PPC Strategies For Managed Services Providers

Ben HawkinsMSP Marketing

Jump to a specific MSP PPC topic you are interested in:

  1. What is PPC Advertising?
  2. What are the Benefits of PPC Advertising for MSPs
  3. How to Setup Successful MSP PPC Campaigns
  4. Google Ads for MSPs
  5. Bing Ads for MSPs
  6. LinkedIn Ads for MSPs
  7. Facebook Ads for MSPs
  8. Budgeting and Bid Management
  9. Monitoring and Optimization

What Is PPC Advertising?

PPC, short for Pay-Per-Click, is a digital marketing strategy where advertisers pay a fee each time a user clicks on their ad. It’s an auction-based system in which businesses bid on keywords or phrases relevant to their target audience. When a user searches for those keywords, the highest bidder’s ad is displayed prominently in the search results or on other online platforms such as the Facebook feed.

Understanding PPC Advertising for MSPs

PPC advertising offers multiple benefits for marketing for Managed Service Providers (MSPs). It provides immediate visibility in search results, ensuring that MSP services are promptly showcased to potential clients actively seeking IT solutions. The targeted nature of PPC allows MSPs to zero in on specific demographics, locations, or keywords, ensuring that ads reach the most relevant audience. Additionally, with precise budget controls, MSPs can effectively manage their ad spend, ensuring cost-effectiveness. This advertising method not only drives targeted traffic but also offers valuable data insights, helping MSPs refine their marketing strategies over time.

PPC advertising encompasses various platforms, with Google Ads and Microsoft Advertising (formerly Bing Ads) being two of the most prominent ones. MSPs can utilize PPC to ensure that their services are visible to potential clients when they search for IT solutions, managed services, or related keywords in their service area.

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Benefits of PPC Advertising for MSPs

  • Immediate Results: Unlike some long-term marketing strategies, PPC campaigns can generate immediate results. Once set up, your ads can start appearing to potential clients within minutes.
  • Targeted Reach: PPC allows you to select specific keywords, demographics, locations, and even the time of day when your ads are displayed. This precision targeting ensures that your message reaches the right audience.
  • Budget Control: You have full control over your budget. You can set daily or monthly limits, ensuring you don’t overspend. Plus, you only pay when someone clicks on your ad, making it cost-effective.

Setting Goals and Objectives

Before you start your PPC campaigns, it’s essential to set clear goals and objectives:

  • Lead Generation: If your primary goal is to acquire new clients, you might focus on generating leads through your PPC campaigns. This could involve offering a free IT assessment, security consultation, or discovery call.
  • Brand Awareness: If you’re looking to increase your brand’s visibility within the MSP industry, you may prioritize impressions and clicks to your website.
  • Conversion Tracking: Define what actions on your website constitute a conversion. It could be filling out a contact form, signing up for an e-mail list, or making a phone call.

Setting these goals will help you measure the success of your PPC efforts and tailor your campaigns accordingly. Because PPC platforms and algorithms are always improving over time, many are now able to optimize for specific conversion actions on your website and can then target users who are more likely to take a conversion action. This results in less wasted ad spend, higher conversions, and lower lead costs.

Setting Up Successful PPC Campaigns

Keyword Research

Keyword research is the foundation of any successful PPC campaign. Begin by identifying keywords and phrases that potential clients might use when searching for managed services, cyber security services, cabling services, etc. Use tools like Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, Ubersuggest, or AHrefs to discover relevant keywords with sufficient search volume.

For MSPs, especially when targeting a smaller service area, search volume displayed in these tools can appear to be low. However, this is often just a limitation of the keyword research tool itself. We find that keywords, which research tools display as receiving 10 or even 0 searches per month, are in reality receiving enough searches to run a campaign targeting them. In short, don’t be discouraged from testing ads targeting low-search volume keywords.

When selecting keywords, consider both broad and long-tail keywords. Broad keywords may have higher competition, while long-tail keywords can be more specific and often have lower competition.

Popular MSP PPC Keywords from our data:

  • [location] IT services providers
  • [locations] managed IT services providers
  • it company [location]
  • it service [location]
  • [location] IT support company
  • information technology services
  • [location] IT Support and services]

Some examples of long-tail MSP keywords include:

  • IT services for healthcare practices
  • IT support for manufacturing companies
  • Cybersecurity penetration testing services
  • managed IT for small business (the highest converting keyword from our data)

Ad Copy and Creatives

Craft compelling ad copy that captures the essence of your MSP services and entices users to click. Some best practices include:

  • Highlighting your Unique Value Proposition: Emphasize what sets your MSP apart from competitors, whether it’s 24/7 support, industry certifications, or specific IT solutions.
  • Clear Call to Action (CTA): Use strong, action-oriented language in your CTA, such as “Request a Free Consultation” or “Book a Discovery Call Today.”
  • Relevance: Ensure that your ad copy aligns with the keywords you’re targeting, creating a consistent user experience. We recommend matching the keyword you are targeting with your ad text and landing page copy. For example, if you are targeting the keyword “managed IT services”, then your ad text and landing page should immediately mention that you offer “managed IT services”.

