A to Z Digital Marketing Guide

Being new—or fairly new—to the digital marketing world can seem incredibly overwhelming.  With all the industry-specific terminology, along with the constantly changing online world, it may seem like you’ll never catch up and get on top of it all.

However, with a little persistence (and maybe some quiet time to get reading done), learning the jargon and ways of the digital marketing world is as easy as learning your ABC’s (and D through Z’s).  So, get comfortable and get ready for this (very comprehensive) A to Z guide to digital marketing.


Advertisements (Ads)

Ads are intended to incentivize consumers to buy your product or inform people about something related to your company.  Ads are paid for and can be run in a large number of places on the internet, not the least of which are Facebook, Google, and Instagram.

(Google) Adwords

You know when you go to Google and search any keyword, and you see the “sponsored ads” that come up at the top?  These are provided for you by Google Adwords.  Companies create and run ads that will show up when a user searches a relevant keyword.


Autoresponders can be used for a variety of platforms, but they all accomplish the same thing—making sure that people trying to contact you feel like they are being reached right away and don’t have to wait long periods of time for a response.  These can be used on social media, email, websites, etc., and they can cover a broad range of information, including basic contact information, a “we’ll get back to you soon” message, or basic FAQs that you get often to possibly answer their question before you’ve even had a chance to respond to them.


Backlinks (AKA Inbound Links)

These are links on other pages that link back to your page.  When linked on quality websites from good sources, backlinks can boost a website’s search engine optimization by helping search engines understand that your website is connected to a quality source.


Chances are you’ve heard of a blog at some point in your digital marketing journey.  It’s a shortened word for “weblog” (“web” and “log” put together), and pretty much anyone can have one.  It can be photos, personal stories, educational topics posted by companies, information about the company, or just about anything else.  Blogs bring people to a company’s website, provide good value for the blog visitor, and shows the visitor that the company has strong industry expertise.  An important part of search engine optimization is keeping people on your website, because search crawlers know that means they are finding value in your site and relevant content.  Blogs help do this by adding relevant content and keeping people on your site.

Brand Awareness

This simply is the term for the amount of people who know about a company’s brand.  This includes the look of the branding materials (logo, marketing materials, advertisements, etc.) and the product itself.

Brand Loyalty

Brand loyalty is different from brand awareness.  Brand awareness means that people know about a company’s brand, but brand loyalty means they like and are loyal to a company’s brand.  People find a brand they like, and when they do, it’s very difficult to get them to switch to a new brand.  This is great if you’re the brand to whom they’re loyal, but if you’re not, it’s a challenge that must be overcome when trying to pull those loyal to their brands over to your brand.

Browsers (Web Browsers)

A web browser is software that allows you to visit websites and explore the internet.  Examples of commonly used browsers are Mozilla Firefox, Safari, Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and Internet Explorer.


Cost per Acquisition (CPA) (AKA “Cost per Action”, “Pay per Acquisition (PPA) and Cost per Conversion, or “Pay per Click” (PPC))

CPA/PPA is a pricing model used in many online advertising platforms (such as Google, Facebook, etc.) where the advertiser pays per action, like a click, view, form submit, etc., rather than paying a flat rate for an advertisement.


Copywriting includes all the text put onto websites, promotional materials, social media platforms, and other sales resources that is full of persuasive messages that encourage people to purchase a product or service.  When focusing on optimizing a site for search engines, copywriters focus strongly on keywords that will help them rank for relevancy.  Copywriting isn’t just a matter of throwing words onto a webpage and hoping for the best; it’s important that the words will capture and captivate your audience and accomplish your goals in sales.

Call to Action (CTA)

This is literally the prompt that is often at the end of website pages and blogs that encourage a visitor to take action after reading the previous copy.  It can be anything from “Contact us for more information” to “Get yours today!”  It may even include a link to free materials, such as an ebook or informative PDF.


AKA a spider, web crawlers are internet robots that browse the World Wide Web specifically for the purpose of indexing websites and determining a website’s relevancy to their keywords (along with looking for a very large number of other factors).  Crawlers are used to index and rank websites on search engines to keep the results relevant for searchers.


Direct Marketing

This is when advertising messages are sent directly to the consumer either by direct mail, telemarketing, or direct email marketing.

Domain Name

Also called URL, a domain name is the address for your website (ex. “www.domainname.com”).



Engagement is the interaction of your followers with your posts and your page.  This includes likes, comments, shares, retweets, etc., depending on which social media platform you’re using.  It’s important because it allows marketers to gauge the effectiveness of the content being posted, and it also helps build relationships and brand loyalty with potential customers.

Email Service Provider (ESP)

Anyone in the digital marketing world will hear all kinds of talk about ESPs.  They are simply companies that offer email marketing or bulk email service options.  Companies like Mailchimp and InfusionSoft allow for email tracking, template creation, subscriber lists, and reaching your whole leads list all at once.  These are beneficial for newsletters, sharing your blog with your mail list, and sharing sales campaigns.



