Inbound Marketing Terms You Need to Know: A Glossary for Marketers

The world of digital marketing is vast and seemingly ever-expanding. It is easy to fall behind on the latest strategies, tactics, and terminology. Inbound Marketing alone has dozens of key terms that define its many important facets and methodologies. But fear not, we have handpicked a list of essential terms every digital marketer should be aware of on their journey to becoming adept at Inbound Marketing.

Let’s start fresh.

What is Inbound Marketing?

Inbound Marketing is a strategy of marketing that aims to gain the attention of Buyer Personas by attracting relevant, quality visitors and converting them into leads. You can achieve this by offering relevant, valuable, quality content that is aligned with the challenges faced by your Buyer Personas.

If you are unfamiliar with Inbound Marketing or how Inbound marketing works. We would recommend you jump over to HubSpot's resource and learning center for an introduction to everything you need to know to get started with Inbound marketing. HubSpot is one of the leading CRM platforms for B2Bs and has been a leading authority on everything Inbound.

Now let’s get into some of the more specific pieces of the Inbound strategy.

A

A/B Testing

The process of taking a single variable and creating two variations of in order to determine which performs better. This sort of testing can be applied to many channels of your marketing efforts like email, CTAs, or landing pages. It is always a good practice to iterate on your efforts and give your audience a chance to show you what they prefer.

Analytics

The discovery and communication of meaningful patterns in data. In marketing, this means assessing an initiative's data, analyzing the trends, and then developing actions to improve for future decisions.

Application Programming Interface (API)

Series of rules in software that allow the extraction of information from a service and apply that information in another application or in analytics. These facilitate the data needed to provide solutions to customer problems.

Automation

The process of using software to automate the many marketing tasks and actions you take on a regular basis. You can use automation to send emails, post on social media, carry out campaigns, and much more. It not only allows you and your team to be efficient, but it creates a personalized experience for audiences. The less time you spend on carrying out these many tasks, the more time you have to enhance each of them for their greatest potential.

Attribution

The identification of a set of user actions that contribute in some capacity to a desired outcome, and then the assignment of a value to each of these events. This provides an understanding of what combination of events in a certain order influences an individual to engage in the desired behavior, ultimately creating a conversion. This theory helps to quantify your marketing impressions on a visitor’s decision to convert or a consumer’s decision to buy, which will lead to better decision-making and analysis of your marketing efforts.

B

Backlink

This is a link from another website directed to yours. It is also known as an “inbound link.” These are very useful to giving your content reach by providing your viewers more information and putting them on a journey through all you have to offer as seamlessly as possible.

B2B (Business-to-Business)

These include businesses with a primary customer base of other businesses. B2B marketing goes after the needs, interests, and challenges of individuals who are making purchases for their organization. B2B buyers make decisions strongly based on efficiency, ROI, and expertise.

B2C (Business-to-Consumer)

These include businesses with a primary customer base of consumers. B2C marketing targets the needs, interests, and challenges who are making purchases for themselves. B2C buyers make decisions based on deals and entertainment.

Blogging

Simply, the word is short for "web log." Maintained by an individual or group, blogs may include commentary, descriptions of events, photos/video, industry expertise, and more. This is an efficient tactic to tackle website traffic growth, thought leadership, and lead generation all at the same time.

Bounce Rate

This is the percentage of visitors who land on a webpage and then leave without taking any actions. High bounce rates leads to poor conversion rate as visitors are not consuming your content nor converting on a landing page.

Bot

This is an application that performs an automated task in order to enhance the visitor experience and generate or qualify leads. A bot is able to do this through automated responses that direct users to content and/or sales representatives depending on their readiness to buy. Common uses for bots include live chat, lead qualification, and scheduling meetings. Just like other forms of marketing automation, bots serve to increase your efficiency and allow you to focus on the most qualified users for your content and product.

Buyer Persona

A representation of an ideal customer, based on market research and real data about existing customers. Inbound marketing campaigns highly value the personas you create and intend to reach.

Buyer's Journey

A three step process a buyer goes through before making a final purchase. The stages are as follows:

  1. Awareness Stage - Buyer has a problem but does not know how to solve it
  2. Consideration Stage - Buyer had defined the problem and are considering the options available to them to solve it
  3. Decision Stage - Buyer has chosen the solution for them and are researching to make a purchase decision

C

Call to Action (CTA)

An element on a webpage or blog that prompts a visitor to take an action. Text link, downloadable content, image, web link, etc. These are important in converting visitors into leads. It is crucial that these be enticing and valuable for a better conversion.

Campaign

This is an initiative to align all of your marketing channels around a single message and goal. Start with a valuable and relevant offer, promoted through marketing channels. Nurture the leads you receive from the offer. Then measure and analyze the results.