Here’s an example from a real search for “Boston managed IT Services”

Landing Page Optimization

The landing page your PPC ads direct users to plays a crucial role in converting clicks into leads or clients. Some optimization tips include:

  • Relevance: Ensure that the landing page is highly relevant to the ad that brought the user there. As mentioned above, consistency in your messaging is key.
  • Clear Information: Provide clear and concise information about your MSP services, including what you offer, testimonials, and a way for users to get in touch.
  • User-Friendly Design: Keep the landing page easy to navigate and mobile-friendly, as many users access websites on mobile devices.

Optimizing your landing page is essential to maximize the ROI of your PPC campaigns. Furthermore, consider A/B testing certain elements of your landing page to see if it improves the number of conversions you are seeing. Oftentimes, that can mean adjusting your call-to-action or your offering.

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PPC Platforms and Tools

Google Ads is the largest and most widely used PPC advertising platform. It allows you to create text ads, display ads, and video ads that appear in Google search results, on partner websites, and across Google’s network. Key components of Google Ads include:

  • Campaign Types: Google Ads offers various campaign types, such as Search, Display, Video, and Shopping campaigns, allowing you to choose the most suitable format for your MSP.
  • Keyword Planner: Use Google’s Keyword Planner to discover relevant keywords and estimate their search volumes.
  • Quality Score: This metric assesses the relevance and quality of your ads, affecting ad placement and cost per click.

What is the cost-per-click of MSP PPC Keywords? Google Ads By The Numbers

Our Done-For-You digital marketing team of PPC experts manages hundreds of MSP PPC campaigns. The quarterly averages of all their accounts are compiled below. Keep in mind that the area you target may be more or less competitive than our average MSP.

  • Cost-per-click (CPC) – $71
  • Click-thru-rate (CTR) – 4.7%
  • Number of raw leads from forms 3.2
  • Number of raw leads from calls – 5.7
  • Number of qualified leads – 5.0
  • Percent of raw leads to qualified leads – 56%
  • Average total spend – $7,353
  • Cost-per-raw lead – $1,242
  • Cost-per-qualified lead $2,225

Microsoft Advertising (Bing Ads) for MSPs

Microsoft Advertising is another valuable PPC platform, particularly if you want to reach users on Bing and Yahoo search engines. It offers similar features to Google Ads, including keyword targeting, ad creation, and budget management.

Expanding your PPC efforts to Microsoft Advertising can help you tap into a different user base and reduce competition and costs compared to Google. Our Done-For-You digital marketing team found that the cost-per-click on Microsoft is 70.4% cheaper than Google and the cost-per-qualified lead is 38% cheaper.

Bing Ads By The Numbers

  • Average Cost-per-click (CPC) – $21
  • Average Click-thru-rate (CTR) – 4.3%
  • Average # of raw leads from forms 2.7
  • Average # of raw leads from calls – 3.1
  • Average # of qualified leads – 2.2
  • Average % raw to qualified – 38%
  • Average total spend – $2,505
  • Cost-per-raw lead – $562
  • Cost-per-qualified lead $1,378

Facebook Ads For MSPs

Facebook Ads offers a robust PPC advertising platform that can be particularly effective for MSPs looking to target a specific audience. Here’s how to make the most of Facebook PPC:

  • Audience Targeting: One of Facebook’s standout features is its extensive audience targeting options. MSPs can narrow down their audience based on demographics, interests, job titles, and even company size. This makes it possible to reach decision-makers in businesses that may be interested in managed services.
  • Engaging Ad Formats: Facebook supports various ad formats, including image ads, video ads, and carousel ads. Visual content is crucial on this platform, so consider showcasing your MSP’s services through engaging visuals and videos.
  • Retargeting: Facebook allows you to retarget users who have interacted with your website or previous ads. This is particularly valuable for MSPs, as it keeps your services top-of-mind for potential clients who have shown interest.
  • Lead Generation Forms: Facebook offers lead generation forms within the platform. MSPs can use these forms to capture user information, such as email addresses, directly through the ad, streamlining the lead generation process.
  • Budget Control: Like other PPC platforms, Facebook allows you to set a daily or lifetime budget for your campaigns. Experiment with different budgets to find the right balance for your goals.

