When a user adds a product to the online shopping cart of an e-commerce site but doesn’t proceed to checkout and complete the purchase. Users may abandon because they aren’t ready to buy. Instead, they are using their cart as more of a "wish list" as they shop around and compare prices. Setting up automatic, personalized email alerts to remind users they have items in their cart is often just the nudge they need to finish checking out.
Creating 2 versions of a digital asset to see which one users respond to better. Examples of assets include a landing page, display ad, marketing email, and social post. In an A/B test, half of your audience automatically receives “version A” and half receives “version B.” The performance of each version is based on conversion rate goals such as the percentage of people who click on a link, complete a form, or make a purchase.
The words in your advertising messages to customers. Ad copy can be the headline of a display ad, the subject line of a marketing email, the call to action (CTA) of a Facebook ad, or the script of a video or TV spot. Ad copy is distinguished from ad design elements such as photography and illustration, although copy and design should always work together as a whole.
Specific information you can tack onto your Google Ads to help them perform better. There are several options, including: store location, call button, product pricing, seller rating, app download, and additional website links. Google doesn’t charge extra for having extensions. But it does charge a pay-per-click (PPC) fee when users click on most types of extensions, just like when users click on an ad itself.
A service that offers online ad space for sale to advertisers. This space can represent inventory from hundreds and thousands of websites. A general rule is that some inventory is more valuable than others, so it costs advertisers more. Think of buying a TV ad placement during “the big game” versus during a mop infomercial at 3 am. Depending on the ad network, the payment structure may be based on cost per thousand impressions (CPM), cost per click (CPC), or cost per acquisition (CPA).
A Google marketing program that pays website publishers for allowing relevant ads from Google to run on their sites automatically. Keywords determine relevance. The ads can include text, images, and video. They are designed to be high quality but unobtrusive to the website’s content across desktop and mobile devices. Publishers have some control in rejecting ads they don’t like and prioritizing ads they like best. Payment to publishers is usually on a pay-per-click (PPC) basis.
The money a company puts toward promoting its products and services to its target audiences. An advertising budget typically spans the cost of paid media, photography, printing, mailing, and the support of advertising professionals. Some businesses set their advertising budget based on a percentage of sales. Whatever your method, keep your return on investment (ROI) in mind. Any vendor should be able to give you a clear idea of what you should expect in return for the expense.
Advertising and editorial content combined. If you think of a traditional printed magazine or newspaper, the line between ads and editorial articles is distinct—and often literal. An advertorial brings the 2 formats together to educate readers about a product through an editorial-esque storytelling experience. They’ve become a popular online advertising tactic that is typically labeled "sponsored" or "paid" so as not to mislead users about the source of the information.
Marketing based on a relationship between an online advertiser and website publishers where the advertiser pays for leads or revenue that comes from the publishers’ sites. It’s a form of value sharing or commission sharing. Partnering with affiliates extends your advertising reach and increases your relevance with target audiences for a limited investment. You only “pay for performance.” Bloggers can make great affiliates.
A specially selected group of website publishers who partner with an advertiser to deliver leads or sales and receive a commission based solely on their performance. Here’s a simple example: A shoe company partners with a few highly influential fashion bloggers. The bloggers include ads and links promoting the company’s shoes on their sites. The shoe company pays the bloggers a commission on the sales generated. Affiliate networks offer advertisers "prepackaged" affiliate programs.
Text that shows in place of images or pops up when you hover your mouse over an image. Alt text, or alternative text, is written into the HTML code of a web page to describe an image in case the image doesn’t show. This can happen for a few different reasons. Some users may have images turned off so web pages load faster. Other users may have low vision or blindness, so they use special screen readers that translate web page text into an audio or a Braille-like touch format. Alt text also helps search engines "understand" images better.
The wording of a link on a website, in an email, or within another digital asset. One example of anchor text is “read more.” Anchor text is an important part of the user experience. You want your users to be clear on where your links are going and be satisfied that the destination is what they expected. Search engines also take your anchor text into account when they rank your site pages for relevance.
A marketing strategy based on identifying subgroups within the target audience in order to deliver more tailored messaging for stronger connections. The subgroups can be based on demographics such as geographic location, gender identity, age, ethnicity, income, or level of formal education. Subgroups can also be based on behavior such as purchases made in the past. Psychographics come into play when you have access to insights about your audience’s values, attitudes, and beliefs.
Pay-per-click (PPC) ads that run on Bing and Yahoo search engines spanning desktop and mobile devices. Bing Ads is a form of paid search similar to Google Ads, and Google campaigns can be imported easily into Bing. That means you can use both services without reinventing the campaign. Like Google Ads, Bing Ads can be targeted using customer geography and demographics, although specific capabilities vary.
Black Hat SEO
Not a great idea. Black hat SEO is an approach to search engine optimization (SEO) that focuses on gaming the system and disregards the human experience. These practices don’t follow search engine rules, and search engines can exclude entire sites for using them. The colorful term “black hat” comes from old Western films in which the villains wore black hats and the heroes wore white hats so viewers could tell them apart in the days before Technicolor.
The short form of "web log." A blog is a collection of journal-like articles written about a particular topic and published on a website. New articles are added frequently and comments from users are encouraged. Anyone can publish a blog. Successful bloggers attract advertisers through affiliate marketing because they add credibility to the messaging for their followers.
The percentage of visits to your website where only 1 page was viewed. When we say users "bounce," we mean they viewed a page of your site or a landing page but didn’t engage further. They didn’t click on links or view more pages. There are many methods for improving your pages so more users stick around. An offer, call to action (CTA), ad copy, and design can all be optimized through A/B testing.
