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The Ultimate Guide to Business Process Automation using Zapier

Index

01.

[*What Is Zapier – A Brief Introduction *
to Business Automation
**]

[* *]

02.

[*The Real Power of Zapier – Lookups, *
Filters and Multi-Step Zaps
**]

[* *]

03.

[*Zapier vs IFTTT: The Best Way *
to Automate Your Life?
**]

[* *]

04.

[*222 Zaps You can Start *
Using Right Now
**]

[* *]

05.

[*50 Examples of Business Process *
*Automation from the World’s *
Most innovative Companies
**]

[* *]

How to Automate Your Business [
**]and Personal Life

There’s always something which can make your life easier. Whether you’re stuck watching infomercials at 2 am through lack of sleep or discovering the wonders of the gimmick section of your local supermarket, the idea of a faster and easier path saturates every part of our daily lives. Even the coffee sitting on my desk could be seen as part of this hunger for convenience; I didn’t grind the beans myself, after all.

Now, here at Process Street, we know just as well as anyone that, more often than not, any offer of help we are given with a too-good-to-be-true scheme turns out to be flawed. The ads that you see on clickbait sites, running along the lines of “I made $570 in 6 hours, and so can you!”, or some such nonsense, prey on this desire to save some of the time and effort we put into earning our daily keep.

Despite all of this, finding easier methods and time-saving skips isn’t a bad thing. The desire for efficiency without extra effort can be incredibly useful in having a better day-to-day life, whether it takes the form of dodging traffic by taking the backstreets on the way to work or saving hundreds of dollars by going to a single price comparison website.

Well, now you can take full advantage of the power of programming even if you have no experience or technical skill with computers. This little application will allow you to automate your emails, manage your social media accounts and much, much more, with the bare minimum of setup time.

We present you with Zapier.

 

What is Zapier?

To fully understand what Zapier is, we first need to take a look at APIs. An API (application program interface) is a medium through which computer programs can talk to each other. Don’t worry, we won’t go into the nitty-gritty technical details; instead, we’ll break it down in layman’s terms.

Let’s say that you have one person who only speaks English (let’s call him Facebook) and another who only speaks German (we’ll call her Gmail). Usually, Facebook and Gmail wouldn’t be able to communicate with each other because of the language barrier.

That’s where your translator (API) comes in. The API can speak all languages and so, with its help, Facebook and Gmail can talk to each other, and later share photos and contacts. If you’re still a little vague, take a look at this fantastic little video by the guys over at MuleSoft.

Now, admittedly, by itself an API isn’t terribly impressive; it’s what you can do with them that makes them so useful. This is where Zapier comes in. Zapier allows you to easily use APIs for pretty much any purpose that you can think of, but (once again) we’ll simplify it for you.

Everybody’s heard of the term “cause and effect”; if you heat bread it becomes toast and if you flick the right switch your lights will come on. Zapier follows this rule, except that it allows you to choose the cause and effect within a single process called a “zap”.

For example, let’s say that your family were going to send you some holiday snaps via email, but you wanted them to be stored on your Dropbox account for safe keeping and easy access. With Zapier, you can set up a zap which will detect when you receive an email with an attachment (in this case your mom’s holiday photos) and automatically save them to your Dropbox.

We’ll delve into the many uses for Zapier in a later post, so for now let’s just say that there are hundreds of different uses for this – from sharing posts on your social media to managing your accounts and automating your emails!

 

Triggers and Actions

At the heart of Zapier is the interaction between triggers and actions. If a zap is a cause and effect model, the cause would be your trigger, and the effect is the action.

For the sake of ease, let’s take the previous example of saving your family photos to your Dropbox. In this instance, the trigger would be receiving the email with the photos and the action would be saving the photos to your Dropbox. Cause and effect.

Now, this is all well and good, but for someone who’s completely new to the concept of Zapier (or even APIs in general), setting up these processes can be daunting. In my case, when I was first introduced to Zapier I pretty much had two left hands and nothing but thumbs; I was intimidated, to say the least.

“I’m a writer,” I said to myself, “I can’t program anything but my alarm clock for my daily routine!”

After using it for a while, however, I found that I couldn’t be more wrong. For the effort it takes to set up a Zap, you can save an insane amount of time whilst it runs happily in the background. To prove this to you, let’s go through the process of setting up your very first zap!

 

Making Your First Zap

To start things off, take a quick look at this video by Bill Dotson – although he’s walking through an older version of Zapier, this should help to clear up any remaining confusion about what Zapier does.

Now, let’s get you going on the path to smooth running by showing you how to create your first zap. We’ll stick with the example of setting up a way for your email attachments (family photos) to automatically save to a Dropbox account.

Once we’re through, you’ll never have to worry about digging through your emails to get those snaps of your mom and dad in the south of France again.

 

Make a New Zap

Once you’ve either logged into Zapier or created a new account, the first thing you need to do is to click on “Make a New Zap”. This will get you going on the path to an easier online life!

 

Choose a Trigger

As previously explained, the trigger will be what Zapier is detecting to start the process you wish to carry out. First you need to select the application which will host the trigger action. You can either scroll through the list of applications until you find your desired choice or use the search function (we highly recommend the latter).

Once your program is selected, you must also state the task which needs to occur to start your zap. Search the scroll menu to find the desired spark. If the action is not present, try either using the search bar (for example, we’re looking for an “attachment” trigger) or clicking on “show less common options”, and have another look.

 

Configure Your Trigger

Now that you’ve selected your trigger app and action, you’ll need to give Zapier access to the account you own on that platform. For our family photos example, this would be our Gmail account. Just click on the “Connect a new account” button, then login or fill out your details.

Once you’ve linked your account it’s a good idea to quickly test that the account is working by clicking “Test Account”.

Next up are our email options! Essentially, this is all about focusing the zap onto a particular variant of trigger. If that sounded like a bunch of mumbo-jumbo, think of it like this; you don’t want to be saving all of the email attachments you receive into your “Family Photos” Dropbox folder, right? By setting your options to detect only emails from specific accounts or circles (such as family), you’ll ensure that only the attachments sent from their email address will be picked up.

If you’re still a little lost with the whole concept, don’t worry too much as this step is optional, but we would highly recommend at least giving it a go, as it will really pay off in the long run. For our example of the family photos, you would enter “from:family member’s account”.

 

 

Test the Trigger

Finally, you will be asked to test that the trigger is working, which may require a little preparation on the side of the trigger application itself. In this instance, Zapier needs to test itself on an attachment you have recently been emailed which fits the options you just set.

Click “Fetch and Continue” to run the trigger and see if you’ve got everything set up correctly!

 

Select an Action

Next up is the action which will take place when the trigger is set off. This step is much the same as selecting your trigger, but always remember that you’re now selecting the application for what will come out of the process. First, select the application which will carry out the action; once again, we recommend using the search feature.

Now, much as with setting your trigger, you must choose what the action will do from the drop-down menu. Remember that more actions can be selected by clicking on “Show less common options”, or by searching for them.

If you’re still following our example of family photos, the selection you’ll need is “Copy File from Trigger”, as you want your zap to copy the files attached to the trigger email.

 

Input the Action’s Details

The first thing you need to do to beef out the skeleton of your action is to give Zapier access to the appropriate account. Clicking on “Connect a New Account” will bring up a pop-up in which you will need to both log into your account for the action (in our case, Dropbox) and allow Zapier to have access to it.

Next you have to tell your zap exactly what it has to do with your account. For the family photos, you need to select the Dropbox folder you want them to be saved in and state the naming system for each photo (we’ve just gone with naming the file the same as the photo you received in your email).

You can bring up the selection of naming schemes by clicking the button at the far right-hand side of the “File” heading.

 

 

Test the Action

Much the same as our trigger, the final step in setting up your action is to test it. Click on the “Create & Continue” button to run your test, and wait for the results!

If you want to be thorough, this test will actually save a file (hopefully the attachment which served to test your trigger) into your Dropbox – head over there and see if the process has worked.

 

Name and Activate the Zap

Everything’s set up, and you’re positive that the Zap is working exactly as you want it to; the final step in creating your first Zap is naming it and setting it live. Set the name of your new zap to something which you will easily recognize (just in case you need to edit it later on), then flick the switch to make your life easier!

Our warm-hearted congratulations on setting up your first – and hopefully not last – zap with Zapier.

 

See Your Zaps in Action

Your zap is happily chugging away, working in the background to make your day that little bit easier. However, that’s not quite enough to satisfy us in helping you relax; if you’re anything like me, waking up in a blind panic before realizing that you haven’t taken a GCSE exam in years, you’ll love the ability to periodically check that everything is functioning as it should.

