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Following is a glossary of e-mail terms you that should know. This glossary is from Kim MacPherson's upcoming book "Permission-Based E-mail Marketing That Works!" (publication date is Spring, 2001). Watch Kim's Web site for free chapters and e-mail updates.

A glossary of  e-mail Terms You Should Know by: Kim MacPherson

            Like any other widely-reaching industry that involves a number of practitioners and players, there is a language to the Internet and all things tied to it, including e-mail.  There are industry-specific words and phrases to describe technical terms, measurement tools, design aspects, and more. 

To avoid getting too bogged down in all online-related terminology, for purposes of this chapter (and this book), we will focus only on the most highly-used and relevant words within the e-mail marketing industry.  Some, you'll find, have been used in other areas of marketing, such as direct mail and telemarketing, but are repeated here for those who may not know them or their place within the e-mail marketing world. As time goes on and you go through the process of launching and managing regular e-mail promotions, the following terms will no doubt become second nature...

Audience. The group of people that an e-mail promotion or campaign targets.  For example, an e-mail marketer promoting a jewelry site might select and target a list of people who have expressed an interest in buying diamonds online.  That list would contain the "audience."

Clickable text. This describes the links within an e-mail message that become "hyperlinks," meaning that they are executable when clicked on and will take people directly to a web site or page.  Many text only e-mail programs will convert plain text to clickable text when they see "http://" in the message body.

Compiled list. With regards to e-mail, this is a list of e-mail addresses that has been gathered by a means other than response.  Those e-mail addresses can be a part of a large database, and can typically be segmented by demographic information.  For example, a compiled list could consist of a list of people who have social security numbers beginning with the numbers 2423.  A compiled e-mail list may not be one to promote to because the e-mail addresses within it are collected by methods such as customer warranty cards, purchase transactions, surveys, etc. -- hence, the people have not "opted in" to receive promotions by e-mail.  They have simply submitted their e-mail addresses to register for something else altogether.

Conversion. This refers to the number or percentage of recipients that complete a promotion's ultimate goal.  It could include the number of leads garnered from a lead generation campaign or it could include the number of actual sales derived from a promotional sales campaign.  It is the final number and generally the most important measurement of a campaign's success.  A conversion percentage or rate can refer to the percentage of people that clicked on the promotion or the percentage of all of the people that received the initial promotion.

Cookie. With regards to e-mail, a cookie is a small file stored or embedded within an e-mail promotion's HTML.  It can track a recipient's "open" rate (i.e. how many people actually opened the e-mail), as well as whether or not he or she ended up forwarding the message.  Cookies are very useful when it comes to reporting and measuring a campaign's overall success.

CPM.  An abbreviation for "cost per thousand."  In e-mail marketing terms, it is one method for pricing e-mail lists.  For example, a "$200 CPM" price for a list means that it costs $200 for every thousand e-mail addresses purchased.  This also means twenty cents per single address, or $.20 per piece.

CTR (Click-through rate). This is still one of the key success measures of an e-mail campaign.  It's the number of times that a standard e-mail's "call to action" link has been clicked.   The goal is to garner a high CTR in order to drive as many people as possible to the promoting site.  For example, out of 10,000 e-mail promotions sent, 500 people clicked through.  The CTR would then be 5%.  Obviously, the higher the CTR, the higher the chances of increasing your number of converted prospects.

Database marketing . This refers to the discipline of enhancing a house e-mail list and promoting it using a variety of database-related tools.  For example, an e-mail marketer can use database marketing techniques to communicate with selected segments within his or her house list of customer e-mail addresses, such as those with certain incomes and prior purchase histories.  The goal is to find that combination of offers, messages, and other components to optimize those selected areas of the database and achieve maximum response rates.

Deployment.  As it refers to e-mail, this term refers to the actual "sending" of an e-mail message.

Direct response marketing. This is also simply known as direct marketing, a discipline designed to drive immediate sales, leads, or some other end goal by the advertiser.  A direct response ad can use television, radio, print, telemarketing, postal mail and, of course, e-mail, to achieve that result.

Domain Name. This term refers to a registered Web site name or address.

Download. The process of copying information or files from a server or other source.

