Glossary of Database Marketing Terms

Above-the-fold - The top part of an email or web page that is seen without scrolling. This is a favoured placement for content and advertisements because of its visibility.

Auto responder - A set of immediate or time-delayed messages that are emailed to someone after they request something. It is a program or a script that automatically sends a response when someone sends a message to its address. The most common uses of auto responders are for subscribe and unsubscribe confirmations, welcome emails, customer-support enquiries and purchases.

Bounce rate - The number of emails that were returned as undeliverable divided by the total number of emails sent (multiply this number by 100 to express the result as a percentage).

Bouncedemail - A bounced email is an email that is returned back to the server that sent it. A bounced email is classified as either a "hard bounce" or a "soft bounce." A hard bounce is the failed delivery of email due to a permanent reason like a non-existent address. A soft bounce is the failed delivery of email due to a temporary issue, like a full mailbox or an unavailable server.

Calls to action - Words that offer the opportunity and encourage the prospect to take action. For example, "Click here to see a product tour" or "Add this product to your wish list."

Campaign - An email marketing message or a series of messages designed to accomplish an overall goal.

Click-through tracking - Tracking the number of clicks that occur on each link in an email message to give specific results for a campaign eg. which offers/lead-ins worked, what areas recipients are interested in learning more about etc.

Click-through - When a customer takes an action and clicks on a link.

Click-through rate (CTR) - To determine the click-through rate, divide the number of unique click-throughs by the number of emails delivered (multiply this number by 100 to express the result as a percentage).

Click-to-open rate (CTOR) - To determine the click-to-open rate, divide the number of unique click-throughs by the number of emails opened (multiply this number by 100 to express the result as a percentage).

Conversion rate - The number or percentage of recipients who respond to your call-to-action in a given email marketing campaign or promotion. This is the measure of your email campaign's success. You may measure conversion in sales, phone calls, appointments etc.

CSV comma separated value - A specific format in which each new field is separated by a comma. Example: John,Smith,,male,37.

Custom field personalisation - The ability to, on the fly for each email, insert data from the database into specific fields in an email. For example, one may place Dear [firstname] in an email. When each email is sent out, a call to the database is made to retrieve the actual first name of that contact within your list. It then 'pastes' this data into the email. Dear John or Dear Judy will result. This is a powerful tool as it allows our customers to send out personalized emails to their contacts to get greater responses from their efforts.

Custom fields - Fields that one may use to personalize each message (see custom field personalization) and/or to sort by for sending niche targeted messages. These custom fields allow Clients to import and store additional data such as address, city, state, zip code, country, birthday, spouse's name, business type, product purchased, date of purchase, or any other data.

Database - A storing of records. Databases are made up of tables. Tables are made up of columns and rows. Data is stored in a field (aka cell). The type of database that this system uses is a MySQL database. Databases store demographic data about the size and characteristics of an audience, such as age, sex, geographical location etc.

Demographics - Data about the size and characteristics of audience, such as age gender, income etc.

E-zine - An e-zine is an electronic magazine emailed to a list of subscribers. Advertisers pay to have their ad (text, HTML or both depending on the publication) inserted into the body of the email. Buying ad space in an e-zine or email newsletter, or sponsoring a specific article or series of articles allow advertisers to reach a targeted audience driving traffic to a website, store or office, signups to a newsletter or sales of a product or service.

Email appending - Email appending is the practice in which a marketer leverages offline data to match profiles with users and contacts them via email.

Email blacklists - Lists of IP addresses that are being used by or belong to organizations or individuals that have been identified as sending spam. Blacklists are often used by organizations and Internet Service Providers as part of their filtering process to block all incoming mail from a particular IP address (or block of addresses). You can check blacklists at and

Email blocking - Email blocking typically refers to blocking by ISPs. Emails that are blocked are not processed through the ISP and are essentially prevented from reaching their addressed destination. ISPs actively block email coming from suspected spammers and emails with content that is potentially spam.

