Imagine you’ve just finished manually creating your last CRM contact from a long list of survey responses. Don’t want to? I don’t blame you — tasks like these can be mind-numbing and, even worse, take up time you could be spending on more valuable things.
But this is the 21st century, and there’s a way around this type of busy work. Instead of mindless data entry and jumping between different point solutions, you can use an automation platform like Zapier to integrate your applications.
If business automation and app integrations sound intimidating, don’t be worried. Tools like Zapier have made it easy to set up workflows, saving us from those tasks that everyone hates (but must be done). After a bit of exploring in the tool, you can even optimize your processes in ways you hadn’t imagined before.
That’s the purpose of this article: To introduce you to Zapier, what it’s meant for, and the best ways to apply it to your business operations.
What is a Zapier integration?
Zapier is a tool that automates tasks between different software applications. It allows anyone to create integrations between separate apps and build workflows, which are sequences of tasks. These workflows execute tasks automatically so you can put your focus elsewhere.
Zapier offers integrations between thousands of application APIs and allows users to create workflows to optimize nearly any aspect of their business. In Zapier, workflows are called “zaps” and consist of two parts: a trigger, which is the first event, and one or more actions, which occur in other applications when the trigger happens.
As an example, say you want to alert your team as soon as a lead fills out a SurveyMonkey form on your website. You can add a zap as follows: When a user submits a SurveyMonkey form (the trigger), a new message is posted in a Slack channel (the action). You could add more actions to this zap too, like creating a new CRM contact or calendar event based on the submitted form data.
Zapier is also great at automating manual, time-sucking tasks like moving data from one app to another. Instead of copying and pasting form responses to a Google Sheets spreadsheet, for instance, just tell Zapier to push responses from your form tool to Google Sheets. There’s a zap for that.
With zaps, users can make anything from simple one-step tasks to complex, dynamic workflows. The process of building zaps is easy, codeless, and highly flexible, and there are many pre-built zaps that you can add to your own process to save even more time. Zapier also has tools for more advanced workflows, like scheduling and webhooks.
Best Zapier Integrations
Send notifications to your team after important events.
Log important emails.
Send thank you messages to customers.
Follow up with leads.
Aggregate form responses.
Create tasks from important events.
Automate social media posts.
Share social posts internally.
Stay on top of your schedule.
Create contacts in your CRM.
Send out summary reports.
Take quick notes.
Populate an email list.
Automate video posts.
By eliminating repetitive jobs, Zapier saves time and makes businesses more efficient. However, there are virtually endless combinations of apps to try — where do you start?
To help you decide which zaps will best serve your business, let’s take a look at some of the best integrations that Zapier offers.
1. Send notifications to your team after important events.
Notification automation is an easy but effective way to start using Zapier. With one or more zaps, you can create a trigger from an important event in one of your apps, then an action to notify all those who need to know.
For example, you can create a zap that sends a Slack notification or an email to your sales team when a new lead submits a form on your website. That way, you’ll be able to follow up immediately to close the deal. Or, get notified when a purchase is made on your website by connecting Slack to Shopify or PayPal.
What we like: Zapier notifications allow for faster action. You can channel all your notifications to one location, eliminating the need to check each app individually and ensuring you won’t miss important updates.
Email has a reputation for being an untamable time drain. Luckily, Zapier offers many email integrations to make your inbox just a bit cleaner.
For instance, you can set Zapier to save certain emails somewhere other than your email inbox for parsing, backup, or sharing. Link your email account with Google Sheets, Google Docs, Evernote, or another preferred application, and reserve your inbox for incoming mail only.
What we like: Say goodbye to hundreds (thousands?) of emails occupying your inbox — Zapier can push certain emails to the logging software of your choice for easier lookup later on.
Here’s another email trick: Have you ever received a follow-up email from a company after making a purchase? Not just an order confirmation, but a personalized thank you message? With Zapier, you can send these types of follow-up emails automatically. This fosters stronger trust in your brand and increases the chance of repeat business with little effort on your part.
You can send follow-up emails after other events too, like trial signups, form submissions, or some other action taken on your site. Visitors will appreciate that you’re willing to make the extra effort — though it’s just a simple zap on your end.
What we like: While Zapier is excellent for improving internal processes, zaps like this one improve the customer experience as well, building trust and potentially adding to your bottom line.
As we know, some leads take a bit more swaying before they’re sold, especially if it’s a large purchase. That’s why Zapier features several zaps for the bottom of your sales funnel.
If a lead requests a consultation, demo, or any other meeting, set up zaps to notify you of the request, send an automated follow-up response to your lead, and/or set up a call automatically. You don’t want to keep them waiting, which is why Zapier’s instant alerts come in handy.
What we like: Zapier is a reliable method to automate your BOFU workflows and keep leads engaged when it matters most.
