20+ Useful Marketing Terms to Help You Grow Your Business
- by Alyson Shane
Do you struggle to understand the marketing jargon you read online?
If so, you’re not alone. Many of the business owners we talk to and work with give us blank stares when we start talking about SERP rankings or keyword proximity.
That’s why we compiled this handy list of 20+ marketing terms to help you grow your business.
These are the expressions that seem to stump people the most often, all listed in one handy place.
If you’re a business owner who wants to develop a deeper understanding of how to market your business online, then keep reading:
20+ Useful Marketing Terms to Help You Grow Your Business
1. Application Programming Interface (API)
APIs are rules in programming that determine how an application extracts information. Essentially, APIs act as windows into a software program that allows other programs to interact with it without accessing the entire code database.
We typically encounter APIs in digital marketing when sharing information on social media. The Facebook API, for example, is the set of rules programmers need to follow when writing their code so that websites can interact with elements of Facebook.
Similarly, there’s the Twitter API, LinkedIn API… you get the idea.
2. Business-to-Business (B2B)
The term used to refer to businesses that sell to other businesses. Examples include Salesforce, Google, and HubSpot.
3. Business-to-Consumer (B2C)
The term used to describe companies that sell to consumers. Examples include Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and Spotify.
4. Buyer Personas
Buyer personas are exactly what they sound like: they’re fake people you create in order to develop a better understanding of different customer types.
Many businesses are tempted to say “everyone is our customer,” but that’s an over-simplification. Even if your business serves a variety of demographics, like Amazon or Netflix, there are still specific areas about different customer types you can dig into in order to better understand your customers’ needs, and how they vary depending on the category they fall into.
Ready to start building your own buyer personas? Click here to use our free guide.
5. Call-to-Action (CTA)
A call-to-action (CTA) a web link (text, image, button, etc.) that encourages a website visitor to take a specific action, such as signing up for a newsletter or contacting a sales rep. Some examples include:
- Subscribe now
- Download our free PDF
- Contact us
CTAs are how marketers move potential customers through various stages of the sales funnel by enticing them to take the action we want them to take.
6. Churn Rate
Your “churn” is a metric that measures how many of your customers you retain, and at what value. This metric is especially important for companies that rely on a monthly recurring revenue (MRR) model.
Calculating churn is easy: take the number of customers you lost during a specific time frame, and divide that by the total number of customers that you had at the start of the time frame (don’t include any new sales.)
For example, if a business had 1000 customers at the start of January 2020, but they only have 750 customers by the end of the month (excluding new customers gained), their churn rate would be (1000-250)/1000 = 750/1000 = 25% churn rate.
7. Clickthrough Rate (CTR)
Your clickthrough rate is the percentage of your audience who “clicks through” from one part of your marketing campaign to the next.
To calculate your CTR, just divide the total number of clicks that your page or CTA has received by the number of opportunities people had to click (emails sent, total number of pageviews, etc.)
8. Cost-per-Acquisition (CPA)
CPA is a sales-based measurement that identifies the total marketing spend needed to move a lead (potential customer) from Awareness to Decision stage in the sales funnel.
CPA is useful when applied to marketing because it’s essentially on par with ROI (return on investment) and can be a strong indicator of long-term success in a lead generation campaign. To calculate your cost-per-acquisition, divide the total campaign/channel spend by the number of new customers acquired from that campaign or channel.
By working to lower and optimize your CPA, marketers can respond to challenges in a campaign quickly, which makes their campaigns more cost-efficient in the long term.
9. Cost-per-Click (CPC)
Cost-per-Click (CPC) is an ad model used to drive traffic to websites where a business pays a publisher (usually a search engine or social network) whenever the ad is clicked.
Calculating your CPC is easy: just divide the total cost of your clicks by the total number of clicks.
CPC is sometimes used interchangeably with pay-per-click (PPC) marketing, though most marketers use PPC to refer specifically to marketing through Google Ads, and CPC to refer to the process of calculating a click-through rate.
10. Cost-per-Impression (CPM)
Cost-per-Impression (CPM, or cost-per-mille) is the rate that your business pays per 1000 views of your ad.
If the goal of your ad campaign isn’t to generate click-throughs, but is more about getting as many eyeballs on your ad as possible, then you can select this option and only pay when your ad is displayed in front of someone.
Each time an ad appears in front of a user counts as one impression.
11. Custom Audiences
Custom Audiences are also exactly what they sound like: they’re groups of people who are defined by a series of shared characteristics (geolocation, for example) and served ads based on those characteristics.
