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The keywords, acronyms and definitions below will help you in your journey to become the best brand ambassador or affiliate possible and communicate effectively with others in the cost per referral networking space.
Marketing Terms to Improve Your Marketing Vocabulary
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.
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.
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.
An adjective used to describe companies that sell to other businesses. For example, Google and Oracle are primarily B2B companies.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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%.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A way to display different messaging on your website based on the information you already know about the visitor. For example, you could use Smart CTAs so that first-time visitors will see a personalized CTA (perhaps with a top-of-the-funnel offer) and those already in your database see a different CTA (maybe for content that offers a little more information about your product or service).
Ebooks are a common type of content that many marketers use, often to help generate leads. They are generally a more long-form content type than, say, blog posts, and go into in-depth detail on a subject.
It’s like a road map for content creation, showing you what kind of content to create, what topics to cover, which personas to target, and how often to publish to best support your strategy. Maintaining an editorial calendar will keep you more organized and show you any gaps you may have in your content library. It also helps ensure you’re doing the right things for your personas and not going way off-track with the topics you’re covering. (Don’t have a proper calendar of your own yet?
A popular social media metric used to describe the amount of interaction — Likes, shares, comments — a piece of content receives. Interactions like these tell you that your messages are resonating with your fans and followers.
Evergreen content is content that continues to provide value to readers no matter when they stumble upon it. In other words, it can be referenced long after it was originally published, and even then, it’s still valuable to the reader.
Typically, a piece of evergreen content is timeless, valuable, high quality, and canonical or definitive. These posts are typically a content marketer’s best friend because of the tremendous SEO value they provide.
Google+ (referred to as “Google Plus”) is a social network that allows you to join and create circles in which you can mix and match family members, friends, colleagues, and fellow industry members. While you can use it much like other social networks — to publish and share content, and generate new leads — it also provides content marketers with tremendous SEO value due to the rising importance of social sharing in search engine algorithms. (It is owned by Google, after all.)
Hashtags are a way for you and your readers to interact with each other on social media and have conversations about a particular piece of content. They tie public conversations on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram together into a single stream, which users can find by searching for a hashtag.
Inbound marketing refers to marketing activities that draw visitors in, rather than marketers having to go out to get prospects’ attention. It’s all about earning the attention of customers, making the company easy to find online, and drawing customers to the website by producing interesting, helpful content. By aligning the content you publish with your customer’s interests, you naturally attract inbound traffic that you can then convert, close, and delight over time.
An inbound link is a link coming from another site to your own website. “Inbound” is generally used by the person receiving the link.
Websites that receive many inbound links can be more likely to rank higher in search engines. They also help folks receive referral traffic from other websites.
A highly visual piece of content that is very popular among digital marketers as a way of relaying complex concepts in a simple and visual way.
Key Performance Indicator (KPI)
A type of performance measurement companies use to evaluate an employee’s or an activity’s success. Marketers look at KPIs to track progress toward marketing goals, and successful marketers constantly evaluate their performance against industry standard metrics. Examples of KPIs include CAC (Customer Acquisition Cost), blog traffic sources, and homepage views.
Sometimes referred to as “keyword phrases,” keywords are the topics that webpages get indexed for in search results by engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing.
Picking keywords that you’ll optimize a webpage for is a two-part effort. First, you’ll want to ensure the keyword has significant search volume and is not too difficult to rank for. Then, you’ll want to ensure it aligns with your target audience
After deciding the appropriate keywords you want to rank for, you’ll then need to optimize the appropriate pages on your website using both on-page and off-page tactics. What are those, you ask? Skip to “O” to find out — but don’t tell “L”, “M”, or “N”!
A landing page is a website page containing a form that is used for lead generation. This page revolves around a marketing offer, such as an ebook or a webinar, and serves to capture visitor information in exchange for the valuable offer. Landing pages are the gatekeepers of the conversion path and are what separates a website visitor from becoming a lead.
