Email marketing basics

in  Marketing Automation
3 minutes read
Email marketing terminology

It does not really matter what email (omni channel) marketing automation platform you will end up using, the basics are shared among all of them. And you will most likely come across there on your day to day work as campaign manager.


Interaction with recipients is done on multiple, online and offline, channels such as email, push notifications, social, printed letters.


Similar to multichannel but with strong focus on customer journey (customer centered) rather than on simple delivering content via multichannel. All the transitions between customers touchpoints are seamless and with use of customers’ preferred channel and company guidelines.


Internet service provider


Email service provider is part of ISP that provides an email domain hosting (e.g. gmail, Yahoo mail, AOL,

Transactional email

User initiated email or emails followed after commercial transaction. This email does not require to have marketing consent. (e.g. password reset, creating account, double opt in, receipts, shipping information, refund)


It is the first text in the email that is shown under email subject in your mail box.


General Data Protection Regulation – customer’s privacy and security law in European Union


Comprehensive consumer data privacy – customer’s privacy and security law in USA


California Consumer Privacy Act

Initial population

Segment of customers that you want to send email content to.

Processed / sent emails

Initial population with applied exclusions e.g. opt out, black listed, quarantined recipients or control group that is tried to send out by the email server

Delivered emails

Number of emails delivered to recipients

Bounced emails

Emails that have been sent but failed to deliver due various reasons.

In email marketing or ISP distinguish two different types of bounces hard and soft. Hard bounce is that the email account will always fail to receive an email e.g. user does not exist, domain does not exist. It permanent error and thus this email address will be automatically quarantined. Soft bounce means that the email account is at this moment unavailable due various reasons e.g. mail box full.


How many opens your email send out have received in total.

Distinct opens

How many unique recipients have opened the email send out at least once

Open rate

Email opens divided by total emails sent

Over 20% is considered as good open rate


How many clicks your email have received in total


Call to action – link inside the email that is being tracked.

Distinct clicks

Unique recipients’ clicks for an email. Every html link (CTA) that is tracked inside your email.

Click-through rate (CTR)

Unique recipient’s clicks to total delivered messages ration. It is calculated by following formula:

CTR = (unique recipient email click / emails delivered in total) * 100 [%]

Over 5 % is considered as good CTR

Click-to-open rate (CTOR)

Unique recipient’s clicks to unique recipient’s opens ratio

Over 20% is considered as good CTOR


Number of emails reaching inbox or were accepted by ISP

Complain rate

Number of emails that raised complaint via the ISP. Usually this is being captured via feedback loop coming back from ISP.

Everything above 1 compliant per 1000 emails sent is considered as bad and all the email creatives and segmentations used in that campaign has to be revised.

Double opt in

Every time recipient submits their email address on your landing or corporate page. You would like to know if that email is functional so will be prevent from hurting your IP reputation. You most probably will send confirmation email with link to activate their account for subscription.

Double opt out

As you want your subscriber to confirm their email you want them to confirm their opt out by submitting a form on landing page. You can also add different options to opt out landing page for example to choose to unsubscribe from different newsletters or choose to receive less emails or put your subscription on pause for next upcoming months. If nothing helps you can ask to fill up the form so you can improve your newsletter services.

Customer journey

Is a sequence of marketing activities where between them different logical conditions can be applied to your journey recipients (contact). For example you can send scheduled email then select all that have not open the email and send them another copy with different subject line. Or reward openers with additional email with premium information.

A/B testing

Is process of sending two variations of a email creative to a subset of your subscriber’s segment to decide later on winner creative that will be sent to remaining of your segment. You can for example test different subject line by measuring unique open rate, CTA by click trough rate

This list will be expanding in the future. If there are terms that you want to be added? Let me know in the comments

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