Jargon Buster

Affiliate

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.

API

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.

Autoresponders (Automated Emails)

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.

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.

CRM

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.

Dashboard

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.

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 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.

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.

Html

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.

Hyperlink

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.

ISP

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

Mailmerge

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.

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.

Permission based marketing

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

SaaS

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.

SEO

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

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.

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.

Unsubscribes

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.

Web Forms

An online version of a paper form, web forms 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.

WYSIWYG

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.