Top 20 Inbound Marketing Terms Every Marketer Should Know

Today’s inbound marketing focuses on the creation and dissemination of content that attracts potential customers to your company—allowing them to find you rather than you trying and grab their attention. By aligning your company’s content with the interests and issues of your target audience, you will attract inbound traffic in a more organic way. You can then convert that traffic into leads, and convert those leads into customers. Looking to try your hand at inbound marketing? Here are the top 20 terms to know.

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A/B Testing

In inbound marketing, this is the process of comparing two variations of a single piece of marketing content—like an email—to determine which is more effective and copy that strategy in future marketing content.

Bottom of the Funnel

The bottom of the funnel refers to a stage of the buying process where leads are about to become new customers. Typically, next steps for leads at this stage include outreach from their account representative to help with completing conversion.

Buyer Persona

Buyer personas are short descriptions of representative customer types, used to provide clarity and direction to marketing efforts.

Click Through Rate

Click through rate (CTR) is the percentage of recipients that both opened an email and clicked on a URL in that email. This is a metric used to gauge the effectiveness of your email’s content and call to action.

Closed-Loop Marketing

Closed-loop marketing is all about tracking ROI data. The idea is to execute, track, and illustrate how your marketing efforts have impacted your bottom-line. One key benefit of implementing an inbound marketing strategy at your shop is having the capacity to execute closed-loop marketing.

Conversion Path

A conversion path is a series of website-based actions that facilitate capturing leads. This typically involves a call-to-action that takes a visitor to a lead capture form which, upon entering in contact information, then redirects the lead to a “Thank You” page with free content or some sort of a content offer to help move them down the funnel.

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.

Customer Lifecycle

Customer lifecycle is the multi-step process that a customer goes through when buying a product or service. This process is comprised of research, inquiry, purchase, and usage.

Dynamic Content

Dynamic content refers to the ability to present a variety of website content targeted to the different visitor types viewing the content. Visitor types are categorized based on user data captured from past website interactions.

Lead Nurturing

Lead nurturing is the practice of developing a series of communications (social media messages, emails, calls, etc.) with contextually-relevant content that seek to qualify a lead, keep it engaged, and gradually push it down the sales funnel.

Long-Tail Keyword

A long-tail keyword in an uncommon or rarely-used keyword. Long-tail keywords are easier to rank and when targeted correctly will match specific customer search queries.

Middle of the Funnel

The middle of the funnel is a stage that a lead enters after identifying a problem or need where they’re looking to conduct further research. Typical middle of the funnel content includes anything that brings your business into the equation as a solution to their problem.

No-Follow Link

A no-follow link is used when a website does not want to pass search engine authority to another webpage. It tells search engine crawlers not to follow or pass credit to linked websites as a way to avoid association with SPAM content or inadvertently violating webmaster guidelines.

Open Rate

When referring to an email marketing campaign, your open rate is the percentage of emails opened by your targeted audience.

Pay Per Click

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) is an advertising technique in which an advertiser pays an ad venue (such as Facebook or Pinterest) each time a visitor clicks on the ad.

Qualified Lead

A qualified lead is a prospective customer that became aware about your product or service, opted in to receive communications from your company, and is interested in learning more. This is a high-quality lead or a lead that is likely to be converted to a customer.

Remarketing Campaign

Remarketing is a technology used by Google that allows you to build brand awareness by displaying banner ads for your company to previous visitors of your website while they are browsing other sites. Remarketing campaigns are fully customizable, widely available, and attainable for companies of all sizes and budgets.


Segmentation is the process of harnessing user data to separate your target audience into persona groups based on their different preferences and needs. Segmentation allows marketers to better tailor their marketing strategies to each potential customer.


Too often, sales and marketing departments suffer from poor interdepartmental communication which wastes opportunities to convert qualified leads. Smarketing refers to the practice of aligning sales and marketing efforts within an organization. In this practice, marketing seamlessly passes off qualified leads to sales, and sales converts those leads. It’s important for marketing and sales to be synchronized in their efforts in order to meaningfully impact the bottom line. While it’s possible to create a procedure for doing this manually, there are plenty of options out there for inbound marketing software that facilitates effective smarketing.

Top of the Funnel

When a lead is at the top of the funnel, it means that person is aware of your product or service and is searching for more information and comparing your product or service to others that also fill their need or solve their problem. At the top of the funnel it is important to remain available but not to overwhelm your lead. Your role at this stage is to educate them on your products or services and answer their questions.

Give your audience targeting strategy a tune-up with tips from our free guide: The Pre-Targeting Advantage.

William Flanagan

CEO & Founder, Audienti. Former VP-Cognio, Founder-sentitO/Verso, SALIX/Tellabs, PrimaryAccess/3Com, CompuServe. Expert in data-driven marketing.

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