The experience a customer has with a product or service that makes it different from others in the same category. More than just a name, a brand is where features, benefits, and customer perceptions meet. Successful brands have a unique identity, image, and emotional connection with their customers. It’s why we choose a brand over another every day.
The experience a customer has with your product or service visually. A brand identity is made up of elements like the brand’s name, logo, color palette, and type style to convey a distinct brand image to customers. It also includes consistent standards for words, images, voice, and tone.
How your customers perceive your products, services, and company. This is ultimately something you can’t control. But the goal of raising awareness of your brand, improving recognition, nurturing favorability, and winning affinity is to grow market share. A solid brand identity and relentless brand management are 2 keys to success.
A marketing professional responsible for making sure the customer’s experience with a brand is brand-worthy. That means all messaging about the brand is aligned with the brand’s values, personality, identity, and target audience. Typical to-dos for a brand manager include: performing a competitive analysis, developing marketing strategies, overseeing the creation of advertising campaigns, and managing the advertising budget.
Call to Action (CTA)
What you want your target audience to do after receiving your marketing message. The call to action (CTA) clearly articulates the next step: learn more, contact us, shop now, follow us, sign up. A/B testing offers a great opportunity to experiment with different calls to action and optimize your messages with the CTAs that get the best audience response.
The "master version" of a page on your website that you want search engine crawlers to find. As you launch marketing campaigns and track users, information gets added to the end of your unique page URLs. From the crawlers’ point of view, this means you have multiple versions of the same page without a clear indication of which one is "right." When you set up a canonical URL in the page's HTML, you tell search engines which version of the page you want visitors to see.
Ads appearing on the same page and grouped into categories in a list-like format. Common categories are real estate, home services, clothing, and cars. Compared to display ads, classified ads usually don’t have images alongside the ad copy - and they’re less expensive. They can be a cost-efficient advertising tactic for reaching people who are interested in a category relevant to your product or service. Classified ads also lend themselves naturally to localization.
Click-Through Rate (CTR)
The percentage of users who click on the link in your digital marketing message after seeing it. For example, if 10,000 users see your display ad, and 10 users click on it, your click-through rate (CTR) is 0.001 or 0.1%. The same math applies to links within marketing emails, landing pages, and social media. CTR is a key success metric for an advertising campaign.
Content marketing is a strategy businesses use to attract, engage, and retain customers by creating and sharing relevant articles, videos, podcasts, and other media. This approach establishes expertise, promotes brand awareness, and keeps your business top of mind when it’s time to buy what you sell.
The percentage of user actions taken after total clicks on a display ad or other digital asset. Your marketing strategy defines your actions, which commonly include clicking on a second link, downloading an asset such as a B2B (business-to-business) white paper, or signing up to receive special retail offers. The formula is: clicks / actions = conversion rate. The higher your conversion, the more successful your campaign.
Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)
The process of increasing the percentage of users who take the actions you want them to, such as clicking on a website link or purchasing a product online. Two key conversion rate optimization (CRO) strategies are A/B testing and personalized marketing. Both use analytics to uncover customer insights to help you craft the right message to the right person at the right moment for better results.
Cost Per Acquisition (CPA)
How much you spend to win a single paying customer. Cost per acquisition (CPA) is a marketing success metric that can be calculated for a campaign, a digital marketing channel (such as email), or across all channels and tactics. At a campaign level, the formula is: total campaign cost / conversions (paying customers) = CPA. This metric is commonly used to determine the results of display ad and affiliate marketing campaigns.
Cost Per Click (CPC)
A fee that a website publisher charges to serve your display ads on its site. Instead of paying for your ads to simply show up, you only pay when the audience interacts with them. Google is a major publisher of cost-per-click (CPC) ads, and it contracts with other publishers to distribute them to other sites, too.
Cost per thousand impressions of an online ad. When an ad is served to a user, it’s counted as an impression. If an ad network charges you $1,000 for delivering 1 million impressions, your CPM is $1. A CPM model can be a good strategy if your campaign goal is to raise awareness of your brand. If your campaign goal is to increase user interaction with your brand or prompt users to take a specific action such as signing up for a loyalty program, a cost-per-click (CPC) model may be a better choice.
The products of copywriters, graphic designers, and other creative advertising people—or simply the people themselves. If you’re looking at layouts, or mock-ups, of marketing emails, landing pages, or display ads, you’re looking at creatives—or simply “creative.” When finalized, these pieces may be called “creatives” or digital “assets.” If you’re looking at the people who imagined them, you’re looking at creatives, too.
The practice of customer relationship management (CRM). The goals of CRM are to retain current customers, increase their spending, and convert prospects into new customers. CRM technology is used to manage information such as a summary of each interaction, indicators of intent to purchase, and purchase history. Analytics are also used to provide real-time insight into cross-sell and upsell opportunities at the individual customer level.
Cascading style sheet (CSS), a language that dictates how a web page looks. It covers layout, colors, fonts, font sizes, and more. The advantage of using CSS is that its rules can apply—cascade—across all of your web pages, reducing the time to code each page from scratch. CSS also enables responsive web design, which aims to reuse code across desktop and mobile devices and keep the user experience (UX) consistent.
Customer acquisition cost (CAC) is the amount of money a company spends to get a new customer. It helps measure the return on investment of efforts to grow their clientele. CAC is calculated by adding the costs associated with converting prospects into customers (marketing, advertising, sales personnel, and more) and dividing that amount by the number of customers acquired.
A customer data platform (CDP) is a central location for customer data from a variety of sources. It aggregates and organizes that data to create a single customer profile that can be used to optimize marketing and customer experience initiatives.
Think of a customer journey as a detailed map that shows the full experience a customer has with your business. It lets you see every interaction they have with your company, even before and after they engage. By first understanding the customer journey, it will be easier to define your goals and use our automation tool to create the overall marketing experience you want to provide.
