co How To Choose Your Online Tools |

One of the big advantages marketers and business owners have in 2015 is the abundance of options we have in tools for improving our performance. Nick Rojas has a nice look at online tools to improve your content marketing strategies on B2C, for instance. He does a short review on tools to research keywords and trends on social media, tools for more efficient SEO, and tools that examine results using analytics.

But a tool is only going to be helpful if you know how to use it. If you are like me, there are a lot of online tools that aren’t going to help me at all because I don’t have time to figure out how to use them or my tech setup isn’t going to make it easy to use. Here’s a good list to keep in mind when choosing your online tools:

  • Do you need what the tool does? Why? Make sure your “why” is solved by this tool.
  • Can your system and team use the tool effectively? If you aren’t the IT guy or the person who will be expected to use the tool, run it past them first. Technology often requires specific attributes that need specific tools.
  • What does your IT security expert think of this tool for your system? Security is not to be ignored for convenience, sad as it is to say.
  • How hard is it to use this tool — and what will the protocol be for using it? Are you going to be scheduling regular checkups for monitoring online health or doing an extensive audit? Is a hard-to-use tool going to hinder what has to happen?
  • How much support comes with this tool? The steeper the learning curve, the more you need someone to help you achieve proficiency.
  • How much does this tool cost? Is it worth the investment? If it doesn’t perform as needed, what are your options?

Tools are good things. Often the right tool will change a frustrating stalemate into a smoothly functioning operation. I think we need tools as business owners and marketers — but we need to make sure that the tools we have are the right ones for our needs. Tools that work for one of us might not work well at all for a colleague, which is part of the reason there are so many tools out there for business applications.

Carefully research and assess your online tool selection so your virtual toolbox has exactly what your business needs for success.