Blogs Email Marketing 101: Top Terms Rookie Marketers Need to Know

Written by Paula Chiocchi on 2017-09-20


At OMI, we’re proud of the long-term relationships we’ve built over the years with experienced B2B and B2C marketers, who have leveraged our data and guidance to grow their businesses. But not all the executives who rely on us have a strong background in email marketing. We also work with many email marketing rookies, and this blog post has their interests in mind.


So for all the newbies out there, and perhaps as a refresher for experienced marketers as well, here are eight email terms you need to know:


  1. Email Service Provider (ESP): This is the software platform that enables marketers to send email to their prospects and subscribers. (Think Yahoo or Gmail.) It’s important to know the predominant email platform used by your subscribers so that you can create the optimal content for that platform, as some ESPs may have different rules for running video, file size limits and spam filtering. When considering an ESP for your own business to use, be sure to select one that enables you to build email subscriber lists, send emails automatically and access campaign analytics reports. CRM (Customer Relationship Management) platforms are ideal for businesses engaging in ongoing email campaigns, and some CRM systems are more robust than others. But keep in mind, many CRM systems are designed for use with current customers or subscribers only – they aren’t set up to accommodate acquisition email campaigns targeted at new prospects using acquired email data. This often becomes a technology hurdle for those businesses looking to add new customers. Some data providers, such as OMI, will help clients get past that hurdle by handling acquisition email campaigns for them.


  1. Deliverability: The rate at which your emails reach your intended target’s email box is known as deliverability. All your time and effort in creating a compelling email will be wasted if your message doesn’t reach your audience. I’ve written extensively about email deliverability – it can almost be a marketing discipline unto itself. Elements that can hurt email delivery include writing spammy subject lines, sending too many messages or making unsubscribing too difficult. In addition, too many images and links can also have a negative impact on deliverability.


  1. Hard bounce: A hard bounce occurs when an email is returned to the sender for a permanent reason, such as an invalid email address due to an incorrect domain name or unknown recipient. It’s important for marketers to remove these email addresses from their lists quickly, as having a high hard bounce rate can reduce delivery rates.


  1. Soft bounce: This is an email that fails to be delivered for temporary reasons, such as a recipient’s mailbox being full or the email file size is too big. Soft bounces can also occur as a result of using the wrong platform for acquisition campaigns. The good news is that soft bounces are not as problematic as hard bounces, and some ESPs may even re-try delivering such messages.


  1. Open rate: This is the rate that your emails are opened by your recipients. When it comes to acquisition campaigns, high open rates occur when the sender uses high quality, relevant content. Good open rates also mean that recipients recognize your company, may have previously subscribed or requested information from you, or that your subject line piqued their interest.


  1. Click-through rate (CTR): This measures those who click on your email links, and helps determine message performance, especially over time and compared to others you might send. CTRs provide direct insight into how many people in your target market are engaging with your content – and are interested in learning more about your company or offerings.


  1. Call-to-action (CTA): What are you asking your email recipients to do? Download a video or coupon? Subscribe to your newsletter? Like you on social media? Give you a call? Your desired response is your CTA, and it should be interesting, valuable and compelling enough to elicit a response. One primary CTA per email message is optimum – don’t overdo it!


  1. Conversion: Once a prospect has clicked on a link within your email (ideally your CTA), the next objective should be to convert them into an opportunity, which happens when they take you up on the desired action you are suggesting. For example, if your CTA was to have your targets download a whitepaper or register for a webinar, the number of those who actually download the whitepaper or register for the webinar are your conversions. In doing so, they typically provide their name and other contact info, and are “converted” into a lead for your sales team or additional nurturing.


The business language used by marketers continues to evolve and these terms are only the beginning. Which terms would you add to our list?



Outward Media’s accurate, targeted email data can help you achieve better email marketing ROI, and convert more prospects into customers. Ask us how. Also, take a look at our complimentary e-book on building a successful B2B email marketing database. 

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