The Zapier Blog A blog about productivity, workflow automation, company building and how to get things done with less work. Sat, 30 Apr 2022 07:46:36 GMT How to build an effective customer support knowledge base .css-rclntc-Outer{overflow:auto;}.css-rclntc-Outer > *{margin-bottom:20px;margin-top:20px;}.css-rclntc-Outer > H2{margin-top:60px;}.css-rclntc-Outer > H3{margin-top:40px;}.css-rclntc-Outer > [id]{-webkit-scroll-margin-top:20px;-moz-scroll-margin-top:20px;-ms-scroll-margin-top:20px;scroll-margin-top:20px;}@media (min-width:660px){.css-rclntc-Outer > [id]{-webkit-scroll-margin-top:100px;-moz-scroll-margin-top:100px;-ms-scroll-margin-top:100px;scroll-margin-top:100px;}}

Even if you make your product as error-proof as possible, people are going to ask questions. We all understand the world in different ways—not to mention that accidents happen. So where are your customers going to go when they need that help?

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Some of them might reach out to your customer support team—but not everybody wants to bring a question to a team member right away, and it saves you resources if you have a self-serve portal. That's why customers need a knowledge base to reference as they figure out your product.

Here's how you can create a dependable help center for your customers in six steps.

  1. Choose what to document

  2. Create easy-to-understand content

  3. Find a good host

  4. Organize your help center

  5. Make your documentation easy to find

  6. Keep improving your documentation

Why knowledge bases are important

Your knowledge base is primarily intended to support customers, but it will also support your business:

  • Help your customers help themselves. A help center empowers customers to use your product independently. When they need help from a person, your support team will be there, but they won't have to rely on them for every question. That means fewer resources required from your team.

  • Support your team. Your knowledge base will also serve as a reference for your employees and contractors—after all, your team members have questions about your product, too. (Speaking as a freelance writer, I visit my clients' help centers all the time to write better blog posts.)

  • Create better products and experiences. As you create documentation, you might notice common pain points in your product to address. Some knowledge base platforms come with analytics that'll show you the most common questions your customers have. You can then use that data to better answer those questions ahead of time during your customer's experience—or even to improve your product.

6 steps to setting up a help center

Follow these six steps to create a knowledge base your customers can count on.

1. Choose what to document

It can feel overwhelming to fill a knowledge base from scratch, but you'll find most of your topics close at hand. Don't be afraid to start with subjects that seem super obvious. 

Look how Google Docs' knowledge base starts with high-level topics.

The landing page of Google Docs' help center

The very first page on the first list is "How to use Google Docs." These topics are the bread and butter of a support center.

Once you run out of obvious subjects to cover, it's time to dig into topics that your customers ask about often. Talk to your support team about the issues they help customers with the most, and look through your support ticket history for patterns.

After you have your knowledge base running, you can automate some of this process with Zapier. For example, in his article on customer support automation, Tyler Robertson shares some Zaps (automated workflows) that help you turn common questions into help center articles. 

2. Create easy-to-understand content

Good formatting and simple language improve a customer's chance of finishing a help doc feeling like you answered their question. Use these guidelines to write more understandable documentation.

Explain every little detail

Never assume that your customers know what you're talking about. Explain every topic as though you're talking to someone completely new to your product. When in doubt, over-communicate.

This principle doesn't mean you have to re-explain yourself over and over again, of course. Link back to other help center articles when you're explaining a topic you already covered.

Use multimedia

Nobody said that help center articles have to be text only. Add images and videos wherever you think they can help you explain something. Have a topic a little too complicated for an image, but not complex enough for a polished video? Grab your favorite screen recording software for a quick screen capture.

Notion uses short videos in their documentation to explain features all the time, like in their "What is a block?" article.

Write in simple and consistent language

The words you use in your documentation matter. Use easy-to-understand language that stays consistent throughout your help center and website.

Before you write your knowledge base content, create a basic style guide to establish your voice and tone. If you already have a style guide for your main website's content, feel free to adapt it. Many folks use Mailchimp's and Buffer's style guides as a reference for their own.

Regardless of your brand's established style, keep your help center content's language as simple as possible. Practice accessible writing, and use consistent terms for technical features.

Format for easy reading

Space out large blocks of text by writing in short paragraphs, breaking up text with images, and using bullet points—all of which will create a more skimmable resource. These bits of formatting will also serve as "landmarks" for your readers when they're going back and forth between your help center and product.

Discord does a fantastic job of balancing their text in their "Custom Emojis" article:

Discord's "Custom Emojis" help article, with lots of different formatting for different types of content

Headers, colors, bullet points, and a GIF—they pull out every trick in the book to share information in digestible pieces.

3. Find a good host

Your documentation needs a home. Businesses generally take one of three approaches when finding a place to share their knowledge base:

  • An established help center app. Support apps like Zendesk and Help Scout provide knowledge base platforms. These apps typically have a set format and navigation—you just have to upload your articles.

  • A section of your website. Consider building a section of your website dedicated to your knowledge base. If you want to add any advanced features or navigation, you'll have to use a third-party plugin or hire a developer.

  • A document/information sharing platform. Don't have the budget for a dedicated help desk app or self-hosting system? Get creative by sharing your support documents in a navigable Google Doc or a Notion page.

4. Organize your help center

Most knowledge bases follow an established order to help customers find information easily.

Near the top or center of an organized help center, you'll find a search bar dedicated to support articles. Knowledge base apps usually have them built in, or if you're hosting your own, try using Google's Programmable Search Engine to make a custom search bar.

Some help centers have a "Getting Started" section at the beginning of their main page. It includes the fundamental help articles a customer needs to start using a product, such as main feature overviews and quick-start guides. Storyblok links to a dedicated "Getting Started" page at the top of its help center home:

Storyblok's help center home page, with a getting started guide featured at the top

If you notice customers looking up specific topics more than others, add a "Frequently Asked Questions" section to your main page. Zapier has one for common questions related to syncing and Zap speed:

Zapier's FAQ section on its Help Center home page

After you decide whether to include these sections, organize your documentation into categories based on topic. Divide them into lists or their own pages, as Wave does:

Wave's Help Center, organized by topic with icons for each topic

Within each of the categories, list your help articles in a logical order. For example, if you run document editing software, you'll want to teach customers how to create a document before you show them how to write in it. Miro explains how to create a profile and board before teaching you how to collaborate with others in the app:

Miro's Getting Started section

5. Make your documentation easy to find

Now that you've put so much hard work into creating and organizing your help center, you want your customers to read it. Be sure to link to your documentation where your customers will first expect to find it.

The most popular places to link to a knowledge base are in the main website's header and footer. While most sites link to it in one of those places or the other, Zapier links in both locations.

The help center featured in the Resources dropdown menu of the Zapier blog
The Zapier footer featuring the Help page

If your product is an app, add a link to your documentation in its menu. Did you ever notice that Gmail has a nifty link to Google support in the upper-right corner of your screen?

The link to Help from Gmail

As you get your knowledge base established, help customers remember to use your documentation through support communications. For example, coach your support team to link to relevant help articles when talking to customers. That way, the next time those customers have a question, they'll know they have a help center handy.

6. Keep improving your documentation

Your knowledge base will always be a work in progress. As you roll out and retire features, your documentation should change with your product. You'll also want to keep an eye on your help center's usefulness for customers.

The methods for measuring your knowledge center's utility will depend on your hosting choice. Help center tools have features like page analytics and a button at the end of each article asking the reader if it was useful. If you went the DIY route, though, you'll need to get creative. Use an online survey app to ask customers for input. Then, combine that info with other feedback into a customer feedback database.

Integrate your documentation into your unified communications

Your help center connects to many other aspects of your business. To get the most out of your knowledge base, integrate it into other parts of your operations—for example, your sales team could also benefit from reading and sharing help articles. Continue brainstorming ways to include your documentation in unified communications to keep your customer interactions consistent across all channels.

This post was originally published in December 2015 by Jess Byrne. The most recent update was in April 2022.

]]> (Melissa King) Fri, 29 Apr 2022 04:00:00 GMT
Automatically create Salesforce leads from new ClickFunnels contact activities .css-rclntc-Outer{overflow:auto;}.css-rclntc-Outer > *{margin-bottom:20px;margin-top:20px;}.css-rclntc-Outer > H2{margin-top:60px;}.css-rclntc-Outer > H3{margin-top:40px;}.css-rclntc-Outer > [id]{-webkit-scroll-margin-top:20px;-moz-scroll-margin-top:20px;-ms-scroll-margin-top:20px;scroll-margin-top:20px;}@media (min-width:660px){.css-rclntc-Outer > [id]{-webkit-scroll-margin-top:100px;-moz-scroll-margin-top:100px;-ms-scroll-margin-top:100px;scroll-margin-top:100px;}}

Selling products online through ClickFunnels? Then chances are you're capturing a lot of contact information through the different pages and funnels you've set up. But if your sales team also uses Salesforce to reach out to prospects and customers, you're probably spending too much time copying and pasting leads from one app to another.

We'll show you how to create a Zap—our word for the automated workflows you create with Zapier—that will automatically create leads in Salesforce based on ClickFunnels contact activity. You'll have more time to focus on what matters the most, like converting those prospects or fostering customer loyalty.  

Salesforce is a premium app—available on Zapier's paid plans. Learn more about premium apps

Option 1: Get started quickly with a Zap template

If you'd rather have us do the heavy lifting, we have a template to help you get started quickly. Click on the template below, and you'll be guided through setup. You'll need to create a Zapier account if you don't already have one.

Here's how it works: 

  1. Click on the Zap template. 

  2. Connect your ClickFunnels account and select which funnel we should watch for new contacts. (You can also choose all funnels.) You should then select which funnel step we should watch for new contacts, if applicable. 

  3. Connect your Salesforce account and pick what kind of object you want to create. By default, "Leads" should already be selected. 

  4. Decide how you want leads to appear in Salesforce by mapping the contact fields from ClickFunnels to Salesforce. 

  5. Test your workflow and turn it on. 

Option 2: Create your own Zap

If you'd like more control over information in your Zap or would like to add additional actions such as filters, you can click here to create a new Zap from scratch.

We'll walk through these steps in detail for ClickFunnels and Salesforce, but most of the steps in this tutorial will still apply for lead management in other CRMs. 

Set up your ClickFunnels trigger

Once you're in the Zap editor, you'll first need to create the trigger, which is the event that will kick off your Zap. Search for and select ClickFunnels as the trigger app. Select New Contact Activity as the trigger event. Click Continue.

The ClickFunnels app logo selected for the app with New Contact Activity selected in the Event dropdown menu.

Next, connect your ClickFunnels account to Zapier by clicking on the dropdown menu and selecting +Connect a new account. You'll need to give Zapier permission to access your ClickFunnels account. Click Continue.

The ClickFunnels app logo and a ClickFunnels account selected in the ClickFunnels account dropdown menu.

Next, it's time to set up the trigger. In the ClickFunnels Funnel field, pick the funnel you want Zapier to watch for contacts any time there's a new one. In this example, we'll select contacts, but you can also select all funnels. Next, in the Funnel Step field, pick which funnel step you want Zapier to watch for new contacts. Click Continue.

The trigger setup menu with fields labeled Funnel and Funnel Step with a purple Continue button.

Next, click Test Trigger so Zapier will pull the most recently created contact in your ClickFunnels account. Click Continue

A successful test screen with a green checkmark and the text "We found a contact!"

Set up your Salesforce action

In this next step, you'll set up the action—the event your Zap will perform once it's triggered. Search for and select Salesforce as your action app, select Create Lead as the action event, and click Continue

The Salesforce app logo next to the text Create Lead in Salesforce.

Next, connect your Salesforce account to Zapier by clicking on the dropdown menu and selecting +Connect a new account. You'll need to give Zapier permission to access your Salesforce account. (Note: You may have to first log in to Salesforce in Zapier's pop-up window.) Once you've connected your account, click Continue.

A Salesforce account selected from the Salesforce account dropdown menu.

Customize how your Salesforce lead is set up

​​Now you need to tell your Zap how to set up your Salesforce leads. You can map the contact data from ClickFunnels by clicking inside any empty field where you want the data to go (such as inside the Last Name and First Name field) and selecting an option from the Insert Data dropdown menu. 

A set of fields under Set up action, including last name, first name, and salutation.

To make the lead in Salesforce as detailed and helpful as possible, you can also pull in data like salutation, middle name, suffix, and the record type. If your contacts in ClickFunnels also include details like company (this field is required), company information, address, phone number, and email address, you can pull those in too. 

You can also add important lead information, like lead source (where the lead came from, like a phone inquiry), lead status (whether or not they've been contacted), industry, and rating (hot, warm, cold), etc. 

Action settings fields, including description, lead source, status, and industry.

When you're done setting up your lead information, click Continue

Test your Zap and turn it on 

Next, you'll need to test your Zap. Zapier will show you a preview of the Salesforce lead before it's added. 

A test screen with the Zapier logo connected to the Salesforce logo with an arrow and the text "Send Lead to Salesforce".

If the preview looks good to you, click Test & Continue. Zapier will now send a test lead to Salesforce based on what you configured earlier. 

If you're happy with the way the lead looks in Salesforce, it's time to turn on your Zap! Your Zap will now automatically create a Salesforce lead every time there's new contact activity in ClickFunnels. 

Now, you can sit back and focus on your most important work.

]]> (Elena Alston) Thu, 28 Apr 2022 07:00:00 GMT
4 ways to automate your IT management workflows .css-rclntc-Outer{overflow:auto;}.css-rclntc-Outer > *{margin-bottom:20px;margin-top:20px;}.css-rclntc-Outer > H2{margin-top:60px;}.css-rclntc-Outer > H3{margin-top:40px;}.css-rclntc-Outer > [id]{-webkit-scroll-margin-top:20px;-moz-scroll-margin-top:20px;-ms-scroll-margin-top:20px;scroll-margin-top:20px;}@media (min-width:660px){.css-rclntc-Outer > [id]{-webkit-scroll-margin-top:100px;-moz-scroll-margin-top:100px;-ms-scroll-margin-top:100px;scroll-margin-top:100px;}}

Companies wouldn't be able to operate as efficiently without the expertise of IT professionals. Whether helping teams automate workflows, protecting information, or troubleshooting issues, you spend your days making sure these tools and processes work. 

Solving these puzzles is part of the fun. The not-so-fun-part: when the processes get in the way of you doing your best work. With an automation tool like Zapier, you can automate apps and cut down on manual work for yourself, your team, or your company. 

Here are the top ways IT professionals use Zaps—what we call our automated workflows—to create alert systems, communicate with customers, and more. 

You'll need a Zapier account to use the workflows in this piece. If you don't have an account yet, it's free to get started.

Table of contents

Automate your employee onboarding and offboarding

Onboarding and offboarding employees should feel like autopilot. After all, you're giving new colleagues access to the same apps and hardware and shutting off access when they leave. But it's a lot of moving parts to manage.  

If you use a formal identity management tool like Okta, you can connect it with Zapier to add new employees to your system. 

To get started with a Zap template—what we call our pre-made workflows—just click on the button, and we'll guide you through customizing it. It only takes a few minutes. You can read more about setting up Zaps here.

Or, if you prefer, you can give your new colleagues access to specific apps automatically:

If you rely on managers notifying you of new hires or departures, Zapier can keep you organized, whether it's turning departure form submissions into tasks or creating tickets from a new hire spreadsheet. 

When configuring the action—the event your Zap performs once it's triggered—you can include a bulleted list of the onboarding or offboarding tasks you need to accomplish. That way, each time your onboarding Zap runs, it will automatically include your list. Think of it as insurance in case you have a brain fart. 

But what if your company uses an app that doesn't have a Zapier integration? If it has webhook functionality, you can use webhooks in a Zap to create the same workflows as a Zapier integration. 

Check out our guide to Webhooks by Zapier to learn more about setting this up. 

Build systems and connect platforms across your company

You're also responsible for ensuring different teams at work have the systems and data they need to do their jobs. This might include granting permissions, troubleshooting, helping a team implement a new tool, or even automating systems for your coworkers. After all, if your end users are happy, so are you. 

Here are a few ideas for creating automated systems across your organization: 

Reduce data entry 

Few people like manual data entry. Often it's a copy-and-paste task, but that doesn't mean someone won't make a mistake and enter the wrong information. 

These Zaps are a good starting point for streamlining your spreadsheets: 

Zapier can also help you automate data collection or analytics gathering throughout your entire app stack, so you can reduce human errors. 

Automate lead management for your sales team

CRMs contain important information about your customers, which is why these tools can be a beast to manage. Setting up a few Zaps can help your sales colleagues manage leads more effectively.  

Streamline processes for accounting and human resources

Your human resources team deals with critical employee information every day, from managing payroll and benefits to recruiting and sending out job offers. 

Here are a few automated workflows you can set up quickly to help your HR colleagues stay on top of everything:

You can also use Zapier to help your accounting coworkers automate record-keeping and reduce errors, whether it's tracking paid customer accounts or employee expenses. 

Want to learn more about accounting automation? Get advice from experts on the best ways to add automation to your financial processes.

Build an internal alert system

When something technical goes wrong, you're the go-to team, so you want to ensure you're notified of issues as quickly as possible. 

Here are some ideas for automating internal communication and notifications.  

Monitor tickets

Whether you use a formal ticketing tool or a form app to manage requests, you don't want to leave your end users hanging. If your team uses a ticketing system, you can route new ticket alerts to a channel in your team chat app or direct message. 

If you normally use daily standup meetings to review tickets, you can save yourself time with Digest by Zapier. Available on our paid plans, you can use Digest in a Zap to automatically send regular reports of tickets submitted or closed. 

Perhaps you're pairing a form app with a project management tool instead of a ticketing system to get the job done. You can use Zapier to create alerts for your DIY ticketing system too.

Most ticketing systems will send an automated email once you close a ticket. If you're bootstrapping, you can replicate this notification with a Zap that automatically sends an email when you complete a task. 

Keep an eye on major outages 

Time is of the essence when internal systems go down. You can catch errors early before they snowball into bigger issues by setting up alerts for systems you've created. 

For example, if you monitor a shared email inbox for error messages from business-critical apps, you can route those notifications to your team chat app. 

If you use a server monitoring tool such as PagerDuty or New Relic, these Zaps will help you stay on top of major events.

You can also monitor Zaps you create for your team and others. Zapier Manager allows you to set up Zaps for your Zaps. For example, if a Zap encounters an error or shuts off, you can receive an alert in your team chat app. 

Here are a few Zaps you can set up to monitor your workflows: 

It's also easy to set up notifications for any Zapier-wide incidents. You can subscribe to updates through email, text, Slack, or even RSS. 

Zapier and many other apps—such as Slack—send service status updates through an RSS feed. You can compile your critical apps into an RSS feed, then create a Zap to monitor these outages.

Manage your on-call schedule

If your team has an on-call schedule, you can also remind team members when their shift is coming up. 

First, create a shared calendar in an app like Google Calendar. Then, set up one of the Zaps below, which will automatically send a reminder via text message or your team chat app.

Note: SMS by Zapier can only send messages to U.S. and U.K. phone numbers. Learn more here. 

If you manage your on-call schedule in an app without a Zapier integration, you can still send reminder messages with a webhook. 

Streamline customer communication

Your sales and marketing teams are most likely to use automation, but they may not be especially tech-savvy or have the time to build the right systems to streamline their work. 

You can do the building while letting them focus on generating leads and sales. You can start by creating automated communication channels, so your sales and marketing colleagues can better engage with prospects and customers.  

Help you and your end-users succeed with automation

Solving technical problems is just a day in the life of an IT professional. Automation can help you and your company streamline manual tasks, so you can focus on problem-solving for your end-users.

]]> (Krystina Martinez) Thu, 28 Apr 2022 07:00:00 GMT
The best marketing automation software in 2022 .css-rclntc-Outer{overflow:auto;}.css-rclntc-Outer > *{margin-bottom:20px;margin-top:20px;}.css-rclntc-Outer > H2{margin-top:60px;}.css-rclntc-Outer > H3{margin-top:40px;}.css-rclntc-Outer > [id]{-webkit-scroll-margin-top:20px;-moz-scroll-margin-top:20px;-ms-scroll-margin-top:20px;scroll-margin-top:20px;}@media (min-width:660px){.css-rclntc-Outer > [id]{-webkit-scroll-margin-top:100px;-moz-scroll-margin-top:100px;-ms-scroll-margin-top:100px;scroll-margin-top:100px;}}

Do you remember your first marketing moment? Mine was passing out flyers I  made for my band's upcoming shows. I'd walk around my college campus and chat with students I thought might be interested. If you were wearing flannel—this was the early '90s—you got a flyer. I measured ROI by the familiar faces I saw in the audience.  

Grow your business with marketing automation
Learn how

This form of marketing feels outdated now, but the basic concepts and goals haven't changed—only the technology has. Marketing automation software replaces the flyers, the hours of walking, and my eye for spotting the right audience. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. 

I've been working with marketing automation software since early on in its evolution. For this article, I evaluated several dozen marketing automation solutions and did in-depth testing to determine which would appeal to a broad spectrum of marketers with different business needs and goals. After weeks of testing, here are my picks for the five best marketing automation platforms. 

The best marketing automation software in 2022

  • HubSpot for a platform that will grow with your business

  • ActiveCampaign for providing prebuilt automations

  • Omnisend for affordable eCommerce marketing automation

  • EngageBay for small businesses wanting all-in-one software

  • Marketo for businesses with lots of contacts  

What is marketing automation software? 

Marketing automation is a ridiculously broad term with a lot of different definitions being thrown around. So I'll toss my hat in the ring: marketing automation software is technology that automatically manages multi-channel marketing activities (campaigns). It has features that include things like:

  • Lead capture (CTAs, forms, landing pages)

  • Lead nurture

  • Email and/or SMS marketing 

  • Website visitor tracking

  • Social media management/marketing

  • List segmentation

  • Lead scoring

  • A/B testing

  • Reporting/analytics

  • Integration options

Ultimately, marketing automation platforms are designed to maximize efficiency and increase revenue, making the marketer's job less manual and more accountable. 

What makes the best marketing automation software?