COCA (or CPA)

This is the Cost of Customer Acquisition, which is the price you pay to acquire a new customer. You can work this out simply by dividing the total costs associated with acquisition by total new customers, within a specific time period. This metric is important to both companies and their investors as it represents the profit potential and ROI, arguably the most important factors to a business’ survivability.

Contact

Any individual that your business communicates with. This includes subscribers, leads, customers, partners, competitors, employees, etc.

Contact Record

This is the full, holistic history of an individual contact and all of their interactions with your marketing assets and business. However they have interacted with you (email, social media, website, blog, etc) should be recorded here.

Content

Anything your business produces for the purpose of having information received and digested, engaged with, and shared. Content can be many things. Blogs, photos, podcasts, webpages, eBooks, social messages, and much more.

Content Offer

This includes a piece of content that you are providing to a lead in exchange for their information, typically through a website form. Your content can be anything from a wide gambit of options including consultations, guides, ebooks, infographics, webinars, etc. The more relevant and valuable your content is, the happier your leads will be to have offered their information in return.

Conversion

The moment a visitor on a website takes a desired action. This commits the visitor to a lead. These actions can include downloading the content offer, filling out a form, subscribing to your blog, clicking on your CTA, or any other action you want the visitor to take.

Conversion Form

Often found on a Landing Page, these forms collect details about visitors, often exchange for a valuable and relevant content offer. This form adds this visitor to your database as a lead.

CPA

See COCA.

CPL

This is Cost-Per-Lead, the amount is costs for you to acquire a new lead. You can determine this cost by taking the total number of leads and dividing that by the cost of your inbound marketing campaign.

CRO

This is Conversion Rate Optimization, the practice of optimizing a marketing asset for conversion.

D

Dashboard

A single, at-a-glance summary of marketing data from multiple sources, in real time. A dashboard uses a dynamic visual aid and text to illustrate KPIs and other important data points. [Link to Cornerstone Content]

Deal Stage

This is the stage of your sales pipeline that includes an active deal. The inbound marketing portion of your funnel typically ends at the beginning of your first deal stage.

Delivery Rate

This is simply the percentage of emails that were delivered out of the total number sent in an email blast. This rate does not take into account whether or not it hit their spam folder. That is considered in your deliverability (below).

Deliverability

This is your ability to deliver emails to the inboxes of your subscribers. It is important to analyse key email metrics and your marketing team’s deliverability in order to ensure the emails you are sending are finding your audience’s inbox and not their spam folder.

Dynamic Content

A technique used to offer content to visitors on your website based on the information you may already have about them. This content should adapt according to context. First-time visitors will see different content than contacts that already exist in your database. Lead history, geographic location, where a visitor entered from should all inform the angle of your content.

Drip Campaign

This is a series of automated emails sent for marketing or sales purposes. This may also be called workflow, sequence, or lead nurturing.

E

Editorial Calendar

This is schedule of which you execute your content strategy. Be sure to include topics, authors, and due dates. An editorial calendar is important to keeping teams aligned and aware of publication dates, roles, and responsibilities.

Email Blast

This is a scheduled marketing email sent to one or more recipient lists. These are often sent through marketing software.

Email List

This is a collection of email addresses that you can create through lead-generating campaigns in hopes to engage with potential customers. These lists will naturally shrink and grow over time, but they are important for staying connected with your contacts.

Email Marketing

This is simply using email to acquire sales, customers, or other conversions. Be sure to include relevant and engaging content. Email marketing campaigns can take the form of a blog subscription, informational newsletters, lead nurturing, and more. The better your emails, the more interested your leads will be in what you have to say and ultimately, what you have to sell.

Engagement

This is the level of interaction your audience has with a piece of content. Engagement can be tracked and measured by analyzing many different digital metrics that the viewer populates like how long they are on the page, how far or how often they click through the webpage, and even where their attention gravitates with the use of heat maps. Search engines also show website engagement by how they rank against others of similar content.

F

Flywheel

This is an updated version of the traditional marketing and sales funnel introduced by HubSpot co-founders Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah. It consists of three constantly cycling and overlapping parts: Marketing, Sales, and Service.

Friction

This includes anything that hinders conversions on a webpage, like frustration, confusion, clutter, distraction, or stress from various factors. To keep your visitors on your page longer and increase your conversion rate, consider the friendliness and usability of your webpage. It is important to minimize friction.

Funnel

This is the common visualization of how traffic and leads interact with content and technologies in order to move through the buyer’s journey and become customers.

