As with any field, email marketing has
its own terminology. Here is a list of the more common email
marketing terms and what they mean.
Also called a split, this refers to two
or more mailings sent to portions of the same recipient database,
although not the same recipients. The content of the mailings is
identical except for several key features that you want to measure, such as a change
in the subject line or content.
You simply pick the percentage of recipients for each split, and Symphonie will
keep track of the recipients that have received each version. Once you
have determined the more effective version, it is easy to send the "winning"
version to all the remaining recipients.
It’s called an A/B split to signify the two separate mailings
(A and B), however, you can use more than two mailings, although many
more is not recommended. For more information visit our A/B Splits Feature page.
“Above the fold”
The top portion of the email content that appears in
the preview pane. The term is borrowed from the newspaper industry. Since only
the top half of a newspaper can be seen when the paper is folded, this is where
the editors put the most enticing articles and headlines; literally “above the
fold.” Similarly, the most attention-grabbing headlines should appear in the top
part of an email message. If the top portion of content for an email is images
that are often blocked by the ISP, or is nothing but instructions of how to
whitelist or view in a web page, the recipient may lack incentive to look
further at the contents.
Application Programming Interface
(API). A standard term for a mechanism that allows to different
computers to talk to each other. Symphonie provides an API so you can
automate the addition of new recipients from your website, for
example. For more information, visit our Symphonie Integration page.
Anything that is attached as a file to a mailing,
including PDFs, product brochures and other similar files. A Symphonie document is not an
attachment. While Symphonie supports the ability to include attachments to
mailings and documents, many anti-spam gateways will block emails that include
attachments, as this is a way that many viruses are spread. In today's
environment, it is better to provide a link in the content back to the
attachment data than to send it as an attachment to the email.
The process of verifying that a sender is authorized
to send "as" that domain. In today's Internet environment, many
unscrupulous people attempt to take advantage of the good name of a company to
spread their vile, pretending to be sending "from" Bank of America or Ebay, for
example. The authentication technologies (SPF/Sender ID/DomainKeys/DKIM)
provide a mechanism to block these unauthorized emails.
An email that is sent out in response
to another email. An out-of-office email that is sent automatically to inform
the sender of your schedule is an example of an autoresponder. Most autoresponders have been replaced with
triggered email, which offers more options and versatility. (See
A block of lines or boxes that, when
scanned with a phone or a POS yields information. Often used for
pricing and for coupons. (See also, UPC Code, DataMatrix, Code 128,
or QR Code.) For more information, visit our Dynamic Barcode Feature page.
A list of senders, IP addresses or
domains that have been identified as sources of Spam or other forms
of unwanted email by the owners of the blacklist. There are many different
blacklist providers, each of which uses different criteria to determine who
should appear on the blacklist. Some blacklist providers consider almost
any email sent by a commercial entity to be spam, while others have more lenient
policies. Some of the big ISPs lower your Reputation score if you appear
on one of several big blacklists, but most ISPs primarily rely on their own
metrics to determine what email to accept, so the blacklists are mostly used by
businesses or individuals that manage their own mail servers.
Historically, the term "bounce" referred to an email
that was sent back to the sender to indicate that the delivery did not take
place. In some cases, a mail server may choose to initially accept an
email, but then later send back an email to the sender to say the delivery was
not accepted. Today many people say that any delivery failure is a
"bounce", so they can talk about a "bounce rate" to indicate the percentage of
email that failed to be delivered, for any reason. Symphonie does not use
the term "bounce" or "bounce rate" to indicate any failure to deliver email to
avoid any confusion with the historic definition of a bounced email.
Short for “Controlling the
Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act,” the
CAN-SPAM Act was a piece of legislation passed in 2003 that set
guidelines for what constitutes acceptable email practices.
Violations of the CAN-SPAM Act come with harsh penalties. Complying with
CAN-SPAM generally involves adding a physical mailing address to the bottom of
the email, ensuring there is an unsubscribe link, and making sure the subject
line is not deceptive. There are more conditions in the CAN-SPAM act, but
most ethical marketers will comply with these as best practices anyway.
A collection of mailings grouped together for
comparison. In Symphonie a campaign is designed to operate in a similar way to
other marketing campaigns, where content is created to advocate a particular
message, and is sent out of a limited time period. For example, a retailer
might have a Valentine's Day campaign that involves print ads, banner, radio spots,
and a series of four email messages. These four emails can be given a
"campaign" name to associate them together for reporting purposes. In some
ESPs every email sent is called a campaign, but in Symphonie every promotional
email is a "mailing", and a campaign is collection of mailings.
