How does your email compare to the competition?

“Is my open rate good?”, “What’s too high for spam complaints”. These are questions we get all the time at ReachMail and the short but unsatisfying answer is “it depends”

A first start is to compare your metrics vs the competition. Our friends at ReturnPath have just published a study comparing seventeen different industries and how each industry performed according to selected metrics. Here’s the chart:

How to interpret the data?
You’ll notice right away that ReturnPath has some different metric names than ReachMail. For example:

Read Rate – is similar to open rate but it’s not exactly the same. In fact it’s always going to be higher than your ReachMail open rate. Why? ReachMail measures opens by placing a tiny invisible pixel linked to a web link open counter on your email that measures each time that link is opened. This pixel is technically an “image”. What happens if someones email settings are “images off” and they open your email. In ReachMail we won’t count it. ReturnPath actually monitors real inboxes and can tell who “read” the email even with images off.

Complaint Rate – your ReachMail Spam Complaint rate is calculated the same as ReturnPath’s – the rate at which your messages are marked as spam.

Space Placement Rate –  this can be only determined if you can see into the actual inbox of individual subscribers. ReturnPath has a system to do just that. This information is not available in ReachMail – however you can use open rates as a proxy for spam placement rate.

Delete before Reading rate – means that the subscriber didn’t just ignore you – they deleted. This is not available in ReachMail however it’s an interesting metric by industry

Forward Rate – generally this metric is extremely small for almost all industries but it does indicate interest. At ReachMail – we do see this substantially higher for business-to-business marketers indicating recipients share your offer to colleagues.

The Essential Email Marketing Dictionary

At ReachMail we deal with the A to Z of email marketing everyday – everything from Autoresponders to Zapier but we realized that we needed a comprehensive guide to email marketing terms – so we created this helpful dictionary of important terms for you to know..  We will be updating this post as email evolves and new terms come to the fore. Feel free to bookmark and enjoy!

Sign up for a free email marketing account here.


A/B testing
This is a testing methodology for making a comparison between two versions of an email to gather information about which yields the better performance. Also called “split testing” and “bucket testing.” Typical comparisons include differing subject lines, length of content, colors, images, and so forth.

Example: Your email list contains 30,000 addresses. Rather than blasting an email to everyone, you might A/B test two different versions sent simultaneously to two groups of 5,000 users. After 24 hours, you can analyze the results and statistics to see which version performed best. You can then send the successful email to the remaining 20,000 users. (Learn how to do A/B email testing here)

Acceptance rate
The percentage of emails not rejected/bounced by a recipient’s mail servers. Note: server acceptance of an email does not guarantee it will actually arrive in a user’s inbox, merely that the server did not reject it outright.

An advertising network using advanced behavioral analysis technology to more accurately target users in social advertising and marketing over email and on search engines. Adknowldege uses an online marketplace to allow advertisers to place bids for traffic; for those who wish to gather quality clicks from outside the Google or Yahoo! ecosystems, Adknowledge is the singular choice.

Affiliate marketers can use Adknowledge to create additional income based on their customer list. When you load a list into Reachmail, Adknowledge can match each subscriber with a tailored special offer based on their known interests.

ALT tags
An “alternate” text description of an image’s contents displayed in a web browser or email client when the file fails to load or does not appear.

“Application programming interface” — a special set of rules and features used by software to communicate and interact with other programs. APIs allow you to connect one app to another for information sharing, data collection, and more. (Send email via an API here)

An important digital tool to fight spam and spoofing (obfuscating the true origin of an email and impersonating another user). Authentication is the process for verifying a user’s identity in a target system or environment. This process can identify if an email originated with the domain and sender it claims it did.

Autoresponders automatically generate and send an email (or a series of emails) based on a given event, such as a new user sign-up or an opt-in request. Example: A new user receives a friendly “Welcome” email automatically followed by a series of informational emails. Autoresponders can issue just one or an infinite number of emails in a series.


Behavioral email
Any email that is based on the actions that your customer takes when interacting with your business. A classic example is a “Shopping Cart Abandonment” email, triggered when you fill your online shopping cart yet don’t complete the purchase. You may receive a “Come back!” email encouraging you to finish buying an item. Behavioral emails are used for data driven marketing as way to customize which email messages a subscriber gets based on how they have behaved in the past.

