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28 Marketing Terms Every SMB Owner Should Know

Debunk the Marketing Junk: Business Acronyms to Grow Your Company

Marketers love to throw around buzzwords, most of which end up being shortened to acronyms. If you hear marketing jargon tossed around and it means squat to your ears - this is for you.

I can appreciate that as a SMB owner (I used an acronym already! SMB = small and medium-size business), somewhere deep down you want to know and understand this lingo to benefit your business, but probably don’t have time to grasp it all.

I welcome you to your cheat sheet, where I will debunk the marketing junk.

I encourage you to bookmark this blog. That way, when one of these pesky acronyms gets dropped in a conversation you can quickly/discreetly look it up should you need to.

Let’s debunk the marketing junk!

Why it’s important for SMB Owners to Understand Marketing

There are three really good reasons to understand marketing for your business, which means you’ll need to be familiar with marketing terms.

  1. Once you are familiar with the terminology used in marketing, you will easily be able to apply this knowledge to your own business. 
  2. Marketing your business is how you will win new customers.
  3. Winning new customers means growth and increased revenue - which is your ultimate goal as a business owner.

28 Marketing Terms and Marketing Acronyms Every SMB Owner Should Know

In order to cover a broad range of marketing terms, I have broken them into categories. We will cover marketing terms every SMB owner should know when it comes to your website, digital marketing, social media and reputation marketing.

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Small Business Website Marketing Terms

The first 12 terms cover language you will need to know for your business website. These will help you understand how your website works, if it’s doing the intended job and a couple of measures to keep your eye on.

  • CTA: This stands for “call(s) to action”. This is a directive for a website visitor to take a desired action. This can include filling out a form, booking a quote or scheduling, joining a newsletter, etc. A CTA on your website should stand out from the rest of your copy and be highly visible to get visitors to click on it.
  • Conversion rate: Your website conversion rate is the percentage of visitors to your website who become leads. This is important to know because it speaks to how successful your website is at generating new business for you. Make sure you check out our guide on how to build a lead generation website.
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  • Visitors: A website visitor is someone who lands on your website. It doesn’t matter how many pages they view, they will still count as one website visitor. 
  • Unique visitors: This is the number of people who are visiting your website for the first time. 
  • Dwell time: This is the length of time a visitor spends on your site. The longer someone stays exploring your website, the better. 
  • Bounce rate: This measures the number of people who visit one page on your website and then exit without viewing any other pages. Generally, you want to keep your bounce rate low. To dive a bit deeper, jump to this blog on Google Analytics
  • SEO: This acronym stands for “search engine optimization” Search engine optimization includes a number of measures you can take to improve how Google and other major search engines understand your website. In turn, this will help Google determine whether your site is relevant to the person searching, and send the right traffic to your site. SEO is often broken into two categories:
  • Onpage SEO: this refers to any optimizations you can make on your website. Onpage SEO is the biggest driving force behind SEO-marketing for small businesses. Here are some tips for small business SEO you can execute on your website.
  • Off-page SEO: These are measures you can take to improve your discoverability on search engines, like Google, that are outside of (or off) your own website. This can include optimizing you Google My Business listing and getting customer reviews.
  • Keyword: A keyword is a term or terms to include in the copy of your website as they are relevant to people searching for your product/service. Including important search terms will help Google understand who to show your website to. Some important examples may include your industry and location.
  • Backlink: This is a link from one web page to another. Any time a web page links to your site, this is considered good for SEO and will help build domain authority. 
  • Anchor text: This is the text you use in a backlink. The anchor text of a backlink will help the reader and Google understand what they will land on once they click on the backlink. This is a good opportunity to use keywords and is generally considered good SEO practice.

SMB Digital Marketing terms:

When it comes to your digital marketing efforts there are a couple of terms that will come up time and time again. 
We’ll go over 9 important ones that will help you understand and measure your SMB digital marketing efforts.

  • KPI: This acronym stands for “key performance indicators”. These are metrics that track progress over time as you work towards an intended measure of success or goal. 
  • Impressions: This is the number of times an ad or piece of content was seen by any one person.
  • Reach: This is how many people saw at least one of your ads or marketing material.
  • Frequency: You can calculate frequency by taking the number of impressions divided by reach. This will provide you with the average number of times any one person saw your ad.
  • Actions: This is how many people take the desired action, or do what you want them to do. This can include making a purchase or booking, filling out a form, providing their email address, etc.
  • CTR: This stands for “click-through rate” and is a ratio of people who click on a link to the total number of people who viewed the marketing material or ad.
  • PPC: This means “pay-per-click” and is a form of advertising where the advertiser pays for every click on the ad.
  • CPC: This acronym is used to describe the “cost per click” and is a metric that tells you the amount of money spent on each click. 
  • A/B Test: This is referred to by marketers who are trying to figure out the optimal version or best performing ad variant. This a test where 2 variants (A and B) are tested against each other to see which is stronger. You can use an A/B test on webpages, ads, copy, creative, etc. It is a useful way to understand (and not just think) your marketing material is effective.
  • GMB: This stands for Google My Business. This is a profile you can create and manage for your business on Google. This way when anyone looks up your business, immediate and accurate information shows up. I highly encourage you to create a GMB listing if you haven’t already, and then check out this resource on how to optimize Google My Business for local SEO.

Social Media Marketing Terms: The Basics For SMB Owners

If you’re considering starting a page for your business or already have business accounts on any social media platform(s), there are a handful of marketing terms to be aware of. 

Even understanding the basics will help you improve your returns on the content and marketing you are putting out there. 

A couple of terms that apply in the social media marketing category have been covered above -- like reach and impressions -- which are metrics also used in social media marketing that you should keep your eye on. We won’t rehash them, however.

  • Growth: This refers to the number of followers you gain or lose in a given period. Generally speaking, the more followers you have the more potential eyes will see your content. It is arguable however, that a smaller number of engaged followers is better than a large number of unengaged followers. 
  • Engagement: This is the number of times a person has engaged with your post. An engagement can take many forms, such as liking, commenting, sharing or saving.
  • Engagement Rate: This is a formula that looks at the amount of engagement relative to reach or the number of people who saw it. You can calculate your engagement in multiple ways, for instance by post, by day, by total reach, etc. 
  • Content Calendar: This is an organized plan or schedule of content that you wish to publish on social media or a blog. This is a great way to avoid feeling flustered or overwhelmed when it comes time to post.

Reputation Marketing Lingo for SMB Marketing

When it comes to reputation marketing there are a couple of key terms that are referred to regularly. In order to tap into reputation marketing to benefit your business you will want to know these ones.

  • Reputation Marketing: This seems like a logical place to start. This is where you leverage your business reputation to market to new leads. If you aren’t familiar with this type of marketing yet, check out this complete guide on reputation marketing. Your online reputation will be one of your most powerful marketing tools.
  • Social proof: Much of reputation marketing is based on social proof. This is a concept rooted in human behavior, which tells us that humans copy the behavior of other humans in order to help make decisions. Some examples of social proof include online reviews, influencer testimonials, credential badges, likes and shares on social media, and so on.
  • Social proof marketing: This is where you take social proof, like reviews, and leverage it to market your business. If you’re ready to dive into this topic, I suggest this read on social proof marketing to learn how to sell with customer reviews.
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There you have it, 28 marketing terms you can now confidently say you know and understand how to apply to your own business. 

Like I said at the beginning, bookmark this blog in case it hasn’t all sunk in yet and you need a refresher down the line. 

Happy and fruitful marketing, SMB owners!



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