How we evaluate and test apps

All of our best apps roundups are written by humans who've spent much of their careers using, testing, and writing about software. We spend dozens of hours researching and testing apps, using each app as it's intended to be used and evaluating it against the criteria we set for the category. We're never paid for placement in our articles from any app or for links to any site—we value the trust readers put in us to offer authentic evaluations of the categories and apps we review. For more details on our process, read the full rundown of how we select apps to feature on the Zapier blog.

There are lots of apps that do one or another kind of marketing automation (drip email apps are a great example). But for this list, we're looking at apps that do it all. Or as close as you can get. I eliminated more enterprise-level platforms such as Salesforce/Pardot, Oracle, and SAP, so we could focus on the marketing automation tools that would best serve small and medium businesses.

Each of my selections for the best marketing automation tools checks the following boxes (at minimum):

  • Marketing automation. See the list above for some of the specific features. While some marketing automation is internal (e.g., notifying your team when certain thresholds are met), much marketing automation is the process of sending automated, targeted communication (e.g., emails and texts) to a defined list (segment) of contacts who you want to perform certain actions (e.g., buy, subscribe, champion). 

  • Integrations. Anyone who interacts with customers, especially sales and customer service teams, should have a 360-degree view of all customer interactions. The top marketing automation platforms connect—either natively or through a tool like Zapier—to the other apps you use in your business, so no customer data falls through the cracks.

  • Ease of use. The point of marketing automation services is to make your life easier, so I prioritized ease of use while testing. All of the apps on this list have either intuitive instructions within the user interface, robust how-to libraries, solid customer support, or some combination of all three. (My advice: use all of the resources provided by the app, including onboarding, training, and migration assistance. The apps are easy to use, but they're still complex beasts.)

  • Reporting. We know not all of your KPIs can be tracked automatically, but your software should do the heavy lifting. The apps on this list all offer both prebuilt and custom reporting. I also gave extra points for a native Google Analytics integration to help track any additional data not included in the provided reports.    

  • Relative affordability. Costs are going to vary dramatically when it comes to marketing automation software. In general, pricing is determined by the sophistication of plan features, number of contacts and/or monthly email sends), and in some cases, the number of users. To determine relative affordability, I compared similarly-priced plans and features as a starting point. Then I looked at the number of included users and contacts and the pricing for additional contacts. It was by no means an exact science, but it allowed me to better compare apples to apples.

I signed up for trial accounts of each app and jumped in. I set up the ability to send emails and texts, created a handful of contacts, and designed some emails and texts to be used in the automations. I also created pop-ups, forms, and landing pages to get a feel for how easy they were to build, and I experimented with lists and segmentation (how targeted can I get with my contacts?). Finally, I built automations and/or campaigns using what I had created.

After an initial review of dozens of apps, I revisited the top contenders, and finally narrowed it down to these five marketing automation platforms.

Best marketing automation software for growing your business

HubSpot (Web, iOS, Android) 

HubSpot, our pick for the best marketing automation software for growing your business

During my years working at a marketing agency, I've seen firsthand how HubSpot has contributed to the growth of many businesses. When I started working with it in 2013, HubSpot was "just" marketing automation software. Now it has five hubs—marketing, sales, service, CMS, and operations—to manage different areas of your business. But for our purposes, I'll focus primarily on the marketing suite. 

First, I need to acknowledge something important: HubSpot is easy to use. The UI is uncluttered, the knowledge base is one of the best in the business, and the user community is just a click away.  

HubSpot offers a lot for free, including a very capable CRM and live chat. When you purchase any of the paid plans, you get to remove branding from your emails and landing pages, among other things, plus all your limits increase. And HubSpot is known for inbound marketing, which means you'll get top-notch SEO tools too: a quick scan of your site will give you recommendations like "address pages with duplicate title tags" with specific instructions on how to fix them. Regardless, you're starting off with quite a bit at a reasonable price point.

HubSpot's marketing automations are called workflows. You'll find them under the Automations tab, and you'll get about a dozen premade workflows, like nurturing conversions, welcoming new contacts, and re-engaging cold leads. This page also houses all your workflows in a searchable table. If you want to get a little more customized, you can start from scratch. You'll be asked how you want the workflow to start (e.g., based on contact, company, deal, conversation, and so on). Let's look at an example.

Say you choose contact as your starting point. You can then set what filters to use as a trigger (using and/or criteria), including categories like contact properties, page views, and company details. So you might trigger off of contacts that are decision-makers and have viewed your pricing page or where the company's annual revenue is $5 million or less. Then you select your action: do you want to add that person to an email list? Send them an email? If you're unsure what an action does or how to use it, there's always a link to the knowledge base. Once you've reviewed and everything looks good, just turn it on.

Beyond these workflows, HubSpot's marketing features are well-rounded: you get landing pages, CTAs, and forms; and on the social side of things, you can create and schedule posts, monitor activities, and analyze it all in a social analytics section that I was pretty impressed by, given that it's not a dedicated app.   

While we're on analysis, HubSpot has the most extensive reporting for any marketing platform that I came across. In addition to general reports, you can create customizable dashboards with reports for different areas, such as email, channel, and website engagement. There are over 100 reports to choose from, and you can customize them with your own filters by report content (e.g., attributions, revenue, conversations) and report type (e.g., funnel, list, comparison). You can also track custom behavioral events, campaign analytics, forms performance, traffic analytics, and contact analytics. It's a lot—and it's done well.

When you need to integrate HubSpot with the rest of your tech ecosystem, HubSpot's App Marketplace provides over 1,000 native integrations. Over the years, I've connected over a dozen apps to HubSpot, and the experience has always been straightforward. If you can't find the app you're looking for, or you need something a little more customized, you can connect HubSpot to Zapier to do things like adding a new Facebook lead or Google Contact to HubSpot.

HubSpot price: Marketing automation starts at $800/month for unlimited users and includes 2,000 contacts (CRM is free). HubSpot's pricing is mostly based on how many users or marketing contacts you have.

Best marketing automation software for prebuilt automations

ActiveCampaign (Web, iOS, Android)

ActiveCampaign, our pick for the best marketing automation software for prebuilt automations

ActiveCampaign includes over 500 prebuilt automation "Recipes," so whether you're new to producing campaigns or just need fresh ideas, you'll find what you need. You can search by industry or language, and it feels like there's a Recipe for every occasion, from accessory upsell after purchase to engaging prospects interested in pricing. (Or you can start from scratch, but honestly, you probably won't need to.)

I selected Customer Win Back Sequence and was brought to a page with an editable view of the campaign steps. The campaign is already built for you, but you can add additional triggers (e.g., visits a web page, reads an email) to add contacts to this series. You'll also have to create the email or SMS copy and/or the site messages they'll receive, but you'll get templates for these too—nothing is really "from scratch" if you don't want it to be. From there, you can pick (or edit) conditions in the workflow and update contacts in your CRM or other connected apps. You can even use integrations within a Recipe (e.g., sending physical gifts using a third-party gifting platform). And you can add if/then conditions to personalize the journey even more.

To help increase your email click rates, ActiveCampaign offers a unique feature: predictive content in emails. When creating an email, drag the predictive content block into the body. You'll be asked to create up to five variations of text (and you'll get suggestions based on what you write). When the email is sent, ActiveCampaign will predict which content each contact should receive based on an analysis of every email the company's customers send and how people interact with them. 

When it comes to analytics, ActiveCampaign's prebuilt vibes continue. You'll get plenty of prebuilt reports for automations, where you can track email performance and even revenue generation when you're connected to an eCommerce store. The conversion attribution report shows the effectiveness of all touchpoints (e.g., email campaign, Facebook ad) that led to a converted sale, and custom reports let you set the parameters for the data you want to collect from multiple sources.

If you're moving from another marketing platform, ActiveCampaign will migrate your contacts and recreate your automations, landing pages, and templates at no cost. The integration suite is also one of the largest I saw other than HubSpot, so you'll have no trouble keeping your data connected. And you can add even more apps by connecting ActiveCampaign to Zapier to do things like adding new contacts whenever someone fills out a form or books an appointment.

ActiveCampaign price: From $9/user/month with 500 contacts. If you'd like another communication channel, a Conversations add-on ($19/user/month) provides live chat and a unified inbox that can be shared with your team to monitor and respond to chats. 

Best marketing automation software for eCommerce

Omnisend (Web)

Omnisend, our pick for the best affordable marketing automation software for eCommerce

Because of the low starting price and low cost to add contacts, Omnisend is your best bet for an affordable eCommerce marketing automation platform. The top-tier plan is only $59/month for 500 contacts, unlimited email sends, and nearly 4,000 SMS/month. Contact tiers are then charged at about $5 per 500 contacts (that's about $0.01/contact). And even with the free plan, you get access to 95% of the features, just with limitations.

Omnisend offers an impressive selection of segmentation options under the Audience tab. The prebuilt segments include categories like "at risk of churn," "viewed a certain product," and over a dozen more. Click on one, and then customize it with filters and conditions. For example, with "at risk of churn," you can filter by lifecycle stage and contact properties using and/or logic to add additional filters. When creating a segment from scratch, you can add more filters for events: things like pages viewed, marketing activities (opens and clicks), and events from your eCommerce store (e.g., "order shipped" and "viewed product").

Designing emails is simple, with a selection of premade sections to choose from. For example, when you add the product recommender block, Omnisend pulls 2 – 4 products from your store (you choose either best sellers or newest products), with images, prices, and links to display in the email. The data is pulled from your store each hour, so the product recommendations are always the most up to date. The unique discount block lets you generate discount codes in your eCommerce platform, add them to emails, and specify the value (percentage or fixed amount) and how it's applied (all orders, minimum order price). Then you can set the expiration date for the discount. Not bad for an email block.

There are about 30 prebuilt eCommerce-related workflows, and you can customize them or start from scratch. All workflows start with a trigger (e.g., viewed page, order placed). You can then filter those triggers based on things like order total and which product was purchased. You can also add audience (contact) filters to further refine who enters the workflow. Once you've defined the trigger, you have message options for email, SMS, and— notably—push notifications, and you can add actions with delay, tag, split, and A/B test. Any step you add that isn't complete will be highlighted in red with what's needed—a nice touch.

The reporting is solid. You'll get overall reporting on best and worst performing campaigns and workflows plus more detailed reports on things like campaign revenue attribution. Plus there's a click map, which shows which elements of a campaign your subscribers clicked on.

Adding to the eCommerce experience, Omnisend integrates natively with Shopify, WooCommerce, BigCommerce, Magento, Wix, OpenCart, and plenty of other eCommerce platforms, plus apps for customer support, shipping, reviews, and advertising.  For my testing, I connected a free WooCommerce account on my WordPress site and then integrated that easily with Omnisend. There are no native CRM integrations, but you can take care of that with Zapier, so you can do things like add new HubSpot or Salesforce contacts to Omnisend.

Omnisend Price: Free plan available to reach 250 contacts/month and send 500 emails/month; Paid plans start at $16/month and increase that to 500 contacts/month reached and 6,000 emails/month.

Best all-in-one marketing automation for small business

EngageBay (Web, iOS, Android)

EngageBay, our pick for the best all-in-one marketing automation for small business

EngageBay is a solid platform for smaller businesses that want a relatively affordable solution with marketing, sales, and service capabilities baked into one. It's thoughtfully designed so that anyone can jump in, and as I found out, their support is always just a quick chat away. 

Marketing is the most robust suite by far: in addition to automation, it offers landing pages, forms, pop-ups, site messages, and push notifications. I created a few pop-ups and a landing page, and they all got the job done. For most small businesses, the sales and service suites will offer plenty of functionality. The sales suite has a drag-and-drop deals pipeline, tasks, automations (sequences), proposals, and a 360-degree view of all activities for contacts. For service, you'll get a shared inbox where you can assign, monitor, and automate ongoing tickets, as well as a help center and service dashboard.

You can create static and dynamic contact segments by choosing from and combining about 50 conditions, including contact details (e.g., lead score, company, state) and other attributes (e.g., pages visited, contact source). One nice touch that's worth mentioning: the drag-and-drop email template builder had no trouble recognizing copy and pasted text from other apps like Google Docs, something I had a lot of trouble with on other apps. 

Under Campaigns, you can create one-time broadcasts (email and SMS), sequences, and automations. Sequences are kind of like drip campaigns: it's a group of emails sent to subscribers at different times, with exclusions for things like tags, contacts, and date. I liked that you could see all the emails in a sequence at once on one side of the screen while you're customizing any specific email. You'll also get plenty of easy-to-add email templates, and the ability to record and save video templates from your computer's camera.

Though the automations are plenty capable, the experience setting one up wasn't quite as intuitive and well-designed as some of the other apps on this list. It's a combination of clicking plus signs, selecting actions, dragging lines from triggers to actions, and a few other things. There also weren't instructions or prompts, so you'll be flying by the seat of your pants to start. But once I got used to the process, it was fine.

The Marketing Dashboard shows the performance for all the different activities you have running, and you can also drill down into specific automations, landing pages, or forms to see how they're each performing. You can create custom reports for any metric you're collecting.

To make sure your marketing automation software is talking to the rest of your apps, you can connect EngageBay to Zapier to do things like add new customers or form respondents to EngageBay. 

EngageBay price: From $39/user/month for marketing automation, CRM, and service suites. The free tier and lower-priced plans do not include marketing automation.  

Best marketing automation software for businesses with lots of contacts

Marketo (Web, iOS, Android) 

Marketo, our pick for the best marketing automation software for businesses with lots of contacts

Because of its cost and complexity, Marketo isn't really a "first-time" marketing platform. It's overkill for most small and even some medium businesses, depending on your goals and the size of your contact database. But it's not quite enterprise-only, and it's a leader in the space—for good reason. It offers a lot of features, flexibility, and customization options that make it a very powerful platform.  

There's a really nuanced level of refinement available for audience segmentation and targeting, including custom fields. You can take that segmentation even further by using dynamic content, which automatically personalizes content for emails, web pages, and landing pages for the segments you've created. For example, you might want to send several segments the same basic email but with a different subject line and slightly different copy—and all it takes is a couple clicks to get there. You can do the same thing for your website, serving up personalized content, images, and messages based on filters you select for items like account/lead attributes and behavior. 

At the heart of Marketo is what's called a Program (essentially a campaign), which can include emails, SMS, landing pages, and more. You'll start by creating a smart list (e.g., people from New York with a lead score of at least 75 and a status of "marketing qualified lead"). Then you'll build out your flow, which can be as complex as you want it to be with branching. You can even automate marketing events (think: tradeshows and webinars) by creating invitations, reminders, and check-ins.  

Marketo also offers SEO monitoring, which isn't super common in this category of app. While not as sophisticated as a standalone app like Semrush, Marketo gives you a good starting point, letting you monitor 500 keywords, 5 competitors, and 3 domains. And because Marketo automatically crawls your site, it will identify page optimization issues and link opportunities, and make keyword recommendations.  

The reporting is equally as impressive. You'll get all the basics, but with custom dimensions, you can also see email data filtered for different segments and tags as well as different marketing activities. The "People Performance" report measures database growth over time, and the "Company Web Activity" report displays the companies of the people visiting your website, among other things. The reports in Revenue Explorer show the ROI, costs, and success for a given program and channel. 

Marketo offers native Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn integrations, so you can run targeted ad campaigns based on your Marketo segments. You can also use Google AdWords and Facebook for retargeting audiences with data such as referring URLs, behavior, industry, and other factors. And you can connect Marketo to Zapier to do things like creating leads from form submissions or spreadsheets.

Note: Marketo doesn't provide trials—we tried!—so I was unable to test it in the same way at the same time I was testing the other apps up for consideration. We rarely include an app we can't test in tandem with the others, but I've spent time in Marketo in the past, so I felt comfortable reviewing it based on that previous experience (and cross-referencing current documentation and other materials to be sure my previous experience was still accurate).

Marketo price: Marketo's pricing (not published) is based primarily on contact levels, with a minimum of 10,000 contacts as the starting point for any of the three plans. My Marketo contact said most customers at this level will pay between $1,250/month and $1,700/month for 10 users. There's also a one-time integration fee.  

How to choose the best marketing automation platforms

If selecting the right marketing automation software seems a little overwhelming, that's because it is. It's a big decision with many considerations. To help, I spoke to a few agency marketers to get more insights into how businesses should approach their search for a platform and some of the challenges they see. 

Allison Gibbs, VP of Operations at Texas-based Mojo Media Labs, compares marketing automation to a gym membership. "When you first start, you have access to everything at the gym. But the reality is: are you going to use everything? No, but you're still going to see value out of it." Allison says you need to understand from a very high level what your goals are—taking the platform out of the equation. Once you understand your objectives and the "why," then you can match the features up to that platform.  

Sacha Gauthier is a Senior Strategist at Blend Marketing Ltd., based in the UK. One of the biggest challenges he sees with clients and marketing automation is with integrations. "Nowadays, most marketing functions rely on a lot of different platforms. The number one pain point is going to be something that doesn't integrate into whatever marketing automation platform exists." He likes platforms with native integrations or third-party connectors such as Zapier, so he doesn't need to rely on developers and can more easily make campaigns with multiple apps work together. Regardless, his advice is to be sure your marketing automation platform will play nice with the rest of your tech stack.

]]> (Chris Hawkins) Thu, 28 Apr 2022 04:00:00 GMT
How to delete a board in Trello (including alternatives to try) .css-rclntc-Outer{overflow:auto;}.css-rclntc-Outer > *{margin-bottom:20px;margin-top:20px;}.css-rclntc-Outer > H2{margin-top:60px;}.css-rclntc-Outer > H3{margin-top:40px;}.css-rclntc-Outer > [id]{-webkit-scroll-margin-top:20px;-moz-scroll-margin-top:20px;-ms-scroll-margin-top:20px;scroll-margin-top:20px;}@media (min-width:660px){.css-rclntc-Outer > [id]{-webkit-scroll-margin-top:100px;-moz-scroll-margin-top:100px;-ms-scroll-margin-top:100px;scroll-margin-top:100px;}}

If you're here to learn how to delete a Trello board, hi. But also: please don't do it.

Yes, I'm going to show you how to delete a Trello board, but I'm also going to give you a few other options—if only so you can save people like me, who know for sure you will regret it, the second-hand stress of deleting your data.

How to delete a Trello board

Connect Trello to the other apps you use most
Learn more

Keep in mind: once you hit delete, there's no coming back—your data will be gone for good. If you want to take the safer (and much more reasonable) route, skip ahead to the next sections on alternatives to deleting Trello boards. 

Otherwise, here's how to delete a Trello board: 

  1. Go to the Trello board you want to delete, and select Show menu.

  2. Click More.

  3. Select Close board... at the bottom of the dropdown list. 

  4. Click Permanently delete board from the screen that shows up next.

The button to permanently delete a Trello board

That's it. Your board is gone forever, and I hope you don't regret it.

A couple other notes:

  • You currently can't delete Trello boards from the mobile app. If for some reason, you have you delete a board on the go (feels a little sketchy, but hey), log in to the web app on your mobile device, and follow the steps shared above.

  • You can't delete Trello boards if you're a guest in a workspace or a board member without admin privileges. You'll have to either request admin access or ask someone else to delete the board.

Alternatives to deleting Trello boards: How to save your Trello board data

If you think there's even a remote possibility you'll want your board content back, here are some things you can do instead of going full-on delete.

How to close a board in Trello

Closing Trello boards is similar to archiving cards. The board won't show up in your workspace, so you'll lose the clutter, but it won't be gone forever if you change your mind. To close a Trello board: 

  1. Head to the board you want to archive, click Show menu > More.

  2. In the menu that opens, click Close board... 

  3. To reopen the closed board, go to your Boards page, and click View all closed boards. Then click Reopen on the one you want.

The button to view all closed boards in Trello

Export Trello data before deleting the board

Another option is to let the board go but preserve its content. If you're on the free Trello plan, you'll need to have some grip on the raw JSON data format to make it work. Otherwise, it's going to look like gibberish. Know JSON or determined to learn it? Export your Trello data like this: 

  1. Click Show menu.

  2. Click More, and select Print and export.

  3. Now choose Export as JSON.

Exporting data as JSON in Trello

If you're a premium user, you'll also see the option to export the board in CSV format. This can open as a spreadsheet, breathing sense into the board's contents. In either case, though, you'll be importing raw data—not the board itself. You can use it to recreate a Trello board or grab whatever info you're looking for, but any re-importing will have to be manual.

Back up Trello data with a Chrome extension

The TrelloExport extension speeds up the data-saving process. 

Once you've installed the extension, go through the same steps you'd take to export data without the extension: Show menu > More > Print and export. This time, you'll see another option: TrelloExport. Click it to save data in your preferred format (Excel, HTML, CSV, or Markdown). 

Export Trello data with a Chrome extension

Use the Board Export Power-Up to save your Trello board

Yes, there's yet another option: the Board Export Power-Up. This one will save everything on the Trello board: the cards, activity log, comments, checklists, advanced lists, members, due dates, and whatever other details you choose. The Power-Up saves it all in easy-to-read PDF, Excel, CSV, or image format. 

Board Export is definitely the most readable way to save your Trello board data. It also lets you: 

  • Save time by only selecting what you need to save from your Trello board—not the whole enchilada.

  • Export data to share information with stakeholders who either don't use Trello or you don't want seeing a specific board.

  • Engage stakeholders by exporting and sharing data in whatever format they prefer.

To set it up, go to the Board Export Power-Up page, and click the blue Add Power-Up button.  

The Board Export Power-Up in Trello

Now select your board from the dropdown menu, and click Add to add the Power-Up to a Trello board. Or, if you're already on a board, simply select the Power-Ups tab at the top of your board, search for the Board Export Power-Up from the gallery, and click Add

The Power-Up will then require you to log in with Trello and purchase it. Once you set it up, you'll see it at the top of your dashboard. 

Accessing the Board Export Power-Up in Trello

From there, using it is pretty straightforward: go to Board Export on your Trello board, choose whatever you want to export (lists, members, etc.), and click Export. Select the format to save your data in, and you're done—you can now access the data from the downloaded file. 

Bonus: Back up your Trello board data and restore it

You can always use the data you've saved to recreate your Trello boards manually. But if you're looking for a faster way to automatically restore the boards, you'll want to use the premium Backups for Trello Power-Up. 

