Maybe you’re in a meeting and you’re too embarrassed to ask for clarification about a term you heard.
Or maybe you’re a hustling entrepreneur trying to figure out how to get the word out about your amazing business.
Maybe your business has grown so successful that you’re ready to write a job posting for your first full-time marketer.
Whatever your reasons for coming to this glossary of marketing terms — whether it’s to broaden your horizons or deepen your understanding — we’re here to help. Search through the terms below to find the word or phrase you’d like to learn more about.
A glossary of marketing terms for beginners
We know we’ve included a lot of terms for you to search through. If you’re having trouble finding the word or phrase you’re looking for, use the search shortcut (Ctrl + F) to locate it on this page.
A/B testing is the process of showing two different versions of the same webpage (Page A and Page B) to website visitors. The ultimate goal of these tests is to figure out which page is more successful at turning visitors into customers. These tests could be as large as displaying two totally different pages or as seemingly small as changing the color of a single button on a page.
This type of method of organizing your marketing team with a focus on collaboration, adaptability, and data-driven decisions. Agile marketing teams often work in short sprints, which involve breaking large projects down into smaller, more manageable tasks and receiving feedback throughout the length of a project, rather than just at the end.
Analytics can mean one of two things when it comes to marketing. In a more general sense, analytics are the metrics you look at to see how your campaigns are performing. But if you hear a marketer mention analytics, they’re likely referring to Google Analytics, which measures reports on all of your website visitor data.
Business-to-business (B2B) marketing means you run a business that sells its products or services to other businesses. Since business decisions often involve multiple people, marketing to businesses often involves more steps and longer sales cycles.
Business-to-consumer (B2C) marketing refers to businesses that sell their products or services directly to consumers. Whereas B2B marketing typically relies on logic and teaching, B2C marketing leans more heavily on activating emotions to encourage people to make a purchase.
Business-to-government (B2G) marketing means the government is your customer, and its sales process puts B2B sales to shame. Working with government entities as your customer involves marketing up the chain of command, similar to large enterprises. However, doing business with the government often involves proving levels compliance and security that most businesses and individual consumers don’t require.
A backlink is a link from someone else’s site back to your site. Backlinks are a signal that other people or businesses are talking about your business. And when your business gets talked about, search engines take that as a sign that your content should appear higher on a search page, above competitor content.
When it comes to marketing, blogging is an easy (and relatively cheap) way to create content that teaches potential customers about your product, service, or industry. By creating blog posts that educate or entertain website visitors, you can encourage people to trust your brand and make a purchase.
Bounce rate is the percentage of people who visit one of your web pages…and then leave your site. They don’t fill out a form, they don’t click a link, and they definitely don’t buy anything from you. Different types of websites have different average bounce rates, so don’t get too discouraged if your 90% bounce rate looks scary.
A buyer persona is a summary of the type of customers you want to attract or that you currently have. To build a buyer persona, you create a profile of a fictional person who represents all of those customers. HubSpot has a great free tool for creating a buyer persona if you need help building them for your company.
The buyer’s journey is the path a buyer takes before purchasing your product. The typical buyer’s journey, also known as the marketing funnel, starts with awareness of your business, continues on to consideration and evaluation of your product or service, and ends with a purchase.
Call to action (CTA)
A call to action is a direction you give to a potential buyer to guide them on their buyer’s journey. It’s a clear instruction to take the action that will move them one step closer to making a purchase. This could be a prompt to start a free trial, subscribe to a newsletter, or schedule your free marketing consultation. (See what we did there?)
A case study is a story about how your product or service benefits one of your current customers. Case studies help foster trust in your business by providing proof that what you’re selling actually works. To write a case study, describe the problem your customer was experiencing before they purchased your product, then describe how their situation was improved by your product. The more concrete examples you can give, the better.
