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September 5, 2022

September 1, 2022

Marketing A to Z: 26 Small Business Marketing Terms to Know

As a small business leader, you may struggle to keep up with the terminology that comes with promoting and growing your organization. And how could you not, when it’s hard to find time to market your company, let alone learn the lingo?

To help you feel a bit less overwhelmed, we’ve come up with the ABCs of marketing—an alphabetical list of words and phrases you might encounter at some point. While this is by no means an exhaustive list, starting with these concepts will serve you well as you implement marketing strategies and build your company.

Here are 26 small business marketing terms, from A to Z:


Above the Fold

Before readers have to scroll down on your website, they’re able to see above the fold. This is the header section that’s visible when someone first visits your site. You should include your logo, a call-to-action (CTA)  button, a heading and subheading, and a second CTA button above the fold. Instead of packing as much information as possible into this section, make sure that customers can skim above the fold to quickly find out who you are, what you do, how you can help them, and what they should do next.


Boosted Post

Boosted posts involve paying a fee to ensure your Facebook ad or post appears higher on your ideal customers’ newsfeeds. Then, more people will be able to see and engage with (like, comment on, and/or share) your content than if you’d just published an organic (free) post. Boosted posts are easy to create, and Facebook advertising lets you target users by interests, demographics, geography, and more.


Click-Through Rate (CTR)

A click-through rate (CTR) measures the ratio of clicks to impressions in online marketing campaigns. It details the percentage of people who saw your advertisement and then also clicked on it. You can calculate a CTR by recording the number of users who clicked on the link, dividing that by the number of people who saw your ad, email, page, or other advertisement, and multiplying that by 100. Ideal click-through rates vary greatly based on the advertising medium and industry.



Demographics include basic information about your target audience, such as their age, race, religion, gender, education, marital status, and so on. These concrete characteristics can help you understand what group(s) you’re marketing to and how to best communicate with them. For example, messaging created for middle-aged men with trade school education would differ from content targeted toward college-educated, millennial women.


Evergreen Content

Evergreen content refers to blogs, checklists, quizzes, and other marketing materials that keep their relevance—just like evergreen trees keep their leaves year-round. When you create content that isn’t time-sensitive or “trending,” customers will find your messaging helpful no matter when they read it. Evergreen content is also easy to repurpose because you’ve already researched and published your piece. To repurpose evergreen content, you can simply update your information, or share the same info through a different medium (for example, taking an old checklist and revamping it into an infographic).


“From” Field

The “from” field in an email is where you’ll find the sender’s name. Some business leaders use an impersonal “no-reply” or “admin” address for the “from” field, but if a reader doesn’t recognize (or can’t reply to) the sender’s email address, they’re less likely to open the email. On the other hand, when you personalize the “from” field with your name, more customers will open your email and reply to you with questions or interest.


Google My Business

Google My Business is a free online business directory that lets customers click through your website, read reviews, find your business hours, and look up your contact information. Claiming your Google My Business listing will allow you to make sure your company’s information is accurate, updated, and easy for prospects to find. To claim your listing, just visit your Google My Business page and request a verification. Then, Google will send you a postcard with a verification PIN number so you can log in and enter your PIN.


Heat Map

A heat map represents data by colors on a graph, on a scale from red (hot) to blue (cold). You can use a heat map on your website to study user behavior—specifically, what parts of your site are popular (hot) or unpopular (cold). Heat maps will show you what prospects click on, take time to read, or simply ignore. This data can guide you as you update your web design to engage more customers and make it easier for them to navigate your site.


Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing involves creating engaging, relevant, helpful content that visitors interact with on their own time. It’s a more affordable strategy than outbound (traditional) marketing, as your website or social media continues to target specific customers—instead of paying lots of money for a one-time communication to the masses. Inbound marketing also encourages two-way communication by letting you communicate directly with your clients and prospects. Blogs, podcasts, videos, emails, e-books, and social media are just a few examples of content you can include in your inbound marketing strategy.



Jargon refers to complex industry terms that your customers probably won’t know, or at least have to work to understand. “Level up,” “bandwidth,” and “core competency” are just a few examples of jargon. These words and phrases might be obscure, confusing, vague, overused, or all of the above. At any rate, you’ll want to avoid jargon and use clear, concise, original messaging instead.


Key Performance Indicator (KPI)

Key performance indicators (KPIs) are measurements you can use to monitor your marketing strategy’s effectiveness and make any necessary adjustments to reach your business goals. You can think of these metrics as mile markers for your company’s success. A few examples of KPIs include customer acquisition cost, return on ad spend, website traffic, social media engagement, and conversion rates.


Lead Generation

Lead generation involves attracting prospects to your business—and guiding them through the buying process—with valuable content that helps them solve a problem. Having a lead generation strategy in your overall marketing plan gives potential customers the ability to interact with your business and qualify themselves as leads before you even talk to them. Whitepapers, quizzes, and webinars are examples of lead-generating content you can offer in exchange for an email address. If someone provides their email address, they’ve qualified themselves as a lead and opted into receiving content from you.



Once you’ve implemented a marketing strategy, you’ll want to analyze metrics to see how your content is performing. These metrics are not only measurements of success, but they also give you the opportunity to tweak your strategy for better customer engagement. Examples of metrics you can analyze include the time of day you sent an email, the type of content you published (blogs, quizzes, videos, etc.), how many users liked or shared your social media ad, and how many people found your website from a Google search.



