Inbound Marketing Glossary: The Terms You Need To Know
Even the most experienced marketing bosses find themselves scratching their heads when it comes to the jargon of inbound marketing. Flywheel? Buyer Personas? TOFU?! What does it all mean?!
When implementing HubSpot and the principles of inbound in your marketing strategy, there's no need to get confused by all the terminology when you have this blog post at your disposal. Simply bookmark this page of inbound marketing terms and their definitions and you’ll never find yourself dumbfounded by words like ‘smarketing’ again.
A/B testing - trying and comparing two different versions of a particular variable to determine which performs better. For example, you can try A/B testing on landing pages to help you understand what messaging is actually driving conversions on your website instead of taking a stab in the dark and guessing what works.
Awareness Stage - this is the first stage in the buyer’s journey. Prospects in the awareness stage of the buyer's journey are experiencing symptoms of a problem and are doing research online to more clearly understand the challenge they are facing. The type of content you can produce for these people will be top-level educational content that helps the buyer identify their problem.
BOFU - this is an acronym used to refer to the bottom of the sales funnel. Prospects at the bottom of the funnel are ready to buy and are trying to decide who they will buy from. The type of BOFU offers you can produce to nudge your leads towards buying include things like free trials and software demos.
Buyer personas - a buyer persona is a fictionalised representation of your ideal customer. In order to fully understand your buyer personas, HubSpot recommends sitting down and writing out a profile for each persona so that you can fully understand their goals and challenges and get a grasp of what it is that motivates them to buy. Noisy Little Monkey has a template you can use to create your buyer personas - you can download it here.
Buyer’s Journey - HubSpot defines the buyer's journey as "the active research process a person goes through when purchasing a product or service". There are three stages a buyer travels through before converting into a customer:
- Awareness Stage
- Consideration Stage
- Decision Stage
Understanding where your prospect is in the buyer's journey will help you understand the different types of content you need to produce in order to nudge your leads towards a purchase decision.
Call-to-action - a call-to-action (sometimes abbreviated to CTA) is a link in the form of text, button or image that encourages your site visitors to take the next step. ‘Start smashing your social media - download this free ebook today!’ is an example of a CTA. The grammatical rule that applies to Mothers In Law and Courts Marshall also applies to Calls To Action. Please don't ever call the plural "Call To Actions", it's upsetting.
Campaign - a campaign is a series of strategic marketing messages all focused around a particular topic and designed to achieve a particular goal. For example, if you're the marketing manager of a law firm, one of your KPIs for the quarter might be to get 10 meetings booked in with your family law solicitor. You'd then create a marketing campaign to help you achieve this goal which might include tactics like: setting up an AdWords campaign, creating a few blog posts, doing some print ads, or even some paid social posts.
Consideration Stage - this is the second stage of the buyer’s journey. Here, your personas have clearly defined their problem and are actively researching all the different approaches to solving their problem. The type of content you should produce for buyers in this stage of the buyer's journey will demonstrate the products/services that your company offers. Think testimonials, service pages, and live webinars and you'll be on the right track.
Content - you’ve heard this word thrown about a lot already, but what does it mean? Your content drives your marketing campaigns and examples of content includes things like: website copy, social media posts, eBooks, images, videos, podcasts, and more. Content you produce should always be unique, helpful and should address your buyer's challenges in line with where they are in the buyer's journey. Need content ideas? Time to get inspired.
Content cluster - a content cluster is a range of content that links back to your pillar page. Content clusters cover specific sub topics. For example, 'HubSpot Implementation Plan For Beginners' is the pillar page and blog posts like What Is Inbound Marketing? and How Much Does Inbound Marketing Cost? are the surrounding clusters of content.
Content offer - a content offer is a downloadable piece of content which your prospects can view in exchange for filling out their information on a landing page form. Content offers can come in a variety of formats such as eBooks, whitepapers, webinars, templates, and so on...
Conversion path - this is the process in which an anonymous visitor to your site becomes a lead. How do you capture information about your leads? Your answer to this question defines your site's conversion path. A typical conversion path might look something like this: site visitor reads about a relevant content offer and decides to download it > they click on a CTA > they fill out a form on a landing page > they get taken to a thank you page and are able to view the content offer.
Conversion rate - this is the percentage of visitors who have completed a desired action on one of your website pages and turned into a lead or customer. Measuring the conversion rate on your site will help you determine how successful you are at turning site visitors into juicy leads for your sales team. Why not measure your conversion rate against the UK’s average website conversion rate?
Decision Stage - this is the final stage in the buyer's journey. Here, your prospects will be comparing different brands in order to make their final purchase. How will you convince prospects to choose your business over a competitor? Decision stage content would consist of things like free demos and price comparisons.
HubSpot - the holy grail of marketing software, HubSpot is an inbound marketing, sales, and service software that helps your business grow. If you visit this blog often, you've probably heard us talk about HubSpot a lot - not just because we're a Platinum HubSpot partner - but because their software and inbound methodology produces results that really work for us and our clients.