LinkedIn Ads For MSPs

LinkedIn Ads is the go-to platform for professionals, making it an excellent choice for MSPs looking to connect with decision-makers. Here’s how to leverage LinkedIn PPC advertising:

Tip: make sure your profile is highly optimized.

  • Precise Audience Targeting: LinkedIn offers advanced targeting options based on industry, job title, company size, and more. This level of precision is advantageous for MSPs aiming to reach IT professionals and business leaders who may require managed services.
  • Sponsored Content: Use sponsored content to promote your MSP’s blog posts, case studies, or whitepapers directly to your target audience’s LinkedIn feeds. This approach can position your MSP as an industry thought leader.
  • InMail Campaigns: LinkedIn’s InMail allows you to send personalized messages directly to your target audience’s LinkedIn inbox. This can be highly effective for initiating conversations and nurturing leads.
  • Dynamic Ads: LinkedIn’s dynamic ads automatically customize content based on the user’s profile data. This feature can enhance personalization and engagement.
  • Conversion Tracking: Implement LinkedIn’s conversion tracking to measure the effectiveness of your campaigns. This helps you understand which ads are driving desired actions, such as website visits or lead form submissions.

LinkedIn PPC advertising tends to be more expensive than other platforms due to its professional user base, so it’s essential to have a well-defined targeting strategy and compelling ad content to maximize ROI.

By incorporating Facebook and LinkedIn PPC advertising into your MSP’s digital marketing strategy, you can tap into these platforms’ unique capabilities and reach decision-makers in your target audience effectively.

Budgeting and Bid Management

Budgeting Strategies

Determining your PPC budget involves balancing your marketing goals with your available resources. Factors to consider include:

  • Keyword Competitiveness: Highly competitive keywords may require a larger budget to achieve prominent ad placements.
    • MSP Keywords tend to be highly competitive ranging from $50 – $70 per click on the Google Ads platform. Bing and Facebook tend to be much more affordable for MSPs, so if budget is an issue we recommend starting there.
  • Ad Position: Higher ad positions often result in more clicks but may require a higher bid.
  • Testing and Optimization: Allocate a portion of your budget for A/B testing and ongoing optimization.
  • Seasonality: Adjust your budget to account for seasonal fluctuations in demand.

Bid Management

Effective bid management is crucial for optimizing your PPC campaigns:

  • Manual Bidding: Manually set bids for keywords based on their performance and goals. This offers granular control but can be time-consuming.
  • Automated Bidding: Use automated bidding strategies provided by the platforms. Options may include target CPA (Cost Per Acquisition), target ROAS (Return On Ad Spend), and enhanced CPC (Cost Per Click).
  • Ad Scheduling: Adjust your bids based on the time of day or day of the week to maximize ROI during peak periods.

Balancing your budget and bid strategy requires continuous monitoring and adjustment as you gather data on campaign performance.

PPC Management Tools

To streamline your PPC campaign management, consider using dedicated PPC management tools like:

  • SEMrush: Provides in-depth competitor analysis and keyword research.
  • WordStream: Offers a suite of PPC management and optimization tools.
  • Optmyzr: Helps automate PPC tasks and reporting, saving you time.

These tools can enhance your efficiency and help you make data-driven decisions.

Monitoring and Optimization

Key Metrics

Understanding key PPC metrics allows you to evaluate campaign performance:

  • Click-Through Rate (CTR): Measures the percentage of users who clicked on your ad after seeing it.
  • Quality Score: Google’s metric that assesses the quality and relevance of your ads and keywords.
  • Cost Per Click (CPC): The average amount you pay each time someone clicks on your ad.
  • Conversion Rate: The percentage of users who complete a desired action, such as filling out a contact form.

Tracking Conversions

Conversion tracking is essential for measuring the success of your PPC campaigns. Set up conversion tracking for actions that are valuable to your MSP, such as:

  • Contact Form Submissions: When users inquire about your services.
  • Newsletter Sign-ups: If you use email marketing to nurture leads.
  • Phone Calls: Track phone call conversions generated from your ads.

We recommend MSPs use a combination of Google Analytics 4, Google Tag Manager, 3rd party call tracking services, in-platform tracking, and an in-house CRM to ensure that your leads are tracked from start to finish.

A/B Testing

A/B testing (or split testing) involves creating variations of your ads or landing pages to determine which elements perform best. Elements to test include:

  • Ad Copy: Test different headlines, descriptions, or CTAs to see which resonates most with your audience.
  • Landing Page Elements: Experiment with layout, images, forms, and content to optimize conversion rates.

A/B testing helps you make data-driven decisions to improve campaign performance.

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