Inbound Marketing Terms You Need to Know

If you're like many business owners, you've probably heard about terms like inbound marketing, content marketing, lead generation, or even lead magnet, but you don't really know what they mean. Online marketing has a language all its own. To help you understand more about the terms used in inbound marketing, our hope is that you'll better be able to implement a comprehensive strategy for lead generation. Can we do it for you? Yes, and we do it very well. But when you understand the terms and are able to partner in your marketing success, the ROI from inbound marketing is even higher.  So if you're doing or considering inbound marketing, here are terms you need to know.

Google, the number one search engine in the world, has over 227 million search requests an hour and about 5.4 billion Google searches per day. That's a LOT of people typing in a LOT of words and phrases looking for information. Inbound Marketing is the process of aligning consumers' searches with the answers your business can provide, attracting them to your website, and converting them to leads once they are there. To that end, Inbound Marketing is the umbrella term for a marketing strategy that combines tactics like SEO, content, video, email, social media, and more to get the job done. 


Inbound Marketing Definitions

Now that you understand inbound marketing more clearly, it’s time to learn more about essential inbound marketing terms.

1. A/B Testing

A/B testing involves trying out two different versions of one item in a small sample for the purpose of learning which is the most effective. Once the results are in, the campaign proceeds using the better option. For example, you might try out different variations of a landing page sidebar or two options of an eblast. You test each one in a small group to see which converts better and use the winning template.

2. Blog

Blogs are content pages located on your website about topics readers are searching for online. For example, the Missouri Marketing Blog offers valuable tips for business owners and marketers looking to stay up on current topics and strategies in advertising. They typically feature writing, video, infographics, and links to other blogs and pages on your website. 

3. Buyer’s Funnel

The buyer’s funnel is the unique process prospects go through when deciding whether or not to buy something from the buyer's perspective. It looks at variables like the length of time it takes to make a decision, any pre-purchase research or competitor comparisons, how they make a decision, and time between future purchases. It's valuable information when determining a content strategy for inbound marketing. 

the buying funnel

4. Call-To-Action

A call-to-action is a hyperlinked button, graphic, text, or form on a website that encourages visitors to take the next step in the buyer journey. These activities can be tracked and are vital to the process of lead generation and moving website visitors down the Buying Funnel. 

5. CMS

A CMS, or content management system, is a software program allowing companies to create and add content to their business site quickly, aggregate data across all aspects of the inbound campaign, and monitor and track results. Hubspot is one of the most popular CMS platforms available. 

6. Content Strategy

Content strategy is a process that outlines how your business intends to use content to help achieve organizational goals. Content can include blogs, white papers, webinars, videos, ebooks, infographics, downloadable .pdfs, spreadsheets, and more. The strategy for your content involves analysis of online data to identify what topics to present, when, and in what format. 

7. Conversion

A conversion happens when a visitor to your website or social media channel completes a goal. That could include downloading a whitepaper, signing up for a newsletter, or making a purchase.

8. CRM

Customer relationship management (CMS) software helps you manage customer relationships throughout their lifecycle. The popular Hubspot CRM connects user data points to give companies a more complete picture of consumers' activity and its connection between sales, service, and marketing.

9. Email Marketing

Email marketing is a way for companies to share information about new products, services, sales, and updates with customers. An example of email marketing is a clothing company advising you of an upcoming holiday sale and including a discount coupon. Email marketing can be general or it can be segmented, depending on the information in your database. Segmented email marketing sends specific information to specific members of your database: for example, any new customers from the last 90 days might receive a thank you offer toward the next purchase. As another example, only customers that had their tires rotated in the last year might receive a coupon for a new set of tires. 

why content is king on social media

10. Backlink

A backlink link from another website to your business. It's a sign of a healthy content strategy that another business recognizes the value of your blog or other landing pages that they want to reference your pages on their website. 

11. Keyword

A keyword, or long-tail keyword phrase, is a word or string of text that people enter into their search engine when they are looking for information. Google bots monitor what keywords are in your website text and match that with the search terms people are entering. For example, entering the keyword “office suite software” in Google would bring up links to content about office software.

12. Long-Tail Keyword

Long-tailed keywords focus on specific and less common wording and are longer than standard keywords. They are a combination of phrases that people are entering into their search engine. For example, the long-tailed keyword “online reiki class in Dallas” would get more precise results than “reiki class.”

13. Pillar Page

Pillar pages are website landing pages covering a specific topic in detail and inviting readers to take specific next steps. They are a powerful tool for SEO on topics you want to be known for.  As an example, see our "Recruitment Advertising Resource Guide" pillar page.

14. Key Performance Indicators (KPI)

A key performance indicator (KPI) is a predetermined standard of success - a goal to reach. By measuring KPIs, a business owner can gauge the effectiveness of their marketing. For example, a KPI related to email marketing might be a specific number of opens, clicks, or leads.  

15. Landing Page

Landing pages are individual pages on a website designed for a specific purpose. Your website will consist of any number of landing pages that are hyperlinked from your home page. Visitors end up on a landing page after clicking on a search engine result or another link.

16. Lead

A lead represents anyone interested in a company’s products or services. The goal of inbound marketing is to convert leads into actual customers. Your website should generate leads just as much, if not more than your salespeople do. 

The 6 Step Guide to Converting Your Marketing Leads

17. Lead Generation

Lead generation is the process of gaining leads. Inbound Marketing's lead generation strategy, for example, is through content, promotion of that content, and CTAs. 

18. Lead Nurturing

Lead nurturing involves cultivating leads who have not yet moved into the purchasing phase. Here, you must figure out what content will most likely move them further along the buyer’s journey.

19. Organic Traffic

Organic traffic is visitors who come to your website without you having to pay. They find your website through search engines or a link on another website (backlinks). 

20. Premium Content

Premium content is quality information in a variety of formats that is valuable enough to a reader that they are willing to offer their contact information in exchange for access to the content piece. They are used to attract new visitors to your website and new leads by collecting information, from which you can do segmented email marketing. Examples of premium content include ebooks, webinars, infographics, spreadsheets, checklists, and more. 

21. Return on Investment (ROI)

Return on Investment (ROI) measures the profitability of investing in specific tactics, channels, and strategies. 


22. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search engine optimization (SEO) involves using various factors to improve content ranking within a user’s results when they enter specific keywords.

23. Target Persona

A target persona is a quantitative and qualitative analysis of your current customer base. Done through a survey, it represents an ideal prospect on which you want to focus your inbound marketing strategies. It covers their specific needs, how they prefer to be engaged, what they like/don't like about your business, what content they are interested in, what their buyer's journey is like, and more. 

24. Targeting

Targeting involves breaking your target audience into segments and setting up inbound marketing content most likely to appeal to their needs. A hair product company might have a category for men interested in covering their gray.

Using Inbound Marketing to Your Advantage

Once you understand the terms, the next step is mapping out inbound marketing strategies to help your business grow. Let Zimmer help you boost your online marketing efforts by setting up a consultation with one of our creative experts.


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