Email client - What a person uses to view their email. Popular email clients include Microsoft Outlook, AOL mail reader, and Eudora. There are also popular web-based email clients including Hotmail and Yahoo. Often, HTML messages will display differently in different email clients.

Email contextual link - A Web link incorporated into a line of text. These replace the 'click here' action words.

Email frequency - The intervals at which email marketing efforts are repeated: weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, bi-monthly, etc.

Email newsletter - An email message sent out to a group of subscribers with relevant information on a topic. Often used to build business reputation, attract new customers, add value to to existing customers, or simply as a means of distributing new information on products and services.

Excel - A spreadsheet program which is part of the Microsoft Office Suite. Used by many organizations to store the data for their lists before import. Can be used to convert data into (save as) CSV format, or a quicker way for adding your custom fields.

Hard bounce - A hard bounce is the failed delivery of an email due to a permanent reason, such as a non-existent email address (see also: Soft bounce).

House list - A permission-based list that you build yourself. Use it to market, cross sell and up-sell, and to establish a relationship with customers over time. Your house list is one of your most valuable assets because it is 7 times less expensive to market to an existing customer than it is to acquire a new one. Use every opportunity to add to it and use it.

HTML - Hypertext Markup Language, the basic programming language of the Internet.

HTML built-in editor - Allows users to create their own HTML newsletters right on the sending page, without knowing HTML.

HTML email - An email that is formatted using Hypertext Markup Language instead of plain text. HTML makes it possible to include unique fonts, graphics and background colors. HTML makes an email more interesting and when used properly can generate higher response rates than plain text.

HTML templates - An arrangement of graphics within which email newsletter content can be inserted.

Importing - Bringing subscribers into the system in mass quantities. Once a data file is in the proper CSV format, it can be easily imported into the system.

ISP - The provider of dial-up or broadband internet service that a consumer or business uses. Common ISPs are AOL, Bigpond, and Optus Net.

Landing page - A web page that is linked (hyper linked) to an email for the purpose of providing additional information directly related to products or services promoted in the email.

Links - Text links, hyperlinks, graphics or images that, when clicked or pasted into a browser, send the prospect to another online location (e.g. a landing page or other pages of a website). Links in emails are a call-to-action. To be most effective in motivating action, links should be visible, clear and compelling.

Mailing list - A group of email addresses (with or without additional information) to which specific mailings are sent.

Multi-part MIME - All messages have a header on them called Content-Type. A message can be sent as text, text/html, or multipart/alternative. If it is sent as multipart/alternative, the message is sent using formatting referred to as Multi-part MIME. The advantage of sending via multi-part MIME is that the email will automatically display as HTML if the subscriber's email client can read HTML, but revert to text if the subscriber's email client cannot read HTML, or has it turned off. Within a multi-part MIME email, both the HTML message and text message are sent. Between the HTML message and the text message there is a boundary. This boundary is defined in the Content-type header.

Multiple message autoresponder - A series of messages that is sent out at certain time intervals which are set by the Client. One could use a multiple message autoresponder to send out a week only sale for example. One email ("tip") would be sent each day for 7 days. This can be a very good way to increase a visitor to sale conversion rate, build a relationship with a prospect, and improve the likelihood of a prospect or customer remembering your brand. Examples include a weekly goal sheet or a series of welcome letters for new clients that begin as soon as they become a client.

Open - "Opened" messages include HTML emails that have been fully opened in the email client or viewed in a preview pane, as long as images have been enabled. Opens are generally tracked by inserting a small clear image in an HTML message. When a message is opened and images are enabled, the image calls the server and the message is then counted as an open. Text messages cannot be tracked as opened because they cannot include images (within this program's reporting, however, when a user clicks on a link in a text message, that is reported as an open).

Open rate - The number of emails opened divided by the total number of emails delivered (multiply this number by 100 to express the result as a percentage).

Opt in - Opt in is the action a person takes when he or she actively agrees, by email or other means, to receive communications (see also: Double Opt In).

