If you find that your customers are afraid to spend money because they’re still uncertain of the economy — or you have weak sales for another reason — it’s time to take stock of your marketing techniques and things to save your business time and money. Some things clearly fall into one category or the other, but many things fall into both categories.

Email and growing your business

There are countless tools to help you grow your business, and the list depends on the products or services you sell. However, all businesses need an email marketing platform, which can be configured to send out newsletters, notifications, surveys and advertisements to many email addresses at once. This saves you time because you can configure the platform to use different lists for potential customers, customers receiving loyalty rewards, customers who made a purchase, customers who left the site with something in their shopping cart and any other segment you care to delineate.

The email marketing platform is helpful if you want to send out targeted advertising, a personal message, or invite a customer back to finish shopping. You could even use it to send customers links to blog posts or updates to your website.

Tools to help your business save money

All businesses should back up their data. After all, if you suffer a crash, you not only lose inventory records, you’ll also lose customer records, like previous purchases, warranty information and marketing lists. Marketing lists may consist of active customers and potential customers. Losing that data removes your ability to market your wares effectively until you can recapture the data. Backing up data is pertinent to your business, but it’s something that takes time and costs money if you do it yourself locally. Instead of using manpower to run backups and spending money on equipment and storage drives, use a cloud backup service. You can schedule the backups for a time when the computers aren’t in use.

Content management databases also help you save money by reducing manpower and making things easier to find. A common use of a content management database is in a law office. Legal applications are designed to store client information, index pleadings, correspondence, discovery and other court documents. Instead of looking through a paper file to find a document, legal staff can find documents by using keywords. Some content management databases also work hand-in-hand with billing software, so once a document is entered into the system, it automatically bills the client for the appropriate service.

When it comes right down to the wire, you need to increase your small business’s profit. You can’t increase profit if you’re paying employees to do many of the things that could be automated. For the tasks that need an employee — like customer service — give employees leeway so they’re motivated to stay with you and increase sales. At the very least, check into a cloud backup solution and an email marketing platform for inbound marketing to stay ahead of the competition.