We’ve covered social media terms, content marketing terms, smarketing terms, email marketing terms, website optimization terms … heck, even marketing acronyms.
Well, we thought it was time to create a blog post that could serve as a holistic marketing glossary — one that not only defines each term, but also offers some helpful resources in case you want to learn about them in more depth. We hope you can bookmark this post and come back to it whenever you need to.
Now, I’m no math whiz, but when you try to make a glossary based on a topic with sub-categories that could be their own glossaries, well — that’s a lot of gloss. So instead of throwing hundreds of terms at you from all those other glossaries, I narrowed this one down to the top 99 terms that are imperative to anyone learning about marketing.
Marketing Terms to Know
1. A/B Testing
This is the process of comparing two variations of a single variable to determine which performs best in order to help improve marketing efforts. This is often done in email marketing (with variations in the subject line or copy), calls-to-action (variations in colors or verbiage), and landing pages (variations in content). Outside of marketing, you can use it to determine what tastes better on a peanut butter sandwich: jelly or fluff. (Learn how to run A/B tests here.)
What I sometimes refer to as the “eyes” of inbound marketing, analytics is essentially the discovery and communication of meaningful patterns in data. When referred to in the context of marketing, it’s looking at the data of one’s initiatives (website visitor reports, social, PPC, etc.), analyzing the trends, and developing actionable insights to make better informed marketing decisions. (Want to learn marketing analytics? Here a list of nine great sources to get you started.)
3. Application Programming Interface (API)
APIs are a series of rules in computer programming, which allow an application to extract information from a service and use that information either in their own application or in data analyses. It’s kind of like a phone for applications to have conversations — an API literally “calls” one application and gets information to bring to you to use in your software. APIs facilitate the data needed to provide solutions to customer problems.
HubSpot has APIs that developers use to get information from our software into theirs. It’s important for marketers to understand what APIs can do to factor them in to their marketing strategies. Learn more about how marketers can use APIs here.
4. B2B (Business-to-Business)
An adjective used to describe companies that sell to other businesses. For example, Google and Oracle are primarily B2B companies.
5. B2C (Business-to-Consumer)
An adjective used to describe companies that sell directly to consumers. For example, Amazon, Apple, and Nike are primarily B2C companies.
This is short for web log or weblog. An individual or group of people usually maintains a blog. A personal blog or business blog will traditionally include regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material, such as photos and video.
Blogging is a core component of inbound marketing, as it can accomplish several initiatives simultaneously — like website traffic growth, thought leadership, and lead generation. It does not, however, do your taxes.
7. Business Blogging
Business blogging retains all the attributes of “regular” blogging, but adds a tasty layer of marketing strategy on top. It helps marketers drive traffic to their website, convert that traffic into leads, establish authority on certain topics, and drive long-term results. (Learn about these benefits in more detail here.)
When blogging for a business, marketers should create posts that are optimized with keywords that their target audience is searching for and provide helpful, educational material to these readers. Typically, these blog posts should be actionable (by providing an opt-in, downloadable offer), as to provide a metric for the effectiveness of the business blogging.
8. Bottom of the Funnel
Since we’re going alphabetically, the last part of the funnel process is first! So, “bottoms up,” I suppose. The bottom of the funnel refers to a stage of the buying process leads reach when they’re just about to close as new customers. They’ve identified a problem, have shopped around for possible solutions, and are very close to buying.
Typically, next steps for leads at this stage are a call from a sales rep, a demo, or a free consultation — depending on what type of business is attempting to close the lead.
9. Bounce Rate
Website bounce rate: The percentage of people who land on a page on your website and then leave without clicking on anything else or navigating to any other pages on your site. A high bounce rate generally leads to poor conversion rates because no one is staying on your site long enough to read your content or convert on a landing page (or for any other conversion event).
Email bounce rate: The rate at which an email was unable to be delivered to a recipient’s inbox. A high bounce rate generally means your lists are out-of-date or purchased, or they include many invalid email addresses. In email, not all bounces are bad, so it’s important to distinguish between hard and soft bounces before taking an email address off your list. (Learn about hard and soft bounces here.)
10. Buyer Persona
A semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers. While it helps marketers like you define their target audience, it can also help sales reps qualify leads. (Learn more about developing buyer personas here.)
A call-to-action is a text link, button, image, or some type of web link that encourages a website visitor to visit a landing page and become of lead. Some examples of CTAs are “Subscribe Now” or “Download the Whitepaper Today.” These are important for marketers because they’re the “bait” that entices a website visitor to eventually become a lead. So, you can imagine that it’s important to convey a very enticing, valuable offer on a call-to-action to better foster visitor-to-lead conversion. (Download our free, introductory guide to effective calls-to-action here. Hey, that was a CTA!)
CAN-SPAM stands for “Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing.” It’s a U.S. law passed in 2003 that establishes the rules for commercial email and commercial messages, it gives recipients the right to have a business stop emailing them, and outlines the penalties incurred for those who violate the law. For example, CAN-SPAM is the reason businesses are required to have an “unsubscribe” option at the bottom of every email. (Learn more of the details here.)