The Power-Up automatically backs up your Trello board data.  

To set up Backups for Trello, start by enabling the Power-Up—the same way as above—and authorizing access to it. Then, to restore a board: go the Power-Up on your board, and pick Vault at the top. From there, choose Advanced restore, and select the board to restore. Finally, select a date and time to restore it, and click Restore item.

]]> (Masooma Memon ) Thu, 28 Apr 2022 04:00:00 GMT
How to get notifications in Slack for new tasks in Salesforce .css-rclntc-Outer{overflow:auto;}.css-rclntc-Outer > *{margin-bottom:20px;margin-top:20px;}.css-rclntc-Outer > H2{margin-top:60px;}.css-rclntc-Outer > H3{margin-top:40px;}.css-rclntc-Outer > [id]{-webkit-scroll-margin-top:20px;-moz-scroll-margin-top:20px;-ms-scroll-margin-top:20px;scroll-margin-top:20px;}@media (min-width:660px){.css-rclntc-Outer > [id]{-webkit-scroll-margin-top:100px;-moz-scroll-margin-top:100px;-ms-scroll-margin-top:100px;scroll-margin-top:100px;}}

Thousands of companies use Salesforce as their customer relationship management (CRM) system to complete tasks, and thousands of companies use Slack as their inter-office method of communication. So why not streamline processes between the two platforms?

Instead of manually checking Salesforce every day for new tasks, we'll show you how to create a Zap—our word for the automated workflows you create with Zapier—that will automatically send notifications to Slack whenever a new task is created in Salesforce. You'll spend less time jumping back and forth between the two platforms, and more time getting valuable work done.

Salesforce is a premium app—available on Zapier's paid plans. Learn more about premium apps

Option 1: Get started quickly with a Zap template

If you'd rather have someone else do the heavy lifting, we have a template to help you get started quickly. Click on the template below, and you'll be guided through setup. You'll need to create a Zapier account if you don't already have one.

Here's how it works: 

  1. Click on the Zap template. 

  2. Connect your Salesforce account and confirm the "New Task" trigger. 

  3. Connect your Slack account and select the channel you'd like your message to be sent to.

  4. Select the Slack fields you want to edit, set up the message, and tell Zapier how you want it to handle your message.

  5. Test your workflow and turn it on. 

Option 2: Create your own Zap

If you'd like more control over information in your Zap or add additional actions such as filters, you can click here to create a new Zap from scratch in the Zap editor.

We'll walk through these steps in detail for Salesforce and Slack, but most of the steps in this tutorial will still apply to other CRMs and team chat apps. 

Set up your Salesforce trigger

Once you're in the Zap editor, you'll first need to create the trigger, which is the event that will kick off your Zap. 

Search for and select Salesforce as the trigger app. Select New Record as the trigger event. Click Continue.

Salesforce trigger

Next, connect your Salesforce account to Zapier by clicking on the dropdown menu and selecting +Connect a new account. You'll need to give Zapier permission to access your Salesforce account. Click Continue.

The Salesforce app logo next to the text "New Record in Salesforce".

Next, it's time to set up the trigger. In the Salesforce Objects field, pick the object you want Zapier to select from Salesforce any time there's a new one. In this example, we'll select Task. Click Continue

In a dropdown labeled "Salesforce Objects", "Task" is selected above a purple Continue button.

Next, click Test Trigger so Zapier will pull the most recently created task in your Salesforce account. Click Continue.

Test Salesforce trigger

Set up your Slack action  

In this next step, you'll set up the action—the event your Zap will perform once it's triggered. Search for and select Slack as your action app, select Send Channel Message as the action event, and click Continue.

Slack action

Next, connect your Slack account to Zapier by clicking on the dropdown menu and selecting +Connect a new account. You'll need to give Zapier permission to access your Slack account.  (Note: You may have to first log in to Slack if you're not already logged in.) Once you've connected your account, click Continue.

Customize your Slack message

Now you need to tell your Zap where to send the Slack message. Choose a Slack channel from the dropdown. This will be where your automated messages are sent. Next, type out the message that you'd like to send.

You can add data from previous steps in your Zap by clicking inside any empty field where you want the data to go (such as inside the Message Text field) and selecting an option—or multiple options—from the Insert Data dropdown menu. 

In this instance, we'll use the subject line of the task inside Salesforce so those notified in Slack know what the task is. You can also pull in data like priority, description, status, and who the task is assigned to. 

Map your fields

After you finish your text, you'll have further options to set up your message. For example, if you want the message to be sent from a bot instead of your Slack handle, make sure you select Yes under Send As A Bot? You can also give your bot a name and use a Slack emoji as the bot's icon.

Assorted Slack settings fields filled out.

You can also customize other options for your Slack message. You could, for example, attach an image by URL, auto-expand links as images or documents, link usernames and channel names, include a link to the Zap, and even select a file to include with your message. 

When you're done, click Continue.

Test your Zap and turn it on 

Next, you'll need to test your Zap. Zapier will show you a preview of the Slack channel message before it's sent.

test your action

If you're satisfied with how the preview looks, click Test & Continue. Zapier will now send a test message to the Slack channel you selected based on what you configured earlier. 

If you're happy with the way the message looks in Slack, it's time to turn on your Zap!

Your Zap will now automatically send a Slack channel message every time a task is created in Salesforce. You can sit back and focus on your most important work.  

This article was originally published in November 2019 and was updated in April 2022 by Elena Alston.

]]> (Elena Alston) Wed, 27 Apr 2022 07:00:00 GMT
What's new at Zapier: April 2022 .css-rclntc-Outer{overflow:auto;}.css-rclntc-Outer > *{margin-bottom:20px;margin-top:20px;}.css-rclntc-Outer > H2{margin-top:60px;}.css-rclntc-Outer > H3{margin-top:40px;}.css-rclntc-Outer > [id]{-webkit-scroll-margin-top:20px;-moz-scroll-margin-top:20px;-ms-scroll-margin-top:20px;scroll-margin-top:20px;}@media (min-width:660px){.css-rclntc-Outer > [id]{-webkit-scroll-margin-top:100px;-moz-scroll-margin-top:100px;-ms-scroll-margin-top:100px;scroll-margin-top:100px;}}

If you're looking for Zapier's latest product news in April, you've come to the right place. Read on to discover the newest apps to join our platform and the latest features we've added to your favorite integrations. From our brand new Rock integration to Jotform's latest actions, we hope you can reap the rewards in your automated workflows. 

Latest launches


Rock is an all-in-one communication and collaboration platform that combines unlimited messaging with tasks, notes, project boards, and more so teams can be more productive. It's purpose-built for remote teams, so you can get more done without switching between tools. Learn more about using Rock and Zapier here


Maropost has everything you need to grow your business, including email, SMS, mobile, and eCommerce tools. With it, you can scale and simplify the way you connect, market, and sell to your customers, as well as engage your audience with multi-channel automation. Learn more about using Maropost and Zapier here

Autopilot Journeys (Ortto)

Autopilot (Ortto) is a visual marketing software that automates customer journeys to help you acquire and nurture leads. With it, you can make your customer journeys remarkable by connecting your data, segmenting your audience, and measuring success. Learn more about using Autopilot and Zapier together. 


BizConnect is a business card scanner for iOS and Android smartphones that comes with seamless CRM features. With it, you can easily scan business cards, be productive, and boost sales performance.  


Wisernotify is a social proof & FOMO marketing app that allows you to automate visitors' actions into social proof notifications on your website that can increase conversions. With it, you can transform your business by building trust and automating lead conversion. 


Jetdocs is an internal ticketing solution that integrates with Slack and Teams, powered by no-code catalogs, queues, templates, and bots. Empower cross-functional and internal teams to handle your mission-critical requests.


CONSENSUS uses interactive video demos to provide a personalized demo experience. You can scale presales instantly and shorten sales cycles with on-demand, tailored videos for each prospect.  With it, you can deliver a better buying experience. 


Embed giving into the heart of your business model and activities through B1G1's giving platform. With it, you can easily create a great impact that inspires as every time you sell a product, create a new client, or celebrate a milestone, something great happens in the world. 


Keygen is a key generation service that makes it easy for businesses to license and distribute their software. With it, you can easily add license key validation, entitlements, and device activation to your business's desktop apps and software. Let your teams focus on the product, not in-house licensing and distribution. 


Placetel is an all-in-one communication tool with a cloud telephone system, messaging, and meetings. It's a secure business communication platform for distributed teams in the home, office, or on the go.


Airmeet is an all-in-one platform for communities and organizations to host immersive events and build real connections online. If you're struggling with low event engagement and ROI, you can use Airmeet to deliver immersive and interactive experiences that work. 


Xperiencify is an online course platform that builds psychological triggers into your course. It's a simple (and fun) way to engage more students and get them to complete your online course.  


BlinkSwag is an all-in-one swag platform that lets you shop, store, and shop the highest quality branded swag around the world—easily. You get a dedicated dashboard to manage your swag that comes with inventory updates, order tracking, and employee onboarding features. 

Latest updates

Freshsales Classic

You can now dynamically create or update contacts, update existing accounts, find existing accounts, create new accounts, and update existing deals with this integration's brand new actions. 


Thanks to a recent update, you can now create new submissions, assign forms, and assign a prefilled form in Jotform whenever trigger events happen in other apps you use. For example, whenever a task is created in your project management tool, you can automatically add assignee information to Jotform Tables. Say hello to better forms and data management!

Stripe (beta)

Our Stripe integration has a ton of new actions and triggers. For example, you can now create customers, update customers, find customers, and find charges in Stripe whenever trigger events happen in other apps you use. Or you can trigger workflows whenever a new invoice or subscription is added (or canceled) in Stripe.  

Zoho Sign

Our Zoho Sign integration has one new action that lets you retrieve details from a particular document automatically whenever trigger events happen in another app you use.

Our integration has a brand new trigger that triggers whenever an item (postcard, letter, notecard, or gift card) is delivered to the recipient in 


Our GitLab integration has brand new search actions that come in very  handy. You can now find all merge requests, group merge requests, and project merge requests automatically. 


Our ActiveCampaign integration has brand new triggers. You can get notified whenever a new deal task is completed inside ActiveCampaign. You can also trigger workflows whenever a custom object is created or updated inside ActiveCampaign. 


Our CompanyCam integration now has the ability to trigger workflows whenever a label is added to a project. You can also create a new project or search for a project by name, address, or another external identifier. 


Our Pixifi integration has a brand new action that lets you create a payment inside Pixifi whenever trigger events happen in other apps you use. 


You can now add a contact automatically in MobileMonkey whenever trigger events happen in the workflows you use the most. 


You can now send MMS in Plivo whenever trigger events happen in other apps you use, thanks to this brand new action. 


You can now either add a tag to existing contacts or remove a tag from contacts with these two brand new actions. 

Service Provider Pro

You can now unassign an order from a team member in Service Provider Pro whenever trigger events happen in other apps you use. 

]]> (Elena Alston) Wed, 27 Apr 2022 07:00:00 GMT
How to add new Stripe customers to Mailchimp audiences .css-rclntc-Outer{overflow:auto;}.css-rclntc-Outer > *{margin-bottom:20px;margin-top:20px;}.css-rclntc-Outer > H2{margin-top:60px;}.css-rclntc-Outer > H3{margin-top:40px;}.css-rclntc-Outer > [id]{-webkit-scroll-margin-top:20px;-moz-scroll-margin-top:20px;-ms-scroll-margin-top:20px;scroll-margin-top:20px;}@media (min-width:660px){.css-rclntc-Outer > [id]{-webkit-scroll-margin-top:100px;-moz-scroll-margin-top:100px;-ms-scroll-margin-top:100px;scroll-margin-top:100px;}}

These days, keeping in contact with your customers digitally is a must. Not only can you send them receipts and other important account info, but you can also establish a genuine connection by asking for feedback and giving exclusive access to promotions and sales.

By using Stripe, you can get access to your customer's email address. Don't just let that customer data stay in Stripe. Instead, you can use Zapier to automatically create an email marketing list in Mailchimp by pulling in your Stripe customers. That way, every time you get a new customer in Stripe, their email will be added to your Mailchimp audience.

Note: Make sure anyone you're signing up for communications has opted in to messages of that type.

Before you begin

Before you get started, make sure you've set Mailchimp up to receive the information you'll be sending in from Stripe. For this automated workflow, that will mean logging in to your Mailchimp account and making sure you have an Audience set up.

Send new Stripe customers to a Mailchimp list

Zapier lets you create automated workflows called Zaps, which send your information from one app to another. You can create your own Zap from scratch without any coding knowledge, but we also offer quick templates to get you started. 

If you'd like to start with a template, click on it below, and you'll be taken to the Zapier editor. You'll need to create a Zapier account if you don't already have one. Then, follow the directions below to set up your Zap.

Set up your Stripe trigger

The first thing you need to do is set up your trigger—the event that will start your Zap. 

Once you're in the Zap editor, search for and select Stripe as the trigger app and New Customer as your trigger event. If you're using the Zap template above, this will already be selected for you. Click Continue.

Choose Stripe as your app and New Customer as your trigger event.

You will be asked to sign in to your Stripe account, if you haven't already. If this is your first time connecting your Stripe account, you will need to add your API key from Stripe, which can be found here.

For each app you connect, Zapier will ask for a general set of permissions which allows you to be flexible with your Zaps. The only actions Zapier takes on your app accounts are those a given Zap needs to accomplish what you've set up.

Note that the API key should be a "secret" and "live" key. You need an activated account to get a key like that. If you're just trying to test out your Zap for now, you can use a test key, which can be found here.

Find your API key in Stripe

Click Yes, Continue, and then test the Stripe trigger with some sample data. Click Continue.

A successful test screen with a confetti emoji and the text "We found a customer!"

Set up your Mailchimp action

In Zapier, select Mailchimp as your app and Add/Update Subscriber as your action—the event you want your Zap to accomplish for you. If you're using the Zap template above, this will already be selected for you. Click Continue.

Select Mailchimp as your app and Add/Update Subscriber as your action.

This will prompt you to sign in to your Mailchimp account. After you've signed in, you can customize your new subscriber by selecting (at the bare minimum) the audience and subscriber email address.

In the Audience field, Zapier Testing Audience is selected with a Mailchimp logo and an email data point is shown in the Subscriber Email field.

The email that you select should be from the Stripe trigger payload. There are many other fields you can add to the Mailchimp Subscriber here, including tags, name, address, and more.

Customize your Mailchimp action step choosing tags, inserting their name, email address, and more.

Fill in the information that you need for your campaign, then click Continue and test your Zap. After running your test, you should see a new contact in your Mailchimp Audience.

After running your test, you will see a new contact in your Mailchimp Audience.

When everything looks right, make sure to turn on your Zap.

Congrats, you did it! From now on, every new Stripe customer you have will be added to your selected Mailchimp Audience.

More ways to keep in touch with your Stripe customers

If you enjoy using Mailchimp to communicate with your Stripe customers, check out these other integrations:

This article was originally published in September 2020. It was previously updated by Krystina Martinez and most recently by Elena Alston in April 2022.

]]> (Kaylee Moser) Wed, 27 Apr 2022 05:00:00 GMT
How to use Instagram Live for marketing .css-rclntc-Outer{overflow:auto;}.css-rclntc-Outer > *{margin-bottom:20px;margin-top:20px;}.css-rclntc-Outer > H2{margin-top:60px;}.css-rclntc-Outer > H3{margin-top:40px;}.css-rclntc-Outer > [id]{-webkit-scroll-margin-top:20px;-moz-scroll-margin-top:20px;-ms-scroll-margin-top:20px;scroll-margin-top:20px;}@media (min-width:660px){.css-rclntc-Outer > [id]{-webkit-scroll-margin-top:100px;-moz-scroll-margin-top:100px;-ms-scroll-margin-top:100px;scroll-margin-top:100px;}}

Images and strong captions might be enough to grab your followers' attention, but building trust requires more than witty puns and memes—and that's where Instagram Live comes in. As a content marketing consultant and course creator, I've hosted several Instagram Lives, both solo and with guests, and there's no denying the results they drive. 

Unlike curated feed content, Instagram Live is an unedited and interactive way to reach current and potential customers. It humanizes your brand, allows you to have real-time interactions with your audience, and lets you engage with followers on a deeper level.   

The key to approaching Instagram Live

Instagram Live videos are highlighted at the top of the screen, and your audience gets notified when you start a live stream. That's a lot of visibility, and it's part of why Instagram Live is an excellent tool for business owners to stay top-of-mind with their audience and strengthen their relationship with their followers. 

Ditch the repetitive task of posting everything across social channels
Automate Instagram

So how can you show up live in a true-to-brand and strategic way? To start, ask yourself and your team the following questions: 

  • What value can we provide to our audience that we haven't shared before? 

  • What information would support our customers' purchasing decisions? 

  • What types of conversations will excite and engage our followers? 

The first Live I ever hosted was inspired by a post that someone shared in a Slack community. They were struggling with the ups and downs of entrepreneurship, and I really related to what they were going through, so I hopped on Instagram Live and shared some advice with a business friend of mine. 

This Live wasn't necessarily a marketing tactic or part of a strategy—I just felt that I had some advice and kind words to share that could help them or anybody else in a similar place. But it still sparked some meaningful conversations with my online community and helped me build trust with them.

Types of Instagram Lives for businesses (with examples)

A key point to remember is that different types of Lives drive different actions. While a more casual AMA-style Live like the one I described above is great for building trust and helping your followers get to know you better, there are plenty of ways that you can use this feature. 

For example, you could host a live Q&A session about your newest product or service. Or you might conduct a live interview that gives your audience a deeper look into the "why" behind your business. 

Here are three styles of Instagram Lives that you might want to try out for your business.  

Product launch on Instagram Live

Releasing a new product or service soon? Host a live stream to share all the details with your audience. Don't be afraid to geek out and dive into the nitty-gritty about what you're offering and why. Going live gives your followers the chance to get excited with you and stay in the know.

When I opened registration for my freelance mentorship program, Click-worthy Creative Academy, for the second time, I hosted a Live with a past student to build some buzz. Signing up for a new program can be daunting, so the goal of this Live was to help prospective students get a better idea of what the program is like and its value. They could get answers to all their burning questions and connect with an actual student in real-time. 

Interviews on Instagram Live

Hosting an interview with an industry leader, expert, or even your team members is a great way to share valuable knowledge and insights with your audience while also helping them get to know you and your business better. 

This Live hosted by popular skincare brand Origins hooked me right away. During the live stream, a team member interviewed an environmentalist who shared some advice on living a more sustainable lifestyle. The topic aligned well with the company's mission, and the brand highlighted its #GreenThePlanet Fund in the caption, further reinforcing the company's values. 

Series on Instagram Live 

Instead of producing one-off videos, you could create a series of Lives centered around a specific theme or topic. This type of live content gives your audience a reason to keep coming back to your profile and can help your brand become a regular part of their social media routine. 

The team behind Shopwise, an online marketplace for women's sustainable and ethical fashion, created a "Meet the Designer" Instagram Live series hosted by founder Jaclyn. The series spotlights a few of the designers that Shopwise carries, and each video left me wanting to fill my online cart with a few (ok, more than a few) pieces. 

How to host an engaging Instagram Live for your business

Before you excitedly tap that Live button, here are a few important details to keep in mind.

  • Scheduling: You can go live on Instagram any time (just go to the Live tab on the New Post page), or you can preschedule your Live up to 90 days in advance.

  • Visuals: When hosting a Live, you can share photos or videos directly from your phone's camera roll, such as branded elements or graphics that support your topic or theme.

  • Guests: Previously, Instagram Live only supported two guests in one collective stream. Now, with Live Rooms, you can go live with up to four users in one session, which can help you reach new audiences.

  • Length: A stream can be up to an hour in length, but don't feel pressured to use up all 60 minutes if you don't need to.  

With these logistics in mind, here are some tips to make sure your Live goes smoothly.

1. Be prepared

Make sure you have a quiet space to record with minimal visual distractions and good lighting. You might also want to double-check your internet connection before starting your Live.

2. Start with a hook

Starting a live broadcast can be a little awkward as you wait for people to join, so come prepared with a few talking points. For example, you could talk about the topic for the Live, introduce your guest, or share what inspired you to host the event. 

3. Have an objective

The most effective social posts typically have a strong purpose or objective, and Instagram Lives are no exception. How many people do you want to attend? What would you like attendees to do after the Live? Setting goals in advance can help keep you focused and make your live video more impactful.

4. Aim for connection, not perfection

Whether it's tech obstacles or struggling to get a guest in, it's pretty common for mishaps to happen during live streams. Try to stay positive and go with the flow—no one wants a stressed or frustrated host.

For example, if a guest takes longer than expected to hop into the Live, ask some questions to keep your viewers engaged. How's their week going? What are their favorite products or services? You can also encourage viewers to use the extra time to send in any questions they might have. 

Making the most of Instagram Live

Remember: a great Instagram Live doesn't need to be perfectly polished or planned out. It's about showing the human side of your business. Regardless of your business goals, adding live streams to your social media schedule can help deepen connections with your audience in real-time and expand your reach. Plus, once you're done, you have a recorded video asset that your followers can watch and rewatch long after the event.

]]> (Jasmine Williams) Wed, 27 Apr 2022 04:00:00 GMT
Notify your team about Gmail emails in Google Chat .css-rclntc-Outer{overflow:auto;}.css-rclntc-Outer > *{margin-bottom:20px;margin-top:20px;}.css-rclntc-Outer > H2{margin-top:60px;}.css-rclntc-Outer > H3{margin-top:40px;}.css-rclntc-Outer > [id]{-webkit-scroll-margin-top:20px;-moz-scroll-margin-top:20px;-ms-scroll-margin-top:20px;scroll-margin-top:20px;}@media (min-width:660px){.css-rclntc-Outer > [id]{-webkit-scroll-margin-top:100px;-moz-scroll-margin-top:100px;-ms-scroll-margin-top:100px;scroll-margin-top:100px;}}

Email is how the outside world communicates with your business, but not how your team talks to each other. Wouldn't it be nice if your team could coordinate before responding to an email? Zapier can help you do exactly that, notifying your entire team in Hangouts Chat every time an email comes in that matches a specific search term.