A smart inbound marketer will create landing pages that appeal to different personae (plural for persona) at various stages of the buying process. A hefty endeavor no doubt, but one that pays off in spades.
A person or company who’s shown interest in a product or service in some way, shape, or form. Perhaps they filled out a form, subscribed to a blog, or shared their contact information in exchange for a coupon.
Landing pages, forms, offers, and calls-to-action are just a few tools to help companies generate leads.
Sometimes referred to as “drip marketing,” lead nurturing is the practice of developing a series of communications (emails, social media messages, etc.) that seek to qualify a lead, keep it engaged, and gradually push it down the sales funnel. Inbound marketing is all about delivering valuable content to the right audience — and lead nurturing helps foster this by providing contextually relevant information to a lead during different stages of the buying lifecycle.
These divisions serve as a way to describe the relationship you have with your audience, and can generally be broken down into three stages: awareness, evaluation, and purchase.
What’s important to understand about each of these stages is that not every piece of content you create is appropriate, depending on what stage your audience might fall in at that moment. That’s why dynamic content is so great — you can serve up content that’s appropriate for whatever stage that particular visitor is in.
Lifetime Value (LTV)
A prediction of the net profit attributed to the entire future relationship with a customer. To calculate LTV, follow these steps for a given time period:
- Take the revenue the customer paid you in that time period.
- Subtract from that number the gross margin.
- Divide by the estimated churn rate (aka cancellation rate) for that customer.
For example, if a customer pays you $100,000 per year where your gross margin on the revenue is 70%, and that customer type is predicted to cancel at 16% per year, then the customer’s LTV is $437,500.
A long-tail keyword is a very targeted search phrase that contains three or more words. It often contains a head term, which is a more generic search term, plus one or two additional words that refine the search term. For example:
- Head term: unicorn
- Long-tail keywords: unicorn games online, unicorn costumes for kids, unicorn videos on YouTube
Long-tail keywords are more specific, which means visitors that land on your website from a long-tail search term are more qualified, and consequently, more likely to convert.
While there’s some overlap with the term “lead nurturing,” marketing automation is a bit different. Think of marketing automation as the platform with associated tools and analytics to develop a lead nurturing strategy. If you’ll let me run with an “art” analogy, marketing automation is the paintbrush, watercolors, and blank canvas. Lead nurturing is the artist that makes it all come together. Like Bob Ross! You can’t paint a happy little nurturing campaign without both.
Bonus: Want to get super-savvy with your marketing automation terminology? Take it to the next level with behavior-based marketing automation. Behavior-based marketing automation refers to a system that triggers emails and other communication based on user activity on and off your site. It enables marketers to nurture leads and send them information only when it is most relevant to their stage in the buying cycle.
A cross between a landing page and a “regular” website. ElfYourself.com is a great example. Microsites are used when marketers want to create a different online experience for their audience separate from their main website. These sites often have their own domain names and distinct visual branding.
Middle of the Funnel
This refers to the stage that a lead enters after identifying a problem. Now they’re looking to conduct further research to find a solution to the problem. Typical middle of the funnel offers include case studies or product brochures — essentially anything that brings your business into the equation as a solution to the problem the lead is looking to solve. Also, if you want to be cool, you can refer to this stage as “MOFU” for short.
With mobile search queries officially surpassing desktop queries, now is probably the time to explore mobile marketing. What is it? Well, mobile marketing refers to the practice of optimizing marketing for mobile devices to provide visitors with time- and location- sensitive, personalized information for promoting goods, services, and ideas.
Mobile optimization means designing and formatting your website so that it’s easy to read and navigate from a mobile device. This can be done by either creating a separate mobile website or incorporating responsive design in initial site layout. Google’s algorithm now rewards mobile-friendly websites, so if your site isn’t fully optimized for mobile devices, you will likely see a hit to your ranking on mobile searches.
Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR)
The amount of revenue a subscription-based business receives per month. Includes MRR gained by new accounts (net new), MRR gained from upsells (net positive), MRR lost from downsells (net negative), and MRR lost from cancellations (net loss).
A type of online advertising that takes on the form and function of the platform it appears on. Its purpose is to make ads feel less like ads, and more like part of the conversation. That means it’s usually a piece of sponsored content that’s relative to the consumer experience, isn’t interruptive, and looks and feels similar to its editorial environment.
Net Promoter Score (NPS)
A customer satisfaction metric that measures, on a scale of 0-10, the degree to which people would recommend your company to others. The NPS is derived from a simple survey designed to help you determine how loyal your customers are to your business.
To calculate NPS, subtract the percentage of customers who would not recommend you (detractors, or 0-6) from the percent of customers who would (promoters, or 9-10).
A no-follow link is used when a website does not want to pass search engine authority to another webpage. It tells search engine crawlers not to follow or pass credit to linked websites as a way to avoid association with spammy content or inadvertently violating webmaster guidelines. To varying degrees, the no-follow attribute is recognized by all major search engines, like Google, Yahoo, and Bing. Not all links (and linking domains) are created equal, and a no-follow attribute helps avoid any foul play.
Offers are content assets that live behind a form on a landing page. Their primary purpose is to help marketers generate leads for your business. There are many different types of offers you could create, including ebooks, checklists, cheat sheets, webinars, demos, templates, and tools.
This type of SEO is based solely on a webpage and the various elements within the HTML (see “H” if you skipped here directly). Ensuring that key pieces of the specific page (content, title tag, URL, and image tags) include the desired keyword will help a page rank for that particular phrase.
This is the free-spirited cousin of on-page optimization. Off-page SEO refers to incoming links and other outside factors that impact how a webpage is indexed in search results. Factors like linking domains and even social media play a role in off-page optimization. The good news is that it’s powerful; the not so good news is that it’s mostly out of an inbound marketer’s control. The solution? Create useful, remarkable content and chances are people will share and link to it.
A request to load a single web page on the internet. Marketers use them to analyze their website and to see if any change on the webpage results in more or fewer page views.
The amount of money spent to get a digital advertisement clicked. Also an internet advertising model where advertisers pay a publisher (usually a search engine, social media site, or website owner) a certain amount of money every time their ad is clicked. For search engines, PPC ads display an advertisement when someone searches for a keyword that matches the advertiser’s keyword list, which they submit to the search engine ahead of time.
PPC ads are used to direct traffic to the advertiser’s website, and PPC is used to assess the cost effectiveness and profitability of your paid advertising campaigns.
There are two ways to pay for PPC ads:
- Flat rate: where the advertiser and publisher agree on a fixed amount that will be paid for each click. Typically this happens when publishers have a fixed rate for PPC in different areas on their website.
- Bid-based: where the advertiser competes against other advertisers in an advertising network. In this case, each advertiser sets a maximum spend to pay for a given ad spot, so the ad will stop appearing on a given website once that amount of money is spent. It also means that the more people that click on your ad, the lower PPC you’ll pay and vice versa.
PPC, (or Pay-Per-Click) is an advertising technique in which an advertiser puts an ad in an advertising venue (like Google AdWords or Facebook), and pays that venue each time a visitor clicks on the ad. I couldn’t think of anything witty to place at the end of this definition, so let’s move on to “Q.”
This is the practice of developing a website that adapts accordingly to how someone is viewing it. Instead of building a separate, distinct website for each specific device it could be viewed on, the site recognizes the device that your visitor is using and automatically generates a page that is responsive to the device the content is being viewed on — making websites always appear optimized for screens of any dimension.
Return on Investment (ROI)
A performance measure used to evaluate the efficiency and profitability of an investment, or to compare the efficiency and profitability of multiple investments. The formula for ROI is: (Gain from Investment minus Cost of Investment), all divided by (Cost of Investment). The result is expressed as a percentage or ratio. If ROI is negative, then that initiative is losing the company money. The calculation can vary depending on what you input for gains and costs.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
The practice of enhancing where a webpage appears in search results. By adjusting a webpage’s on-page SEO elements and influencing off-page SEO factors, an inbound marketer can improve where a webpage appears in search engine results.
