The Noob’s Zen Guide to Email Marketing and Social Media Speak

Last Updated on August 16, 2020

Are you new to email marketing and social media? (Oh no, a noobie, a noob!) Sick of all the marketing mumbo jumbo double speak? Not sure what all these terms mean? This article will help clear up some of that. Or possibly make you more confused, I’m not sure which. If you are a seasoned email marketer, however, for God’s sake, don’t read this article. It will bore you so badly that you’ll read to the end and say “that’s 6 minutes of my life I’ll never get back.”

Social stuff:

Klout – This is kind of a cool one. Klout is a company and a score. This score measures your “importance” in terms of how much influence you have across the internet. It refers mainly to people who have a lot of Twitter followers and particularly those people who’s Twitter followers follow them on a particular topic.

The score is used by companies who want to understand how important a particular customer is to their company/brand. So, if you are Ronco, one of the greatest inventors of all time, and you sell a lot of “Spray-Paint-the-Bald-Away“, a Twitter user with 4 followers (one being their mother) does not have the same influence on Ronco’s brand as a Twitter user with 19,086 followers, who writes a blog about products for hair loss. By the way, if you find a good blog on hair loss, send me the link.

Bitly – You know how Twitter only allows you to share 140 characters of text? Well Bitly is a company that will help you take a really long URL that you want to share on Twitter and shorten it. So a link like will shorten to something like which makes it fit a lot better into the Twitter box. When your Twitter followers click the shortlink, it will auto-forward them to the long link.

Mosaic – Not even all the seasoned email marketers know about this one. A mosaic in email marketing is an HTML table that is full of lots and lots of rows and columns, each having a different background color. If built properly, the mosaic can render a fairly good representation of what an image would actually look like. Read why using mosiacs is impactful and then why you may not want to use them.

Social sharing – this is where you post a link to something on a place like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest etc.

The Big Picture

ISP –  Internet Service Provider. These numbskulls either provide access to the internet or they provide email inboxes (like Gmail, Hotmail, AOL, Yahoo). Marketers will babble on and on about “don’t get blocked at ISPs” so get used to this one.

ESP – Email Service Provider. These companies provide mass email sending software tools for marketers. The greatest of all of them is Thought Reach (a company destined to rule the earth one day). But, in the list too are Eloqua, Marqueto, Constant Contact, and Monkey Mail or Mail Chimpanzee, or whatever they call themselves these days.

SaaS – Software as a Service. This just means that it’s a software product that you access by using your browser (instead of having to download and install the software).

Mobile – in the email world, this refers to all the bajillion recipients who open their emails on a mobile device. About 1/3rd of all mass email sent is opened on a mobile device.

Email marketing metrics

Click throughs – this is the number of times that any link inside your email message was clicked. This is an important measure of how engaged your recipients are (more on engagement below). If they are clicking, they must have at least some level of interest and thus want to receive  your emails.

Open rate – This is the rate at which your subscribers open your email. Some open, some don’t. Not all mass emails sent will register an open if the recipient opens the email, but a lot will. It’s not a perfect metric, but it helps you understand if you are on the right track. Open rate is determined by a one pixel image quietly hidden in the email. Once this image is loaded, the open is registered.

Read rate – The read rate is different than the open rate because it’s not based on the one pixel image pixel. The read rate is based on mailbox providers marking the message as “read” due to subscriber activity in the inbox. This is a type of data that you need a third party provider to obtain, like Return Path.

The Who (minus Roger Daltrey)
Receivers – actually, this doesn’t refer to the people who receive your email. Instead, it refers to the ISPs like Gmail that are first receiving your email before putting it in the inbox (or spam box ) of your subscriber.

Senders – senders can either refer to the marketer who is sending the email, or to the ESP that the marketer is using to send the email.

Subscribers – these are the people who have signed up for your email list.

Recipients – these are the same as subscribers.

Double opt in – this is a method of verifying that a new subscriber to your email list really, really wants your email. In this method of subscribing, a visitor comes to your website, fills out a form to get onto your email list, and then your system automagically emails them and asks them to click a link to confirm. Using this type of subscription method will help you avoid spam complaints by ensuring that the person who’s email address was entered, is actually the person who signed up for the list in the first place.

Spam with Bacon

Spamtrap (honeypot) – Now we’ve hit upon the good stuff.  Spam traps are email addresses used by ISPs to trap spammers. These are email addresses that are either completely made up or have been dormant for a long time. The ISP is looking to catch people spamming so that they can block the email being sent by that person. If a completely made up email address is suddenly receiving messages, the email is likely spam. If you “accidentally” email a spamtrap email address, here’s what you can do to help fix the mess you’re now in. – this is a free website that can tell you how well your email sending reputation is with the receiving ISPs. Many ISPs report information to that tells others if they think you behave well as a brand in your email practices. Ask your ESP what your IP address is, and enter it at senderscore. It’s a little like high school. A score in the high 90’s is great. One in the 30’s is not quite so great, and may land you in detention.

