Arming yourself with additional knowledge about marketing will only make you more successful in your business. Even if you yourself don’t perform the marketing tasks or even develop the strategy, the more you know, the better you can guide those who do this work for you. This is the first of a three-part series of marketing vocabulary terms you need to know and understand.

Marketing Vocabulary Part 1

A/B Testing

A/B testing is a way to test two variations of one variable such as ad copy, email subject lines or CTA (call-to-action) language or button color.



Analytics are the data you need to collect, monitor and analyze to assess the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns. This pertains to everything from website performance to paid advertising to your close rate on leads.



While some designers and small business owners shy away from blogging because of the time commitment, it’s an integral part of effective website marketing. A properly executed blog strategy can drive traffic to your website, contribute to your site’s SEO juice and help establish your business (and you) as an authority in your market. Blog posts also create opportunities for you to get your prospects to take an action such as entering her email address so you can continue to market to her. Learn more about crafting blog posts that work!


Bounce Rate

Bounce rate of your website is one of those analytics you should measure. It tells you how many people, as a percentage of your traffic, land on your site and leave again without taking any action such as clicking to another page. There can be many reasons this happens, and having a high bounce rate indicates there is some research to do and changes to make.


Buyer Persona

A buyer persona is a representation of your ideal client based on market research and data collected from past clients and even lost prospects. Buyer personas are used to determine your target market and guide your marketing messaging. Read about developing buyer personas for marketing success.


Call-to-Action (CTA)

A call-to-action is a prompt designed to drive your website visitors to take an action. It can be a button, a link or other tool that ultimately brings a visitor into your sales funnel as a lead. This could be a call to subscribe to your e-newsletter or to download a design tips e-book you’ve created.



CAN-SPAM (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing) is the U.S. law that relates to email marketing. In basic terms, it means recipients have the right to have a business stop emailing them. This is the reason email marketing platforms automatically include an unsubscribe link in the email footer. The law outlines specific penalties for violations.


Clickthrough Rate (CTR)

Clickthrough rate generally relates to paid online advertising such as pay-per-click advertising. It is the percentage of ad clicks to impressions (times the ad is seen). It measures effectiveness of the ads.


Conversion Path

A conversion path is the series of steps you want your website visitors to take to reach an end goal; this is sometimes referred to as a marketing or sales funnel depending on the desired outcome. This can be as simple as click the button, enter your email address, get something of value (such as your e-newsletter) in return. A more developed conversion path might lead a visitor through a series of these steps to a high-value item. For instance, the path might begin with the e-news sign-up form, then redirect the visitor to sign up for a free consultation. Once they have signed up for the free consultation, they might be redirected to register for an upcoming kitchen design event you’re hosting, and the final step would be to sign a contract for a design project.



Content is the general term for anything (blog posts, social media posts, videos, slideshows, e-book, e-newsletter, etc.) that is created and shared with your audience. The purpose of this content is to educate them and to position you and your company as the industry leader in your market. It helps your audience get to know you, like you and trust you, which guides them right through the buying process.


Conversion Rate

The conversion rate is directly related to your conversion path. It is the percentage of people who completed the desired goal — entering their email address, signing up for a consultation, etc. Conversion paths (or funnels) with a high conversion rate are considered successful. Those with a low conversion rate should go through a period of A/B testing until it achieves a higher conversion rate or until attempts have been exhausted and the funnel is no longer used.


Cost-Per-Lead (CPL)

The cost per lead can be calculated in a variety of ways depending on how you track your marketing dollars and your lead sources. A very basic way to track CPL is to take your total marketing spend and divide it by the total number of leads over a given time period — most often annually. A better way to track CPL is to diligently track the amount of money spent on marketing per marketing activity or campaign (lead source), diligently track the sources of the leads you get, then do the calculations by source. For instance, if you spend $30,000 over the course of a year on e-newsletters (associated services, content creation, design, email platform subscription, etc.), and you get 100 leads from the e-newsletter, your CPL for that lead source is $300. But let’s say you spend $10,000 on magazine ads and you can directly attribute 100 leads to that source, too. The magazine advertising is the more effective lead source, so you should spend more money on that and less on e-newsletters. Right? Not necessarily. Click here to download your free budgeting template to help you determine your cost per lead. This leads directly into the next section …


Cost-Per-Client (CPC)

Again, this can be calculated in a high-level overview total costs divided by total clients, but it’s a much more effective measurement the more you can drill down on the numbers. So, back to our example above. Last year you had 100 leads from each of the two sources resulting in a CPL of $300 for e-newsletters and $100 for print advertising. Now, you look closer at those leads and determine how many of those turned into contracts. Let’s just say that out of the 100 leads from e-newsletters 10 turned into contracts, and for the 100 leads from advertising, 3 turned into jobs. Now your CPC is $3000 for e-newsletters and $3333 for advertising.

Take it a step further: What happens when the average value of the contracts from your e-newsletters is $10,000 and the average value of the jobs from advertising are $50,000? Now, your e-newsletters have generated $100,000 in revenue for 10 clients, while your print ads have generated $150,000 in revenue for three clients. As you can see, it’s super important to collect and analyze as much data as possible to be sure you get a complete picture of the value of your marketing activities.

There’s a lot of information here for you to digest. And there’s more where this came from, so check back for part 2 next week!

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