G

GDPR

This is the General Data Protection Regulation. In 2018, the European Union set this regulation into effect that affects any business worldwide that transacts with anyone in the EU and European Economic Area. The GDPR also addresses the exportation of personal data outside these areas. These are crucial laws to be well-versed in as a business dealing with the digital data of their product and audience.

Google Analytics

This is a web analytics service that tracks and reports website traffic. Google Analytics provides incredible insight into

Guest Blogging

This is a form of blog sharing in which a blog penned by your organization is posted on another’s organization’s website and vice versa. This tactic generates high-quality inbound links from referral traffic sources.

H

Heat Mapping

This is a facet of analytics software that allows an organization to view, record, and analyze a visitor’s entire interaction on their website. Engagement on buttons, banners, pages, and other items on your website can be tracked and recorded with heat mapping. This allows you to identify areas necessary for optimization as they are popular areas for attracting your visitor’s attention.

Hero Image

This is simply the primary image you choose for a website page or marketing asset. It should be relevant, specific, and unique for each page or asset.

HubSpot

The most popular marketing automation software and platform most commonly associated with inbound marketing. The co-founders of HubSpot are credited with discovering and founding the Inbound Marketing movement.

I

Inbound Link

This is a link to your website that comes from another website. The ranking algorithm of search engines takes into account the authority of the domains that are linking to your website.

IP Address

An Internet Protocol address is a numerical label assigned to each device connected to an online network. This label serves two purposes: host or network interface identification and location addressing.

IP Filtering

This is a technique of blocking certain IP addresses from your website data in order to see it more clearly. It is often a smart idea to block the IP’s of your office, remote team members, other marketing agencies, and other partners you are working with. This will give you a better idea into the visitors on your page that are most important to your content and product.

K

Key Performance Indicators (KPI)

Metrics used to benchmark performance and progress in relation to goal completion. It is important to choose these indicators as a representation of how your business and marketing interpret success and performance. Don't forget to analyze your data and how your marketing is performing in order to choose appropriate KPIs that further support your successes.

Keywords/Keyword Phrases

Targeted search words and phrases that help to optimize content. These help index sites and pages on search engine results. They must be chosen to appropriately suit your content and message you desire to have received. They must be relevant to your audience and industry of intent.

L

Landing Page

A site page with the main purpose of lead generation through a single content offer. Here the visitor is exchanging their information for your content. Everyone wins. This is often the first step in their conversion path.

Lead Generation

Simply the process of capturing new leads. This is a crucial step in the buyer's journey. You can generate leads in many ways such as landing pages, forms, offers, and CTAs.

Lead Nurturing

This is the process of developing a conversation and line of communication to qualify a lead, keep the lead engaged, and continue to push it along the sales funnel. Contextually relevant and valuable content is one of inbound marketing's best assets for lead nurturing.

Lead Scoring

This is your way of identifying the most qualified leads and the likelihood of their conversion. Create an automated scoring system that assigns points to high-value attributes that you have selected as crucial to a qualified lead. Lead scoring will help you laser in on your highly engaged and initiated contacts, allowing for more insight on how to convert them to customer.

Lead Source

This describes the point of origin for a lead, often categorized as a common data point or field in your automation software. The better you understand your lead sources, the better you can optimize them.

Lifecycle Stages

The three different stages your audience can fall in include: awareness, evaluation, and purchase. Your content should be appropriate to each person depending on the stage they fall in. The following lifestyle stages can be found being used in HubSpot’s marketing software:

  • Subscriber - A contact who knows of your business and wants to hear more from you. This is likely a subscription to your blog or newsletter.
  • Lead - A contact that show sales readiness beyond that of a subscriber. A lead is often generated when a contact accepts your content offer as means of solving their problem or answering their question.
  • Marketing Qualified Lead - A contact that has engaged with your marketing efforts, but is not ready for the call from sales.
  • Sales Qualified Lead - A contact that has indicated they are ready for a sales follow up.
  • Opportunity - A contact that is a real sales opportunity.
  • Customer - A contact that has successfully closed a deal with you.
  • Evangelist - A contact that advocates for your business and whose networks may create a greater lead leverage.
  • Other - A contact that does not fit any of the above categories.

M

Marketing Automation

The tools, analytics, and workflows that activate your campaign and lead nurturing while automating repetitive marketing tasks to ensure efficiency and timeliness. The better your automation, the smoother your lead generation will be.

Marketing Qualified Lead

A lead that matches the target customer or persona definition you have created. This includes the budget, profile, and challenges that your solution intends to address.

Meta Description

This is a snippet of descriptive text that summarizes what your webpage covers in just a few sentences. This is viewable on the search result pages in which your website appears. They should be short and descriptive as they are a primary factor for whether or not a user chooses your link.

