Article first published November 2016, updated November 2019
Delving deeper into any new aspect of the marketing world can be as intimidating as trying to navigate a foreign language-learning atmosphere. The more involved you are in the industry, it seems the thicker other marketing professionals lay on the jargon.
To give you a quick boost of email marketing fluency, here are the top 10 email marketing terms everyone should know. After reading this post, you’ll be shooting the breeze with the most literate of the email marketers out there.
1. Email Service Provider (ESP)
ESP is an acronym that stands for email service provider. An email service provider is a software service that helps email marketers send out email marketing campaigns to their subscribers.
An ESP should host email marketing services for an unlimited number of clients and businesses around the world. The best email service providers should include the ability to:
- create and build email subscriber lists
- customize email templates
- send emails manually or automatically
- provide reporting and detailed analytics on campaigns
- allow for testing
- include options for personalization and dynamic content
- help with list segmentation and more!
Now, next time someone refers to “ESP” in your marketing meeting, you won’t be looking around the room wondering if someone can read your mind.
2. Marketing automation
Marketing automation can have several nuances in the marketing world. 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’ve pre-defined.
For example, Sephora uses marketing automation to send special offers to customers who reach VIP status once they’ve spent $200.
Other triggers can include things like when a subscriber opts in to a specific list, an anniversary date, when a subscriber makes a purchase, when a subscriber spends a certain amount of money, and more.
Marketing automation is increasing in popularity because it gives email marketers the chance to reach more customers in a more efficient and personal manner.
3. Dynamic content
Dynamic content is content that can be displayed and triggered based on subscriber’s data.
For example, email marketers can use gender to determine which type of content to display. A popular clothing retailer can segment data to display their men’s spring collection to male subscribers and their women’s spring collection to female subscribers.
Experts suggest that, in this world of high-tech software and data, it’s not enough to just display content. Now you can use dynamic content that personalizes the marketing experience to help drive more sales.
4. Multivariate testing
Multivariate testing is 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.
It’s important not to confuse multivariate testing with A/B testing. A/B testing is a tactic for testing only one variable, while multivariate testing involves several variables.
To paint a clearer picture, a multivariate test might involve one test email with a clean and bold hero image and only one CTA. The other test email may be a more complex design with two CTAs and no hero image. As you can see, there are several variables on the table here. The tester would use these two samples to determine which is more effective at driving click-through rate.
5. Transactional email
A transactional email is an automated email that’s triggered by a purchase. Transactional emails are significant to the email marketer because they’re actually opened 8 times more than the traditional marketing messages.
With a good ESP, you should be able to easily edit, create, and optimize all your transactional emails. This can include an automatic thank you email after a purchase, a follow-up discount code after a purchase, purchase receipts, and even cart abandonment emails.
6. Click-through rate
Click-through rate (CTR) is a metric that measures how many people clicked on an image, hyperlink, or CTA in an email.
Measuring the CTR is a great way to determine how effective a particular email is. Of course, click-through rates can vary, but an indication that an email is performing well would be a click-through rate of between the range of 20-30%. If your click-through rates are falling below this range, it’s a good indication that you may need to switch things up a bit and even conduct some tests to determine what would be more enticing to your subscribers.
Remember, an ESP should provide reporting so you can monitor your click-through rates of each of your campaigns.
Marketing these days is all about personalization, and email marketing is no exception. Email personalization is where you customize the content based on the subscriber’s data. This could include name, interests, desires, birthdays, and more.
Personalization is a vital part of email marketing because, when emails are personalized, it’s proven to increase open rates and drive revenue by as much as 760%.
It’s also worth noting that, when a subject line includes the subscriber’s first name, it can increase open rates by 20%.
8. Email deliverability
Email deliverability is simply the ability to deliver an email to a subscriber’s inbox.
What’s really important with email deliverability, however, is to find a reliable ESP with a good reputation and high deliverability rates. Email marketers will use email deliverability to gauge the likelihood of their emails reaching the subscribers inboxes, as opposed to running into issues like throttling, bounces, spam problems, bulking, ISPs, and more.