A common term used in email marketing to denote a protocol used to identify and block spammers based on the IPs and domains from which they send emails. This is a literal “list” used by email servers to identify and block fraudulent email. This is an effective and independent tool that is essential in the automated maintenance of emails. However, it is not perfect and may mistakenly mark good senders as bad.

A block occurs when a user specifies that they want to ignore all messages from a specific sender. This automatically sends those messages to the spam folder.

The rejection of an email by a recipient’s email server. All emails that are undeliverable are called bounces and break down into temporary and permanent problem categories. See also: soft bounce, hard bounce.

Bounce back
An automatically generated message returned to the sender to report that their message could not be delivered. This message includes the reason for the bounce and allows the sender to know something disrupted the delivery of this email. The included code can be used to understand what happened.

Bounce rate
The bounce rate represents the percentage of sent messages that were not delivered to an inbox. This can be due to “soft” or “hard” bounces. To calculate the bounce rate, the number of bounced messages is divided by the number of delivered messages and expressed as a percentage. Bounce rates can help judge the health of a campaign. (See bounce rates and other key metrics in detailed reporting)

The process of sending the same email message to many email recipients. Examples include an email newsletter sent to subscribers or sales promotions sent to the ecommerce customer of a retailer.

Bulk folder
Also commonly called the “junk folder,” this is where all questionable emails go in an inbox. The bulk mail folder contains spam or incoming messages that are addressed to many recipients.


Call to Action (CTA)
A CTA is a common technique for motivating subscribers to do something, like click on a link. A CTA is an engaging or persuasive button or link that customers feel compelled to click. CTAs are used in email and web marketing and use common phrases such as “Click now,” “Respond today,” “Claim your free gift,” and so on.

Also referred to as an “email blast,” a campaign is the process of creating and sending one refined marketing message to many subscribers at once.

The 2003 United States law that regulates email marketing, “Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing.” It requires: a way to opt out of future messages; the display of your full company name and postal address; and that your email not contain blatantly fraudulent or pornographic content

CASL (Canadian Anti-Spam Law)
The CASL is an act that outlines new requirements and rules for how commercial electronic messages (CEM) are sent. Its key feature requires Canadian and global organizations to receive consent from recipients before sending CEMs within, from, or to Canada. It is Canada’s version of the CAN-SPAM Act.

A cinemagraph is a still photograph created to contain a small moving element while the rest of the image remains perfectly frozen. It is a unique way of emphasizing particular details.

The action of an email recipient clicking on a link – a URL i.e.

Click Through Rate (CTR)
The ratio of users who click on a specific link in your email to the total number of total users who received your email. It is used as one of the main marketing metrics that show the engagement level of your audience.

Click-to-Open Rate
A statistic used to compare the number of people that opened an email to the number that actually clicked a link inside the email. The number indicates the effectiveness of the email message. If it creates enough interest, more recipients click through to learn more; a higher CTOR signals a better campaign.

Complaint Rate
The total number of times that users report a messages spam, divided by the total number of emails that were sent. Some Email Service Providers add in the number of people who opted out and gave the reason as spam. Any complaint rate that is greater than 1 in a thousand tends to hurt email deliverability.

Confidence Level
The likelihood that your email campaign will generate the appropriate response you’re looking for, especially as expressed after an A/B test. A 95% confidence levels means that 95 out of every 100 emails will receive the desired result. The higher the number of samples used to create your confidence level, the higher it will be.

Confirmed Opt-in
Confirmed opt in refers to when a user has subscribed to a newsletter or other email marketing message by explicitly requesting it and then confirming the email address to be their own.

Content and Assets
The “Content and Assets” section in ReachMail refers to the folder that you can use to store images, PDFs, and Word documents. Content refers to any material you use on the web that is of potential value to your customers. This can include marketing emails, blog posts, how-to videos etc. Assets can be any element that can be used to in your content.

Content Library
The content library is a group of materials and messages that can be shared with users again and again. It is a bank of stored content that a user can access after registering their email address.

Cost per thousand (CPM)
A marketing term to measure the price of every 1,000 emails sent. It may also be used to mean the cost of every 1,000 advertising impressions on a page. To calculate: multiply your cost by the number of total impressions, then divide that number by 1,000. Also referred to as “CPM,” using the Latin term for thousand (mille).