Any marketing that uses electronic devices to convey promotional messaging and measure its impact. In practice, digital marketing typically refers to marketing campaigns that appear on a computer, phone, tablet, or other device. It can take many forms, including online video, display ads, and social media posts. Digital marketing is often compared to “traditional marketing” such as magazine ads, billboards, and direct mail. Oddly, television is usually lumped in with traditional marketing.
A type of direct marketing that’s delivered physically to a prospect’s mailbox through the United States Postal Service or other delivery service. Postcards, flyers, and catalogs are common examples. Email marketing is the digital equivalent.
Marketing that is delivered directly to the customer via the company selling a product. It’s often called direct response marketing. It typically includes a call to action (CTA) requesting a desired response such as calling a phone number or visiting a website to learn more and buy the product. Email marketing and direct mail marketing are 2 common types of direct marketing.
A type of online advertisement that combines text, images, and a URL that links to a website where a customer can learn more about or buy products. These ads can be static with an image or animated with multiple images, video, or changing text. Some display ads educate about the product while others are designed to entertain and engage through simple games or puzzles. Banner ads are a common form of display ads.
The path a product or service takes as it travels from where it is created to the person who will use it. In marketing, distribution channels are typically broken into business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C). B2B deals with the interactions between companies to create products, while B2C focuses on how products get to the people who actually use them. For example, a business may sell directly to a customer, or it may sell to a retailer who in turn sells to the end user.
Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance (DMARC) is a widely recognized email protocol that helps people and businesses protect their email addresses and domains from being misused by third parties. It helps identify that an email you send is from the real you. This method of email authentication protects both senders and recipients from activities like phishing, spamming, and spoofing.
A domain name system (DNS) takes a human-friendly internet address, such as Website.com, and translates it into a computer-friendly IP address a web browser can use to find and display a website. DNS is often described as the “phone book” of the internet that does the heavy lifting of remembering the “phone number” of a website so humans only have to know the name.
A domain or domain name is what comes between the @ in your email address and the .com, .org, .net, etc. (For example, firstname.lastname@example.org.) Domains help your customers find and remember where your business is located on the internet. A subdomain is a portion of your domain—sales.domain.com or marketing.domain.com—that can be used to help increase deliverability of your email marketing.
A series of automated emails sent to people who take a specific action. For any given action, you can choose how many emails to send and the rate at which to send them. These emails can be personalized with data like the contact’s name, and specific references to the action they took. You might send a drip campaign to someone who signs up for your online course, for example. Or you could send a drip campaign to people who add an item to their online cart without buying it.
An e-commerce model where the seller doesn’t own any inventory or handle any of the shipping responsibilities. When a customer makes a purchase, the seller processes the order and transfers it to a third-party supplier—like a wholesaler or manufacturer, for example—who prepares and ships the order. The seller only pays the supplier for an item after someone buys it, which makes dropshipping a popular option for entrepreneurs who want to start an online store quickly and with minimal overhead.
E-commerce is the buying and selling of goods and services using the internet. It starts when a potential customer learns about a product. It continues through purchase, use, and, ideally, ongoing customer loyalty. Data powers the most successful e-commerce operations, which take advantage of best practices such as targeted email marketing, audience segmentation, and marketing automation.
A website that allows people to buy and sell physical goods, services, and digital products over the internet rather than at a brick-and-mortar location. Through an e-commerce website, a business can process orders, accept payments, manage shipping and logistics, and provide customer service.
The use of predefined rules to trigger email messages based on specific actions customers take—or don’t take. Some examples include a welcome email that sends when a customer signs up for a mailing list, or a quick reminder that the customer placed something in their cart but never finished checking out. Email automation takes repetitive tasks off your to-do list to free up your time for other valuable tasks, such as responding to customer questions. It can help customers learn more about your brand, encourage them to keep coming back, or remind them of why they bought from you in the first place.
A list of email addresses that your business can send marketing emails to. Email lists are usually segmented—or broken into smaller groups based on their interests or behaviors—so you can customize your messaging to be more relevant, interesting, and effective. To create them, you can collect email addresses at the time of purchase, through pop-up forms on your website, and a variety of other simple tactics.
The use of email to promote a business’s products and services. Email marketing can make the customers on your email list aware of new products, discounts, and other services. It can also be a softer sell to educate your audience on the value of your brand or keep them engaged between purchases. It can also be anything in between. Mailchimp can help you design, build, and optimize your email marketing to get the best ROI.
The person who uses a product or service. If you make T-shirts, a person wearing your shirt is the end user. If you make websites, the person who hires you is your client or customer and the person using the website is the end user. Either way, do your best to avoid referring to people as “users” in your marketing materials. It’s accurate but not ideal.
File not found, an error your web browser flags. A 404 error message can be the fault of the user (if they mistyped the URL, for example) or the publisher of the website. This can happen when a web page has been deleted and no longer exists, which is also called a broken link. To prevent these errors, create a redirect to take the user to the new location of the page. Setting up a standardized error 404 page for your domain can help improve your users’ experience, especially if you provide a search bar or list of similar content.
Extensible Markup Language (XML)
A human- and machine-readable coding language that adds structure, meaning, or context to a text document. Extensible markup language (XML) ranges from very simple to highly complex (hence “extensible”). Today’s version of HTML is a specialized example of XML. Schema markup is an example of how XML can be used to improve the user experience (UX) of search engine results pages (SERPs).
Measuring and recording the movement of eyes as they look at a web page. In digital marketing, eye tracking is often used to figure out what parts of a web page or email people look at first or spend the most time looking at, which is often displayed as a heat map. Marketers use this data to strategically place elements, such as call-to-action buttons, where they are most likely to be seen and clicked on.