CASL stands for “Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation.” It’s a Canadian law passed in 2013 that covers the sending of “commercial electronic messages” that may be accessed by a computer in Canada. CASL covers email, texts, instant messages, and automated cell phone messages sent to computers and phones in Canada. (Learn more of the details here.)
14. Churn Rate
A metric that measures how many customers you retain and at what value. To calculate churn rate, take the number of customers you lost during a certain time frame, and divide that by the total number of customers you had at the very beginning of that time frame. (Don’t include any new sales from that time frame.)
For example, if a company had 500 customers at the beginning of October and only 450 customers at the end of October (discounting any customers that were closed in October), their customer churn rate would be: (500-450)/500 = 50/500 = 10%.
Churn rate is a significant metric primarily for recurring revenue companies. Regardless of your monthly revenue, if your average customer does not stick around long enough for you to at least break even on your customer acquisition costs, you’re in trouble.
15. Clickthrough Rate (CTR)
The percentage of your audience that advances (or clicks through) from one part of your website to the next step of your marketing campaign. As a mathematic equation, it’s the total number of clicks that your page or CTA receives divided by the number of opportunities that people had to click (ex: number of pageviews, emails sent, and so on).
16. Closed-Loop Marketing
The practice of closed-loop marketing is being able to execute, track and show how marketing efforts have impacted bottom-line business growth. An example would be tracking a website visitor as they become a lead to the very last touch point when they close as a customer.
When done correctly, you’d be able to see just how much of your marketing investment yielded new business growth. One of the biggest business benefits of implementing an inbound marketing strategy and utilizing inbound marketing software is the ability to execute closed-loop marketing.
17. Conversion Path
A conversion path is a series of website-based events that facilitate lead capture. In its most basic form, a conversion path will consist of a call-to-action (typically a button that describes an offer) that leads to a landing page with a lead capture form, which redirects to a thank you page where a content offer resides. In exchange for his or her contact information, a website visitor obtains a content offer to better help them through the buying process. If you’re still having difficulty grasping the topic based on this description, feel free to absorb it as a rabbit hunting analogy in comic form.
In relation to inbound marketing, content is a piece of information that exists for the purpose of being digested (not literally), engaged with, and shared. Content typically comes in the form of a blog, video, social media post, photo, slideshow, or podcast, although there are plenty of over types out there. From website traffic to lead conversion to customer marketing, content plays an indispensable role in a successful inbound marketing strategy.
19. Content Management System (CMS)
A web application designed to make it easy for non-technical users to create, edit, and manage a website. Helps users with content editing and more “behind-the-scenes” work like making content searchable and indexable, automatically generating navigation elements, keeping track of users and permissions, and more.
20. Content Optimization System (COS)
A COS is basically a CMS (Content Management System), but optimized to deliver customers the most personalized web experience possible.
If content is king, then context is queen. Serving up valuable content is important, but ensuring that it’s customized for the right audience is equally (if not more) important. As buyers become more in control of what information they digest (again, not literally), it’s important to deliver content that’s contextually relevant. If you own a restaurant, you wouldn’t want to send a coupon for a steak dinner to a vegetarian, right? Unless you’re anti-herbivore, of course …
22. Conversion Rate
The percentage of people who completed a desired action on a single web page, such as filling out a form. Pages with high conversion rates are performing well, while pages with low conversion rates are performing poorly.
23. Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)
The process of improving your site conversion using design techniques, key optimization principles, and testing. It involves creating an experience for your website visitors that will convert them into customers. CRO is most often applied to web page or landing page optimization, but it can also be applied to social media, CTAs, and other parts of your marketing. (Learn more here.)
24. Cost-per-Lead (CPL)
The amount it costs your marketing organization to acquire a lead. This factors heavily into CAC (customer acquisition cost), and is a metric marketers should keep a keen eye on.
25. Crowdsourced Content
Creating your own content can take more time than you have to lend to it — which is where crowdsourcing comes into play. Allowing subject matter experts, customers, or freelancers to create your content for you is a prime way to get more quality content published in less time. Compile the content you get back into a really awesome offer and give credit to all the contributors — a win-win for everyone involved. (Learn how to crowdsource a blog post using Google Docs here.)
26. Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)
Your total Sales and Marketing cost. To calculate CAC, follow these steps for a given time period (month, quarter, or year):
Add up program or advertising spend + salaries + commissions + bonuses + overhead.
Divide by the number of new customers in that time period.
For example, if you spend $500,000 on Sales and Marketing in a given month and added 50 customers that same month, then your CAC was $10,000 that month. (Learn more here.)
27. Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
A set of software programs that let companies keep track of everything they do with their existing and potential customers.
At the simplest level, CRM software lets you keep track of all the contact information for these customers. But CRM systems can do lots of other things, too, like tracking email, phone calls, faxes, and deals; sending personalized emails; scheduling appointments; and logging every instance of customer service and support. Some systems also incorporate feeds from social media such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and others. (Learn more here.)
CSS stands for Cascading Style Sheets, and it’s what gives your entire website its style, like colors, fonts, and background images. It affects the mood and tone of a web page, making it an incredibly powerful tool. It’s also what allows websites to adapt to different screen sizes and device types. [Read More…]