Cascading Style Sheets, a web-design process for combining several style sheets and resolving any conflicts between them. It can enable the separation of a document’s content from the way it is presented, and is a more advanced way to create HTML emails.

Custom Template
An email template that is specifically designed for your marketing efforts by including include your logo, colors, font, and all associated branding. It should echo the look and feel of your website and complements all your other online marketing efforts. (ReachMail provides a free custom template for paid accounts)


Dedicated server
A dedicated server is a single computer in a network reserved for a single customer or purpose. With email, it refers to a server set up exclusively to send your company’s email messages — no other company or organization has access to its resources.

Also referred to as “inbox placement,” deliverability is a measure of how often emails make it to an inbox. Good deliverability means your emails reach their intended recipients with very few exceptions; poor deliverability can signify a big problem. It primarily depends upon whether the recipient wants to receive your email, but other factors come into play too: authentication configurations, the quality of the content’s code and formatting, and the reputation of the sender’s IP addresses and domains.

This is the number of emails successfully reaching the subscribers inbox. They usually are defined as total volume of mail sent minus any bounced content.

Delivery rate
The percentage of emails delivered successfully to inboxes, calculated by subtracting both hard and soft bounces from the total number of emails sent. The resulting number is then divided by the gross total, yielding the delivery rate. This is one of the most important metrics for success in email marketing, and you will have to determine what rate you hope to achieve.

Disengaged email addresses are people on your email list who haven’t opened or clicked in an extended period. Sending to disengaged recipients hurts your email deliverability.

DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail)
A protocol that lets organizations take responsibility for transmitting an email. Their efforts are digitally verifiable by mailbox providers. DKIM is used to help cut down on and prevent spam.

A domain name is the “online” location of a website and may comprise one or more IP addresses. URLs use domain names to identify web pages. A domain may be as short as one character or as long as sixty-three, but they’re often easy to remember ways to visit your favorite sites.

Drip Marketing
An email marketing strategy that ensures there is always a steady flow of scheduled email marketing messages relevant to the recipient. The goal is to “drip” information to the subscriber. By gradually educating and ultimately exciting the user with content, you can spur them to action such making a purchasing or engaging with a website. Autoresponders are a common tool for drip marketing.

Duplicate Mailing
The process of copying an existing email, including the “From” address, hyperlinks, and all its HTML content. This allows you to easily modify a previous mailing into a brand-new mail to put into the pipeline.

Dynamic content
Email or webpage content that regularly or constantly changes based on a user’s activities. You can pre-define certain conditions, such as particular user signals, to automatically adapt the content to better interest the user. Dynamic content allows websites to present different content and approaches to different users.


Email analytics
A digital methodology for analyzing email behavior, used by marketers seeking more in-depth data about how recipients interact with their messages. Analytic metrics used often include email opens, clickthroughs, and any further engagement recorded by a user’s visit to the sender’s website.

Email client
A client is any program that allows users to send, receive, and read emails. Microsoft Outlook is the most commonly known client used for managing emails, but in recent years web-based clients have come to dominate the market. These include Microsoft’s and Google’s Gmail service.

Email domain
The web address that follows the @ symbol in an email address and tells an email server where to send a message.

Email harvesting
The unethical process of obtaining large numbers of email addresses through methods that include theft, purchase, or automated gathering programs. Basing email campaigns on harvested lists often yields poor deliverability and can result in domain blacklisting. The primary users of harvested lists are spammers.

Email Phishing
Any email message that appears to come from a legitimate institution or business and tries to direct users to a fake or compromised website in an attempt to gain personally identifiable information. Phishing is a key factor in identity theft and many email servers now use anti-phishing filters.

Email queue
Emails scheduled to be sent go into this digital “line” on an email server to wait their turn while the server processes each email. The server then transmits these emails at a very high rate.

Email shares
The number of times users have posted your emails on social media or forwarded them to another user, widening their reach and impact.

Emoji are the next generation of the old-fashioned emoticon. These small, digital images and icons can be used to express ideas, emotions, and more. Email marketing messages can now include Emoji to increase their impact and relatability. The word derives from the Japanese words for picture (e) and character (moji).

Any type of interaction a subscriber has with one of your marketing emails. This could be an open, clicks inside the email, forwards to other users, or even a share on social media. Interactions define the success of an email.