Ads that run exclusively through Facebook’s advertising platform. They can appear in Facebook’s feed, Messenger, and even on non-Facebook apps and websites. They come in a variety of formats—single image, video, slideshows, and more—and can be targeted to extremely specific audiences.
Facebook Ads Manager
Basically, mission control for your Facebook ads. This is the interface where you select your target audience, set your budget, format your ads, and launch them into the world. Facebook Ads Manager collects all of your ads’ performance metrics such as click-through rates, impressions, and engagements. Since Facebook also owns Instagram, this is where you set up and manage Instagram ads.
Facebook Business Page
Your business’s home on Facebook. At a minimum, it includes a name, description, profile, cover photo, and a call to action (CTA) such as “visit our website” or “give us a call.” These pages can include images, videos, and text about your brand and products. They can also be promoted like ads to help you find new followers. Business hours, location details, and even shopping widgets can be added to your Facebook business page to encourage followers to take specific actions.
Your personal home on Facebook. This is similar to a Facebook business page but designed for a human—or the occasional pet—rather than a business. It typically includes basic information such as your name, location, and profile picture. Your Facebook profile is where your timeline, shared photos and videos, and other Facebook content lives. Profiles can be fully public or only visible to certain people based on your privacy settings.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is a United States government agency that regulates communication devices and systems, which includes the internet. They ensure all citizens have fair access to these communication platforms and that they’re safely performing in the interest of the public and national security. In most cases, the FCC is the agency responsible for crafting consumer protection rules such as privacy protections, while the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) enforces these rules.
A section of Google’s search engine results page that tries to answer a question without a person having to click through to another web page. They include Google’s best guess at an answer, the title of the page the answer comes from, the page’s URL, and an image from the page. While featured snippets are designed to save time for the person searching, they’re mostly machine generated and aren’t fact checked.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is tasked with promoting competition in the United States marketplace and protecting consumers. In the world of e-commerce and digital marketing, the FTC is responsible for providing rules and guidance around online advertising, which it refers to as the “rules of the road.” It enforces the CAN-SPAM Act to ensure email marketing isn’t misleading or harassing.
Google Ads is the software platform Google uses to power its ad network. Advertisers choose which keywords are most relevant to their products and how much they want to pay for their campaigns. The ads appear at the top of Google’s search engine results page (SERP) or on third-party websites and apps when someone searches for one of these keywords. Advertisers are billed on a pay-per-click (PPC) model, which means you’re only charged if someone actually clicks on your ad.
Algorithms are a list of mathematical calculations and if/then statements that decide what action a computer program should take. The Google algorithm is the rules-based system Google uses to sort through hundreds of billions of websites to deliver relevant results to users’ search queries. The results are ranked in order of usefulness on the search engine results page (SERP). The algorithm also uses personal context, such as your current location and past search history, to tailor the results.
A platform that measures and reports on website traffic. It provides information about how people use your website, which includes the most popular content, the time spent on each page, and what devices are used to browse. Google Analytics can be connected to Google Ads to learn which campaigns are driving the most traffic and converting casual visitors into customers. Additionally, the platform offers rich insights about your audience, such as terms they use to search and location data.
A free service that lets you provide more detail about your business when it appears in search. Beyond a URL and description, you can add photos, videos, telephone numbers, business hours, a delivery area, and links to reservation services. A cover photo and snippets from Google Maps and Google Street View help potential customers know what to expect when they arrive for the first time. A word of warning: Users can suggest edits to your profile, so check it regularly for accuracy.
Also called retargeting, Google remarketing is the technology that enables your Google Ads to follow potential customers as they move across the internet. When a user visits, a small snippet of code on your website adds them to a remarketing list. Then when they visit another website that uses the Google Ad network, they are served your ad. Google allows you to customize who sees your remarketed ads. For example, you can prioritize new or returning customers.
Google Search Console
A Google tool that helps you optimize your website content to improve its performance and your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. You can submit URLs and full sitemaps to Google Search Console to make sure your most important pages are indexed in Google’s search engine. It makes recommendations about how to structure your content so it appears as “rich results” on the search engine results page (SERP). For example, recipe pages can display a photo of the dish right in the results.
Gross Rating Points
A math equation that multiplies the number of times an ad is run by the percentage of the target audience that sees it, multiplied by 100. Gross rating points (GRPs) are commonly used in television ad buying to help media planners decide when and where to place their ads. Though the math is a bit too complicated for this short description, GRPs can be calculated for online ads as well. Some planners find this helpful when determining their media mix of TV and online advertising.
An HTML tag used to identify the highest level of information on a page. In practice, page titles and headlines are usually marked with H1 tags and are the largest pieces of text on a page. H1 tags can be associated with specific styles or formatting in a web page’s CSS so that headlines always appear in a certain font, color, and size. H1s play an important role in search engine optimization (SEO) and make it easier to index content. If something is in an H1 tag, search engines know it’s important.
An email that is rejected by an email server for a permanent reason. An email may hard bounce if a recipient email address or domain name doesn't exist—or the recipient email server has completely blocked the delivery. There are, however, occasionally times when a valid email address will hard bounce.
A hash or pound sign (#) used after a word or phrase to label content and make it easier to find. Hashtags are common on social media and used to connect posts on related topics. For example, if you click #Mailchimp on Twitter, it will bring up a list of tweets that include that hashtag. Hashtags can combine multiple words and are often styled with internal capitalization so they’re #MuchEasierToRead.
A visual representation of data that uses color to communicate areas of highest use or likelihood. A click map is a special type of heat map that shows which parts of web pages receive the most clicks. Using a scale of red (“hot”) to blue (“cold”), areas where people look or click the most are labeled with red. Web designers can combine the data from an eye-tracking heat map and a click map to position call-to-action buttons where they are most likely to be seen and clicked.
Hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP) is the application (or program) that a web browser uses to ask a web server for information. When you type “https://mailchimp.com” into your browser, a domain name system (DNS) helps it reach out to Mailchimp’s web server to return the page you requested. Think of it as the internet version of call and response. HTTPS is the secure (encrypted) version of HTTP called hypertext transfer protocol secure.
An iframe is a section of a web page that contains content that comes from another page. It’s a page within a page. Iframes are typically used to pull in content from third parties. For example, you can set up iframes on your website to display banner ads from Google Ads or another ad network. Iframes are different from framesets (also called just “frames”), which were used in the early days of the internet to make page layouts easier and navigation consistent.
A marketing strategy that encourages people to actively seek out and engage with your brand. Social media, content marketing (such as sponsored content and blogs), and search engine optimization (SEO) are common tactics. Inbound marketing offers consumers something they want—information, entertainment, a chance to be heard—and places information about a product and service within this context. Inbound marketing attracts prospects and encourages them to engage with your brand in the hopes of converting them to paid customers.
The homepage of a website. If you type Mailchimp.com into your browser, the page that appears is our index page. Sometimes people refer to pages that collect all of a website’s links, images, or headlines into a single page as an index page like a book. Both are correct, which just makes things more confusing. If you’re talking with a web developer, they probably mean the homepage when talking about index pages. Ask for clarification if you’re not sure.
Instagram posts that promote a business’s products or services. The posts can appear in an Instagram feed, stories, or both. They can include images or video along with copy and a link to the web page of the company’s choice. The main advantage of advertising on Instagram is that it uses data Facebook users provide about themselves to help your ads reach a highly targeted audience. (Facebook is the parent company of Instagram.)
The practice of aligning all marketing tactics to the same core messaging for a consistent customer experience with your brand. Through integrated marketing, communications tactics such as display ads, landing pages, email marketing, direct mail, and product catalogs all work in the same direction toward your marketing objectives. One example is making your call to action (CTA) consistent across all online and offline tactics for a particular campaign.
Internet protocol (IP) address, a unique number much like your street address that uses commas and periods to identify a device accessing the internet. Your personal desktop, laptop, tablet, and smartphone each have a different IP address each time you log on. Each of your business devices may have its own static address that doesn't change. See domain name system (DNS).
Key Success Factors
The 5 elements that determine whether or not a company will be effective in capturing its target audience. The key success factors are strategic focus, people, operations, marketing, and finances. These factors are also known as strategic posture or competitive emphasis.
A word or phrase in the content of your web pages that matches the words and phrases users are entering into search engines as closely as possible. The idea is to speak the same language as users when they make their search queries so you rank higher in their organic search results based on relevance. Mailchimp.com keywords include: marketing platform, email marketing, landing pages, and automation tools. The keyword is the cornerstone of search engine optimization (SEO).
The number of times a keyword is used on a web page out of the total number of words on the page. Let’s say your keyword is “handmade quilt.” The formula would be: number of “handmade quilt” / total number of words, x 100. If your page includes “handmade quilt” 10 times, and your page has 300 total words, your keyword density for “handmade quilt” is 3%. The higher your keyword density, the higher search engines will rank your page for relevance. Just avoid “keyword stuffing.”
Key performance indicators (KPIs) are quantifiable measures that help businesses evaluate their progress toward achieving important objectives. Although different businesses use different metrics, KPIs are always central to understanding how your company is performing and how you can improve that performance.
A standalone web page that potential customers can “land” on when they click through from an email, ad, or other digital location. A landing page aims to capture information from contacts in exchange for something of value, such as a retail offer code or business-to-business (B2B) insights in the form of a white paper. Landing pages are different from other web pages in that they don’t live in the evergreen navigation of a website. They serve a specific purpose in a specific moment of an advertising campaign to a target audience.
A person who has shown interest in your company's product or service. “Lead” is a term used more often in the sale of business-to-business (B2B) products and services than retail or consumer packaged goods. Leads can come from website users who complete a contact form, trade show attendees who provide contact information in person, or lists you purchase from another company such as a list broker. Sales and marketing professionals further vet, or “qualify,” leads to prioritize their fit with the company’s buyer profiles.
A business that specializes in sourcing contact lists that direct marketers can rent for an email or marketing campaign. List brokers typically have access to a huge variety of lists and existing relationships with list owners. They also have expertise in recommending the best lists to use based on your target audience, brand, and marketing goals. In exchange for you renting a list, the list broker typically charges a commission, which the list owner pays for.
Lookalike Audience Finder
Mailchimp’s lookalike audience finder is an attribute of postcards and social ads that uses what you already know about your contacts and data from our large audience network to build a lookalike audience. A lookalike audience is made up of people who share interests with your existing contacts but aren’t a part of your audience yet. These people will not be added to your audience unless they opt in or engage with your marketing.
A math-based discipline that seeks to find patterns in data to increase actionable knowledge. Analytics employs statistics, predictive modeling, and machine learning to reveal insights and answer questions. Weather predictions, batting averages, and life insurance policies are all the result of analytics. In the world of digital marketing, analytics is critical to understanding and predicting user behavior and optimizing the user experience (UX) to drive sales.
A process that enables technology to take over repetitive marketing tasks from people, freeing people to focus on strategy. Technology can automate scheduled email sends and social site postings. It can determine clear winners among deployed advertising options and optimize accordingly. Instead of a person (let’s call her “Joan”) having to zig every time a customer zags...Joan can determine the strategy that a marketing automation platform should execute upfront.
