7 Basic Marketing Acronyms Every Small Business Owner and Solopreneur Needs To Know
By Guest Author: Mary-Liz Murray, Owner/Principal – Streamix Consulting
How many of you are the whole marketing team for your business? (I can’t see you raising your hand, but I’m going to picture it – because I’m sitting here with my hand raised.)
How often does marketing become the first thing to get bumped off the priority list? (Don’t worry I won’t make you tell me the ACTUAL amount.)
Let me tell you. I get it. The marketing world seems to be full of noise, schemes, traps, and hassles. It can feel like an endless sea of advice, platforms, and jargon. They key is to tackle it in steps and build a solid strategic foundation over time. Don’t let the process overwhelm you, just start small. Like by learning some vocabulary. Ready?
- ROI – potentially the most important acronym to know and consider is ROI or Return On Investment. This one is important not just for digital marketing, but for any expenditure you make in your business. If you buy a new piece of equipment or hire a consultant for instance, you want to know how that investment is going to improve and grow your business and your bottom line, right? The same goes for digital marketing initiatives. With digital marketing specifically ROI can be a tricky thing to calculate (but not impossible as some marketers might have you believe). For success in tracking your return on investment for digital advertising and marketing services you need to be very clear on your KPIs.
- KPI – So what exactly is a KPI? A Key Performance Indicator. This is basically the unit of measure you’re using to track a strategic goal or objective. For instance if you have a goal to increase the traffic on your website, some important KPIs might be organic traffic sources, referral traffic sources, and paid traffic sources. Tracking these will tell you where people are finding you, how they are getting to your website, and what paid initiatives (like Google Adwords or promoted Instagram posts) might provide good ROI for achieving this goal.
- SMART – Speaking of goals – they don’t mean much without some accountability measures. That’s where the SMART system, or Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound criteria come in. As a small business owner the default goal is usually just “make more money this year”, but without considering the specifics you need to make that objective a reality it becomes really hard to prioritize.For instance if your run a local service business, you may be interested in acquiring more leads through your website. A SMART goal related to that may be something like “Increase web traffic to the online quote request form from social media and email marketing channels by 10% in Quarter 1.”
- SEO – This is one I’m almost positive you’ve heard – you guessed it – Search Engine Optimization! But what does that really mean? And how is it different from SEM (below)? In a nutshell Search Engine Optimization is the way in which you write and set-up your website that populates it into searches run by search engines (like Google. And Bing. And the other ones. Yes, there are other ones). A site that is “optimized” for search engines has compelling copy that includes words that people search for related to your business, completed page descriptions and titles completed on the back-end of your website; and multi-word or “long-tail” keywords assigned to each page. Want to bump your site up in search engine rankings without paying a fortune for ads? Quality blog content, featuring some of those key search terms, posted regularly is one of the keys. Another tip for good SEO? Getting your website linked on other websites. This could mean guest blogging for other businesses, or getting your business listed on local provider lists put out by chambers of commerce or professional associations etc.
- SEM – Search Engine Marketing – this is where we talk about paying for better rankings on those search engines. If you want to come up first in a Google search for your top competitor, you’ll likely need to pay for an ad – that’s search engine marketing. Want people in your area to see your company name and web address every time they search for “Florist near me”? Again you’ll need to set up a paid advertisement to be at the top of the heap. There are different kinds of ads and different ways to place them, but most of them are PPC (Pay-per click – bonus jargon decoding!). Bottom line: if they’re specifically geared toward improving your placement in a search engine, that’s SEM. Important to note that SEO specialists are not necessarily SEM specialists and vice-versa.
- SMM – Different still is Social Media Management/Marketing. This is a longer-term strategy and often a bigger investment than SEM. It’s about building communities of customers and potential customers and cultivating them over time. With Social Media Marketing you have lots of platforms to choose from – Facebook-of course, Twitter – you bet – but also things like Reddit, Tumblr, Snapchat, YouTube, and Soundcloud can fall under the SMM banner. Any online platform (other than email) where you are cultivating “followers” and building an audience as a means to increase brand awareness, potential customers, and promote your goods or services can be part of your Social Media Marketing. There’s free opportunities with social media, but there are also many useful paid advertising platforms and to execute good SMM you should plan on investing not only time, but money as well.
- CTA – Call to Action. At its most basic level a call to action is exactly what it sounds like – it is a clear statement of what you are asking a prospective customer to do i.e. “Buy,” “Sign Up,” “Reserve,” etc.This is one of the most important cornerstones of good marketing initiatives AND the one that is most often overlooked or forgotten entirely. Many business owners are wary of the “hard sell” – they don’t want to turn someone off with aggressive-seeming advertisements or marketing copy, so they are hesitant to include direct asks in their marketing materials. But the secret to effective marketing lies in telling the customer exactly what you want them to do. A good marketing piece, no matter what platform it’s designed for, from direct mail to Instagram, is a combination of an attractive image, catchy concise copy, and a specific, stand-out call to action. Depending on your goal and the marketing copy the call to action may be as low-stakes as “click through to read more” or as direct as “order today”. This is one place where the old adage “If you don’t ask, you don’t get.” rings true – every time.
So there. You’ve take a step toward better marketing just by finishing this post! Want to decode more marketing lingo? Check out this great post from HubSpot.