We let you create automated workflows, called Zaps, allowing you to automatically send information from one app to another. Which is perfect if you want notifications in Hangouts Chat for new Gmail messages.

Use Slack instead? We've got a walkthrough for that Zap, too.

Notify your team on Google Chat about emails

Zapier lets you create automated workflows called Zaps, which send your information from one app to another. You can create your own Zap from scratch without any coding knowledge, but we also offer quick templates to get you started. 

If you'd like to start with a template, click on it below and you'll be taken to the Zapier editor. You'll need to create a Zapier account if you don't already have one. Then, follow the directions below to set up your Zap.

Set up your Gmail trigger

First, set up your trigger, which is an event that starts your Zap. Select Gmail as your trigger app and New Email Matching Search as your trigger event. If you're starting from the Zap template, this will already be selected for you. Click Continue. 

The Gmail app logo with the text "New Email Matching Search in Gmail" next to it.

Next you'll be asked to log in to your Gmail account. Log in to the account that will be getting the emails your team needs to respond to.

For each app you connect, Zapier will ask for a general set of permissions which allows you to be flexible with your Zaps. The only actions Zapier takes on your app accounts are those a given Zap needs to accomplish what you've set up.

Click Continue, and you'll be asked for a search string.

Searching Gmail in Zapier

This allows you to filter which emails will and will not show up in Google Chat. The search works just like the search bar in Gmail, meaning you can use search operators like subject: to search only the subject line or from: to search for emails from a specific address. Google offers a complete list of Gmail search operators, if you need more information. If you're unsure, try testing your search term in the Gmail search bar.

Click Continue when you've got everything set up. You'll test your search to make sure Zapier can find the correct emails. 

A confetti emoji next to the text "We found an email!" on a success page.

Once you're happy with it, click Continue.

Set up your Google Chat action

Next, set up your action—the event you want your Zap to accomplish whenever it's triggered. 

Search for and select Google Chat as your action app and Create Message as your action event. If you're using the Zap template, this will be set up for you. 

The Google Chat logo next to the text "Create Message in Google Chat".

Click Continue and you'll be asked to sign in to your Google Chat account.

After this, you can decide what parts of incoming emails should be pulled into your Google Chat message.

Laying out a Hangouts Chat message in Zapier

You're required to choose a Google Chat room, provide a message title, and include some content for the message text. Click any field to decide what should go where; you can start typing or select from the dropdown menu to pull in data from Gmail. 

That's how you can, for example, pull the sender's name or the body of the email into your Google Chat message.

Adding Gmail content to a Hangouts Chat message

Set up everything just the way you like, then click Continue. You will be asked to test the Zap, at which point you should see a message show up in Chat.

Zapier posted this in Hangouts Chat

If things look good, you're done! If not, you can go back and edit the Zap until you get the message working just the way you want.

Make sure to turn on your Zap when you're ready! Emails matching your search should now show up in Chat automatically, giving your team a chance to talk about them before one of you responds.

This article was originally published in April 2020 and was updated in April 2022 by Elena Alston.

]]> (Justin Pot) Tue, 26 Apr 2022 05:00:00 GMT
How to automatically add new Shopify customers to a Mailchimp Audience .css-rclntc-Outer{overflow:auto;}.css-rclntc-Outer > *{margin-bottom:20px;margin-top:20px;}.css-rclntc-Outer > H2{margin-top:60px;}.css-rclntc-Outer > H3{margin-top:40px;}.css-rclntc-Outer > [id]{-webkit-scroll-margin-top:20px;-moz-scroll-margin-top:20px;-ms-scroll-margin-top:20px;scroll-margin-top:20px;}@media (min-width:660px){.css-rclntc-Outer > [id]{-webkit-scroll-margin-top:100px;-moz-scroll-margin-top:100px;-ms-scroll-margin-top:100px;scroll-margin-top:100px;}}

Getting your online store up and running is work enough, and keeping your customers updated on new products in your store can be its own full-time job. If you've ever spent hours manually copying customer email addresses into a spreadsheet, or uploading a CSV file to a newsletter app only to find out that it wasn't formatted correctly, Zapier is for you.

Zapier helps you take care of manual tasks through our automated workflows, which we call Zaps. You can easily set up a Zap so you can automatically sign up new customers for your newsletter. 

Note: Before you set up this workflow, make sure you're only signing people up for communication they've opted-in to receive.

Add Shopify customers to your Mailchimp audience

Zapier lets you create automated workflows called Zaps, which send your information from one app to another. You can create your own Zap from scratch without any coding knowledge, but we also offer quick templates to get you started. 

If you'd like to start with a template, click the Use this Zap button below, and you'll be taken to the Zapier editor. You'll need to create a Zapier account if you don't already have one. Then, follow the directions below to set up your Zap.

Note: Using Shopify in your Zaps requires a paid Zapier account. 

Before you begin

To set up this Zap using information unique to your store, log into Shopify and make sure that at least one Customer has been created. This guide from Shopify walks you through locating your Customer settings, and creating a new Customer if one hasn't been created already.

Mailchimp uses "Audiences" to help keep track of your subscribers. You most likely created one when you first signed up for Mailchimp, but just in case this guide can help you create a new one. Mailchimp recommends that you have one primary audience that subscribers can be added to, then use tags and segments to help organize them down the road.

Set up your Shopify trigger step

First, set up your trigger—the event that starts your Zap. Search for and select Shopify as your trigger app and New Customer as the trigger event. If you're using the Zap template above, these will already be selected for you.

Click Continue.

The Shopify app logo with New Customer selected in the Trigger Event field.

Next, connect your Shopify account. Select Sign in to Shopify and a pop-up window will appear, prompting you to log into Spotify.

Sign in to Shopify

For each app you connect, Zapier will ask for a general set of permissions which allows you to be flexible with your Zaps. The only actions Zapier takes on your app accounts are those a given Zap needs to accomplish what you've set up.

Once your Shopify account is connected, select Continue in the Zap, and you'll be prompted to test the trigger.

Test trigger

Testing the trigger is important because it tells the Zap to ask Shopify for an example of a recent Customer, which helps you make sure that the Zap is set up correctly. When a Customer's information appears, select Continue to move on to the next step.

New Customer sample data

Set up your Mailchimp action

Next, set up your action—the event you want your Zap to accomplish after it's triggered. Select Mailchimp as the action app and Add/Update Subscriber as the action event. Select Continue, and connect your Mailchimp account when prompted.

Connect Mailchip account

After signing into Mailchimp, select Continue again and you'll be prompted to "map" data from Shopify to the Mailchimp action. This is how Mailchimp knows which email to use, and what audience to subscribe them to.

Mapping Mailchimp fields

The two required fields are Audience and Subscriber Email. When you click on Audience, a dropdown menu will appear showing all of your Mailchimp audiences. In our example, we have a test audience for Zapier's support team.

Mailchimp test audience

In the Subscriber Email field, you can click anywhere in the field, and select the Email value that appears in the dropdown menu.

Selecting the email address

That will "map" the value to that field, so that each time the Zap is triggered by a new Shopify customer, the Zap will send their email address to Mailchimp in the Subscriber Email field.

There are several other optional fields that can be filled in using that same method, such as the subscriber's first and last names, phone number, and birthday. Spend some time reviewing those fields, to see if you'll want to save that information to Mailchimp as well.

Learn more about setting up Zap actions.

Once all of the required fields have been filled in, you can select Continue at the bottom of the action, and you'll be prompted to test it.

Test and turn on your Zap

Testing the Mailchimp action will create a new subscriber in the Audience you selected earlier, and you can see all of the data that it will send to Mailchimp in the Send Data section:

Send Data

If your sample data contains a real customer's email address, and you're not ready to sign that customer up for your mailing list, select Skip Test. Otherwise, select Test & Continue to send the information to Mailchimp.

Once the test has been performed or skipped, you can turn the Zap on! While it is on, any new customers in Shopify will trigger the Zap, and be automatically sent to Mailchimp as new subscribers in your Audience.

Related workflows

If you'd like to save time and automate your mailing list, but don't use Mailchimp, never fear! Zapier integrates with lots of other newsletter applications, and these Zap Templates can help you get started with other popular options. If you see the app you use, click the Use this Zap button to create a new Zap and start automating.

This article was originally published in October 2020. It was previously updated by Krystina Martinez and most recently by Elena Alston in April 2022.

]]> (Tyler Robertson) Tue, 26 Apr 2022 05:00:00 GMT
The 6 best email clients for Mac in 2022 .css-rclntc-Outer{overflow:auto;}.css-rclntc-Outer > *{margin-bottom:20px;margin-top:20px;}.css-rclntc-Outer > H2{margin-top:60px;}.css-rclntc-Outer > H3{margin-top:40px;}.css-rclntc-Outer > [id]{-webkit-scroll-margin-top:20px;-moz-scroll-margin-top:20px;-ms-scroll-margin-top:20px;scroll-margin-top:20px;}@media (min-width:660px){.css-rclntc-Outer > [id]{-webkit-scroll-margin-top:100px;-moz-scroll-margin-top:100px;-ms-scroll-margin-top:100px;scroll-margin-top:100px;}}

As a professional tech writer, I've been trying to make email better—both for me personally and so I could have something to write about—for almost a decade. I've spent countless hours setting up automated rules, rigging up nested accounts, and generally exploring the outer edges of what's possible with email. My conclusion? Email is always going to be kind of terrible.

There's a better way to deal with email.
Automate your inbox

But if you use a Mac, there's hope. There are some great native Mac email apps that make the whole experience much better and more Mac-like. They can make reading incoming mail, browsing your inbox, sorting your messages, and crafting your responses an almost pleasant experience (it is still email, mind you).

I dug deep through the pool of email clients for macOS, spent time testing each contender, and landed on these six apps as the best email clients for Mac.

The 6 best email clients for Mac

  • Apple Mail for a basic, free Mac mail app

  • Airmail for a feature-rich alternative to Apple Mail

  • Spark for collaboration on emails

  • Canary Mail for a security-focused Mac email client

  • Microsoft Outlook for people who value features over simplicity

  • Mailspring for a fast, free, and featured-filled Mac email client

What makes for the best email client for Mac?

How we evaluate and test apps

All of our best apps roundups are written by humans who've spent much of their careers using, testing, and writing about software. We spend dozens of hours researching and testing apps, using each app as it's intended to be used and evaluating it against the criteria we set for the category. We're never paid for placement in our articles from any app or for links to any site—we value the trust readers put in us to offer authentic evaluations of the categories and apps we review. For more details on our process, read the full rundown of how we select apps to feature on the Zapier blog.

To put together this list, I reviewed dozens of Mac email clients (and skinned web apps purporting to be Mac email clients). Here's what I was looking for:

  • The full email experience. You need to be able to read, write, search, and sort your mail. Apps that just added Gmail notifications to your menu bar and other similar features weren't included. 

  • Support for most popular email services. Email apps should, where possible, be service agnostic. I was looking for apps that supported major services, like Gmail and Office 365, as well as the IMAP and POP3 protocols so you could use most other options. 

  • A great user experience. The Gmail and Outlook web apps aren't dire. If you're going to use an actual app, it had better be nice. For Mac apps, this means they have to run natively, take advantage of macOS-specific features like the menubar and notifications, and respect things like default keyboard shortcuts. 

  • Advanced features and integrations. One of the advantages of having a dedicated email app is that you get access to more advanced features and integrations with other apps. While this wasn't strictly required, some kind of email automation, filtering, and customization was considered a big plus. 

  • Quality of life improvements. There are simple tweaks, like being able to snooze emails so they reappear in your inbox later or built-in reminders to follow up with someone you haven't replied to, that make using an email app just, well, nicer.

I tested any mail client for Mac that seemed like it met most of these criteria. In practice, this meant logging in with one of my (sadly, many) email addresses and using it. In the past decade, I've picked up an absurd amount of experience with email apps, so it was often clear pretty quickly which were great options and which ones had the potential to make the email experience even worse (yes, it's possible).

Any apps that passed the initial sniff test I then used for a few days for normal email-y things. For the more advanced options, I dug through the settings and preferences and played around with things to see how they were to use. 

No single app ticked all the boxes, at least not in the same ways. Some free apps were almost as good as the most expensive options for most things—but if you want, say, the most advanced customization options, then you'd have to pay. Which is better? That's up to you to decide. 

With that in mind, here are the best Mac email apps.

Best Mac email client for a basic, free solution

Apple Mail

Apple Mail, our pick for the Best Mac email client for a basic, free solution

Apple Mail is already on your Mac—that in itself makes it a solid default choice and the option to beat. The app got a visual overhaul a year or two back and feels a lot more modern because of it. If you've ignored this one for a while, it might be time to look again. 

Apple Mail is quick to set up. It's a basic email client with support for a range of services, including the company's own iCloud Mail, Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, Exchange, and AOL Mail. It also allows you to connect your own IMAP and POP3 accounts, with S/MIME support for end-to-end encryption.

The user interface is clean, with mailboxes, folders, and accounts accessed via the sidebar. Messages are presented as threaded conversations that are separated by subject. Unified mailboxes let you see all of your incoming, sent, and draft mail in a single list by default, or you can pick specific mailboxes if you prefer.

One standout feature is the inclusion of smart mailboxes that filter your mail based on rules of your choosing. Head to Mailbox > New Smart Mailbox to define the criteria by which you want to filter your messages (e.g., unread messages, mail with attachments, mail from a specific person, messages you never responded to, or some combination of all of the above). You can then quickly access your filters via the sidebar beneath the Smart Mailboxes heading.

There are plenty of other bells and whistles too. Handoff with iOS allows you to seamlessly pick up where you left off on your mobile device, and Mail Drop uploads large attachments to iCloud for easier sharing. This is a solid email client, and you already have it. Most users should check it out first, unless you know for sure that you need some other specific features.

Apple Mail pricing: Free

Best Mac email client for a feature-rich alternative to Apple Mail


Airmail, our pick for the best Mac email client for a feature-rich alternative to Apple Mail

Airmail takes the basic premise of an email client like Apple Mail and builds on it with more modern features and an emphasis on speed. There's robust support for all major email services, including Gmail, Outlook, Exchange, and IMAP or POP3 mailboxes. You can browse and reply to all of your mail from a single unified inbox, which brings all of your accounts together in one place. When you compose a new message, you'll use a dropdown to select which of your connected accounts and personas you want to send from. Airmail is actually the app I used for almost five years. I only stopped because I moved my email to HEY, which requires you to use its (honestly, inferior) app.

Airmail is a fast and clean email client that doesn't bog you down with features you don't need. If you're familiar with Gmail's keyboard shortcuts, you're in luck—Airmail uses them by default. You can also set your own custom shortcuts. Swipe left or right with two fingers on your trackpad to archive or bin a message, or set your own custom swipe actions (like snoozing a message or marking as read/unread) from within Airmail's preferences.

Conversations are threaded by subject, with a Quick Reply button for replying to a message in-line. Click the small looping arrow icon, and a reply field will pop out, which makes it easy to respond to a specific message in a thread without losing your place. Composing a new message or "full" reply takes place in a separate window, much like Apple Mail. You can drag and drop your attachments into this window, with full support for iCloud's Mail Drop link sharing.

Snooze email directly from your inbox so that it appears at a more relevant time, which you can define within Airmail's preferences. Turn your messages into to-dos or memos using Airmail's built-in organizer in two clicks or using a keyboard shortcut. The organizer lives at the bottom of the sidebar and looks and feels just like an inbox for your schedule.

It's a fast, clean, feature-filled app.

Airmail pricing: Free for many features; paid plans from $2.99/month.

Best Mac email client for collaboration on emails


Spark, our pick for the best Mac email client for collaboration on emails

Spark is a desktop email client that brings Gmail-like features to Outlook, iCloud, Yahoo! Mail, Exchange, and IMAP email accounts (with support for Gmail too, of course). It includes loads of convenience features, like the ability to snooze an email for later with a click and smart sorting of your inbox into categories like Personal, Notifications, and Newsletters. You can even get follow-up reminders for emails you've sent, and check when you're free with the built-in calendar tool.

Spark is a decent email app that's worth a look if, for some reason, Mail or Airmail don't take your fancy, but Spark for Teams is where the mail app takes on a whole new life. The team behind Spark hasn't just built a solid email app—they've developed a collaborative email platform (should that be what you're looking for).

This includes unique features like the ability to comment privately with team members on email in a small chat box to the right of the message. Collaborative composing allows you to invite other team members to collaborate and proofread your email in real time (just like Google Docs). Create secure links that point to specific threads or messages, and share them with your team. With these features, Spark could even function as a lightweight CRM solution for some startups and small teams.

Spark pricing: Free for 5GB storage, two active collaborators per team, and five email templates; from $7.99/user/month for the Premium plan that includes 10GB storage per team member, unlimited collaborators, and unlimited email templates.

Best Mac email client for a focus on security

Canary Mail

Canary Mail, our pick for the Best Mac email client for a focus on security

Canary Mail is an email client for the security-conscious. It supports end-to-end encryption using PGP, as well as its custom SecureSend feature that allows you to send encrypted messages to anyone, regardless of what email service they use.

For PGP, you can choose to use Canary's own PGP-based encryption (which requires the recipient to also be using Canary), or advanced users can roll their own private PGP keys. SecureSend, on the other hand, is as simple as flicking a switch when you compose a new email—if the recipient doesn't have Canary, they'll be required to log in to a secure site to see the message. Whatever way you have encryption enabled, nobody aside from the intended recipient is able to read your message—not even your email provider.

In addition to privacy features, Canary offers a range of tools to improve your productivity. There's support for categories, which automatically sorts messages into Social, Updates, Forums, Promotions, and actual email from humans you know. You can also set different notification sounds for different email accounts.

There are a host of other useful features that elevate Canary beyond its security-focused roots. You can track your emails to find out if they've been read, snooze incoming messages for later perusal, and unsubscribe from newsletters by clicking the thumbs-down icon at the top of the message. There are also profiles for all of your contacts, in some cases including social media links, and a built-in calendar. Canary works with Gmail, iCloud, Office 365, Yahoo! Mail, and IMAP accounts.

Canary Mail pricing: Free with Standard Features (which doesn't include PGP encryption). $20, with a 30-day free trial, for Pro features. Also available on Setapp.

Best Mac email client for people who value features over simplicity

Microsoft Outlook

Microsoft Outlook, our pick for the best Mac email client for people who value features over simplicity

If you have a personal Microsoft 365 subscription or use it for work, you already have Microsoft Outlook—including the Mac version. That should be reason enough to give Microsoft's full-fat email client a go, since it works with Microsoft accounts, Gmail, iCloud, and Yahoo! Mail, as well as standard IMAP and POP3 email addresses.

Outlook's added some new features over the years. Focused Inbox is one such trick: it separates your inbox into two tabs, placing all the emails that Outlook perceives as important on the Focused tab. Twitter-like @mentions let you tag people, with Outlook automatically adding their email addresses in the To: field, which can come in handy if you're often adding coworkers to emails halfway through writing them. You can even use customizable two-finger swipes to do things like archive or delete messages.

Like most Microsoft Office-branded products, Outlook includes excellent support for mail templates. Use Microsoft's included templates or design your own so you can roll them out time and time again. And many of the modern email features that have emerged over the past few years haven't escaped Microsoft's gaze either: follow-up reminders, delayed sending, email scheduling, and support for SVG graphics, to name a few.

Outlook delivers all of these mail features, plus a calendar, chat, task manager, and note-taking. You can even create Microsoft 365 groups right in Outlook. If you take an "everything including the kitchen sink" approach to email (or are just obliged to use it professionally), Outlook is the client for you.

Outlook pricing: From $6.99/month for Microsoft 365 Personal.

Another feature-rich option to consider is Postbox, a powerful mail app at a sensible price point ($40). It includes the ability to group accounts together into custom unified inboxes, tabbed email, a focus mode for hiding unimportant emails, and the ability to quickly post mail content directly to other services like Dropbox, Trello, and Instagram. It's a good alternative to Outlook in that it takes a full-featured approach to email management, with plenty of bells, whistles, and filters to boot.

Best Mac email client for fast, free, and featured-filled email


Mailspring, our pick for the best Mac email client for fast, free, and featured-filled email

Mailspring is the only open source app to make this list, which for some people, is reason enough to look into it—but that's far from the only thing to like here. This is a fast and functional email client that makes it easy to set up multiple accounts. There's support for Gmail, Office 365, Yahoo! Mail, iCloud, Fastmail, and more—Mailspring supports just about any email service you can imagine. 

Set up your accounts, and you'll be able to quickly browse and search your email backlog, thanks to a local cache of messages. The search feature is robust, with support for filtering by sender and date. It's honestly the only client I tested that searches anything near as quickly as Gmail. There are also plenty of opportunities for customization, from custom themes to plugins. You can choose between Gmail, Apple Mail, or Outlook keyboard shortcuts, or set up your own. And there's even a simple automation system, allowing you to set up rules to do things like sending emails from particular senders straight to a folder or filtering based on keywords. 

There's a lot to like here, especially with the free version. Paying users get some quality of life improvements, read receipts, a sidebar with contact information and social media links, and even link tracking, but at $8/month, it's a steep ask. Check out the free version first, especially if you were once a fan of Nylas Mail—this is the reincarnation of that product.

Mailspring pricing: Free. $8/month for Pro, which adds contact profiles, follow-up reminders, read receipts, and more. 

Alternative approaches to email

I was on the search for the best email app for Mac, but all the apps I landed on do take a pretty vanilla approach to email. You have an inbox, you reply to people—it's a step up from the app you used in the early-'00s, but it's not radically different. If you want a tool that tries something new with email, you could consider one of the following instead:

  • HEY is the email service I use. It aims to replace Gmail and Outlook, rather than build on top of them. I love it, though the apps are kind of terrible and it's expensive. But if you're overwhelmed by email and want some serious quality of life improvements, give it a look. 

  • Most people use their email inbox as an ad hoc to-do list. Twobird makes the relationship more official. It's an interesting take and certainly not for everyone, but if you work out of your inbox a lot, check it out. 

  • Boxy Suite is a wrapper around Google's suite of apps. At $39/year, it's pricey, but if you like Gmail's web app and just wish it were a bit more Mac-native, it's also worth considering. 