Digital or print materials that accompany a primary advertising campaign. Before the internet, “collateral” was practically synonymous with “brochures” that supported traditional TV commercials, such as a savings account brochure from your local bank branch. Today, “collateral” can refer to any printed or digital piece that supports and extends a campaign. Common digital collateral includes websites, landing pages, and banner ads.
The 4 “P”s: price, product, promotion, and place (point of sale). Your marketing mix covers these must-have elements when bringing a product to market. The marketing mix is inextricable from the marketing objectives in your business plan. Some companies add “P”s that are of high importance to them, such as packaging or positioning. Packaging and positioning arguably overlap with promotion, but calling out the extra “P”s can be useful in focusing your organization.
What you want a marketing initiative such as an advertising campaign to accomplish for the bottom line of your business. Common marketing objectives are customer acquisition, order value, engagement, and contribution to revenue. Objectives usually follow the SMART format: specific, measurable, actionable, relevant, and time-bound. An example for email marketing is a goal to acquire 5,000 new customers this quarter through the “friends and family” loyalty discount email campaign.
Gathering and analyzing information about a market to inform how best to offer a product or service to customers. Marketing research is based on the principles of scientific inquiry and should be objective and systematic. Common methods are focus groups, one-on-one customer interviews, online or telephone customer surveys, and A/B testing different advertising tactics.
A brief summary of what a web page is about in the HTML code of the page. Character counts may vary by search engine, but 160 characters with spaces is a good guideline. Search engines consider meta descriptions when ranking your page for relevance to user searches, but it’s not one of the most important factors.
Words and phrases in the HTML meta keywords tag of a web page. Meta keywords help search engines identify what the page is about and rank its relevance to user searches accordingly. The keywords in your tag should reflect the content of your page. Otherwise, search engines will disregard the meta. In other words, you can’t add keywords to the meta tag to make up for a lack of relevant keywords in the content itself.
Sending a media message to a highly targeted audience. The opposite of broadcasting, narrowcasting is also considered a form of niche marketing. Narrowcasting has been around since the days of radio. In modern practice, it spans traditional direct mail, TV, email marketing, paid search, online video, and in-person event marketing. Trade shows can also be a particularly valuable forum for business-to-business (B2B) marketing.
A meta tag in the HTML code of a web page that tells search engines to disregard the page. On pages such as blog posts that invite user comments, a nofollow link protects you from search engines ranking your page based on user comments you can’t control. Let’s say some users comment on your blog post to promote their own products and stuff your comments with keywords. You can use a nofollow tag to avoid search penalties.
Marketing with objectives that advance a nonprofit organization’s cause versus driving a business’s profitability. This is also referred to as “cause marketing.” Common goals for nonprofit marketing initiatives include raising awareness, increasing donations, and growing the number of volunteers.
Omnichannel marketing creates a cohesive, integrated shopping experience across a brand’s sales touchpoints—including brick-and-mortar locations, events, mobile devices, and online stores. It uses data and analytics to create consistency whenever shoppers encounter the brand. Let’s say you have a business that sells socks. With omnichannel marketing in place, a customer could find socks they love on social media, browse your online store selection, and receive a coupon to buy their favorite pair in your brick-and-mortar store.
The natural and unpaid results users receive after making search queries. Search engines, which crawl your web pages and rank your content for relevance to the most common queries, determine these results. You can improve your ranking through search engine optimization (SEO) activities, such as including keywords in headlines. For contrast, see: paid search.
Online advertising that is triggered when users perform searches using keywords that a company has purchased. Ads look like organic search results, but they appear more prominently on a search engine results page (SERP) than they would have organically. They are also labeled as “ad” or with another word indicating “paid.” You’ll often see paid search in crowded categories such as airline flights, hotels, and laptops. The pricing model is usually pay-per-click (PPC).
An online advertising campaign that a company pays for only when users interact with the ads. Instead of paying for your ads to simply show up on a publisher’s website, you pay for user clicks. Pay-per-click (PPC) refers to a type of campaign. Cost per click (CPC) refers to the actual cost: the campaign fee / number of clicks = cost per click. For example, if you pay $1,000 for a campaign that receives 50,000 clicks, your CPC is $0.02.
A Portable Document Format (PDF) is a file that looks like a printed document and is compatible across computer systems. Adobe Systems developed the .pdf format, which allows people to view, download, save, share, and print the file regardless of their computers’ operating systems or software. Business-to-business (B2B) promotions such as white papers and e-briefs are typically provided to prospects and customers in a PDF.
The practice of using analytics to make advertising messages and product experiences feel unique to each customer. Personalized marketing is much more than just inserting the customer name into the same marketing email that goes to all of your customers. It’s about reaching the right person with the right message at the right moment with the right suggestions.
Suggestions to customers for products they may be interested in based on products they’ve already bought or viewed online. For example, if a customer bought the same tank top in 3 colors, there’s a good chance they’ll like the same tank in a new color. Personalized product recommendations, which mathematical calculations called algorithms determine on the back end, are a key feature of websites for cross-selling and upselling.
What makes your product or service different and more appealing to customers than other options in your category. Product differentiation is what gives you a competitive advantage in your market. Product differentiators can include better quality and service as well as unique features and benefits.
The stages a product goes through during its time on the market. There are 4 stages: introduction, growth, maturity, and decline. The stage your product is in helps inform your marketing objectives and promotional mix. For example, raising awareness of a new product may be more important than raising awareness of a mature product.
The image of your product or service that you want members of your target audience to have in their minds. Because first impressions of your brand count, it can be helpful to craft a positioning statement that communicates how your product or service fulfills customer needs. For example, Mailchimp helps small businesses become the brands they want to be with smarter technology built for big things.
