Skip to main content

43 Inbound Marketing Definitions You MUST Know

By April 30, 2015February 7th, 2023Uncategorized


43 Inbound Marketing Definitions You MUST know


If you are just starting out in the inbound world you may feel as if you have stepped foot on a foreign land with a brand new language to learn.  To help you make your way through this new land we have created this list of 43 Inbound Marketing definitions that you MUST know!

Like any new language, inbound has hundreds of terms that you will eventually need to know but to help you get started we have included the terms that will start you on your way to becoming an inbound  expert.


A/B Testing

A/B testing is a simple way to compare two variations of a single variable to determine which brings the most positive results to your inbound campaign. For example, when sending out an email you may slightly change your subject line or edit the content to see which variable helps get you a higher click-thru rate.  Other variations include changing up the color of your call-to-action button or slightly altering the verbiage. A/B Testing takes the guess work out of knowing whether one variable is ranking higher than another.


When used in the context of inbound, analytics refers to looking at the data of your B2B marketing initiatives (website visitor reports, social, PPC, etc.), analyzing the trends, and developing actionable insights to make better informed marketing decisions.


We aren’t talking about opposites here folks, we are talking about the first stage in the inbound methodology (see its definition below). The Attract stage is where strangers to your business become visitors to your website (or other online platforms) and become acquainted with your brand.



Blog, short for web log or weblog, is a frequently updated online journal that is maintained by an individual or group of people.  There are almost as many blogs as there are people in the world with the topics being just as varied, but in the world of inbound blogging is a core component to attract visitors to your website.  Blogs help with, website traffic growth, thought leadership, and lead generation.

B2B Blogging

Although similar to regular blogging, B2B blogging focuses on creating content with keywords optimized for its target audience.  These blogs should provide educational material which helps readers who may be searching for answers to problems they are having. B2B blogs should have downloadable offers to increase your customer database and help provide a metric for effectiveness.

Bottom of the Funnel (BOFU)

Since we are going in alphabetical order the bottom of the funnel comes first! The bottom of the funnel refers to the final stage of the buying process that leads reach when they’re just about to close as new customers. They’ve identified a problem, have looked for possible solutions, and are very close to buying. Typically, the next step for leads at this stage is a call from a sales rep, or an email with a call-to-action which offers a demo, or a free consultation (depending on what type of business is attempting to close the lead).

Buyer Persona

A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.

Buyers Journey

The buyer’s journey is the sales progression taken by a customer.  This journey begins with research and ends with a decision that ultimately ends in a purchase.  The buyer’s journey is made up of three stages:  Awareness – at this stage a buyer realizes they are experiencing a problem.  Research is done to help the buyer better understand and give a name to the problem or opportunity they are facing. Next comes the Consideration stage – at this stage the buyer’s problem now has a name and they are committed to researching all available approaches and methods to solve it. The final stage is the Decision stage – The buyer has decided on a solution and are compiling a short list of vendors/products before making final decision.



A call-to-action or CTA is an clickable button or image that prompts your visitors, leads, and customers to take action.  The action can be anything from asking customers to download your newest B2B ebook to signing up for your latest webinar.  CTA’s help turn strangers into visitors, visitors into leads and leads into customers.


An inbound campaign  is a concentrated effort that aligns all of your marketing channels around a single message and goal. The campaign will start with an offer that you will promote through the marketing channels that best fit  your buyer persona and their buyer’s journey.  You will then nurture that lead and move them along the marketing funnel so they can become your customer.

Closed Loop Marketing

This is the weights and measure of your marketing efforts.  The practice of closed loop marketing enables you to execute, track and show how marketing efforts have impacted bottom-line business growth.  If you were to track web visitors from their very first contact with your business to when they became a lead and actually purchased from you it would allow you to see how much of your marketing investment yielded new business growth.

Conversion Path

The conversion path is a series of actions taken your customer where they begin as visitor and end as a customer.  The path begins with a cal- to-action that leads that person to a landing page where they exchange their information for something of interest to them i.e. an ebook, expert guide or free demo. They are then redirected to a thank you page where you will deliver that offer. This process continues until the visitors eventually becomes a customer.


For the purposes of inbound, content is information made available for distribution on website. Without content inbound  could not exist.  In simple terms, content is the message you are delivering to your prospective buyer.  There are many ways to deliver that message; blog, email, social media, landing pages, ebooks etc. The delivery method depends exclusively on your buyer persona and their buyer’s journey.


