are companies like that offer a service enabling a user to send permission-based email marketing campaigns to their subscribers. They are usually software-as-a-service providers (saas) who offer their services in an online fashion, although there are desktop software solutions as well.
An ezine is an electronic magazine emailed to a list of subscribers. In many cases, advertisers pay to have their ad (text or HTML) inserted into the body of the email. Buying ad space in an ezine, or sponsoring a specific article or segment allows an advertiser to reach a targeted audience.
False Positive
Legitimate permission-based email that is erroneously and incorrectly blocked due to the limitations of current email blocking and filtering techniques. False positives are an industry wide problem. works closely with ISPs to prevent false positives.
A specific size and style of type within a type family. The font of this text is Verdana. While there are lots of available today, only certain fonts are considered web-friendly.
From/Sender Address
The "from address " or "sender address " is part of the email header that shows the recipient the email address that sent the email. All email clients show the from/sender address when a message lands in your inbox. In most cases, clicking 'reply' will send the message to the from/sender address.
From/Sender Name
The "from name" or "sender name" is part of the email header that shows the recipient who (the person or company) sent the email. All email clients show the from/sender name when a message lands in your inbox.
Hard Bounce
An email address that is rejected for a permanent reason that cannot be corrected, such as: "the address does not exist". When an email address produces a hard bounce it should generally be taken off your mailing list.
The illegal and heavily frowned upon process of obtaining lists of email addresses to send bulk emails or spam. Harvesting can include purchasing lists and/or spam ‘bots’ scanning web pages for email addresses.
The header in an email is the part of the email that is not transparent to the recipient unless they have their "View Headers" option turned on. This tells the recipient what servers the email is coming from and what programs are being used to generate this email. Headers contain detailed information on the email itself and the route it's taken across the Internet. Recipients can normally see the "to" (identity of recipient), "from" (identity of sender) and "subject" headers in their inbox.
HTML Email
An email that is formatted using Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) instead of plain text. HTML makes it possible to include unique fonts, images and background colors. HTML typically makes an email more dynamic and when well executed can generate higher response rates than traditional plain text.
IP Address
The Internet Protocol (IP) address is a computer's address. The IP address refers to the numerical component of an internet address or domain name. An IP address looks something like: 123.456.789.012. All websites you may visit have an IP address, just like any email you send originates from a computer with an IP address.
Internet Service Provider (ISP) is a company that provides access to the Internet. AOL, Yahoo!, MSN, Comcast, Bell, Rogers, and various local phone & communication companies are common ISPs.
Landing Page
A page on a website that is linked to an email for the purpose of providing additional information directly related to products/ services promoted in the email. Many marketers use specialized landing pages when they use email or search engine advertising.
Text links or images that when clicked or pasted into a browser send the person to another online location, such as a web page, PDF file, etc. To be most effective in encouraging clicks, links should be visible and clear
Load Time
The length of time it takes for a page or email to open completely in the browser window. The goal is to have the fastest load time possible. Large images increase the overall load time.
Mailing List
A groups of email addresses designated for receiving specific email messages. A quality mailing list should all be double opt-in.
Multi-Part MIME Email
Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (MIME) is an Internet standard for the format of email. Almost all email is transmitted in MIME format. This means that two versions of the email are sent, one graphical/HTML and one just text. The appropriate version is then displayed to the recipient based on the recipient's email client preferences.
Open Rate
The number of HTML email recipients who opened your email, generally measured as a percentage of the total number of emails sent (measurements do vary). The open rate is considered a useful metric for evaluating response to an email campaign but it should be noted that open rates can be deceiving because if a recipient does not download images, an 'open' is usually not recorded.
Open Relay
An open relay is an email server configured (poorly!) so that anyone on the internet can send email. In the past this was an acceptable method for sending email, but now spammers use open relay to re-route their email through a third party to avoid detection. The CAN SPAM Act of 2003 made it illegal to send spam through an open relay. Most ISPs will not accept email from known open relays.
Opt-In Subscriber
An opt-in subscriber is someone who expressly requests to receive emails from a person or company, thereby giving them permission to send them their email campaigns. In most cases an opt-in subscriber can edit their preferences to control the emails they receive.
Opt-Out List
An opt-out list or "Do Not Mail" list is a set of email addresses representing people who you cannot (and should not!) email. The opt-out list is typically comprised of people who have previously unsubscribed from your mailing list.
Opt-Out Subscriber
A person who chooses to opt-out or unsubscribe from your mailing list is expressly communicating that they do not want to receive future email messages from you. In, these people are added to your "Do Not Mail" list so that you do not accidentally make a mistake and send someone who previously opted-out another email.
Permission Based Emaild
Permission based email is email sent to recipients who have opted-in or subscribed to receive email messages from a specific company, website or individual. Permission from your subscribers is a mandatory requirement for legitimate and successful email marketing.
The common practice of writing an email to make the recipient feel that it is more personal and was sent with him/her in mind (as opposed to a mass email). This often includes using the recipient's name in the salutation or subject line, referring to previous purchases or past messages, or offering suggestions based on previous buying patterns.