Which is the best mail app for Mac?

Which email app you use largely comes down to personal preference. There isn't a huge amount of difference between most of the top picks—they all send and receive email. It all comes down to which particular look and workflow you like. For many of us, Apple Mail does the job. It's pre-installed and hits almost all the right boxes. If it doesn't go far enough in terms of features, however, I recommend you download and try a few different apps. They all have either free trials or free tiers.

This article was originally published in March 2019 by Tim Brookes and has since had contributions from Justin Pot.

]]> (Harry Guinness) Tue, 26 Apr 2022 04:00:00 GMT
I'm a freelancer, so please treat me like one .css-rclntc-Outer{overflow:auto;}.css-rclntc-Outer > *{margin-bottom:20px;margin-top:20px;}.css-rclntc-Outer > H2{margin-top:60px;}.css-rclntc-Outer > H3{margin-top:40px;}.css-rclntc-Outer > [id]{-webkit-scroll-margin-top:20px;-moz-scroll-margin-top:20px;-ms-scroll-margin-top:20px;scroll-margin-top:20px;}@media (min-width:660px){.css-rclntc-Outer > [id]{-webkit-scroll-margin-top:100px;-moz-scroll-margin-top:100px;-ms-scroll-margin-top:100px;scroll-margin-top:100px;}}

The number of people who freelance continues to climb, including a growing contingent of freelancers who work side by side with employees. Freelancers and employees can work well together, but we aren't the same.

The key to building a long-term productive relationship with your freelancers is treating us like freelancers. We love that you feel like we're part of the team—but we're also part of a lot of other teams, and it's best to remember that, for everyone's sake.

Flexibility for everyone

You can find freelancers who are employees somewhere and freelance as a side hustle. Others fall into freelancing after losing their job, and they're doing what's needed to make things work until they find their next job. But for more and more of us, freelancing is the dream, not an interim step.

Streamline your business operations
Automate your workflows

Here's my entirely unscientific, yet often heard, conclusion about the motivation of the committed freelancer: flexibility. The flexibility to grind away in a 100-hour workweek because there's no ceiling to earnings. The flexibility to enjoy a three- or four-day workweek. And even the flexibility to change our minds about all this along the way.

We like being able to choose to work with people mostly because we think they're really wonderful or what they're doing is really wonderful, and choose not to work with people who get aggressive if we don't reply to an email within ten minutes.

And flexibility is also the reason companies like to work with freelancers. You get access to expertise on an as-needed basis, and if you don't think we're wonderful, it's easy for you to move on as well.

If you remove any of that flexibility, you might push your freelancers away, which is good for no one. Some examples:

  • Don't ask for (or require) access to freelancers' laptops or logins for their business accounts. It's nosy, it's unnecessary, and it's a major security issue: it's not just your information on their laptop or business accounts.

  • Don't expect freelancers to be part of daily check-in calls to go over the day's tasks. I know these are popular in the world of widespread remote work, but that sort of micromanaging doesn't fit the freelance flow. It doesn't allow them the flexibility they need to do their best work. Your freelancers should certainly be happy to provide updates, either as part of an agreed schedule or as needed. But that's different from forcing them to meet for homeroom each morning. 

Any freelancer who takes their business seriously embraces the obligation to operate professionally with clients. They want to deliver top-quality work and keep the communication channels open. But don't fence us in.

If a freelancer is falling short, absolutely have that call to let them know what you need from them or what expectations aren't being met. Just keep in mind that if you demand too much control over how and when the freelancer works, you risk losing them (it also starts to blur legal boundaries between employee and freelancer).

Freelancers and employees have entirely different business models

The employee's business model is one simple equation: you get X amount of their time for Y amount of salary or wages. Yes, there may be commissions and bonuses and other perks, but this is the basic bargain.

When you're paying for an employee's time, you can invite them to endless meetings and expect them to show up. It's probably not a productive approach (and you'll eventually lose those employees too), but you're paying employees for that time regardless of whether you let them use it productively.

You can also give them ambiguous, incomplete, or conflicting instructions. If it takes five tries over one month to get something done? Again, not productive, but that's a leadership or company culture issue, not the employee's issue. They get paid either way.

Not so for the freelancer. The freelancer's business model relies on maximum productivity. This is true regardless of whether the freelancer bills by the project or the hour. Inviting them to unnecessary meetings or not having a clear idea of what you want them to produce leads to freelancer frustration. 

For project-based rates, it directly hits their margin on the project. For hourly freelancers, it will either get very expensive for you, or the freelancer will trim the billable hours off the invoice to stay within cost expectations. Either way, you've made your project less economically attractive. Requiring unproductive time from the freelancer also hits them with an opportunity cost: it soaks up bandwidth they could give to a new client or project.

We get it—sometimes you aren't sure exactly what you want or what the freelancer needs from you to meet project goals. That's fine if you address it head-on. Here are a few options:

  • Detail the project scope and objectives prior to signing an agreement to clarify these issues. The freelancer can price the project accurately, and you can feel good about what you'll be getting from the freelancer.

  • Ask the freelancer to set the strategy and propose solutions. I recently onboarded a new client that needed case studies. After working together, she decided she wanted me to write blog articles too, but she didn't know what would make suitable topics. Could I help with that? Of course. Topic analysis and ideation is a paid service, and she was thrilled to know we could collaborate in that way.

  • Ask the freelancer if you've provided what they need to complete the work. This could be background materials, resource contacts, clear deliverable objectives—whatever the freelancer needs to deliver exceptional work.

This is definitely a two-way street. As freelancers, we also need to speak up if we feel like we aren't getting the tools or information we need from the client to deliver quality work. We're not serving our clients well if the unproductive time is unproductive because we're grumbling quietly to ourselves instead of asking for what we need.

Tips for a mutually beneficial relationship with freelancers

Start with your mindset: the freelancer is a business owner and a service provider—you're their client. Here are a few ways this mindset will show up in your relationship:

  • Create a contract specifically for freelancers. Don't make some changes to an employee or large vendor procurement contract—it won't work. It will probably be much longer than it needs to be and include a ton of stuff that doesn't apply. If you edit an employee contract, you may leave in language or clauses that create ambiguity. When you put together the freelancer contract, structure it to reflect the nature of the relationship. For example, don't write a non-compete clause that bars the freelancer from working with another organization that "may become a client of Company," or require prior approval over other clients. Have tight confidentiality and non-solicitation clauses, for sure, but don't expect veto power over who else we work with. (P.S. I'm not giving legal advice; talk to your lawyers whenever you draw up contracts.)

  • Create separate workflows for freelancers. Don't shoehorn freelancers into employee workflows, like onboarding or how additional work gets assigned. Taking a freelancer through a new employee onboarding can be awkward and intrusive. Why do you need an emergency contact number? Let's skip any HR videos. Document your freelancer onboarding, so it's very clearly separate. 

  • If you want to "assign" work as needed, sign a retainer agreement. If you don't have a retainer agreement, you can't assume the freelancer is available to take on additional projects for you—but certainly ask. The freelancer will likely be happy to come to a mutual agreement on how to expand the scope of work.

One way freelancers and employees are similar

I'll share some inside tea: a freelancer will stay with a less-than-ideal client for only as long as it takes to replace the client with a better one. This is part of the fun flexibility I mentioned earlier.

Employees may have less flexibility to leave since they'll take a bigger immediate financial hit, but they do leave. This is where employees and freelancers should be read the same way. Experiencing a lot of churn in your employees and freelancers adds unnecessary costs to your business and, yeah, it might be you.

Freelancers are energetic resources, who offer substantial contributions and flexibility to organizations—use us well and wisely.

]]> (Elisa Silverman) Tue, 26 Apr 2022 04:00:00 GMT
The best email parsing software in 2022 .css-rclntc-Outer{overflow:auto;}.css-rclntc-Outer > *{margin-bottom:20px;margin-top:20px;}.css-rclntc-Outer > H2{margin-top:60px;}.css-rclntc-Outer > H3{margin-top:40px;}.css-rclntc-Outer > [id]{-webkit-scroll-margin-top:20px;-moz-scroll-margin-top:20px;-ms-scroll-margin-top:20px;scroll-margin-top:20px;}@media (min-width:660px){.css-rclntc-Outer > [id]{-webkit-scroll-margin-top:100px;-moz-scroll-margin-top:100px;-ms-scroll-margin-top:100px;scroll-margin-top:100px;}}

Your inbox has more than messages—it's full of data. This is particularly true if you're running a business. Maybe your leads come in via email, maybe that's where certain invoices end up, or maybe it's where all your onboarding survey results go.

Make your inbox work for you
Automate your email parsing

But you can't do much with this data if it's buried in your inbox. Receipts are more useful in your bookkeeping software, for example. Contacts are more useful in your CRM. While you could manually copy all that information over, especially if there are only a handful of relevant emails, it's still an annoying bit of work—and definitely doesn't scale to dozens or even hundreds of emails a day.

This is where email parsing tools come in. These tools do the work for you, grabbing information from your inbox and organizing it in such a way that other apps can make use of it. 

The best email parsing software

  • Mailparser for quickly setting up powerful email parsing rules

  • Email Parser by Zapier for an entry-level parser for Zapier users

  • Email Parser for a native Windows email parsing tool 

  • Parseur for advanced users and for parsing email attachments

  • SigParser for scraping email signatures

What makes great email parser software?

How we evaluate and test apps

All of our best apps roundups are written by humans who've spent much of their careers using, testing, and writing about software. We spend dozens of hours researching and testing apps, using each app as it's intended to be used and evaluating it against the criteria we set for the category. We're never paid for placement in our articles from any app or for links to any site—we value the trust readers put in us to offer authentic evaluations of the categories and apps we review. For more details on our process, read the full rundown of how we select apps to feature on the Zapier blog.

There are only a dozen or so true email parsers available, so I tested every one I could get my hands on and selected the best. I've been testing and reviewing automation software for over a decade, so I have a lot of experience evaluating apps like this. The best email parsing apps meet the following criteria (and some go above and beyond).

  • They extract specific information from your email and its attachments. This can be done using custom rules, using templates offered by the app itself, or in some cases, by automatically scanning all incoming emails for particular data. Accuracy is important here as you need your email parser to reliably grab the data you want every time.

  • They're easy, or at least manageable, to set up. You could, with enough time or resources, build custom scripts to do this job for you. Email scraping services mean you don't have to, so the best ones need to be user-friendly—or at least as user-friendly as an email parser can be. They're still powerful, extremely customizable apps, and familiarity with features like regex and basic data processing will go a long way toward making your experience less overwhelming, even with the easiest apps to use.

  • They put that data where you want it. Some people are going to want to download a spreadsheet every now and then, and most of the apps in this category offer that. The best ones, though, can send data to the other applications you already use. That way, your receipts can be sent straight to your accounting software, or your new clients' contact details can be added to your CRM and mailing list automatically.

  • They're nice to use. Specialized tools like email parsers are often built with a technical end user in mind—which means many apps skimp on things like onboarding and a nice user interface. While not essential, helpful tips, tutorials, and an inoffensive interface make the best email parsers a little more pleasant to use.

In some cases, I found apps that offered similar features and quality at different price points, and in those instances, I favored the more affordable or easier-to-use option. Here are the apps I think worked best. 

Why parse email? Email parsers vs. email rules

Most email services, like Gmail and Outlook, have some kind of automated rules system that you can use to filter and sort emails. The difference between dedicated email parsers and these rules comes down to one key distinction: Gmail and Outlook can sort your emails based on their contents, while an email parser can directly sort the contents.

For example, with Gmail, you can automatically tag all emails that contain invoices, so you can send them to your accountant at the end of the year. With an email parser, you can pull out the date sent, the invoice number, and the date it was paid out—and, with the help of an app like Zapier, add that to a spreadsheet, and have it automatically sent to your accountant on the second Tuesday of every month.

Many people are probably fine with the built-in automation of their email service, but if you run a business, need to process the data that's actually in your emails, or just have a huge volume of emails that needs to be dealt with, then an email parser is definitely for you. 

Best email parser for quickly setting up powerful rules

Mailparser (Web)

Mailparser, our pick for the best email parser for quickly setting up powerful rules

Email parsing isn't simple, exactly—you need to tell a computer how to look at an email and pull out the exact bits of data you want. Mailparser is pretty good at making the process seem simple, and that's impressive.

You set up an inbox, which has its own custom email address. Forward a few emails to that address, and Mailparser will guess which information you might want to pull out. It's not going to be perfect every time, obviously, but if you're trying to extract something logical and formulaic like a receipt, it does a pretty good job on its own. If not, you can create your own rules. 

Mailparser can parse the subject, body, recipients, and headers for every email. It can also parse attachments—PDF, XLS, CSV, TXT, and XML files can all be scraped. But to me, the stand-out feature here is how straightforward the user interface is. I looked at quite a few email parsers, and an intuitive interface is by no means a given. If you've never used an email parsing service, and don't know how to get started, this is the tool you should check out first. It makes processing simple emails easy, and it still has the power and customizability to handle more complex parsing.

Mailparser integrates with Zapier, which means you can send the parsed data to thousands of apps as soon as the emails come in. For example, you could add things to a Google Sheet, create new subscribers in Mailchimp, or even get notifications about new scraped emails in Slack. 

Mailparser pricing: Free for 30 emails/month; from $39.95/month for the Professional plan for 500 emails/month

Best entry-level email parser for Zapier users

Email Parser by Zapier (Web)

Email Parser by Zapier, our pick for the best entry-level email parser for Zapier users

This is a Zapier product in a Zapier blog post, so I understand if you're skeptical about my ability to be neutral. But I'm not going to pretend this is the most powerful email parsing tool here—and if you don't need the other solutions Zapier offers, it might not be right for you. But if email parsing is just one of many automations you'll use, it gets the job done. If you're already paying for Zapier, even better.

Get started with Email Parser by Zapier, and you can set up as many mailboxes as you want, each with its own email address. You can forward emails to that address, either manually or using something like Gmail's filter system. Send a few sample emails, then highlight and name the information you'd like to scrape from future emails. You won't find many advanced features here—you can't scrape the contents of email attachments, for example.

Then you'll set up a Zap, our term for an automated workflow, which is what will send that information to whatever other app you want—you can choose from thousands of apps. A few examples: send information from your email to a spreadsheet, add new contacts to a Mailchimp list, or create a Google Calendar event based on information in the email.

Email Parser by Zapier pricing: Included with all Zapier plans.

For a walkthrough of how to use Email Parser by Zapier, take a look at our email parser guide.

Best native Windows email parsing tool 

Email Parser (Windows, Web)

Email Parser, our pick for the best native Windows email parsing tool 

Email Parser doesn't hold your hand: there's no wizard guessing what you want to parse, which means you need to set up all the rules yourself. It's not going to be easy, but the tradeoff is power that's not offered by other apps.

In part, this is because Email Parser is available as an actual Windows application. It also connects directly to Gmail, Exchange, and POP/IMAP servers, instead of relying on you to forward messages to a custom address like most other email parsers.

Running on Windows has one obvious advantage: support for local files. The app can push email data directly to an Excel spreadsheet, CSV file, or even text document on your computer—no cloud storage necessary. There's also support for local PowerScript and C# scripting, meaning there's no limit to what you could do with the data that you parse if you have some coding ability.

There's also a web version: it offers the option of a custom mailbox you can forward emails to, the way services like Mailparser work. The web version doesn't quite compare well to some of the other apps here, but it's nice to have the option—particularly if you prefer the more detailed approach to creating rules offered by Email Parser.

Email Parser pricing: Web app for $24/month; Windows app for $79/year.

Best email parser for advanced users and processing attached documents

Parseur (Web)

Parseur, our pick for the best email parser for advanced users and processing attached documents

Parseur is, in many ways, an upgrade pick to Mailparser. It's just as easy to use, has an even nicer UI, and even stands out in one key way: the sheer number of attachment file formats it can scrape. If you get a lot of receipts that are (inexplicably) sent as word processor documents, this is the tool you need to try. Parseur can extract data from every file type that Mailparser can, but it also supports word processing formats like DOCX, ODT, RTF, Apple Pages, and even WordPerfect (for some reason). 

And there are a few other things here not offered by similar tools. There's post-processing support, for example, using Python scripts (at a higher price point). A Chrome extension allows you to parse websites, in addition to emails. And there are templates for processing emails from common services, including Google Alerts, job listings, property bookings, and food orders.

You can integrate Parseur with Zapier, allowing you to send scraped data from your email to thousands of apps. You could, for example, create Google Calendar events or Mailchimp subscribers, automatically, when new emails come in. 

The downside: Parseur is more expensive than the alternatives, especially for lower volumes of email processing. That might be worthwhile, depending on your needs, so try Parseur out before you decide on a service. Don't let the pseudo-French name turn you off entirely. 

Parseur pricing: Free for 20 documents a month; from $99/month for the Starter plan with up to 1,000 documents/month

Best email parser for automatically scraping email signatures

SigParser (Web)

SigParser, our pick for the best email parser for automatically scraping email signatures

SigParser is the most specialized of all the tools here: it focuses exclusively on the contact information in emails and email signatures. But think about the value in that—most emails have signatures, meaning there's all sorts of contact information in your inbox that you never even think about. 

You could copy and paste that contact information into your address book or CRM of choice, but with SigParser, you don't have to. The free version of SigParser reviews the most recent 90 days of your emails—you can pay a one-off fee to go back further. Or you can sign up for a monthly subscription, and the app will scan new emails as they come in, meaning all of the contact information in your inbox is automatically grabbed. You can then send this info to your CRM, address book, or anywhere else it might come in handy.

You could, in theory, use any of the tools here to scrape contact information, but it would take some work. Contact information can be presented in an email in lots of different ways, and everyone's email signature is a little bit different—simple rules just aren't enough to consistently parse it. This app is made for one job, and in my tests, it did an admirable job pulling contact information from a variety of different emails and signatures. It may seem like a simple thing, but it's potentially game-changing if your business depends on following up with possible customers.

You can also integrate SigParser with Zapier, allowing you to send scraped contact information to thousands of apps, including Mailchimp and Constant Contact. 

SigParser pricing: Free to process the last 90 days of your emails. From $19/month (billed annually) for the Individual plan, which processes emails daily.

This article was originally published in January 2021 and has since had contributions from Harry Guinness. The most recent update was in April 2022.

]]> (Justin Pot) Tue, 26 Apr 2022 04:00:00 GMT
How to get error alerts in Slack from your email .css-rclntc-Outer{overflow:auto;}.css-rclntc-Outer > *{margin-bottom:20px;margin-top:20px;}.css-rclntc-Outer > H2{margin-top:60px;}.css-rclntc-Outer > H3{margin-top:40px;}.css-rclntc-Outer > [id]{-webkit-scroll-margin-top:20px;-moz-scroll-margin-top:20px;-ms-scroll-margin-top:20px;scroll-margin-top:20px;}@media (min-width:660px){.css-rclntc-Outer > [id]{-webkit-scroll-margin-top:100px;-moz-scroll-margin-top:100px;-ms-scroll-margin-top:100px;scroll-margin-top:100px;}}

If you're an IT professional or help manage apps for other teams, you likely spend a big chunk of your time monitoring accounts and plan usage. You probably receive regular emails about contact tier limits, for example, or error messages when something goes wrong. 

But making sure those emails are seen by the right team members or assigned the right tickets can be time-consuming. And there's always a risk an essential person will be left out of the loop. 

Fortunately, there's a way to automatically streamline these email alerts using Zapier. You can get Slack notifications for new emails matching Gmail search queries, so you never have to miss out on business account emails again.  

Get Slack notifications for specific emails automatically

Zapier lets you create automated workflows called Zaps, which send your information from one app to another. You can create your own Zap from scratch without any coding knowledge, but we also offer quick templates to get you started. 

If you'd like to start with a template, click on it below, and you'll be taken to the Zapier editor. You'll need to create a Zapier account if you don't already have one. Then, follow the directions below to set up your Zap.

Set up your Gmail trigger

First, set up your trigger—the event that starts your Zap. Search for and select Gmail as the trigger app and New Email Matching Searchas the trigger event. If you're using the Zap template above, this will be set up for you. Click Continue.

The Gmail app logo next to the text "New Email Matching Search in Gmail".

Next, connect your Gmail account. Click on Choose an account… and either select an account from the dropdown menu (if you've connected Gmail to Zapier before) or click +Connect a new account.

Once you've connected your account, click Continue

Next, you'll need to tell Zapier what search it needs to perform to find the right email and the right information. Under Search String, choose the search operator you'd like to include. 

For example, you could use subject: followed by the subject line you regularly get for these kinds of transactional emails. (These are usually the same for standard error emails or capacity limit alerts.) Just make sure if you're using a subject line to trigger the Zap that your alert email sends the same subject line each time—otherwise, the Zap won't trigger.

A field labeled "Search String" with "Subject:HubSpot: You've almost reached your contact limit" pasted in it.

You can also use other search parameters, like messages with a certain label (label:) or specify the sender (from:) if you receive alert emails from the same sender each time. 

Click Continue. 

Now you need to test your trigger. Zapier will find a recent email in your Gmail account that matches the subject line you inputted earlier. This will be used to set up the rest of your Zap.

Click Test trigger. Once you see that your trigger is working correctly, click Continue.

A successful test page that shows a green checkmark with the text "We found an email!" with info about the trigger step listed underneath it.

Set up your Slack action

Now let's set up the action—the event your Zap will perform once it's triggered. Search for and select Slack as your action app and Send Channel Message as your action event. If you've used the Zap template above, this will already be selected for you. Click Continue

The Slack app logo next to the text "Send Channel Message in Slack" with "Send Channel Message" selected under Action Event.

Connect your Slack account if it hasn't already been connected. Press Continue.

Now it's time to customize where you want your message to go and how it will look in Slack. Click on the dropdown under Channel to select the Slack channel you want your message to go to. 

Under Message Text, you can use a mix of Slack formatting and Gmail data to customize how you want your message to look. In this case, we'll pull in the subject line from the email in Gmail, which lets us know we're almost at our HubSpot contact limit. 

To map data from a previous step, just click in the field where you want to add the information and select the data point from the dropdown. You can also type in text in the field—we added "Capacity alert:" before the subject line.  

