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Email Marketing Terms: A Glossary

Marketing experts tend to throw around a lot of fancy terms that are a little obscure to those of us who don’t swim in the email marketing river on a daily basis. I thought I’d share some definitions today so you can get a better idea of what you need to know if you’re going to dive into an email marketing program for your own organization. So, here goes:

Email Marketing Definitions

Open rate reflects the number of people who saw the email land in their inbox and actually opened it to read it. If your open rate is below the benchmark for your industry, then you probably need to improve the subject lines you’re using.

We have some concerns that a company’s virus scanners can send back false open rate statistics but the field is divided as to how much of a problem this is and which email service providers are most at risk. The business of spam filters is also an issue and it, also, is extremely complex. It’s easy to get lost in the detail of how scanning and filtering work and to be honest there is no guarantee that your email will be opened by the people you want to reach, or that most of the recipients will open your emails. Email marketing is a long-term play and results take a long time to really start to show up. Suffice to say that if you are getting unsubscribes and clicks on your emails, then you are getting opens.

Click rate refers to the number of people who take action on the links you provide in your email. Ideally you want to send people to a landing page on your web page where they will have the opportunity to deepen their connection with you. This might be by signing up for a free webinar or downloading your Easy Guide to Saving Money with your products and services. If your click rate is low, then you either don’t have high numbers of your target audience members on your database or you need to give people more compelling reasons to click through to your website.

Hard bounces in your email results mean that you have email addresses that need to be deleted – i.e. there is a problem with the email address or server associated with a hard bounce and it’s never going to be fixed.

Soft bounces mean there is a temporary problem with the email address or its delivery, and it might be fixed in time for the next send.

You want your abuse rate to be very, very low – that number represents how many people have complained about the emails you are sending them and, if that rate is high, it indicates you are possibly using unprofessional methods for growing your list. You could get locked out of your email service as a result.

Unsubscribes are a normal part of email marketing –people opt in to your list and they opt out. If you are sending quality emails to people who want to receive them, your chances of keeping your unsubscribe rate low (and, by extension, your abuse rate) are pretty good.

Would you like to know more about implementing an email marketing program?  Please get in touch!


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