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Entries in Marketing 101 (28)


16 Important Marketing Acronyms Explained


SEO, CPC, HTML … my head is spinning … what does it all mean?

Business, marketing and technology are all swarming with acronyms. What do they all mean? How can I memorize them all? Do I really need to know what all of these letters stand for?

Yes and no. It can be embarrassing when trying to carry on a conversation via social media if you don’t understand what’s being said. It can be cumbersome trying to learn all of the acronyms in an ever-changing environment. Acronyms have practical applications and it would be very unfortunate if you were to lose a business opportunity because you didn’t know what was being presented.

Here are 16 of what I think are the most crucial marketing acronyms to commit to memory.

B2B: Business to Business
Many businesses market their products and services to other businesses {like Market Mommy!}. A transaction between one business and another is B2B.

B2C: Business to Consumer
The traditional form of commerce is when businesses market and sell to consumers.

CMS: Content Management System
An application that allows publishing, editing and organizing content from a central location. I refer to this sometimes as the backend of a website and it includes systems like WordPress and Squarespace.

CPC: Cost per Click
Some online publishers charge a set amount for advertisements based on the number of times it is clicked. This is also known as PPC, or Pay per Click.

CR: Conversion Rate
This is the rate of users that take the desired action you are seeking; usually a purchase.

CTA: Call to Action
When you give your target audience instructions about the specific action that you want them to take immediately. Click here, sign up here, etc.

HTML: Hyper Text Markup Language
This is the standard language used to design and create webpages.

IBL: Inbound Link
A link to your site that is placed on another site. These are very important to your SEO and PR. See below J

OBL: Outbound Link
A link that takes you away from your webpage onto another.

PR: PageRank
Algorithm used by Google to measure the authority of a webpage. It is widely believed that IBLs are a significant factor.

PV: Page View
The request to load one webpage of an internet site.

ROI: Return on Investment
Perhaps the most important acronym of all; the direct benefit of a specific marketing investment

SEO: Search Engine Optimization
The process of ensuring your site appears high in search engine results. It includes various content marketing strategies and keyword usage.

SMM: Social Media Marketing
Marketing via social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.

UGC: User Generated Content
Content that is created directly by the users of an online system or service.

URL: Uniform Resource Locator
An address to a specific resource, or webpage, on the internet.




Stories that Sell

By Stephanie Shaterian

The idea of storytelling as a marketing technique is not new, but it’s been rapidly gaining traction as a technique that is uniquely effective in the online digital world. We are hard-wired to respond to stories and our emotional response to stories can have direct impact on our purchase decisions. As Entrepreneurs, this can lead to all sorts of questions and indecisions on our end. How do we know the stories we tell will have the impact we want? How do we shape our brand narrative for specific audiences? Or at base level, how do I craft a compelling brand narrative? The key to creating compelling stories is having a specific reason for doing so.

Let’s work on a hypothetical example together. Say our business is that old chestnut - a lemonade stand.

●     Your Brand is a Super Special Snowflake - just like our kids, our businesses are unique and individual - and there’s no one out there doing it exactly how you do it. For our fictional example, our lemonade is very special for a number of reasons. We use our granny’s super-secret family recipe. The lemons are from an old family tree. Of course it is organic and sustainably produced as well!

●     Your Audience is a Super Special Snowflake - your audience, your niche, your peeps. However you slice it, the people that need what you’ve got have specific pain points and you can help them. The stories we tell need to recognize and address these pain points. Going back to the lemonade, maybe that super-secret recipe is how they do it in the south - and anyone from that region is going to immediately identify and have emotional response to the flavor of our drink.

●     Emotional Resonance - People are moved to action by the emotional response they have to stories. We’ve got very powerful lemonade here, particularly for folks who have moved away from the South. Nostalgia, longing for home or the past, conjuring up memories of childhood activities or family members who are no longer with us. A taste of this lemonade is going to help bring it all back.

●     Narrative - So we know what we have, we know where our audience has pain that we can help and we know the kind of emotional response we want to evoke. You could put up a lemon yellow website that exclaims, “Best Lemonade Ever!”, “Reminds you of Grandma’s Recipe from Alabama!”. But that’s not telling a story. A story has a beginning, middle and end. It can and should be very straightforward and simple. A great one for our lemonade stand would be: You lead a busy modern life - it’s hard to slow down and remember what it was like to appreciate simple joys - Our southern family lemonade will bring that feeling back.

●     Tactics- Now we can share that narrative in our branding, images and colors we select (Maybe a hazy sepia tinged with yellow), it reflects in the “About Page” and in our social media marketing (Throwback Thursday - share your childhood summertime photos with us on our Instagram feed!), and in our packaging and design. 

Never before have we entrepreneurs had such unprecedented access to reaching potential clients/customers through a multitude of channels. We can leverage that access- through web, through social, through mobile- by telling compelling stories that resonate and engage with the people that need to hear them. Be true to yourself and your brand, have fun and the stories will come from there.

