17 Marketing Terms You Were Too Embarrassed to Google (But Should Definitely Know)

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Maggie Butler
Maggie Butler



As inbound marketers, it’s our job to keep up with the latest trends in our industry, news on our competitors, and the latest marketing jargon.

But sometimes, every once in a while, a term or concept will eek by you. You might kind of know what it means, but not entirely.

And you’ll know exactly what that term is when a colleague says something to you and your first reaction is ... “Huh?

Perhaps you’re more eloquent than me, but I’ve had plenty of “Huh?” moments at my time here at HubSpot. And if I’ve been hesitant to Google a few things here and there, I bet there are some fellow marketers out there that also have been.

So ... I put together a list of some -- okay, 17 to be precise -- terms and concepts that you can brush up on (or maybe learn about for the first time) and your Google search history will be none the wiser.

1) Long-Tail Keywords

Long-tail keywords are cool. Essentially, they’re search queries that contain three or more keywords. So, for example, a regular keyword for HubSpot would be “HubSpot.” But a long-tail keyword could be something like “inbound marketing software.”

What makes long-tail keywords great is Google’s new algorithm, Hummingbird, focuses on user intent, which is the concept behind long-tail keywords, making them an important part of your marketing strategy. They’re also what can turn your PPC efforts into successful campaigns. See? Like I said -- cool.

2) Above the Fold

This concept is all about where content is placed on your webpage. Rule of thumb: Visitors should not have to scroll down the page or search to discover what you want them to do once they’ve landed on your page. That’s because what you want them to do should be ... above the fold.

This concept comes in handy when you audit your site pages (especially landing pages) to make sure they're performing up to your standards.

3) Meta Description

Here’s a basic summary of what a meta description is: A text summary of what can be found on your webpage (see what I did there?). There are several ways to optimize your meta descriptions for SEO purposes, since these descriptions show up in search results along with the links to the pages.

4) Alt Text

Alt text, or “alternative attribution,” is like a caption on any image on any of your web pages. This text should explain to the viewer exactly what they’re looking at without needing to actually see the image.

Marketers use alt text so their images are optimized for any kind of viewer, like someone with images disabled in their browser, and so search engines like Google can “read” the image and return it in results for relevant queries.

5) Algorithms

Algorithms are like recipes: They’re formulas that include a bunch of different variables that search engines use when they crawl your website to determine how your page should rank in search results.

The variables that make up algorithms are guarded by search engines like your grandma guards the secret ingredients to her tomato sauce recipe. However, marketers still need to be aware of the important algorithm changes so they can continue to optimize their content, like their blog, for these algorithms to drive traffic to their site.

6) Personalization

The same way some shopping sites recommend related items you might like based on things you’ve recently purchased, personalization in marketing is about showing visitors relevant content that’s tailored to the experience they’ve already had with your website.

It’s the concept of not showing the same message to a brand-new visitor to your site that you would to a customer who's been to your site multiple times. That doesn’t make much sense, does it? But if you want more reasons to personalize your marketing, we’ve got 22 for you right here.

7) Content Curation

You have to create content that’s relevant to your buyer persona in order to make your inbound marketing successful. But content curation -- finding other relevant content that’s already been created and sharing it in a meaningful way to your audience -- should also be part of your marketing strategy.

Curating content can be an art form, and if you're good at it, it can turn you into a thought leader in your industry. Just make sure you’re adhering to the content copyright laws so you’re not stealing other people’s content.

8) 301 Redirects

If you need to know what a 301 redirect is, you might be thinking about a website redesign. When you permanently redirect one URL to another, you need to implement a 301 redirect so that it doesn't mess up that SEO strategy you’ve worked so hard on. A 301 redirect can pass 90-99% of ranking power from the old URL to the new one, and in most instances, it’s the best method for implementing redirects on a website.

9) SaaS

“SaaS” means “software as a service.” So, if you’re using any software that’s hosted by another company and they store your information in the cloud, you’re using a SaaS product.

HubSpot is considered a SaaS product -- and, actually, I bet a lot of applications you use every day are SaaS products. Think Salesforce, IM clients, project management apps … you get the idea.

10) Churn

Hint: This one has nothing to do with butter. Churn is a key metric SaaS companies use to determine the percentage rate at which their customers are going to cancel their recurring subscription to their service. Put plainly: You don’t want your customers to churn.

For data-driven marketers (that’s you), knowing the rate at which your customers churn is key so you can strategize on how to keep churn at your company low. Keeping customers happy isn’t always easy, but here’s some metrics and tactics you can use to help reduce churn at your company.

11) KPI

Key performance indicators (or KPIs) are metrics that you look at to track the progress towards your marketing goals. Some examples of marketing KPIs are CAC (cost of customer acquisition) or the ratio between the lifetime customer value to the cost it takes to acquire a customer (LTV:CAC).

I get it: That was a lot of acronyms. Here’s a great post on those critical marketing KPIs and what to do when they’re underperforming.

12) RSS

RSS feeds make keeping up with the latest industry trends easy as pie. RSS stands for "rich site summary," though others note it can also stand for "really simple syndication." Most websites and blogs have RSS feeds that you can subscribe to and have the latest published updates to those sites delivered right to you in an RSS reader of your choice.

Allowing customers and prospects to subscribe to content via an RSS feed is something marketers should consider when building a site or a blog. Want to subscribe to your favorite blogs now? Here are some RSS readers we recommend using to keep all your RSS feeds in one place.

13) UX

UX is short for “user experience,” and when someone refers to UX, they’re talking about the experience your customer will have when they interact with your service or product.

As a marketer, you should know that only 55% of companies are currently conducting any online user experience testing. But making sure your product has the best user experience possible can potentially make a difference for a prospect evaluating your product.

It's a term product managers think about every day, but it's an important concept for marketers to understand.

14) API

An “application programming interface,” or API, is kind of a like a phone for applications to have conversations. An API literally “calls” one application and gets information to bring to you to use in your software.

HubSpot has APIs that developers use to get information from our software into theirs. And while all this sounds techy, it’s important for marketers to understand what APIs can do to factor them in to their marketing strategies. Luckily, we have a marketer’s guide to APIs just for you.

15, 16, and 17) CRM, HTML, CSS

Bonus! I saved these terms for the end as a goody bag since we recently blogged some FAQ posts about CRM, HTML, and CSS. These posts are just as good as any candy you'll find in a real goody bag (maybe better?).

Are there other marketing terms and concepts you’ve been embarrassed to Google? If so, let us know in the comments. (It's a judgment-free zone, we promise!)

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