A field labeled "Message Text" with the text "Capacity alert:" typed in the field and a Gmail logo with a subject line data point next to it.

You can also tag specific users, so you make sure the right people are seeing (and responding) to the right alerts.

Once you've set up how you want your message to look, you can configure other options. You can choose to have this message sent from a bot, give it a name, and add an emoji so you can tell it apart from messages from your team. 

A series of Slack settings fields filled out with information.

After you've adjusted your settings, click Continue. Now it's time to test your action. When you click Test & Review or Test & Continue, Zapier will send a message to Slack based on the instructions you entered in the previous step.

If your test looks good, don't forget to turn on your Zap. You can always go back and tweak things until you get the message the way you want it to look. 

Now you'll get a Slack notification every time you get an alert email in your Gmail account.

Do more with a Formatter step 

Want to customize your alert even more? You can always add a Formatter step between your Gmail trigger and Slack action to extract specific information from the body of the email instead of just using the subject line or sender. This is helpful if you want your Slack notification to include exact data that's more specific than what you're able to set up in your trigger. 

For example, you could extract a specific number from your email. Let's say your email talks about capacity tiers (like our example), and you don't want to pull the whole subject line or body into your Slack message. 

Add an action step after your Gmail trigger and select Formatter by Zapier for the action app and Text for the action event. 

When you set up your action, select Extract Number in the Transform field. This will tell the Zap to extract a number from your previous Gmail step. Then click in the Input field under Values and select the Body plain data point from the dropdown. This tells the Zap to look for a number to extract from the body of your email.

The Zapier Formatter app logo next to the text "Text in Formatter by Zapier" with "Extract Number" selected in the Transform field.

When you set up your Slack message in your next action step, just click in the Message Text field and select Output from the dropdown (instead of the subject line like we did in our example). This will pull in the number extracted in the previous step.

Text and a data point labeled "Output" in a field titled "Message Text".

]]> (Elena Alston) Mon, 25 Apr 2022 07:00:00 GMT
6 ways my mental health has helped me work better .css-rclntc-Outer{overflow:auto;}.css-rclntc-Outer > *{margin-bottom:20px;margin-top:20px;}.css-rclntc-Outer > H2{margin-top:60px;}.css-rclntc-Outer > H3{margin-top:40px;}.css-rclntc-Outer > [id]{-webkit-scroll-margin-top:20px;-moz-scroll-margin-top:20px;-ms-scroll-margin-top:20px;scroll-margin-top:20px;}@media (min-width:660px){.css-rclntc-Outer > [id]{-webkit-scroll-margin-top:100px;-moz-scroll-margin-top:100px;-ms-scroll-margin-top:100px;scroll-margin-top:100px;}}

My mental health dictates how I work. 

I've lived with anxiety and situational depression for over 15 years. There's pretty much always a low hum of anxious thoughts going on in my brain. PTSD, another anxiety disorder, exacerbates things when I feel unsafe or overwhelmed, causing mood swings and panic attacks. I also average six to eight depressive episodes a year, which come with fatigue, brain fog, suicide ideation, and dissociation.

Seems like a recipe for disaster—especially since I run my own business—but after years of work (and therapy!), I've learned to appreciate how my mental health actually helps me work better.

1. It's taught me to be more self-aware

Anxious thoughts or PTSD triggers can easily lead to depression, so it's extremely important for me to monitor sudden changes in mood. A tactic I learned years ago at a birthparent retreat has become a lifesaver: gut checks. Gut checks are just like they sound—literally checking in with your gut to identify the source of stress. 

4 self-care workflows to get through hard times
Read more

I start by sitting down and getting quiet for a moment to identify what I'm feeling, whether it's panicky or nauseous, unfocused, upset or angry, or really tired. After a few minutes, I start asking myself broad questions, like "Is it work? Relationships? Lack of food or rest?" If I feel a gut clench or cramp in my stomach, I know I'm on the right track. 

Based on the answer, gut checks can usually tell me:

  • That I need to take a break and do self-care. Snacks, drinking water or tea, taking a bath, and going on a walk are go-tos.

  • That I need to stop what I'm doing and problem-solve for a bit so my brain can calm down and focus on other things.

  • That I'm in for a mental health episode and need to rearrange my schedule and clock out fast.

The answers aren't always that clear, but even acknowledging my feelings is a great way to calm my anxiety, which then allows me to shift focus back to my work.

2. It's helped me learn when I work best

Everyone has an inner clock that ticks a little differently. It's called a circadian rhythm, and it helps regulate our bodies and minds as we wake up, eat, sleep, and work. Anxiety and depression like to play tricks, telling us to sleep all day or skip meals, which triggers more health issues and makes it difficult to maintain a good routine. 

These mixed signals made me want to learn more about my body's natural baseline: what I need and when to work at my best.

One way to do this is by determining your chronotype, a fancy word for sleep type. I'm a "Bear" chronotype, which means I'm most awake and focused in the early-to-late morning and evening, with a post-lunch energy dip in the afternoon. 

Knowing my chronotype helps me optimize my schedule, planning my workdays around time blocks that I'm most energized and least moody. It also helps knowing that I'm way more likely to be tired and unfocused if I take on projects or calls during my downtime.

3. It's made me more organized about scheduling

Stress isn't inherently bad—it's simply our reaction to what goes on in the world around us. The problem is that ongoing, unmanaged stress can take its toll and lead to mental health issues. For me, chronic mental health issues equal a low immunity to stress. 

After a few rough periods of burnout and depression in 2020, I decided I needed to take a closer look at how I was working. Inspired by a good friend who colors her moods into a monthly bullet journal, I came up with a system for tracking my work hours, projects, and mental health, which you can see in the spreadsheet below.

Productivity self-checklist

I did this for about two months and learned a whole lot in a short time, including:

  • Ideal time blocks for morning and evening work

  • Personal limits to the number of projects and client calls per day and week

  • Free-time activities that keep me happy and energized

Without those low points, I wouldn't have thought to look closer at my moods on workdays. But when your ability to function depends on mental health, you have to get creative with your systems. Tracking these different aspects of my life helped me gain valuable insights into how I can maximize my productivity and keep myself working well. 

4. It's pushed me to embrace working differently 

Mental health is rarely black and white. I have good and bad days, but most of the time, I live on a rollercoaster of extremes: energized and exhausted, happy and apathetic, panicky and numb.

On those rollercoaster days, being productive often means concentrating just long enough to power through my to-do list. When you live with uncertainty, it's important to have a flexible system that can help maintain a healthy balance. I call mine "intuitive scheduling," a form of gut check that helps me to decide how to plan my workday. 

Instead of sticking to a schedule or trying to figure out what's wrong, I ask myself one simple question: "Are you ready to work?"

Sometimes, the question is all I need to clear my mind. Other times, my answer is to start a bit later or work on simpler tasks. And sometimes, I need my emergency protocol: short bursts of work broken up by long breaks until I've finished, no matter how late it is.

It's not always ideal, but it gets me through the day when I have work to do. And by listening to my body and honoring the need to work at my own pace, I can accomplish what I need to without compromising my health.

5. It's helped me set crucial boundaries

Spoon Theory creator Christine Miserandino describes her experience of living with a chronic medical condition as "having to consciously think about things when the rest of the world doesn't have to." As business owners, it's easy to get caught up in hustle culture and lose sight of things like wellness. 

Mental health forces me to prioritize myself in my business, challenging me to figure out what I need to work at my best. I've learned the hard way that setting boundaries, and advocating for them, is one of the most important and healthy things I can do as a business owner

Here're some of the boundaries I've set over time that have helped me work well: 

  • Pre-screening clients, so they align with my business's values and communication needs

  • Sticking to project types and content within my niche, unless I'm making a strategic decision to branch out

  • Not answering emails or taking calls outside of designated work hours unless it helps me stay on track with mental health

  • Setting longer deadlines and competitive rates

6. It's encouraged me to invest in better business tools

There's nothing like having limited energy to motivate you to automate your business. I love getting creative about the tools and solutions that take things off my plate, so luckily, it's been a win-win. The trick is identifying gaps and finding the right solutions to fill them. 

One of my favorite tools is a Zap—an automated workflow on Zapier—I set up when I noticed how often I was missing calls during bad mental health days. Now I get a text reminder 30 minutes before every event on my Google Calendar, which gives me time to refocus and prepare.

A text message that Leanna gets reminding her about meetings

Zapier is an automation tool that connects your apps and moves information between them, so you can focus on what matters most. Check out this Zapier demo to learn more about how it works.

Some other investments I've recently made in my mental health and productivity:

  • Getting my finances in order with QuickBooks Small Business

  • Finally buying an annual Dubsado subscription to organize my clients and projects

  • Hiring a production assistant for my podcast

One last thing

Everyone's mental health looks different, and finding the right balance for yourself takes time. Is it easy? Honestly, no, it's not. Things still slip through the cracks, I still have so much to learn, and though my mental health has improved enormously, the difficulties are here to stay.

Caring for my wellness means constantly striving to do well, for my clients and for myself. I can now plan for the bad days and enjoy the good ones in a business that's built for me. And that makes all the difference.

]]> (Leanna Lee) Mon, 25 Apr 2022 04:00:00 GMT
Don't take rejection personally .css-rclntc-Outer{overflow:auto;}.css-rclntc-Outer > *{margin-bottom:20px;margin-top:20px;}.css-rclntc-Outer > H2{margin-top:60px;}.css-rclntc-Outer > H3{margin-top:40px;}.css-rclntc-Outer > [id]{-webkit-scroll-margin-top:20px;-moz-scroll-margin-top:20px;-ms-scroll-margin-top:20px;scroll-margin-top:20px;}@media (min-width:660px){.css-rclntc-Outer > [id]{-webkit-scroll-margin-top:100px;-moz-scroll-margin-top:100px;-ms-scroll-margin-top:100px;scroll-margin-top:100px;}}

In the second week of January 2021, all three of my freelance retainer clients let me go. Almost overnight, my monthly income plummeted from $5,000 to zero. It seemed insultingly serendipitous, how all three peeled away at once. Let's not sugarcoat it—it felt like rejection. 

Whether it's a minor inconvenience or a major incident, the emotional wound of rejection runs deep. We'll chase a blossoming opportunity only to be met with the thorns of refusal. And the resulting sting is gut-wrenching. 

Yet rejection isn't inherently negative. It's our interpretation of it that determines whether it becomes an opportunity or an obstacle. And in my case, with careful reframing, losing those three clients was one of the best things to have happened to me. 

Why rejection hurts—and how we internalize it 

There's no downplaying the agonizing shame and embarrassment rejection can bring forward. fMRI studies have shown that feelings of rejection piggyback off the same neural pathways that stimulate physical pain. In fact, one study even found that taking Tylenol can reduce the emotional pain rejection evokes. So, maybe pop a couple if you receive that dreaded "we need to talk" text. (Kidding.)

Scientific research aside, our mainstream culture sees failure and rejection as two sides of the same coin. If you're skipped over for a promotion, you'll tell your coworkers how your boss "rejected" you or how you "failed" to be considered. 

We'll start to believe it's because we lack something. This is why we obsess over rejection—it gives our ego a reason to compulsively think about itself. Was I not smart enough? Why did she get the promotion instead of me? 

Taking rejection personally stops us from growing 

Rejection can be an opportunity to reflect, a sign of growth, and a marker of success. But our knee-jerk interpretation of rejection enshrouds it with negativity.

For example, when we tell ourselves that…

  • Rejection is to be avoided → We pre-reject ourselves. We're dodging a bullet, right? But this means pre-rejecting ourselves—avoiding applying to jobs, not proposing new initiatives at work or asking someone out—before they even have the chance to say no.

  • Rejection happens to us → The world is out to get us. When we feel as though rejection is unfair, we'll feel like victims. But in reality, life isn't out to purposefully hurt us—it's completely indifferent. This neutral mentality is key in helping us continue to take brazen chances.

  • Rejection is permanent → We stop trying. When we tell ourselves rejection is everlasting, we close ourselves off from future similar opportunities. But just because you were rejected from a specific opportunity—for example, a role at your dream job—doesn't mean your chances are shot forever. Cara Lam is a shining example of this. 

Why rejection has *very* little to do with you 

It's hard to not take rejection personally. The key is to reign in our emotions by the application of reason. Here are three reasons that rejection isn't usually as serious as it appears.

1. It's a method of communication

If we look past the emotional pain, rejection communicates a message. Blogger Amy Tang explains what this message contains: "It is simply information regarding compatibility between you and what you were rejected from." 

What do you do with this information? Well, that's up to you. But at face value, rejection is just information regarding compatibility. Take MIT's announcement as to why they're re-instituting the SAT/ACT requirement after a short hiatus: research showed them that standardized tests accurately predicted student academic success at MIT.

Here's what they said about the change: 

​​"When we talk about evaluating academic readiness for MIT, that doesn't mean we are measuring your academic potential, or intrinsic worth as a human. It only means that we are confident you, at this specific moment in your educational trajectory, can do well in the kind of hard math and science tests demanded by our unusual education."

If you're rejected by MIT due to SAT/ACT scores, it communicates simple information: your quantitative skills are a mismatch with MIT. Nothing more, nothing less.

2. Our internal narrative isn't the truth

In our minds, the world revolves around us. We filter every interaction through our perspective. If someone rejects you, they must think poorly of you. But news flash: we have zero idea what others are thinking. 

Brianna Wiest, the author of 101 Essays That Will Change the Way You Think, explains: "We assume that people think the way we do—because our internal narrative and process of the world is all we know." In reality, there are a million things going on that we won't see. 

We'll see the job rejection. But we won't see how the company had an internal hire they'd been working with for weeks. We'll see the "Read at 8:52 p.m." notification. But we won't see how the other person is driving and can't text back right away. 

3. Rejection addresses only a sliver of our identity

Rejection can trigger us to re-evaluate our entire self-esteem. But rejection only addresses a small portion of who we are. Let's say you propose a new initiative at work and your boss passes up on it. It was your idea that was measured and evaluated, not your entire intrinsic worth as a human. 

How to reframe rejection as an opportunity—not an obstacle 

With careful reframing, rejection can be one of the most constructive things you can experience. Even when you might have lost three retainer clients in one week—like yours truly. 

See rejection as a sign of growth 

Were you recently rejected? Amazing! This is a sign that you're advancing in life. Because if you're not experiencing occasional rejection, you're avoiding change (and staying stagnant). 

Consider how rejection signals that you're going after opportunities. The world won't give you opportunities—you have to go out there and ask for them.

When my three retainer clients dropped off, it had to do with the fact that I went after retainer agreements. As a freelancer, I was eager to find sustainable income, and retainers were a fantastic solution. Sure, it didn't work out. But it was a sign I was experimenting with something new that could suit me and my business's needs better.

Not to mention, rejection is a sign of healthy resistance. For example, if people reject your rates for your services, it could be an indicator that your prices are perfect. You shouldn't appeal to everyone.

See rejection as a learning opportunity 

You might not notice it right away, but rejection is a rich learning opportunity. 

You can use it to collect data about a specific situation. Let's say you're in the thick of the job search and send out your resume to 20 companies—only to hear back from one. 

Four rejection letters sent to Alice

What would happen if instead of lamenting over your unreturned calls, you tweaked your resume? Would the outcome change? Treat rejection like a data point, make necessary adjustments, then continue running your experiment. 

Rejection is also an opportunity to improve. It all begins with asking, "why not?" No, this doesn't mean being hell-bent on changing someone's mind. Instead, it's about understanding the reasoning behind a decision, so you can use it to improve in the future. 

Rejection worked for me

After my three clients left me in the dust, I took a step back to analyze the situation. 

At the time, I was on the precipice of burning out. I was clocking in ten-hour workdays, and it was (understandably) putting a strain on my interpersonal relationships. Past the shame of rejection, another feeling materialized: relief. 

I took a few weeks off to recuperate and recover. Once I had, I asked my clients what happened. It turned out, none of it was personal: one had a dwindling budget, another a dramatic brand pivot, and the third, a new in-house hire. (And even if it had been personal—say, negative feedback on my writing—it would still have been a learning opportunity to improve my craft.)

My ex-clients weren't indicative of my intrinsic self-worth. But this rejection provided me the opportunity to update my onboarding process, cold-pitch new clients, and take a much needed break

Plus, good or bad, it's all material. Proof: the rejection resulted in this article.

]]> (Alice Lemée) Fri, 22 Apr 2022 04:00:00 GMT
B2B email marketing: strategies, tips, and examples .css-rclntc-Outer{overflow:auto;}.css-rclntc-Outer > *{margin-bottom:20px;margin-top:20px;}.css-rclntc-Outer > H2{margin-top:60px;}.css-rclntc-Outer > H3{margin-top:40px;}.css-rclntc-Outer > [id]{-webkit-scroll-margin-top:20px;-moz-scroll-margin-top:20px;-ms-scroll-margin-top:20px;scroll-margin-top:20px;}@media (min-width:660px){.css-rclntc-Outer > [id]{-webkit-scroll-margin-top:100px;-moz-scroll-margin-top:100px;-ms-scroll-margin-top:100px;scroll-margin-top:100px;}}

I'd been working in email marketing for quite a while before I took on my first B2B campaign. Of course I knew that B2B campaigns needed to be handled differently than my usual consumer outreach, and I thought I'd made the necessary tweaks.

What I didn't realize is that minor tweaks to generalized email marketing tactics aren't enough to create a successful B2B campaign. If you're a beginner learning the ropes or a veteran B2C marketer making the shift, trying to work with anything other than a purpose-built B2B email marketing strategy is a recipe for disaster.

I learned from my B2B blunder, and in an effort to save other marketers from similar mistakes, I've put together a guide to building a tailored B2B email marketing strategy.


  • Why B2B emails require B2B strategies

  • 6 key strategies for designing a B2B email campaign

  • Best practices for B2B emails

  • 7 B2B marketing email examples that stick the landing

Why B2B emails require B2B strategies

General email marketing tactics don't work for B2B campaigns for the same reason two nearly identical doors still require different keys: you're trying to get different people in the door. Here are a few specific ways in which general email marketing tactics fail when employed on B2B campaigns. 

Email targeting

Most email marketing campaigns target individuals, but B2B campaigns target companies—or rather, multiple individuals at a company. Whereas an individual getting a B2C email is responsible for every stage of their own buying journey, a company's purchasing process involves people in all sorts of roles.

When you identify a B2B target, you're really identifying a group of targets—and your strategy needs to account for the differences among multiple contacts within a company.

What this means in practice: To reach people effectively, you need to be sending different emails to different individuals within the same target company.

Cycle length

Buying something on your own doesn't take very long. To paraphrase one of my favorite Ariana Grande songs: you see it, you like it, you want it, you got it. Easy. (In my case, there's usually also a "you check your bank balance" somewhere in there, but that's a bit of a mouthful for a pop lyric.)

Automate your email marketing
Reach your audience

For a company, on the other hand, the purchasing process can be a lot like herding cats. Getting multiple departments to coordinate on a decision, especially one that requires a budget approval, takes a Herculean effort—and Herculean patience.

What this means in practice: Since email marketing campaigns last the length of the customer journey, expect your marketing cycles for B2B companies to take a lot more time.

Email tone and content

Consumers know that they're consumers, so when you're writing B2C emails, you can be more obvious about the fact that you're trying to make a sale. Content like promotions, discounts, and sale announcements fit in a B2C campaign but would feel strange in an email to a business.

B2B emails tend to perform better when they focus on providing information and resources. Educational content like trend reports, industry benchmarks, how-to guides, and webinar recordings help prove your brand's value to a B2B subscriber. 

What this means in practice: You'll need to source entirely new content types and formats to use for your B2B campaigns—repurposing B2C content is out of the question.

6 key strategies for designing a B2B email campaign

You get it: B2C or generalized email strategies are a no-go for your B2B campaign. But telling you what tactics not to use without giving you any to replace them wouldn't be very helpful of me, would it? Here's how to nail your B2B email marketing campaign.

1. Profile your target customers

When targeting a particular B2B company, you're really targeting that company's buying center—the group of people who determine whether or not the company purchases your product. 

The buying center includes six main roles:

  • Initiators are the first people at a company who become aware of and interested in your product. 

  • Users are the people who will be using your product day-to-day once the company decides to make the purchase.

  • Buyers are the people who handle the logistics and administrative aspects of a potential purchase, including budgeting, contract terms, renewals, etc.

  • Deciders are the people who ultimately decide whether or not to approve the buyers to move forward with a purchase. 

  • Gatekeepers are the people (usually administrators) who control the flow of information to and from other members of the buying center. 

  • Influencers is a catch-all group that encompasses anyone within an organization that influences the decisions and opinions of other members of the buying center. (In other words: everyone else at the company.)

Email targeting for the B2B buying hub: set up columns for each of the B2B buying hub roles, and beneath each, record that role's job, their values, what to highlight in your messaging to them, and the best types to send that role.

If you've done any marketing in the past, you may be familiar with the ideal customer profile (ICP), or the audience vignette created by outlining your prospective customers' demographics, behaviors, characteristics, challenges, and needs. Your B2B targets are groups, so you'll need to expand your ICP to incorporate different columns for each different role in the target company's buying center. 

2. Think like a buyer

With a customer profile matrix in hand, you can step into the mindset of each member of your target customer's buying center in order to better understand what kinds of emails fit each role.

For example, an Initiator or a User will likely be interested in a how-to guide that relates to an aspect of the User's job. If you sent that same email to a buyer, who primarily deals with the purchasing and renewal of a product rather than its actual function, it would probably get sent straight to the trash.

The more customized your emails are to your targets' actual needs, the more effective they'll be—and the fewer unsubscribes or spam reports you'll get.

3. Use email segmentation

When I'm running campaigns at scale, the thought of tailoring my emails to each individual at a company would send me running for the hills.

Email segmentation tools (which are built into most email marketing platforms) allow you to group your subscribers according to their characteristics. Instead of grouping contacts by company or industry, create lists for each of the different buyer personas. With as few as six segmented lists, you can hit everyone on your target list with content that's customized to their interests and needs. 

4. Plan your campaign in stages

The B2B email marketing cycle should more or less mirror the B2B customer journey. By planning your campaign around the stages of the customer journey, you can ensure that your emails are relevant not only to who your target is, but also to where they are at a particular point in time. 

