header image of the blog title "20 Email Marketing Terms To Improve Your Business Strategies" at the bottom with a blue background designed with email icons that have connecting lines and scale up marketing logo
header image of the blog title "20 Email Marketing Terms To Improve Your Business Strategies" at the bottom with a blue background designed with email icons that have connecting lines and scale up marketing logo

20 Email Marketing Terms Every Business Owner Should Know

October 2, 2017 Email Marketing, Email Marketing Terms, Marketing, Marketing Automation, Marketing Automation Platforms, Marketing Tips, Online Marketing 0 Comments

In every email marketing strategy, email deliverability is an important and ever-changing component that most marketers use to reach out to their clients. According to the recent Global Email Deliverability Benchmark Report, inbox rates have risen to about 76.5% on a global scale. This means that roughly 77% of sent emails have managed to reach their recipient’s inboxes. On the other hand, blocked and spam-flagged emails have increased at an alarming rate of 35%.

With these numbers occurring all across the board, it pays to always keep ourselves updated and knowledgeable about the many email marketing terms that are available out there. However, keeping yourself updated with the constantly-growing number of email terminologies can be tiring and time-consuming. So to keep you up-to-date with the most critically sensitive information with regards to email marketing, we’ve compiled 20 of the most commonly used email deliverability terms that you should be aware of. These terms will help develop your knowledge on email marketing terminologies and will get you ready for any scenario that might occur concerning your email marketing efforts.

20 Email Marketing Terminologies That You Should Know

The presentation of terms is given in alphabetical order:

1) Acceptance Rate

Email acceptance rate is the percentage of emails that have successfully managed to reach their respective recipients. These are email messages that have been received and accepted by the mail server (also known as mail transport agent). Once an email is accepted, they will not generate a “bounce” reply. This includes emails that are received via inbox, spam, or junk folders. The acceptance rate can also be determined by the total number of emails accepted, divided by the total number of unique emails sent. On the other hand, successful email deliveries are equivalent to the number of emails attempted minus bounces and other failed email attempts.

2) Blacklist

Blacklist is arguably one of the most common email marketing terms, as most of us have encountered these types of emails or were considered as one. A Blacklist identifies a sender as an unreliable source of information or a “spammer.” The most common reasons for an email to be considered on the blacklist is when it sends emails to recipients out of the blue and without prior notice, or when you keep sending people emails containing the same content or offer. People getting fed by the same thing over and over will most likely report you as a spammer, and as a result, you will most likely be included on their blacklist. Once a sender has been flagged as spam, it will be hard for them to be able to send emails successfully in the future.

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CAN-SPAM is a short acronym for ‘Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing.’ This act levels the playing field of any type of email, providing rules and regulations that everyone needs to follow. In general, this law blueprints the rules for emails, set the grounds for commercial messaging requirements, and grants recipients the right to stop you from sending them emails. The CAN-SPAM Act also provides consequences for any email users that have violated the laws mandated by this act. These consequences will depend on the severity of the violation an email has committed.

4) Deliverability

Email deliverability is a term that determines the ability of an email to reach its proposed recipient’s inbox. It works to keep emails on the right path towards getting accepted and sent to their respective recipients, along with working to avoid email messages from getting lost, blocked or transferred to the spam folder once received. Marketing automation company Mailchimp also defines email marketing as the measure of success at which an email marketer acquires an email campaign into every subscriber’s’ inboxes. Any business that has an email marketing campaign also needs a strategy for email deliverability. This is so their email marketing plans will run smoothly.


DKIM is a short term for ‘Domain Keys Identified Mail.’ Most commonly known as ‘digital signature,’ it is the process of associating an email message to a particular domain name. Having DKIM will enable a person, organization, or role to establish some grounds of responsibility for the email they will send. It also gives their recipients the impression that the email sent to them was composed by an identified and legitimate sender, and was not changed or altered during its transit.

6) Double Opt-In

When email marketers intend to add a certain user to their existing email list, they will you double opt-in. Essentially it means opting users in for the second time to confirm their addition to that marketer’s email list. Once these users have initially opted-in, they will immediately receive a secondary email containing a welcome message and a confirmation link. When the user clicks and opens that link, they will automatically be added to the marketer’s concurrent email communication. Clicking the confirmation link will also grant that marketer permission to send newsletters from time to time. Overall, double opt-in is a way to establish and maintain a healthy email list of potential clients.

7) Ham

Ham is the opposite of Spam. It is an email that is desired and expected. It isn’t considered spam or unreliable. So if an email is considered as ‘ham,’ that email is good and is not considered as a spam. Spam can also be associated with other terms, like “non-spam” or “good mail”. Ham is widely considered as a shorter and snappier synonym for non-spam. The usage of this term is particularly common among software developers and anti-spam experts, and not widely known elsewhere. Most people are more likely to use the word “non-spam”, instead of ham.

