Email Insider

Email Marketing Glossary – letters A-C

Email Marketing Glossary

Email Marketing is the most cost efficient way for communication with your customers, when done correctly. I sat in many meetings where people were asking me what certain terms mean. I don’t want to sound bigheaded, and I have to state that I’m learning something new every day. There are no people that know it all, so if you’re in a meeting or you are talking to your colleague or business partner, and you don’t understand certain phrases, ask. It happens to me all the time.

I am not going to cover any of KPIs here, as I covered them in article: Email KPIs – what counts the most?.

Below are terms that you will come across, read it through and try to remember. So, here we go:

[ A – C ] | [ D – I ] | [ K – R ] | [ S – Z ]


A/B Testing – also called split testing – it is a method of sending two different emails to determine which option works better. Then you send a winning email to remainder of your list. I would recommend testing only one parameter, so your results are conclusive. Also, with bigger databases, you should allow more time for a campaign to mature, otherwise your results will not be final and the decision you will make may be wrong.

Abandoned Basket – also called Abandoned Cart – an email campaign sent to customer who hasn’t finished a purchase process. Test your timing for this campaign, because perfect sending time for some might be only 30 minutes, for some even 24 hours.

Above the fold – it’s a creative term describing part of the email displayed as soon as email is opened. This is the most important part so make sure your main message and Call-to-Action (CTA – see below) are displayed.

Absolute URL – a full path to an asset that is included in email including your domain name an folder structure on the server i.e. In web design world you can use relative URL (images/image.jpg), but not in email.

Affirmative Consent – also called Active consent – a permission specifically given by your customer, allowing you to contact that customer with marketing messages.

Alt Tag – An HTML tag used as an alternative text when images are not displayed. Most of ISPs display images by default now, but some still have images switched off.

Animated GIF – Basic animation introduced in 1989, which allows various images (frames) to be displayed in succession, which gives the time delay to wait after the frame is drawn. pay attention to the size of your output file and the placement in email. Heavier GIFs should be placed lower down in an email, so they have enough time to download.

API (Application Programming Interface) – it’s a set of routines, protocols, and tools for building software applications. An API can facilitate integration of new features into existing applications i.e. your ESP. An API can also assist otherwise distinct applications with sharing data, which can help to integrate and enhance the functionalities of the applications without compromising each other. The simplest example of use will be a real-time triggered welcome email initiated by your website, but deployed buy your ESP.

Authentication –  An automated process used by ISPs and ESPs that refers to ensuring a valid identity on an email to prove and protect email sender identity and an email sender’s reputation. The authentication technologies (SPF, DKIM, DMARC) provide a mechanism to block unauthorized emails.

Automation – also called Auto Responder –  automated email message-sending capability, such as a welcome message sent to a new subscribers. May be triggered by opt-in, opt-out, purchase, cart abandonment, birthday etc. May be based on more than one email depending on a purpose of aa email programme.


B2B – Business to business

B2C – Business to consumer

Bayesian Filter –  it is used for dealing with spam that can tailor itself to the email needs of individual users and give low false positive spam detection rates that are generally acceptable to users. It uses the whole bunch of words to identify spam e-mail, and is embedded in the mail server software, that “learns” to identify new patterns of spam.

Blacklist – a list of IP addresses or email addresses that have been flagged as spammers. If you find yourself on a blacklist, you will struggle with email deliverability, which may spread across different ISPs.

Bounce – a message that is returned to the sender reporting the email could not be delivered and why. There are two types of bounces: soft and hard. A soft bounce occurs when the email server rejects the email due to a temporary condition, such as a full inbox. A hard bounce occurs when the email server rejects the email due to permanent conditions, typically happens when user or domain is unknown i.e. email address is misspelt or mailbox no longer exist. It’s also worth noting that 3 soft bounces turn into a hard bounce.

Bulletproof button – it is a button that is based on html code, rather than images. By using bulletproof button you make sure that it displays even when images a switched off, or not downloaded.


Call-to-Action – also called CTA – it is a link or body copy that prompts a recipient what action to take i.e. “Add this product to your wish list” or simply “Find out more”.

CAN-SPAM – Federal legislation governing unsolicited commercial email that went into effect on January 1, 2004, which regulates how email must be sent. The acronym CAN-SPAM derives from the legislation’s full name: Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing.

Commercial Email – An email whose purpose is to sell, advertise or promote a product. This type of email requires Affirmative Consent and is different to Transactional Email.

Complaint – it happens when a recipient sends an email from the inbox to their junk folder by pressing a Spam button. This damages your reputation with the ISP.

CRM (Customer Relationship Management) – I like to say that it is an engine of every Marketing or eCommerce team that is managing a company’s interactions with current and future customers. It often involves using technology to organize, automate, and synchronize sales, marketing, customer service, and technical support.

Cross-sell – it is the practice of selling an additional product or service to an existing customer. Best example in email marketing will be post-purchase email campaign, where you target a customer with relevant products to what customer just bought, i.e. selling a tablet case or an insurance, if customer purchased the tablet without these products.

CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) – it is used to apply styles, positioning and colours to HTML content. In email it can be used within <head>, or in line in <div>, <table>, <tr>, <td>, <span>, <a>, <font> and few other HTML tags.

CSV (Single Customer View) – it is an aggregated, consistent and holistic representation of the data known by an organisation about its customers.

That’s it for now, but watch this space as few more letters will be coming up shortly.


[ A – C ] | [ D – I ] | [ K – R ] | [ S – Z ]


  1. Jaina

    This is excellent, Dan! A great start for beginners in email marketing and reminders for the rest of us 😉

    1. Dan Jak (Post author)

      Thanks Jaina. More to come. All together, it is about 130 terms 🙂


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *