By Todd Ebert, CMO of ReachLocal

When it comes to digital marketing, small business owners have no shortage of options. When it’s your hard-earned dollars you’re putting to work to market your business online, you’re looking for more than just impressions and clicks. You want to get more customers and know that your marketing is working together to drive even better results.

That’s where the trio of SEO, search advertising, and social media marketing come into play. Not only can these digital marketing tactics help you effectively market your business online, but they also work well together to boost your brand, build your reputation, and get you get more leads from search engines. Here are three important reasons to consider a digital marketing approach that uses SEO, search advertising, and social together.

1) It Helps You Own More Real Estate on the SERP & Boost Click-Throughs

Search engine advertising is one of the quickest ways to drive new leads to your business. Studies show that combining both SEO and search advertising can drive incremental results. One such study showed that companies who had a #1 rank in organic search received 50% incremental clicks when running paid ads, which means that companies who were running paid search ads were driving more traffic to their sites than they would with organic rank alone.

Add to this a well managed web presence where your business’s social media sites are all claimed, optimized, and have a steady stream of fresh, engaging content, and you can drive even better results. In fact, research has shown that when businesses use both search engine marketing and social media, it can drive an increased click-through rate of up to 94%.

These three powerful tactics work together so that more consumers find your business. To start with the basics, you need the following:

  • A search advertising campaign that targets the right consumers and is locally optimized
  • To optimize your blog and website for important keywords like your products, services, and location
  • To claim and optimize social media profiles, local listings, and directory pages and make sure they stay updated and accurate
  • To regularly publish and share a fresh stream of relevant content

2) It Mirrors the Modern Consumer Buying Cycle

Today, consumers use a variety of sources to make a purchase decision, and the buying cycle is not as straightforward as it once was. Did you know that over 50% of consumers use both search engines and social media when making a purchase decision, according to one comScore study?

Additional research that shows consumers who are exposed to a brand via social media are 2.4 times more likely to click on an organic listing and 2.8 times more likely to click on a paid ad of that brand, demonstrating the power of search advertising, SEO, and social in driving you real results.

Using all three of these marketing tactics is an approach that acknowledges this new consumer behavior and makes sure your business is represented where people spend their time online – surfing, searching, and socializing.

3) It Can Boost Your Brand & Reputation

Word-of-mouth has gone digital, and reputation is another huge area where a concerted, strategic effort to use SEO, search advertising, and social media together can pay off. For example, updated, accurate local listings are often associated with consumer review sites (think Google+ Local), and the reviews customers share can show up in your search results.

Plus, people love to share information about the businesses they love on social sites, so regularly posting fresh content about your products and services can mean more mentions of your brand online – which can in turn show up in search results and make your SEO and search advertising programs even more effective. It’s important to make sure your web presence is optimized and that you’re owning the real estate for your brand when consumers – and customers – search for your business online.

It’s important to leverage the trifecta of search engine advertising, SEO, and social media marketing to not only help you effectively market your business online and generate more leads from search engines, but to also boost your brand and build your reputation.

As CMO of ReachLocal, Todd leads the team responsible for all customer-facing marketing. Todd has 20 years of experience in brand strategy, product marketing, content marketing, and communications at technology startups and Fortune 100 enterprises. Follow at @ReachLocal.