There are five main stages of the buyer journey, and different types of content are best suited to each stage.

  • Awareness: The target is learning about your brand and product but isn't seriously thinking about making a purchase yet. How-to guides, eBooks, thought leadership, and other educational content can help the target grow familiar with your brand.

  • Consideration: The target is specifically interested in your product, but they won't reach the decision-making stage until they've gathered more information. Case studies, customer testimonials, and product demos can provide more information about your product's value and push the target toward making a purchase.

  • Decision-making: The target is interested in buying or trying your product and is now considering things like budget and return on investment in order to determine whether they're ready to buy. Free trials, discount offers, and cost estimates can influence your target in the direction of a purchase.

  • Retention: Once your prospect is a customer, your goal is for them to buy more of your product, renew their subscription, or otherwise continue your customer relationship. Product tutorials and high-level educational content can help your target get the most out of your product's features and encourage them to remain a customer. 

  • Advocacy: Targets who are loyal customers can help boost your marketing efforts by becoming brand advocates—they'll tell others about your product and bring in new targets. Surveys and referral program offers can engage customers in more active brand advocacy. 

Types of emails for each stage of the B2B marketing journey: select the type of content you want to include in your emails based on where the recipient is in their customer journey.

5. Use templates

Email templates are another valuable tool to keep in your work-smarter-not-harder toolbox. Building a solid library of high-quality templates takes time, but you'll thank yourself later when you're able to crank through hundreds of emails in a day and still clock out by five.

The key to using templates is that the email recipient shouldn't be able to tell it's a template. Build a library of templates for each different type of email that you typically send, using the same brand elements across the board but ensuring each template is still visually distinct. Each of my campaigns has a different template for:

  • Welcome emails

  • Thank-you emails

  • Gated content delivery emails

  • Survey emails

  • Curated content roundup emails

  • Newsletter and what's new emails

  • Educational and thought leadership emails

  • Case study and report emails

  • Event and webinar emails

  • Unsubscribe emails

Maintaining a template library won't only simplify your process, but it'll also ensure that you can take time off with the peace of mind that whoever fills in for you will have pre-made email skeletons ready to go.

6. Save time by automating

Email marketing automation allows you to complete detailed tasks that would be impossibly time-consuming to do manually. 

For example, you might set up an automation that tags email contacts with any new information you receive about them, like demographic details and job characteristics. With a robust tagging system, you can target hyper-specific audiences like "female executives in the biotech industry" or "past attendees in the Los Angeles area" with just a few sort filters.

Your email marketing platform's sequencing function will also allow you to set up drip campaigns to be sent out over a period of weeks. That's a pretty common example, but there are plenty of others as well:

  • Add and update contacts based on form submissions on your website.

  • Segment your subscribers into different lists based on their behaviors (e.g., event attendance).

  • Send colleagues relevant updates about new subscribers, email lists, and sales leads.

Much like my template library, my email marketing automations let me sleep well knowing that things are running smoothly without my human brain.

Best practices for B2B emails

You could create the most perfect B2B email strategy the world has ever seen, but it still won't do much if what's inside the email isn't up to snuff. Quality packaging and structural integrity are key to a successful burrito, but everyone knows that the good stuff is what's inside.

Write great subject lines

Granted, this tip does apply to all types of email marketing. All email marketers should be checking to make sure their subject lines are short enough to be seen in the inbox (Mailchimp says the magic number is 60 characters or fewer). 

But B2C emails have a much higher likelihood of succeeding in spite of a bad subject line. I personally can't stand the way the alcohol delivery app I use writes its subject lines, but I open all of their emails anyway because I like being able to buy my wine without putting on shoes. But when I'm at work? A cold email with an annoying subject line is going to get sent to spam right away.

The point is: the busier your targets are, the more important your subject lines will be. Place your email's value-add (the resource, tool, or offer it contains) at the front of the line. Make your call-to-action clear—tell the recipient what you want them to read, watch, submit, or sign up for right away. 

Personalize as much as humanly (or automatically) possible

I mentioned before how important it is to automate certain functions of your campaign, like email segmentation and audience targeting. Within the email itself, you can use import fields to make sure the email is addressed to your recipient by name, to include their company in the subject line, and to add in other information that helps your email look less generalized.

Like subject lines, custom fields are more important for B2B emails than consumer blasts. Most of the emails from that alcohol delivery app contain just one large graphic with a coupon or deal—it's not addressed to me by name because it doesn't need to be.

Be conversational

When writing B2B content, it's easy to drift too far into professional mode and wind up coming across stiff and robotic. Remember that you're still writing to people, even if your targets are brands. 

Think from a human's perspective: what kinds of business emails do you pay attention to? Which subject lines do you open, and which do you send straight to the trash? Leading your campaign empathetically will help you connect with your targets.

Keep things scannable

If you take time to think about what email strategies work best on you, you'll likely find that the most effective emails are pretty brief. Business people are busy, and few people have the time to get through an email that's packed with text.

Keeping your emails brief doesn't mean you can't still give them substance. You can pack a lot of information into an email with smart formatting and a little bit of strategic design. Besides, the goal is to get them to click through to your content, so it's ok to place the good stuff after the jump.

Formatting emails for scannability: use design elements to deliver your email content in a way that will capture the reader's attention quickly without overwhelming them.

7 B2B marketing email examples that stick the landing

I get a lot of emails at work from B2B brands, many of which I subscribed to on purpose. For at least the first few emails, though, I'm evaluating them to decide whether I want to unsubscribe or if this brand's content is worth reading. Just because a brand is great doesn't mean their emails will be—there are plenty of companies killing it on the stock exchange but floundering in my inbox.

Remember that you're not just looking to get your recipients to click through, download, or register in the short term. You're also looking to prove that your content is valuable, well-curated, and pristinely presented so that your recipients want to see what's inside the next email you send.

Here are a few B2B emails that I've received personally that not only got me to open them but also impressed me with what I found inside.

New user email: Smartsheet

Buyer persona: User

Journey stage: Retention

It's essential to communicate to your recipients that you're not wasting their time. New users are beyond the purchasing stage of the buyer journey, so you're at risk of losing their engagement if they decide they no longer find your emails useful. The first emails after a company buys your product need to prove to them that your emails have a clear value-add and are worth opening.

Smartsheet's new user email uses large photos and minimal text to convey to the recipient that they're sending over useful resources and nothing else—as a project management and time tracking tool, their brand knows more than most how little time business people have for cold emails. 

Using design to clearly title, subtitle, and attach images to your emails will ensure that people's eyes are drawn exactly what you want them to see, as soon as they open your email. 

Screenshot of a B2B marketing email from Smartsheet.

"What's new" email: Datawrapper

Buyer persona: User, Influencer

Journey stage: Awareness, Retention

Company updates are the email equivalent of someone walking up to your desk and starting to talk about themselves. If you have the time, and you're in the mood for a chat, that can be a perfectly lovely way to start a conversation. But if not, you're not only going to dismiss that person in the moment, but you're also going to start avoiding them whenever you have work to get done.

The key to update emails is to clearly tie your bits of news to things that directly impact the user (or potential user). For example, Datawrapper's company update leads with a new dark mode feature rollout for their platform. This is both a company update and a product update, which helps readers see the value of the email up front and encourages them to keep reading.

Screenshot of a B2B marketing email from Datawrapper.

Download delivery email: Gallup

Buyer persona: Initiator, User

Journey stage: Awareness, Consideration

When I request a download from a website, it's usually a report or dataset that I need for a project I'm working on. I'm almost always in the middle of my workflow when I submit a download request, so when the email arrives, I have zero interest in doing anything except downloading what I need and moving on.

The only thing that could catch my attention while I'm in that flow is something else that could help me with the task at hand. The Gallup email below is one extremely rare example of a content download email that actually got me to open another piece of content that I didn't specifically ask for. 

I downloaded this State of the American Manager report while working on a piece about business operations and people management, so when I saw a link to a resource on "transforming your outdated performance management practices," I clicked—the topic seemed like it held pertinent information that could be valuable for my project.

When you're sending any B2B email, put yourself in the mindset of the person you're sending it to. For downloads and other emails that are designed to arrive at a particular point in time, give them what they want and not much else.

Screenshot of a B2B marketing email from Gallup.

Live event and webinar email: SlashNext

Buyer persona: User, Buyer, Influencer

Journey stage: Awareness, Consideration, Decision-Making

If I ever got a physical invitation that included long paragraphs about the history of the event, the host's backstory, and a few other topics only vaguely related to the event itself, the invitation would be in the garbage before I even got to reading the date. You don't clutter your mailed invitations with a bunch of unnecessary information, so don't do it to your emailed invitations, either.

Of course, when you're cold emailing invitations, you do need to at least explain what the event is and why someone might be interested in attending it. Take a page from SlashNext's book—their invitation makes the most of a small amount of space by including a bulleted list of actionable information that attendees will hear during the webinar, but it doesn't extend beyond two paragraphs total, so it still feels light and efficient.

Screenshot of a B2B marketing email from Slashnext

Trend report email: Spotify

Buyer persona: Influencer, Initiator

Journey stage: Awareness, Consideration, Decision-Making

Trend reports are, by definition, cutting-edge. Though gimmicks are usually a big red flag in B2B emails, a trend report email gives you some room to experiment with (tasteful!) out-of-the-box design. Take Spotify's 2022 Wellness Report, for example, which arrived in the form of one long infographic in the body of the email. It's bold without being tacky or overwhelming, and it captures the curiosity of the recipient right away.

Screenshot of a B2B marketing email from Spotify.

Curated content email: HoneyBook

Buyer persona: User, Influencer

Journey stage: Awareness, Retention

Curated content emails are some of the most fun to put together and to receive. Sending out recaps of your recent content can drive a ton of traffic from people who wouldn't have come across your posts organically, but you don't even need to include your own content for one of these emails to be effective. 

If you have a talent for it, curating a collection from around the internet gives you an opportunity to become something of a tastemaker in your readers' inboxes, leading to skyrocketing open rates as people increasingly look to you for the cool information they won't find on their own.

No matter what kind of curated content you're sending out, it won't matter if your email looks overpacked or messy once the reader opens it. It can be tempting to want to jam-pack a ton of links into these emails, but that will only leave you with an email that looks like it belongs on Hoarders. Stick with just a handful of links paired with large photos, larger font, and very few (if any) link descriptions. 

HoneyBook's content roundup emails are super sparse, but in a way that I think most readers appreciate—I was able to give this email a quick scan and know right away whether I wanted to click through or close out. 

Screenshot of a B2B marketing email from Honeybook.

Newsletter email: Embroker

Buyer personas: Gatekeeper, User, Influencer

Journey stage: Consideration

Although they can be similar to curated content emails, newsletters give marketers a little more wiggle room to write. People know what newsletters are, so when they open them, they're doing so when they have a free moment to actually read what's inside it.

That said: quick, clean takeaways are still the surest pathway to newsletter success. Notice how Embroker uses actual headlines for the news articles included in its email—even if you're not including links from news sites, modeling your own "headlines" after real news outlets can lend your newsletter a "must-know" tone of voice that will engage readers right away.

Screenshot of a B2B marketing email from Embroker.

Why a top-notch B2B email marketing strategy pays off

It takes some time and effort to learn how to really succeed at targeted B2B email marketing, but that investment is worth it—according to Campaign Monitor, the return on investment for B2B email marketing (when done correctly) is 4,200%, or $42 for every $1 spent. For small business owners especially, email marketing is often the number one way to get the biggest bang for your buck. And since email marketing is easy to automate, you can improve your profitability even further by getting more done while your tech handles what would have taken hours to do manually. 

B2B email marketing is undeniably tricky, but taking time to do it right pays off. The learning curve may be steep, but it's worth climbing.

]]> (Amanda Pell) Fri, 22 Apr 2022 04:00:00 GMT
How to automatically assign new BambooHR employees a Lessonly lesson .css-rclntc-Outer{overflow:auto;}.css-rclntc-Outer > *{margin-bottom:20px;margin-top:20px;}.css-rclntc-Outer > H2{margin-top:60px;}.css-rclntc-Outer > H3{margin-top:40px;}.css-rclntc-Outer > [id]{-webkit-scroll-margin-top:20px;-moz-scroll-margin-top:20px;-ms-scroll-margin-top:20px;scroll-margin-top:20px;}@media (min-width:660px){.css-rclntc-Outer > [id]{-webkit-scroll-margin-top:100px;-moz-scroll-margin-top:100px;-ms-scroll-margin-top:100px;scroll-margin-top:100px;}}

It's exciting when your team grows! New employees mean a growing business, and a great onboarding experience is key to ensuring they're set up for success. When you use automation to help with the administrative tasks you can get more done while increasing the accuracy of data across your apps.  

Save time by creating an automatic workflow that assigns new BambooHR employees a Lessonly lesson. This makes it easier for you to create a smooth onboarding experience—without adding things to your to-do list. 

Don't use BambooHR or Lessonly? You can create this same workflow with other apps that connect with Zapier, like TalentLMS or Workable. Just search in our app directory to find the apps you use. 

Note: This workflow uses a multi-step Zap and a premium app (BambooHR), which require a paid Zapier plan or free trial.

Assign new employees a Lessonly lesson

Zapier lets you create automated workflows called Zaps, which send your information from one app to another. You can create your own Zap from scratch without any coding knowledge, but we also offer quick templates to get you started. 

If you'd like to start with a template, click on it below, and you'll be taken to the Zapier editor. You'll need to create a Zapier account if you don't already have one. Then, follow the directions below to set up your Zap.

Set up your BambooHR trigger

First, set up your trigger—the event that starts your Zap. If you're using the Zap template, BambooHR will already be selected as the trigger app and New Employee as the trigger event. Click Continue.

The BambooHR logo and the text "New Employee in BambooHR".

Next, connect your BambooHR account. Click on Choose an account… and either select an account from the dropdown menu (if you've connected BambooHR to Zapier before) or click Sign In and walk through the steps to give Zapier permission to access your account. 

Under the text "Choose account" a dropdown with the BambooHR logo and a selected BambooHR account.

If you're connecting BambooHR to Zapier for the first time, you'll need to get the API key and company domain for your BambooHR account.

A pop-up window that asks Allow Zapier to access your BambooHR Account? with fields to enter your API key and company domain.

For each app you connect, Zapier will ask for a general set of permissions which allows you to be flexible with your Zaps. The only actions Zapier takes on your app accounts are those a given Zap needs to accomplish what you've set up.

Once you've connected your account, click Continue

Now you need to test your trigger. Click Test trigger. Once you see that your trigger is working correctly, click Continue.

A test window that shows the BambooHR and Zapier logos with the text "Test your trigger".

Set up your first Lessonly action

Now let's set up your first action—the event your Zap will perform once a new employee is added to BambooHR. This step will find or create a user for your new employee in Lessonly. If you're using the Zap template, Lessonly will already be selected as your action app and Find User as your action event. Click Continue

Lessonly select as the action app with Find User selected under Action Event.

Connect your Lessonly account to Zapier. If you haven't already given Zapier access to your Lessonly account, you'll need to share your domain and API key. Click Continue

A pop-up window with the text "Allow Zapier to access your Lessonly Account?" with fields for a domain and API key.

Now it's time to customize this action. Zapier will automatically pull in email data based on what was used while testing your trigger. If the wrong data point was pulled in, click the dropdown under Email and select the email address you'd like to use. 

A field labelled Email with a work email added to it.

Note: If you're worried about annoying your co-workers while troubleshooting, consider creating and using a test employee account or using your own account when selecting the email to be used in this Zap. 

If you don't want this Zap to continue if no email is found in Lessonly then choose No (false)

A field with No selected from the dropdown menu.

If you want the Zap to create a new user for you if no email is found, keep No selected in the previous step, but also check the box next to Create Lessonly User if it doesn't exist yet?

A checkbox and a purple button labelled "Continue."

If you check the box, you will be prompted to fill out fields for employee information (like role and department). You can pull in this information from BambooHR so it's populated automatically in Lessonly. All you need to do is click into a field to see a dropdown with info from your previous trigger step, like name, hire date, manager, and more.  

A search field with a dropdown with data points listed underneath it.

Once you've populated all the fields you want, you'll see the option to remove the field that stops your Zap if no email is found in Lessonly. Be sure to click Remove these extra fields. That way, when no email is found in Lessonly, it gets added as a new user. 

A purple checkbox next to the text "Create Lessonly User if it doesn't exist yet?".

Click Continue

Now it's time to test your action. When you click Test & Review or Test & Continue, Zapier will search Lessonly for the example user data you pulled from BambooHR. 

If you'd rather skip the test, just click Skip Test. Then Click Continue when the test is complete.

Set up your second Lessonly action

Now let's set up your second action—the event your Zap will perform after a user gets added to Lessonly. This step will assign the Lessonly lesson to the user you found in the previous step. If using the Zap template, Lessonly will already be selected as your action app and Assign Lesson as your action event. Click Continue

Lessonly selected as the action app and Assign Lesson selected under Action Event.

Select your Lessonly account. Since you completed your first action step, your account should be connected and ready to be selected from the dropdown menu. Then click Continue

Now it's time to set up the rest of your second action step. First, leave the selected Lessonly ID in the User field. That makes sure that you're assigning the course to the right person. 

A field labelled User with an ID data point selected inside it.

Next, choose which course you want to assign. When you click the dropdown under Lesson, you'll see all the lessons you currently have in your Lessonly account. You can also assign a due date for the Lessonly to be completed under Due By

Fields labelled Lesson and Due By.

If you want employees to be notified when they get assigned a new Lessonly class, select True under Notify.

A field labeled "Notify" with "True" inside the field.

Click Continue

Next, it's time to test your action. When you click Test & Review or Test & Continue, Zapier will assign the Lessonly course you selected to the example user you pulled from BambooHR. 

If you'd rather skip the test, just click Skip Test

If your test looks good, don't forget to turn on your Zap. If something looks off, go back and tweak things until you get it just right. 

Save time by connecting BambooHR and Lessonly

By automating the administrative tasks, you can save time and build a smoother onboarding experience (for you and new employees). 

Try it for yourself. Discover how this Zap can streamline one step of your onboarding process: 

]]> (Ellie Huizenga) Thu, 21 Apr 2022 07:00:00 GMT
The 5 best Notion alternatives in 2022 .css-rclntc-Outer{overflow:auto;}.css-rclntc-Outer > *{margin-bottom:20px;margin-top:20px;}.css-rclntc-Outer > H2{margin-top:60px;}.css-rclntc-Outer > H3{margin-top:40px;}.css-rclntc-Outer > [id]{-webkit-scroll-margin-top:20px;-moz-scroll-margin-top:20px;-ms-scroll-margin-top:20px;scroll-margin-top:20px;}@media (min-width:660px){.css-rclntc-Outer > [id]{-webkit-scroll-margin-top:100px;-moz-scroll-margin-top:100px;-ms-scroll-margin-top:100px;scroll-margin-top:100px;}}

Notion has that "I don't know what" that makes organizing information, setting up your personal productivity system, and collaborating with others an absolute breeze. It might be the minimalist interface, the building blocks philosophy, or the intuitive slash commands; whatever it is, the whole app comes together in a powerful and unique user experience.

Turn your Notion workspace into an information hub
Automate Notion

But after the honeymoon period, power users start feeling the edges of freedom, very much like Truman inside his show. You expect the app will accommodate your every wish and command, only to find that there are, in fact, limitations.

If you've been considering a Notion alternative—or strapping a dozen apps together to get all the features you want—you're in the right place. I considered and did in-depth testing on dozens of Notion alternatives for all skill levels (and all levels of ambition), and these are your best options.

The 5 best Notion alternatives

  • Coda for powerful formulas and databases

  • Nuclino for knowledge management

  • Slite for collaborating as a team

  • Anytype for privacy, security, and data relationships

  • Obsidian for fearless tinkerers

And, of course, Notion itself.

What makes a great Notion alternative?

How we evaluate and test apps

All of our best apps roundups are written by humans who've spent much of their careers using, testing, and writing about software. We spend dozens of hours researching and testing apps, using each app as it's intended to be used and evaluating it against the criteria we set for the category. We're never paid for placement in our articles from any app or for links to any site—we value the trust readers put in us to offer authentic evaluations of the categories and apps we review. For more details on our process, read the full rundown of how we select apps to feature on the Zapier blog.

Ideally, a great Notion alternative gives you the freedom to create your own productivity system—your network of documents, databases, and references—without forcing an inflexible user experience on you.

A bit like a sandbox video game, this category of app (which doesn't really have a name yet) gives you the possibility to mix and combine different elements to create your or your team's all-in-one workspace.

Each of the picks on this list has something unique to offer, along with some twists on the original experience you're used to. But to start, I evaluated all the apps that I tested using the same criteria:

  • Document and note-taking features. How easy is it to create, format, share, and embed content? This blank-slate document vibe is the bread-and-butter of Notion, so I wanted to be sure the alternatives stacked up.

  • Project management features. Can you create to-do lists? Kanban boards? What about leaving comments on documents? Can you mention coworkers?

  • Database features. All of these apps run on some form of database, but they vary in the way they give you the power to create views and relationships between data. I made sure to evaluate how much control and creativity you can have here.

  • Performance and user experience. I was paying attention to speed, how the search function works (and where it searches), as well as other details like the quality of the user interface, onboarding experiences, and available support.

  • All-in-one potential. Based on all the above, could this app reliably hold all your information and processes in one place without requiring you to connect loads of apps together?

The way each development team approaches this kind of app is unique. This leads to some apps being absolutely amazing in two or three of the features but abysmal or very light in others. But in making my final picks, I tried to make sure that each app was relatively well-rounded.

The gold standard

Notion (Web, Mac, Windows, iOS, Android)

Notion, the gold standard of the all-in-one workspace tool

A list of Notion alternatives wouldn't be complete without naming the elephant in the workspace. Finding an alternative to Notion is hard because this all-in-one workspace category has so many differing philosophies and approaches—and because Notion has created something so unique and powerful that it's hard to replace.

Using Notion for the first time feels like a new power was thrust upon you. You can finally ditch a collection of apps to handle your life and just focus on a single one, building your own information hub and customizing the way you want to.

