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Jargon Buster

Last updated by Rich Orr on November 04, 2016 11:02

Above the Fold

People always talk about keeping the key content "Above the Fold" but what does that actually mean? Well the section "Above the Fold" means, the part of the message which is visible without scrolling. The material and content in this section of the screen is considered to be more valuable because the recipient/reader will see this first. The term "Above the Fold" was originally used as a printing term but it has transitioned across to the world of Websites, Email and other forms of marketing. Unlike printed forms of marketing, the fold within emails can't always be predictable, as the fold is affected by several things - including screen resolution, the size of the user's preview pane as well as headers and advertising within their email client.


Affiliate programmes are a good way to drive traffic to your website. Essentially you the owner of the website pay other website owners a commission for driving traffic to your site via links they post on their site that either drive traffic to a page, lead to a purchase or other action that you have previously agreed.


An API is an Application Programming Interface. Essentially it is software talking to other software behind the scenes and is complete invisible to the user. It enables actions to happen that require the intervention of more than one piece of software. For instance if you make a purchase online and enter your card details onto the website concerned, an API is used to take send those card details and reference them elsewhere to check they are legitimate and accurate before allowing the transaction to complete. So the API will allow for checks with your bank or card issuer to confirm the details provided are correct. All of this will happen without you having to do or see anything.


As the name suggests an automated response that is sent out via email to a contact who has previously done or requested something. So for instance, when a contact signs up to your newsletter via your website, you can create an autoresponder to be sent to thank them for signing up and confirming you have received their request. You can also schedule autoresponders to be sent at timed intervals, after certain events occur or actions are performed. You only need to create the email in the first place and then specify the times and occasions you want it to be sent. Everything else is magically done for you saving you time and a lot of effort in responding to each email individually.

Batch update/Update Many

A batch update generally applies to the process of updating groups of records rather than a single item. For example, imagine if you wanted to add 100 of your contacts to your shiny new CRM system. Of course you could add them one at a time, but how much easier it would be if you could perform a 'batch update' and add them all at the same time? That’s exactly what Batch Updates allow you to do.


Blacklists come in all shapes and sizes, from Public blacklists to Private blacklists. Essentially, if you get added to a blacklist it means that you have been tagged as a "known" source of spam emails and your emails won't reach people who are using that form of blacklist. Public blacklists are public and you can check to see if you are on them however, private blacklists are kept behind closed doors and are very hard to try and get off them

Bulk Folder

Also referred to as "Junk" or "Spam" folders in some email clients


The CAN-SPAM Act is the popular name for the US Law which regulates commercial emails (Full name - Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003)

Click Through

Describes the action of clicking onto a link within an email or advertisement. Typically, most email campaigns will include links that take the reader to a particular page of a website belonging to the company sending out the communication. Click Through Rate (CTR) tracks the frequency of this and analysis of what communications generate higher CTRs can help optimise a company’s marketing effectiveness.

Cloud computing

If you access your personal email through either Hotmail, Yahoo or similar, or have maybe performed some online banking, then you have used cloud computing. Essentially it means that you can access certain software and services anywhere you happen to be (through a web based program) and so only need internet access to be able to do so. Although there are many benefits to cloud computing such as remote accessibility, and reducing the need for expensive software, some also believe there are downsides such as an increased security risk or obvious problems if the internet cannot be accessed.

Complaint Rate

The Complaint Rate is the ratio of unique complaints from an email campaign. In essence, a Complaint is where someone clicks the button "This is Junk" or "This is Spam" within email clients such as Hotmail, Yahoo!, Gmail, etc.


Stands for Customer Relationship Management. You’ll see a number of definitions but in simple terms CRM is about better managing the relationship you have with your contacts (prospective customers) and (actual) customers. CRM systems help a business manage, record and track all of their communications with a customer online meaning that anyone within the business can view the most recent transactions, communications and conversations with any customer or contact. The overall effect is created through improved and more targeted communications, better sharing of information within a team and a simpler more effective way to manage customer data.

CSV file

Comma Separated Values. A meaningless name really to most mere mortals but essentially it’s a file format that contains data in a tabular form, usually numbers and text, where the values are separated by a comma, (for example 12/12/2011, 1234, Mr Smith, £33.99). CSV files are compatible across a variety of programmes and so are often used to transfer data from one programme to another. In the case of CRM, you might be changing from one system to another, and you’d be likely to use a CSV file to transfer your contacts from the existing CRM system to a spreadsheet that you can then upload into the new CRM system.

