Lead Generation for Service Providers: How to Leverage Local Paid Search

By Ashley Davis

March 25, 2020

MSPs leads acquisition: paid search

Note: Our team at Kisi works closely with MSPs and helps businesses of any size move their physical security to the cloud. MSPs can benefit from selling Kisi with special pricing while providing their clients with cutting-edge access control technology. This guide is a part of a series of resources meant to help MSPs grow and optimize their business.


  1. How Does Local Paid Search Work
  2. Why it is Important for MSPs
  3. Find Your Audience via Keyword Research
  4. How to bid on Keywords
  5. How to set up a Campaign
  6. How to Target Specific Areas or Regions
  7. How to Localize Your Ads
  8. How to Create an Effective Ad
  9. How to Choose Your Landing Page
  10. Budget and Bidding
  11. Monitor and Optimize Your Campaigns
  12. Conclusions

How Paid Search Works

As you probably know, when you perform a search on Google different types of results appear on your screen, which can be classified into two main categories: paid listings and organic results.

Organic results are normal search results from the Google index, such as links, images, videos, or featured snippets. Paid results usually consist of text ads or product grid ads, although different formats exist for specific industries, such as travel and hospitality.

As a managed service provider you are in a competitive industry and it is therefore crucial to be at the forefront of users searches for such services, and buying traffic with Google Ads can be an effective way to achieve that goal.

Search ads are a big part of what the marketing world defines as PPC, or pay-per-click models, where advertisers pay a sum each time a user clicks on their ad. While several search engines offer search ads, we will focus here on how MSPs can leverage the Google Ads platform.

Why is Paid Search Important for Managed Service Providers (MSPs)?

Businesses willing to capture users that are specifically looking for their service on search engines have two ways to get that traffic, via SEO or via PPC. SEO is very competitive for the MSP industry and usually takes time to develop, as opposed to paid search which is very expensive but can bring results right away. Depending on the business needs it is usually advisable to consider both channels. If you are looking into Google Ads to drive more leads and land more customers, this short guide will point you in the right direction highlighting key aspects you should consider when running a campaign. If, on the other hand, you are looking for SEO-related suggestions, do not forget to check out our dedicated guide.

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Find Your Audience Starting With Keyword Research

The very first step is to understand what users are looking for when searching for managed IT services. Google, as well as many other tools, allows advertisers to see how many searches are performed for specific queries, so that you can select which ones are the most relevant to your business and worth spending budget on. The search volume for each query can be combined with other factors such as device used, location or even demographics.

Keyword research

If you choose to perform keyword research in the Google Ads platform, you will be able to directly add relevant keywords to your campaign.

How to Bid on Keywords

Even if you understand which keywords are the most relevant to your business, you will still need to gather data on which ones perform best before you can assess what to focus on. Being a competitive industry, getting traffic in a cost-effective way will require a certain amount of optimization so you should consider the launch of a campaign just as the starting point.

There are different keyword matching options you can choose from, and a good way to start is to start bidding with a broad match in order to get traffic from searches that are similar to your keyword list but present slight differences. In a second phase you can review the search queries that are bringing traffic to your website and exclude those that are not relevant or not converting.

Adding keywords to a campaign

How to Set Up a Campaign

Once you have defined the keywords you want to bid on, you will proceed to set up your whole campaign. These are the main aspects that define a PPC campaign:

  • Keywords you bid on
  • Targeting options
  • Ads
  • Landing page
  • Budget and bidding options

If you offer your services only in a specific area, you will definitely want to target only users in that area, and you can do so by specifying which locations to target or to exclude. The targeting options are very granular and go as far as choosing what time of the day your ads will be displayed and things like that, but location targeting is the one that you will for sure need to define.

How to Target Specific Areas or Regions

When you set up a campaign, among many targeting settings, you have to also choose which geographic area to target. You can go extremely granular and choose both areas you want to targets and areas you want to exclude.

For example, if you are based in NYC you can select for which borough you want your ads to show up, and you get estimates about the audience size of each location.

PCC NYC Kewywords

But it goes much further granular than that! You can type in a ZIP code, or a specific district and target even more defined areas.

Google Ads location

With two simple conditions you could for instance choose to target all of Manhattan but exclude a certain district.

Keep in mind that the location targeting doesn't necessarily target residents only, but rather anyone frequently in the location or that for other reasons Google associates with that location!

How to "Localize" Your Ads

Aside from your targeting settings, you will also collect data on what your users search and where they are by looking at search queries. Unlike keywords, which is what you bid on, search queries are the exact searches users seeing your ads have typed in.

Search Queries UK

If you see a lot of searches are from users looking for a certain region (in this example the UK), you can adapt some of your headlines or descriptions to include that location. This will help with the quality score of your ads as well as the click-through rate. It will also reassure users that you serve that area or region.

How to Create an Effective Ad

Creating the ad copy is not easy given that you will have to communicate your value proposition in a limited amount of characters. It’s important that you look at ads from your competitors to understand how they are approaching this and when possible research other best practices. It’s important that you include ad extensions such as your address or phone number and that you create multiple ads that will then be dynamically served. This allows the platform to test which ads perform better so you can focus your budget on that.

MSP google ads

How to Choose Your Landing Page

Most B2B companies create a custom landing page for their search campaigns, where the form to submit an inquiry is very visible as soon as the user lands on the page. If you don’t want to create a custom landing page it is totally fine to drive the traffic to your homepage or some other page of your website, just make sure that it will be easy for users to understand what you offer and submit an inquiry or request a quote.

Another factor to consider is that your page should match the headlines used in your ads and the keywords you are bidding on. That’s often going to be the case anyway, but for instance, if you were to drive traffic to a page with absolutely no content on it and only a form, Google would assign a lower quality score to your page and your clicks would therefore become more expensive.

Budget and Bidding

You will need to set up a budget for your campaigns and define how you want your campaigns to be optimized. You can define a total budget or a daily budget and choose if you want to focus on driving the highest amount of traffic for your budget or optimize it for the amount of leads generated. This second option requires that you install a conversion pixel on your website, which is fairly easy to implement.

Monitor and Optimize Your Campaigns

Most likely the main metric you want to look at is cost per lead. In order to define the threshold where a campaign is ROI positive, you first need to know how much a lead is worth to you and what the average lifetime value of a customer is.

For example, if the lifetime value of a customer is $10,000 and you know that on average 5% of the leads to your website convert into customers, then a profitable campaign would be one where your CPL (cost per lead) is lower than $500. It is advisable to look at CPL as the main metric and cost-per-click only as a secondary metric used for campaign optimization.

PPC Google ads dashboard and metrics

As you gather the first data from your campaign, you will quickly get an idea of your cost per lead and you can start optimizing by excluding low-performing keywords, further narrowing down your targeting, or adjusting your budget. You will also have access to auction insights where you will see how your competitors’ ads are served for your target keywords.


While launching a campaign without the support of a specialist may seem overwhelming at first, the Google Ads platform has been designed to support the needs of anyone, from large teams of advertisers to small businesses looking for a self-service solution that they can manage in-house. If you have clearly defined metrics for how much a customer is worth, and understand which searches are relevant to attract new business, you are halfway there and can easily learn the technicalities of setting up and optimizing a campaign.

In case you have found this guide useful, we have written multiple articles dedicated to MSPs and how can they help their business. Check out our guides on:

Ashley Davis
Ashley Davis

Ashley is obsessed with words, Chinese food and all things tech.

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