ESP (Email Service Provider)
An ESP or an email service provider is any company that offers you services for sending email to customers and list subscribers. They can simplify the process by providing platforms purpose-built for sending mass emails or transactional (one at a time) emails.


An area at the end of an email message or newsletter that contains information that doesn’t change from one email to the next, such as contact information, the company’s postal address and the unsubscribe link. The CAN-SPAM law requires these elements.

Any email sent onward by one user to another user who was not the original recipient. This is a useful statistic to track to see when subscribers manually send your emails to others not on your list.

From address
This indicates where the email is coming from and identifies who the sender is. The format is always

From domain
The domain that is contained within the from address. For example, the from domain of the from name is


“Graphic Interchange Format,” an image file format often used for the display of animated pictures. No matter how you pronounce it, it’s identified by the file extension .GIF.

Global Opt Outs
A global opt-out is a feature that email service providers use to allow customers to opt out of all e-mail communication. If they signed up for multiple email newsletters, a global opt-out will remove them from every list immediately.

Google Analytics
A web analytics service offered by Google that tracks and reports website traffic and interactions by your visitors. Google Analytics can also include email campaigns and assists in tracking what happens on your website as a result of your emails. This requires connecting your email service provider with Google Analytics and provides a wealth of valuable data.

The use of an inactive email to trap spam.

Gray Mail
“Gray mail” is any email that a user signed up for voluntarily but which they no longer wish to receive. Most marketers will experience problems with gray mail that result in elevate spam complaints, especially if the opt-out process is difficult.

A folder within your ReachMail account for keeping lists or mailings.


Hard Bounce
An email message returned to the sender because the recipient’s address is invalid or does not exist. This is a type of deliverability problem that occurs due to a “permanent” error. It may be the result of account deletion, or it may be the result of typos and other syntax errors.

Important routing and program information placed at the start of every email message. This includes the sender’s name and email address, the originating email server’s IP address, the recipient’s IP address, and any transfers that occur. See also: footer.

Honey Pot
A decoy computer system such as a web server meant to trap spammers who harvest email addresses and to identify their digital origin. Email blacklisting services regard users sending mail to emails operated as honeypots as spammers.

House List
Your own list of email addresses generated by people signing up on your website or otherwise giving you permission to send email to them.

Hypertext Markup Language — one of the most common languages used to create webpages and digital content on the Internet. HTML is used to create complex and visually interesting emails. Any email message that contains any type of formatting beyond basic text is classed as an HTML email.


Image Blocking
A setting used by email clients to block incoming images for security reasons, allowing only text to be displayed unless a user opts to download the content. If an image is blocked, the email will instead display its Alt text.

Image Library
An easily accessible repository for images that you can use repeatedly after uploading. An image library is any sufficiently large enough collection of images that can be searched and indexed. ReachMail offers users access to an unlimited image library.

Inactive recipients are addresses that are marked as a hard bounce or opt out. These addresses are not eligible to receive mail.

Inbox Placement Rate
An important rate based on overall deliverability. It is used to determine the percentage of sent emails that reached the recipients’ inbox. To calculate, take the number of emails that reached an inbox and divide it by the number of emails sent.

Inbox Preview
This is a feature that allows you to see how your email will look and perform on a variety of popular email clients before you send it. Popular services include Litmus Inc.

An “Internet Protocol” address. This is a unique address used by computers to identify themselves. With an IP address, a device can communicate with other devices over a network such as the Internet. IPs play an important role in identifying senders and recipients online.

In the email world, ISPs (Internet Service Providers) typically refer to the major recipients of marketing email messages — usually Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft, Comcast, AT&T, AOL, and other providers. They are the primary gatekeepers between Email Service Providers and your subscribers.


An image file format commonly used on the web and in email messages, recognizable by the file extensions .JPEG or .JPG.


Landing page
A landing page, sometimes called a destination page, is the web page that visitors arrive at after they click the link included on an email message. It’s often a specifically designed page for an email campaign.

List Broker
A marketing company that lists or sells contact information for marketing. Most email service providers ban the usage of purchased lists as it constitutes spamming.

List Cleaning
A process that compares your list to a known list of invalid email addresses, checks for proper syntax and expired domains. Some list cleaning services also attempt to validate that the remaining email addresses are valid.

List Churn
The list of subscribers that have discontinued their emails or unsubscribed from your list.