This is the second step of the inbound methodology.  Once you’ve attracted visitors through your remarkable content, the next step is to convert those visitors into leads by gathering their contact information.


Here we have step three in the inbound methodology. CloseThe closing stage is where leads are transformed into customers. At this stage, marketing tools such as marketing automation, lead nurturing, and social media monitoring are utilized to ensure that the correct leads are closed at the perfect time.


Silly Photos-4Delight

This is the final stage in the inbound methodology.  Delight takes place AFTER the sale has closed. This means that even after a lead has turned into a sale you must still engage them through, remarkable content, social media, and trigger marketing. The goal of delighting the customers is both being able to be available if issues arise, and turn them into promoters of your business.



Unless you’ve lived under a rock you know what email is, but you may not yet be aware that it is a core component of inbound.  If used wisely email can help deliver remarkable content to your customers throughout your inbound campaign.  However make sure the content is relevant to your buyer because it is far too easy for people to click “unsubscribe’



Today Facebook is the world’s largest social media network.  With almost 1.4 BILLION users, Facebook provides the opportunity for inbound marketers to reach and engage a huge audience all at once. But just because Facebook is the largest, it doesn’t mean it is the best or only place for you to reach your audience.  By using your buyer persona you will discover where your potential customers are hanging out.



Google+ (referred to as “Google Plus”) is Google’s own personal social media platform.  Launched in 2011, Google+ enables its users to create their own personal profiles along with pages to promote their B2B business. It offers user friendly options like Circles, Messenger, and Hangouts. And although its audience isn’t as large as Facebook, since it’s owned by Google using Google+ will help boost your ranking in Google.



Hypertext Markup Language, a standardized system for tagging text files to achieve font, color, graphic, and hyperlink effects on World Wide Web pages.


Inbound Marketing

Unlike traditional marketing outbound, inbound brings visitors to you, rather than you having to go out to get prospects’ attention. Inbound earns the attention of customers, makes the company easy to be found, and draws customers to the website by producing remarkable content specifically created for your buyer persona.

Inbound Methodology

The Inbound Methodology is made up of four parts: Attract, Convert, Close and Delight. In a very small nutshell the inbound methodology helps you Attract more traffic to your site, Convert more visitors into qualified leads, Close more leads into customers and  finally Delight them by continued remarkable content and communication even after they sign their contract.  Inbound is all about providing remarkable content to our users, whether they be visitors, leads, or existing customers



Keywords are what you will use to entice your buyer persona to the remarkable content on your web page.  Keywords are how Google, Yahoo and Bing index web pages. The trick with picking a keyword is ensuring that it is not too difficult to rank for and that it aligns with your target audience (hint that’s your buyer persona.)


Landing Page

Pre-inbound you may have called any page on the web that you landed on a landing page.  But in the inbound  world we call any page on the web where one might land a ‘web page.’ A landing page in inbound is the page you are taken after using a Call-to-Action button  A proper landing page exists solely to capture a visitor’s information through a form that is used for lead generation. This page revolves around a marketing offer, such as an ebook or a webinar, and serves to capture visitor information in exchange for the valuable offer. Landing pages are the gatekeepers of the conversion path and are what separates a website visitor from becoming a lead.

Lead Nurturing

Lead nurturing is the process of building relationships with qualified leads through a series of communications (email, blogs, social media, etc).  To help nurture these leads the communication must contain relevant content to their buyer’s journey.  Done properly you can use this content and communication to gently move your qualified lead down the sales funnel.


LinkedIn is a business-oriented social networking service. Founded in December 2002 and launched on May 5, 2003, it is mainly used for professional networking. After completing the buyer persona for your business you will find out whether your prospective customers are hanging out on LinkedIn or another social media network.  Once you know where they are, that’s where you should be.


Marketing Automation

Marketing automation, in the context of inbound , it includes the automation of marketing analytics, reputation management or social media monitoring, email marketing, sales lead generation and sales lead management. Because inbound  is web-based and therefore digital, it can generate large amounts of data on website visitor activity by monitoring their digital footprint. Marketing automation is most applicable in B2B  markets where prospects spend considerable time researching solutions and suppliers online, and where long sales cycles require prospect education and prospect nurturing over time, resulting in substantial data accumulation over the customer acquisition life-cycle.