Opt out - Opt out is the action a person takes when he or she chooses not to receive communications. It requires tactics and mechanisms by which people can ask to be removed reliably from an email list.

Permission-based email - Email sent to recipients who have opted-in or subscribed to receive email communications from a particular company, website or individual. Permission is an absolute prerequisite for legitimate and profitable email marketing.

Personalisation - The practice of building an email such that the recipient feels it is a more personal message. Personalization can include a number of things, such as mail merging a name into the subject line, referring to previous purchases, or more dynamic content based on demographic fields using your custom fields set up within your contacts list.

Privacy policy - A clear description of a website or company's policy on the use of information collected from and about website visitors, such as what they do and don't do with the data. Your privacy policy builds trust especially among those who opt-in to receive e-mail from you or those who register on your site. If subscribers, prospects and customers know their information is safe with you, and you will not pass on their details to others - they will likely share more information with you making your relationship that much more valuable.

ROI (return on investment) - The amount of money one makes from an investment divided by initial investment. An important aspect of business success.

Signup form - A form that is on a website and allows visitors to subscribe to a company's newsletters, announcement lists etc.

Spoofing - The falsification of an email header so that the email appears to have originated from someone or somewhere other than the actual source. Illegitimate marketers use spoofing to disguise their identity in an attempt to commit fraud and avoid prosecution for sending UCE or spam. Australian law prohibits spoofing, however, until sender identity can be established, spammers will continue to escape the law.

Subject line - The title of the email communication. This is the first element of the communication recipients will see when they access their email. It has to grab attention and be credible or the email will not get opened. Your subject line should be short (30 - 40 characters including spaces, or 5-8 words), and it should include a specific benefit that accurately reflects your message in order to be effective.

Targeting - Selecting a target audience or group of individuals (through your custom fields) likely to be interested in a certain product, service or message. Targeting is very important for an e-mail marketer because targeted and relevant e-mail campaigns yield a higher response and result in fewer unsubscribes.

Tracking/reporting - Collecting and evaluating the statistics from which one can measure the effectiveness of an email campaign, such as ecards, newsletters or surveys. This is made very easy with the reporting tools in this system.

UCE (Unsolicited Commercial Email) - UCE is also referred to as spam. It is commercial email sent without the recipient's express permission.

Unique click - A unique click is a single click made by a single user. When unique clicks are measured, it is an aggregate number of how many times that URL was clicked by individual users (not the complete total of all users, all clicks).

Unsubscribe link - The footnote link at the bottom of each email which allows visitors to unsubscribe or modify/update their information.

URL (or Universal Resource Locator) - A website, page or any other document address or location on the Internet. URLs indicate the location of every file on every computer accessible through the Internet. For example,

USP (Unique Selling Proposition) - Your USP is the unique attribute(s) of your business that makes your company, product or service the best solution to a problem, the best way to fulfill a need or desire or the best way to achieve a goal. Your USP answers the prospect's question: "Why should I do business with you instead of someone else?"

Viral marketing - A type of marketing that is carried out voluntarily by a company's customers. It is often referred to as word-of-mouth advertising. Email has made this type of marketing very prevalent. Tools such as "send this page, article or website to a friend" encourage people to refer or recommend your company product, service or a specific offer to others. Hence the reason all communication messages withinthis database marketing systemhave this as a standard inclusion (except surveys and e-cards).

Web-based - Can be logged into online (on the internet).

Whitelist - The opposite of a blacklist. It is a list of all the authorised senders from whom emails will be accepted. To whitelist a sender in Outlook, right click on an email from them and select 'Add sender to safe senders list', or add the email address to your contacts.

WIIFM or "What's In It For Me?" - The question at the forefront of every email recipient's mind when making a decision to open, read and take action on your email (e.g. click on a link, call for an appointment, visit an office or retail location). Therefore careful consideration must be given to your copy to ensure it is talking to your recipients - not just you talking about your business/service/offering.

You can watch a Database Marketing Overview Tutorial Video we've prepared by clicking here.

Last Modified: 12 August 2022
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