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Inbound Marketing Blog

    Top 14 Inbound Marketing Terms You Need to Know

    Posted by Bill Faeth

    For Starters, Let’s Define Inbound Marketing

    It's is a style of marketing that focuses on getting found by new visitors, converting traffic into leads, and analyzing performance. It’s a concept based on Seth Godin’s idea of permission marketing. Like any industry it comes with some pretty unique jargon. If you're just starting to hammer out a strategy for your business, we've compiled a list of the top terms you'll probably encounter along the way:

    TOFU (Top of the Funnel Offer)

    Inbound marketing offers in general can be defined as content provided to a visitor once they have filled out a landing page form on your site. A “Top of the Funnel Offer” is specific to someone who is in the top of your sales funnel. In other words this person is aware of your product/service and is looking for more information. The primary objective of TOFU offers is to educate that person and answer their questions. There are also MOFU (Middle of the Funnel) and BOFU (Bottom of the Funnel) offers which are focused on customers in the evaluation and purchase stages of the sales funnel.

    Customer Lifecycle

    Customer Lifecycle is the multi-step process that includes, research, inquiry, purchase and usage. By improving the customer’s experience during every stage of this process marketers can build healthy customer relationships. The customer lifecycle also directly correlates to the types of offers you are providing in your sales funnel.

    Remarketing Campaign

    Remarketing is a technology used by Google that allows you to display banner ads to previous visitors of your website while they are browsing other sites. This strategy continues to build brand/offering awareness even when a user is not directly engaged with your site. There are an abundance of segmentation and customization options available when utilizing a remarketing campaign. For more information on remarketing campaigns see here


    Segmentation is the process of separating your target audience into personas with different needs and preferences. These segments will allow you to provide different marketing strategies, offers, and lead nurturing messages. Segmentation can be done in email lists, on page CTAs, and even in submission forms.

    Buyer Persona

    Inbound marketers have widely adopted the practice of creating personas to represent the types of people who buy and use their products/services. Personas are short descriptions of a representative customer type. A persona definition provides clarity and direction for your marketing campaigns and offers.

    Lead Nurturing Campaign

    A series of emails that can be triggered by the completion of a contact or conversion form on your site. This process is designed to keep you “top of mind” to your lead while also providing additional resources or avenues for engagement.

    Long-Tail Keyword

    A Long-Tail Keyword in uncommon or rarely used keyword. The benefit to targeting long-tail keywords is that they are easier to rank for and when targeted correctly will match specific customer search queries.

    An example of this would be to target “What can I do to improve my google search ranking” instead of targeting “SEO”. 

    Above the fold

    The “fold” is an invisible line on your web page which generally designates what a user will be able to see without scrolling down. This is terminology borrowed from the newspaper industry as they are typically folded in half with the top half being much more important than the bottom.

    SERP (Search Engine Ranking Page)

    It is the search engine page that your site will appear on for any given query. This is a great way to examine the effectiveness of your SEO strategy and also understand what is placing above you and why.

    Meta Tags

    This consists of a variety of data that tells search engines what your website is about. This includes the following:

    • Meta Descriptions - A short description (160 characters or less) of the content on a particular page or post that uses your target keywords to invite a person to visit your site.

    • Meta Keywords - Historically used to describe the content of a site, but due to an abundance of misleading/inaccurate keywords that led to spammy sites most search engines no longer place much weight on these.

    • Meta Titles - The page title that displays in the bar at the top of your web browser when each page loads. This text also displays in search results.

    Alt Text

    Alt text is a short description of an image on your site. When possible it is necessary to include alt text on your images so that search engines also read what the images on your site are about.

    Open Rate

    Stands for the percentage of emails opened from your email marketing campaign. This is a great way to gage the effectiveness of your subject line or validity of your list.

    CTR (Click Through Rate)

    CTR is the percentage of recipients that both opened and clicked on a specific URL in your email campaign. This is used to gauge the effectiveness of your email’s offer and call to action.

    Conversion Rate

    This is the percentage of people who actually respond to your call-to-action. This can be measured in form submissions, sales, phone calls, appointments, etc. This is the ultimate gage as to the effectiveness of any conversion-based marketing campaign.

    What Terms Do You Feel Are Critical to an Inbound Marketing Strategy?

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    Image credit: freedigitalphotos.net/Stuart Miles

    Topics: Inbound Marketing