Signifies a recipient read at least a
portion of the content and clicked a link that took them to a
specific page on your web site. Clickthroughs are highly desirable
metrics, since they indicate recipients are not only interested in
your message, they act on their interest. In Symphonie every unique
clickthrough is recorded for every promotional or transactional email, so you
can know exactly which links are interesting to that reader.
A broad term for software, storage, or
services that are Internet based instead of installed locally. (See
also Hosted.) For more information, visit our Hosted Products page.
A barcode consisting of vertical bars
of varying width. Unlike the UPC code, which can only contain
numbers, Code 128 can contain full alphanumeric information. They are
commonly used for tracking purposes. For more information, visit
our Dynamic Barcode Feature page.
An email sent to a recipient that
lets them confirm the fact they have asked to opt into one or more of
your email marketing efforts. Implements the "double-opt-in" logic to ensure
recipients truly want your email. In Symphonie, confirmations are documents that can be
sent automatically to email addresses when the recipient is added to the system, or
they can be generated manually, for example, when you enter a new recipient
manually and you want to confirm that they want to be part of your data. You are
not required by law to send a confirmation; however, it is a good mechanism to
ensure that every person in your recipient list does want to receive your email.
Pre-designed blocks of content for
dynamic insertion in emails. Content blocks are literally a block of content
that is designed to be conditionally substituted into the content based on rules
defined in the dynamic content section. Content blocks can, themselves,
have dynamic substitutions, but cannot include other content blocks.
The point at which a recipient takes
action on an email's call-to-action. Usually in reference to
A type of barcode, usually square,
consisting of black blocks. A DataMatrix code can contain up to 2,335
alphanumeric characters, and is readable in very small sizes at
varying contrasts. It is used by the Department of Defense and the
electronics industry. (See also QR Code.) For
more information, visit our Dynamic Barcode Feature page.
The term that is used to describe the process of
getting mail to be accepted by a receiving mail server. Many different
factors influence the deliverability metric, such as the number of unknown
users, the text-to-image ratio, the Reputation score created by the ISP, and
more. Goolara provides deliverability consulting to help clients get more
of their mail delivered. For more information on deliverability services with
Symphonie, visit our Services page.
Any pertinent facts about an individual
in your recipient database that can help you select your recipients
for use in mailings and campaigns. Gender, age and location are key
demographics that you can use to target your mailings to the people
who are most likely to respond to your efforts. In Symphonie, each email
address has just one set of demographics associated with them, whereas in some
other implementations it is possible to have different values for the same
demographic for each list that is created. This can lead to challenging
data problems, such as a recipient being marked as male on one list, and female
Abbreviation for “DomainKeys
Identified Mail.” An email authentication method that helps ensure the "from"
address of the email authorized the sending of that email. Required for
feedback loops for some ISPs.
Abbreviation for “Domain Name
System.” The system used to convert IP addresses into more
easily remembered domain names. (See also Domain and IP Address.)
A stored piece of content designed to be sent
to one, or a small group of recipients based on some external event.
That event could be signing up for the newsletter on a website,
downloading a product, or two weeks before their birthday. Documents
and mailings are similar – they just vary in how they get
triggered to be sent to recipients.
An Internet address that identifies a
specific service or company. For instance: goolara.com.
An email authentication method used to
verify the domain of an email sender. DKIM is the next version of this
protocol. (See also DKIM)
The process by which a recipient who has asked
to subscribe must respond positively to a follow-up
confirmation email asking them to confirm their interest in receiving future email.
It is a mechanism to ensure that the email address provided by the sign-up
process is valid and belongs to the recipient requesting to receive email.
In Symphonie a recipient who has not confirmed the double opt-in process is not
sent any further email.
The automatic process of sending out emails at
intervals to maintain customer engagement. The intervals can either
be timed or based on other factors such as a recipient's response
rate. (See also Recency.)
An operation that changes content in an
email based on specified conditions and the recipient's demographics.
For instance, the fact that the recipient is a sports enthusiast
might cause the email to insert a paragraph about a sale on sporting
goods. (See also Mail Merge Tag.) In Symphonie, dynamic content can look at
many factors together, such as a recipient's demographics, their opens, clicks,
and offline events such as whitepaper downloads or shopping cart abandonments.
The sending of large amounts of email
at one time. Sometimes used to referred to unsegmented mailings, or
mailings that contain no dynamic content.