List Engagement Scanner
A process that allows you to identify which subscribers engage with your email campaigns within a set of period of time. This is useful for culling the list of those who no longer want to receive your messages due to a lack of interest.

List Fatigue
The reduction of responses and interactions on email lists that occurs over time. Disengaged subscribers are characteristic of email list fatigue. This is most often the result when a marketer sends too many messages or those with irrelevant content.

List Growth
The positive change in the number of active subscribers after you remove those subscribers who’ve opted out. List growth is a key indicator of your marketing health.

List Hygiene
The process of maintaining an email subscriber list that maximizes its efficiency. This includes taking care of unsubscribe requests and removing email addresses that bounce while also updating valid email addresses. Most email service providers include this automatically.

List Rental
An arrangement between companies that allows a list of names and addresses of possible customers to be rented by one firm from another. It is permissible to use lists this way when the owner of the list sends the renter’s message on their behalf. This way, the renter never engages with the owner’s users on their own.

List Segments
A subset of an email list; you can break your list into as many smaller segments as you want based on certain conditions. See also: segmentation.


Mailing Volume
The absolute quantity of email sent out over a given period, representing the total number of issued emails.

Manage lists
An organized maintenance routine meant to optimize delivery and response rates by keeping the list free from disengaged emails while also dividing your list into manageable segments.

Marketing Automation
An automation of the engagement process that adjusts marketing messaged based on known end user interactions. Based on this data, users receive messages with different content at different intervals in order to maximize their long-term engagement and optimize revenue.

MIME (Multi-Purpose Internet Mail Extensions)
A special format that allows the display of either HTML or text-only emails to a recipient based on the user’s email client settings. Some clients allow only text and will never see elaborate HTML messages. If a client allows HTML, they receive the full content.


Any time an email subscriber clicks on an email to view its contents. When a user opens an email, it can also load an tiny, invisible image, often only a few pixels, hosted on a server. This enables the tracking of the email.

Openers are all the individual recipients in an email campaign who have opened the campaign’s email one or more times. Each individual is counted one time. (See examples explained here)

Opens are the total number of opened emails within a campaign. Each open is counted, even if an individual has opened an email more than once.

Opt-in Box
These are the sign-up boxes located on a website where a subscriber provides their email address. Additional fields can include name, phone number, and specific product interests.

Opt-in Rate
This refers to the percentage of site visitors who subscribe to your email list.

Opt-out link
A mandatory inclusion in all email marketing messages to be CAN-SPAM compliant. This provides a way for a subscriber to stop receiving further email messages.

An overage in email marketing is when a user sends more emails than their plan provides for, and additional charges may apply.


The allowance granted by a user to an email marketer to use their email address for sending them messages. Consumers rightly assume this is a privilege that marketers will not abuse. When abuse does occur, consumers react strongly in the negative, marking further emails as spam.

Personalization is all about writing an email to make the recipient feel that was sent with him or her in mind. Personalization methods might include using the recipient’s name in the subject line or salutation, referring back to past purchases or communications, or offering special recommendations based on their buying patterns.

Plain text
Plain text is exactly what it sounds like: simple text, with no formatting options such as italics, bold, underlines, or special layout options. A plain text email can also not contain any no HTML coding, links, or images.

Portable Network Graphics, a file format (.PNG) used for the lossless compression of images in emails and on the web.

Preference Center
A digital hub that allows a subscriber to an email list to manage what types of messages they receive from a marketer. When you operate multiple newsletters at once, this is a very useful and user-friendly feature.

Pre-header text
A short summary text that comes after the subject line when an email is viewed in your inbox — often the first few lines of the email. Besides the subject, it is an important element users consider when determining whether or not to open an email.

Preview Pane
A section of the message that is seen before a user opens the full email. Optimizing this can improve open rates.

Privacy Policy
A complete public policy available on a company’s website that describes in detail how that company manages customer data, and what steps a user may take to modify or remove that data. Privacy policies provide an important framework for handling customer information. An example of a Privacy Policy.

Promotions tab
A tab or folder in a user’s Gmail account where Gmail places promotional offers and marketing emails. Gmail bases this placement on individual user actions and sender reputations.


Re-engagement campaign
A special email campaign sent to non-responsive email addresses on a marketer’s list, designed to reignite the user’s engagement with the marketer’s messages.

How an email displays on an email client when a recipient opens the email message.

