How can Zapier help boost my efficiency?

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Do you need software that works like magic and helps your business run like clockwork? Don’t have time to learn coding yourself?

Never fear, Zapier is here. Let’s answer the question.

Using powerful, often simple, Zaps with this superb automation software allows you to streamline some of your work processes. It means you can spend more time doing high value work. The Zaps you’ve created will manage and accelerate some of your most routine tasks. You can create zaps that will improve and speed up the way a team communicates — and even the way they gather news and information — thereby increasing team productivity, as well as individual efficiency. There are numerous integrations you can make with Zapier. This very versatility means you can automate most types of work to some extent, making it even easier to become more productive.

Later, I’ll tell you how you can set up a powerful zap of your own. First though, it’s necessary to find out exactly what Zapier is.

Let’s get started.  

What is Zapier?

Zapier is a service designed to help you automate tasks and connect apps, freeing up some time so you can spend it doing high value work that’s going to yield the best results. It allows you to manage your work across popular productivity and business apps by linking them all together. There’s a free version available for individuals, as well as price plans formulated for small teams and big organisations.

Photo by Frank Cone on Pexels.com

How does it work?

You can use Zapier to devise commands to help automate tasks and manage workflows. These commands are called Zaps. Each Zap is made up of a trigger and an action. The trigger kick starts the Zap and the subsequent action that’s  performed completes it. Zapier works with over 2000 apps, so there’re numerous triggers that an action can be based on.

For instance, you could create a Zap that would build to-do lists based on emails you flag in your inbox. Alternatively, you could make a zap that adds events to your Gmail Calendar each time a Trello Board is added. This simple automation is sure to boost your productivity which is, in turn, likely to improve your work performance.

Each time a Zap processes data it counts as a task. The price structure is based mainly on the number of tasks performed per month. it’s important to bear this fact in mind when setting up zaps and working out how often they’re likely to be activated. Determining this will help you decide which plan to plump for. Right now, you can build up to 5 Zaps for free. However, you won’t have access to all the possible apps, or the full functionality of Zapier if you choose to stick with the free version. That’s because a number of so-called premium apps cannot be integrated with the free version of Zapier.

You need only define the trigger and the action and enter the details of exactly how that zap should operate.  

Now let’s look at what you need to do to set up a zap.

How do I create a zap?

Here’s my step-by-step guide to making a zap. We’ll use the example of creating a zap which is triggered by an action you take in your email.

  • Sign up to Zapier if you don’t already have an account. You can open an account for free.
  • After signing up, you should be taken to the main page: Zapier’s dashboard. Here, you can make new zaps and manage the ones you already have.
  • Click the plus button on the top left. It should say ‘Make a Zap’ when you move your mouse over it.
  • Follow the on-screen instructions to build your zap. In most cases, you can do this by choosing options from a dropdown menu. The choices available in dropdown menus will depend on the apps you have integrated with Zapier. In this example scenario, this is a zap you’d be able to build if you had a Business Gmail account. Remember, you’d need to click continue after each step to confirm.    
    • You want to create to-do lists each time you starred a message in Gmail.
    • Click Gmail and then choose New Starred Email to set it as the trigger.
    • Click Trigger to fill in what you want to happen when you star a new email.
    • You could choose Todoist so that it will add newly starred emails as tasks. This would complete the action part of the Zap.
  • When you’ve finished building the Zap you can test it before turning it on.

With this Zap you could unleash the power of prioritisation and start to devote more time to work that has the highest chance of yielding good results. With luck, this may translate into you seeing more profits and a greater level of success in your work or business. In other words, you could spend more of your time doing high value work. This is likely to increase your motivation which may, in turn, increase your productivity.

So, now that we know how to build a zap, let’s look at some ways you can use them to automate tasks and thereby help work smarter.

How can you work smart and boost your productivity with Zapier?

There are no doubt many more ways Zaps can automate your work, but I focused on investigating how it could streamline marketing campaigns, by trawling the web. It turns out that Zapier can really  help supercharge and automate your social media marketing. If done well — and using the right strategy — you can save loads of time and effort. Here’s what I’ve discovered. For the sake of simplicity, I’ve talked about just 5 ways you can use Zapier to boss social media marketing, but there are many other wonderful things you can do with this invention.  

  1. You can share new content automatically by building a zap linked to multiple social media platforms
  2. Grow your mailing list.
    • Do you use form to collect email addresses?
    • You could set up a Zap connect those forms directly to your Mailchimp, so that the email addresses entered into those forms are added to Mailchimp automatically.
    • You could even link Mailchimp to Salesforce. That is one of the most popular zaps, according to Zapier’s own website.
    • There are many intriguing zaps you can use to build your mailing list that already exist.
    • You can also send leads personalised messages automatically.
  3. Advertise events easily precisely when you need too by setting up Zaps that connect your events calendar to your social media accounts.
    • When you set up a meeting or schedule events in your calendar, that meeting or event will be shared on all your social media platforms.
    • This will help maximise your reach without taking up any of your time once the zap is set up.
    • Thus, you’ve increased the efficiency of your marketing strategy and can spend the time you’ve saved in more productive ways.
  4. Send ideas for new content to your marketing team by making a zap with Freedly. There’re multiple ways to do this.
    • You can send push notifications to people for everything from new YouTube videos, to new calendar events and much else besides.
    • You can even set up SMS alerts if you prefer to be notified of vital information through your phone. All you need do is link Zapier with Twilio to set them up. You can set up email notifications in a similar fashion.
  5. You can be sure your team is always in the loop by connecting Zapier with Slack or Yammer to ease communication and enable you and your team to build reports with ease.
    • You can build zaps with Evernote or RescueTime liked to something like Buffer to increase team productivity.
    • You could connect Buffer to a spreadsheet to make building reports faster and more simple.

Bonus: There’s a popular zap that’s been used more than 300,000 times, according to Zapier’s website, that allows you to save all files and media on the Cloud for quick and easy access from anywhere.

Summary

We’ve covered how Zapier works, how you can build and use zaps to automate your tasks and workflows.  You can also follow the 5 tips I’ve shared to use powerful zaps effectively and maybe even go on to create your own clever zaps to supercharge your team’s productivity. With practice, you’ll soon be using zaps with ease to help you do quality work in double-quick time. So, why wait? Start building your own Zaps with Zapier today!    

Published by Lizzie

Lizzie here. I'm a freelance copywriter and editor based in the UK. I'm also passionate about volunteering and hold a MA in History from the University of Warwick. I've written for a multitude of fantastic websites and companies, including a legal automation software company, a dog training site and more. Check out my reviews on Fiverr and Upwork for more info!

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