Google and Facebook remain the top two largest digital ad sellers in the world in 2019, accounting for a total of $170 billion of net digital ad revenues (eMarketer: Digital Ad Spending 2019) meaning that they generate more advertising dollars on paid advertising than any other medium currently in existence.

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There is a good reason too – because it works! Companies across all types of industries shovel their marketing budgets into advertising to engage and connect with their ideal target customers. The same is true for B2B IT services businesses who provide and sell specialist IT services – from custom software to managed IT services.

In this article I want to share with you how you can harness paid advertising to attract a consistent flow of customers who need your specialist IT services.

Why Resort to Paid Advertising?

A correctly executed paid advertising campaign can provide your business with almost instant inbound lead flow and it’s not hard to see why…

Your advertisement showing up in the news feeds and search results on the personal devices of hundreds of your ideal customer personas can result in an overwhelming spike in new business for you.

If executed correctly, you’ll have so much new business inquiries and expressions of interest you can start to pick and choose the biggest and best clients to do business with. That’s what a well executed campaign can do and should do for you business. A nice situation to be in right?

Why is Paid Advertising so Effective?

One way to look at paid advertising is like a sales representation actively going out to the market, finding your ideal customer and pitching them about what you do and have to offer.

The difference between a real life salesperson is that paid advertising does not stop at the end of the working day and is not confined to the local market. It’s ‘evergreen’ in that it runs 24/7 and to an entire domestic and even international market if that’s who you are targeting.

Well crafted ad copy coupled with targeted audiences can allow you to get senior decision makers within established businesses raise their head above the parapet and reach out to you wanting to know more about what you have to offer. And I mean; CEOs, Business Owners, Heads of and Directors of IT within established companies.

The sales conversations are better too due to the quality of the lead flow generated from paid advertising, when compared to cold outreach methods via LinkedIn, cold calling and email – I say this from personal experience.

The reason for this is that by the time that they have scheduled a time to speak with you, they will have already seen what you do, know what you have to offer and now want to learn more.

Consequently, the prospect is further down the sales cycle and you no longer have to “pitch” them about what you do and have to offer. The conversations can often be so far evolved with a good marketing funnel the sales conversation revolves more around negotiating terms, giving estimates and setting a start date.

There are unaccounted for benefits of this too for a founder or sales team. Typically the morale is higher due to the increased closing ratio. Let’s be honest, there’s usually only so much rejection a sales team or founder can realistically take!

Realizing a Return-on-Investment (ROI) from Marketing Spend

If you have been in business for a while you have probably spent your fair share of marketing dollars on marketing initiatives from SEO and content marketing to website development and email marketing.

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If you’re like many business owners, it’s often been hard to seen any directly return on investment or results from your marketing spend. This can lead to a lot of frustration and often lack hope that anything outside of word-of-mouth and referrals works at all!

The great thing about paid advertising though is that you can track ROI down to the dollar.

How? Well, by simply recording daily advertising spend against the new business that you have brought in as a consequence. For instance, if you spend X and the ticket size for your IT services is 5X then you have successfully returned a 5:1 or 500% return on your investment.

When to Use and Not to Use Paid Advertising

While paid advertising may seem like the ‘Holy Grail’, there are certainly many occasions when NOT to use paid advertising. One scenario when it is advised not to leverage paid advertising is when you are in the very early days of running a business.

What I mean by that is when you only have a few current customers and you are not exactly sure what is that you provide or have a firm idea who your target customer is exactly. In other words, you have not yet achieved ‘Product Market Fit’.

The reason for this is because advertising is unforgiving to those who pitch vague offerings to a broad range of customer profiles or archetypes. For those who do go down this route, it often results in wasted advertising dollars that could have been better deployed elsewhere.

For advertising to really work, it’s advised to target one customer persona (not multiple) and then craft simple, clear messaging and advertising copy around this customer. As the saying goes, by appealing to everyone, you often end up appealing to no one.

One of the Most Overlooked Aspects of Creating a Winning Advertising Campaign

In my view, one of the most overlooked ingredients in creating a winner advertising campaign is understanding your niche and crafting a simple, clear brand message that resonates with this niche.

A simple, clear message that is relevant to your customers is essential as they will be more willing to engage with your brand, know more about what you have to offer and be more willing to want to talk and meet with you resulting in more sales. Much of this will come from customer interactions such as sales conversation and general meetings. A sound message will also drive a significant improvement in key advertising metrics such as click through rate, landing page to demo rate and so on.


To conclude, paid advertising is an essential marketing channel that all small IT services business should be harnessing. Once setup, it can allow you to attract a consistent flow of new customers who have a need for your specialist IT services.

My name is Kieran Moloney and I help small to medium sized IT service providers, MSPs and IT consultancies acquire their ideal clients through a proven digital sales process. If you are struggling to get new customers and realise a positive Return-on-Investment from your marketing efforts then fill out the free evaluation to see if and how I can help –

– Kieran Moloney, Owner at Moloney Consulting