To send the same email marketing message out to the same subscribers again. A highly risky activity as it can lead to a spike in spam complaints from users, ultimately tarnishing the sender’s reputation and hampering their deliverability.

Responsive design
An email designed to be responsive has been coded to be device-agnostic — in other words, it should display optimally whether opened on a desktop PC, a tablet, or a smartphone.

Responsive template
An email template built on responsive design principles.

Campaigns designed to target a marketer’s own customers, as opposed to a rental campaign, in which a marketer sends emails on their behalf to another brand’s customers.

Revenue per email sent
A measure of the gross revenue divided by the number of addresses that received marketing emails. This is a good way to derive a rough estimate of a campaign’s effectiveness.


Schedule and Send
The act of setting a future date and time for an email campaign inside your email management program. Once you’ve scheduled the campaign, there’s no further action required on your part — the email provider will send the out the campaign as requested at the right time.

An email campaign that is waiting to be sent at a future date and time by the email marketing program.

The processed used by spammers of using programs to search websites for email addresses to copy into a list for spam.

Seed list
A small list of email addresses that are used to send test email campaigns. Usually seed addresses are fully accessible to the marketer so you can review the email’s performance directly.

The act of dividing your email list into parts to provide more granular targeting for your campaigns. Common segmentation categories include geographic region, interest categories, purchasing behaviors, demographics, and many more. Each can be used to target specific email campaigns. By selecting audiences carefully, you can target those most likely to engage.

Sender Score
An independent service that grades the reputation of outgoing mail servers on a scale of 0 to 100. A higher score indicates a more trustworthy sender and one less likely to send spam. It is compiled through a trusted cooperative of networks who simplify the data they have and determine a sender’s reputation.

Sending domain
The originating domain for an email, used to indicate who sent the message. The reputation of the sending domain is a significant factor mail services use to determine where a message lands in an inbox.

Sending list
An email list that is used in an email marketing campaign containing all the email addresses to be targeted with a campaign.

The total number of email addresses that you attempt to transmit messages to during a campaign. The “sent” number does not include how many emails were delivered, bounced, or even viewed — it is simply a raw initial number.

Signup form
An essential form for sites that want to offer newsletters for frequent and interested visitors. The sign-up form allows visitors to easily register for an account or enroll their email in your mailing list. This form is embedded on a website that is easy to access and view. Many ESP’s provide tools to create signup forms.

“Simple Mail Transfer Protocol” — the protocol that moves your email on, around, and across networks. Your email account uses SMTP to send a message to a server, and that server then uses SMTP to send the message to the right recipient server.

Social Media Sharing
The process by which your email campaign is sent to your email list while simultaneously being posted to social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

Soft Bounce
A soft bounce occurs when an e-mail message sent to a working address gets as far as the recipient’s mail server but is bounced back undelivered because of a temporary error. A soft bounce might occur because the recipient’s inbox is full or because of email content issues. Soft bounces are most often returned with a technical code explaining the reason the email was returned.

Spam checker tool
This feature analyzes the content of your email to see if anything in your email would be considered spam in other programs. The tool looks at the text, images, domains, and HTML code.

Spam complaints
A spam complaint occurs when a recipient clicks on the ‘report spam’ button in their email program. If their ISP has a Feedback Loop (FBL), that action is passed back to ReachMail, and the user is automatically opted-out of your campaign. ReachMail also counts people who opt-out and give the reason of “spam” as a spam complaint.

Spam trap
Spam traps are email addresses that are never used for legitimate mail but are placed around the internet to be picked up by scrapers. Spam traps are able to detect spam, track where it has come from, and block that IP address for future. See also: honeypot.

A person or entity that sends unsolicited email or text to a large number of recipients.

Statistical relevance
The likelihood that a relationship between two or more variables is caused by something other than random chance. This can be important when assessing the impact of different changes in your marketing campaigns.

Subscriber value
A formula that is used to calculate how much each subscriber is worth to you. “Lifetime value” is a similar term based on the customer, rather than their specific email.

Subscription form
A basic but important form that you can place on your website, containing fields for an individual to complete, such as their email address, name, phone number, and so on. A good subscription form provides marketers with detailed information for targeting the user.

Suppression file
Another term for suppression list; see below.