Things that can hurt email deliverability include:
- Sending from a free domain (Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc.) rather than a business name
- Using single opt-ins as opposed to double opt-ins
- Making unsubscribing difficult so people mark you as spam rather than unsubscribing
- Not testing email load times
- Not being mobile responsive
Therefore, it’s important that your ESP makes avoiding these pitfalls easy.
9. Hard bounce
A hard bounce is when an email is returned to a sender for permanent reasons. This includes things like delivering to an invalid email address for one of the following reasons:
- Incorrect domain name
- Sending to an email address that isn’t real
- Recipient is unknown
It’s important to monitor hard bounces and to get rid of invalid email addresses as soon as possible, because having a high volume of hard bounces can affect your deliverability rates. This can also set off spam filters and email providers could potentially put a red flag on your address.
When looking for an ESP, opt for a provider that automatically removes hard bounces from your subscriber lists for you. That way, you won’t have to worry about being penalized.
10. Soft bounce
A soft bounce, on the other hand, is an email that failed to deliver because of temporary reasons. These soft bounces will occur when a file is too big or a recipient’s inbox is full.
These soft bounces aren’t nearly as problematic as hard bounces. And, usually, an ESP will try and deliver these soft bounces again.
If you do notice that the emails are continuing to bounce over the course of the next few days, contact your ESP for further details.
5 email marketing best practices
Now that you’ve got the terminology down, it’s time to start thinking about email marketing best practices. Crafting the perfect message doesn’t mean anything if you aren’t following the best practices to get your messages seen, opened, and engaged with. So keep these email marketing best practices in mind when working on your strategy.
1. Get personal with your readers.
Moving into 2020, email personalization is becoming more relevant than ever. Customers are expecting a hyper-personalization from brands, meaning that they want only the most relevant content sent to their inboxes.
Remember, personalization is no longer merely slapping a customer’s name in the email subject line. Now your team should be creating and sending not only personalized content, but suggestions and promotional content/deals as well.
Source: Really Good Emails
2. Don’t neglect segmentation.
To create that hyper-personalized content, you need to know who your audience is and segment them properly. Email segmentation allows you to create different emailing lists to help you send only the most relevant content to each of your subscribers.
3. Dynamic content is your friend.
Dynamic content is content centered around your users and their preferences. This, again, is key to sending that highly personalized content to each of your email subscribers. Depending on how you’ve segmented your lists, the content in your campaigns can be customized to user preferences, such as gender.
Source: Campaign Monitor
4. Never forget to incorporate a CTA.
Having the best content really means nothing if you aren’t encouraging your readers to take action and engage with your email. To do this, you must have a clear CTA somewhere within your content that leads them directly to a landing page. This page can be a blog post or it can be a page for a product purchase or download. Whatever it is you want your users to do, you have to encourage it with an actionable CTA.
5. Testing before sending is a must.
Finally, you want to make sure you’re always testing your messages before you hit send. A/B split testing is the only way to ensure that you’re sending the most relevant content to your readers before wasting precious time and resources on a campaign that fails.
A/B testing allows you to compare two versions of a message and send each version to sample groups. Whichever one performs better (a.k.a. gets more opens and click-throughs) is the one that gets sent out to the rest of your emailing list.
How to use this information for your 2020 marketing
Optimizing your email marketing strategy is vital for 2020. While traditional marketing is still relevant to a point, everything has gone digital. In fact, not only has everything moved to digital, it’s gone mobile—meaning your marketing team needs to optimize for mobile devices moving forward.
One of the best ways to do this is by creating a responsive email design. These designs are built to be viewed on different sized screens and will adjust automatically according to the user. Here at Campaign Monitor, we offer a variety of free responsive email templates that can be customized to fit your brand.
Source: Campaign Monitor
If you want to continue your studies in marketing terminology, please reference this detailed glossary of email marketing terms at your convenience.
Once you’ve gotten the terminology down, make sure you keep in mind these email marketing best practices:
- Create dynamic content
- Include an actionable CTA
- A/B test before sending
Ready to take your email marketing to the next level? See what Campaign Monitor can do for you by scheduling your live demo today!