A Guide To Email Terminology - Attribute Design
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A Guide To Email Terminology

Dump the technospeak.
Nobody understands it.

We all fall into the trap within our industry. Words that appear time and time again, become second nature to us. To those on the outside, the terminology can be a minefield. Here’s a guide to some of the most common terms from the world of email marketing. Enjoy!

Above the fold – The top section of an email. The part visible to the recipient without the need for scrolling.

B2B – Business to business communication.

B2C – Business to consumer communication.

Blacklist – A list containing email or IP addresses of suspected scammers. Blacklists are capable of blocking incoming communications at server level. This means they never reach the recipient.

Block – An action taken to prevent the communication being passed to intended recipients.

Bounce – Emails that fail to reach the intended destination.

Click tracking – A method of measuring the response to specific links in a broadcast.

Deliverability – Referring to best practices and authentication techniques. Used to ensure broadcasts reach the intended destination and avoid spam lists.

Domain throttling – A technique which allows you to limit the amount of emails sent within an allocated timeframe. Used to avoid spam traps and ISPs.

Double opt-in – The recommended procedure for subscribing consumers to a mailing list. Involves sending an email to subscribers, asking for confirmation of their subscription.

Email client – The software used to display the HTML email.

Hard bounces – Emails that are undelivered due to permanent error. Hard bounces include incorrect or non-existent mailboxes.

HTML – HyperText Markup Language. The most common form of coding for web based application.

IP address – Internet Protocol address is a unique identifier relating to a specific machine accessing the internet.

ISP – Internet Service Provider. The company providing access to the internet.

List broker – A company that sells or rents email lists not owned by themselves.

List owner – The owner of an email list for marketing. Responsible for opt-ins and other administrative matters.

Opt-in – A technique used to subscribe contacts to your email list.

Opt-out – A technique allowing contacts to remove themselves from your contact lists.

Above the fold – The top section of an email. The part visible to the recipient without the need for scrolling.

Personalisation – The ability to add information specific to the end user. This could include name, location, address or any other information in your database.

Plain text – An email delivered with no formatting elements (text only).

Server – A program that acts as a central information source.

Soft bounces – Email messages that are undelivered due to temporary restrictions. An example of a soft bounce would be a full mailbox.

Spam – Unwanted, unsolicited junk email sent to a high number of recipients.

Subject line – The display line of an email. This appears in most cases before the email is opened. Subject line can also affect whether your email is considered spam.

Tracking – The process of registering information regarding an email campaign. Could be actions such as opens or clicks.

URL – Unique Resource Locator. The address of a file or web page on the internet.

User interface – A set of controls and links providing access to information.

Whitelist – A list of pre-authorised email addresses that a user will receive messages from despite any spam filters.

If you have any other terminology you’d like the definition of, feel free to drop us an email and we will do our best to help out.

Author avatar
Craig Lewis
I set up Attribute Design in 2018 after building a sizeable following in the publishing and data marketing industries. Having graduated Brunel University in 2013, I like to think my Product Design BSc gives me a broad overview of projects, allowing me to bring new, outside the box, ideas to the table.