IP Address – this is a little like the street address in front of your house. Only in this case it’s the internet address from which you are sending your email. Unless you send more than 50-100k emails per month, you are likely sharing an IP address with other senders. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But it’s always a good idea to check the senderscore of your IP address to be sure it is good and that other senders on that same IP address aren’t negatively impacting you.

Sender reputation – this is another term used to convey how well your brand behaves with its email sending practices.

Reputation monitoring – this is the practice of a marketer monitoring how well their brand is perceived by ISPs in terms of sender reputation. Software tools can be used to detect email reputation.

Engaged / Engagement Rate – These don’t mean the same thing that your girlfriend says they do. When you email your recipients, the number of times that they open the email and click a link within it is called the engagement rate. ISPs use this rate as a determining factor in whether or not they deliver your email to the inbox or not. It’s a long story, but trust me, if a subscriber hasn’t opened or clicked in a long, long time, you need to remove them from your list to protect your engagement rate.

Authentication – only true email marketing geeks get excited about this one. But any marketer sending mass email needs to have their emails “authenticated.” Authentication technologies are things that tell the receiving ISP exactly where the email is coming from and that you are who you say you are.

Unless your email is authenticated properly, it may not make it to the inbox because it is not trusted. Authentication technologies include DKIM, DomainKeys, Sender ID, SPF, and DMARC. Not that you care what those stand for, but you want to make sure your ESP sets these up for you.

Segments / segmentation – this is a term that relates to dividing your email list into different groupings. A reporting / analytics tool within your email marketing tool will help you create these groups. For example, if you sell a lot of Ronco “Spray-Paint-the-Bald-Away”, you’ll want to segment on people who are male, are over 50, and are predisposed to using spray paint on their bald heads. These are the same people who would buy a Chia pet too. Just some free advice.


SERP – Search Engine Results Page. This term is used to describe the placement of where your webpage sits in the rankings of the search engines. Is your webpage on page one of the search engine results page or on page 39,599?

SEO– Search Engine Optimization. SEO is a set of skills and techniques used to help rank the pages of your website higher in the Google (and other) search engine rankings. Using appropriate rank tracking tools like Linkio or others can help you get a clear picture of your rankings on the search engines and possibly help you with moving upper.

Panda – the name of a software update to Google’s search algorithm. Google’s algorithm is what calculates where your webpage shows up in the SERP. This particular update routed out a lot of low quality websites from the Google search results. If you aren’t doing anything black hat on your website, you have nothing to worry about.

Black hat – these are nefarious techniques that unscrupulous webmasters use to get their web pages to rank higher in the search engine rankings. Use black hat techniques and you might just end up back in detention again.

White hat – these are the good ways to do SEO. Having really good content (unlike this article : ), having really important sites link to yours, and writing in natural language by not stuffing keywords all over the place are examples of white hat techniques using SEO tools made to help small businesses succeed.


Tweet – a short message you send out to your followers.

Followers – these are your minions. Those people who, for some reason, unbeknownst to the rest of mankind, want to hear what you are tweeting. Try not to accidentally lose all your followers by being spoofed into giving up your Twitter password.

Twitter minions
Followers are your minions.
People dumb enough, I mean
smart enough to listen to what
you have to say.

Following – these are the people you want to hear what they are blabbing about. To become a follower, you may have clicked the little “follow” link like this one.
Follow @ThoughtReach

@ThoughtReach – any time you see an @ symbol, that is someone or some company’s username on Twitter.

#something – a # symbol on Twitter is like a keyword or phrase. It might be something like “#emailmarketing” which is a way for Twitter followers to search for people talking specifically about the topic of email marketing. The # symbol just helps identify all the caterwauling going on about that topic.


Fair Trade coffee – a black liquid substance consumed by marketers nearly as much as it is consumed by software developers and typically packed full of caffeine (a God-given substance that I’m sure is an unrecognized fulfillment of scripture somewhere). The “Fair Trade” part means that the coffee (or chocolate or whatever) is sourced in a manner that certifies that the grower was paid in a fair manner. It also typically is associated to good-earth practices like organic farming.  If you are a marketer and your coffee isn’t Fair Trade, and you are hearing this for the first time, that’s ok. Just make the switch. A hilarious look at coffee facts.

Ficus tree– a thing thrown at me by Loraine, who sits in the cube next to me. Loraine’s forays with flying ficus trees appear notoriously throughout the Thought Reach blog. You’ll just have to bear with us on that topic.

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