Stephanie Shaterian, owner of fLO Content Marketing,  is the consummate online actress, taking on the identity of any brand and creating winning, witty content that helps companies and non-profits build loyalty and top-of-mind awareness among clients and prospects. Stephanie has worked with a diverse range of clients including: consulting, advocacy, retail, greentech, commercial furniture, medical, performing arts and animal boarding(?!). She also helps parent entrepreneurs get a handle on their social media marketing with her quick and affordable Coach fLO program


Collaboration = Marketing

Do you collaborate? I’m sure you do, maybe even in more ways than you think. Collaboration and joint ventures are very effective marketing tools and they can be very low-cost or even free.

First and foremost collaborating gives you a reason to network. Step outside of your office, or comfort zone and meet new people. What are the businesses in your area up to? How are they expanding and improving? What new initiatives are happening around you?

If you’re online based, you can do this too. Attend online meet-ups and gatherings, converse via social media. Seeking collaboration forces you to expand your circle of associates. This is always a good thing. Chances are you’ll meet people that you can easily work with and some that aren’t a good fit. That’s ok; the relationship building is still very beneficial.

Another benefit of collaboration is that it often introduces you to a new market. For instance, an online bow boutique in our area recently partnered with an area salon and dance studio to carry their products. This immediately increases her local exposure. And, it introduces her products to those who may not frequent social media, or be too young to do so. It also will increase her sales because now she is more available to impulse buyers who want cash and carry items.

Collaboration is also a way to improve your reputation. Even if you are known to be a stellar business woman, this can still be beneficial. What is better than one stellar business women but two of them! When you seek out potential partners, keep this in mind. Be picky and search for businesses that hold them to the same high standards that you do.

When you are entertaining partnership ideas, be sure to think outside of the box. How can you be more creative? How can you maximize the benefits? What can you do to make your arrangement more unique and appealing? Think about these questions as they relate to you, your potential partner and your customers.

Small businesses generally have small marketing budgets. It is great when they can work together and get more for their money. When two businesses work to get the word out, exposure automatically doubles. However, as with any agreement, always proceed with caution and follow your gut instinct. If you don’t feel as though it is really a good fit, don’t pursue it. And, it is always advisable to get all agreements in writing.

Happy partnering! Feel free to share some of your creative partnership ideas in the comments!


Where Should I Advertise?

Question:  We are web-based. How do I choose good websites on which to focus our advertising dollars?

From Leah of www.DiaperCakewalk.com 

Shara’s reply: When I first began my book business I went looking around for web sites to advertise on. I knew very little about advertising back then (2007). I basically focused on cost. I didn’t have a lot of money and I looked around for web sites that didn’t charge hundreds of dollars a month to place a simple ad/link.

I ended up spending $400+ to advertise on a site called MommyPerks.com. I later became co-owner and then full owner but that’s another story. 

Back to my point: I got very little traffic from the site back then! It had just started up in 2005 and the traffic was slim at best. Over the months and years I watched as more mom sites and mom blogs entered the scene and more niche markets popped up Online. I listened to my own friends, colleagues and clients grumble about what didn’t work, the money they wasted and more. I learned from the feedback in order to make Mommy Perks an affordable location for business owners to promote – with funds they could stand to lose. 

That said, here are a few tips I myself would follow if buying ad space for my book business now!

Niche sites

Focus on buying ads on sites and blogs that actually relate to what you do/sell. Sometimes buying ads on “parent” sites is too broad. The more you can narrow things down the better. For instance, if you sell gardening tools, you might do okay promoting to parents but you’d do even better promoting to gardeners. So look around for sites that focus their content on gardening tips, ideas and resources. The site visitors will be more likely to purchase what you are selling. 


Cost always matters when our budgets are tight. The problem comes when small business owners want advertising for very little from sites that offer a lot. How can that work? Many times, it cannot. Here’s why: If I sell ads for $5 each I’m not earning enough to feed my children or pay my own bills. Yet the advertiser wants me to bring lots of visits and sales. This is hardly fair, right? I have to focus on building up my site and blog in order to have great traffic and seo so that my advertisers get clicks and hopefully sales! That takes time and money. Once I’ve built up then, I have every right to charge more. That is what the advertiser is paying for, after-all. So keep in mind that while you do want to spend your money wisely, expecting a site to deliver high results will cost you more. Fair is fair. 

Google Ads

Do your research and number crunching before buying Google Ads. One of my clients recently did the number crunching and realized… this is not for them. You see, they sell memberships on their site for $20 each. With Google Ads, they’d be spending about $60 per new client that they snag. That certainly doesn’t balance out, does it? Now, if you sell something for $300 and each new client would cost you $60, it may be worth it.

Plan ahead

Many small business owners plan out their advertising dollars at the start of the year. They take the extra funds that came from holiday sales and use that to buy ads for the following 12 months. This is a wise move, I think. Most small businesses gain additional income during the holiday months so using some of that to continue with their advertising is smart. Do some research and ask around. What sites do other small businesses advertise on? Who gives the most bang for your buck? What site owners go the extra mile by tweeting and facebooking their clients? Many sites do not welcome their advertisers on facebook or twitter but many do. Find out who goes that extra step for their clients.