Custom fields

In simple terms, a way of customising a database, spreadsheet or set of data. Custom fields are used to categorise information using certain criteria that may be unique to a particular organisation. For instance, you could use custom fields within your contacts database to identify contacts who live in a certain area or town, have bought a particular product from you or even their birthday. By creating custom fields you can identify and create more targeted marketing campaigns.


In this sense, not the one you find in your car, but a similar concept in that a dashboard displays a set of information to you. Sometimes also called a user interface, it could be the homepage of your CRM system for instance that you can customise to always show the information you feel most relevant.


Refers to the whole subject area of getting your emails delivered to the right place


Delivered/Successful referes to the successfully delivered emails which have been received by the intended recipients. This is generally thought of as the total number of emails sent minus bounced emails

Double opt in

When a contact has already gone through the single opt in process and now actively confirms for a second time that they wish to receive communications from your business. Usually by clicking on a link you send to them in an email sent in response to their signing up to your newsletter or similar via your website.

Email Client

An email client is the program which is used to read emails and to send emails. As opposed to an email server, which transports the emails, an email client is what the user interacts with in order to make, send and receive emails. There are many different email clients out there, from Outlook, Hotmail, Yahoo, Gmail and hundreds of others.

Email marketing campaign

An email that is send to a group of recipients to create interest in your business. There are a number of objectives to email marketing campaigns, including increasing sales, generating publicity for your brand, updating customers on events and news, or informing them about aspects of your business.

Feedback Loop

The feedback loop is the mechanism, process and signal that are looped back to control a system within itself. For Mailbox Providers, a feedback loop provides signals from subscribers to determine what is wanted email versus inwanted. Mailbox providers also offer FBL programes to senders wishing to remove users that complain about emails they receive via the "This is Junk" or "This is Spam" buttons, it is through these processes that we help to keep you safe when sending emails

From Line

The From Line indicates who the sender of the email is. Typically comprised of a Friendly From Address and a Friendly From name, which is usually the sender's name and their company's name

Google Analytics

Google needs no introduction we feel but if you have never looked into how Google Analytics may be able to help you evaluate the success of your online marketing, you’re missing out! In essence it helps you track and evaluate the success of your website and online campaigns in attracting site and page visits, traffic from different sources and conversion to certain objectives.

Hard bounce

A term used to describe what happens when an email is undeliverable to the recipient, and does not reach the recipients email server. This is usually because their email address is invalid or incorrect.


Stands for Hyper-Text Markup Language. Essentially the language that web pages are written in by programmers and web creators to ensure a web site’s pages display correctly when viewed.


A piece of online text or image that once clicked takes the reader to another web page or online document. Usually underlined and in a different colour to the rest of the text.


Inactives within an email campaign as normally defined by the fact that they have not registered an open or a click within an email campaign


Internet Service Provider. Essentially the organisation and service provider that enables you to connect to the Internet.

List Fatigue

List Fatigue is a condition of your list which is producing deminished return IE lower open rates over time, etc this can be caused by users sending our the same messages, offers or just generally the same form of messages out all of the time which results in people ignoring/overlooking your emails in the future


You may want to utilise the information you hold on your contacts in your database (such as name and address) in a letter or mailshot that goes through the good old fashioned post. Mailmerge automates this process for you by automatically combining the content (your letter for example) with the contact details and creates a new personalised document for each specified contact. You can also produce address labels via mailmerge too. Most CRM systems enable you to do this quickly and simply.

MTA (Mail Transfer Agent)

Mail Transfer Agent is a server application which accepts email messages for relay or delivery to recipients. Essentially, it is the technology which sends your emails out

Opens/Unique Opens

Simply put this is the measure of how many recipients open or click on an email you send them. The most accurate figure of course to track is Unique Opens which tells you only how many individuals opened the email once rather than also including in the stats the same recipient opening it numerous times.

Opt Out

The Opt Out is where someone no longer wants to receive your emails/communications from you. This can be done via the unsubscribe links that are required to be included in every campaign but also via the complaint process. It also refers to the way that data is collected, the majority of Countries are OPT-IN and not OPT-Out, this means that people have to do an action to say "Yes, I want to receive emails from company X " rather than them having to UNTICK a box and opt out of the the mailings.

Permission based marketing

Quite simply the practice of marketing to contacts that have given you their permission to do so.


