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Knowledge is power. Let's demystify some of the jargon you'll come across on your journey as a marketer.
A/B testing trials the effectiveness of digital marketing assets, such as landing pages, display ads, email newsletters, and social media posts. Two versions of an asset are created to see which ones resonate with users more. In a typical A/B test, half of the user group receives 'version A', while the others get 'version B'. Metrics that A/B tests typically measure are conversion rates such as purchases, links clicked, or forms completed.
The CAN-SPAM Act outlines a set of rules for commercial emails, including ones sent from businesses to other businesses. It gives email recipients the right to request companies stop contacting them and doles out harsh penalties for those that are in violation of its laws.
Click-to-open-rate (CTOR) is the number of unique clicks as a percentage of unique opens for a message. This metric shows exactly how successful the message was as it determines the level of interest and engagement from a person once they open and read the email.
Customer engagement describes the process of messaging users through their channels of choice in order to strengthen a business' relationship with them. Channels can include the likes of social media, email, SMS, push messages, community forums, blog posts, websites and more. Engagement typically goes beyond when a customer first buys a product.
Customer lifetime value (CLV) is a metric used by businesses to determine the total revenue that can be expected from one customer account. It pits a customer's revenue value against the predicted customer lifespan. This metric is particularly useful when companies want to identify which customer segments are most valuable.
Customer retention describes the process of engaging existing customers in order to drive repeat purchases or usage. It differs from user acquisition and customer activiation in that the user has already been converted at least once. Customer retention, when done well, helps form long-lasting and loyal relationships with users.
Demographic data is information about your audience and customers that you would expect to see on a census, such as age, gender, or location. This information is useful when creating things like paid social ads, but it doesn't account for the nuances between individuals that you would get from psychographic data.
DKIM stands for DomainKeys Identified Mail. It’s another email authentication protocol that lets companies verify that messages were sent from authorized servers by using “public key cryptography.” It also protects against forgery and spam.
DMARC stands for Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance. It’s a technical standard that is in place to protect both senders and recipients from spam, spoofing, and phishing. How it works is it checks whether email authentication is being used, by matching the domain in the email from address to the sender domain.
Double opt-in (DOI), is a subscription process that requires two steps. After a user opts in to receive messages by providing their contact details, they’re instructed to look out for a confirmation message - usually through an email. While it is less streamlined than single opt-in, it also guarantees that the user has explicitly given their consent.
Dynamic content is web-based content that changes based on user data, preferences, and behaviors. This data is largely supplied by the user, who provides and then consents to its use. With dynamic content, you can customize every aspect of an email to target a particular user. Everything from a user's interests, gender, purchase history, and even geography can be used to personalize an email.
Email automation is a way to use predefined rules to send email messages to customers based on specific actions. Examples of email automation include sending out welcome emails that are triggered when a customer joins your mailing list, or a personalized email encouraging customers to check out their abandoned cart. Automation becomes especially essential when a company's email list scales up and it becomes impossible to send emails out manually.
An email blacklist uses a set of criteria via a real-time database to figure out if an IP address is sending spam emails. If you discover that you're on a blacklist, it's worth assessing the way you collect email addresses and what your sunsetting policy looks like. Then, you might be able to request to be taken off the list via a removal form, if they exist. Being put on an email blacklist can negatively affect your deliverability, so it should be taken seriously.
Email deliverability is when an email successfully arrives into a recipient’s inbox. Which is not to be confused with email delivery, which simply means that an email has been successfully delivered to the recipient’s server. There are a number of factors that affect email deliverability, such as audience engagement, spam complaints, sender reputation.
Email preheaders are text snippets that are displayed next to the subject line or beneath it. Most mobile, web, and email clients use email preheaders to summarize what's in the email before it's opened. They're essential to improving open rates, as it's an opportunity for marketers to make a great first impression.
