This is the process of comparing two variations of a single variable to determine which performs best in order to help improve marketing efforts. Primarily, this is done in email marketing (with variations in the subject line or copy), calls-to-action (variations in colors or verbiage), and landing pages (variations in content). Outside of inbound marketing, you can use it to determine what tastes better on a peanut butter sandwich: jelly or fluff.
What I sometimes refer to as the “eyes” of inbound marketing, analytics is essentially the discovery and communication of meaningful patterns in data. When referred to in the context of inbound, it’s looking at the data of one’s marketing initiatives (website visitor reports, social, PPC, etc.), analyzing the trends, and developing actionable insights to make better informed marketing decisions. Also, if you start using analytics buzzwords there’s a 65% chance you’ll sound really smart (source: unknown).
This is short for web log or weblog. An individual or group of people usually maintains a blog. A personal blog or business blog will traditionally include regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material, such as photos and video. Blogging is a core component of inbound marketing as it can accomplish several initiatives simultaneously, such as website traffic growth, thought leadership, and lead generation. It does not, however, do your taxes.
Bottom of the Funnel
Since we’re going alphabetically, the last part of the funnel process is first! So, “bottoms up,” I suppose. The bottom of the funnel refers to a stage of the buying process leads reach when they’re just about to close as new customers. They’ve identified a problem, have shopped around for possible solutions, and are very close to buying. Typically, next steps for leads at this stage are a call from a sales rep, a demo, or a free consultation (depending on what type of business is attempting to close the lead).
Closed Loop Marketing
The practice of closed loop marketing is being able to execute, track and show how marketing efforts have impacted bottom-line business growth. An example would be tracking a website visitor as they become a lead to the very last touch point when they close as a customer. When done correctly, you’d be able to see just how much of your marketing investment yielded new business growth. One of the biggest business benefits of implementing an inbound marketing strategy and utilizing inbound marketing software is the ability to execute closed loop marketing.
In relation to inbound marketing, content is a piece of information that exists for the purpose of being digested (not literally of course), engaged with, and shared. Content typically comes in the form of a blog, video, social media post, photo, slideshow, or podcast. From website traffic to lead conversion to customer marketing, content plays an indispensable role in a successful inbound marketing strategy.
If content is king, then context is queen. Serving up valuable content is important, but ensuring that it’s customized for the right audience is equally (if not more) important. As buyers become more in control of what information they digest (again, not literally), it’s important to deliver content that’s contextually relevant. If you own a restaurant, you wouldn’t want to send a coupon for a steak dinner to a vegetarian, right? Unless you’re anti-herbivore, of course…
A call-to-action is a phrase or prompt in the form of a button, image, or text link that encourages visitors to click on the link to visit a particular landing page and learn more about a product or service. The purpose of a call-to-action is to convert visitors into leads.
Dynamic content is content that is being displayed in a number of different ways to appeal specifically to the type of user who is viewing it. Content is based on a user’s past website interactions. For example, if a user last viewed content related to social media marketing, you may want to send that particular user an ebook about best practices in social media marketing.
As defined earlier, inbound marketing is the concept of attracting consumers who are actively looking for information relevant to your industry. Where outbound marketing usually involves making outbound sales calls, buying email lists, and purchasing ad space, inbound marketing involves aligning the content you publish on your site with your customer’s needs and interests.
Keywords are words or phrases that are relevant to your business and industry. They are to be used naturally in inbound marketing content so websites can rank high in Google Search when users search for information related to that content.
A landing page is a web page that is used specifically for generating leads, and usually contains a form. Users are often directed to landing pages after clicking on a call-to-action, and can fill out a form to receive a marketing offer such as a white paper, webinar invitation, or ebook.
Lead nurturing is the art of using different means of communication to keep leads engaged with your products and services throughout the sales cycle. For example, lead nurturing could involve keeping leads engaged through social media or email so that the lead is pushed farther down into the sales funnel.
Marketing automation is generally a platform inbound marketers use that is comprised of the tools and analytics needed to develop a strategy for lead nurturing.
A no-follow link is placed on a website when the site does not want to pass on search engine authority or ranking to another page, and tells search engines such as Google not to follow linked websites so they aren’t violating webmaster guidelines.
On-page optimization is a type of SEO strategy based on certain elements within the HTML that can affect how that particular page ranks in search. Elements that are often taken into consideration with on-page optimization are the content itself, URL, and image tags.
Off-page optimization is similar to on-page optimization, but focuses on incoming links, linking domains, and social media accounts. The key to ensuring great off-page optimization is developing content that is high in quality and easily shareable among users.
PPC, which stands for Pay-Per-Click, is an advertising method in which marketers place ads online in venues such as Facebook or Google AdWords, and then pay those particular websites each time a user clicks on their ads.
A qualified lead is a lead that signed up to receive further communication from your business about a product or service they are interested in learning more about or buying.
Responsive design is the art of developing a website that will change and “respond” based on how the user decides to interact with the website. For example, if a user is viewing a website from their mobile phone, the website will change so that it can be easily used and engaged with on the mobile device.
SEO (search engine optimization) is the art of manipulating where a particular web page ranks in search results using on-page and off-page optimization techniques.
Social media is comprised of websites and applications that allow users to share content and network with one another. Popular social media networks include Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Instagram, and can be used for personal or business use. Businesses can use social media to engage with consumers and capitalize on growth.
An XML sitemap is a file that is used to publish a list of links that belong to your website. Having an XML sitemap can allow all links on your website to be easily crawled and indexed by search engines, which could have an impact on your site’s search ranking.