Kevin McDonald: Your First Impression to Consumers with Confluency Solutions

December 1, 2019

Is your business in need of social media marketing?

Kevin McDonald is the founder and CEO of Confluency Solutions.

Confluency Solutions provides independent insurance agents with websites, SEO, social media marketing, and other digital marketing services. They help personal and commercial firms of all sizes

The team at Confluency Solutions offers a variety of digital marketing expertise and options selected to best fit your business.

They are certified to help businesses with SEO, website design, website optimization, and much more.

Learn more about how Confluency Solutions can help you market your business by listening to this episode of The Thoughtful Entrepreneur above and don’t forget to subscribe on  Apple Podcasts – Stitcher – Spotify –Google Play –Castbox – TuneIn – RSS.

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Welcome to the thoughtful entrepreneur Show. I'm Josh Elledge, founder and CEO of up my We turn entrepreneurs into media celebrities, grow their authority, and help them build partnerships with top influencers. We believe that every person has a unique message that can positively impact the world. stick around to the end of the show, where I'll reveal how you can be our next guest on one of the fastest growing daily inspiration podcasts on the planet in 15 to 20 minutes. Let's go. Kevin McDonald, you are the founder and CEO of Confluency Solutions. Thank you so much for joining us.

Glad to be here. Thanks so much for having me, Josh.

Well, listen, you and I are going to hop on our soap boxes here because you and I are kind of passionate about a couple of things and and i think that it's really important that the the business owner that's listening to this right now you pay very close attention you taken notes and most importantly, you take action. And that is understanding how consumers make buying decisions today. And Kevin it confluency I think you guys get it. And so for your clients, and you work as an agency, you work primarily with insurance professionals. So independent insurance professionals, is

that right? That's right. Yeah.

And so your job is to help them win more business and and build relationships with a bigger and bigger audience. And so can you kind of take me through your philosophy in in, in working with your clients and how that directs the services that you provide?

Yeah, it varies a little bit client to client depends on sort of their level of sophistication the way they think about business. One of the things they think about periodically is when I started in the insurance business 20 plus years ago Go. I was out on the road meeting with an agency and I had a bunch of insurance company training. It was pretty good training at the time. I was a marketing manager and one of my first field visits, I asked the agency owner what his marketing plan was, and he said, well, we'll sell anything to anyone. And anytime we can have something along those lines, and of course, my training didn't prepare me for that. So that wasn't a very successful visit. But surprising to me a little bit.

How, even today people are

thinking to generally they think they're generalists. And that's a hard way to succeed. The clients that we have the most successful can identify who very specifically in very sort of your granular terms, who their client is, who the who their ideal client is, what they what keeps your ideal client up at night and how they can solve those problems and what products and services they have. Deliver to those clients. And then it's just a matter of sort of getting yourself out in front of other clients. And there's a whole bunch of different ways to do that with social media, with, you know, SEO with online reviews and things like that. So, I mean, that's kind of the process we go through, as we talked to people and try to figure out where are you? Maybe you just need a good website and some technical SEO. And that's all you can sort of assimilate right now. Or maybe you've gotten there, let's kind of go to the next level with you. We'd like everybody to self actualize. But not everybody's ready to do it today.

You know, I was looking at an article that you recently wrote, and you talked about that the first impression that a client potential client may have is not actually your website, but that it begins before that and and what is can you kind of go into that a bit? Yeah.

You know, something we sort of discussed offline. Most people in this this has changed. Want to say back in 2016? Something like 40 or 42% of consumers? Did a web search on Google Stay right there, they never clicked into a website didn't let go and it out. As August there was some data published, that number is now over 50%. So that's as far as anybody goes. And if they're looking if they've heard about you, if you have if you're an insurance agent or any small business, and you have Google Analytics on your website, if you don't, you should, if you look at the terms that drive people to your website, you will see the number one term is typically a branded term. It's your name. So how does that happen? You know, you're doing traditional advertising, somebody's got a business card, and somebody somebody heard your name, and then just go and Google your name, and then what shows up and that's really your homepage. And you you really want to own that and control that. So if you look at a insurance agency or another small business that owns that space that has surgery, Results page, you'll see their website listed maybe a few pages from their website, you'll see that the knowledge card from the Google My Business profile, will see the graphical star rating from from Google My Business Well, some other things like that. So top to bottom, the zero position one to 10. Almost all those search results should be for that business and they should look really good. Because that's your homepage.

I'm going to throw you a softball. does all of that matter for the way that consumers engage today?

Yeah, now what a paraphrase.

I would paraphrase actually, any one of our clients, we asked him a similar question. How important are reviews How important is you know how you look online. When you're purchasing a product or service, whether it's a hotel room or you know, a blender or whatever And I'll say, Well, of course, Matt is the first thing I do. So it's it's almost everything today. I mean, that's, it's so fundamental to succeeding.

