common digital marketing terms and definitionsToday’s digital marketing landscape can be intimidating and a little overwhelming if you are just getting started. Here is a comprehensive list of the most common marketing terms and their meanings.

A/B Testing (sometimes called split testing) is comparing two versions of a digital marketing tool (website, email, call to actions, landing pages, etc.) to determine which one performs best in order to help improve marketing efforts.

Analytics is the statistical analysis of data created from a business’s digital marketing initiatives such as website visitor reports, social media followers. This allows you to analyze trends and develop actionable strategies.

B2B stands for Business-to-Business and describes companies that sell products and services to other businesses.

B2C stands for Business-to-Consumer and describes companies that sell products and services directly to consumers

Blogging is short for web log or weblog and typically includes a chronical or log of entries such as commentary, educational material, articles, photos, and videos. Blogging is a core component of inbound marketing and can be used for website traffic growth, thought leadership, SEO, lead generation, and more.

Bottom of the Funnel refers to the stage of the conversion funnel or buying process where you are about to close a new customer. They’ve identified a problem, have shopped around for possible solutions, and are very close to buying. Typically, the next steps to leads at this stage include a call from a sales rep, a demo, or a free consultation.

Bounce Rate (email) is the rate at which an email was unable to be delivered to the recipient’s email inbox. High bounce rates general mean that your email lists are out of date and include several invalid email addresses.

Bounce Rate (website) is the percentage of people who land on your website page and then leave without clicking on anything else or navigating further into your site. High bounce rates generally lead to poor conversion rates as no one is staying on your site long enough to engage with your content and convert into a customer.

Buyer Persona (sometimes called a marketing persona) is a research-based semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer.

Call-to-Action (CTA) is an image, button, text link, or content intended to induce website visitors, readers, or viewers to take action, typically taking the form of a directive (e.g. subscribe now, download this, etc.). The more enticing the CTA the better your visitor-to-lead conversion rates.

Churn Rate is calculated by taking the number of customers you lost during a certain time frame divided by the total number of customers you had at the beginning of the same time frame, excluding any new sales.

Clickthrough Rate (CTR) is calculated by taking the total number of clicks that your web page or CTA receives divided by the total number views.  A high CTR indicates that your web page, email, or ad has high value to your audience.

Conversion Funnel is the flow and conversion of a potential customer into a paying customer. Although there are many different names for each stage, in general, they awareness, interest, desire, and action.

Conversion Path is a series or sequence of steps a visitor took before converting to a sale.

Content is a piece of information that exists to be read, engaged with, and/or shared and is a cornerstone of inbound marketing. Examples include photos, videos, blog posts, social media posts, etc.

Content Management System (CMS) is a software application or set of related programs that are used to create and manage digital content.

Content Marketing is the process of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined target audience, with the objective of driving profitable customer action.

Conversion Rate is the percentage of people who take or complete the desired action.

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) is a system or process for increasing the percentage of visitors to a website that convert into customers, or more general, take any desired action on a webpage. This can include improving user experience, optimization landing pages, and A/B testing .

Cost-per-Lead (CPL) is what it costs your marketing department to acquire a lead.

Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) is calculated by taking your total sales and marketing costs (advertising spent + salaries + commissions + overhead) divided by the number of new customers in the same time period.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) includes all practices, strategies and software programs that assist in managing and analyzing customer interactions and data throughout the customer lifecycle with the goal is to improve customer relations, customer retention, and ultimately sales.

CSS stands for Cascading Style Sheets, a markup language document used to format the layout of your website including fonts, colors, background images, tables, etc.

Dynamic Content allows your website to display different content or based on the information you already know about the visitor.

Ebook is a text and image based publication in digital form produced on, published by, and readable on computers or other digital devices.

Editorial Calendar is a content creating road map, displaying what content to create, topics to cover, personas to target, and how often to publish to best support your marketing strategies.

Email stands for Electronic Mail. In a marketing strategy it allows you to push content to your potential and existing customers thus controlling the conversation. It is important that marketers do NOT abuse this relationship and always look to add value to the recipient not just sell to them.

Engagement Rate is a social media metric used to describe interactions such as likes, shares, comments. High engagement rates indicate that your messages are resonating with your fans and followers.

Evergreen Content is content that continues to provide value to viewers regardless of date. Typically, evergreen content is considered timeless, valuable, and of high quality long after it is initially published.

Form is a tool used on your web site page where visitors can provide their contact information. It is a way to capture leads.

Hashtag is a word or phrase preceded by a hash or pound (#) sign and is used to identify messages related to a specific topic. Hashtags can be used as a creative marketing tool to find like minded people or create searchable content.

HTML short for HyperText Markup Language, a language used to write web pages and provide the basic structure of the site.

Inbound Marketing is the process of attracting the attention of prospects, by publishing interesting, high value content. By aligning your content with your customers’ interests, you naturally attract inbound traffic that you can then convert, close, and delight over time. It is a cost effective way to convert strangers into customers.

Inbound Link is a link coming from another site to your website. Websites that have high number of inbound links are more likely to rank higher in search engines due to popularity.

Infographic is a visual piece of content that often relays complex concepts or data in a simple and visual way.

JavaScript is a programming language that allows web developers to design interactive, dynamic web sites.