Churn rate is the percentage of customers who leave your business or don’t renew contracts. A high churn rate could indicate that you need to improve your customer experience. Poor customer experiences discourage repeat business. However, high churn rate could also be an indicator of disruptions in your industry or a byproduct of a difficult economy.
Click-through rate (CTR)
Click-through rate is the total number of users who click on a link (typically your CTA) compared to the total number of people who viewed your ad, email, or webpage. High CTRs mean you’ve written a good ad, email, or page copy. And low CTRs mean you might need to rewrite or redesign your ads, emails, or pages.
A type of marketing centered around — you guessed it — content. Content can encompass lots of media types, including blog posts, videos, eBooks, and webinars. The goal of your content should be to engage your potential customers. You can engage them by entertaining or educating them. If you can educate and entertain your audience, you’ve created really good content.
Conversion rate is the percentage of people who take a desired action. For example, if you prompted people to subscribe to an email list in a blog post, your conversion rate would be the number of people who actually subscribed, compared to the total number of people who saw your blog post.
Copywriting is persuasive writing that encourages people to take action. When it comes to your company, copywriting is writing that encourages people to engage with your business.
Customer relationship management software (CRM)
A customer relationship management system (CRM) is software that helps you manage your relationships with your customers. The most basic CRMs can help you organize your potential customers so sales can keep track of them and contact them quickly. More advanced CRMs help unite marketing and sales, putting information about your past, current, and future customers into one system. This type of system ultimately helps you give customers the information they need, when they need it.
Digital marketing encompasses any type of marketing you do online. With so many internet-based platforms (social media, email, Google ads, etc.), the bulk of your marketing efforts likely fall under the digital marketing umbrella.
A drip campaign is a type of marketing campaign, usually conducted via email, that consistently sends messages to potential customers over a longer period of time. For example, if you created an eBook, you might collect email addresses from everyone who downloaded that eBook. The people looking for the information contained in your eBook could be potential customers, but they might not be ready to make a purchase from you yet. To keep your business on their mind, you’ll want to stay in touch with them. You can send them content related to your eBook and to your business to further educate them and eventually encourage them to do business with you.
An eBook is a book that can be read on a digital device. In marketing, an eBook is typically an “Ultimate Guide” or something similar that puts all of your industry knowledge in one place. EBooks are a great way to attract and educate potential customers.
An editorial calendar is a tool that helps you schedule your content publishing efforts. You can create an editorial calendar for your blog, for various social media channels, and for ads. A master editorial calendar combines all of your content in one place and can help you see how all of your content marketing efforts interact with each other.
Email marketing is marketing done through email. It’s a highly effective form of digital marketing, as nearly 4 billion people have access to email.
Engagement rate is the percentage of people who reacted to your content (through likes, comments, clicks, or shares) compared to the total number of people who saw it.
In marketing, the goal of creating a form is typically to get contact information from potential customers. Forms can be simple (name and email) or elaborate (age, location, job title, etc.) depending on what you want to do with the information you receive. Very simple forms are great for subscribing to email lists, for example. However, your sales team might require more detailed information before reaching out to a potential customer.
Gated content is content that’s not accessible to everyone. To access gated content, a visitor either fills out a form or pays a subscription fee. Gated content is typically more in-depth or provides more “insider knowledge” than the content that’s accessible on the rest of your site.
An internal link is a link in your site that leads back to another page on your website. Creating relevant internal links helps search engines better understand the structure of your website, which improves your SEO.
Key performance indicator (KPI)
A key performance indicator (KPI) in marketing is a metric that points to the success of your marketing campaigns. For example, if you’re running an email campaign, your KPIs might include your open rate, click-through rate, and conversion rate.
A keyword is a word or phrase that people type into a search engine to find information. The keyword for this blog post, for example, is “glossary of marketing terms.” A keyword should help you focus your content so you can deliver relevant information to potential customers.