Inbound Flywheel - this is the new model on which HubSpot bases its inbound marketing methodology. You can read a thorough description of the inbound flywheel here but to give you an overview, this model puts customers at the centre of everything your business does. You can see an example of how Noisy Little Monkey uses the inbound flywheel model below.
Inbound marketing - 'What is inbound marketing?!' we hear you cry! In a nutshell, inbound marketing is a term coined by HubSpot which describes the process of attracting high quality leads to your website by creating relevant and valuable content which, over time, transforms prospects into customers. You can get a much more thorough rundown of inbound marketing and how it works by watching this video here.
Inbound Sales Methodology - another term coined by the folks over at HubSpot. The inbound sales methodology uses context to personalise a sales strategy to a buyer's context. A sales person using this methodology will take a prospect through four stages:
- Identify: the inbound salesperson weeds out the passive buyers from active buyers
- Connect: the inbound salesperson uses data and context to capture the attention of the prospect and earn their trust through personalised conversations which address the prospect's pain points
- Explore: the salesperson explores the problems that their prospects are facing and uses this as an opportunity to prove that your business can solve their challenges
- Advise: the inbound salesperson advises prospects on the aspects of their offering which are most relevant to the prospect and advises on which solution might be best (not always the solution the salesperson is selling).
Keywords - you might have heard keywords referred to as 'search terms'. Keywords are the phrases that people type into search engines. You'll want to optimise your site content around the keywords which your target personas are typing into Google and in order to do this, you'll need to do some keyword research.
Landing page - in HubSpot speak, a landing page specifically refers to a page which has a form on it and is used to convert site visitors into leads for your business. In order to optimise your conversions, you should create landing pages specifically for certain personas at each stage of the buyer’s journey.
Lead - a person or company who has converted on your site and turned from an anonymous visitor to a qualified contact for your sales team.
Lead generation - this is the process your marketing and sales teams will go through in order to attract visitors to your business and capture new leads.
Lead-nurturing - this is the process of gently nudging a lead through the buyer’s journey via a series of helpful (and relevant) communications such as automated email workflows and content offers. This method will help you engage with and qualify your leads.
Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) - a marketing qualified lead is a contact who has been assessed as more likely to become a customer for your business. An MQL is someone who matches your buyer personas and has the right budget to work with your business.
MOFU - between TOFU and BOFU, 'Middle of the Funnel' prospects are found in the consideration stage of the buyer's journey. MOFU content demonstrates to customers why your product or service is the best choice.
Pain point - this is a phrase which refers to the challenges experienced by your target customers that your product/service aims to solve.
Pillar page - a pillar page houses your content clusters and covers all aspects about a particular topic on one page. They're fantastic for SEO as they provide a really clear architecture for gathering together all the information about a particular topic on your website. Pillar pages are generally quite broad and they link out to related content clusters. Noisy Little Monkey have several pillar pages - you can view this one about HubSpot here.
Sales Cycle - this refers to the process your sales team goes through in order to turn a prospect into a customer. There are several stages in a sales cycle - you can read about them here.
Sales Enablement - HubSpot defines sales enablement as the "technology, processes, and content that empower sales teams to sell efficiently at a higher velocity." And, to be honest, we don't think we could describe it any better...
Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) - a sales qualified lead is a prospect who has been assessed by the sales team and is identified as someone that is ready to be sold to.
Smarketing - a term coined by HubSpot, it describes the need for your sales and marketing teams to be properly aligned and coordinated in order to achieve the best chance of success.
Smart content - this is content which alters appearance according to context. Sounds like some sort of voodoo but it's actually pretty simple: smart content changes what is displayed depending on specific viewer characteristics. So if a visitor to your website has filled out a form and told you that they are based in a certain location, every time they view a page on your site you can now customise bits of content to reflect this new information. This blog post from HubSpot has more examples.
Thank you page - this is a page on your website where a lead is directed after they have filled out their information on a landing page form. A thank you page is typically where they are directed after they have downloaded a content offer (such as an eBook).
TOFU - a food prepared by coagulating soy milk. Oh wait, wrong TOFU... In inbound marketing terms TOFU stands for 'Top of the Funnel'. Here, prospects can be found at the Awareness Stage of the buyer’s journey and are looking for resources, educational blog posts, research data, and insight.
Value Proposition - this is what differentiates your business from your competitors. Your potential customers will want to know what you offer them that other businesses can't. So ask yourself, what’s the unique, problem-solving return your business can deliver?
Workflow - In HubSpot, a workflow is a tool which automates your sales and marketing processes. A typical workflow consists of a series of automated emails which nudges leads through the buyer's journey and is key to helping you convert more new business.
Now you're all scrubbed up on these inbound marketing terms, why not make sure you're making the most out of using the inbound methodology for your business and check out the guide below?