The progress of your zaps can be tracked in a couple of different ways – the first, and most obvious, is to make sure that your zaps are executing by checking that the actions are being carried out. Basically, check for what you set it to do.

In our case, we checked that Zapier was detecting our emails with holiday photos attached, and made sure that those snaps were being put into our Dropbox folder.

Alternatively, you can go to your Zapier dashboard and select “History” from the drop-down menu made by clicking the arrow on the right-hand side of your chosen zap. From this screen, you can see all of the zaps which have been performed (successful or not) and sort them by various categories, dates of execution, etc.

If you want to keep track of your zap history in a spreadsheet, you can even download a CSV (lest we remind of our data-nerdiness). By clicking on any instance of a zap which has been run you will be shown what set off your trigger, and the action that was taken, along with a handy little summary of the success or failure of the zap.

 

What are Filters?

To round off our little “What is Zapier?” introduction, we’ll go a little beyond the basics and give you a peek at what this marvel is truly capable of. Sometimes you won’t be able to carry out the process you want to with a single trigger and action; this is where filters come in.

Clicking on the little plus symbol in your zap timelines when creating them will allow you to add your choice of another action or a filter. More actions are definitely useful, allowing you to do several tasks automatically from the same trigger, but filters allow you to limit your actions to only run under specific circumstances.

For example, let’s go back to our ever-useful Gmail photo zap. At the moment it will run no matter what attachment is sent by Jenny Mulholland, saving all of them in the same place. With a filter, we can set our zap to only run within certain parameters.

Let’s say that you asked your family member to include the words “holiday photo” in their email, if the attachment they’re sending is some holiday snaps. You would then be able to set a filter which would only let the zap run if the subject line or body of the email contained the words “holiday photo”.

Through combinations of “and” and “or” filters (parameters which must either all be met, or only one fulfilled, respectively), you can turn even the most basic of zaps into a veritable army of automation.

What is Zapier? The largest timesaver for commercial and public uses alike since Big Ben.

The Essential Secrets of [
**]Automation Software

Last week, we treated you to the first post in our Zapier series. “What is Zapier?“ covered the basics, but in this post we are going to go deeper into the advanced workings of the most useful automation software to have ever graced your computer screen.

If you still haven’t tried out Zapier yet, don’t sweat it! Considering how long it takes myself to come around to the idea of new technology (Windows 8 was a true shock to the system), you can’t be blamed for not going all-out straight away. So, to put any remaining doubts at rest, allow us to prove why Zapier truly is your dream automation software.

Matthew really hits the nail on the head with this review; although it’s a fantastic program, unless you have the time and dedication to test out the entire app yourself, you’re probably not even going to know about some of the most useful features. That’s where we’re kicking in.

First, a couple of quick examples:

With Zapier, you can set up a ‘rule’ (called a zap) which triggers every time a particular thing (your trigger) happens and does something elsewhere (your action). I’ll clear that up:

  • {color:#191919;}•When your mom sends you photos, Zapier can grab them from Gmail and save them into a folder you choose in Dropbox. Automatically, of course.
  • {color:#191919;}•If you’re a Close.io user, you can populate Close.io with leads automatically by having it scrape contact details from your main email address.
  • {color:#191919;}•Process Street can also be integrated with Zapier; you can set checklists to automatically run and assign members when your trigger is set off.

Millions of things are possible with these trigger/action zaps, but when you dig deeper, you’ll find infinite possibilities. In this post, we’ll be explaining the more advanced features of Zapier and what they allow you to do.

Who wants to make their workload tremble in its boots?

 

Multi-Step Zaps

While single zaps can do amazing things, to create true workflows, you need to start chaining them together. Here’s an example of the workflow the guys over at Typeform created with multi-step zaps:

Multi-step zaps are exactly what you would expect from their name – a string of events which you can set to occur from a single trigger. Just in case you still don’t quite understand what all the fuss is about, allow me to give you an example.

Let’s go back to our trusty instance of moving your family photos from an email to your Dropbox. It’s all set up and running smoothly, so now all you have to worry about is sharing those same photos on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram… You can see where we’re going with this. Prior to multi-step zaps, you would need to create a new process for each and every task you wanted to carry out, but now you can include all of those steps in the same zap.

To do this, you need to go to your dashboard and select the zap you wish to extend (or make a new zap, and rejoin us when you’ve set up a single trigger and action).

 

Once you’re in, click on the large circle with a plus at the centre (underneath your first action) to create a new action.

 

Now just fill out the details as you have the previous steps! Choose your app to link to, fill out the details and enjoy even more automation!

Your zaps are now firing off who-knows-how-many actions, saving you ridiculous amounts of time and effort with one simple (automatic) process. Amazing, but what if we told you that you’ve still only just scratched the surface of what Zapier can do to limit the need for you to do the legwork?

 

Lookups

As we’ve said, multi-step zaps are all well and good, but the real power behind this feature comes with what having multiple actions allows you to do; the best example of this is through using lookups. Never heard of one? No worries. I’m about to explain.

Lookups are essentially filters or actions which search for specific data when your trigger is set off; before multi-steps came in this would be a waste of a zap, as you would essentially be retrieving data which nobody (including yourself) could utilize. However, now you can actually do something with the data you retrieve.

For example, let’s say that you have a new customer sign up and wish to add them to your mailing list. Usually, you would need some form of human intervention to assess which mailing list this customer should be put on, but with lookups, everything can be done inside a single zap.

Instead of manually searching for your customer’s data, you can set one of your actions to retrieve it using a specific search term (eg: the customer’s email address), which can then be filtered in order to sort the customer into the appropriate mailing list. In the new customer mailing list example, if they turn out to be a high-value lead you can add them to your high-touch mailing list, whilst the average user can be put onto your standard course.

If you want some more ideas on how lookups can be used, or you aren’t quite sold on just how powerful they can be, take a look below at our video on the subject. Feel free to use the zap we show you too; it’s a real doozy!

 

Custom Trigger and Action Variables

In your travels of setting up zaps, you may have noticed that certain fields in your triggers and actions have the option to “Use a Custom Value”. Whilst you need to be certain that the information you enter is correct and will have the desired effect, this is yet another powerful tool to add to your Zapier arsenal; with this tool, you’re no longer confined to the preset categories!

As always, we’ll use a basic example to get you going; let’s dive into a zap which creates a card in Trello for every new lead in Close.io. In this case, we’ll use a custom value for the colour of the label which will be attached to the Trello card (bear in mind that not all fields can have a custom value added to them).

First, select “Use a Custom Value” from the very bottom of the drop-down menu supplied for the detail.

 

Now you have two options. The first is to go right ahead and type the custom value (in our case “black”) directly into the next field.

Alternatively, if it suits the detail you’re filling out, you can use the drop-down menu to select information from your trigger.

 

Delays

Perhaps until now you’ve sat comfortably on the knowledge that zapier works by linking one app with another, with the occasional extra action and filter thrown in. Well, throw that concept in the trash, then take the usability of zapier and multiply it by 10, because you can also delay any action if you so desire.

Much like lookups, the usefulness of delays is pretty much limited only by what you can imagine them doing; with a little creativity, you’ll find some fantastic time-saving use cases. First, however, we’ll cover the principles of delays to get you on your feet.

First up, delays count as an extra action. As such, to add a delay you’ll need to create a new action before the steps you wish to delay.

Once you’ve started a new action, type “delay” or “delay by zapier” into the search field for the action app; the icon you need should have an hourglass icon.

Next you need to choose whether to delay the next action until a certain date, or for a set period of time. Although these are the only delays which Zapier currently permits, we may see additions to this field in future updates. We’ll demonstrate how to use a “Delay For” action, but if you wish to set a specific time with “Delay Until”, you can type in a static date, a term such as “next monday at 8pm” or the date from your trigger.

Finally, type in the amount of time (numbers only) and select the unit from the drop down menu.

 

Date / Time Offsets

It’s not always the case that you want to grab data straight away from the source when the zap fires off. In some cases, you want to wait for it to become useful. For example, let’s say you’ve got a card in Trello with a due-date. Instead of triggering an action when it’s due, you might want to trigger it the day before. How can you do that?

By using a date offset, you could have a Trello card automatically create a Process Street checklist in time for you to run through it and prepare for the due date. This could be something like a blog post task which automatically runs a pre-publish checklist eight hours before the due date.

Using these advanced Zapier techniques, why not dive in and see just how much of your daily grind you can automate, all in the same zap? We’d love to hear the inventive ways you’ve managed to save time with Zapier, be it through multi-steps, lookups or basic zaps.