Phishing (which is pronounced "fishing") refers to email scams whose purpose is identity theft. Identity thieves send fraudulent email messages with return addresses, links, and branding that appear to come from banks, credit card companies and some of the Web's most well known websites including PayPal®, eBay®, MSN®, and AOL®. These messages are designed to "phish" for personal and financial information (e.g. passwords, usernames, social security numbers, credit card numbers, etc.) from the recipient. For more info visit:

Preview Pane

Email programs such as Microsoft Outlook and Mac Mail allow users to view email content through a preview pane whereas other programs require the user to fully open the email. The preview pane is important to keep in mind when composing the opening lines of an email.

Privacy Policy

A concise description of a website or company's policy on the use of information collected from and about website visitors and what they do (and do not do) with the data. A privacy policy builds trust especially among those who opt-in to receive email from you or those who submit data on your website. If subscribers and customers know their information is safe with you, they will be more inclined to share information with you, which makes your relationship that much more valuable.
Rental List
A list of prospects or a targeted cluster of recipients who have opted-in to receive information about specific subjects. Using permission-based rental lists, marketers can send email campaigns to audiences targeted by interest category, profession, demographics, location and more. Renting a list usually costs between $.10 and $.40 per name, although prices to vary. It is important your rental list is a certified permission-based, opt-in list. Permission-based lists are rented, not sold. Be very careful you don't get scammed!
Dividing or segmenting your mailing list based on interest groups, purchasing behavior, demographics, location and more for the purpose of targeting specific email campaigns to the audience most likely to respond to your messaging or offer. Quality mailing list segmentation and targeting often results in higher open rates and click-through rates.
A signature is the tagline or short block of text at the end of an email message. It generally identifies the sender and provides additional information such as company name, contact info, website, etc. Usually the information you would find on someone's business card appears in their signature.
Single Opt-In
Single opt-in is when a person joins your mailing list by visiting your website. Instead of requiring them to click a confirmation link in an email you send them (which would be a double opt-in process), you simply add them to your list. Even when using a single opt-in system it is a best practice to send an email out right away notifying the person what they have subscribed to.
Soft Bounce
An email address that is rejected for what is most likely a temporary reason, such as a mailbox that is too full. Soft bounces can often be resolved and many marketers choose to leave addresses that return soft bounces on their mailing list.
SPAM or Unsolicited Commercial Email (UCE) is an unsolicited email, usually of a commercial nature. Sending email to people who have not requested to receive messages from you will likely result in SPAM complaints. works closely with many organizations to help fight the battle against spam, while ensuring legitimate emails land in the inbox.
Spam Trap
When you launch your internet browser (ie. Internet Explorer or FireFox) or while viewing your email in your email reader, the bottom of the window is commonly referred to as the "fold". The viewable areas before one has to start scrolling are "above the fold".
SPF Record
When you launch your internet browser (ie. Internet Explorer or FireFox) or while viewing your email in your email reader, the bottom of the window is commonly referred to as the "fold". The viewable areas before one has to start scrolling are "above the fold".
The falsification of an email header so that the email appears to have be sent from someone or somewhere other than the actual source. Illegitimate marketersa use spoofing to disguise their identity in an attempt to commit fraud and avoid getting in trouble for sending spam or UCE. There are several email authentication practices currently in use to prevent spoofing, but it does still happen to many of the most popular brands on the internet.
Subject Line
The subject line is the part of the email that indicates what the message is about. Your subject line should be short and to the point (30 - 50 characters including spaces, or 5-9 words), and it should accurately reflects the contents of the email. Using misleading subject lines is a very bad email practice.
Choosing a selective audience or group of individuals likely to be interested in a certain product or service. Targeting is very important for an email marketer because targeted and relevant email campaigns generally return a higher open rate and result in fewer unsubscribes.
Unique Selling Proposition
Your USP or unique selling proposition is the unique attribute(s) of your business that makes your company or offering the ideal solution to a problem, the best way to fulfill a need/want or the best way to achieve a goal. Your unique selling proposition answers the recipient's question: "Why should I do business with you instead of your competitor?" Before launching an email marketing campaign you should determine your unique selling proposition.
When the user of an email address unsubscribes, this indicates that he or she no longer wishes to receive emails from your you or your organization. People can unsubscribe in a variety of ways including clicking the "Unsubscribe" link at the bottom of each email sent through, or by replying to the sender with the word "Unsubscribe" in the subject line or message body. This process is also known as opting-out. Including an unsubscribe method is part of the CAN-SPAM Act.
A Uniform Resource Locator (URL) is the technical term for a web address, such as
Viral Marketing
Elements and functions included in a communication that encourages and allows recipients to pass the offer along to other people, and as such further leveraging the marketing effort. Examples of this are a "Forward To Friend" link or an "Add This To Your MySpace Profile" link.
Web Friendly Fonts
Almost all web browsers and email clients are capable of displaying four primary fonts properly: Verdana, Times, Arial, and Helvetica, including their variants (Arial Narrow, Times New Roman, etc.) If a web developer or email marketer decides to use a different font he or she risks compatibility problems and the potential that their pages/emails may render inaccurately when viewed by these people.
Whitelists are lists of commercial emailers (including ESPs like who have been approved to send mail through the ISP. The ISP requires a list of IP addresses that email will be sent from, and in some cases a test period where the commercial emailer will be approved or rejected. Many email clients allow a person to add a sender to a 'trusted list', which is similiar to a whitelist at the user level.
Select A Word
The Elite University Glossary is filled with all of the most common email marketing lingo so that you can learn and use all the proper terminology as you become an email marketing expert.
Please select a word from the list below.

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