28 Marketing Jargon Terms (So we all speak the same language)

It’s hard to talk about marketing without using jargon. Here’s what we mean to say.

Ever get into a conversation with a marketer and feel like you’re talking a different language? That’s because, in a sense, you are.

Marketers—like many other professionals—use a lot of terms to refer to specific tools, concepts, or actions. These terms come into being quite quickly, and often fall out of use just as quickly. Understanding what they mean and when to use them can help you communicate better with your marketing team. This in turn will help you build a better strategy, set goals, and interpret results.

Ready? Here’s the top marketing jargon terms I’m likely to sure most frequently, both with clients and here on the blog.

1. Alt-text

The text that displays in place of an image if a website can’t load properly. It’s also used by screen readers to help visually impaired users understand what the image is about. Google also references this text to help determine search engine rankings.

2. Black Hat (See also: White Hat, Gray Hat.)

Black hat practices, both in SEO, email, and other marketing/advertising contexts, are techniques people use to cheat the system. They include practices such as keyword cramming, mass spam emails to purchased lists, and link buying (discussed below).

White hat practices are the legitimate, by the book methods you should use if you want to build customer loyalty, protect your brand reputation, and not incur penalties from Google or your marketing automation platform.

3. Bounce Percentage

When someone comes to your website and leaves within a few seconds, they are known as a “bounce.” This indicates that the person who visited landed by mistake or else wasn’t actually interested in your website. The lower your bounce percentage, the better, but 50% is about average for many sites.

4. CMS

This stands for “Content Management System.” It includes services such as WordPress (our preference), Joomla, and Drupal. The CMS helps you, the user and website owner, update and edit the content on your site (images, copy, blog posts) without needing to know any code.

5. Content Marketing

Using blog posts, images, ebooks, videos, emails, and infographics (i.e. “content”) to establish a connection with your customers. Usually seen as less intrusive and more trustworthy than other marketing and advertising initiatives.

6. Conversion Rate

The percentage of people who do whatever it is you wanted them to do, be it click on a button, sign up for an email newsletter, or make a purchase. We often talk about conversion rate on an action-by-action basis, as well as on a start-to-finish basis.

For instance, if one thousand people land on your home page, and three hundred click through to your product page, and fifty purchase your product, we might say that the conversion rate on your home page is 30% but the conversion rate on your product page is only 16.6%, making your overall conversion rate 5%.

7. CRM

A Customer Relationship Manager is a tool that helps your marketing and sales team keep track of clients and customers. Essentially, it tracks your history with clients so that you can remember who they are and what their experience with you has been to date.

8. CTA

Also known as a Call-to-Action, this usually comes in the form of a button. When you open an email, and a button at the bottom reads “click to download,” that is the CTA. Or, when you go to make a purchase and the button says “buy now,” that, too, is a CTA. You can think of CTAs as what you want your visitor to do next.

9. CTR

Click-through Rate. This is similar to a conversion rate, but slightly different. Say you send out an email or begin an ad campaign. Your CTR refers to the percentage of people who see your ad and click through to the landing page, or who open your email and click through to your website.

10. DLC, Gated Content, Downloadable Content

All these terms refer to content that you might offer a visitor in exchange for their email address. The “gate” is the email registration form.

11. E-commerce

Any organization using their website to conduct sales transactions is engaging in e-commerce. You can think big, like Amazon, but e-commerce can also apply to local businesses, even when no financial transaction takes place. For instance, they might submit an order online, but pay in person, but that would still qualify as e-commerce.

12. Editorial Calendar

The schedule of content topics and the date at which they will be produced. Editorial calendars can be complex or simple, but they’re also invaluable.

13. Inbound/Outbound Marketing

Inbound marketing largely aligns with content marketing. The goal is to create marketing materials so good that they attract visitors on their own merit. Outbound marketing involves outreach efforts and advertising campaigns. You’re reaching out to attract attention, rather than waiting for visitors to come to you.

14. Keywords (Long-tail, fat-head, and everything in between.)

A keyword or phrase is the term you hope to rank for when someone searches for that term on Google. Long-tail keywords are longer and more specific. They usually have fewer people searching for them a month, but those who do are likely to be higher-quality leads. Fat-head keywords have a high search volume, but are less targeted. In the classic example, a fat-head keyword might be “shoes,” while the long-tail is “women’s brown leather shoes size 9.”

15. Keyword Stuffing

This is a black hat SEO technique in which someone overloads keywords on a web page, usually in the alt tags and meta descriptions, in order to artificially influence its rankings.

16. Lead Generation (Lead Gen, Lead Nurturing)

A “lead” is anyone you hope to attract to your website as a potential client. Lead generation involves the marketing strategies you use to attract more leads. Lean nurturing is about cultivating those leads until they become clients.

17. Link Building (Also: link buying.)

The number of links that point to your domain has a direct impact on your page rankings. There are plenty of legitimate strategies to reach out to businesses and directories and build links back to your page. However, link buying is a black hat practice that involves paying for people to put your link on their website.

18. Marketing Automation

There are many companies that offer marketing automation as a SaaS. They are usually some form of CRM that helps you send emails to any leads you’ve generated via a preset workflow.

19. Meta Description

When you search for something on Google, the meta description is the few lines of text that appear below the search results to describe what’s on that page. It’s a way to help convince a searcher that your page is the one most relevant to their interests.

20. Open Rate

When you send out an email, the percentage of recipients who open that email is your open rate. If you have a bunch of people who don’t open your emails, that might be an indication your email list is unhealthy and that you’re actually spamming people.

21. PPC

Pay-Per-Click is a popular pricing model for online advertisements. You might put your advertisements out on Facebook for them to be seen by thousands of people, but only a percentage of those people will actually click on your ad. PPC is a way of helping you get a better value for your ad campaigns.

22. Remarketing

Have you ever visited a webpage and then see advertisements for that website’s products pop up elsewhere on the Internet? This is known as Remarketing. Remarketing uses cookies on websites to track where you’ve been and deliver relevant advertisements.

23. SaaS

More and more software companies are offering their products on a subscription basis rather than selling licenses outright. These businesses follow Software as a Service model, which abbreviates to SaaS.

24. SEO

Search Engine Optimization refers to a variety of practices website owners can follow to improve their rankings for various search engines (mostly Google). It can also be used to refer to a Search Engine Optimist, which is a person who does SEO.

25. Spam

You’re probably already familiar with spam emails. What you may not realize is how easy it is to fall into sending spam emails yourself. If you’re sending out mass emails to purchased lists, or else managing your current email lists poorly, you could end up in trouble.

26. User Path

When a visitor comes to your website, in what order to you expect them to visit pages? Will they scroll down your home page first, or jump straight to a service page? Once on the service page, will they contact you or make a purchase? Understanding how visitors will navigate through your website can help you structure information accordingly.

27. UX

User Experience” is… well, a little self-explanatory. How do visitors experience your website? Can they find what they’re looking for? Do they struggle to read text, fill out a form, or click on buttons? Do they enjoy being on your website? (Hint: A high bounce rate is a sign they do not.)

28. Workflow

This usually pops up in connection with your marketing automation software. When someone enters your system, what’s your strategy for working with them? As an example, you might have someone download a piece of DLC. Once they enter your system, you may have a follow-up email to send them offering more content.

Published 02/13/18 by Laura Lynch