Suppression list
A list of email addresses used by a marketer to prevent messages from reaching particular individuals during a campaign. This might be temporary, e.g., suppressing customers who’ve already purchased a promotional product, or it can be permanent for subscribers who’ve chosen to opt out.

Survey builder
A useful tool for creating online surveys to send to your customers as part of an email campaign. These surveys can use yes/no questions, multiple-choice options, or even open-ended response questions. Survey Builder reports individual responses alongside summarized statistics.

Surveys are a systematic way of collecting, recording, analyzing, and interpreting of the data about existing products or services in the market. Generally, surveys are done in accordance with the needs, opinions, and expectations of the consumers asking or raising some relevant questions.


A way of updating email addresses on the fly with new information. For example, a customer who purchases Product Y can be tagged as a purchaser of that product. Tags can be used to direct specific marketing messages or as a part of targeting.

This is the selection of customer email addresses that are most likely to respond to your offer. Ideally, targeting selects customers who’ve made inquiries or purchased similar products recently and with frequency. You may also include people who are highly engaged with the campaign.

A template is simply a type of online stationery that has built in colors, fonts, and formatting. A marketer can add images, text, and links to the template to customize and make it their own. This cuts down on the work needed to create new campaigns.

Test email
An email campaign sent to a small list enabling the sender to view how the email renders and to see how it performs in inbox placement.

The words contained in the message of the email campaign.

Thank you page
A page to which subscribers are redirected immediately after filling out a form or making a purchase. The “Thank You” page communicates the next steps for the subscriber or records the details of a sale or a form completion.

Controlling the amount of emails sent out from an ISP or a remote server at one time; in other words, throttling is the process of slowing down the emails you send out in order. There are many reasons for this, but often it helps to improve deliverability.

Tracked Links
Links within your email campaign that are assigned a tracking page. Subscribers who click the link briefly hit this link before their landing page. ReachMail counts the number of visits to those links within a campaign.

Transactional emails
Transactional emails are emails sent based on a specific action of a customer or prospect. Typical examples include account signups, password resets, or order confirmations. ReachMail’s Easy-SMTP is a free service designed to send transactional email.

Transient block
A temporary block which we categorize as a soft bounce. ISPs typically use this to tell you that the email campaign being sent is above the threshold for spam complaints from users and indicates you should make some immediate changes.

Triggered Emails
These are emails sent on a trigger based on a customer’s purchasing behavior or data profile. They are timely, personalized, and relevant, and can maximize their impact when timed correctly.


UCE (unsolicited commercial email)
A legal term to refer to any email sent to a consumer without their prior request or consent with the intent of creating a commercial gain.

Uncomfirmed opt-in
When a user only needs to submit their email address to a sign-up form one time, this is an “unconfirmed opt-in.” Users added this way do not need to interact in any other way; they immediately go onto your email list for messaging.

Unique Openers
All individuals who’ve opened one or more emails in one email campaign. Each individual is counted just once – even if they opened the email multiple times. This is another important way of tracking campaign success.

Unique clicks
All individuals who have clicked on a specific tracked link in an email campaign. Each individual is counted just once – even if they’ve clicked on the email multiple times.

The act of un-enrolling from an email list. Users can either click an “Unsubscribe” link or send an email stating they no longer wish to be on the list. Also known as “opting out.”

The act of transferring a file from one program to another program. Most commonly you “upload” users to a list or a mailing program, adding them to your marketing efforts.

“Uniform Resource Locator,” a major way of describing where to find a website online. This is the address of a specific Web site or a file on the Internet. URLs are used to produce hyperlinks and allow users to send emails with a single click.


White List
A list of domains/servers and/or IP addresses that Internet service providers have judged trustworthy and unlikely to represent spam or malware risks.

Knowledge is power – familiarize yourself with these terms

And that’s it! From A/B testing to whitelisting and everything in between, this primer should be the perfect springboard for taking a deeper dive into email marketing. Soon, you’ll be perusing analytics, thinking about your CPM, and boosting your impressions like a pro. It all has to start somewhere — so why not with a brand-new vocabulary? Questions? Feel free to contact us and we’ll update this blog as email marketing evolves.

Equifax’s email has a security hole

Nonsecure Email

Failed to implement DMARC – a common anti-fraud protection.