Create effective ad images 

I recently ran a giveaway for one client and I invited a few pals to enter. Two of them wrote back, “Oh, I don’t have toddler aged kids!” Well, this client had long been using babies and toddlers on their ad graphics. Even though they sell for kids up to the age of 18! Many potential buyers didn’t bother to click over because the images implied that all products were for small children only. Be sure to create and label your ad images for the most accurate and targeted results. 

Long term ads

It can take a while for site visitors to register your ad in their mind. They might see your ad 10 times before actually clicking over or acting upon it. It’s often-times better to buy long term ads rather than short term (one month, etc). I used to sell ads in our PERKS Directory for 3, 6 and 12 months. I now sell the spots for one year only and that’s that. It’s better for the client to have a long term placement so I don’t bother with other options now. This is less likely to be an issue for high traffic sites like CNN.com, of course. If you are on CNN.com for one month you’ll get lots of clicks. Yes, indeed. For smaller sites and blogs, however, don’t expect fast results or over-the-moon traffic stats.

Busy beaver blogs

Do you ever visit sites and blogs that are crammed full of ads? I can’t stand them, myself. I shut out every single ad and don’t pay attention to any of them. If you are like me, you’ll want to find sites that tastefully sell ads so that the clients can actually be seen among the content. I would be far more likely to buy ads on a site or blog that doesn’t crowd, cram and stuff the ads into every nook and cranny. 

Think outside the Internet

Your local school may sell ad space in the yearbook or school newsletter. Look into these options, as well. They are usually very affordable and you’ll be promoting to locals – who hopefully embrace the “buy local” slogan! As a local business owner you may gain new business from other parents in your area, even though you sell Online. It can’t hurt to try. 

Shara Lawrence-Weiss has a background in education, early childhood, special needs, freelance and marketing. She owns various websites including: Mommy Perks, Kids Perks, Personal Child Stories, Early Childhood News and Resources and Pine Media (co owner). Shara is an active member of her town charity group and a Library Board Member. Learn more about her at Mommy Perks.


Pay to Promote?

There have been a lot of changes on Facebook lately. First, every business page was moved over to the Timeline format, then the company went public, now the options of scheduling your posts, or promoting them, are available.

I was immediately curious to see how the option to promote my posts would work. I use Facebook for marketing, A LOT, so I’m always interested in any way I can improve those efforts. With the new changes and the fact that a large percentage of my fans {people who opted to sign up for my updates} are not even seeing my announcements, I was intrigued by the new way to improve that number.

So, I thought, why not promote a post. The estimated numbers looked great! Instead of 500-1000 people seeing my posts, Facebook estimated that for a mere $20, I could reach 3,400. That seems reasonable, right?

Maybe not so much.

I selected my payment method and my budget. I really wanted all of my fans to see this update, so I chose the highest amount offered. In my case that was the $20. Facebook said it would promote my post over the next three days. So, I waited and I watched.

I watched my budget being spent rather quickly and my viewers reached growing, but slowly. As it turned out, 1,455 people saw that post. Not 3,400. That was roughly 2,000 less than they estimated. $17.10 of my budget was actually spent. Even though I was disappointed and the results weren’t near what was predicted, I still succeeded in reaching more people … barely.

Other posts on my page from the same week reached 495, 578, 745, 999, 629, 1215, 983, 1182, 1062, 1046 and 964 respectively. So, why the drastic differences? In reality, my paid post didn’t do much better than the link to Mindee Doney’s terrific guest post on my blog. {read it here}

Facebook uses an algorithm to decide who sees what. This algorithm, called Edgerank, has been used for quite a while. It determines what is interesting and should be seen in newsfeeds. If it deems your post boring, it will likely never be seen. So, how is this determined and what can you do to ensure your posts are seen more frequently? Here are a few tips.

First of all, videos and photos are ‘weighted’ higher than status updates and links. And, your fan interactions are rated differently too. All interaction is good, but shares rank higher than comments and likes. When it comes to interaction, be sure you’re responding, or at least liking, all fan comments on your page. This can increase your rank.

When are you posting? If you’re posting when none of your fans are online, chances that they’ll see the updates are slim. If you’re posting back to back or continuously, most likely posts will get lost. And, if you aren’t posting often enough, what you do post is seen as less important. Be sure to post interesting content and engage. The more engaging you are, the higher your posts will score.

There are other things that are taken into consideration as well. For instance, how connected with the brand is the viewer? If they have a lot of interaction with the page, they are more likely to be shown the updates and vice versa. And, as time passes, the scores go down. ‘Old news’ is much less likely to be shown than new. It’s not an exact science. I recommend trial and error. Try different combinations, post at different times, utilize different tools and then monitor your insights.

In the end, Facebook can really do anything they want. They don’t need our permission. We have to be flexible and adapt to changes. We have no choice; unless we want to discontinue using the site altogether. This is one of the many reasons I advocate for a diverse marketing plan. Don’t put all of your eggs into one basket. Spread your efforts out; and market in different, creative ways. All of your efforts should complement one another so that other things can fill in while you improve your Facebook strategies.

Have you promoted a post? Visit our forum and talk about your experiences!