You may have heard this saying—or something like it—before: “A business that does not market is a business that does not grow.” That’s not to say that a good product or service alone won’t keep a business afloat, but without marketing, that business owner is leaving the fate of their livelihood up to chance. So whether you’re young or old, amateur or experienced, marketer or entrepreneur, master these key marketing terms and harness the power of taking the chance out of your business’s growth!
1. B2B and B2C
Ah, the place where every business starts: its clientbase. Every business will derive its revenue primarily from either customers or other businesses, and knowing which aspects of your business cater to which type of client is a critical first step in planning your marketing campaign. Before you can focus in on a target audience, before you can start rubbing elbows at conventions, and before you open up your wallet for Google and Facebook ads, you’ll need to know what kind of clients you do business with.
So, are you Business to Business, or are you Business to Customer?
Business to Business (B2B)
Marketers sure love their acronyms and jargon, but when dealing with so many terms, it becomes essential: your elevator pitch might end up becoming a feature length film otherwise! If your business caters primarily to other businesses, you’re a B2B.
The key thing to note about the difference between B2Bs and B2Cs is that B2Bs will have some extra options available to them in terms of marketing platforms. Because a B2B deals with entire businesses, there’s typically a lot more at stake and thus more resources available for businesses to find each other better.
For example, LinkedIn can be an incredibly powerful marketing tool in not just the right hands, but for the right business. And only for a B2B business. In the LinkedIn world, it’s completely acceptable and even encouraged for professionals to connect over potentially mutually beneficial scenarios. Often, marketing companies will reach out to businesses on LinkedIn to offer their services. The platform makes it easy for each party to see what the other is all about.
Don’t go trying to sell your homemade gourmet cookies over LinkedIn, though. Each LinkedIn user acts as a representative of their business, so trying to target the individual (customer) rather than their role in their company (business) will end in disaste
Business to Customer (B2C)
However, all is not lost for the Business to Customer business. While certain platforms like LinkedIn may not be an option, by targeting individual customers, B2C businesses have a unique opportunity to connect directly with each member of their audience.
This means that on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit, a B2C business has far more options, not just in campaign strategies but also in how they act with each member of their audience.
Picking the wrong platforms to market on is akin to trying to sell shoes to a fish: sure, you can do it, but the fish are all going to look at you weird.
B2C also comes with the unique difficulty of there being so many potential customers. This makes focusing onto your target audience an absolutely crucial step in the marketing process.
2. Demographics & Audience Persona
These two terms have been bundled together because they’re both critical tools to identifying your target audience, and the more laser-focused your target audience, the stronger your niche, the greater your appeal, and the better your chances are of running a successful marketing campaign.
You may be familiar with common demographics like age, gender, ethnicity, and income, but in the world of marketing, pretty much anything can be a demographic and it’s encouraged that you get as granular as possible with your demographics in order to fit your marketing strategies properly.
Let’s say you’re a B2C business that sells shaving razors and shaving accessories (aftershave, shaving cream, etc.). Your demographics will certainly involve targeting people old enough to shave in the first place, but what about gender? Are your products high-end, budget, or somewhere in between?
The characteristics of your products will determine the type of demographics you’ll need to dial in on. For (a farfetched) example, your new shaver could be one powered by jet fuel. Now you’ve got a whole demographic of aviation enthusiasts, engineers, and pilots to play around with. Is it pink? Then finally! A next-gen turbine-powered shaver that really “lifts off” those stubborn leg hairs for the female pilot who has to jet off to her next flight.
This is admittedly a silly example, but it goes to show that your demographics can be as detailed as they need to be. This is important, because once you’ve got a rough idea of your demographics, you can plug them into a template and utilize this next tool.
If the persona is the mask of personality that we all wear, then the Audience Persona is a collection of masks on the conference room table that help HR run team-building roleplaying exercises. A target audience would amount to a collection of demographics (college-aged men who love tailgating and also work part-time jobs to help pay for school), but an audience persona takes things one step further.
With an audience persona, you’re essentially constructing a series of characters that fit your target audience to a T.
Taking the target audience example from above, an audience persona would look like this: Kelly (yes, he knows it’s a girl’s name) is 19 years old, attends his local community college, and loves the Green Bay Packers. He loves tailgating so much that he’s started hosting his own off-season.
The point of an audience persona is to create a character that you can empathize with in order to make marketing decisions or run campaign elements through. What would this character think or how would they react? What kinds of jokes do they like and what kinds of references do they get?
