8 Marketing Terms Every Small Business Owner Should Know


As a business owner, it’s important that you have a basic knowledge of what every department does within of your business, including marketing. Yet, with the world of marketing evolving at a rapid pace, it seems almost impossible to know what is what—and when you finally do figure it out, the tides have turned to the next big trend.

The following eight terms are mainstays in modern marketing, and as such, are important for you to know about. Brush up on your marketing terminology so you’ll better understand the decisions your CMO is making and be more informed for important conversations.

Online Presence

What it is: This encompasses everything that represents your business online—your website, social pages, mobile apps, and any and all content.

How to use it: In today’s digital world, having a strong online presence is critical. You’ll naturally build this while you grow, and as you do, remember to keep your brand messaging consistent. This includes using proper logos, fonts, colors, and voice.

Inbound Marketing

What it is: This represents all unpaid efforts that drive traffic to your site, including blog posts, referral links, PR, word of mouth and more. See below for a collection of inbound marketing sources.

How to use it: Make sure that your business has a wide variety of inbound marketing opportunities, and always work to expand them. Join industry-specific listing websites, comment on peers’ blog posts, ask for shout outs on social media and more.

Lead Magnet

What it is: This is a “juicy, irresistible, and attractive offer or download that you give to prospects in exchange for their contact information,” according to Business2Community. These offers might include ebooks, downloadable templates, webinars, online courses, or free consultations.

How to use it: Create lead magnets for specific verticals, customer segments, products and services and then market them to drive high-quality leads.

Evergreen Content

What it is: This is content that’s not considered timely—it provides value any time of the year, for many years to come. For example, this article is evergreen.

How to use it: Evergreen content is useful, easy to read and often covers basic topics. Once created, you can promote it whenever there are gaps in your distribution calendar or during times of year when it’s seen as timely. For example, financial articles can be valuable all year long and seem especially timely around tax season.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

What it is: SEO is what you do to make sure your website is found in search engines. If you have good SEO, you’ll be on the first page when someone searches for a product or service related to your business.

How to use it: SEO has many components that are managed both on and off your website. The graphic below is a great representation of the various pieces of SEO and what they do.


Drip Campaign

What it is: A way to stay in touch with customers via email after they’ve completed an action, like signing up for a webinar or buying a product. After setting up the email tracks, everything auto-sends based on the parameters you chose, i.e. everything 1st Monday of the month or once a week for four weeks.

How to use it: Products like Hubspot make it easy to set up drip campaigns for each customer type or segment. Each segment can have its own emails, catered to the action that those people took. For example, you might have a drip campaign specifically for customers who are currently on a free trial. Each week a different email is sent, meant to convince them to subscribe or pay when the trial is over.


What it is: The process of marketing to people who have interacted with your website or marketing before.

How to use it: For potential customers, this can be in the form of email blasts, if you have their email address. It can also mean serving them ads on Facebook or another website after being cookied by you. For current customers, it may mean starting a drip campaign that upsells other items or asks for a review or testimonial.

Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)

What it is: The cost to acquire a customer (or client). The math is simple—advertising cost/total customers gained = CAC. If you pay $800 for advertising and get four new customers, your CAC is $200.

How to use it: Use this simple calculation to determine which paid marketing efforts are working and which ones aren’t. Calculate your CAC for each opportunity every quarter to determine where to spend more and what to cut back on.

Marketing terminology is always changing, but there are some terms that are here to stay. Customer acquisition cost will always be a valuable metric and your online presence is only becoming more important. Keep these terms in mind next time you’re talking with your CMO—you may even have more to add to the conversation now.

Jessica Thiefels has been writing for more than ten years and is currently a lifestyle blogger. She is also the owner of her own small fitness business, Honest Body Fitness, and is using her experience from writing, editing and marketing to become a successful entrepreneur. Follow her on Twitter @Jlsander07.