A Guide to Automation with Zapier

zapier guide

If you are a webmaster or business owner, then you most likely have a million things going on at all times.

Not only that, but you are working with a bunch of different software to help run your business, employees, and marketing.

But there is actually a great tool out there that can help you save hours a week or even day, by automating your recurring tasks and connecting your software stack so they work together.

Zapier is a perfect tool to automate your repetitive online tasks and save you a ton of time. In this guide, we are going to show you what Zapier is, how it works, and how to use Zapier to automate your tasks.

What is Zapier?

Zapier is a software that allows you to automate your online workflows and connect your web applications together. It currently integrates with 2,000+ web apps like Google Sheets, Twitter, ActiveCampaign, Google Calendar, and a whole lot more.

what is zapier

With Zapier, you can automate day to day tasks that you perform online and let Zapier do the work for you. For example, let’s say that you run an eCommerce store and you have to export your orders to a CSV every day to send to your supplier.

Set up a Zapier Zap and boom, its completely automated every day. This is just one simple example of the thousands of things you can automate with Zapier.

Zapier Pricing

The great thing about Zapier is that you pay per how many tasks you have. They even have a free package for people who only need 100 tasks a month or less.

The prices range from $19.99/month to $599 a month depending on how many tasks you need automated.

Here is the overview of their pricing packages:

zapier pricing

So whether you have a few tasks or a lot, the pricing is pretty reasonable for the number of tasks that you get.

How Zapier Works

Zapier uses applications API’s to allow them to send data to one another and automate your tasks.

Let’s talk about all of the pieces of a Zap that make it work:

Integrations

Zapier has partnered with thousands of online apps to be able to integrate them into the Zapier system.

zapier integrations

There are currently over 2,000 integrations that you can use to help automate your workflows online.

With Zapier, you can connect unlimited apps together and have them all talk to each other and send data between them.

Triggers

The first piece of a Zap is the trigger.

This is the action that triggers an event in your Zap. There are two different types of triggers in Zapier:

  1. Polling Triggers: These are the most common type of trigger that will check for new data from your application and trigger when new data is added. Polling triggers check every 1-15 minutes for new data (depending on your plan).
  2. Instant trigger: Instant triggers are triggers that send instantly when there is new data.

Every zap must have a trigger to know when to run the tasks. There are thousands of triggers that you can set but here are some popular examples.

Example Triggers:

  • Trigger an action when someone buys a product in your eCommerce store.
  • Trigger an action when someone signs up to your newsletter.

Events

The event is the second part of the Zap.  An event is an action to take once a trigger is triggered.

Events can be thousands of possibilities depending on the tasks you are trying to accomplish and the integration you are using.

Example Events:

  • Send an email when a newsletter is triggered.
  • Send lead information to HubSpot when the contact form is triggered.

Tasks

A Zapier task is when a Zap successfully completions an action. Triggers do not themselves count as a task but the success event actions do.

A cool feature of Zapier is that they save all of the previous tasks so you can see Tasks History and whether it ran successfully or not. It will even show you the error that caused the Zap to not run.

zapier task history

A Zap can have multiple tasks so make sure you account for that when thinking about pricing. You can see from the image above that just these 2 Zaps have a total of 29 tasks.

How to Make a Zap

So now that you are familiar with Zapier and all the inner workings, its time to set up our first zap!

In this example, we are going to be setting up a Zap to send out an email sequence to people who have signed up for our newsletter.

First, log in to Zapier and click the Create Zap button to start the process of building the Zap.

We can choose Mailchimp since that’s where our newsletter form resides. As the even we are going to select ‘New Subscriber’. That way, when there is a new subscriber to our list, we can do an action or sequence of actions.

make a zapier

Now you will need to select the Mailchimp account that your list is in and choose the list/audience that you want to use.

It will ask you to test the trigger to make sure that it can pull in data from Mailchimp.

zapier test trigger

When the test is successful, its time to choose the app and event that we want to use when someone signs up to the newsletter. We could either send emails right from Zapier or we could send the data to a email outreach software.

For this example, let’s send out an email sequence using Zapier.

We are going to use Gmail to send the email sequence because it has much better deliverability than the Zapier Email Client.

Search for ‘Gmail’ and select the Gmail App.

The action we are going to choose is ‘Send Email’ because we want to send an email when someone signs up to the newsletter.

zapier task action

Now you need to select the Gmail account you want to send the email from.

choose account zapier

Next, you can compose the email you want to send when they sign up for your newsletter. In the ‘To’ field you can enter the ’email’ data from Mailchimp.

compose email zapier

Enter the rest of the details and then type out the body of the email. You can use plain text emails or you can choose HTML emails if you know HTML or have a template to paste in. Once the email is ready to go, click ‘Continue’ to finish setting up the Zap.

If everything was set up correctly, you should be able to turn on the Zap and it will automatically send out the email when someone signs up to your newsletter. You could even add more tasks to wait a few days and send another email to follow up.

You could build out very robust email sequences using Zapier and other integrations.

 

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