A quick check shows that Equifax has not implemented DMARC to guard against email fraudsters claiming to be Equifax. DMARC is a way to say to the world “any email claiming to be from my domain is authenticated with DKIM or from an IP listed in my SPF record – and if not, the message is fraudulent”

Paypal implemented this year’s ago in consultation with Yahoo and other Internet Service Providers.

The upshot? Anyone can impersonate the domain when sending email. Not surprising considering that Equifax had failed to implement a patch available a two months before the breach occurred.

DMARC is a DNS record that uses both SPF and DKIM records to specify which delivery locations (e.g. IPs) are allowed to send email on behalf of a given domain. The below DMARC records for Paypal, Chase bank, and Equifax. Both Paypal and Chase have implemented a strict reject policy ‘p=reject’ on 100% of their mail ‘pct:100’. In effect this presents a guideline to receiving networks. It’s not a difficult authentication method to implement.

For the following lookups, I am using dig, a command available on any MAC or Linux machine. On a PC, one could use the free services offered at to do their own lookups. All these lookups have been performed at 11:10 AM CST, 09-15-2017.

Example lookup with dig from the command line:
>> dig +short -t TXT DMARC record:
“v=DMARC1\; p=reject\;\;,” DMARC record:
“v=DMARC1\; p=reject\; pct=100\;\;\;” DMARC record:
None. The lookup returns no response indicating that no DMARC records has been installed. We expect equifax will implement DMARC so it should be noted that as of September 15th, 2017 at 11:10am CST, no DMARC record is found from this lookup.

How to interpret a DMARC record.

This post is not meant to be an in depth tutorial in DMARC. Please visit for a full explanation. The key concepts of DMARC are twofold:

p=reject  – The policy setting (options are reject/quarantine/monitor/none)

pct=100 — The percentage of mail that is to be reviewed (100 means apply the policy to 100% of mail from this domain)

How DMARC policies are implemented by a receiving mail server.

If Gmail receives a message from Paypal that originates from an IP listed in the Paypal SPF record, that message is deemed to have passed DMARC. If the IP is not part of the Papal SPF record, the message bounced per the ‘p=reject’ setting. A setting of ‘p=quarantine’ could mean mail is sent directly to spam or hidden in a server quarantine, never to be shown to any end recipient of the message.

The point here is that has not implemented any such record. Any IP in the world is free to impersonate (aka spoof) the domain under their current implementation. Of course fraud is still illegal, but there is no DNS record in place to forcefully protect against anyone impersonating the domain over email. DMARC is an available option for enhanced security and it seems shocking to us that an institution like Equifax, which holds the personal information for millions of Americans, has yet to implement this level of protection.

DMARC is certainly not the only metric large ISPs like Gmail or Yahoo use to monitor fraud. An SPF record alone (which does have in place) will still provide a list of IPs from which mail may be sent. But without DMARC in place, there is no policy stated and the decision on how to handle the incoming mail is thus left to algorithms operated by the ISPs themselves.

To be sure, DMARC implementation is still quite sparse even among fortune 500 companies. As the Agari Global DMARC Adoption Report shows, as of August 2017, 67% of Fortune 500 companies in the US have yet to implement any DMARC policy. Equifax is not alone in this by any stretch. For many organizations, implementing DMARC can be risky and difficult. One of the dangers of moving to a p=reject policy too quickly is that if all mail streams for a given domain are not covered by DKIM and/or SPF records, one might inadvertently cause their own legitimate mail to get flagged and possibly rejected.

A word of advice to anyone reading this post about DMARC. If you intend to protect your domain against spoofing with DMARC, make sure you to contact your ESP to let them know. Passing DMARC with your ReachMail messages is possible, but not without additional DNS records being implemented on your domain. We can accommodate DMARC for ReachMail clients and we’ll walk you through how to ensure that all your mail streams are protected in safe manner. A brief explanation of DMARC settings can be found here.

Final thoughts.

We checked the DMARC records for many major financials institutions in the United States.,,, all maintain strict DMARC policies. Their domains are protected against spoofing.

Of the three major credit bureaus in the US, only has implemented a DMARC record. Experian’s DMARC policy is p=none, meaning they have no policy. Setting a p=none policy may not protect the domain from spoofing, but it does allow them to receive reports so they can monitor any potential abuse. Neither nor have implemented any record.

All this begs the question: if these institutions are responsible for maintaining the private information for millions of Americans, should they be held to higher security standards?