A landing page is a standalone web page that displays very specific information. The goal of a landing page is typically to make a sale or gather information about potential customers. If you create a Google ad for a specific product, for example, sending people who click on the ad to a landing page can be more effective than sending them to your website. Instead of getting distracted by your other products, they’ll see information related only to the product they were interested in. Removing distractions and obstacles can make ad visitors more likely to purchase your product.
A lead is a person or company who has signaled interest in doing business with you. Someone who has downloaded an eBook, for example, is clearly interested in information relating to your product. That means they might also be interested in purchasing your product.
Lead nurturing is the process of providing education and information to your leads to encourage them to eventually do business with you. The goal of nurturing is ultimately to turn a lead into a buyer. Education and information can include case studies, guides, and product videos, promotions, and deals.
Marketing automation software helps you do what all business software does at the end of the day: automate your processes. With marketing automation tools, you can send out autoresponder emails so subscribers hear from you on time. You can run social media campaigns more efficiently by posting when people will actually see your content. Or you can serve ads to people on platforms across the internet after they’ve visited your site. Essentially, marketing automation helps you create and automate marketing processes to better reach your customers.
The marketing funnel is another term for the buyer’s journey. It starts with awareness of your product and ends with a purchase. To convince people to do business with you, you have to “move them down the funnel.” That means educating them and providing them with more information about your products and services.
Net promoter score (NPS)
Net promoter score (NPS) is the score you get from asking your customers a simple question: “On a scale of zero to 10, how likely are you to recommend [Business]?” You can use NPS to better understand how your customers feel about your business. A low score means you might need to make improvements to your customer experience. You can find more information about how to calculate NPS here.
Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising means you pay each time someone clicks on one of your ads. This model of advertising means that it doesn’t matter if 1,000 people saw your ad. You’ll only pay for the people who clicked on it.
A lead is someone who’s expressed interest in your product. A qualified lead is a lead that could actually be a good customer. Different businesses will have different ways of defining that “good customer,” though. If your product or service has a very wide target market, a qualified lead could just mean a lead whose contact information has been verified. Businesses with narrower target markets could require having a conversation with a lead to ensure they’re a good fit for their product.
Return on investment (ROI)
Return on investment (ROI) in marketing is the amount of profit or growth that can be directly attributed to marketing activities. For example, if many people purchased your product after receiving a promotional email, the marketing ROI would be the profit from those sales.
Search engine optimization (SEO)
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of making sure the content of your website is search-engine friendly. That means making sure the content of your site targets relevant keywords and contains relevant information. It also means making sure your site is formatted correctly, taking care of technical aspects like creating a sitemap and using clean code.
Search engine results page (SERP)
A search engine results page (SERP) is the page of results that come up when you use a search engine. Marketers often aim to be “top 10 in the SERPs.” That means when you search for a term, they want content from your site to come up as one of the top 10 search results on the first page of Google. Ranking higher on a SERP makes it more likely that people will see your content and visit your site.
Target content is content created for a specific group of people. To create targeted content, you need to be very familiar with your audience and where they are in your marketing funnel.
A thought leader is someone who is considered not only an expert in their field but also an innovator in that field. Thought leaders understand where their industry is currently and where it’s heading
Viral content is wildly popular content. It’s so compelling, engaging, or entertaining that many people share it. Most content you create won’t be viral. But highly engaging, innovative content has a better chance of going viral than cookie-cutter content that looks just like everyone else’s.
Word-of-mouth (WOM) marketing
Word-of-mouth (WOM) marketing is marketing that relies on people talking about your business. If you sell an amazing product, you’ll hope that your customers will tell their friends and family about it, encouraging them to make purchases themselves. You can encourage WOM marketing by making it easier for customers to talk about your product. Ask for them to leave reviews or share a post on social media about how much they love your product.
What did we miss?
We’re professional marketers, but we know we still have a few things to learn. So if we missed a marketing term, please let us know. Send us a message on Instagram with your term and definition so we can add it to the list.
And if you still have questions about how marketing works, we can help. Schedule your free consultation call to see how we can work together to improve your business’s marketing.