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Marketing Lingo for Small Business Owners

Follow this guide to learn all about key marketing terms, approaches and which experts to hire to bring a marketing strategy to life

Not every business owner has a college degree when it comes to business or marketing. With that being said, marketing terms might not be in every small business owner's vocabulary and knowledge base. And even if you have a degree, marketing lingo is forever changing. This is where having a basic understanding comes in handy.

In this article, we go over some must-know marketing lingo for business owners. Read on to learn the terms that every small business owner should be familiar with.

What is marketing lingo?

Marketing lingo is a term that describes a broad range of words related to marketing. Some of them pertain to in-print marketing while others are specific to digital marketing. The lingo is what the professionals tend to use when they discuss any marketing project with a client.

Besides words and phrases, the lingo also includes marketing acronyms. These are abbreviations related to frequently used marketing terms, often lengthy phrases.

As you delve deeper into marketing lingo and procedures, you can successfully grow your audience and increase traffic, particularly, when you understand which services most pertain to your niche and business setup.

Certain lingo specifically pertains to the words used when speaking about customer retention strategies. These terms relate to techniques and processes used to build relationships with customers and turn a one-time buyer into a frequent shopper or at least a return customer.

We've compiled a list of a few of the terms you'll hear when having meetings with marketing strategists or take basic marketing courses.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is one of the marketing terms to know because it comprises the bulk of your marketing plan. It describes any type of content used to engage, attract, or keep your audience interested in your products, services, or company. It may consist of your creating and sharing these works or merely sharing pre-existing content. Some examples of content marketing include videos, podcasts, and blogs, to name a few examples.


SEO is a marketing acronym that stands for search engine optimization. In addition to hearing SEO by itself, you might also hear the term on-page SEO. SEO relates to various strategies that search engines use to rank online content. It's one of the popular marketing terms because it relates to all the efforts used on your website to increase search engine rank and help drive traffic to your site. On-page SEO is a vital component of any digital marketing campaign because it has a profound effect on your visibility.

It includes a range of strategies, such as keyword placement, meta description, title tags, keyword density, and geo-targeting. Even how fast your page loads and the quality of your content can play a role. This technique helps establish a site's trustworthiness as well.

Off-page SEO, however, describes all the factors that affect your rank beside the content on the pages and the website itself, such as the following:

  • Backlinks
  • Encouragement of branded searches
  • Social media shares
  • Guest posts
  • Blog directory submission

Call to Action

In the end, in the beginning, or throughout a webpage or blog, a viewer may find calls-to-action. They're most often at the end of a piece. They encourage the viewer to get involved or take action. It may include any of the following, such as encouraging the audience to call for an appointment, book a phone meeting, apply for a program, or read another blog. The goal of the call-to-action, often referred to by the marketing acronym CTA, is to get a viewer to remain on the website, go from a viewer to a client, or take the next step toward sealing the deal.

Customer Acquisition Cost

Customer acquisition cost, or CAC for short, is the price related to obtaining new clients or customers. Not only does it include the price for assistance, but also the cost for any resources used as well. Often, this figure is used along with customer lifetime value (CLV) to compare the price of acquiring customers with how many become long-term ones.

A/B Testing

A/B testing falls under the category of marketing jargon and sales talk you should know. Not every audience responds the same. It depends on demographics, like location, that'll affect how a marketing technique performs. This is when A/B testing is necessary.

This particular testing is like a scientific approach to evaluating how one or multiple factors are affecting your marketing when they're altered. Certain elements in a campaign are purposely changed, then the agency observes how these changes impact the campaign. Besides observations, the agency will also review and interpret the data to make sound alterations to your marketing plan.

Bounce Rate

Simply put, your bounce rate is the figure that compares the number of visitors who visit your page but don't search on any other page of your site. It's a percentage that influences your conversion rate -- or how many visitors become customers or clients.


Analytics are metrics that measure website traffic and digital marketing campaigns. It includes the number of page views, viewers, and bounce rate, among other factors.

We should note that these are merely some of the most popular marketing terms, and these definitions are vague. Online courses and other Mailchimp resources can help you better understand these terms and others.

Why is it important to know marketing terms and definitions?

Even if you're not planning to become a marketing expert yourself, having a basic knowledge of marketing lingo can help you articulate what you need help with when bringing in a pro. This can alleviate miscommunication issues between you and the marketing strategist. You'll know what you desire, and you'll be explaining it in terms that the marketing expert understands. As a result, you won't waste money or time explaining a service you desire and having the strategist misunderstand your wishes.

Understanding marketing lingo can also help if you're looking up services and comparing prices for online programs. You'll know exactly what you get with each service and if that's what you desire.

If you're going to attempt running your marketing campaign yourself, understanding the lingo can guide you in the right direction so you're incorporating key elements of marketing.

You'll sound knowledgeable when you can use marketing vocabulary correctly. You'll be able to walk into a meeting with a marketing specialist and sound informed and educated rather than clueless. Ultimately, this means you'll feel more confident when you're in situations where you have to speak with marketing professionals or company representatives who know their marketing ins and outs.

Besides seasoned marketing pros, you'll also be able to speak with people in general about marketing when you understand popular marketing terms. A fellow small business owner may inquire about your current SEO plan or another aspect of marketing. They may even ask you for advice or which services you find most valuable. You don't want to be caught off guard. When you at least understand the basics, you can have that conversation without feeling nervous or unable to answer the person's questions. You can confidently and accurately respond and be able to assist your fellow small business owners. This also makes you appear like an expert in the field.

Marketing lingo shortcuts

We’ve put together the following intros to common marketing terms, which you can browse in any order, at any time. Soon, you’ll be speaking fluent marketer.

Marketing Talk 101

If you are interested in learning the basics of the Mailchimp platform, please visit Mailchimp 101, our comprehensive guide to everything we do. Here, at Marketing Talk 101, we want to help you understand more general marketing terminology. We detail the meanings of words like brief, funnel, metric, scope, and more.

Email Marketer Speak 102

Here, we dig deeper into the intricacies of email marketing. This is a broad topic, so we’ll help you get started by understanding key terms such as automations, integrations, campaigns and customer journeys. Do you find the various rates confusing, such as open, click-through, conversion and bounce? Not to worry, we’re here to help clarify what is what.

Hiring Help 103

Sometimes you know exactly what you want to achieve, but you’re not quite sure who you need to hire to get those desired results. Let us help you figure out what professional skill set you need, including what various job titles mean, what different certifications to keep an eye out for and how to discern a freelancer or agency’s speciality.

Marketing Acronyms 104

Did you just hear a sentence that sounded like a jumble of letters? Are you nervous about having your first call with a partner and hitting a wall of acronyms? Many pros speak in plain language. But either way, we’ve decoded some of the most common marketing acronyms and catchphrases, so you’re no longer guessing what CTA, CRM and WOM mean.

Boost your marketing knowledge with Mailchimp

Once you can talk the talk in terms of marketing vocabulary, you can then walk the walk. In other words, by understanding the language and becoming aware of the various aspects of marketing, you can put it to good use with the help of a site like Mailchimp. By understanding relevant marketing lingo, you'll also be able to better understand how your marketing efforts are performing. Ultimately, this will help you be a better marketer and you’ll be able to achieve the results you’re aiming for.

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