Email retargeting takes customer data that is collected by tracking website interactions and purchase activity, and uses it to craft personalized email messaging. For example, if a customer has abandoned their cart on your website, an email retargeting campaign would be a great way to bring the product back into their inbox. While email retargeting is most commonly done through website cookies, gathering information on customer behavior can also be done through third-party applications.
Email Service Providers (ESP) are companies that let marketers build and send emails, as well as manage subscriber lists. While at the most basic level, ESPs only store email addresses and send emails, advanced ESPs might offer features such as dynamic content, email automation, and A/B testing.
A geofence is what it sounds like - a virtual boundary that's defined by GPS or RFID technology. And when a customer's mobile device enters a geofence, it triggers relevant product offers or promotions. Examples of geofenced locations can be malls, schools, or stores.
A hard bounce is when an email was completely undeliverable, and delivery should not be attempted again in the future. Hard bounces happen because: the email address or recipient doesn't exist, the email domain doesn't exist, the recipient's server has blocked delivery, or the email address is invalid.
IP warming is the method in establishing a reputation for a new or seldom used IP address. The process generally looks like this: Send email from the new IP with small volumes to start, then gradually increase the volume within the confines of a schedule. The ultimate goal of IP warming is to build your identity overtime, gain the trust of ESPs, and improve your deliverability long term.
Leads are a group of people that are potential customers. They come from a variety of places, perhaps users who complete a contact form on your website, or conference attendees that pass you their business card.
List cleaning is when an email marketer removes emails from their subscriber list that are either unengaged or outdated, as they lead to bounces. Besides improving open rates and click rates in the short term, list cleaning can also boost overall deliverability long term as it ensures that subscribers on the list are still actively interested in receiving emails.
Multivariate testing is at its core, the same as AB testing, but it involves a larger number of variables. For example, while an A/B testing might test different versions of landing page design, a multivariate test is able to measure how effective different sets of design combinations are. Multivariate tests are able to dive deeper, by not only narrowing down to the most successful design, but also revealing which design elements have the most positive or negative impact on the user experience.
The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is an index that ranges from -100 to 100. It is a way to measure how willing customers are to recommend products or services to other people, and ultimately gauges customer loyalty. NPS scores are determined through single question customer surveys and customers are put into one of three categories: detractors, passives, and promotors.
Optin emails are sent to consumers that have given consent to receive marketing messages. It's a great way to authenticate your email list and focus on subscribers who know you, and want to hear from you. Also, sending emails to consumers without their permission is against email laws, and can also destroy your sender reputation and open rates.
Plain text emails are exactly as it sounds - they are email messages that include only plain text. On top of having no formatting, images, or graphics, all links are also written out instead of hyperlinking anchor text. Plain text emails are important because some email client spam filters require emails to be sent in both HTML and plain text versions. Also, other email clients may not support HTML emails - which increases the risk of your emails landing in spam and affecting your deliverability.
Product marketing is the process of promoting and selling a product, which includes developing product positionining and messaging so customers understand what it is and how it benefits their lives. It also encompasses the product's launch and determining a sales strategy. The product marketing process typically lasts well after the launch to make sure that prospective users are aware of the product, are using it to its full potential, and that the feedback from existing users are heard and leveraged.
Promotional emails work to spread the word about your product or services to prospective customers, and ultimately seek to convert potential customers by moving them through the sales funnel. Generally, promotional emails will include the likes of coupons, access to VIP events, or links to exclusive content - and offers are typically only available for a limited time so there is a sense of urgency.
Psychographic data is information about your audience and customers based on their attitude, beliefs, and values. With psychographic data, you can dive deeper into customizing your marketing and messaging by the factors your customers actually care deeply about, and understand what makes them a person. You'll also be able to create more robust personas and segmentation.
Push notifications are messages that pop up on a users' mobile phone. While they look like text messages, they only reach users of your app. They serve a myriad of purposes - they can inform users about an upcoming event - such as a flash sale, or prompt them to take action - such as download a coupon.