A set of versions of one product from the same brand, each tweaked to appeal to a different audience segment. These versions are relatively slight variations on a theme instead of major departures in features and benefits.
The combination of promotions (advertising, sales promotion, personal selling, publicity) you use to deliver marketing messages to your target audience. A promotional mix should be planned out strategically to support your marketing objectives. Common goals are customer acquisition and engagement.
Marketing communications designed to inform target audiences about products or services and persuade them to buy them. There are 4 general types of promotions: advertising, sales promotion, personal selling, and publicity. Let’s say your company creates all-natural makeup. Your promotions could include advertising on beauty blogs, sending a discount to an email list, setting up sales calls with owners of local boutiques, or hosting a free makeover event for beauty-site editors.
Your target audience’s values, beliefs, and behaviors that are relevant to your product or service. Like demographics, psychographics can help you segment your audience into highly relevant subgroups. That way you can tailor your messaging and get better advertising campaign results. Psychographics give you a peek into the minds of your customers so you can communicate more effectively.
A Google Ads metric that rates how relevant your pay-per-click (PPC) ads and landing pages are to your chosen keywords. Google doesn’t reveal its exact calculation, but your estimate is based on ad relevance to keywords, expected click-through rate (CTR), and landing page experience. If you want to improve your Quality Score, Google recommends optimizing your ads and landing pages as well as revisiting your keyword strategy.
A set of questions about a topic that’s used for research purposes. Questionnaires are commonly used in digital marketing to get feedback on user experience (UX). For example, you might send one after a customer makes a purchase to find out if they experienced any confusion during the checkout process. Marketers also commonly use questionnaires after someone unsubscribes from a newsletter or other mailing list.
Sending a user to a different web page than the one they requested with a URL. Redirects send readers to a new page if content has been moved or an older page has been deleted. This helps prevent 404 errors. They can allow people to type in short, easy-to-remember URLs rather than complicated URLs with many slashes and hyphens.
When a website sends traffic to another website. Tracking referrals can help you understand how people find your website without using a search engine. For example, if you put links to your website in your social media posts on Facebook and Twitter, these sites would be listed as a source of referral traffic. Referrals can also come from websites that posts news articles, reviews, and other industry-relevant content.
Responsive Web Design
An approach to website design that enables a single page to be displayed comfortably whether it’s on a phone, tablet, or desktop. Sites that use responsive web design first evaluate the type of device and its screen size. Then with the help of CSS, they render the text, images, and other elements in a predefined layout that works for that particular device.
Return on Ad Spend (ROAS)
The ratio of the amount of revenue generated by an ad campaign to its cost. If you generated $10,000 from a campaign that cost $1,000, your return on ad spend (ROAS) would be 10:1. While similar to return on investment (ROI), ROAS is more focused on the hard cost of a campaign rather than on the overall value of running a campaign, which could include brand awareness or other marketing objectives.
A calculation of the monetary value of an investment versus its cost. The mathematical formula is: (profit minus cost) / cost. If you made $10,000 from a $1,000 effort, your return on investment (ROI) would be 0.9, or 90%. ROI is often used to evaluate business strategy, including all advertising and marketing efforts. Return on ad spend (ROAS) is a similar metric, but it focuses more on specific tactics, such as an individual ad campaign.
A file placed on a web server that gives instructions to search engine crawlers, which are the robots that index web pages for search engines. Robots.txt files tell web crawlers what they should include in their index—and what they should ignore. Pages such as form results pages (“thank you” pages that are triggered when users submit a form, for example) can be hidden from search engines.
Really simple syndication (RSS) takes the content of a website and packages it into a feed that can be easily displayed on other websites. Aggregators take multiple RSS feeds and combine them into a single interface, which can help people track updates to multiple websites at once. RSS also allows websites to syndicate content from third parties.
Bits of code added to a web page that help search engines understand the content of the page. With better understanding comes the ability to format content when it appears on the search engine results page (SERP). Photos of a recipe appear next to its description, for example, or a list of upcoming events is added to the results blurb of a concert venue’s website. Schema markup generate featured snippets on Google’s SERP.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
Paid advertising on a search engine results page (SERP). This is also called paid search. Search engine marketing (SEM) ads are used to drive traffic to websites but can include other calls to action, such as making a phone call or visiting a local store. Keywords in a search query trigger SEM ads. They usually appear at the top of search results and sometimes to the side. Most SEM is pay-per-click (PPC), so you only get charged if someone clicks on the ad.
Changes made to the content and structure of a website to improve ranking on a search engine results page (SERP). Search engines recommend search engine optimization (SEO) efforts that benefit both the user and page’s ranking (white hat SEO). These include the use of relevant keywords in headlines (H1) and subheads, “friendly” URLs with keywords rather than strings of numbers, and schema markup to make results richer and more detailed.
The page that a search engine returns after a user submits a search query. In addition to organic search results, search engine results pages (SERPs) usually include paid search and pay-per-click (PPC) ads. Thanks to search engine optimization (SEO), ranking position on a SERP can be highly competitive since users are more likely to click on results at the top of the page. With the launch of schema markup, SERPs are becoming much more complex to try to anticipate user needs.
Software used to find information and websites on the internet. Google, Yahoo, and Bing are the big 3 search engines in the United States, although Google is the clear leader. Search engines “crawl” across website content and index it into their databases. Then they display results based on the keywords in the search query. Search engines play an important part in inbound marketing through search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM).
The string of words users enter into a search engine to receive a result. Search queries are the raw text that people type into the search engine, such as, “Will it rain today?” When you look at search queries that lead to your website, you can determine which keywords to include for search engine optimization (SEO). In this instance, “rain forecast” may be a more popular query.