12. Evergreen content
Evergreen content is content that can still be useful no matter when someone reads it. For example, a post referencing a specific event or cultural moment can become less relevant over time, whereas a how-to article may stay relevant and useful for years after it’s been published.
One of the biggest benefits to evergreen content is that it’s extremely good SEO material because people keep clicking on the same link for an extended period of time. This tells the search engines that your website has highly valuable content, and will reward your business with a higher SERP rank.
13. Key Performance Indicator (KPI)
KPIs are how marketers track progress towards specific marketing goals, and the best marketers continually review their KPIs in order to understand and evaluate their performance against industry standards.
Examples of KPIs include:
- Website and blog traffic
- Homepage views
14. Keyword Proximity
Keyword proximity is one of the factors that Google’s search algorithms take into consideration when weighing different keywords. It refers to how close two or more keywords are to one another, and you can increase your SERP rankings.
If a website is hoping to rank for the search term “digital marketing agency Winnipeg” you might be tempted to use a heading that reads: “Trust our digital marketing agency to grow your business in Winnipeg.” This phrasing isn’t bad, but a better version would read: “the digital marketing agency Winnipeg businesses trust to grow.”
15. Lookalike Audiences
A Lookalike Audience is an audience created from people who share similar characteristics to another group of users on a social network, but who wouldn’t otherwise be included in more detailed targeting.
Lookalike Audiences are created b analyzing existing customers (or other audiences) and finding commonalities, which allows businesses to find highly-qualified customers who may have been harder to reach.
Though originally pioneered by Facebook, Lookalike Audiences are not available through GoogleAds, LinkedIn Ads.
16. Mobile Optimization
“Optimizing for mobile” is the process of formatting your website so that it’s easy to read and navigate on a mobile device.
Most modern websites are built with mobile optimization in mind, and will generate different layouts depending on the size of the screen being used to view the website. The process of building a website that can detect and react to screen size is called “mobile optimization.”
Google and other search engines reward websites that are mobile-friendly, so if your website isn’t fully optimized for mobile devices, you may rank lower on a search engine results page (called a SERP — more on this below.)
17. Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR)
MRR is the amount of revenue a subscription-based business generates per month. There are several aspects to calculating MRR, including:
- Net new: MRR gained from new users
- Net positive: MRR gained from upsells
- Net negative: MRR lost from downsells
- Net loss: MRR lost from cancellations
18. Pay-per-click (PPC)
Pay-per-click (PPC) is another way of describing cost-per-click (CPC) ad revenue models where businesses get charged whenever someone clicks on their ads.
Within marketing circles, however, PPC is generally used to denote using the GoogleAds advertising platform, whereas CPC is used to discuss the actual cost of the PPC ads.
19. Return on Investment (ROI)
ROI is a performance measure used to assess the profitability of an investment.
It’s measured by measuring the gain from the investment minus the cost of the investment. The results are presented as a percentage that tell us whether a company is losing money on the investment (a negative percentage) or generating revenue (a positive percentage.)
For marketers, we want to measure the ROI of every tactic and channel we use to promote businesses online. Some ROI is easy to track, like cost-per-click (CPCs), while longtail forms of marketing like content marketing are harder to track 1-1.
20. Sales Funnel
A sales funnel is the visual representation of the journey a customer takes from the first time they become aware of your brand, to when they complete a purchase.
The sales funnel is usually broken up into four stages:
1. Awareness. Potential customers are encountering a specific problem and are researching and learning about how to solve it.
Content at this stage should inform and educate, and should be easy to produce like blog posts, quizzes, and videos.
2. Interest. Potential customers are diving deeper into the specifics of their problem. They’ve moved from “why does my back hurt?” to “how do I choose the best mattress for lower back pain.”
3. Discovery. Potential customers are aware of your brand, and are weighing their options.
The content that works best during these two stages are in-depth guides, checklists, pro and con lists, and other pieces that offer insight and guide the purchasing decision.
4. Action. Potential customers are now ready to become actual customers.
The best content for the bottom of the funnel are FAQ pages, videos and product features, competitive analyses, and live demos. These content pieces should serve to reinforce your potential customer’s view of your product or service as the best option to solve their problems.
21. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) + Search Engine Page Ranking (SERP)
SEO is the process of optimizing your website so that search engines like Google can read and index it as quickly as possible.
How quickly your website can be indexed in a search engine depends on a variety of factors, including page load speed, keyword relevance, how many websites link to your website, and many other factors.
Your SERP ranking is where your website ranks among organic (non-paid) search results, and is influenced by your SEO efforts.
22. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)
SaaS businesses are internet companies who host a specific service, like Salesforce or HubSpot, that stores your information in the cloud.
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