Business vs Casual, [
**]Zapier vs IFTTT

Whether it’s Coke vs Pepsi, Ariel vs Persil or Hawaiian pizza vs everything good in the world, rivalries are everywhere. They make for fantastic spectator sports and can help improve our lives by showing the flaws in each side.

In our efforts to help you guys automate as much of the laborious shovel work in your lives as possible, we came across two main competitors; the great battle that is Zapier vs IFTTT.

Okay, so maybe “battle” is over-dramatising things a little; it’s not as if they’re running massive smear campaigns. Still, the competition is real, as both Zapier and IFTTT have earned their spots on the map for being darned good pieces of kit. This got us thinking; which is better?

Here at Process Street, we’re not usually ones to stir up the hornet’s nest and pit one thing against another. Unless it’s the company Hearthstone tournament, in which case all bets are off.

In this case, however, we made an exception and took a long hard look at both Zapier and IFTTT; both are cause and effect automation software, but which should you be using to give yourself that extra bit of free time?

 

The Basics

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Let’s start things off with a look at the basics; we already know what Zapier is and what it can do. Zapier runs on a cause and effect model, although you are by no means limited to a single effect, and you are able to filter your zaps to limit when they run. IFTTT is slightly different.

If This Then That (IFTTT) also runs on cause and effect – if the name didn’t already give the away. The equivalent of your zaps are called “recipes”, however, they can generally only link one application to another (there are no multi-step recipes). Whilst it is true that this could limit IFTTT’s potential usability when compared to Zapier, it also makes the app easier to use for beginners.

Another advantage that IFTTT has is that recipes are incredibly easy to obtain, as they are readily shared by their creators within the app itself; more often than not, if you’re looking to execute a specific process, or you’re just bum out of ideas, you’ll find something useful in their “Browse” section.

Zapier is also only available on a web browser, whilst IFTTT can be accessed on the web, through a desktop app (Windows, MAC or Linux) or even on mobile devices (iPhone and Andriod). This fits in nicely with IF’s ability to directly interact with a single app through “DO” recipes; you can utilize their app to save notes or receipts on the fly with Evernote, keep track of your work hours in Google Drive, or even ring your own phone to get out of an awkward situation.

In short, as far as the basics of the two apps go, Zapier allows greater customization and specialization with automating your processes, whilst IFTTT is easier to break into and more multi-purpose. The business tycoon vs the casual home user, if you will.

 

Integrations

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So, both of the apps we’re looking at have incredible similarities in their basic functions, albeit with Zapier sacrificing a little simplicity to have a greater usability. But what about their differences before a user has even come into the equation?

All workflow automation software needs to be able to integrate with the applications its users interact with. Notice the words we used there; if the software has integrations that its users are never going to take advantage of, they’re little better than a digital pet rock. To put it bluntly, numbers aren’t everything, as we also need to consider how these integrations can and will be used.

 

How Many and [
**]What Are They?

IFTTT currently sits at a cozy 271 integrations, whilst Zapier is showing off over 500. Both are linked up with your usual suspects, such as Buffer, Dropbox, Facebook, Gmail and Slack, but it isn’t just a case of Zapier having more.

One of the reasons why we earlier called IFTTT as more of the “casual” user’s application is that it can integrate with programs in your car and home. For example, you can remotely control your lights with Hue, open your garage door as you arrive home with Garageio or even set yourself a reminder if an engine light comes on!

This physical device interaction extends to your mobile, as there is an entire category of integrations which can carry out tasks based on your phone’s battery, current location, reminders or even texts.

Zapier, however, has the market cornered in terms of professional use, especially since multi-step zaps were introduced. Interactions with apps like Agile, Close, Google Analytics, Pipedrive and (of course) Process Street, along with the new multiple actions feature, allow you to collect data and use it, rather than set a mindless action with little to no flexibility.

As for organization, Zapier stores its integrations in one large search system, which can also be filtered by category (such as Customer Support or Lead Generation). Meanwhile, IFTTT once again gets down to basics by getting you to either type in the app you want to see, or scroll down a list of categories such as Business, Connected Car, Connected Home and Mobile.

For a full list of Zapier’s integrations, click here, and for IFTTT’s, click here.

 

How the Integrations Work

Even with a complete list of the integrated apps in front of you, you need to also consider how you’re going use them. After all, just because these apps are both linked to many of the same services does not mean that they can be used in the same ways.

For example, let’s take a look at Gmail, Dropbox and Slack, and what you can do with them on both Zapier and IFTTT. In Zapier, Gmail can be used to set 7 different triggers or 3 actions – IFTTT allows 6 triggers or just the 1 action. This isn’t too much of a disparity, and Dropbox follows this trend of Zapier being slightly more complex, with 2 triggers and 4 actions compared to 2 and 3. Slack, however, is where things get a little more telling.

Zapier integrates with Slack through a possible 5 triggers, 5 actions or 3 searches (mid-process information gathering steps). IFTTT has a grand total of 1 action for Slack and that’s it. Simplicity truly is the name of the game with If This Then That, which also translates into the accounts which you can link within the app.

Unlike Zapier, IFTTT does not allow you to link multiple accounts to your integrations (unless you want to make an entirely new account in order to do so). On the other hand, entire companies can synchronize their Twitter accounts through Zapier – there’s no limit.

To summarize, when looking at the integrations in the Zapier vs IFTTT battleground, neither app comes out with a decisive victory. Although I would lean more towards Zapier, owing to being a general data nerd, if you don’t quite need to analyze a twitter campaign or make your customer support run that bit smoother, IFTTT may be the better way to go. Integration-wise, it’s much easier to learn the ins-and-outs of, and you can use it to control items around your home as an added bonus!

 

Workflow Options (Usage)

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Next up in the criteria of Zapier vs IFTTT is the different ways in which these apps allow you to carry out your workflows. This is another field where, once again, we get the sense that Zapier is akin to the business version of IFTTT, if only due to the complexity of the actions you can carry out.

 

Multi-Steps vs DO Recipes

As we have seen in previous posts, one of Zapier’s greatest assets is its multi-step zap feature. By permitting you to attach as many actions to a single trigger as you desire, Zapier suits its user’s professional needs perfectly. This is mainly due to the incredible power of lookups in multi-step zaps; a manipulation which allows you to retrieve and utilize specific data within the same automatic process.

Whilst IFTTT does not allow for these complex workflows, it instead simplifies and streamlines the single-trigger-single-action process. In almost the complete opposite of Zapier’s fancy and potentially confusing multi-steps, IFTTT (on the surface) can even cut out the set trigger altogether and directly give you the ability to run a desired action through “DO” recipes.

Now, that may have been a bit of a mouthful, so allow me to explain. IFTTT’s standard “IF” recipes follow the same format as the basics of Zapier; one app triggers one action. However, the “DO” recipes allow the action to be triggered whenever you run the recipe – no trigger is required.

For example, one of the “DO” recipes is to create a note in Evernote. If you run the recipe, a new note will be created and saved, which you can then type straight into.

It is worth noting that this feature of IFTTT is especially potent when combined with the various platforms the app can be run on; booting up an app just to make a note in Evernote whilst on a computer is pointless, but using it whilst on a phone or iPad can be invaluable.

 

Filters

This is the first hurdle where we have a clear winner. Adding filters to your automatic workflows can make them insanely more powerful, at the expense of simplicity; you guessed it, Zapier is the only platform which allows this.

Although IFTTT is commendable in its efforts to stick to the basics and offer alternative ways to get around the ensuing issues (such as introducing separate DO apps for notes, photos, etc), Zapier’s filters can be used to truly focus down on the precise action and timescale you wish to apply.

Now, despite having gone over filters previously, let’s give you the run-down again. Filters can be placed before any action, limiting the zap to only running when preset criteria are reached. At their most basic, filters consist of a single command which draws data from either the trigger or a previous action; for example, “Only run this zap when the trigger email’s text contains the words ‘family photo’”.

You don’t have to stop there, however, as you can set several lines of requirements, fitting into “And” or “Or” fields. “And” fields must all be met in order for the zap to fire, whilst “Or”s can be met instead of the other instructions. By using these variations, you can tailor all of your automatic processes, providing exceptions to your rules and preventing your complex zaps from firing due to (or causing) unwanted events.

 

Shared Recipes vs Zap Library

[* *]

Let’s say that you want to use a certain process, but either don’t know how or don’t want to make it yourself; this is where the shared libraries of each app come in. Both zaps and recipes are provided for your convenience, ready to use from preset models, but which is the more useful library?

