Small business marketing

Marketing Terms Every Small Business Should Know

You stand ready to market your business. And you’re pretty confident that you can do it—once you understand the seemingly foreign language that accompanies marketing. That’s because there are numerous marketing terms and marketing acronyms that accompany most initiatives.

So, in an effort to clear up some of the more widely used jargon, we’re pulling together a list of the more popular terms just for you. Not only will it help you navigate marketing for a small business, it’s also bound to arm you with the knowledge you need to make better marketing decisions so you can grow your business.

Abandoned Cart

Referring to when a potential customer adds an item to their shopping cart but never actually checks out. Many small businesses utilize an abandoned cart email sequence to remind these leads about how great the product or service is and to sometimes offer a special discount code in order to help close the deal.

A/B Testing

Creating two versions of the same thing (ie: social media post, landing page, display ad) to see which one tests better with your audiences. An A/B test only changes a single element, such as a subject line for an email. Perhaps you change the headline altogether or maybe you simply add emojis to one and not the other to see what generates more clicks.

Ad Copy

The content you write in the creation of an advertising message to potential customers. It usually consists of a headline, copy for the main body of your advertising (the “meat” of your message), and a call to action.

Ad copy


This is data that informs a marketer of whether or not your website, social media channel, email campaigns, etc. are helping you meet your bigger sales and marketing goals. Data you may be interested in includes things like page views and overall engagement.

Alt Text

Text that appears when an image does not. Also called alternative text, this is copy written to describe an image you’ve used in your copy (such as an image you place within an email) in the event that the image does not appear for your reader.


These are links within your shared content that refer back to other content you’ve written on your website or blog. Backlinks may also be referred to as inbound links.

Bounce Rate

This is a term that refers to two different but common metrics:

Email bounce rate: When an email is not successfully delivered to its intended inbox, it is considered “bounced.” When your email campaigns have higher bounce rates, this can mean that your list is out-of-date or that you are collecting a lot of SPAM email addresses.

If your think your email list is out of date, Salesgenie can help with our Data Enhancement service!

Website bounce rate: This is the percentage of individuals visiting one page of your website and exit before they click on anything else. A website bounce rate can mean trouble such as a slow loading page. But it can also mean something good—like someone got all the information they needed by simply reading through a single page.

Contact Form

Often asking basic information of a lead such as name, phone number, and email address, is a way for potential customers to connect with you and request more information about a product or a service.

Conversion Rate

How many leads are taking the action you intend for them to take? That is what your conversion rate is. Some examples of what you would measure a conversion rate for include clicking a link, filling out a form, or registering for your newsletter.

CPA (Cost Per Action)

Also called “Cost Per Acquisition” this number tells you how much your business is spending to get a single conversion. Keep in mind this cost may not always be money. Often, the CPA for social media is measured in time spent.

CPC (Cost Per Click)

How much money you are spending in exchange for a potential customer to click on your advertisement.

Need help with Online Display Advertising?

CPI (Cost Per Impression)

An impression refers to an individual that sees your ad. So, your cost per impression is how much you’re spending as leads view the ad you’ve placed on a website.

CPL (Cost Per Lead)

Are you running a cost-effective marketing campaign? This is the number that tells you. To find it, you’ll want to divide your total marketing spend by the total number of new leads you received.

CRM (Customer Relationship Management)

CRM software helps you keep track of important information about your leads and customers. In addition to things like name, address, and phone number, CRM software can help you keep track of birthday, name of their pet, products or services purchased and when, the last salesperson on your team to speak with them, and so much more. When you use a CRM for your business, you can create a much stronger connection with your leads potentially resulting in more sales.

CTA (Call to Action)

This usually refers to a button or link that you want users to click upon. Short, clear text like, “Click Here” and “Download Now” is a CTA you’ve probably seen before.

CTR (Clickthrough Rate)

These are the number of clicks generated per number of impressions (users that see your ad, email campaign, etc.) received. The click through rate formula is clicks/impressions=CTR.


Drip Campaign

This is a series of emails which are automated and encourage potential customers to take a specific action. An “Abandoned Cart” email sequence may be considered a drip campaign.


Mini-images which are often sent or shared alongside text, emojis are used to add visual interest to social media posts or subject lines and capture a reader’s attention with more than simply words.


These are image files that can be animated and will loop continuously without prompt. Introduced to the internet in 2015, a gif is a fast and easy way for your brand to connect with its target market in a fun, playful way.


This is a link that you click on which will take you to another web page. They’re often found in email marketing and in blogs.

Inbound Marketing

This refers to marketing which draws a customer in to you as opposed to you having to go out and find your customer. Educational blogs and social media posts are good examples of what constitutes inbound marketing tactics.


These are words that match what your ideal customer types into search engines as they look for the products or services you offer. Keep in mind these words and phrases are not often whole or grammatically correct. Instead, they’re very brief and targeted. For instance, if you sell flowers at a small shop in Des Moines, someone looking for you might type in the keyword phrase, “birthday flowers des moines” or “flowers in des moines iowa”.

KPI (Key Performance Indicator)

These are quantifiable measurements that can tell you if your business is moving correctly toward its goals. Different companies are known to use different measurements in order to determine their own success.

Meta Description

This is an overview of what a particular webpage is about.


A marketing strategy which defines various subgroups within your larger group of potential customers. When marketing for a small business it’s important to segment things like your email list as it will help you further target the message you’re sharing and form connections with your customers, encouraging them to buy from you versus from your competition.


A word or phrase that is proceeded by the # symbol and aims to categorize or sort information on a busy channel such as a social media platform. Some businesses have a cache of hashtag terms that they use on every post so that customers have an easier time finding them. #smartmarketing


A prospect or potential customer who is interested in your product or service.


Containing an image with text, memes are used to express thoughts, ideas and even jokes. Popular ones may be widely shared online.


PV (Page View)

This is a marketing metric referring to a specific page that is being loaded by an internet browser.

ROI (Return on Investment)

A performance measurement, an ROI helps you determine whether or not your investment has been profitable. If this number is negative, it means that your investment is losing money. While ROI for social is a bit trickier to measure than say, an advertising campaign, it will benefit your business, and bottom line, to do so in the long run.


The online version of “junk mail”.

UX (User Experience)

This describes how a lead will interact with your product or service—and if they found it good/easy or bad/difficult.

Marketing terms are a must-know for people who are new to the industry. But don’t forget that if you ever need help with marketing for a small business, the experts at Salesgenie are available to help you. Our turnkey marketing solutions have small business owners like you covered from start to send.