Speaking of forms, do you have trouble compiling form feedback into actionable documents? Or, maybe you use multiple feedback collection tools and want to view responses in a single application.
Zapier allows you to send data from your form tools to many other applications, including Google Sheets, Google Docs, Evernote, or even Trello. Whether these surveys collect general feedback or support requests, these zaps make it easier to act on them.
What we like: Manually aggregating survey responses from potentially hundreds of people is a recipe for headaches. This zap saves time by automatically sending all feedback data to a single destination.
If your day-to-day revolves around your to-do list, try using zaps to create items in your task management application of choice. Never let an assignment slip by — you can set Zapier to create custom tasks for you.
For example, try syncing Slack or Email with Trello to make cards based on messages you receive. Or, create a task in Asana or Todoist every time you create a Google Calendar event.
What we like: With this useful integration, you can get your job done knowing all your to-dos are accounted for.
Zapier eliminates the need to log in to each of your social media accounts and create separate posts every time you have new content to share. Instead, create zaps to automatically publish custom posts whenever you release a new blog post or announcement on your site using your RSS feed as a trigger.
Alternatively, you can create zaps to distribute one post across multiple social media channels. If Twitter is your most popular social channel, you can make zaps to share your tweets on other platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn.
On the flip side, you can also set Zapier to notify your internal team about social media activity on any of your company’s accounts. You could try setting a zap that Slacks your team when social media posts are published so that they can quickly like and share the content.
You can also utilize a platform’s “mention” feature — get notified whenever your company or some topic of interest is referenced in a post so you can promptly reply. Plus, you can compile mentions into a document for easier management.
What we like: Zapier helps keep your team up-to-speed with your company’s social media posts and presence.
Calendar apps keep us on schedule, but they’re not always the most convenient to maintain. With Zapier, you can create calendar events from external apps like Slack or Google Sheets, set due dates in your calendar with Trello cards, and shoot off reminders to your team about upcoming events.
What we like: Zapier’s calendar integrations allow for easy event scheduling and timely reminders.
Manually entering contact information may top the list of the most tedious CRM tasks, not to mention updating this data when necessary. With a Zapier integration, you can bypass this entirely by connecting a form tool with your CRM software. Use data from a form tool to create a new contact or update an existing contact.
You can create and update contacts with data from other sources too, including social media, a checkout process, or a form from your website builder. From there, you can nurture your new leads and further delight existing customers.
What we like: There’s no more need to manually enter information for every new contact – simply set up zaps to import data from forms and other external apps into your CRM of choice.
Don’t wait until you need a backup to start making one — set Zapier to automatically send your files to cloud storage. These could be emails, social posts, videos, or notes from a note-taking app. This not only protects your files in case you lose them, but it also serves as a handy reference if you ever need to dig up a past exchange, attachment, Tweet, etc.
What we like: Backups are a must for everyone – this integration creates them for you in the background.
As we’ve seen, you can leverage Zapier in many ways to improve alignment. Here’s one more: Try using a zap to compile and distribute regular reports for your team.
For example, you can create automated Slack messages that summarize the number of closed deals each week for your sales team, the number of leads and site traffic for your marketing team, or the week’s major updates for the whole company. You can also alert your team of new goals set in an app like Google Analytics.
What we like: Automated weekly reports powered by Zapier are another low-touch way to better align your team.
We’ve all been in meetings where we’re jotting down notes on the fly, only to lose track of them later on. This problem is amplified if you use multiple note-taking apps and have back-to-back meetings most days — how can you manage your minutes?
Try taking advantage of some of Zapier’s integrations here. Create new notes automatically based on calendar events, or create new notes on a daily or weekly basis in your app of choice. Plus, you may want to back up your notes to cloud storage for safekeeping.
What we like: It’s easy for notes to get out of hand without a system in place. However, it’s also easy to create a simple system with zaps.
If your email list building involves more copying and pasting than you’d like, try using Zapier to instantly create lists from a document. Take any existing list of contacts and create a zap to send this data straight to your email automation software, and update these email lists when you add new data.
What we like: This Zapier integration is a simple-time saver for creating email lists from a list of contact data.
15. Automate video posts.
Finally, if video is vital to your content strategy, don’t leave your posting schedule in forgetful hands. Once videos are ready, upload them to your cloud storage platform, then let Zapier take care of the publishing.
You can also automate social sharing of your videos and let your team know about new video content once it’s released.
What we like: Video production is a lot of work, so these zaps make handling the distribution hands-off.
There’s a lot to be said for working hard. Still, if your hard work is wasted on redundant tasks, what’s the point?
After a little experimentation, you’ll find that Zapier can connect your apps into seamless workflows that handle all the boring stuff, and optimize the more exciting stuff too. With all the extra time you’ll have, you can tackle a new project, nurture more leads, or take a break — you deserve it.
Originally published Aug 24, 2021 7:00:00 AM, updated August 24 2021