Starting with IFTTT, there’s almost no way to avoid the shared recipes (which is a good thing). Whether you load up the app version or just log into the site, the very first page you’re shown is the recipe page, which is split into 3 tabs; Recommended, DO Recipes and IF Recipes.

Honestly, I couldn’t fault this approach even if I wanted to. It beautifully plays into IFTTT’s ideal of simplicity, whilst giving you some stellar recipes and some data to boot (the creator’s username, how many users have the recipe, and how many have favorited it). Each entry comes with a customized title and description, detailing what exactly the recipe does.

All you need to do is scroll through to a recipe you like, click on it, connect your accounts and then click add. Beautiful.

Zapier, on the other hand, trips up a little here. First up, viewing sample zaps isn’t quite as easy as shared recipes. Sure, it’s not exactly difficult, but for the user who just wishes to grab a premade zap and be off, logging in, moving to the Recommendations tab, selecting an app they want to use (through a slider) and then choosing from basic 2-step zaps isn’t ideal.

This is most definitely a category where Zapier’s complexity counts against it, and having multiple avenues and pages for the same basic premade zaps doesn’t particularly help. For perspective, you can also wind your way through the Explore or Use Cases tabs to find the very same zaps, albeit with slightly different categorization.

In fact, the presence of multiple pages with the same name, but different displays or functions confused me even whilst writing – the Use Cases page in the Zapbook (onsite tutorial / encyclopedia) serves the same function as the Use Cases tab within your dashboard, but has a completely different layout.

Due to the more complex nature of zaps, it’s understandable as to why there aren’t any premade examples (at least onsite) of powerful multi-step zaps ready to go, but this is definitely an area which could see some huge improvements.

Thankfully, we here at Process Street love a bit of a challenge. Zapier’s lack of detailed sample zaps was quickly combatted with a little creativity, research and trial and error, but the ease of access to useful recipes in IFTTT just can’t be ignored. At least for the casual user, IFTTT owns this segment.

 

User Experience

[* *]

So far we’ve gone over the hard facts; what the basic features of each app are, what they integrate with – everything which can be quantified and safely determined to be fact between the two apps. Now it’s time to stray a little into the more ambiguous field of user experience, by comparing the reviews of each product. After all, what good is a single point of view when countless customers with countless setups have different experiences?

 

“Official” Reviews

Here we’ll be taking a look at the reviews of each product which have been made into articles; those with slightly more scholarly credentials, if you will.

 

Across the board, IFTTT does impressively well. It’s true that some minor complaints crop up, such as broken initial downloads and no way to distinguish between an Android phone and tablet once both are connected to the same account. Largely, however, IFTTT is a hit in article reviews; the basic UI is going down nicely, along with the general ease of use once you have it up and running.

All in all, we’d say it’s a slam dunk.

Much like its competitor, Zapier also has stellar reviews; the potential of the platform, along with the sheer number of available integrations is often highlighted as a big enough selling point. Once again, however, we need to be a little careful, as the pricing plan (which we will cover later on) is brought into perspective when combined with the general affirmation that Zapier is a business automation tool.

What do I mean by that? Well, the vast majority of reviews state at one point or another that Zapier is good for business automation. Not only this, but those that do not often compare it to IFTTT, concluding that one cannot be recommended over the other. We’re seeing the business-casual divide between these apps in action; when treated as a business application Zapier will wipe the floor, but as a pure automation app, IFTTT manages to creep its way to level-heading.

 

User Reviews

There’s nothing like a trawl through the user review section of any product to give a little perspective. Users have a delightfully blunt way of tearing products apart, or breaking it in ways most others can’t even imagine, but a trawl through the reviews for these apps was pleasantly surprising.

IFTTT (including its mobile apps) once again garners general praised and high ratings, however, there do seem to be a series of odd bugs with certain devices. Nexus phones apparently don’t get on well with the apps, resulting in upside-down mirror images at best, straight out crashes at worst. DO Button struggles with Android shortcuts and certain uses of location triggers are hit-and-miss, but the apps combined are still hitting an average of 4/5 amongst the 80,000+ users who have left reviews.

Most likely because they’ve limited themselves to a single platform, Zapier has pretty much no the bugs amongst its users (that I could find). The only faults its (almost exclusively business-oriented) user reviews highlight is the complexity of the initial setup and the lack of useful premade zaps which we have already pointed out. Bear in mind that the reviews were much more limited in number, and so this could factor into the lack of technical issues reported.

In short, the user reviews pretty much mirror those in articles; from a casual standpoint IFTTT is the app to use (albeit with some minor issues on various platforms) whilst Zapier has the business market cornered.

 

Pricing Plans

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Finally, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty topic of price in the comparison of Zapier vs IFTTT. Now, this may seem like a no-brainer, as only one of these apps actually has a paid model, but stick with us – there is method to the madness.

As you may have guessed by this point, IFTTT is a completely free model. No aspect can be enhanced by paying even if you wanted to (although there have been rumblings in the past about a paid model being introduced). This doesn’t mean that you’re getting a perfect service, however.

You can store and run your recipes for free with no worry, although to link multiple accounts to your integrated apps, you’ll need an entirely new account. Similarly (and probably due to being free), your recipes are limited in that they are not constantly or immediately executed – there can be a 15-minute delay for IF recipes to fire, or for the action of a DO recipe to save and transfer to the chosen app.

Meanwhile, Zapier stands true to its business focus and comes with several pricing plans, from completely free, up to $125 per month. As you would expect, the 5 plans off more features as they grow in price: 0$ per month allows you to save 5 zaps, leaves 15 minutes between trigger checks and allows 100 tasks per month, whilst $125 gives you 125 zap save slots, runs check every 5 minutes, allows 50,000 tasks per month, etc.

Now, it should be borne in mind that two very powerful features of Zapier are locked out from the free plan, these being multi-step zaps and certain “Premium” apps. If you want to take full advantage of Zapier’s usability over IFTTT, you’ll need to, at least, be using the $20 per month Basic plan. If you’re not certain about paying for Zapier, a 15-day free trial is available for their advanced features (such as multi-steps).

Using Zapier to its full potential is well worth the price tag, however, we’re once again returning to the question of business vs casual. If you just want a little automation for free, IFTTT has you covered with its lack of fees, whilst the more focused and dedicated automation user (who is willing to pay at least $20 per month) will find that they can get far more out of Zapier’s Basic plan.

 

Zapier vs IFTTT: [
**]The Finale

[* *]

We’ve come full circle; the curtain is calling and we must put these apps to bed. After all of the examinations, which app should you be using to automate your life?

At the risk of being a cop out… We’d recommend both. Now, before the pitchforks come out, let us explain.

Zapier is an absolute monolith of automation software – if you need any level of complex task doing, Zapier can find the exact piece of data you’re after every single time and sort it all into your chosen location. There really is nothing that can contest it in this sense.

IFTTT, however, has the advantages of simplicity and mobility; the mobile apps allow you to fire quick recipes on the go or even adopt useful new ones from a truly fantastic selection of shared recipes. Need to make a note or save a receipt quickly and only have your phone? IF’s got you covered. Want to record your work or gym time, or perhaps set an important reminder? IF’s easy as pie to use.

There’s a reason that we’ve been trampling the business vs casual metaphor into the ground; if you want to get rid of as much of the tiresome legwork in your life as possible, use IFTTT in your personal life and Zapier for your business.

After all, who doesn’t love a bit of smart casual in their life?

Use These Premade Zaps to [
**]Kickstart an Easier Life

One of the downsides of Zapier is undoubtedly its complexity; when you’re just starting out with process automation it’s almost a requirement to have some sort of premade indication as to what you can actually do.

When I first started using zaps to sort out my work life, I was, frankly, crap. Nevertheless, I stuck with it, and today I’m saving (at least) an hour a day, along with some serious worrying about minor tasks.

The turning point for me? Seeing examples of premade zaps.

Once you get a grasp of what other people are using the platform for (and, by extension, what you can use it for) the possibilities open up. Some sort of magical knowledge is imparted which allows you to see the true light! Or, at least, you can start to confidently make more complex zaps.

So, in order to help you all along to your automation dreams, we here at Process Street have collected together 222 premade zaps to show you exactly what you can do with a powerhouse like Zapier.

 

Accounting

Yes, we just had to start with a boring one, but hear us out. Accounts and invoices are a necessarily evil in the function of businesses, but for all of the time you can invest in them, your efforts will pretty much only be noticed when there’s something wrong. Whether you’ve forgotten to save (or accidentally lost) a vital invoice or a customer just slips through the cracks, problems with your accounting system can cripple your entire foundation.

It’s not all doom and gloom though! With these premade zaps you can ensure that all of your invoices are automatically generated and your accounts will be in order.

 

Creating Invoices

First things first, let’s deal with saving secure copies of your invoices. Whether you need to create an invoice from a form or directly due to a received payment, Zapier already has you covered. Add a couple of extra actions or filters and you’ll have a formidable system which requires no effort on your part.

 

Saving Data For Your Accounts

Now let’s get those invoices safely into your accounting software; remember that if you can’t see your accounting software in these premade zaps, all you need to do is take the zap and swap it in!

To round off the accounting section, why not give your customers some attention? Have the details of the people who are paying you automatically updating and ready to access whenever you wish. Well, it certainly beats forgetting important names.

 

Backups

As I learned pretty quickly in my time professionally writing, backing up your work is an absolute must. Sometimes this can take the form of using cloud storage systems, such as a locally-synced Google Drive folder (“Godsends”, as I like to call them) or platforms like Evernote and Workflowy.

However, there comes a point where extra automation is required; perhaps you just need to archive a metric ton of data for later analysis, or maybe you need to record your activity within a particular app for later reference. Either way, Zapier once again has your back.

 

Archiving Data

Here’s a few handy zaps for if you’ve ever felt the need to archive data for later, be it saving content to Airtable, useful Tweets to later analyse or sales data to keep an up-to-date record.

 

Saving Activity

The humble text file is a sadly underestimated resource for one reason; its accessibility. Whether you’re the world’s No.1 programmer or the average Joe on the way back from the gym, everyone and anyone can read and understand a basic text file.

Don’t worry though; we won’t be forcing you to use text files if you don’t want to. Instead, here’s a selection of zaps to use with your program of choice (remember that you can use a zap and change one of the apps if you need to).

 

File Management

File management has been a problem since long before computers were ever invented. For your average office, you solved it through coded binders and filing cabinets; to organise your computer, it’s time to use Zapier. Use the following zaps to automatically create folders for your new clients, collect all of your data into one cloud storage account and even automatically copy files uploaded to your chosen location.

Collecting Files in One Place

Kicking off our file management automation are a series of zaps designed to collect all of the required files into one place. Whether you’re swapping file storage provider or collecting client-uploaded files which you need, use these zaps to avoid the tedious process of downloading and re-uploading the data you need.

 

 

Separating Clients into Folders

Storing important information for your clients in separate folders is an absolute must in order to avoid a spaghetti junction of a mess. Tasty as that may sound, give these zaps a try to save yourself the hassle of separating your clients’ folders as soon as they sign up, by automatically generating a new and distinct folder or form entry for each one.

 

Inbox Automation

Now that Google’s mail service has close to a billion subscribed users, it’s a pretty safe bet that these zaps will come in handy at some point or another.

 

Saving Attachments

Let’s start off nice and easy, with some zaps to automatically save any received email attachments to your choice of service.

Task and Todo List Generation

If you were to start labelling your emails, you could also automatically generate task or todo lists! Whether you use Trello, Asana, Basecamp or even Google Task for your task management, these inbox zaps can take a chunk out of your workload.

Whilst those zaps are brilliant for emails you receive, if you’d rather send an email to create a task list, you can use any of the following.

Whilst those zaps are brilliant for emails you receive, if you’d rather send an email to create a task list, you can use any of the following.

Archiving Emails

Alternatively, if you want to keep a record or backup of all of your emails (never a bad thing to do with important information), you can use these zaps in conjunction with either labels or tags in Gmail.

Recurring and Reminder Emails

Whether you need to periodically send reminders to your team or touch base every so often with a particular customer, Zapier can work wonders with both your recurring and reminder emails. Use these zaps to send prompt reminders to your customer success outreach program, or to just make sure the you’re getting shit done.

Lead Management

Generating and nurturing leads is one of the most important aspects of any company; by carefully generating and cultivating your leads, you can quickly see your customer base grow and your monthly recurring revenue soar.

So why not focus on the important work which actually requires your attention, and automate the rest?

 

Saving Leads to an Email List

First up in lead management, we have some process automation for moving leads from a web form into an email list. With these you can cut out the intermediate stages, generating leads from a web form interacting with your landing page, whilst Zapier automatically moves them into a mailing list.

If you’d rather transfer your leads to an email list straight from your CRM, these zaps will hit the spot.

Perhaps you’re hosting an event or webinar and wish to generate leads as you go? No worries, you can still automate their transition to a mailing list!

What if you’ve already secured the lead and wish to nurture it through a separate mailing list to your potential customers? Well, then you need only use one of these processes to get you going with no human input!

Managing Leads Within Your CRM

Your mailing lists are now set up and automatically adding the appropriate new leads, but the automation doesn’t stop there! The situation may arise whereby your email lists or web forms are registering leads without them first being processed through your CRM.

So, to start you off, we’ll cover the basics. Take a look at these zaps designed to update your CRM leads, from either your email list or web forms!

Now for the more in-depth automation; use these zaps to push leads into your CRM when they attend your events or webinars.

Finally, when automating your CRM your want to ensure that your new customers will not be forgotten. From Paypal to Chargify, the following zaps provide a straight-out-of-the-box route to managing your new customers.

Process Street [
**]Automation

As you’re probably well aware by now, Process Street is dedicated to taking the hard work out of your workflows, so integrating with Zapier can yield some especially potent results. Not only will you have access to detailed and easily actionable workflows, but they will be able to automatically run themselves and assign the relevant team members!

Check out our previous post on the full list of our integrations with Zapier for more details, however, I’ll relay the meat of the tag-team here.

 

Hacking Your Sales

Salesforce, Close.io, Pipedrive or more, none are too far for us to integrate with and lessen your workload by doing so. These zaps are designed to automate various aspects of your sales methods, for example, standardising a high quality of service by running checklists for every new customer.

Perfecting Your Customer Support

Never again be afraid of your customers being lost in the chasm of customer support (let’s be honest, it happens to the best of companies); use any of the following to track your progress with recurring checklists, update your customers’ status and even monitor your customer success teams as they deal with feedback!

Project Management

Project Creation

Countless articles have discussed the value of automating as many of your project bottlenecks as possible. This is especially true of the start of a new project, as you don’t want to be stuck waiting around for someone to fill out a web form’s details in every fresh start. So, instead of waiting, set up any of these zaps to automatically start your projects from a web form.

If, however, you prefer to start your projects from when you send your client an invoice, any of these zaps will have you covered.

Moving Todo Items to the Correct List

Organizing a team to have up-to-date todo lists across their various platforms can be a nightmare, but quite often there would be far too much information to plug into one medium and remain legible. So why not automatically move items between your todo lists in various applications?

Alternatively, you could even go one step further and make the creation of your todo tasks completely automatic!

Project Tracking

When you’re working on a project, you want to be able to ensure that you have a way to look back on the relative progress you’ve made, such as the work time you’ve logged and the project’s current status. Once again, Zapier automation is here to save you the trouble of carrying out these tasks manually!

First up, we have a bunch of zaps all designed to automatically log your time spent within a certain project.

If, instead, you wish to track your projects via company dashboards, then these are the use cases for you.

Maintaining a Universal Project Calendar

As this heading would suggest, these zaps are based around automating a universal project calendar to ensure that no deadlines are missed. Tasks, milestones, events, you name it and Zapier can create a calendar entry out of it.

Organizing Project Data

By archiving your project data you can create an easily accessible and documented copy of your project at any point which can be used for reference later. If a project does exceptionally well (or fails), this will allow you to take a step back and look t what may have caused this, or where everything started to change, based on the data from the time.

 

Sales

Sales teams are a fantastic avenue you can use to see tangible benefits of your process automation efforts. After all, if your team is bogged down by the leg work of manually sorting and recording all of your customers, along with creating records of the purchase, they will have significantly less time to sell your product to other customers. Although we’ll later show off some nifty zaps to help out in the general management of a sales team, putting these automations in place to work alongside your team will give you some of the most immediately noticeable performance increases.

Organizing New Customers

Kicking us off are a few zaps based around dealing with those precious new customers as soon as the deal is set. Using these processes will allow you to add your customers to your mailing lists and CRM without the sales team (or any other team, for that matter) ever having to lift a finger.

Another feature which savvy entrepreneurs have cottoned onto is sending an email to their new customer as soon as possible after their purchase. Touching base with them as quickly as possible can be a huge boon to your customer retention, and so here’s some ways to send automatic emails as soon as a new customer purchases your product.

