Fortunately there are a number of services that have appeared over the past few years that help us do just that. In this post we’ll be looking specifically at Zapier (https://zapier.com/), a service that specialises in connecting the different apps you use, making automation possible. Previously your email, calendar and data storage operated in silos, leaving us to move data between them, but not anymore! If you can think of a way for your apps to work together, it’s likely that you can accomplish this for free by using Zapier (if you’re well into your automation you’ll probably want to check out IFTTT as well).
Zapier is incredibly easy to use – all you do is pick your first app which provides the “trigger” and the second app provides the “action”. Zapier intuitively ushers you through this setup process for every “Zap” you create.
Here’s 15 of our favourite ways to link up various apps and automate the boring stuff:
It’s annoying and takes a while to manually post your new content to your different social media accounts. Even if you use a social media manager you still have to log in and create and queue the posts, ugh. By linking up your WordPress website and various social media platforms you’ll never have to manually post your blog posts again.
Have your finger always on the pulse by setting up gmail email alerts whenever you are mentioned on your social media platforms. Great for monitoring how your marketing team are doing but also perfect if you’re still managing your presence yourself. Less distracting push notifications and a more streamlined workflow!
Send reminders to your event attendees or seek feedback afterwards
Do you host events that people can book on to? Maybe you provide training or organise community events? With Zapier you can set up email reminders for your Eventbrite attendees and send automatic feedback forms after your event has occurred.
Send out follow ups to people that complete your online forms
If you have any contact or enquiry forms on your website, the sky is the limit for sending follow up emails. Perhaps in the shape or an auto response template, or more personal, using the visitors name and other details.
Save new email leads to a spreadsheet
If you’re fortunate enough to be drowning in leads and enquiries, organise them neatly and automatically in a Google spreadsheet by giving them a certain label in Gmail. This is perfect for passing enquiry information to your sales people or simply keeping a record of the deals you close and the deals you don’t.
Save email attachments straight to Google Drive, Dropbox or OneDrive
This one is a nifty timesaver. Automatically save all file attachments from your email to your chosen cloud storage provider. Quite simple, but great for keeping backups or sharing with your team.
Send email notifications when documents are updated
Do you and your colleagues collaborate on different documents or spreadsheets? Organise to be sent an email notification every time somebody updates these files. This workflow is another example of how processes can not only be less time consuming, but also more effective with automation.
Create Trello cards (to do lists) from starred or labeled emails
If you use Trello (or another app like Todoist) to manage your personal or team to do lists, you can create Trello cards automatically from emails that need action. All you do is give specific emails a certain label and they’ll be added to your to do list ready for later.
Add new contacts to your CRM from online forms
Zapier integrates with a wide range of the most popular CRM systems meaning that if you already have a chosen provider, you’ll probably be able to link it up with other apps. One way of doing this is to automatically add contacts into your CRM system when visitors fill out any type of form. You can take this one step further by adding custom tags depending on what form they fill out or where they heard about you.
Send daily, weekly or monthly emails automatically
If you find that you’re sending similar emails multiple times a month it’s probably time to automate the process. Zapier has a number of built in functions, one being a clock. This means you can send regular communications to anybody. Why not set up monthly reminders to your staff when timesheets or other important documents are due?
Send SMS alerts for really important emails
For those really important emails it would be great if you could be notified via text when they hit your inbox. Fortunately Zapier has your back. Set up SMS alerts to your mobile for any number of different things, including when you receive an email from a certain sender or a specific subject.
Create automated custom client on-boarding processes
Are you still getting new clients on board manually by sending a welcome email, putting their details in your CRM and scheduling the project start? Instead set up an online form via Typeform and have Zapier do all of these things for you. Send out the personalised welcome email, diary an event in your Google calendar and add the client to your Trello board in one click!
Automatically send out Happy Birthday messages to friends, family and clients
Link up your Google Calendar with Gmail through Zapier and send out automatic Happy Birthday emails to everybody you know! Maybe a little impersonal for your close friends and family, but definitely a nice touch for your work colleagues and clients. Vary this slightly and send anniversary emails to your clients, automatically extending your thanks for a brilliant year of collaboration!
It can be a chore adding new contacts to your CRM system whereby you can add them to campaigns or record your communications. Automatically add new client contact details to your favourite CRM by labelling specific emails in Gmail. No more manual data entry!
Convert important emails to PDF
Do you accept project confirmation via email rather than physical signature? If so it’s a good idea to keep a record of this somewhere. Setup a process whereby you automatically convert emails to PDF by labelling them with a certain label. Then save these PDFs to your favourite remote storage for safe keeping.
As you can see Zapier is a powerful application that allows you to connect thousands of different online services together and transfer data and actions between them. We hope you’ve found some useful ideas above to begin automating your work life, although if you want to take this further you may want to consider our sales automation services.
As always, let us know if you have any questions and if you have a favourite Zap, leave it in the comments!
Liam is a website designer and digital marketer based in Leeds, West Yorkshire. He spent many years working within the charity sector before moving into the marketing space a number of years ago. Liam always strives to do something slightly different with every project and always designs to deliver results, not just pretty websites.