Yeah. And and again, I think, you know, to the person who's listening to just think about how you do business, we're all consumers. And some people may say, Well, I work b2b and so I'm only working with businesses. No, you're working with people, and people are consumers. And so people are judging you based on that first impression. And I think with every impression, and Kevin, I'd love your perspective on this, you know, all we're asking for with every impression that we give is is a few more seconds of attention. And if we can keep them keep their attention for long enough, then hopefully we can build up that relationship with them that know like and trust to the point where they say, okay, picking up the phone and calling a number. That's that's a clients currency, giving them a My email address or filling out a form, I'm giving you currency, that's my personal information. And so risk as a consumer, for me to give you that information. And meanwhile, I think that if we look at our statistics, and I think one, you know, piece of, you know, data that we want to really pay attention to is bounce rate. And I think bounce rate is going to inform us quite a bit as to what people think about us. Now, sometimes you get people that just land on your site, and they're in the wrong place. But other times, that's a potential customer. And it's like, imagine them strolling into your place of business, looking around and saying, nope, not getting a good vibe here. And then they hightail it out of there. That's kind of you have a high bounce rate. That's, you know, that might be an indication is something's wrong, like what other you know, maybe it talks about balance just a little bit or other Google Analytics that you look at and you You say, ooh, this is communicating something to us that we should probably address.

Yeah. So you know, for the business owner that doesn't have a lot of time for this sort of thing, bounce rates a big one. So it's one an hour, boom, I came, I left, I didn't look into the other pages. time on site, there's another one. Likely, if somebody's landing on just one page and bouncing, they're not spending very much time on your website. I can't think of this. This varies depending on what source you look at. But it's, you know, three, four seconds, somebody will spend scanning a web page to decide whether they want to go deeper or stick around. And I think that is probably even less on mobile, just because you have smaller real estate. So the bounce rate, the average time on site, and then the number of pages viewed, this is top level, you just set a benchmark, see if you could prove those. If you want to look a little deeper, you could look at this This would entail making sure your analytics are connected with your Google Search Console. But what are the top pages visited or top pages? And that'll tell you how many times they show up in search results? How many? What the typical? Or the? Yeah, the average placement is in search results, 123456 1030, whatever it is, and they'll give you some insights as to what keywords are used. But also for those top pages, maybe the top five or 10. What are the bounce rate, the average time on site, the average number of pages viewed for those pages? And then if you're going to do SEO, go back and look at those what kind of information Am I providing because people are seeing it, the least relative to my website they're seeing more often than other things, and then maybe go and do. There's all kinds of tools out there. Neil Patel's Uber suggests as a really good one. Now getting some keyword ideas and say What are people really searching on? When they're looking for this kind of information? You need to kind of retool things a little bit. an even simpler thing you can do is just say, you're talking to your clients all day long. What are they asking you about? What do they want to know about? And then answer those questions. Look for keywords around that.

Talk. Tell me, Kevin, some best practices for Google My Business, which and we talked about this just a little bit already. But how important is it? And what are some things that folks ought to be really mindful of? Because Google's added some features lately? And I think it's pretty exciting.

Yeah, and we all know, Google loves Google. In fact, the government thinks maybe the Google loves Google a little too much. And, you know, if you look at the survey that Maz does, periodically, on local ranking factors, the number one ranking factor is your Google My Business profile and almost a third of what they think influences your local search rank. That's how important that is, I would argue it's more than that almost because there's reviews and behavioral signals. When people see you in search to they click through to they click to call. So reviews that behavioral signals in your Google My Business profile are pop up, or, excuse me, all part of the eight factors that mas has in there, you know, these are the kind of what influence local search, placement, and they're all related to Google My Business. So the first thing I would say is if you don't know that you have Google My Business profile, you do claim it, make sure your primary business category is the right one. I've seen a lot of cases where insurance agencies classified as you know, real estate agent or business consultant or so. Like that, and that's just almost like wearing the cloak of invisibility. And it's going to guarantee a bad balance, right? Because if you search, people are searching for the wrong thing, and then land on your website, and they're gonna go, Oh, you're not a business consultant, you're, you're certainly an insurance agent and the God. So make sure you claim it, make sure you get the right category. Make sure you provide as much information as you can. There's all kinds of, you know, Google, Google sells will provide information. But here's your business hours forms of payment brands you represent. One of the things to your point they've added recently is this sort of FAQs. The best thing is if you can get customers to ask questions, and then you answer them. Oh, yeah, there's Google engagement. Right. Next thing you can do is if you can get questions that relate to what people are searching for so much, the better still right. Now, if you can't get customers to do it, if you're not comfortable with it, you can still ask and answer your own questions now. photos, videos, some of the things you can add to your profile posts. So if you have a weekly blog posts or more more frequently or whatever, you can share those posts through Google My Business. That's a bonus. It's made last year. So they've added that maybe a little more. So just as much as you can do, and it's very simple.

And it is. It's free, which has a price most people kind of like, Yeah, Yeah, no kidding. Well, good.

So Kevin, tell people how they can engage with you and what you have to offer.

So again, we work with independent insurance agents, we do websites, we do search optimization, we do social media marketing. We have some different packages. The best thing is to visit our website confluency solutions. com you can reach out to me directly through the website or You know, our email, social, whatever you want, we're here. That's another thing. That's another thing insurance need to do. And people want to communicate in different ways at different times. make yourself available.

Yeah, completely agree. Well, Kevin McDonald, you're the founder and CEO of confluency solutions, I really, really appreciate our conversation. And I mean, as you could tell, these are, these are issues I care a lot about, you know, that for those first impressions, you know, being able to lead with your authority, being able to show that you engage with people and that your, you know, your website and your web presence is is not just a postcard, but that, you know, it's actually a living breathing, the aware here, and I know that sometimes some people can get a little overwhelmed in, you know, in, you know, wondering, Well, how do I do all of that I don't have the time. And I think that's where it's really helpful to maybe have a consultation with you can maybe give them some ideas on on on how to start that process.

Awesome, Kevin. Thank you, Joe. Thank you so much.

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