8) Hard Bounce

A hard bounce is a term used to identify the failure of delivering an email to its intended recipient. This occurrence is usually a result of the sender being a nonexistent, blocked, or invalid email address. Hard bounce can negatively affect an email address’s deliverability rate and sender score. Emails that have been considered invalid will most likely be removed from the existing email marketing lists they are currently included.

9) Honeypot

A honeypot is an email security system designed for detecting and preventing any suspicious and unauthorized emails from sending messages. The term was used to reference the way the system catches and traps unauthorized users like hackers or spammers. These users are then identified and prevented from causing any further problems to other people.

10) Open Rate

Open rate is the percent value of recipients who successfully received and opened the sender’s email. Whenever someone clicks and opens an email, a particular image pixel accompanying the email will load, counting that email as a successful open. Note that open rate is not considered a trusted metric for calculating the rate of email engagement (it was before). When measuring the effectiveness of email marketing, click through rate (CTR) should also be considered.

11) Read Length

Read length is simply the time period that covers the entire engagement that was given to a particular email. It is basically the measurement of time starting from the moment a person opens an email, to the time they close and leave it. Obviously the longer the time spent on an email, the better; this is called an email with a good read length. Emails with shorter engagement time have bad read length.

12) Sender Policy Framework

Sender Policy Framework, commonly called by its initials ‘SPF,’ is a simple email-validation system designed to detect and reveal email spoofing. SPF does this by providing a mechanism to allow the receiving mail exchangers to check if whether or not incoming email from a domain comes from an authorized host from that domain’s administrators. SPF is also a type of DNS (Domain Name Server) record that gives notice for whenever a domain or IP can send an email on behalf of the original sender.

13) Sender Score

Sender Score is a type of reputation rating designed by expert deliverability company, Return Path. It is a rating score that ranges from 0 to 100 for each outgoing mailing server IP, with 90 and above being the most acceptable score. These mailing servers will then check an email address’ sender score before determining their next action with these emails.

14) Single Opt-In

A single opt-in is a subscription process where new email addresses are added to an email marketer’s mailing list without having the owner of that email address to do anything to make any confirmations if, definitively, they are already aware and are willing to have opted in. Single opt-ins are commonly used by email marketers whenever they take a user’s entry form and add them immediately to an existing email list.

15) Soft Bounce

A soft bounce is an e-mail message that travels and gets as far as their intended recipient’s email server but is unfortunately bounced back and become undelivered before it gets to the recipient. The most common reason for a soft bounce to occur is that of the recipient’s inbox is full. Depending on the situation, a soft bounce message can be rescheduled at another time, or it can be manually forwarded by the network administrator-in-charge of redirecting email on the recipient’s domain. A soft bounce is not as severe as a hard bounce. It is a classification of any temporary or minor problems with email deliverability, such as an unavailable server or a full inbox. If the email is still not delivered to its recipient’s inbox after 72 hours, it will automatically turn into a hard bounce.

16) Spam

Spam is a classification of any emails that are not desired, asked for, or unreliable emails. The term is just a shorter word for “Unsolicited Bulk Email.” By this, it means that the intended recipient has not granted an email message the permission to be sent to them. Spam also means that the message is sent as part of a larger group of messages, all containing the same content. Most people hate being sent with the same email over and over again. According to the numbers, 90% of emails are classified as unreliable or spam.

a big brown envelope inside a striped black and yellow tape with a yellow warning spam sign outside of it


17) Spam Report

Otherwise called abuse reporting, spam reporting is the activity of reporting abusive emails to any kind of online authority so that they can then be dealt with accordingly. Basically,

a spam report occurs when a recipient receiving an email labels it as spam. Reported messages can be in the form of email messages, blog comments, etc.

18) Spamtrap

A spam trap is a type of honeypot system used to gather and collect spam emails. Spamtraps are commonly seen as normal emails addresses, but instead of establishing communication, they have a built-in system that is programmed to detect any spam emails they receive, luring that spam email to be reported later on. Spamtrap is also used to identify dead email addresses that are still receiving emails.

19) Warming Up an IP

Warming up an IP address is the process of sending a constantly-increasing number of emails out of an existing IP address to build up that IP’s reputation of successfully delivering emails into an inbox. In this manner, that IP will get ‘warmed up’ and will get ready to receive and accept a bulk load of emails.

20) Whitelist

Also called whitelisting, the whitelist is the exact opposite of a blacklist. Once a server is considered whitelist, it means that the server is considered clean, free of spam, and is an approved email sender. The term is commonly used by email applications to allow users to mark the email that they trust from specific senders this. However, this might override some of the filtering systems that may have already existed from the ISP.

Learn and Progress from these Terminologies

These terms will provide you with the right email marketing terms, making sure that you won’t make a mistake in identifying a particular component of email marketing. It will also prepare you for any meeting and conversation regarding email marketing, so you will always be ready to engage in these types of conversations with pride and confidence!

See any email marketing terms that we’ve missed? Have some other terms that you can share?  Share them with us now by sending us a message at info@scaleupmarketing.asia.

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