 

Processing Orders

Once you’ve made the sale, it’s a good idea to also have a little automation to take care of duties such as putting the order into your accounting software and creating follow-up tickets. The accounting software is self-explanatory (financial records are a must), but by also generating a follow-up ticket, you can ensure that the customer’s progress and problems can be tracked from the moment they purchase

Who’s for helping out your sales and support process at the same time?

 

Social Media (Monitoring)

Practically nothing is more prevalent in the field of process automation than monitoring your social media. Rather than having to trawl through awkward apps or ludicrously specific search results, using these zaps will save you so much time that, frankly, my vocabulary fails me.

A little creativity (especially with the new multi-step zaps) pays huge dividends in this field, but we’ll give you some nifty starting points, ripe for the editing.

 

Monitoring Twitter

To start us off, never again lose track of your brand on Twitter! These automations specialise in gathering all of the data you’ll need to analyse your presence on this social media giant, whether you’re monitoring the times your brand is mentioned or saving tweets to later sift through.

 

Dealing with Webhooks

Webhooks can be a little more complex, however, they can allow you to refine your social media monitoring operations to be that much more useful. RSS and API are both supported, but you’ll once again be required to do a little tweaking to get the exact results you’re after.

Social Media (Sharing)

One of the most basic, yet omnipresent tasks in the worlds of content promotion and marketing is the duty of syncing up a network of social media posts. From ensuring that all of your posts are shared across the relevant channels to scheduling posts for even more automation, this section of our Zapier use cases guide has got you covered.

 

Syncing Up to Social Media

The first thing that you should be doing for any blog post is making sure that all of the appropriate social media channels under your control are sharing your content. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and more – all of these are available to be automated at the push of a button!

Sharing Status Updates

Social media can be a dangerous place to work; even ignoring the potential backlash or trolls, there’s one aspect which is especially prevalent in dealing with this platform… You can get distracted!

Even the best of up are tempted to follow just that one more link before heading back to work. What should be a 20-second visit to share a status update turns into a 15-minute tangent, ending in that weird part of Youtube and a stray thought of “How the hell did I get here?”

So, why not cut out the middleman and use these apps to ensure that the temptation of Buzzfeed can never rear its ugly head in the first place.

Scheduling Share Times

You don’t want to have to log into your various social media accounts every time you want to share something, so why not set a time for your posts to automatically go out? Zapier says “Why not, indeed”.

Sharing on Work Channels

This practice can be every bit as valuable as organising your general social media sharing, as your work team are perhaps the most likely group of people to give your content the initial push it will need to garner that first hint of attention. Does the change in platform mean that you won’t be able to get in some process automation?

Hell no!

 

Team Management

Behind any business (be it SaaS or a Hawaiian-themed restaurant) is a team devoted to making everything run smoothly. An old analogy springs to mind of a swan; the public face of the company (barring total meltdown) is calm, serene and in perfect order, but below the water its legs are madly paddling against the current. To put it bluntly, without your team backing you up, you’ll drown.

Although this point may be hammered to death by the end of the post, automation = extra time for your team to work on what really matters. Rather than chasing vital information around the company or remaining unaware of a new customer signing up, automation through Zapier will blast out almost any chance of inefficiency or inaccuracy (at least for the tasks you’re automating).

 

Sharing Information and Team Activity

If your team isn’t on the same page, with up-to-date information and prompt alerts of what they need to know (such as incoming workflows or processes which need carrying out), your productivity will go down the drain faster than you can say “Who’s meant to be doing this?”. So, to avoid this happening, here’s a few zaps to ensure that your team stays up to date on everything they need to know!

 

Managing Your Sales Team

Your sales team is absolutely vital for bringing in your new leads and attracting the right kind of customer, so why waste time either waiting to be notified of a new customer, or manually communicating important information?

To start us off, we’ve got a zap designed to automatically call both your new customer and a member of your sales team upon their signing up. The practice of quick communication (especially after the initial sign up) vastly increases the likelihood that said customer will stick around, so why not give it a go?

If an automatic call isn’t quite enough for you, how about automating the process of saving the notes from the call into your CRM? We thought so.

Whether or not you instantly call them, the sales team will also greatly benefit from being notified of a hot lead as soon as possible. Well, nothing says ASAP like an automatic alert, be it a text or email!

Time Management

Personally, I find time management to be one of the hardest aspects of my working life. Juggling my various tasks and duties is a wonderful challenge, but it took practices such as the Pomodoro Technique to put the time I spent on anything into focus. If you can manage your efforts just right, you can find that sweet spot that lies right at the tipping point of when more work is just not worth the time taken.

So, why not hit that sweet spot every time with a handy time management process automation?

 

Creating Calendar Events

First up, you’ll need to set up a process by which you can automatically create or note down any important calendar events. All of these zaps assume that you use Google Calendar, however, if you prefer a different app, all you need to do is swap out Calendar and fill in the details.

Alternatively, you can use any of these zaps to allow events to be scheduled using a web form, such as Wufoo or Formstack.

 

Adding Due Dates

What good is a set of tasks if they don’t have a set due date which is easily visible? Not much is the answer. By allowing these zaps access to your related accounts, all of your due dates will sync up with your calendar to provide an easily digestible timeline for you to base your efforts on.

Consolidating Calendars

Finally, if you happen to have several calendars (or need to sync your own calendar with a team member), do yourself a favour and use one of these zaps. Not only will you save yourself an insane amount of time, but you’ll never again have to worry about constantly switching between calendars.

It’s Time for [
**]some Imagination!

So, now that you’ve seen some solid examples of premade zaps just waiting for you to use, why not go out and make your own? We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again; the most important thing to remember when using Zapier is that you’re only limited by your creativity!

Get Creative with these [
**]Real Life Examples of how Zapier [
**]can Ease Your Workload

It’s all well and good to be told how to do something, but do you think you could drive a car without having seen one in action? Even if you still fail your first attempt, seeing someone else do it gives you a solid grounding before you even get behind the wheel.

More importantly, seeing the product in use gives you your guidelines. It tells you what can be achieved through its use.

If you’re looking for business process automation software, we’ve already talked about the features of Zapier and given you a 222 premade zaps to get you going. The problem remains, however, that the platform is most powerful when you get creative.

Perhaps you need a little inspiration; going back to the car analogy, seeing the product in action can tell us a lot about how it can be used to its full potential. So, pull up a slice of curb and take a look at how Zapier is used by real companies; from the basic time savers that build up over months of use, to the game-changing multi-step zaps.

 

Communication

Meldium – Automatic Hipchat Alerts on Industry News

Meldium used to spend hours every week searching for news stories about passwords and security, whereas now the news comes to them. Connecting a customized RSS feed to their Hipchat channel with Zapier allows Meldium to both engage with their customers more and pitch to the right reporters.

Get the full case study here.

 

Buffer – Sending Hipchat Alerts for Blog Posts, [
**]Comments and Github Notifications

Yes, even big names like Buffer perform a little business process automation through Zapier! Whilst they ensure that their Hipchat channel gets notifications of new blog posts, comments and Github alerts, Buffer also tweets books their employees are currently reading by linking Trello cards to their own app. Hey, if it works, then why not use your own app?

See the full case study here.

 

Beach Nik – Automatic Notifications [
**]Upon Customer Registration

Beach Nik take advantage of business process automation upon a new customer registering. Both when a customer submits a registration form for their site and when that registration is approved, a notification is sent to the team.

To check out the comment we gleaned this info from, click here.

 

Allmoxy – Making Separate Trello Boards and [
**]Cards for Every New Contact

Another testament to multi-steps, Allmoxy used to manually create new Trello boards for each new customer tagged in Infusionsoft, then enter the required new cards. Now Zapier does the whole thing for them!

See the full account here.

 

Pingboard – Adding All Intercom Messages to their CRM

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Enabling teams to see all of the information they need in one place spares company time and employee sanity. Pingboard knew this, and so push all intercom support tickets into their CRM automatically. Everyone wins!

See the full account from Cameron by clicking here.

 

Customer Interactions

Leankit – Creating Support Tickets in [
**]Zendesk from Multiple Apps

After having troubles with dropped or incomplete support tickets, Leankit realized that they needed a way to automatically shift the required information into Zendesk. Zapier allowed them to do this with minimal setup, making their support process far more effective!

Read all of the details here.

 

Seahawks and Sounders FC – Integrating Apps with [
**]MySQL for Customer Support

The Seattle Seahawks and Sounders FC are perhaps not names you would expect in a post about Zapier allowing automatic processing withing businesses, but there you go! Managed by the same ownership group, they integrated Wufoo with Zendesk to transfer fan feedback to customer support, and then the whole process links into a MySQL database for daily feedback reports.