Relationship marketing is a branch of marketing that seeks to create deep and purposeful customer relationships that will eventually lead to brand loyalty and retention. Examples of relationship marketing include offering incentives for loyalty, personalizing content and services, and catering to the customer wherever they are in the customer journey.
Segmentation is an email marketing strategy that separates subscribers into subgroups to deliver custom messaging. Subgroups are created based on demographics, such as location, gender, age, ethnicity, etc., but can also be based on customer behavior such as past purchases. Other subgroups can be based on psychographic data, which is related to subscribers' values and beliefs.
Sender reputation, a score that an Internet Service Provider (ISP) assigns to any company that sends out emails, is integral to improving deliverability. It’s fairly straightforward - the higher your score, the more likely your email will land in your customer’s inbox. Maintaining sender reputation is important, as if scores fall below a certain level, ISPs will either reject emails or send them to spam folders.
Single opt-in (SOI) is when a user opts in by providing their contact details via a sign up form. This implies that they have given consent to receive messages from you. It’s what it sounds like - an opt-in method for new subscribers that only requires a single action such as a checked box.
A soft bounce occurs when an email fails to deliver but the email address is still considered valid, which indicates a temporary issue with the mailbox. Your email provider will usually attempt delivery to an address over a few days before marking it as a soft bounce. And this happens for a number of reasons: the recipient's inbox or server is full, the target server is down, or your email is too large to be delivered.
Spam traps are email addresses maintained by ISPs that do not open or engage with emails. There are two types of spam traps - the first type are honey pot emails, which are created and added into websites and forums in plain sight to lure in spammers. The second type, recycled email address, used to belong to someone but have since been abandoned or closed down. They're then reactivated later on to monitor any spammers still sending to that address.
SPF stands for Sender Policy Framework. It’s an email authentication technique that works by detecting forgery and spam. It works similarly to DMARC, which shows the subscribers’ servers that they’re a legitimate sender. In simple terms, it allows email clients to check that the mail server sending your email is on your verified list.
A subject line is, beyond the sender name, a key part of the first impression that an email marketer makes when sending an email. It's a short, 10-60 character introduction that communicates the intent of the email. At a glance, the recipient should already know what the email content is about.
Also called triggered emails, transactional emails are automated emails that are triggered by customer events, interactions or preferences within a company's proudct or services. Examples of transactional emails can include receipts or confirmations of purchases, explicit requests such as password resets, or event-driven notifications such as shipping updates.
Triggered emails, otherwise known as behavioral or transactional emails, are automated emails that are sent based on pre-set events or conditions. Depending on the actions taken by the subscriber, different emails will be triggered. Triggered emails are different than your average promotional emails, as they are automically sent to subscribers on a one-to-one basis, instead of emails that are sent to a mass audience. Triggered emails are an incredible tool for email marketers, as it helps them save time as they scale up their email lists, while providing email experiences that feel personalized.
Webhooks are one of the few ways web applications can communicate with each other. It allows you to send real-time data from one application to another automatically, whenever a given event occurs. They're considered less resource intensive than APIs, as it saves time from constantly polling (checking) for new data.
Welcome emails are the very first messages that you send to a new subscriber. They're important as a first impression, and also sets the tone for future interactions between your brand and your customer. A welcome email is the first friendly exchange between your business and a new subscriber. It sets the tone for future communications and encourages new members to engage with your business.
Whitelisting adds an email or IP address to your list of verified contacts, which communicates to inbox filters that this address is a trusted source. It’s possible to ask subscribers to whitelist you, which will help to improve email deliverability. An ideal way to get whitelisted is to link to a set of instructions in your email campaign. Remember, a request to be whitelisted is a tall order, so make sure you’re reserving it only for your most loyal of subscribers.
Workflows let email marketers design customer journeys, whether strong or long, simple or complex. They're made up of a series of triggers, conditions, filters, timings, and content that is triggered depending on the actions that customers take, or don't take. Workflows are key to automating the email process and are especially useful for companies scaling up their email lists, and can't tend to each customer email manually.