Facebook is a social media network where users can create profiles, upload photos and videos, share content, like and comment on other people’s content, message others, and overall connect with other people.  There are tools for businesses to create pages and connect with (and educate) potential customers, and it’s a great platform for marketing just about any business.

Facebook Ads

Facebook has changed immensely since its start, and now it places a lot of emphasis on getting businesses traction when they create and purchase ads.  A target audience will need to be chosen, along with a location range and demographics.  These ads can get very specific, therefore allowing a company to target more potential customers who will be more interested in their business, as opposed to just sending out ads to anyone who’s looking.

Facebook Retargeting

Through third-party partner programs (Adroll and Triggit) or through Facebook’s new advertising updates, Facebook allows a company to use cookies to track a follower’s searches so that you can target an audience who’s interested in keywords relevant to yours.  This is what’s happening when you log into your Facebook and see ads for boots similar to the ones you were searching Google for earlier.

Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

These guys are incredibly important in the communications and broadcast industry, considering they regulate all of it.  It’s smart to learn their rules right from the beginning so that you can make sure you’re doing it all right!

Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

Learn their guidelines and regulations too, because even though the FCC regulates broadcast and electronic communications, the FTC regulates all of national advertising.


Purchase funnels (AKA customer funnels, marketing funnels, sales funnels, or conversion funnels) are some of the most popular part of digital marketing plans.  The funnel follows a proposed customer journey from finding your ad to purchasing a product or service.  The stages in digital marketing typically follow multiple paths in a process that can start and stop in various parts throughout the whole funnel.



If you have a business in digital marketing, you probably have a pretty good grasp on setting goals, but goals in digital marketing should follow the S.M.A.R.T. Goal guidelines.  This means that a goal is Specific (don’t make it too vague), Measurable (exact improvement numbers and timelines), Achievable (feel free to shoot for the moon in business, but make sure your goals AND your timeline for them are achievable), Results-Focused, and Timely (don’t set the goal for 20 years from now; make sure they’re in a few months-1 year).


Google+ is Google’s very own social networking platform.  It is quickly becoming a contender to Facebook in its amount of users and its importance in marketing, and it also associates web content with your account on it (so you can do things like comment on blogs with your Google+ account).

Guerrilla Marketing

Marketing strategies that are unconventional in how they go about promoting the product, service, or business are called guerrilla marketing strategies.  They usually focus on getting a buzz (think viral videos, graffiti, etc.) and require smaller budgets to reach a large audience.



Hashtags are used on all types of social media platforms, but they started on Twitter to create conversation threads to more easily find all the posts about any given topic.  Hashtags join you into the conversation about that topic and make it easier for people to find your posts when they’re searching for that keyword.  These can be used strategically for marketers, drawing people interested in thing relevant to your company.


This is a word, phrase, or image that can be clicked on that takes you to another page URL or document.  Text hyperlinks are usually underlined and blue, but often times different website themes will vary them up and make them a completely different style or color.  Web designers not only use them to link to outside sources but also to get to places within the website a little more easily.


Image Attribution

Image attribution is when credit is given to the individual who took or created an image.  It’s important to credit the author’s name and link to their profile.  Be careful.  Some images cannot be used because of copyrights without the creator’s permission, so make sure you’re getting your images from sources that allow it (such as royalty-free image sites or sites that allow you to use the images while giving the creator credit).


This is what it’s called when a user views your webpage or ad.

Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing promotes a business by providing online content (blogs, videos, infographics, ebooks, etc.).  It brings customers in to your business, rather than going out to find them like you would do in outbound marketing such as cold calling or direct mailing.  Inbound marketing is meant to build relationships with your customers, provide value, and establish the company as an industry expert.


Instagram is a social networking mobile app (and limited-function website) that’s used specifically for sharing images or videos with followers.  Captions and hashtags can be added below the photo, but the app does not allow for clickable links to be added to captions.  Followers can comment, like, and send their favorite content to others!



This is one you might not have heard, but it actually comes from the word “hijacking.”  You’ll usually see it in the context of “memejacking,” “pagejacking,” or “newsjacking,” and it means to use the popularity of that thing to your own advantage.  Many companies take popular memes and add their own text to it to make it relatable to their company.


You know that notice that you get on a device that doesn’t support great web browsing or interactive features on websites?  That’s because it doesn’t have Javascript, which is actually just a computer programming language that creates interactive effects in web browsers (think online applications or forms).



A keyword is used in search engines and social media platforms to find relevant content.  It can be a word or phrase, and it can be many different versions of words that people will search to find something relevant to your company.

