Social Media: Email: A Glossary of Terms

I’m sure you’ve seen those beautiful emails that look like mini-websites. They compel you to click on something, take action, scroll, read, look and in some cases watch video. They can even compel you to purchase something without leaving your email server. You wonder how you could send one of those beautiful emails because it would be perfect for your art. Wouldn’t it?

Scroll to the bottom, the next time you receive one of those beautiful emails. You will see a number of interesting things – in the small type. You will always see an “Unsubscribe” button, a “Forward” button, information about the sender, social networking buttons, and usually a logo from a commercial email service. Constant Contact, Mail Chimp and MailGen are the most popular.

Besides enabling you to send those beautiful emails there are a number of advantages to using a commercial email service. The primary one is that your emails will be likely to get through a SPAM filter in an email server (like AOL, Gmail or Yahoo), the email you use for day to day communications.

Before you start using a commercial email service there rae some things that you will want to know, so here is a glossary of commonly used email terms.

Opt In/Subscribe – when someone gives you their email address voluntarily.

Opt Out/Unsubscribe – when someone asks not to receive emails from an email list. There is usually an automated way for them to do this in commercial email and that’s usually referred to as Opt Out.

Subject Line – a line of copy that will appear before the recipient opens the email. It will inform them what the email is about and entice them to open your email. It’s important to be catchy without being SPAMMY.

Attachment – a file (such as a .jpg, .doc, .pdf, etc.) that is attached to an email but not in the text area of the email.

Block – an action by an email service provider or recipient that won’t allow your emails to go through. This is usually because the server perceives your email as SPAM (this is why it’s important to be catchy without sounding like SPAM); or the recipient (for some strange reason) has set your email address up on a blocked list.

Bounce – an email message that is not delivered promptly or at all. There are a number of reasons as to why this can happen. An invalid email address, the recipient has a full inbox, the email server perceives your email as SPAM and sends it back. When this happens you will probably get an email that says Mailer Daemon in the subject line. You can ignore it and just delete it. If you’re using a commercial email service you will be able to track how many bounced and how many times. I recommend removing an email address from your list after it has bounced three times.

Click Through/Conversion – when someone takes a desired action in the commercial email that you sent. Such as clicking on a link, making a purchase, forwarding your email, etc.

Content – the information, text, images, video, etc. that appear in the body/text area of your email.

Digest – a shortened version/synopsis of an email newsletter that replaces full-length articles. There will be clickable links, often with a brief summary of the contents. This is usually sent to inform your recipients of a blog post or from a Social Networking Group.

Email Address – a combination of the username and a domain name }
(such as

Email Filter – a software tool that categorizes, sorts or blocks incoming email, based either on the recipients preferences, the sender and how they conduct themselves in the email content (does the server perceive it as SPAM?).

Email Server or just Server – the company that allows you to send private email such as AOL, Gmail, Yahoo, MSN, Optonline, etc.

Email Newsletter – an email with news about what you are doing and/or editorial information that is sent on a regular basis. Monthly, quarterly, etc. TIP: Recipients find these very interesting and engaging.

Footer – information in small type at the bottom of an email. This information can include an unsubscribe button, forward button, social networking buttons, information about the sender and a logo from a commercial email service.

List Fatigue – a condition producing fewer and fewer returns from a mailing list whose members are sent too many emails. Don’t worry, I’m almost 100% sure that this won’t happen to you, even if you send emails three times a week. Remember that your subscribers asked to be on your list and are therefore interested in you and your art.

List Management – how your email list is set up, administered and maintained. A commercial service will make this very simple and easy because it will be automated – and most likely take care of itself.

List Owner – that’s you! The person who has spent the time and the effort to build a dedicated email list.

List RentalWarning! Please Do Not Ever, Ever Do This! Do not spend money to rent a list (I guarantee that you will be wasting your money) and Do Not Rent Your List to someone else. Your email list is like gold. It’s precious and your subscribers are counting on you to protect their privacy. Don’t ever violate that trust. You also want to ensure that the people you are sending your emails to will be interested and engaged.

Privacy Policy – this should be made 100% clear to your email recipients all the time, on your website, the bottom of every email, when your subscribers Opt-In to your list.

Signature – a line or two of information found in the closing of an email usually the sender’s name. Signatures can also include information, such as your name, art, a branding message or a call to action (which is a conversion).

I want to stress again that with a minimal, ongoing dedicated effort it is so easy to build your email list for free that it is not necessary to rent an email list. In fact, it is considered a nefarious practice to sell one. Don’t worry, there are tips for building your email list in the next chapter.



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