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Email Marketing Terms

Email Marketing for Accountants

If you feel lost when colleagues discuss email marketing, you're not alone. However, in today's competitive marketplace, email marketing for accountants is the top way to convert leads and grow your business. Therefore, it is crucial to be aware of the basics. Some terms represent practices you should have in your digital marketing strategy; others carry legal implications that everyone should be mindful of.

So, let's get familiar with some of the most-used terms. Keep this document handy so you're never lost when discussing your email marketing plan.

Key Email Marketing Terms

Email campaigns

An email marketing campaign is a digital marketing strategy where your firm sends emails to current or prospective clients who opted into your email list.


Opt-ins are individuals who agree to receive emails from your business. They usually occur via a website form, social media link, or another type of ad. Encouraging opt-ins is essential. Email marketing for accountants is the top way to share valuable information with current and prospective clients interested in your accounting services. Once subscribers opt in, they are in your marketing funnel.

Marketing funnel

An email marketing funnel represents how subscribers go from prospect to client. This transition occurs via emails you send. For an email funnel to be effective, anticipate subscriber needs and send timely emails with relevant information. The marketing funnel follows four stages of the consumer lifecycle:

  • Engagement – they opt-in
  • Discovery – they discover your firm and services
  • Purchase – they engage actively in the services you offer
  • Retention – they become a repeat client

You can lead potential clients through the consumer lifecycle starting with the opt-in. One way to do that is through a lead magnet.

Lead magnets

It is vital to build your email marketing list organically. One way to do this is through a lead magnet (an offer) that you give your target audience in exchange for their email address. It could be an informative eBook, a discount code for a future purchase, or a complimentary service. Once your prospect is engaged, they can begin to discover your services, which you can foster via lead nurturing.

Lead nurturing

Now that you have subscribers continue engaging them through your digital marketing strategy. One way to do this is through personalized communications.


Personalization means you customize your email marketing efforts. There are many ways to personalize email marketing. For example, include the recipient's name in the subject or send special occasion emails on their birthday. Personalization increases the open rate and click-through rate and reduces opt-outs.

Open rate

Open rate is the percentage of emails sent that are opened.

Click through rate

The click-through rate is the percentage of recipients that click on a link in your email.


Individuals who opt out unsubscribe from your email campaign. Some opt-outs are expected; however, this number should remain low as you work toward guiding prospects through the marketing funnel. In addition to personalization and lead nurturing, list segmentation is another way to help ensure you retain subscribers.

List segmentation

List segmentation means separating subscribers into groups based on criteria. For example, you may segment by accounting niche (i.e., construction industry) or past needs (i.e., clients who use your firm for tax preparation every year). Segmenting allows you to send relevant content to subscribers. This may sound like a complicated process, but with the right digital marketing service, it's easy and can even be automated!

Call to action

Whether you segment or not, always include a call to action (CTA) in your emails. This is a button or link that directs readers to act. It is directly related to conversion rate.

Conversion rate

First, "conversion" can mean whatever you desire. It could mean subscribers click through a link you send or click the CTA and purchase a service. Regardless of what you consider a conversion, the conversion rate is the number of conversions divided by the total number of visitors. Email marketing services automatically calculate this rate (along with opt-ins, opt-outs, click-throughs, etc.) so you can see how your digital marketing campaigns perform.

It's essential to keep up with how your email campaigns are viewed by recipient mailboxes. That is gauged by the sender score.

Sender score

The sender score identifies the quality of your sender reputation and details how mailbox providers view your internet provider's (IP) address. A poor sender score means more emails you send land in the wrong place, like a recipient's spam folder.


Everyone is familiar with spam or unsolicited emails. These are the emails we didn't ask to receive and generally do not want. This is one huge reason it is crucial to organically grow your email marketing list with subscriber opt-ins instead of buying an email list. Doing so could make you appear like a spammer and dramatically decrease your sender score, neither of which is good. There are some legal implications associated with spam, as well.


The Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003 (CAN-SPAM) protects consumers from unsolicited emails. The Act contains requirements to which email marketers must adhere. For example, businesses must be honest that the correspondence is an ad, reveal their physical location, and allow opt-outs to freely unsubscribe.

Sometimes emails you send don't make it to the recipient because their server rejects them. That is called bounce rate.

Bounce rate

The percentage of emails not accepted by a recipient's email server. There are different types of bounces.

Soft bounce

A soft bounce occurs because a recipient mailbox is full, the email is too large, or the email is inactive.

Hard bounce

A hard bounce is delivery failure due to a reason such as a blocked or invalid email address.

Now that you know basic email marketing terms, you can better understand the metrics involved in your digital marketing campaign. This will help you to increase opt-ins, conversions, and growth!

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Email Marketing Terms
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Hugh Duffy, BYF CEO and Co-Founder

Hugh is the consummate marketing coach for accountants and takes pride in the impact that it has on their practice, and lives. Hugh has more than thirty years of marketing experience. Since 2003, he has been teaching accountants on how to improve their marketing and make more money from their accounting practice.