The good news: there’s always something new to learn in marketing! The bad news: there is always something new to learn in marketing. If you’re like most small business owners, you often feel bogged down with all the new vocabulary and trends you need to learn.

This exasperation is what motivated us to accumulate all of the email buzzwords and concepts you need to know, and eliminate all the ones that don’t apply to most of you. Bookmark, share, or print out this post — it will come in handy!


A/B Testing – Sending the same email with different headlines or images to gauge which has better results.

Acceptance Rate – How many of your emails will be accepted by the server.

Autoresponder – An automatic email such as a welcome email or survey. Autoresponders are triggered by an action, like subscribing or unsubscribing.


B2B – Business to business, which generally refers to marketing to other companies.

B2C – Business to customer, or consumer. Like B2B, only directed at individuals.

Blacklist – When an email is labeled as spam or other unwanted mail. Being blacklisted is a bad thing for financial advisors trying to kickstart their email marketing.

Bounce – A message that doesn’t get delivered properly, including having an incorrect email address or being labeled as spam. Marketers closely monitor their bounce rate to analyze email results.

Bounce Rate – How often your emails bounce, based on a percentage of emails sent.


Call to Action – The button or link in an email that motivates the reader to take action.

Click Through – When a recipient clicks on the email and follows it out to the sender’s website or landing page.

Click Through Rate (CTR) –  The total number of click throughs divided by the emails sent. This is a good metric to monitor.

Conversion – When a recipient follow through with the desired action, such as signing up for a product or buying a product.

CRM – Client Relationship Management systems, or softwares that let users segment their lists and automate email.


Delivery Tracking – Measuring delivery rates and failures, including bounces and other errors.

Dynamic Content – Content that changes based on the recipient, which can be determined by marketing campaigns and list segmentation.


Email Domain – The server that hosts an email address, like Gmail, AOL, or GoDaddy.

Email Filter – Software that categorizes, sorts, and blocks mail.

Email Newsletter – An email that goes out to a list on a regular basis with updates and (ideally) videos.

Event Triggered Email – Pre-programmed messages sent out on automatic dates like holidays and birthdays.


Firewall – A program to keep unauthorized messages from accessing an inbox.


Goodbye Message – A message sent to someone who has unsubscribed and no longer wants to receive mail.


Hard Bounce – Messages sent to an invalid, closed, or nonexistent email address.

HTML – A type of code, and an HTML email includes things other than text, like videos and images.


Impression – A single view of a page by a user.

IP Address – A unique number assigned to each device to identify the user and network.

ISP – Internet Service Provider, like Gmail, MSN, and others.


Landing Page – A dedicated page for a campaign or general traffic that has basic information available with a single click. Email marketers usually direct traffic to a single landing page when they have a specific promotion or offer.

List – The list of email addresses receiving your emails. Lists can be generated organically or bought from other organizations.


Open Rate – The number of recipients that opened an email as a percentage of the emails sent. This is a great metric to analyze an email’s success, but doesn’t show everything.

Opt-In – A specific request by a user to get on your email list and receive updates.

Opt-Out – When a user takes an action to be removed from your mailing list.


Phishing – A form of cyber-theft where scammers use email addresses to lure out personal information, such as credit cards and social security numbers.

Plain Text – The text in an email that is not coded with HTML.


Segment – Slicing a list into specific categories in order to send appropriate emails to different people.

Signature – The end of an email, that provides some information about the center (usually their contact information).

Soft Bounce – An email sent to a good email address but was turned away, including being sent to a full inbox or a user didn’t open the email. The difference between soft bounces and hard bounces are that soft bounces are sent to accurate email addresses.

Spam – Unsolicited commercial email, which then goes into a Spam folder.


Test – A necessary step before sending an email out to clients or customers which involves sending the message to yourself or your own organization.


Welcome Email – An email welcoming subscribers to your email updates or product demo.

Whitelist – The opposite of a blacklist. Whitelists include emails and address that are always delivered regardless of spam filters.

Hopefully this guide got you started on some of the terms that had your head spinning. While this list is nowhere close to exhaustive, it includes the terms that are most applicable to service professionals and their business.