Email reader or client
An application that receives and
displays email messages on screen. Popular desktop email readers or clients
include Microsoft Outlook, Outlook Express, or Mozilla Thunderbird. Hosted
providers like Yahoo or AOL provide their own browser-based email clients so no
desktop, installed software is required.
Abbreviation for Email Service Provider, such as
On-site security software designed to
prevent attacks or infections of a company's computer network.
Firewall devices check everything that goes into or out of a
computer network. Today there are often several kinds of firewalls, such as an
anti-spam firewall or anti-virus firewall.
Greylisting (or Graylisting)
An anti-spam technique that has the mail receiving
server return a failure code that says the mail should be retried later, with
the hope that spammers would not maker further attempts. It delays
legitimate email, wastes bandwidth, and consumes computational resources to
process an email that will need to be re-sent, but is used by many of the big
ISPs and can be configured for many mail servers as an option. Most ISPs
will not greylist if the sender has established a good Reputation score, so
greylisting is an indication that the ISP does not consider the mail to be
highly desired by their recipients.
Email that uses the same HTML code
(Hyper-Text Markup Language) as a web page. An HTML email can contain
images, different sizes and colors of text and a colored background.
Not all email clients are able to display HTML code, so it is always
a good idea to prepare a text version as well. (See also Text Email.)
Software that is accessed via the
Internet, rather than on a local server. Also referred to as
“cloud-based” or “SaaS.” A hosted system may involve less
setup and maintenance effort, but is an on-going cost, unlike an on-premise
installation. For more information, visit our Hosted Product page.
A numeric address assigned to each
device on a network using Internet protocol. IP addresses are binary
but are usually converted to decimal numbers for ease of use. For
The process of combining an email
marketing system with a company's other data sources (such as a CRM). This is
generally done via an API, but may involve exchanging data in other ways.
The process of creating email content,
demographics, categories, etc. in the author's native language. An
email marketer in Saudi Arabia, for instance, will want to create his
email in Arabic for a local market.
A spam technique in which the real
sender is disguised to look like the email came from someone else.
Usually intended to discredit a person or company. Authentication protocols
(SPF/Sender ID/DomainKeys/DKIM) will help eliminate this kind of mail.
The adjustment of content, language,
and other features that must change regionally. The differences
between British English and American English are examples of this.
(See also Internationalization.)
A single promotional message sent to one or more
recipients selected from your recipient database. In Symphonie you can gather
multiple mailings together for comparison into a single campaign. Different
than a document, which is used to send a transactional email.
Mail Merge Tag
Logic included in the content of a message that causes
replacement with details that are specific to that individual. For
instance, a [-Name-] mail merge tag might be used to insert a
recipient's first name in an email, making every email sent by the system unique. (See also Dynamic Content.)
The textual and visual content of a
mailing that is displayed in the recipient’s email reader.
The process of sending multiple emails using different combinations of variables to decide which
combination yields the best results. It is similar to A/B Testing,
but includes more variables and require significantly larger sample
groups for optimal results. (See also A/B Split.)
An email marketing system that is
installed on a company server, as opposed to one that is accessed via
the web (hosted). On-Premise solutions are a popular choice for
companies with high-volume email needs, or who require complete local
control over their data. For more information, visit our On-Premise Product page.
The method of detecting when a
recipient opens an email message sent to them from Symphonie. The standard way
ESPs detect if someone has opened an email is by putting an image in the content
that has a unique name, such that when it is requested, the ESP knows the
recipient and the mailing details. Since this has become a popular way to
track if the email has been viewed by recipients, most ISPs now block images by
default to avoid exposing the privacy of their email customers. ESPs
report on "open rates", but the numbers are not always accurate, since it may be
possible to read an email without enabling images, and sometimes through a
preview pane, images will be requested for emails that are never seen by the
recipient. However, reporting an open rate is a common metric used by many
email marketers to compare the effectiveness of different email content or to
compare against other email marketers as a benchmark.
Opt in/opt out
Subscribing to an email service;
unsubscribing from an email service. See Double opt-in.
Email disguised to look like it is
from a familiar company in an attempt to get your personal information, such as your banking
login or social security number.
Abbreviation for “Point Of Sale.”
These are the checkout systems now used in most stores instead of
cash registers. POS Systems work by scanning the barcodes found on
each item, and entering that information in the system. Also referred
to as POP Systems (“Point Of Purchase”).