There are a ton of components to improving the SEO of your site pages. Search engines look for elements including title tags, keywords, image tags, internal link structure, and inbound links — and that’s just to name a few. Search engines also look at site structure and design, visitor behavior, and other external, off-site factors to determine how highly ranked your site should be in the search engine results pages.
Small-to-Medium Business (SMB)
Usually defined as companies that have between 10 and 500 employees.
A fun phrase used to refer to the practice of aligning Sales and Marketing efforts. In a perfect world, marketing would pass off tons of fully qualified leads to the sales team, who would then subsequently work every one of those leads enough times to close them 100% of the time. But since this isn’t always how the cookie crumbles, it’s important for Marketing and Sales to align efforts to impact the bottom line the best they can through coordinated communication.
Social proof refers to a psychological phenomenon in which people seek direction from those around them to determine how they are supposed to act or think in a given situation. It’s like when you see a really long line outside a nightclub and assume that club is really good because it’s in such high demand. In social media, social proof can be identified by the number of interactions a piece of content receives or the number of followers you have. The idea is that if others are sharing something or following someone, it must be good.
Top of the Funnel
Sometimes called “TOFU”, top of the funnel refers to the very first stage of the buying process. Leads at this stage are just identifying a problem that they have and are looking for more information. As such, an inbound marketer will want to create helpful content that aids leads in identifying this problem and providing next steps toward a solution. TOFU is also very tasty in certain Thai dishes.
A person who visits a website more than once within a period of time. Marketers use this term in contrast with overall site visits to track the amount of traffic on their website. If only one person visits a webpage 30 times, then that web page has one UV and 30 total site visits.
This is short for Uniform Resource Locator. I honestly didn’t know that before writing this definition. Basically, this is the address of a piece of information that can be found on the web such as a page, image, or document (ex. http://www.huspot.com). URLs are important for on-page SEO, as search engines scour the included text when mining for keywords. If a keyword you’re looking to get indexed for is in the URL, you’ll get brownie points from search engines (but no real brownies, unfortunately).
User Experience (UX)
The overall experience a customer has with a particular business, from their discovery and awareness of the brand all the way through their interaction, purchase, use, and even advocacy of that brand. To deliver an excellent customer experience, you have to think like a customer, or better, think about being the customer.
User Interface (UI)
A type of interface that allows users to control a software application or hardware device. A good user interface provides a user-friendly experience by allowing the user to interact with the software or hardware in an intuitive way. It includes a menu bar, toolbar, windows, buttons, and so on.
This term is used to describe a piece of content that has become wildly popular across the web through sharing. Oftentimes, folks don’t know a piece they’re creating will be viral until it actually does, which is usually unfortunate if it’s particularly embarrassing.
A website is a set of interconnected webpages, usually including a homepage, generally located on the same server, and prepared and maintained as a collection of information by a person, group, or organization. An inbound marketer should structure a website like a dynamic, multi-dimensional entity that can be used to attract relevant website visitors, convert those visitors into leads, and close those leads into customers. Otherwise, it’s just a brochure — and let’s be honest — could you really use another brochure?
The passing of information from person to person. Technically, the term refers to oral communication, but today it refers to online communication, as well. WOM marketing is inexpensive, but it takes work and involves leveraging many components of inbound marketing like product marketing, content marketing, and social media marketing.
A workflow is another way to describe a lead nurturing campaign. It’s a set of triggers and events that move a lead through the nurturing process. A workflow can also serve other purposes, such as adjust contact properties on a lead record based on certain conditions, or adding a contact record to a certain list. Regardless of how you use it, workflows can be a very powerful asset in an inbound marketing strategy.