Dynamic Content Marketing. This refers to the practice of sending out targeted messages to small customer segments within a house file based on a set of database criteria, or rules. For example, you may send out a message where people east of the Mississippi receive a promotion for products offered with free shipping and, due to higher costs,  people west of the Mississippi receive a promotions where they must pay for shipping. Dynamic content can segment a house file into hundreds of thousands of segments, all dynamically generated during the delivery of the e-mail campaign.

GIF. This is an abbreviation for Graphical Interchange Format, which is an electronic image file format.  Many of the graphics that you see on the Web and in e-mail promotions are GIF files.

Hard vs. Soft Bounces. These two terms reference the undeliverable e-mail addresses within a campaign.  A hard bounce represents an specifically-addressed e-mail that, for whatever reason, either never left the transmitting server or never made it to the destined server.  A soft bounce represents an e-mail that made it to the destined server but couldn't find the designated e-mail address that resides there.

HTML. This abbreviation stands for HyperText Markup Language. An HTML e-mail is one that is graphically rich with color and images and has become a standard tool for many e-mail marketers.  Like viewing a Web page within an e-mail program, graphics and other images are most often "served" from the advertiser's site.  HTML often pulls a higher response than plain text messages; however, it generally requires a longer download time, particularly for those recipients who have 56K or less modem access.

HTTP.  HyperText Transfer Protocol.

Hyperlink. A link to a Web page or site.

JPEG. This is an abbreviation for Joint Photographic Experts Group, which is a compressed graphic image format.  Many of the photographs and other graphical images that you see online are JPEG files.

Keycode. A unique code assigned to a promotion or a specific link within a promotion in order for a response to be tracked. 

Landing page (a.k.a. "Bounce" or "Jump," or "Splash" page). The landing page refers to the page on a Web site that goes along with an e-mail promotion.  For example, when an e-mail promotion is sent and recipients begin to click through on the links embedded therein, their browsers should open to the landing page of the advertiser's site.

Lead. A prospect that has not yet converted to become a paid customer or client.

Offer. Within an e-mail campaign, the offer refers to the incentive or enhancement device used to promote the advertiser's products or services.  For example, a business-to-business content site may offer a free newsletter in order to drive its target audience to the site.

Opt-In. When an e-mail list is opt-in, it means that subscribers to that list have stated that they want to receive promotional messages from designated sites and/or within selected categories.  In other words, they've given their permission on the front end, before ever having received a solicitation.  This permission enables e-mail marketers to promote to people who are actively, rather than passively, interested and also allows them to target based on selected categories of interest.

Opt-Out . This refers to when recipients have not given their permission to be promoted, as is the case with opt-in, yet they are still sent a promotion that contains a statement giving them the option to not receive such e-mails in the future.  In other words, opt-out promotions require a response from recipients if they do not wish to receive future messages.

Personalization.  This is when an e-mail promotion uses the recipient's name or address or other unique data in order to increase click-through and conversion rates.  The use of personalization within an e-mail can dramatically enhance response.

Pull.  This term refers to marketing media that "pulls" a target audience in, such as a Web site or television.

Push.  This term refers to marketing media, such as e-mail, that "pushes" messages to the target audience.

Relationship Marketing.  The direct marketing discipline whose goal is to build a relationship with customers over a period of time, based on a regular series of personalized and relevant communications.

ROI. Return-on-investment, often used as a measurement of a campaign's success.

Rollout.  With an e-mail campaign, a rollout is comprised of a combination of lists, messages, and offers that are sent at the same time and under the same conditions.

Segmentation. This is related to database marketing and dynamic content marketing.  It is the act of taking your house mailing list and separating it prior to e-mailing in order for recipients to get different messages and offers based on what they will most likely respond to.  A file can be segmented based on demographics, buying patterns, areas of interest, and more.

Spam.  Slang term used for unsolicited e-mail.

Targeting.  This refers to the practice of identifying an audience or group that contain most likely prospects for a particular set of products and/or services, and then developing the offer and messages for that audience.

URL (Universal Resource Locator). A Web site's address or location on the Internet i.e. what you type into your browser to pull up a desired site destination. For instance, to call up the E-mail Marketing 101 book site, you'd enter in your browser window.

Viral Marketing. This is the discipline whose goal is for recipients to forward the message on to other like-minded individuals.  The idea is that each successive "pass-along" of the e-mail creates an exponential growth in the number of recipients who receive it.  With a viral marketing campaign, a promotion will generally reward a customer for forwarding with an incentive of a prize or discount. 


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