O

Open Rate

This is simply the percentage of email recipients who opened your email out of the total sent. Engaging, relevant, and compelling subject lines and previews will help boost this.

Optimization

This is the practice of improving your efforts and assets by making informed decisions based on data. Optimization is an incredibly important aspect of marketing, crucial to helping you see your success and growth opportunities and being open to constantly improving on them.

Organic Search

This refers to searches made by manually entering text into a search engine as opposed to clicking on a paid ad. Searches like this often consist of using both branded and non-branded keywords to find an organization or website.

P

Persona

This is a semi-fictitious representation of your ideal customer. The personas you create should included characteristics that you seek to work with. This could be any number of things such as demographics, age, industry, income level, etc. Creating an idea of who would most benefit from your services will give you a more streamlined marketing strategy for their needs and wants.

Pillar Page

This is a web page that covers a broad topic in fine detail by breaking down a main topic into many subtopics that address important aspects. The page should have a list of links to various blog articles that will further emphasize that subsection's content. It should be easy to navigate back and forth between the pillar page and the subtopic articles.

Pipeline

This refers to the stages of your funnel, whether just the marketing funnel, the sales funnel, or both. Your pipeline is often represented as deal or lifecycle stages in your CRM.

Prospect

This is an individual or company that you seek to do business with. Consider your target buyer personas and specific criteria for ideal customers to guide your prospecting efforts.

R

Referral Traffic

This is traffic that arrives at your website through another domain. These sources include directories, guest blogs, industry publications, and even press coverage.

Reporting

The process of documenting and analyzing the data from marketing procedures and how it compares to the goals in place. It allows you to draw conclusions, find areas to improve, reconsider tactics, replicate success, improve ROI, eliminate wasteful activity, and many other healthy business practices. [Link to Cornerstone Content]

Responsive

This describes your site’s ability to adapt to suit the particular device it is being viewed on. Whether it’s a desktop computer, mobile phone, tablet, or other digital device, your site should look great on your viewer’s screen.

S

Sales Qualified Lead

This is a lead that has been nurtured through the sales funnel and has arrived at the purchase stage. It is now Sales effort to close this lead as a customer.

Sales Cycle

This defines the length of time or full process of how a sale is completed in your company.

Sales Enablement

This is the empowerment of sales teams to sell a high velocity through processes, systems, and content. There should be overlap between marketing and sales in their approaches to engaging leads and generating revenue.

Segmentation

The process of refining your audience into specific buyer personas by dividing them into groups based on various criteria. This criteria can include demographics and media use.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

This is the process of optimizing how visible your site is a search engine's natural and organic results. Content, keywords, site optimization and other factors all aid to your site's SEO performance.

SERPs

Search Engine Result Pages. These are the pages that search engines return when a user enters a query.

Sequence

This is a lead nurturing campaign that automatically stops when a prospect returns a message so that your sales team can directly engage with interested leads.

SLA

Service-Level Agreement. This is a formal, documented agreement between the marketing department and sales department that sets out expectations for alignment and outlines different types of leads. It is important that each department is on the same page when it comes to converting leads and generating revenue, so that the whole business can be held accountable for success and growth opportunity.

Subdomain

This is specially designated section of your website that is indicated by a prefix in your main address domain. For example, the Maps subdomain of Google can be found at maps.google.com and the Docs subdomain of Google can be found at docs.google.com.

T

Thought Leadership

This is a type of marketing in which your content is able to utilize and harness the talent, experience, expertise, and fervor inside your industry to answer the most important questions your target audience is asking on a particular topic.

U

UTM Parameter

This a tag that you add to a webpage URL that sends data to your Google Analytics system and is tracked. These parameters allow you to track the effectiveness of your campaigns across traffic sources and publishing media.

UX

User Experience. This is your focus on a user’s experience with your brand, every step of the way. This discipline should play into most major marketing decisions.

V

Vanity Metrics

These are metrics that important at first, but become clearly irrelevant and unimportant to your bottom line. Minimizing and disregarding vanity metrics will aid better to your ROI efforts.

Video Marketing

This is simply the use of video as part of a marketing campaign. Video is a great way to engage visitors, convert leads, and nurture prospects and can easily be implemented on website pages, emails, blogs, and social media.

W

Workflow

This a series of automated emails or tasks designed in your automation software. These are used to automate common tasks that happen inside and outside of your organization.

Now that you are caught up on some of the important terminology of Inbound Marketing, you are ready to start applying your knowledge to your team’s marketing goals and campaigns! 

Did you find this list helpful? We recommend you bookmark this post, we will continually be updating this list with the latest terms and jargon used by digital marketers in the HubSpot and Inbound Marketing realms. 

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