The Email Marketing Terms You Need to Know

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Email marketing terms

As with many online marketing terms, email has its fair share which can be misunderstood. Here are 5 must know email marketing terms which you need to know.


Everyone bangs on about relevance but do most people really know what it means? As an example, there is a new wave of email technology that personalises based upon context – whether that be the device the email was opened on, the current weather or location of the customer. As great as this is, it’s not relevance. Relevance is making sure that all of your content matches the customers interests and is going beyond the basics.


So if relevance is a term misused, it’s likely that personalisation is also misunderstood. Personalisation in itself does not mean the same as relevance. In fact, it’s easy to think you are doing a great job by personalising an email – maybe a different header image based upon gender – but it’s often not gone far enough to be relevant so make sure you don’t fall into the personalisation trap and think it’s enough.


Unbelievably, I saw someone the other day talk about deliverability in the sense of it being how many you sent to minus bounces, and, therefore, indicative of how many emails land in the inbox versus junk folder. Also known as ‘Inbox Placement’, email deliverability is how many emails reach the intended destination.

Open Rate

Open rate can be very misleading. An open doesn’t necessarily mean the recipient has read your email. And not having an open doesn’t necessarily mean they haven’t read your email. Why is this? It’s because the only way we can track an open is with a small image unique to the individual being inserted into the email, which when requested from the server it’s recorded as an open. This, therefore, means that if the images are blocked then it won’t be recorded as an open even if the email was fully read, and vice versa for someone flicking through the preview pane which triggers the images to download. In fact, Litmus did research previously that showed that half of emails are looked at for less than 2 seconds. So don’t treat your open rate with too much trust – use it to monitor trends but nothing too scientific.

A/B Testing & Multivariate Testing

MVT is a supercharged version of A/B testing. With A/B testing, you have the ability to change one variable at a time – perhaps the subject line or the hero image, but never both for a true test. This, therefore, can make your tests really slow to run, and what you can’t do is find winning combinations, just individual winners.

This is where MVT plays it’s part, allowing you to tailor as many things as you like in the email, and Maxemail will send and report across all the combinations of these enabling you to run lots of tests all at once and dramatically speeding up your testing time.

About Rupert Adam

Marketing Manager at Emailcenter, the UK's largest independent ESP.