Key Performance Indicator (KPI) is a measurable value that demonstrates how effectively a company is achieving key business objectives. Examples include cost per lead, sales revenues, lead to customer ration, etc.

Keyword or keyword phrases are words that search engines use to rank web pages within their index. Intentionally optimizing your website relevant to appropriate keywords can drastically improve your site’s search engine ranking.

Landing Page or lead capture page or destination page is a single web page that visitors are directed to in response to clicking on a search engine optimized search result or online advertisement. The sole purpose of a landing page typically revolves around a specific CTA and are best tailored to appeal to different customer personae.

Lead is a consumer or company who has shown interest in a product or service in some way. This can include subscribing to a blog, filling out a form, or sharing their contact information.

Lead Nurturing also referred to as “drip marketing.” Lead Nurturing is the practice of developing a series of communications (emails, social media posts, etc.) that seek to qualify, engage, and gradually push a lead through the sales funnel.

Lifecycle Stages are divisions that describe the relationship you have with your audience and can be generally broken down into three stages: awareness, evaluation, and purchase.

Lifetime Value (LTV) is the projected net profit generated by a customer over the lifetime of your relationship. It can be calculated by multiplying the (Average Value of a Sale) X (Number of Repeat Transactions) X (Average Retention Time in Months or Years for a Typical Customer)

LTV:CAC is the ratio of lifetime value (LTV) to customer acquisition cost (CAC). Once you have the LTV and the CAC, you can compute the ratio of the two. If it costs you $100,000 to acquire a customer with an LTV of $400,000, then your LTV:CAC is 4 to 1.

Marketing Automation refers to software that helps to automate marketing actions. Many marketing departments have to automate repetitive tasks such as emails, social media, and other website actions.

Marketing Funnel includes the various stages a prospect takes from their first interaction with your brand to purchasing your product or service.

Middle of the Funnel is the stage that a lead enters after identifying a problem. Middle of the funnel tools include anything that presents your business as a solution to the potential customer’s problem.

Mobile Marketing refers to marketing that has been optimized for mobile devices.

Mobile Optimization is when a website has been designed and formatted so that it can be easily read and navigated from a mobile device. This can be accomplished either by creating a separate mobile website or more commonly by incorporating responsive design into your initial site layout. NOTE: Google’s algorithm now rewards mobile friendly websites in search engine rankings.

Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR) is the amount of revenue a subscription based or SaaS platform generates each month. MRR = (revenue from new accounts + upsells) – (downsells + cancellations)

Native Advertising is a form of paid media where the advertising experience follows the natural form and function of the user experience on the website. The most common form of native advertising is sponsored content.

Net Promoter Score (NPS) Is a customer satisfaction metric that measures on a scale of 0 to 10 the degree to which people would recommend your company to others. It is typically captured by surveying customers to determine how loyal they are to your brand.

On-Page Optimization is when search engine optimization is done on the each webpage. This includes keyword rich content, title tags, image alt tags, and URLs.

Off-Page Optimization is when search engines look at incoming links, shared content, social media, and other outside factors that impact how a webpage ranks in search results.

Page View is a request of an internet user visiting a particular page on a website.

Pay-per-Click (PPC) is the amount of money paid to a platform (search engine, social media site, website owner) every time their ad is clicked. 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. PPC includes both flat or fixed rates as well as bid-based fees.

Qualified Lead is a contact that opted in to receive communication from your company and is interested in learning more.

Responsive Design is an approach to web development that makes use of flexible layouts, flexible images, and cascading style sheet to media queries. Responsive designed web pages detect the visitor’s screen size and orientation and change the layout accordingly.

Return on Investment (ROI) is a performance measure that evaluates the efficiency and profitability of an investment. ROI is calculated by taking (gain from investment – cost of investment) divided by cost of investment. Today’s marketers look to measure the ROI on every campaign and channel they use.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the practice of enhancing where a webpage ranks in search engine results.

Sender Score is a number between 0 and 100 that identifies your sender reputation and shows you how mailbox providers view your IP address. Any score of over 90 is good.

Social Media are websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking. Examples include Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and Instagram, and Snapchat. Social Media is a core component of Inbound, as it provides marketers with additional channels to spread reach, increase growth, and reach business goals.

Social Proof refers to the 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.

SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) is a software licensing and delivery model in which software is licensed on a subscription basis and is centrally hosted and typically accessed via a web browser.

Top of the Funnel (sometimes called ‘TOFU’) is the very first stage of the buying process. Leads at this stage have just identified a problem they are having and are looking for more information. Inbound marketers will want to create helpful content that aids leads in identifying this problem and providing next steps toward a solution.

Unique Visitor is a distinct individual who request pages from the website during a given period, regardless of how often they visit.

User Assistance (UA) is a general term for guided assistance to a user of a software product. The phrase incorporates all forms of help available to a user.

User Experience (UX) is the overall experience a customer has with a particular product, service, or system. Even broader, it can represent the overall experience a customer has with a particular business from initial discovery and brand awareness to interactions, purchases, use, customer service, and even brand advocacy

User Interface (UI) is the means by which a user and a computer system interact. A good user interface provides a user-friendly experience that is intuitive and without a lot of unnecessary steps.

Viral Content is content that has become wildly popular across the web through organic sharing.

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