If you’ve seen pictures of “grumpy cat” with a witty quote attached then you’ve seen a Meme (pronounced meem).   In terms of inbound, they are a fun, easy shareable way to share relative we are always trying to create relevant content.  Because of their shareability a meme can be a fun, easy way to share relevant content with prospective buyers and to connect with new customers.


Middle of the Funnel (MOFU)

When a customer has reached this stage they have put a name to the problem or opportunity they have been facing.  At this point in they are committed to conduct more research in order to find a solution  When a customer is in the Middle of the funnel they will be looking for things such as case studies, product brochures this is the time to introduce your business as a solution to the problem they are trying to solve.


No-Follow Link

A link attribute which prevents links from being crawled by search engines. As a result, no SEO credit gets passed from one page to another.



The offer is what is delivered once a lead has filled out a landing page form.  Offers include anything that is exchanged for a lead’s information.  This may include white pages, ebooks, free trials, etc. The right offer will depend on your buyer persona and their buyer’s journey.

On-Page Optimization

Based solely on a web page and the various elements within the HTML, on-page optimization ensures that the content, title tag, URL, image tags and even meta description include the desired keywords which will help a page rank for that particular phrase.


Pay-Per-Click (PPC)

PPC found mainly in platforms such as Facebook or Google AdWords  PPC is an advertising technique where an advertiser pays that platform each time a visitor clicks on the ad.


Qualified Lead

A qualified lead is something that should be decided by your marketing and sales department.  While one company may consider that a visitor is now a qualified lead because they asked to receive communication from your company another company may look for a bit more from that visitor before they consider then qualified.


Remarkable Content

Content was discussed in the “C’s”.  So when does content becomes remarkable?  When your content is written specifically with your buyer persona and their buyer’s journey in mind.  Remarkable content is relevant to your buyer at every step of their journey helping to nurture them down the sales funnel.



SEO (or Search Engine Optimization) is the practice of enhancing where a web page appears in search results (rank). By adjusting a web page’s on-page SEO elements and influencing off-page SEO factors, an inbound marketer can improve where a web page appears in search engine results.


Smarketing is simply a catchy nickname that is used when you integrate the sales and marketing process to solidify goals.   The objective smarketing is to ensure that your two departments have a common goal and approach when it comes to defining qualified leads and closing sales.

S.M.A.R.T. Goals

SMART is a mnemonic guide to use when you’re setting goals for inbound marketing. The letters remind us to make sure your goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.

Social Media

In its most basic form Social Media is various websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking. The most popular examples of social media are Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and Google+.  All of these social media giants can be used for personal or business use.  The trick is to learn where your B2B client is hanging out and make sure to hang out there too!


Top of the Funnel (TOFU)

Sometimes called “TOFU”, top of the funnel refers to the very first stage of the buying process. Leads at this stage are just realizing that they have a problem and are looking for more information. As such, an inbound marketer will want to create helpful content that aids leads in identifying this problem and providing the next step toward a solution.


Twitter is a social media platform which allows users to share messages, but the catch is, those messages can only be 140-characters long. This means you must be creative and succinct to get your message across in a way that will capture a twitter users attention.



Short for Uniform Resource Locator. Every web page, image, video, document etc has a unique URL.  URL’s can also be used to optimize your on page SEO



Workflow is another way to describe a lead nurturing campaign. It’s a set of triggers and events that move a lead through the nurturing process. A workflow can also serve other purposes, such as adjust contact properties on a lead record based on certain conditions, or adding a contact record to a certain list. Regardless of how you use it, workflows can be a very powerful asset in an inbound strategy.

And there you have it, 43 inbound marketing terms that you must know.  Of course you will learn many terms and definitions as you continue on your path to becoming an inbound expert, but with these definitions under your belt you will soon be speaking the language of the inbound pros.

Do you think I missed one?  I’d love to hear any ideas on essential terms that you run across on a daily basis that belong on this list.


Subscribe to Our Blog

Join hundreds of people who get free and fresh content every week.

Like what you've read? Subscribe to our blog!
Larry Levenson

Larry is passionate about inbound marketing and is a HubSpot Certified Trainer. He's learned the "secrets" of leveraging HubSpot to make marketing hyper-effective and customizes that information to help our clients meet their goals. Larry lives in Prescott, AZ, and when not at work, he is hiking or hanging out with teenagers as a volunteer with Boys to Men USA.