An audience persona puts a human face on the faceless collection of demographics data you’ve assembled for your target audience. And don’t just stop at one! A good marketing campaign has several audience personas on the table and will be constantly tweaking them as they pivot during their campaign.
3. Lookalike Audiences
Lookalike audiences are, essentially, the next-door neighbors to your target audience. They will mostly come into play with social media and email marketing campaigns. While a lookalike audience member may not be as keen or invested in your product or service as your target audience, they’ll probably be more receptive to it than any one random person on the internet.
Think of it like this: After much work, you’ve found the one perfect grain of sand on the beach. It would be a shame to let all that work go to waste, so you grab the sand surrounding it and find that, while it’s not perfect, it’s pretty darn good too. By expanding your marketing to lookalike audiences, you may discover demographics that you didn’t know were interested in your products.
4. Lead Generation and Nurturing
While these two terms are fairly self-explanatory, there’s an art to balancing between the two. Think of them as the Yin and Yang of managing clients, because you can’t have one without the other and focusing too heavily on one can really throw things out of sync for your business.
In lead generation, you’re bringing in new potential clients. Whether it’s through social media, online or print advertising, word of mouth, elbow rubbing, etc., you’re creating the potential for opportunity. You can’t sell a product or service is nobody knows about you, after all.
But lead generation stops there. Lead nurturing is all about turning an interested party or previous customer into a customer. It’s about connecting and reconnecting to a target audience that is already receptive to your business. Whether it’s through social media interaction, personal follow-up emails or calls, or all those holiday cards you get in the mail from your dentist, it’s crucial that you tend these fields, so to speak, since it’s usually easier to keep a client than it is to find a new one.
How It All Fits Together
We’re only four terms in, but already you can see the puzzle coming together! A good business has a solution to their customer’s problem (and sometimes that’s a problem the customer didn’t even know they had!), but the reality is often much more complex. That solution can change over time based on who the customer is and vice versa, but if you don’t start in the right place to begin with (selling shoes to a fish), it’s going to take a lot longer to get off the ground.
Knowing what your business sells, who it sells to, and how to generate and nurture leads will make all the more granular details of marketing campaigns far easier to deal with. And speaking of more granular details . . .
5. Key Performance Indicator (KPI)
So you’ve started your marketing campaign. Hurrah! So what does success look like? Is your campaign one of awareness? Are you trying to boost sales of a new product? Are you trying to go viral? Whatever the goal for your marketing campaign, you need some metric to determine if you’re succeeding or failing.
The metrics by which you define success are your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
Some common KPIs include reach (how many people saw your ad), clicks (how many people clicked your ad), and conversion (how many people followed through with your ad). You can also include things like engagement (likes, comments, shares, etc.) in social media, open rates in email campaigns, and any change in sales during the campaign.
The important thing here is that pivots you make in your marketing campaign will affect various KPIs differently. If you’re focusing on reach, then you don’t care if engagement is low. If you want to boost sales, then you’re probably looking to get your conversion as high as possible.
As the saying goes, if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. Pick the KPIs that matter to your campaign.
6. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Ah, the granddaddy of online terms and the reason you have to scroll through Karen’s battle with a poison ivy rash before you can finally get to the recipe for scones that you really only check for the oven temperature.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) encompases everything that your website does and is in order to be ranked within the top five results of search engines—anything lower on the page is no man’s land and you can forget pages two through six thousand even exist.
One of the main reasons you see so many sites including blogs—and why so many online recipes include memoirs before the actual recipe—is because the predominant search engines give weight to high quality content. Company pages with blogs and online recipes with journal entries will, in general, show up higher in search results.
Entire college-level courses are made around SEO, so suffice it to say, it’s important. Try looking yourself up on various search engines (keep in mind which search engines your target audience typically uses) and see if you’re happy with the results.
7. Keyword/Hashtag Stuffing
After learning about SEO, you may be tempted to start a blog on your site and pay some ghost writers to cram as many keywords into articles as they can. Or maybe you’ll hide some keywords on your site using HTML magic. This is the marketing equivalent of adding keywords in white to the bottom of your resume and is called keyword stuffing. Much like in the case of that resume, it’s easily detected and your work will get thrown out.
Keyword stuffing will put you lower in search results, and that could be deadly. Don’t do it.
