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Email marketing glossary: 10+ email terms you should know

We have talked a lot about why email marketing is one of the best ways to market your product and service, but there are times when beginners don’t understand every word they see in this journey. Some of them, such as BIMI even confuse lot of experienced marketers too.

To solve this, we got together this list of email marketing terms that everyone should know.

Alternate text

Alternate text, also known as “alt text” refers to the description of the image for those who can see it due to the image not being loaded or visual impairment.

There are 2 ways in which this is used:

  1. Email inbox shows the “alt text” when the image is not loaded, this helps the reader get information about the image.
  2. When using a screen reader, the “alt text” is read by the screen reader to let the person know what’s the image is all about.
Email alt text example
Email alt text example


An autoresponder, also known as automation, is a feature in email marketing tools which helps in sending automated emails based on user’s action.

For example, you can send an automated email whenever someone purchases a product on your e-commerce website. On EmailOctopus you can do this by creating an automation and adding the user to the contact list once they have purchased something.


BIMI or Brand Indicators for Message Identification is a new email authentication standard which lets email clients such as Gmail and Hotmail verify the sender and display brand logos along with the email. This will help in reducing phishing attacks in future, as the impersonator won’t be able to show the brand logo.

We have a detailed guide on BIMI, do check it out if interested in learning more.

BIMI in inbox
BIMI in inbox

Bounce rate

Bounce rate in email marketing refers to the percentage of emails that were sent but not delivered to the recipient for some reason. For example, if you’ve sent 100 emails and out of which 20 emails were undelivered, then the bounce rate would be 20%.

There are 2 types of bounces:

  1. Hard bounce, which occurs in events where the email doesn’t exist or if your email is blocked by the recipient’s email server.
  2. Soft bounce, which occurs in situations such as an email address is temporarily inactive or full. There can be many more reasons for this.


CTA or call-to-action is a clickable link or a button specially added to make the user take a desired action such as purchasing or signing up for something. The goal is to make it easy for the user to act and also increase the engagement rate of the email.

Here’s a detailed guide on CTA’s on email, do check it out.

Example of good CTA
Example of good CTA


CTR stands for click-through rate, which is a measure of the percentage of users clicking on a link inside the email.

The formula for CTR is: (Number of clicks / Number of delivered emails) x 100

In general, a high CTR means the email is engaging and resonates with the target audience.

Double opt-in

Double opt-in is a method used in email marketing to confirm and verify a recipients’ consent to receive emails from a sender. It’s also a way to check whether the email exists before being added to the list.

In general, double opt-in is done be sending an email post subscribing where the recipient needs to click a link/button to be added to the email list.


DMARC stands for Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance. It’s an email authentication protocol which checks whether SPF and DKIM (there are 2 other vital email authentication protocol) attached to the email/domain is valid or not.

DMARC works by allowing domain owners to specify policies for email receivers on how to handle unauthenticated emails spoofing to be from their domain.


ESP stands for Email Service Provider, it’s refers to email marketing tools like EmailOctopus which provides the ability to send and automate marketing emails. It’s practically a tool that helps you with everything in regard to email marketing.

Sender Email

A sender email is the “from” email address that you generally see inside your email inbox. It helps recipients identify who is the sender of the email.

The sender email is an essential element of an email message, as it helps recipients identify the source of the email. It can be a personal email address, such as, or a business email address, such as

Subject Line

A subject line is a short line that appears in the inbox above the top of the email. It’s typically a short sentence which lets the recipient know what the email is about.


Segmentation in the process of segregating your subscribers into groups based on criteria such as demographics, interests, or past behaviour. It helps in achieving more personalisation in email campaigns and improves customer experience.

Let’s understand this with a quick example, assume you have an e-commerce clothing site for both men and women. The easiest segmentation category here would be based on gender to send emails with gender-specific products.


Most people are already know what spam is, in email marketing, spam refers to unsolicited or unwanted messages that are send in bulk through bulk email tools.

Do note that ESPs like EmailOctopus don’t allow sending such emails and mostly these emails land in the spam folder or Gmail and Hotmail.


Tags are a single or set of text values that can be assigned to subscribers. It can be used to for campaign personalisation or even in segmentation to find people who have (or not) a specific tag assigned to them.


UTM stands for Urchin tracking Module, and you must be wondering what Urchin here stands for? So, Google Analytics was formerly known as Urchin (the name got changed once Google acquired it) and in Urchin there use to be URL parameters which was used to track performance of marketing campaigns based on source, medium, etc.

Though Urchin name got changed but UTM more or less remained the same. Using UTM you can add parameters to your URL such as source, medium, campaign, term, and content and check the performance inside your analytics tool.

Welcome email

A welcome email is the first email that’s been sent to a contact once they have subscribed to your email list. It’s a great way of letting them know about your newsletter or brand and also what to expect. A good well-written welcome email helps in establishing a positive first impression, establishing trust, and initiating engagement with the new subscriber.


Hope that this glossary of email marketing terms has been helpful in clarifying some jargon you might encounter as you get started with your email campaigns.

Thought there might still be a couple of new terms that you would find not mentioned here but the goal of this glossary is to be a crisp short source of explanation for most broadly used email marketing terms.

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