De-coding common marketing terms for startups
Like any other specialized industry – say, the military or education or healthcare – we marketers use a lot of jargon. While we take these communication shortcuts for granted, if you’re a tech startup founder without a marketing background, it can seem like we’re talking a different language designed to keep you confused.
When we talk with you about how you can attract and communicate with customers and prospects (which is fundamentally what marketing is), we want you to be in the know. Don’t worry: there won’t be a quiz at the end (though you can feel free to quiz us). Let’s get started.
Everything in marketing starts with a piece of content. That is, anything you read, view or interact with. Content is usually further defined by its format and/or where it appears. For instance …
- Blog content
- Email content
- Video content
- Website content
Content marketing is simply using the content you create to encourage action in your intended audience. The format, distribution channel and style of your content should be specific to your target’s needs.
At the early stage of your company’s marketing efforts, your content will focus on awareness. Then, your content will support more specific marketing goals. For instance, your goal may be to grow the number of active demos for your product or to drive traffic from your social media platforms to your website. Content is best developed and implemented with the goal of producing measurable results.
A pixel, also called a tag, is a piece of code that is inserted onto your website and collects information (or tracks) user activity. Pixels are widely used on platforms like Facebook and Google, where information, such as what products a user purchased after viewing a certain page, is used by marketing teams for strategic purposes.
Traditionally, web design and campaigns were initially created for desktop users and then disseminated into mobile content. The term mobile-first implies the reverse: creating websites, campaigns and other marketing content to be viewed on mobile devices. As more and more users are accessing your content on their smartphones and tablets, mobile-first design should be your primary focus going forward.
An editorial calendar is key to effective content marketing, as it holds all the important information for content publication. Your calendar will contain content topic details, the date and platform that content will be published on, and any other information you deem relevant.
Broadly speaking, a funnel is a series of steps designed to lead an individual to a desired outcome. At the “top of the funnel” – the widest part – is where you have captured the largest number of your target audience: website visitors in the case of a Landing Page Funnel, or unqualified leads in the Sales Funnel. With each step along this pre-determined pathway, the number of audience members decreases; hence, the funnel. As prospects progress to the “bottom of the funnel” their likelihood of conversion increases.
A marketer may describe your sales funnel as a “journey” or “customer experience,” detailing the procurement, interaction and actions that lead to a sale.
Optimize is a term employed by marketers to indicate that an element of your marketing campaign is maximized, often due to the inclusion of analytics and strategy, for the benefit of search engines and users. You may recognize these terms:
Site Optimization: Also including Search Engine Optimization (SEO), this is a general term indicating elements of your website are catered to yield better search ranking results. SEO refers only to organic search traffic (not paid traffic).
Content Optimization: Content on your website utilizes strategic elements and keywords to ensure higher search engine ranking and a better user experience. Content optimization may also include link building.
Keyword Optimization: Keyword research that produces the most accurate and highest functioning keywords for your website. This process results in traffic to your site from users who seek to find the goods, services, or information you provide.
Mobile Optimization: Or, responsive design, is a term that indicates your website can be viewed successfully on mobile devices without having to design multiple versions of one website.
Each term indicates different marketing facets, with different specifications. However, the inclusion of the word “optimization” indicates that the marketer has taken care to strategically align the campaign to produce optimal results: greater engagement and conversions, higher search engine rankings and maximum traffic.
A marketing campaign refers to an organized effort to realize a specific marketing goal. General goals include creating awareness around a product launch, lead generation, and improved brand visibility. A campaign should include a marketing plan, though the two terms are not interchangeable. A marketing plan is a strategy, whereas a campaign will include the steps to implement that strategy.
Outbound & Inbound
Marketing strategy can be classified into two categories: Outbound and Inbound. Outbound marketing involves efforts to grab consumer attention through print or online advertising, mailing lists, and campaigns.
Inbound marketing is a strategy marketers use to pull potential customers into a company’s marketing funnel. It uses social media, SEO, content marketing, events, blogs, and more to create brand awareness and attract new business.
Leads and Lead Generation
A lead is a contact that has the potential to become a customer. Lead generation is the act of identifying those that could potentially become clients and attracting them to your sales funnel. There are several specific terms that relate to leads and lead generation, such as:
Lead Magnet: A piece of information or product offered to consumers in exchange for their contact information.
Lead Nurture: Lead nurturing is the process of managing relationships with leads that are not necessarily ready to purchase. The purpose is to win their business when they are ready to buy. The concept of Drip Marketing falls under lead nurturing, in that it consists of steady, regular contact with potential customers to build relationships over time.
Lead Capture: A lead capture is often a page (called a lead capture page or “lander”) that is designed to initialize the sales funnel process with potential customers. This is done generally by obtaining information from a prospective client who is interested in your product or services. One strategy for lead capture is to use “gated” content, where highly-valued content is accessible in exchange for contact information.
Conversion: A conversion is when a contact goes from being an anonymous visitor to a known lead, or from a prospect to an actual sale, the ultimate goal of all sales and marketing efforts. Online, a conversion often takes place via a web form, used to capture information and signal interest.
CTA: Call to Action – A design element on a webpage leading visitors to a specific action, like “Call Now” or “Download this Whitepaper”.
SEO: Search Engine Optimization (see Optimization above)
SEM: Search Engine Marketing – Refers to paid search engine advertisements. This is in contrast to SEO, which only refers to non-paid (or “organic”) search rankings.
PPC: Pay-Per-Click – A type of online advertising where an ad is placed on a host website, and payment is made based on how many clicks the advertisement gets.
CTR: Click-Through-Rate – The metric of people visiting a web page or viewing an email who clicked on a link or button for a particular offer. A CTR is often expressed as a percentage and is used to measure the efficacy of a campaign.
CR: Conversion Rate – The number of users who take a desired action, such as clicking on a CTA or subscribing to an email list. A CR is presented as a percentage.
UV: Unique Visitor – A unique visitor is a term used to decipher a visit from a singular person (as denoted by their IP address) within a given time frame. This is important, as it will show you not how many times your site has been visited but rather how many individuals have visited your site.
LP: Landing Page – A landing page is a specific web page that a visitor can visit or “land” on from a link or an ad.
CRM: Customer Relationship Management – Customer Relationship Management platforms are used to collect contact information, establish sales pipelines and drive leads to conversion. They often work with a marketing automation program.
MA: Marketing Automation – A software-as-a-service platform that enables marketers to automate many repetitive tasks such as emailing, maintaining social media and various website interactions.
We’re barely scratching the surface of marketing terms, especially when it comes to bringing all of these items together with automation. With that in mind, we have put together a handy guide to all of the terms we use when discussing how to take your startup’s marketing to the next level.