14 August 2014
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Important terms Email Marketers should know

If you’re going to do email marketing, it’s important to be as well informed as possible about the industry. This includes familiarizing yourself with some of the terminology that relates to the topic. Depending on your approach, you may not be directly involved with every aspect of email and the technology surrounding it but it’s still good to know the terms.

The more knowledgeable you are, the easier it is to make changes, acquire helpful tools and to avoid mistakes. So let’s look at some of the basic and more arcane terms that have to do with email marketing. This is not meant to be a comprehensive glossary, but a summary of some of the more useful terms that you should know about.

  • Autoresponder

    A program that automatically replies to emails with pre-written messages. Used widely in email marketing to send out messages and promotions, and also by individuals who use these services in a way similar to a telephone answering machine. The term is also used to describe companies that provide this service, such as AWeber, GetResponse, and MailChimp.

  • Blacklist

    A list of email senders (identified by IP addresses, email addresses and etc) that are blocked from the email services because they are known to send spam.

  • Bounced Emails

    Messages that are returned to the sender. This can happen because an email address is not valid, because messages have been blocked by the receiver or because the mailbox is full.

  • Client

    The computer and program that requests information or a service from another program, called the server. Email is typically sent from numerous clients to one central server. Most internet clients use either POP or IMAP protocols.

  • Contact Form

    A form that is created for the purpose of acquiring prospects’ email addresses. Such a form can be placed on your website or on some social media pages, such as Facebook pages. You can customize what details to request on a form, such as first name only, full name, phone number and other info.

  • DKIM

    Stands for DomainKeys Identified Mail. This is security system developed by Yahoo! that verifies the identity of senders through a system of encrypted keys embedded in the messages. This is a method for ensuring than an email message is actually from where it claims to be from, as opposed to a malicious message from a hacker or other type of scammer.

  • Email Forwarding

    A service that allows you to forward email from one address to another. This allows you to connect different email addresses without having to look up each one separately to check your email.

  • Email Throttling

    A practice used by some ISPs to limit the amount of email accepted by a specific sender over a certain time period. When this is occurring, the sender will get a message telling them that the user’s mailbox is full or something similar and to send the message at a later time.

  • Feedback Loops

    A process used by ISPs to forward email messages reported as spam.

  • Header

    The information that documents the path taken by an email message to reach its destination. These information is typically hidden by default in email clients. You can anyway click to view them.

  • Inbox

    The folder where email is held until it is read by the receiver.

  • IP Address

    The online address associated with any device connected to the internet. There are static IP addresses that do not change as well as dynamic ones that change each time an email message is sent.

  • IMAP

    Stands for Internet Message Access Protocol. After POP, IMAP is the most commonly used protocol for sending and receiving email messages.

  • POP Server

    Stands for Post Office Protocol – The computer that stores email messages before you open them with your email program. You can think of it like a virtual post office box, which stores your physical mail until you pick it up. Some email systems use an IMAP protocol rather than POP.

  • Sender ID Framework

    A system of email authentication developed by Microsoft that verifies the identity of senders to prevent spam messages from getting through.

  • SMTP

    This stands for Simple Mail Transfer Protocol. This is the protocol used by most email systems to send email. It works by sending the message from the mail client to the mail server.

  • Spam Filter

    A type of software that identifies suspected spam messages and prevents them from entering the recipient’s inbox. These messages are typically diverted to a spam folder.

  • Spam Folder

    Also known as a Bulk Mail Folder. This is the folder where junk or spam email, as identified by the spam filter, is sent.

  • Spoofing

    The use of a fake email address to trick recipients into opening an email. Spoofed emails often pretend to be from large companies such as banks, software companies or large online retailers e.g. Microsoft, Amazon, Google, etc.

  • Webmail

    A type of program that allows you to manage your email account from any device that’s connected to the internet, through a web browser. This is useful for checking or sending email when you don’t have your computer or other usual device with you.

  • Whitelist

    A list of email addresses deemed safe and trustworthy by the receiver. This allows messages from such senders to bypass the spam filter.

Email marketing terminology

The above are some of the more important terms associated with email and email marketing. You can find more detailed information on many of these terms from your web host or email provider. It’s good to stay as up to date as possible with the type of terminology and jargon pertaining to email marketing. This helps you better understand how to use the tactics, programs and tools that are available.

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