Hashtag stuffing is keyword stuffing’s annoying little cousin. While not as nearly impactful of getting booted off of the top spot on a search engine result, hashtag stuffing in social media posts has the unintended effect of lowering engagement: it’s the hashtag version of TL;DR. While there are no systems in place in social media to penalize overabundant hashtag use, the space you could’ve used to create engaging content is instead filled with a wall of hashtags. Your audience will take notice.
8.CPI and CPA
CPI and CPA stand for Cost Per Impression and Cost Per Acquisition, respectively. They’re both advertising terms with a subtle yet very important difference.
Impressions are when your ad appears on the screen of an internet user. Whether they looked at it, clicked it, or ignored it, if it showed up on their screen, it counts as an impression. Both Facebook and Google Ads will charge on a Cost Per Impression basis.
Cost Per Acquisition is an important figure and can also be used as a KPI. You take the total cost of your campaign and divide it by the number of conversions. That tells you how much you spent per conversion. If the number is high, then you may want to look at your KPIs to determine what isn’t performing as well as it could be.
9. Call to Action (CTA)
If you’re browsing the internet, chances are you’re either standing or sitting down. Like when late-night infomercials implore you to “call now,” a call to action is meant to direct the reader’s energy to something productive. While you may not be asking them to get up off the couch, you’ll often be directing them to comment or follow a link or reach out to a sales rep.
Without a call to action, whatever you’re doing, whether it’s posting on social media or writing blogs, has a chance that the reader will just leave once they’ve consumed the content. So make sure to like and subscribe and smash that bell icon for notifications.
How It All Fits Together: Relevance/Quality Score
In the Information Age, if something can be tracked, then chances are that it’s been being tracked for years now. While you’ve been busy tracking your KPIs, ad services have been busy tracking the success of your ads.
If your ads are bad, then you’re given a lower score. If your score is low then your ads get shown less and cost more.
There are entire guides written on the art of creating a successful landing page (in fact, we have one right here!), but the basics of a landing page are easy to grasp.
A landing page is a curated, hyper-focused page that is used in online advertising, be it through website ads or email campaigns. Instead of having your ads link to your website homepage or a product page on your homepage, you’re often better off creating a landing page specific to that advertising campaign.
With landing pages, you can create convincing content that fits the theme of your marketing campaign without having to mess around with your main site. They’re an incredibly powerful tool
11. The Fold
Ah the dreaded fold, an online marketer’s worst nightmare. How can you market that which is not seen?! The fold refers to anything that needs to be scrolled or swiped to be seen. Often, it also applies to any content that isn’t absorbed within the first few seconds of viewing a site.
It’s vital that you include your most important information, regardless of platform, above whatever the fold may be. If it’s social media, your fold may begin right after your photo ends (some people don’t read captions, after all). If you’re sending a newsletter, the fold may be the subject line.
Whatever the fold is for the platform your content is on, keep the most important stuff above board!
12. A/B Testing (or, Split Testing)
Nothing like a little scientific theory to enhance the marketing world! A/B Testing, or Split Testing, can be a simple process of having two pieces of content with one slight variation between them in order to see which performs better. Or, it can be as complicated as having dozens of different variables being tweaked across hundreds of forms of content.
Because that advanced kind of split testing is typically done by companies in exchange for lots of money, we’ll focus on A/B Testing, which is something anyone can do on their own. Let’s say you’re marketing a new line of lipsticks. For your Instagram ad, you’re not sure if you should go with a photo of all the lipsticks or the photo of a model wearing one of the colors. Your A/B test would be using the same caption for both images and boosting both posts with a small budget each in order to see which one performs better.
Once you know which one performs better, you use that one and boost it with a large ad budget. Or, you could continue tweaking!
Ever look at an item on Amazon or talk about it with a friend and now all of a sudden you start seeing ads for it everywhere? As creepy as that is, it’s called remarketing. The basic principle is that if someone searched for a product, then they’re more likely to be interested in it than someone who didn’t search for it (duh). It’s one of the ways that online advertising companies like Google and Facebook are able to generate impressions for your ads.
Doesn’t stop it from being a little unsettling though!
Remarketing can also apply when nurturing leads. With previous customers, you have data on what they purchased and can make recommendations based on that as well as what you know about them. It’s a simple business principle that’s been in play for millenia!
How ALL of It Fits Together
There are obviously a lot more marketing terms out there. A quick google search will show sites with good SEO and articles that list dozens if not hundreds of marketing terms. But these 13 here will get you far.
So which terms would you put on your list?
Let me know in the comments below!