In all forms of business, and even hobbies, the people who have been involved in a particular activity for awhile will start to use different slang terms. When someone new comes along these slang terms can be very confusing. As all businesses depend on customers, you need to be careful and educate yourself on these terms so you don’t lose any sales.

It recently came to my attention that online marketing has more than its share of slang for the newbie to learn. Since marketing is all about getting and keeping customers, I could see that seasoned online marketers may start have an image problem. Online marketing slang was pointed out to me by an associate who was interested in an Internet business I was marketing. While I was talking to him he asked for an explanation of what the heck I was talking about and said “Speak English Boy!”

That conversation allowed the light to click on for me and I decided to write this short guide to online marketing slang. This should help anyone who is new to the online marketing arena understand some basic terms.

1. Online Marketing – Is the selling of any product or service on the Internet. Marketing is just the act of promoting and selling something. Selling on the Internet costs much less than having a real world, bricks and mortar business. It’s this low cost of entry which is attractive in starting your own online business.

2. Joint Ventures – A joint venture is a partnership. Simply put 2 or more people work together to increase their sales, or to complete a product or service. Sometimes shortened to JV, joint ventures are often very profitable.

3. Subscriber List – This is sometimes known as an email list, or an ezine list (ezine is short for electronic magazine). It’s also a list of people who have given permission for the marketer to send them emails, which may contain advertising. This is also known as an opt-in list, because subscribers opt-in to receive the emails. This prevents people from complaining that an email is Spam as there will be a record of them agreeing to receive the emails. Another snippet of slang is double opt-in, which just means after filling out a form, the potential subscriber will receive an email asking them to verify that they agree to accept future emails before they are actually added to the email list to receive them.

4. Viral Marketing – This little phrase is used to describe a way of increasing your business, or website reach, by using a “viral technique.” In real life a virus spreads out by people contacting one another, and computer viruses are spread by computers contacting other computers. Some clever Internet gurus realized they could use the power of people to send each other information, and then watched that information spread in the same way as a virus. Giving away a free gift, which contains a link to your business, and allowing others to give it away too will work like a virus spreading the word to others as people send it on to their friends. This works long as your freebie was something people would give away anyway in the first place.

5. Niche Marketing – This is the act of selling to a particular group of people. There are lots of untapped niches (small groups interested in a specific subject) who are willing to pay for information. Online, it’s easy to target these small markets by monitoring search engine results and then finding a specific word or phrase which is being searched for but not near the top of the list of popular searches. An example of a niche market is poodle owners, they are dog owners, but will specifically search for information about poodles. These markets can be profitable because they are not targeted directly by many people, so if you have a product tailored to a niche market you may have little or no competition.

6. EBook – Although getting more popular this term still causes some confusion. An ebook is an electronic book, it can be a .pdf file, plain text file or an executable file (one which is actually a self contained program to run on your computer). Ebooks sell well online, as there is no shipping, and delivery is instant.

7. MLM – These are the initials of one of the least understood, and most maligned of business models, Multi Level Marketing. Sometimes known as network marketing or referral marketing, MLM is an ideal business model for online marketers because of the ease of getting out the message about a new business and the low cost of advertising online. The problem with MLM is that it is also easy to mistake MLM for a pyramid scheme (also called a Ponzi). Many unscrupulous people will sell pyramid schemes as an MLM opportunity. What they are selling is basically just a money game. The big difference is that a genuine Multi-Level Marketing program has a worthwhile product that you are selling and money is made by referring other members to sell the same product. Pyramid schemes will usually have a worthless product or no product at all, and pays current members from new members joining. There are many legit MLM companies out there where millions have been made.

If you are new to the world of online marketing, I hope these short explanations will help you understand some of the terms the seasoned online marketer says or writes. If you’re a seasoned marketer, maybe you will try to introduce your business to the newbie with less of the jargon we seasoned marketers take for granted.