Keyword Research

Keyword research is used to determine the popularity of relevant search terms with your target audience.  It can also be used to determine the keyword’s ranking, difficulty in achieving that ranking, and more.  If there’s a keyword that is searched frequently but doesn’t have an overwhelming amount of available content, that might be a good keyword for you to focus on for your business (if it’s relevant) because you have less competitors and a better chance of ranking higher on search engines with it.  Tools such as Moz, Backlinko, and Google Adwords are available to help you do keyword research and determine which ones are best.

Keyword Stuffing

Don’t do it.  Ever.  It’s an unethical practice that is heavily frowned upon by search engines (it can even get you banned!).  It entails using a keyword or phrase disproportionately throughout your website to increase keyword density without increasing relevant content.


Landing Page

A landing page is a website page that is designed for a specific purpose and only that purpose and is used to get traffic from a variety of sources.  Landing pages often encourage viewers to download something, sign up for a subscription or email list, or join a group or page.

Lead Nurturing

When you get a potential customer’s information that comes to you from a tradeshow, free gift you offered online, or blog subscription, you might need to nurture that lead while they decide whether they’re reading to buy into your product or service.  Lead nurturing involves providing quality information that will help you build your relationship with these potential customers and hopefully help them to trust you and your company more (in the hopes of getting them to trust you enough to purchase your product or service).


Another social networking platform, LinkedIn focuses more on professional networking and less personal networking and is great for B2B companies (and even people looking for jobs).

Long Tail Keywords

Another Search Engine Optimization term, these are longer and more specific keywords that visitors are more likely to use when they know exactly what they’re looking for and are closer to the purchase part of the buyers’ journey.



If you ever spend time on social media, you’ve probably seen a meme or two come across your page.  Memes are funny images, videos, or pieces of text that go viral (meaning they spread quickly).  Using memes helps marketers connect with their audience using popularity and humor.

Meta Description

This short little chunk of text is what appears in search engine results to explain what a website is.  It doesn’t affect the search engine optimization of the site, but having a good one will help people click on your website.


Natural Listing (AKA Organic Results or Organic Listing)

Natural listings are ones that are ranking on search engines because they are relevant to the searched keywords.  They occur naturally or organically, without being bought, and are successful because of the website’s search engine optimization.


Offsite Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search engine optimization means enhancing your website and other pages to make them more easily found by search engines.  Offsite SEO occurs off of your website and includes taking measures like backlinking and social media sharing.

Onsite SEO

Onsite search engine optimization specifically means making changes to the website itself to optimize it for search engines.


If a person opts in to communications, newsletters, emails, etc., it means that they are telling you they want that communication.  If they opt in to your mailing list, they are asking you to send them emails!


Page Rank

SEO contributes to a website’s page rank, which simply means how much authority a website has.  This is determined by Google in a (very) large number of ways, and trying to improve it by paying or doing any forms of inorganic marketing on your website could cause there to be a penalty and knock down your authoritative ranking.  The least authoritative number a website’s page rank could be is 0, and it tops out at 10.


A plugin is a piece of software that can be installed to another software application to add a feature (or more) to it.  For example, website designers will add plugins to WordPress to do things like add a shop to the site or even a simple contact form!  Plugins can also be added to browsers to spellcheck your emails for you.


Qualified Lead

A qualified lead is just having a lead’s information (name, email, phone, etc.) but also having more detailed information that determines whether a lead is specifically qualified for any of your products or services.  This includes information such as demographics, buying habits, and location.


With over 100 million visitors per month, Quora is a social networking site that simply allows anyone to ask (and answer) questions.  The more an answer helps people (and the more value it provides), the higher up on the thread it is.  The site is popular, so questions and answers posted to Quora often rank fairly highly on search engines.



This is pretty much exactly what it sounds like—how easy it is to read and understand the text on a website.


Reddit is an incredibly popular social bookmarking site that allows users to share links to the content they love and have full discussions about them.  Discussion threads often get very long, and posts on Reddit that become popular very frequently go viral.  Content posted to Reddit must be posted in the right place, be timely, and be original in order to get a good number of clickthroughs.


A redirect literally redirects a person from the specific webpage they are trying to visit to another one.  This might happen if a website is moved and the designer wants to make it easy for the visitors to get to the page with the old web address.

Responsive Web Design (RWD)

Responsive web design gives users the best possible website viewing experience by providing easy reading, navigating, and overall use of the website.  When websites constantly have to be resized, scrolled through, or when people can’t find their way around, they’re likely to leave the site and find another that’s easier to use.


Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

A website who appears in “sponsored ads” at the top of a search engine or who appears as number 1 or 2 on the first page of Google is probably focusing a lot of their marketing efforts on search engine marketing.  This simply means that search engines are being used to market to a company’s target audience.  SEM can be accomplished either through Pay per Click or SEO.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

As mentioned above, search engine optimization is the process of enhancing a company’s content to help them appear higher in search engine results.  It is rapidly changing in what tools in SEO determine a search engine ranking, and search engines like Google who always want to provide their visitors with the most relevant content have very strict (over 600) criterion for ranking high on their site.  It’s always good to remember that providing valuable content that is relevant to your readers (with the use of good keywords and keyword research) is the best way to rank up high on search engines for your relevant keywords.


Searchability is when information is able to be searched through an internal or external search engine (think Google or Facebook) just by using known information.  Success in improving a site’s searchability includes the use of relevant keywords, related links, and strong SEO.

Shopping Cart Software

Also called online stores or e-commerce software, shopping cart software is installed on a website and allows visitors to select items, put them in their online “shopping cart” (it’s exactly like an in-person shopping cart and holds all your ready-to-be-purchased items), and finally purchase them.

Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is the use of social networking sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn, to build relationships with potential customers, build brand loyalty, improve SEO, increase website traffic, and advertise to a company’s target audience.  Social Media Marketing can mean sharing relevant content, engaging with followers, and running paid ads.



A tag is a keyword, longtail keyword, or term that is associated with an image, blog, internet bookmark, or other piece of content that helps describe the content and helps it to be found more easily when relevant keywords are searched.


Twitter is a social networking site that focuses on short messages (called tweets) to followers.  They can be funny, informative, thoughtful, or just about anything else a user wants it to be.  Sometimes it’s referred to as microblogging, but the site only allows for 280 characters in each tweet, so be concise with your words!


Uniform Resource Locator (URL)

A URL is the same thing as a domain name and is the web address for a website.  Only one website will have that exact same URL at any given time.  An example of a URL is www.Google.com.


Usability is what is improved with Responsive Web Design, and it just means the ease in which you can use a website.  Information must be presented neatly and in a way that’s easily understood, different pages on the site should be easy to find, and it should follow a natural cycle of how a user would probably use your website so that it makes the most sense.  Usability is very closely to user experience and includes making sure the website is easily accessed and used (including the mobile version).


Viral Content

Have you ever heard someone refer to something they found online as a “viral meme” or “viral video”?  Just like how a virus spreads quickly and everywhere, viral content is any content that is shared a lot by a lot of people.

Virtual Reality (VR)

Virtual reality and augmented reality become more popular every month with new inventions that are bringing us further into the VR world.  There’s a ton of marketing potential, especially in certain industries, and companies are already using it to allow users to immerse themselves in marketing, see what things would look like in their homes, or even see things from the point of view of a user of that product.  The technology is available to buy and is constantly improving.



“Web” and “seminar” are blended together to form “webinar,” and the world of the internet was taken off to mean that people no longer had to leave their homes to attend a seminar.  It’s online, and it’s hosted by a company (or individual) to people who have opted in to “attend” the webinar via their computers.  They are comprised of visual and audio elements and often contain PowerPoint presentations, videos, web pages, videos of the presenters, etc.


A website is simply a place on the internet.  To get to a website, a user will type the website’s URL or domain name into a web browser, and it will take them to the website.


WordPress has two unique sites, WordPress.com and WordPress.org, and facilitates free blogging, content management, and web hosting.  WordPress.org must be downloaded to your computer, and WordPress.com is the free blogging site that many bloggers use.  The website can include coding to get it designed exactly how you want it, or there are more user-friendly options to be used like Page Builder.



An x-factor is a special quality that helps a company’s marketing strategy stand out from the rest and is usually essential for the success of the marketing plan.

XML Sitemap

These are a list of pages on your website that provide an easy way to tell search engine crawlers about pages on the website that are available for “crawling” that the robots might not otherwise find.



If you’ve ever listened to music or watched a video online, there’s a strong chance it was on YouTube.  Created by former PayPal employees and later bought by Google, YouTube was on the forefront of uploading videos online and has stepped out ahead of the entire video-sharing game with 50% of people watching videos on YouTube.  It’s used just for sharing videos, which can be entertaining or educational, and it’s an excellent marketing tool for just about every company.



Zapier is an automation tool for allowing apps to talk to one another.  These integrations are known as “zaps” and can things like transfer emails into a Google spreadsheet or many more complex tasks.  Zapier can also help companies connect to their customers by texting or emailing them after they’ve made a purchase from a shopping cart app and is a very customizable way to bring everything together and make the ultimate user experience for your customers.

Social Media MarketingThe world of digital marketing is constantly changing, but these A to Z basics will help you begin navigating the very complex world that is helping a business grow using the internet.  A strong digital marketing campaign for a company can build its brand awareness and brand loyalty, and even more importantly, help a potential customer find your company (because if they can’t find you, how can you sell to them?).

This guide will get you started in the digital marketing world, but for more help with online marketing for your business and getting your business noticed, contact us at Pro-Assist, LLC.


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