See the fans in their face-painted glory here.

 

Perfect Coffee – Thanking Customers for [
**]Completed SurveyMonkey Forms

Another case of a small business which was greatly helped by automatic processing, Perfect Coffee strive to get as much feedback from their customers as possible, whilst keeping a personal touch to the interaction. They achieved this (whilst avoiding hours of work) by automating a “thank-you” email to every survey which is submitted through SurveyMonkey.

Get the beans on this story here.

 

Brandfolder – Organizing Customers and [
**]Support Requests in Pipedrive

Brandfolder uses zaps to automatically create customers in Pipedrive from Intercom entries, whilst also drawing in customer support conversations from UserVoice. Nowadays they can go into Pipedrive to check everything and interact with their customers as required.

Check out the case study here.

 

Classroom Medics – Confirming Support [
**]Requests through FireText

Classroom Medics love contacting their audience through texts, as this gives a much more personal feel to each message. As such, it only made sense to automatically send a text to anyone requesting an information pack through the use of FireText; this both confirms that their support team will be in touch, and that their pack will be sent in the mail.

Read the full story here.

 

Ucademics – Onboarding New Customers through [
**]Mailchimp and CRM Integration

You may have gathered by now that Zapier is incredibly popular for managing customer data and email lists, with Ucademics being no exception. By linking together ProsperWorks (their chosen CRM) and Mailchimp, Ucademics both add new customers to a drip-feed onboarding email list and update existing customers to various lists where necessary.

Read the account straight from the co-founder of Ucademics here.

 

SwiftType – Attaching Support Conversations [
**]to Salesforce Profiles

SwiftType are a prime example of how even the most basic of multi-step zaps can work wonders. Taking advantage of extra steps as data lookups, tickets in Help Scout can be automatically paired up with the correct customer in Salesforce.

For more details and the zap they used, click here.

 

Baremetrics – Collecting and Replying to [
**]NPS Scores and Comments

Baremetrics use Promoter.io, Zapier and Intercom to fully automate their NPS workflow. By linking Promoter to their email and Intercom, they automatically send personalized emails to their promoters, passives and detractors, but also collect the results in one place.

Get the full case study here.

 

Lead Management

Dotted Music – Transferring Typeform Customer [
**]Data to Separate Lists

When launching WeSpin – a project which teaches people how to make their own music online – Dotted Music needed a way to allow their customers to get in contact with them, and then respond with a personal touch. Now, when a customer fills in their WeSpin Typeform form, their details are automatically transferred to Mailchimp and Podio.

Paid customers are added to a separate list and receive a LinkedIn invitation from the founder. Read more here.

 

Nir Eyal – Transferring Customer Data From [
**]Google Sheets to Mailchimp

A popular name in the startup world, Nir Eyal saves hours every week with just one zap; transferring customer data from a Google Sheet into Mailchimp. What can we say? Sometimes automating your most basic tasks can save a huge amount of accumulated time.

Read the full case study here.

 

Launchpad LA – Tracking[
**]Applicants with Asana

Another case of dealing with huge numbers, Launchpad LA utilizes Asana as their applicant tracking system, but struggled with manually entering the data for each and every applicant. So, instead, they now use Zapier to save the relevant information from their Wufoo application form into Dropbox, add them to a newsletter list and transfer the data into Asana.

For the complete case study, click here.

 

BillCutterz – Scaling up Customer [
**]Relations in Sugar CRM

Through communicating with various service providers, BillCutterz is understandably popular with those wishing to do just that; cut their bills as much as possible. Hence we have another tale of Zapier saving the day when the company was required to rapidly scale up; through integrating Sugar CRM and Wufoo with apps such as Hipchat, Mandrill and Mailchimp, BillCutterz cut the time taken for customer data entries by 1000%.

If you want to read more, click here.

 

Convert – Creating Nimble Leads [
**]which can be Followed Up

As with almost every other company under the sun, information on their potential leads is vital to Convert. Being an A/B testing company, the more that they know about their customers before ever even speaking to them can make or break the deal. Hence why they use Zapier to put all of their leads from Mailchimp, CheddarGetter, Gmail, etc, into Nimble, in order to assess which are worth following up on.

Read the full story here.

 

Glider – Copying Lead Data into RelateIQ for Following Up

Glider is a company that sells to salespeople, and so time is truly of the essence; the main area where they could save time was by circumventing the process of manually copying customer data over from Hubspot. By implementing automatic processing in their business (through linking Hubspot directly to RelateIQ), Gilder was able to cut an entire meeting out of their weekly schedule.

See the original case study here.

 

Influence & Co. – Speedily Handing Off Leads [
**]Between Marketing and Sales

Influence & Co. also take advantage of Zapier’s power in managing leads. After finding the handoff between their marketing and sales teams was a little lacking, Influence used Zapier to transfer leads matching certain sales criteria from Hubspot directly into Contractually.

Learn more about this case study here.

 

DoInbound – Sorting and [
**]Managing Leads within Nimble

With close links to Guavabox, it’s no surprise that DoInbound has a very similar use for Zapier’s automation. Once again using the platform to manage their leads and collect information into one place, they prefer to use Nimble as their CRM.

Get all of the details here.

Custom Show – Pushing Wufoo[
**]Leads into the CRM

Upholding our pattern is Custom Show, who used to rely on a web-to-lead form which still required manually entering into their CRM. By moving their web form host to Wufoo, the path to business process automation was opened, and lead information is now also entered into Custom Show’s CRM.

For more information, click here.

 

Dative – Making New Leads from [
**]Website Form Submissions

Surprise, surprise, another case of Zapier’s power in data entry! Dative were set on using ProsperWorks as their CRM, but like so many others, found that the manual data entry was taking far too long. That is, until they set up a zap to automatically copy customer data into it for them.

To read the full story, click here.

 

Plotly – Sending Information from Emails to SalesforceIQ

Companies such as Plotly often find that partnerships can start with emails to their sales team. Zaps allow them to send those leads directly to SalesforceIQ (where all of their relationships are handled).

Read their account and see the zap they used here.

Contentools – Centralising Customer [
**]History and Managing Leads

Whilst Contentools use the same Intercom integration as Pingboard, they’ve taken their Zapier usage one step further. Not only do they centralize their support tickets, but they also automate their sales team inbound process; this sends all qualified leads directly to SalesforceIQ.

To read more on Contentools and Zapier, click here.

 

Marketing and Social Media

Paul Jarvis – Updating a Mailchimp Email List [
**]with Gumroad Customers

Web designer and best-selling author Paul Jarvis teaches people how to sell their books online. To that end, he wrote a book to show other authors how to finish their work and then publish it online without the need for any code. After finding Zapier, he used it to link together Gumroad (for selling) and Mailchimp; he even teaches his readers how to set up the required zaps.

Read the full story here.

 

KISSmetrics – Referring Webinars [
**]to Unbounce Registrants

When you’re producing a resource which just isn’t getting noticed it can be a real drain on your efforts. KISSmetrics solved this problem by referring new Unbounce registrants directly to their GoToWebinar registration list.

See the details here.

 

SitePoint – Sharing Content [
**]Through Buffer

If you’re into coding at all, you’ll probably be familiar with this company. SitePoint used to be a nightmare for editor-in-chief Ophelie Lechat, but through integrating RSS feeds, Trello boards and Buffer, she was able to almost automatically share all SitePoint content.

Check out the case study here.

 

UP Global – Allowing Employees to Submit [
**]Tweets to Buffer, Pending Approval

UP Global‘s troubles came in the form of their Twitter account. As the company grew, they were forced to lock most users out of the official Twitter account due to the potential for tweets to go out that were intended to be personal. By linking FluidSurveys to Buffer, UP Global allow “surveys” (up to 140 characters) to be submitted, pending approval before they go live on the official Twitter account.

See the full story here.

 

MAB – Grouping Customers [
**]for Tailored Marketing

By updating a contact’s status within their CRM, MAB triggers a change in their string of communication. Once again, a testament to just how much time can be saved by not having to write customized emails for every sale or sign up!

To see the original case study, click here.

 

Mention – Integrating [
**]Segment Via Webhooks

Multi-step zaps allow for a huge amount of creativity in enacting your business process automation; Mention integrated an entirely new app with Zapier through the use of webhooks! This way, they managed to pass information into Segment (a tool which produces actionable analytics) and get a fuller picture of their customers.

Read more on their webhook integration here.