A square barcode consisting of black
blocks. How many blocks depends on how much information is contained
in the QR code. Although they were originally designed for use by the
automotive industry, QR codes have become very popular for everything
from restaurant menus to coupons. They are often scanned using cell
phones. (See also DataMatrix.) For more information, visit
our Dynamic Barcode Feature page.
An individual who has an email address
and is part of your database. In Symphonie, recipients can have any number of
custom fields associated with their record called Demographics that can then be
used for segmentation, dynamic content, mail merging, workflows, etc.
The measure of how recently a recipient
received email from you. Recency is used to ensure that you don’t
bother your customers with too much email. In Symphonie, when creating a mailing
the author decides if this mailing should filter out recipients who
have received “too much” mail in the last period of time.
Abbreviation of “Recency,
Frequency, and Monetary Value,” a popular set of metrics for
determining the value of marketing.
Abbreviation for “Software as a
Service.” Often synonymous with hosted and cloud-based. For
more information, visit our Hosted Product page.
An abbreviation of “Simple Mail
Transfer Protocol.” SMTP is the most common standard on the
Internet for delivering email across networks.
The practice of dividing or segmenting
your recipient database into groups for targeted mailing. You could
segment to send your mailing to all women, everyone over 45, people
who live on the West Coast, or all women over 45 who live on the West
Coast. In some ESPs segmentation is mostly done through the "list" mechanism,
where the client must determine the recipients for a mailing and upload them to
a list. In Symphonie, there is no need to create multiple lists for
segmentation purpose, since the segmentation features are quite robust.
You can segment based on the user's demographics, on which mailings or how often
they have opened or clicked, and consider external events like whether they have
recently purchased an item from a category. The segmentation features
allow criteria to be combined with integrated "and" and "or" statements to get
just the specific recipients you need.
Sender ID is a next version of the SPF authentication
technology. The changes from SPF to Sender ID are not significant, so many
people still use only SPF records. Sender ID is an authentication
technology like DomainKeys/DKIM, but uses a different mechanism to determine who
is authorized to send email.
Unsolicited email of questionable
origin. The term's use for email originates with a Monty Python
routine, in which the recitation of choices on a menu eventually are
reduced to nothing but the word “Spam” repeated over and
Sender Policy Framework, a technology initially
created by Microsoft to help authenticate that email sent "from" a domain is
actually authorized by that domain. Required by Microsoft in order to get
access to their whitelist and feedback loop mechanisms. Failure to create
SPF records causes Microsoft Outlook to display a message at the top of the
mailing that looks something like "Sent from
on behalf of firstname.lastname@example.org", which can be quite
confusing to recipients, so it is best to create SPF records whenever possible.
See A/B split.
A list of recipients that
contains the names of people who should not receive email from
you. In Symphonie, suppression lists can be either global (exclusion from all future
mailings) or topical (See Topic). Once recipients are added to a suppression
list in Symphonie, the system will automatically remove them from any future
deliveries. In Symphonie recipients are not added to a suppression list
when they unsubscribe. Instead they are maintained on a different list, so
it is clear which recipients have been suppressed by the administrator, and
which have been unsubscribed due to the recipient's request.
Email that contains only ASCII text.
This is the most deliverable form of email, but it is less visually
appealing than HTML email. (See also HTML Email.)
A subject area for promotional mailings that a
recipient might choose to subscribe to or unsubscribe from. Ideally
marketers give their recipients some options as to the kind of emails they
receive - in Symphonie these are called topics. An unsubscribe from one
topic does not stop mail from being sent from other topics in the system,
allowing the recipient to choose which kinds of distributions they receive.
Email that is send out after a specific
event or transaction. E-receipts are a common form of transactional
email. For more information, visit our Transactional Email Feature page.
Email that is sent after it is
activated either by a date, or certain time span. Birthday emails and
shopping cart abandonment queries are examples of triggered email.
For more information, visit our Triggered Email Feature page.
The option used to stop receiving
A type of barcode consisting of
vertical bars of various widths that represent a series of 12
numbers. UPC Codes are commonly used in sales and are compatible with
most POS systems. For more information, visit our Dynamic Barcode Feature page.
A list of senders, IP addresses or
domains that have been identified as safe sources of email. A blacklist is a
list of IP addresses or senders that you should not accept mail from, and a
whitelist is the opposite - a list of senders or IP addresses that you want to
bypass filters and accept every time.
Did we miss something? Is there
some other concept you are unsure about? If so, please let us know at