You’ve probably already experienced it: you bought or subscribed to some software that you’ve since ditched in favour of another option. I’ve done it lots. Often, we don’t know what we don’t know till we give it a try.
Sometimes there is no one app that fits the bill. I use 4 different graphics apps regularly; likewise, I’m using 3 different social media scheduling apps.
You’ll want to consider how you use the software. It might be difficult to learn and a pain to use but provide great results. Or it might be easy to use but have limited functionality.
So how the heck do we make the right choices? Perhaps it’s more about reducing the risk of making the wrong choices. For instance, if an app is going to cost me $20, I’m probably not going to spend a bunch of time thinking about whether to try it or not. On the other hand, if it’s $500/year, I’ll hesitate and give it more consideration. Here are some suggestions for doing that research:
- Test drive a trial account. Actually use it. Select a transaction or a task and work it all the way through.
- Ask your network. It’s so easy to tweet out a request for info about an app and you’ll get feedback from real people like you. Ask what they like best, or what gave them the most trouble.
- Read the small print. OK, maybe not the teeny-weeny print but check out the list of features, compare options. If it requires a subscription, understand the details. Check the refund policy.
- Check out online reviews. Do a scan to see what users are saying. For example, several might say it’s easy to set up, or it’s slow to load.
- Do comparisons with similar apps. This is as easy as searching “compare abc to xyz” or “software similar to abc“.
- Find out if it integrates with your other apps. At the very least, make sure you can connect to it using Zapier and that Zapier connects to your other apps.
Most important of all, make sure the software actually meets your specific needs. I’ve bought apps for their coolness factor, thinking I would somehow make use of them… and I’m still waiting.
My friend, Anita Kirkbride, has a post you might want to read next: How to Save Money on Social Media Tools to Run Your Small Business.