A list of pages on a website that search engines should index. Written in extensible markup language (XML), both humans and computers can understand a sitemap XML. In addition to page URLs, they include modification dates so search engines can tell whether or not a page has been crawled since it was updated. Sitemap XML- and robots.txt-related search engine optimization (SEO) tactics approach indexing from different sides of the same coin. Sitemap XML says “yes” while robots.txt says “no.”
An email that is rejected by an email server for a temporary reason. An email may soft bounce if a mailbox is full, the recipient email server is down or offline, or the email message is too large.
The digital equivalent of junk mail. Spam can be an email, text message, social media direct message, or any other unwanted or unsolicited electronic communication. Marketers can ask people to actively opt into email lists and provide easy ways to unsubscribe to prevent their digital marketing communications from being considered spam.
Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is a method of encryption that protects data being sent between websites. SSL is closely related to Transport Layer Security (TLS), another encryption method, and the two acronyms are often used interchangeably.
The people you want to reach with your marketing efforts. These are the consumers who will be most interested in your products or services—and most likely to convert from leads into customers. Target audiences can be based on demographics (age, gender identity, location), psychographics (aspirations, concerns, values), or behavior (likely to buy online). Target audiences are often broad and varied, so audience segmentation can help deliver a more personalized and effective message.
An HTML tag that designates the title of a page. Confusingly, the title tag isn’t responsible for the headline that appears on a web page—the H1 tag defines that. Text contained in the title tag is usually rendered in the top of the browser window or in a tab label. Title tags are an important part of search engine optimization (SEO) and should contain 1 or more keywords to help with search engine ranking.
Automated emails sent from one sender to one recipient, usually related to account activity or a commercial transaction.
Twitter’s advertising platform. Twitter ads are tweets that are promoted to a specific target audience. Since they are tweets, they can include text, images, video, or polls. Character count restrictions also still apply. You can target your ads to people based on their location, interests, or who they follow. When you optimize Twitter, it can help you gain followers and get engagements, such as likes and retweets. It can also drive traffic to your website or increase brand awareness.
Uniform Resource Locator (URL)
A web address. Uniform resource locators (URLs) can point to a website or any other resource on the web, such as an image or video. They can use letters, numbers, or a combination of both. Certain characters such as brackets and braces are considered “unsafe.” Various web browsers handle them differently, which can lead to errors.
The reason people should buy your product or services according to your marketing and advertising. In any ad, your unique selling proposition can be summed up as “buy X, and you’ll get Y.” For example: “Buy these sneakers, and you’ll run faster.”
The number of individuals who visited your website in a defined amount of time. This is often compared to visits, which is the number of times your website was accessed during a set period. If 2 people went to your website 10 times in a day, you would have 20 visits and 2 unique visitors. Repeat visits are important because they could be a sign of loyalty or a response to an abandoned cart email.
How a person feels about using a product or service. The discipline of user experience (UX) makes digital experiences efficient, effective, and sometimes entertaining. In the world of digital marketing, UX is often equated with optimizing the user interface (UI) on the website. For example, e-commerce companies want to know about the browsing and checkout experience on their websites.
The visual and audio elements on a website or app presented to a visitor. User interface (UI) elements can include text, images, sound, animation, video, or a combination of them. Keep in mind UI elements may be rendered in different ways depending on user preferences. For example, a person with low vision may use a screen reader to consume content. UI layout and testing is a major focus of user experience (UX) designers.
A short description of a company’s goals for the future. Vision statements tend to be highly aspirational, serving to motivate employees while guiding day-to-day decision making. Vision statements (future goals) are often paired with mission statements (today’s goal) and value statements (how a company goes about reaching all of its goals).
A message to a new subscriber or customer. Welcome emails are a follow-up to a newsletter signup, service subscription, loyalty program, or any initial or next-level interaction with a business. If someone gives you their email, say hello and thank you. Welcome emails give you the opportunity to build relationships, tell brand stories, and, ideally, turn subscribers into customers. They’re a great candidate for marketing automation, especially if sent in a series.
White Hat SEO
Search engine optimization (SEO) techniques that benefit both websites and the people who use them. White hat SEO fights for the users. It also improves the accessibility and quality of a website’s content, boosting its ranking and relevance. For example, it can examine search queries to identify new target keywords and create original content to support them.
A blueprint for a website’s user interface (UI). Wireframes are simplified sketches—often drawn by hand—of how content and functionality come together in a layout. They focus on how elements are ordered and placed on a page but rarely include specifics about the final visual design. For example, photographs are represented by a box with an X through them. Wireframes are an essential step in responsive web design, since the same elements need to be reordered for different screen sizes.
Word-of-Mouth Marketing (WOM Marketing)
Person-to-person conversation that promotes a product or service. For example: “Hey, I loved that movie. You should check it out.” Word-of-mouth marketing (WOM marketing) can be organic. A brand can also script and direct it. In social media marketing, influencers are a common type of WOM marketing. A trusted expert or celebrity is paid to talk about their experience with a product or service. Authenticity is essential for WOM marketing to be successful, so it’s not always as positive as other types of marketing messages.
Yahoo’s ad platform. Yahoo offers various formats and placements much like other ad networks. Pay-per-click (PPC) ads on appear on its search engine results page (SERP). Display ads are served on its homepage, content portals, and articles pages—and can be re-served to viewers much like Google remarketing ads.
Video ads that appear across YouTube. Since Google owns YouTube, YouTube advertising shares many of the core features of Google Ads, but with 1 big difference: They’re videos. Ads can play before (“pre-roll”) or after (“bumper”) a video a user has selected. They can also be inserted into the middle of a playlist (“TrueView”) or a video longer than 10 minutes (“mid-roll”). YouTube ads can be pay-per-click (PPC) or pay per view based on their length and placement.