Navigation can refer to both your website’s menu (Home, About Us, Contact Us, etc.) and the overall functionality of your site, or the movement from one page to the next. With a clear design flow and user-friendly navigation, customers can easily move through your site and buy from you. If you’re trying to improve your navigation, you can add skimmable content broken up with imagery, a main menu without too many dropdowns, and a straightforward checkout process on desktop and mobile.



Opt-in refers to someone giving a business permission to email them by signing up on your website to get newsletters, promotions, and other content directly in their inbox. You can use a single opt-in (someone just entering their email address) or a double opt-in (entering their information, then confirming their interest via text or email) to gather email addresses. A great way to get new opt-ins is to create content like an e-book, a webinar, or a quiz that customers can access in exchange for their email address. Just remember: Your opt-in content has to be valuable enough that someone would freely give you their email address for it.



Psychographics are your customers’ cognitive, emotional, and psychological qualities. These subjective attributes include belief systems, values, personality characteristics, goals, concerns, and more. While demographics show who your best customers are, psychographics explain why they behave the way they do. You can use psychographics along with demographics to get a more comprehensive understanding of your target audience and market to them more effectively.


Qualified Leads

Qualified leads move toward a buying decision once they’ve engaged with your content and interacted with your brand on their own time. People don’t like to be sold to, or to have a business “qualify” them as leads or customers before they’re ready to buy. But most of us do enjoy finding solutions to our problems—and when your content helps people do just that, they’ll be more likely to qualify themselves and consider doing business with you.


Responsive Web Design

If a website has responsive web design, that means the images, text, and menu will adjust from a larger desktop screen to a smaller phone screen (or vice versa). In contrast, mobile-friendly design only changes the overall scale, so your site’s menu and other features may be limited if they don’t adjust to a different screen. Responsive web design makes it easier for your customers to browse your website from anywhere, on any device.


Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) helps search engines like Google rank your website, blogs, and other content so prospects can easily find your business online. When people see your content in their results, they’ll be able to click through to your site and look for a solution to their search query. By finding keywords your customers are searching for and incorporating them into your content, search engines are more likely to rank your site higher—and your content will be more visible to more people.


Target Audience

You can also refer to your target audience as your best customers—the people most likely to choose your business to help them solve a problem they’re facing. Identifying your target audience should be the first step in your strategic marketing plan. This will allow you to clearly communicate your message to prospects and position your products or services as solutions to their problem.


User Experience (UX)

User experience (UX) refers to someone’s positive or negative interaction with your website, mobile app, and other marketing materials. For example, a prospect may have a poor user experience if your online buying process is long and complicated. But if your web design makes shopping online quick, easy, and clear, your customer will probably enjoy a more positive user experience.


Value Proposition

A value proposition is a benefit your customer will enjoy once they choose your product or service. This benefit should solve a problem or frustration your customer is experiencing. For example, if a prospect is tired of wasting time and money, the value proposition “increase efficiency and revenue” will directly appeal to them.


White Space

 Also known as negative space, white space is the area around design elements (like margins) and the zone between visuals (like line spacing). Despite its name, white space doesn’t have to be white. It can be any color, texture, or background image that draws the rest of your visual elements together on a website page, Instagram ad, mailer, or any other marketing material. Using white space in design keeps the ad or page from looking too busy, prevents the reader from getting overwhelmed, and makes the most important information stand out.


XML (eXtensible Markup Language)

XML (eXtensible Markup Language) is a coding language, similar to HTML. XML stores data in plain-text format to simplify transporting and sharing that data. With XML, you can also upgrade to a new operating system, expand applications, or switch browsers without worrying about losing data. A web designer can help you implement XML into your website.



Jay Baer coined the term youtility in his book Youtility: Why Smart Marketing Is About Help, Not Hype. The concept focuses on helping your prospect solve a problem instead of pushing your product or service on them. And we agree with Baer; nobody likes to be sold to, but everyone likes having someone they can trust. By employing youtility (or providing helpful information to your prospects), you can build long-term trust with your customers. Then, once they’re ready to buy, you’ll be top of mind—not only for your great company, but also because of your fantastic service and willingness to help others.


Zero-Party Data

Also called explicit data, zero-party data is information that a customer intentionally shares with your business. To obtain zero-party data, you should provide customers with something valuable and helpful. For example, if you’re a home decor company, you could offer website visitors a “Get to Know Your Home Decor Style” quiz, sending their results via email. They’ll take a fun quiz and get insightful results, while you’ll get the email address they provided and learn about their home decor preferences.


Knowing these small business marketing terms is a great start to building your company’s growth strategy. And if you run into additional words or phrases you aren’t familiar with, don’t worry. Your marketing agency partner can help you understand what these terms mean and how they apply to your business goals, marketing strategy, and more.

Discover the four most common marketing mistakes small businesses make and exactly how to solve them! Download our guide.

Our proven marketing protocol helps companies make more money, free up time, and plan an effective strategy.

Treefrog Marketing is an agency focused on small business and located in Lafayette, Indiana. We specialize in strategic marketing and advertising, graphic design, web design, social media, SEO, and more. For more information, please visit our website. You can also connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

Leverage Kelly’s marketing experience, insights, and leadership to grow your business.

As the founder and chief marketing strategist at Treefrog Marketing, a co-host of the Priority Pursuit Podcast, a StoryBrand Certified Guide, and fractional chief marketing officer, Kelly Rice has spent more than two decades helping small businesses take their companies to the next level by providing trustworthy leadership and building effective marketing strategies and systems.

She has dedicated her career to helping small businesses succeed because she knows, firsthand, how hard they work to make their communities a better place. 

Still, many people undervalue the strength and ingenuity of small businesses, but not Kelly. She believes they deserve to have a marketing partner and strategy that works as hard as they do.

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