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Email Marketing Acronym Guide

Each industry and profession has its own “tribal” language. It can seem almost impossible to learn the language of a trade when you’re first starting. With the world running at high speed, and everything else shortened to match, it feels harder than ever to keep up. Email marketing is no exception.

The world of email marketing is packed with acronyms, or phrases shortened to the first letter of each word. We know how tough it can be to keep them straight, especially when you’re new to the email marketing game. That’s why we’ve put together this mini dictionary of the acronyms we see most often.



Acceptable Use Policy. Most email marketing providers have an AUP in place to regulate what mail is sent from their servers. Many of these AUPs are designed for CAN-SPAM compliance.



Business-to-business. In email marketing, this term refers to businesses sending messages to other businesses.



Business-to-customer. In email marketing, this term refers to businesses sending messages directly to customers.



The Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act. Passed in 2003, this U.S. law set the first standard for commercial email. It protects email users from unwanted content and has tough penalties for violations.



Confirmed opt-in. This is a subscriber who has agreed to receive mail from you, whether by filling out a form or clicking your sign-up link.



Customer relationship management. A program or software that lets you track and manage your customer database. Also tracks customer messages, sales, leads, and other important information.



Comma-separated value. A type of Excel file that puts commas between columns. Commonly used in email marketing for subscriber data.



Call to action. A phrase in your email designed to get a response from a reader through an action. Think, “Sign up now!” or, “Donate here.”



Click-through rate. A raw percentage, found by dividing your clicks by total emails sent. For third-party mailing, the average CTR is 10%.



Designated market area. A geographic location chosen for targeted marketing.



Email service provider. Sometimes referred to as “mailbox provider.” This is who hosts email servers and accounts. Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, and AOL are all ESPs.



Hypertext markup language. The code behind web browsing and emails.


IP (or IP Address)

Internet protocol. A code that identifies a network (or a computer on a network) to other parts of the internet.



Simple mail transfer protocol. Communication rules for sending emails between servers. An SMTP response is the message you see from an ESP in reply to a message you sent to their server.


Did we miss an acronym that’s buzzing around in your brain? Leave us a comment below and we’ll add it to the list! Interested in pursuing an email marketing solution for your business? Check out our plans!

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