A form of identity theft in which scammers/spammers use an authentic looking email to trick recipients into giving out sensitive personal information, such as credit card or bank accounts. It also refers to the technique where people type a web address into an email but then embed a different link behind it.

Preview Pane

The Preview Pane is often referred to when talking about how people view their emails, it refers to the main viewer found within Outlook, Hotmail, etc when you do a single click on an email, rather than a double click which opens it up separately


Software as a Service is the term used to describe software that you access and use but don’t actually purchase outright and then download. So for instance you might pay a monthly subscription to access and use a CRM system but if you stop paying that monthly subscription you will no longer be able to use the software.

Sales pipeline

Sometimes also called a Sales Funnel, it’s a term used by people within Sales (no prizes for guessing that one) that identifies a series of steps each prospective customer goes through on the journey to (hopefully) becoming an actual customer. Typically starting as a ‘new opportunity’, followed by ‘initial contact’, through to ‘solution evaluation’, ‘negotiation’ and ‘purchase order’. CRM systems are helpful in tracking the sales pipeline process and allowing anyone involved with that prospective customer to see at what stage they are at in the process.


Search Engine Optimisation is the art of ensuring your website appears high up in search engine’s results. Many factors affect SEO but ensuring your site contains the right keywords to describe the content of your site to the search engine is crucial.

Single opt in

When a contact has indicated that they agree for you to contact them, by email or SMS for example. They may have signed up for communications via your website or you may have spoken to them at a tradeshow and taken their details.

Soft bounce

A term used to describe what happens when an email does reach the recipient’s email server but is undelivered to a recipient even though their email address is valid. This might happen if the recipient’s email inbox is full but the message could still be delivered at another time.


Spam is usually associated with email but can also apply to any other forms of communication such as SMS and direct mail. Essentially it is the practice of indiscriminately sending bulk marketing or communications to recipients you do not have a relationship with and who have not given you their permission to do so. Said to be named after the infamous Monty Python spam sketch where the only thing on the menu was…you guessed it, spam.

Spam Traps

Spam Traps are a way that ISPs (Internet Service Providers) can track who is spamming and who isn't. Basically, if an email address hasn't been used in a long time, they take it over and leave it as an active email address so they can monitor the emails that are sent in. If you send an email to a spam trap it normally downgrades your sending score, meaning other emails you send to that email client might not reach their destination

Suppression list

This list contains the email addresses of any contacts or customers who have decide to opt out of receiving communications from you by unsubscribing. CRM systems will hold their email addresses in a suppression list so that each time you send out a new campaign, it actively ‘suppresses’ that address and does not send to it.

Reply To Address

The email address that receives messages sent from users who click "reply" in their email clients. This can be different from the "From" email address which the campaign was sent from.


With all forms of marketing, you should segment your data to become really targetted in what you do. Segmentation is the ability to slice a list of contacts up into smaller, more targetted groups.


Spam is unsolicited email, basically email which you never actually signed up for or opted in to receive. Around 68.8% of the world's email traffic is thought to be spam.

Spam Filters

Spam Filters are the gate keepers to the recipient's inboxes, they determine what will and what won't be allowed in based upon different criteria


This is the practice of regulating how many email messages a broadcaster sends to one mailbox provider or mail server at a time. Some mailbox providers bounce email if it receives too many messages.


When a customer decides they no longer want to receive communications from your business they click on the unsubscribe link in the email to notify you and effectively are requesting you to remove them from your mailing list. By law any company engaging with customers or contacts via email must include an unsubscribe link within the email to give recipients the option to unsubscribe at any time. Companies that do not adhere to the legal requirements on unsubscribing not only run the risk of being blacklisted by ISPs (for spamming) but can also be reported to the Information Commissioners Office for the UK who uphold the Data Protection Act and other consumer protection laws.


An online version of a paper form, webforms are built into websites and gather information that a user enters through a series of check boxes and fields. This could include personal and credit card information for a purchase on an e-commerce site, or simply be how someone signs up to your email newsletters.


A list of contacts that the user deems are acceptable to receive email from and should not be filtered or sent to the trash/junk/spam folder


What you See is What you Get. A slightly strange term to describe the way in which you might put together an email campaign or copy and content for a web page. Essentially WYSIWYG means that as you create text and content, say within an email editor, it will be displayed to you exactly as it will appear in its final form – either within the finished email that you will send or on the published web page.