 

Survata – Adding New Leads into their CRM [
**]for Marketing Campaigns and Newsletters

Whether a customer downloads an eGuide or fills out a contact form, Survata have the perfect zap setup to populate their CRM with these new leads. If you factor in using multi-step zaps, you could take these and filter your results to populate specific lists!

Take a look at the zaps they’re using here.

 

Multi-Purpose

thoughtbot – Automating Sales, Social [
**]Media and Support Requests

thoughtbot is a design and development agency who use Zapier to automate their sales, social media and support processes. Their automation means that: when a customer contacts them a Trello card is generated and assigned; content is automatically promoted across their social media accounts; alerts are sent into Stack Overflow for new support requests.

For more from the creators of thoughtbot, check out FormKeep (the easiest way to create form endpoints for designers and developers) and its Zapier integrations.

Check out the full post here.

 

Great Black Speakers – Eliminating Back Office Work

This is one of the more heavy-duty case studies for Zapier, as Lawrence Watkins uses the automation platform to eliminate most of the back office work for Great Black Speakers. Through linking together Wufoo, Pipedrive, Quote Roller, Google Docs and Gmail, Lawrence manages to save roughly $20,000 per year!

Get the details here.

 

Logicbrush Studios – Centralising Notes, Activity and [
**]Projects with Podio

Logicbrush Studios prefer to use Zapier as the web which holds their many apps together in a manageable network. By integrating with apps such as Harvest and OmniFocus, Logicbrush were able to make Podio the place to go for any information they need.

See the full story here.

 

GuavaBox – Centralising Their CRM Within Hubspot

Another smaller business, Guavabox‘s three-person team can’t afford to waste their time on tasks which can be automated. They saved around 2-3 hours every month (hey, that could add up to an employee’s whole working week) by using Zapier to automate the process of lead handoffs, customer calls and noting the sale in Hubspot.

Read the original case study here.

 

Make Believe Labs – Automating Support and [
**]Mailchimp Email Marketing

Time for something a little more light-hearted; an app that lets you video call Santa Claus! Make Believe Labs thought of the idea for Hello Santa just two months before Christmas, and so needed a way to automate whatever they could to hit the vital date. They integrated their SQL server with Zendesk to transfer customer data into their support tickets, whilst also adding new sales to an email list.

See the full story here.

 

MistoBox – Everything from Magneto Product [
**]Management to Creating Todo Lists

Just as I thought my wallet was recovering, we have our second coffee company case study (try saying that five times faster). MistoBox tailors your coffee order according to your feedback of their sample roasts, so it’s safe to say that a hell of a lot goes on behind the scenes. Zapier dealt with the bulk of these issues by allowing the roast providers to update their Magneto inventory through their own Google Sheets, whilst also automating feedback collection, todo list generation in OmniFocus and so, so much more.

Zapier dealt with the bulk of these issues by allowing the roast providers to update their Magneto inventory through their own Google Sheets, whilst also automating feedback collection, todo list generation in OmniFocus and so, so much more.

For all of the deliciously brewed details, click here.

 

Hitreach – Automating Communication, Data Transfer [
**]and Emails to All Orders

Hitreach identified that administration was a huge area where time could be saved; particularly task creation and copying customer data upon a new order. They created an ingenious workflow to completely deal with the process of taking payments through Gravity Forms, processing the payment and invoice, adding the customer to a mailing list and replying to them. They even deal with making a Trello card for each purchase!

Note that, now that multi-step zaps are implemented, you could even do all of this within one or two zaps, rather than the chain reaction Hitreach utilizes.

Check out their ingenious workflow here.

 

Webmax – Streamlining Sales, Project Management [
**]and More Using ProsperWorks

Webmax take more of the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach, as they automated many existing processes across their departments, rather than creating too many complex new ones. Using Zapier saved them time and effort in their sales, project management and customer communication efforts through linking apps such as Wufoo, Basecamp and Mailchimp.

See the original comments from Matt Lecount here.

 

Ohio Republicans – Breaking a 50 Year Campaign [
**]Record by Connecting Voter Data

Time for a bit of an off-the-wall example, with the Ohio House Republican Organizational Committee (OHROC). They used Zapier to manage voter data in three main hubs; an SQL database for voter information, NationBuilder for calls and emails, and Mandrill for sending personalized messages to voters.

For the full details, click here.

 

Pure WRX – Managing Data in their [
**]BigCommerce Storefronts

Having four BigCommerce storefronts can prove to be a bit of a management nightmare, and so Pure WRX automated their process of passing order and customer information into Salesforce. Then they thought “Why not?” and integrated Olark whilst they were at it.

See the account in their own words here.

 

Sales

Single Grain – Sending Hipchat Alerts for [
**]New Gravity Forms Signups

By linking Gravity Forms to Hipchat, Single Grain ‘s sales team were able to follow up on leads within 5 minutes of their signing up. This, in turn, resulted in closing around twice as many leads each month and a whopping 300% increase in revenue!

Read the full case study here.

 

Hickies – Filling out Customer Data from Shopify Sales

Hickies was having problems scaling their high level of customer support to keep up with thousands of new customers. Zapier saved them a headache (not to mention a lot of work hours) by automatically filling in new customer details within Desk for every sale made in Shopify.

Take a look at the full case study here.

 

MoonClerk – Automating Alerts in Slack for Unpaid Sales

Through integrating Stripe and Mandrill, MoonClerk reduced their churn by 25% over 6 months. This is due to the fact that, as a two-person team, they would sometimes miss the chance to send customers an email when their payment was either rejected or not paid.

Check out the case study here.

 

Urban Baby Bonnets – Automating Sales [
**]and Invoices from Magneto

Colette Palamar (sole owner of Urban Baby Bonnets) is a testament to how Zapier can allow a small business to continue functioning. Through the integration of Xero and Magneto, Colette has been able to continue selling self-designed baby clothes; rather than chasing up sales and invoices, all of the information goes straight into Xero to check that the amount paid is correct.

For the finely woven success story, click here.

 

Work Ninja – Creating Sales Opportunities from Podio

Amazing name aside, Work Ninja are unabashed lovers of Zapier, using zaps to benefit many of their teams. The standout case, however, is another case of the basics working best. Every time a door-to-door brochure drop is completed (using a custom Podio app), a sales opportunity is recorded, allowing the team to get on with the next drop.

If you’d like to see more details, click here.

 

Knotty Tie Co. – Creating Unique Order Estimates [
**]from WebMerge Data

When every order you take is customized, the amount you charge can vary wildly. More importantly for Knotty Tie Co., the time it took to calculate that estimate started to skyrocket. They used Zapier to collect orders from Typeform, send the data through WebMerge and Excel and automatically generate a price estimate. The estimate is even emailed back to the client!

Read the full story here.

 

Round Table Law – Structure New Cases for Matters in Clio

Round Table Law uses Zapier to talk to almost all of their other platforms using data from Clio (a law practice management app). For example, when a new case is opened in Clio, Zapier will create a new Gmail label for thread tracking, log working hours in Toggl, create a new list in Wunderlist and even log the case in Google Sheets.

To see the zap they use, click here.

 

Hubdoc – Bridging the Gap Between Marketing and Sales

Not all sales opportunities are created equally; the sooner your team can prioritize high-value leads, the more likely that they will be able to react quickly and, therefore, seal the deal. Hubdoc do this by automatically sending vital information from Hubspot and Stripe directly into their CRM – no time is wasted.

See the full case study here.

 

It’s Time to Start Your Own [
**]Business Process Automation!

So, we’ve taken you through the basic (and advanced) features of Zapier, seen how it stacks up to other automation software, given you a plethora of premade zaps to start you off and now brought some insight as to what real companies do with it. What’s next?

Well, now it’s your turn. Go out and get creative; take a premade zap or a case study (hell, even start from scratch if you want) and cut the labor out of your work. Customer support, sales, marketing, internal communication, the sky is truly your limit!


The Ultimate Guide to Business Process Automation using Zapier

Making your Software as a Service (SaaS) apps talk to each other isn’t the pain it used to be. At least, it doesn’t have to be if you follow this ebook. Whether you use Mailchimp, LinkedIn, Buffer or Asana, every app has processes which can be automated to cut down on the amount of time you spend on data entry. From the absolute basics, to advanced features like customer data lookups, this monster 111 page guide has everything you need to make the most of Zapier – a tool which saved companies like yours over 14,000,000 hours last year.

  • Author: Benjamin Brandall
  • Published: 2016-04-01 10:20:16
  • Words: 14884
The Ultimate Guide to Business Process Automation using Zapier The Ultimate Guide to Business Process Automation using Zapier