I’ve listened to countless conversations with the founders of MSPs about whether Google Ads (formerly Google Adwords) works or not for generating leads for their MSP.
Some founders are absolutely convinced that it doesn’t work and will never work. Others have witnessed it work with their own eyes. I’ve worked personally on Google Ad campaigns for MSPs all over the globe and I have the conclusive answer to that evasive question:
“Does Google Ads work for a Managed Service Provider?”
The answer: Sometimes. Emphatically… only sometimes.
Rather than just try and blow smoke and act like Google Ads will work for everyone, I want to be completely honest with you and let you know what my real life experience has been with running Google Ad campaigns in almost every region of the world.
Google Ads For MSPs
No joke, we set up Google Ads for an MSP in San Diego and watched them close almost $600,000 in Annual Recurring Revenue contracts on just about $25,000 of Google Ad spend. You do the math. That’s a massive ROI.
That doesn’t account for any upsells, project work, or subsequent referrals from those cold leads who turned into closed sales. The gross result of that 25k in Google Ad spend could have hit close to 1 million in annual revenue. There’s no way for us to track what will happen in years 2-3 from the domino effect of those clients as well.
So… for that managed service provider in San Diego, Google Ads worked. And they worked well. Really well.
But, we have also run an almost identical Google Ads campaign for an MSP in Miami Florida and it was a nightmare. No matter what we did, the Cost Per Click was outrageous. It got so bad that we told the client of our own volition to stop paying us and turn off Google Ads (aside from brand ads that we can keep the cost to about 1-2 bucks a click).
What To Do When Google Ads For MSPs Doesn’t Work
For that MSP in Miami, Google Ads didn’t work well and was too cost prohibitive. So we suggested taking the money they were spending on Google Ads and allocating it toward MSP content marketing and content development.
Then we could take that content and search engine optimize it so that the MSP could rank organically in the search engines.
We don’t suggest doing a full-blown Google Ads campaign for your MSP unless you’ve got the time, the patience, and the money to give it a good run.
The thing with MSPs, is that there are not a ton of companies looking to switch their managed service provider or outsource their IT department. It’s a big decision. A hard decision. They have to be in lots of pain to actually pull the trigger. It’s similar to changing their dentist or their CPA.
But… here is where Google Ads for MSPs can come in handy. There may not be a ton of people searching for a new MSP, but they are out there. Your goal is to be visible and available when they do actually go out and search.
You never know when someone might make that search, so it’s in your best interest to show ads as often as you can. Executives and founders are known to do this kind of research after hours so don’t just run your Google Ads during business hours. Run them 24/7 if you can.
Longer Sales Cycles
Secondly, there is usually a longer sales cycle for people looking to change MSPs. So just because people are clicking on your ads and not converting, it doesn’t mean that they won’t convert in the future.
For our MSP marketing clients, we employ a tactic called retargeting. So whenever someone clicks on a Google Ad, it’ll take them to that MSP’s landing page. That landing page drops a cookie or a tracking script in the browser of the person who was searching for an MSP.
What this means is that for the next 180 days or more, the person that clicked on that initial ad from that MSP, will be shown retargeting ads as they browse the internet. It keeps the MSP top of mind in case the person searching for MSPs is ready to pull the trigger and make a move.
Attributes of Our Top Performing Google Ads For MSPs
Our top performing MSPs usually do the following:
- Have about a 1-2k monthly budget or 12-24k annual budget specifically for Google ads.
- They always utilize retargeting in order to re-engage previous searchers.
- They are able to spend ad budget for about 12-18 months before being worried about an ROI.
- Will run ads 24/7.
- They never drop the ball on a good lead. They have good call routing and the lead always gets attended to quickly.
- They usually run multiple online marketing campaigns simultaneously. Google Ads, SEO, Retargeting, Content Marketing, and even some offline advertising.
- They’re consistent and they stick with it.
- They see the big picture. If even just one lead converted during the year, it usually means a positive ROAS (Return on Ad Spend)
How Much Does Google Ads For MSPs Usually Cost
We did some research and gathered data from all of our MSP clients across the United States and even some outside of the U.S. in order to give you a ballpark cost per click analysis on Google Ad Campaigns for MSPs in your geographic region.
What you’ll notice is that the Midwest has a lower CPC (Cost Per Click) but we’ve also seen some very low search volumes in those areas.
Miami is an anomaly. Low search volumes and high CPC.
Texas is also a challenging one. There is lots of competition and not as much search volume as you’d think. Texas regions really require a very mixed and comprehensive approach to internet marketing.
The west coast and Mountain West regions have been the most successful campaigns we’ve seen aside from the Toronto region.
Google Ads For MSPs Recap
While there are some regions that seem to work faster than others, we have seen success for MSPs in every region. Having the data that we have on each region helps us make more intelligent decisions as to what an MSP should spend their money on.
For some, content marketing might be the focus early on, while for others, Google Ads might work right off the bat.
We’ve assembled one of the most comprehensive guides on MSP marketing in order to give you information on all aspects of MSP marketing. Google Ads for MSPs is just one aspect of how to show up in the search results for the services that you’re offering.
Check out that MSP marketing guide and let us know if you have any questions.