The user experience is streamlined and minimal, putting your content at the forefront of the experience. There aren't lengthy onboarding tutorial tracks: the tool explains itself as you use it. The building blocks method is easy to grasp, inviting you to reorganize and rearrange your document into custom dashboard pages, proto-apps, and mood boards, to name some of the possibilities.

The collaboration features are simple. Creating comment threads on documents and mentioning other people feels enough to keep everyone on the same page. Like most apps in this category, Notion also invites you to integrate Slack, so you can take your longer conversations there.

But creating documents isn't Notion's only purpose. Ivan Zhao, Notion's co-founder and CEO, pointed out in the March 2022 newsletter that the addition of the database experience is what turned the app from something the dev team thought was cool into a tool that reached a wider audience and adoption. This focus on databases added new powers to Notion: the ability to change database views to Kanban cards, galleries, or filtered lists gives you the freedom to organize and cross-reference your content in any way you like. And these features also give you an edge in project management.

With so much on offer—coupled with a very generous freemium model—it's no wonder Notion feels like the ultimate all-in-one workspace experience. But this experience isn't without its hiccups. The platform has been widely criticized for performance issues, lack of end-to-end encryption or offline mode, a clunky mobile experience, and the way some searching features have a temperament of their own.

The good news is that there are solid alternatives on the market to explore. The bad news is that each app has its own interpretation of what an all-in-one workspace should include and how it should behave. Finding an alternative to Notion is more like finding an app that aligns with your use case, not finding an app that would make Notion obsolete.

So, if your Notion love story has reached long silences and cold shoulders, keep reading for some options to ignite your all-in-one productivity spark again. And if you're not ready to switch, that's ok. Connect Notion to Zapier, so you can upgrade your Notion experience and connect it to the other apps you use. Here are some examples.

  • Notion difficulty: Beginner; tweaking databases comes with a learning curve.

  • Notion pricing: Generous personal free plan with unlimited blocks and total storage, with a 5MB upload limit and limited collaboration features. Paid plans start at $4/month (billed annually).

Best Notion alternative for powerful formulas and databases

Coda (Web, iOS, iPadOS, Android)

Coda, our pick for the best Notion alternative for powerful formulas and databases

When you visit Coda's home page, the message is clear: "I'm tired of this sheet." Being tired of the classic spreadsheet experience as the paragon of productivity may be what drove Coda's team to create a tool with very strong database features.

But first things first. When compared with Notion, Coda has a different philosophy in terms of workspace organization. The dashboard provides information on your workspace at a glance, helping you keep track of your documents and your team's documents. This isn't a totally blank-slate-start setting, but it's a welcome addition if you value having a dashboard page ready to go.

When you jump into a document, the blank slate feeling comes back. And Coda has some extras here. The document outline docked on the right side of the screen is great for long documents where you have to move around a lot (Notion's table of contents sits in the document, not in a sidebar). You can also insert and program buttons into documents, with actions like "duplicate this document" or with a custom formula.

Coda's Packs feature allows you to embed other apps into your documents. I connected Coda with Google Calendar, which unlocked a set of elements and formulas I could put in the document to show my schedule and add new events with a button. It even suggested some templates I could use with the integration. It's like a toolbox you can use to bring Coda together with other apps—something I was personally surprised and delighted by.

As you might expect, databases are the main course. There are more views available than in Notion, including the possibility to create forms and collect responses directly by sharing them (a huge step up from having to add a survey app to your tech stack).

And once you start using "Coda's book of spells" (formulas), it's easy to see how much potential this app has for creating workflows and automation. Type = anywhere, and away you go: choose which database or pack you want to pull data from, and which formula you want to apply to it. You don't have to be inside a spreadsheet or table to use it—you can write a formula anywhere you want.

A user on Reddit made an interesting distinction when it comes to Coda vs. Notion: if you handle documents and wikis, Notion is stronger; if you need databases and more automation, Coda comes out on top. There's no clear winner between the two apps. It seems each acts on the shortcomings of the other.

In terms of performance, Coda is less agile than Notion, especially when opening documents. If you've used Google Docs in the past, it's that kind of response time: it doesn't make you wait, but it isn't entirely snappy either.

Coda is probably Notion's most direct competition and the most natural alternative to it. If you value a powerful database and spreadsheet experience at the core, with the ability to add formulas anywhere, then Coda is sure to make you "excited for this sheet" again. And you can take advantage of it even more by connecting Coda to Zapier, so you can do things like create new rows in Coda when things happen in your other apps. Here are some examples.

  • Coda difficulty: Beginner; taking advantage of formulas comes with a moderate learning curve.

  • Coda pricing: Free plan comes with access to free packs and real-time collaboration features but imposes document size limits (up to 50 elements and 1,000 rows per document). Paid plans start at $10/month per document maker (billed annually); viewers and editors are free.

Best Notion alternative for team knowledge management

Nuclino (Web, Mac, Windows, Linux, iOS, Android)

Nuclino, our pick for the best Notion alternative for team knowledge management

Nuclino captures Notion's core experience well while adding its own set of twists. You can use it as a personal knowledge management solution, but it's tailored to managing knowledge at a team level.

The user interface has a minimalist feel, with Nuclino's brand color as a nice aesthetic accent. The way the content is laid out reminds me a bit of a Wikipedia page, with the divider right under each H1 header element. I like how space is handled on the page: the amount of space after headings and paragraphs is generous, making for an easier reading and skimming experience. The slash menu is discreet and contains all you need to format your documents and add app integrations. 

I installed all the templates Nuclino offered me during the onboarding experience, and all seemed to suggest a similar approach: you can create clusters in each workspace—topic pages that you can pin with instructions or an introduction—and nest within them all the documents and links to help your coworkers find what they need, whenever they need it. The collaboration features are in line with the standards (comments, comment threads, and mentions), offering nothing more and nothing less than the essential.

The database features exist in Nuclino, but they don't have the same experience as in Notion. You can't create a database within a document and configure views in any way you like. Instead, the whole workspace is the database, and you can see it as a list of documents, as a visual graph of relationships between clusters, or as a Kanban board. This is great for knowledge management, but it's lacking if you want to build your own "database within a database."

In terms of speed, the whole platform responded quickly when switching from document to document, with one caveat: the image loading times were a bit long. I was playing around with a Lucid integration within a page, and it was surprisingly fast, as was the search function, which allows you to filter by tasks assigned to you and mentions or links. The search results replace the left-hand menu, so you can click through the results and see the full page on the right, which is useful if you usually search using very broad queries.

Nuclino is strong in its document and knowledge management features. Could it be an all-in-one solution? If you value the user experience of Notion's databases or need the powerful formulas of Coda, it's tricky. But if you need a tool to manage knowledge and keep everyone on the same page at a high speed, then yes, Nuclino will be the perfect single-source-of-truth tool.

  • Nuclino difficulty: Beginner

  • Nuclino pricing: Free for up to 50 items and 2GB of total storage. Paid plans start at $5/user/month (billed annually).

Best Notion alternative for collaboration

Slite (Web, Mac, Windows, iOS, Android)

Slite, our pick for the best Notion alternative for collaboration

Slite's experience focuses on collaboration for a business setting, ready to plug and play into your daily company routines.

When you open the app, the first thing you see is the catch-up section of the workspace. Slite's philosophy divides your work into two major areas: (1) your private channel, a space where you can store your own documents and databases and (2) channels, which act as folders for different departments or topics within your company.

This user experience is more structured, more on-rails. The left-hand menu feels a bit cluttered, but it captures well all the regular actions you'll be taking in Slite. Navigating between documents is akin to the traditional file and folder experience. The standard mentions and comments features are there, easier to keep track of due to the catch-up section and the notification list. The open sky feeling isn't really there until you open a document, start organizing your information, and create your own navigation.

There are some new content blocks in Slite that I hadn't seen on other platforms. One is the directory, where you create a place to hold similar documents, such as meeting notes. This directory allows you to set templates and even create recurring documents. Have a meeting at 11 a.m. every Monday? Slite will get the document ready for you and automatically share it with everyone who'll be there. I also really liked the sketching block, which was surprisingly easy to use, with all the aesthetic elements resembling handwriting, even if you're drawing a perfect ellipse on the canvas. The sketch embeds perfectly within the document, a welcome addition to boost visual thinking.

With these strong document and collaboration features, you'd expect a mind-blowing database experience. Slite is strong but doesn't impress, giving you the power to create simple databases (called collections), with a limited number of data types (no formulas or relational database features, but has links to other docs) and the ability to apply filters you can save and set as default. It covers the basics and gives that organizational edge to keep the document experience in top shape.

In the end, Slite is a good candidate to host all your business knowledge and processes, except for two key things: Kanban boards are nowhere to be found, and the database features are light. Slite compensates by delivering a strong document and team collaboration experience, though, so consider what you need for your particular use case and see if the app can match it.

  • Slite difficulty: Beginner.

  • Slite pricing: Free plan for up to 50 documents. Paid plans start at $6.67/user/month (billed annually).

Best Notion alternative for privacy, security, and data relationships

Anytype (Web, iOS, Android)

Anytype, our pick for the best Notion alternative for privacy, security, and data relationships

A note before we begin: Anytype is in alpha stage. All the features for individual users are well implemented, and the team is planning to move on to what they call "multiplayer Anytype" (enabling collaboration features) sometime in 2022.

I confess to being hyped about Anytype—I signed up for the alpha with excitement. The ambition in the website is palpable: the ultimate objective is to create an entire ecosystem that'll even support apps and P2P services. But since productivity doesn't run on hopes and dreams, I cleared my head and started testing.

The dashboard shows the pages you've set as favorites, your sets (databases), as well as recently opened pages, shared files, and the bin. Once you click on one of the links shown there, you jump into the library, with the familiar interface of apps in this category.

The philosophy is different from Notion. Everything within Anytype is an object. I'm an object with the "human" property. I set relationships with the objects I create, be it documents, notes, or invoices, to name a few. An author of a book I read is an object, the books they wrote (also objects) appear in relation to the author, and the notes I've made about each book (yup, objects) are related to each book in the same way.

This kind of linking through relationships doesn't happen in just one way. Anytype has something called bidirectional linking: linking one object to another enables you to move from A to B, and also from B to A, a bit like backlinks with more features built upon it. This allows you to see information in a visual constellation chart (much like Nuclino) and as a sequence of relationships, where you can navigate upstream or downstream to see how information is connected.

The fact that everything is an object changes the experience in another way: to create a database, you first need to create the object type that's going in it. I wanted to create a place to keep all my articles together. I pasted text and images on new objects in Anytype, but when I tried to create a database, it didn't work. I needed to convert the objects I'd just created into an Article object, with its own set of properties and templates, and then put it inside the database. Sadly, there aren't a lot of views available yet—only list, grid, and board (not Kanban)—but filters are already working well.

As for the offline mode, all data lives inside your device, encrypted by a unique passphrase assigned to you when you log in for the first time. Lost the passphrase? Goodbye, data. No one, not even the Anytype team, can recover data without the passphrase. Once you get it, keep it safe in a password manager.

Syncing across devices can be done via a cloud server that the Anytype team set up for alpha users. You can turn off the Wi-Fi at any time and still be able to work. Syncing with other devices requires you to update your cloud backup, install Anytype on your secondary device, and wait until it downloads everything. This cloud feature will be paid in the future, being the monetization strategy for the app going forward, both for personal and business users. But if you want to self-host Anytype and run your own server or storage service, you can do it after it's released out of beta.

Can Anytype work as an all-in-one at the moment? The final verdict is mixed. If you don't need collaboration features, it definitely can. The document features and the way databases work have a lot of depth, and the app is fast and stable. Is being in development stage a problem? If you need a proven, stable tool, it's a problem; if you want to hop on the forums, engage with other users and the dev team, and suggest your own feature wishlist as you follow the growth, then you'll be delighted by the experience.

Anytype made it to the roundup for being surprisingly solid for an alpha-stage app, for introducing welcome twists to the category, and for all the potential it holds. If you'd like to hop in, the estimated waiting time is two months—but I got access in three days without doing anything else.

  • Anytype difficulty: Intermediate; database features take time getting used to.

  • Anytype pricing: Currently free

Best Notion alternative for fearless tinkerers

Obsidian (Mac, Windows, Linux, iOS, Android)

Obsidian, our pick for the best Notion alternative for fearless tinkerers

There's a special kind of person looking to move away from Notion. They fell in love with it, know the entire documentation section by heart, probably even made some money selling Notion templates. They maxed out the platform's features, and their occupation is now finding ways to hack the limitations to squeeze out an extra ounce of freedom and productivity.

If this is you: first, respect. Getting to the bottom of Notion is not for everyone. Second, you've outgrown Notion, and you need a new playground to create more ambitious solutions. You don't have to become a developer, build an MVP, raise funding, and build a competing app to do so.

Obsidian brings a unique open-endedness, inviting you to customize it with dozens of plugins. Many Obsidian users also abide by Zettelkasten, a knowledge management system to become a better (human) processor of information. You build it, and it builds you. While the latter is interesting, we'll focus on the app itself for now.

At heart, Obsidian is a note-taking tool with a graph view, allowing you to see your ideas in a constellation. Most of the advanced features and plugins are turned off by default, but going to the settings menu will give you a long list of plugins to play around with. And while you can do a lot already with these first-party plugins (such as enabling a slash command menu), the community plugins allow you to add extra functionality to the app itself.

I'm using it to flesh out a personal writing project right now, and it feels light and agile. There's a menu you can bring up with control + P, where you can type to change settings and add new elements quickly. Embedding media is counterintuitive, but getting the hang of it only takes a couple minutes and a Google search.

The most exciting part of this app is that you can transform it to suit your needs. Depending on your technical knowledge (or fearlessness), you can set up Kanban boards, calendars, and to-do lists; configure a spaced repetition system; and even add sketches to your notes. This isn't even the full list, so there's a lot more to discover.

All your documents live inside a "vault." Since everything is stored locally—on a folder on your computer as Markdown files—your data is always yours. If you want to sync your data to the cloud, you can upload this folder to your file storage app of choice.

Collaborating with others requires some acrobatics, at least while the Obsidian team builds those features into the app. The easiest way is to create a vault, upload it to Google Drive, and share it with your team. Other methods include (brace yourself) setting up a free-tier server on a cloud hosting provider and connecting a live editing plugin.

Adding a database experience also requires tinkering, but some advanced users have successfully created their own database views inside Obsidian, even replicating (and surpassing) Notion's database experience.

Is there all-in-one potential in Obsidian? Absolutely. Will it require you to learn as you go and invest a lot of time and patience? Yes, it will. And the end result might be a tool perfectly tuned to the way you gather, think about, and communicate information. High investment, high reward.

  • Obsidian difficulty: Starts at intermediate.

  • Obsidian pricing: Free for personal use. Paid add-ons for cloud storage and online publishing, as well as enterprise licenses available. Paid plans start at $25 for things like early access and support development.

Can Notion be beaten?

This category of Notion alternatives includes all sorts of approaches and features—some solutions start with entirely different mindsets. All the platforms on this list are either free or have a free plan to help you evaluate the features on offer, so take your time to experiment and see which one matches best with what you need. And hey, maybe Notion is the app for you after all.

]]> (Miguel Rebelo) Thu, 21 Apr 2022 04:00:00 GMT
9 ways to leverage automation in the workplace .css-rclntc-Outer{overflow:auto;}.css-rclntc-Outer > *{margin-bottom:20px;margin-top:20px;}.css-rclntc-Outer > H2{margin-top:60px;}.css-rclntc-Outer > H3{margin-top:40px;}.css-rclntc-Outer > [id]{-webkit-scroll-margin-top:20px;-moz-scroll-margin-top:20px;-ms-scroll-margin-top:20px;scroll-margin-top:20px;}@media (min-width:660px){.css-rclntc-Outer > [id]{-webkit-scroll-margin-top:100px;-moz-scroll-margin-top:100px;-ms-scroll-margin-top:100px;scroll-margin-top:100px;}}

Automation plays a major role at Terkel. From selecting expertise for our articles to notifying contributors when they've been published, automation has helped us continue to innovate while keeping costs low and employees focused on critical business-building activities.

5 things you should automate today
Start automating

To help you gain insight into how other businesses are leveraging automation in the workplace, we asked HR leaders and CEOs the question: What is one way to leverage technology and automation to keep people focused on the work that only you, as humans, can do?

Here are their answers.

  1. Reduce administrative hours

  2. Automate onboarding administration

  3. Embrace automation for social media recruiting

  4. Automate candidate outreach and follow-up

  5. Identify which tasks can be automated (and which can't)

  6. Automate project status updates 

  7. Manage inclusivity and sentiment analysis for communicators

  8. Leverage technology for employee wellness

  9. Highlight collaborative intelligence (fusion skills)

1. Reduce administrative hours

"Automating rote tasks frees up employees to do more creative and critical labor. For example, we use Zapier to report payments and refunds to a specified Slack channel, which frees up internal teams to interact with clients and decide how best to spend the company budget. Similarly, we automate regular processes like weekly employee self-assessments to automatically report to a spreadsheet so that managers can spend more time coaching and supporting teams rather than collecting and organizing data. 

We are sure to communicate to our employees that we do not doubt their abilities to do these tasks and want to make the best use of their time. Automating these systems reduces delays and errors and gives our staff more space to create and innovate. Most workers are grateful to be free from monotonous duties, especially during hectic weeks or seasons."

Tasia Duske, Museum Hack

2. Automate onboarding administration

"At ClickTime, designing a world-class employee onboarding program is a top People Ops priority. Great onboarding not only improves ramp time, but also sets new hires up for success in ways that positively impact our retention, profitability, and revenue. In order to focus our time on designing onboarding content, as opposed to scheduling, paperwork, and other administrative efforts that can bog us down, we've created a Zapier integration with Google Calendar that has allowed us to automate three weeks' worth of scheduling in seconds. In addition, we've automated collecting documentation and signatures through our HRIS. This has saved us hours of time per hire and allowed us to focus our time on needle-moving onboarding efforts."

Sarah Dabby, ClickTime

Sarah Dabby quote

3. Embrace automation for social media recruiting 

"Recruiting has never been harder. To stay competitive and top of mind with the best candidates, HR and talent acquisition professionals need to be smart about what they automate to not only save time but also attract both exponentially more and better quality candidates. Hiring is a social process, so it's important to invest in the right automation that can scale your recruitment reach and messaging without sounding robotic.

Social media recruiting is one of the areas that can make or break your recruiting strategy and can benefit greatly from automation. Get it wrong, and you could add months of work on your team and miss out on the talent you deserve. But get it right, and you could save nearly a thousand hours a year while also attracting tons of applicants—time better invested by actively (and humanly) engaging with candidates during the hiring process."

Debora Roland, CareerArc

4. Automate candidate outreach and follow-up

"Where technology and automation can help is with repetitive, manual processes like candidate outreach and follow-up. It takes a lot of time and mental energy for recruiters to manually send out follow-up emails to job candidates: setting a reminder, creating the email, and hopefully, personalizing it a bit. This can take, at minimum, five minutes per email.

Recruiting automation platforms allow hiring teams to set up engagement sequences for open roles that go out at a specific candace. This one step can save hours a day, so recruiters can focus their attention on interviewing and getting a read on what candidates are really thinking—which definitely something only people can do."

Andres Blank, Fetcher

5. Identify which tasks can be automated (and which can't)

"Automation can support your employees by taking on tasks that don't need a human touch so that they can focus on those tasks that do. But it's important to determine which tasks can be automated. Tasks that need to be done more than once and are done the same way every time are good tasks to automate. Some communication tasks, such as email marketing or reminders can be easily scheduled and automated. In some cases, content creation can be automated but would require a human employee to look over and approve. For ideas about when to automate a task, talk to your employees. They may have good ideas for which tasks automation can help them and where automation might make their jobs more difficult."

Dave Rietsema, Matchr

6. Automate project status updates 

"Workflow automation has helped us create a better system across every team in our business, thanks to project management software and instant status updates. We use it in everything from HR and marketing to sales, IT, and accounting. Automating many of our communications by updating a single project status rather than digging through emails, sending multiple messages, and hoping the recipient sees it has helped reduce expensive delays and performance errors. Plus, our team feels more connected than ever. We’re watching them be more engaged with the work and go above and beyond for our clients, with much of their role's weight lifted thanks to automation."

James Diel, Textel

7. Inclusivity and sentiment analysis for communicators

"Communications technologies have come a long way, but creating engaging and appropriate content is still something that people do best. In the past, the creation of communications within an organization has been limited to just a few people with the right kind of training and motivation. This has been problematic because there are huge reserves of subject knowledge that are untapped. People may know their own subject area but feel uncomfortable with writing and publishing to a broad audience. One recent communication automation that I think will empower content authors within any organization is AI-powered inclusivity and sentiment analysis. These tools perform automated checks of written language and offer suggestions about language based on whether the wording might be non-inclusive and if the tone can be considered positive or negative. Over time, these features help authors to naturally write in more inclusive, positive ways and give them greater confidence to contribute."

Scott Hitchins, Interact

8. Leverage technology for employee wellness

"Employee burnout has been on the rise, and organizations are grappling with how to deal with the next 'pandemic of mental health' that is having a critical impact on company performance, revenue, and productivity.

The increasing focus on employee wellbeing has given HR teams a challenge and an opportunity to improve their employee wellness programs and invest in wellbeing technology solutions to create a substantial positive impact. Reimagining business processes by leveraging technology and automation can improve employee productivity and efficiency. Organizations can design new processes embedding technology into key moments-that-matter by automating stressful, burdensome tasks allowing employees to focus on more meaningful activities.

Leveraging technology for mental wellbeing not only generates substantial results, but a significant return on value (ROV) from improved productivity and a seamless employee experience."

Swechha Mohapatra,

Swechha Mohapatra quote

9. Highlight collaborative intelligence (fusion skills)

"To leverage technology and automation to keep people focused on the work that humans do, leaders must highlight the importance of collaborative intelligence and encourage employees' professional development with 'fusion skills' that allow people to work effectively at the human-machine interface. In the future, company functions will be redesigned around the preferred outcomes of reimagined operations, and companies will increasingly be organized around various types of skills rather than around strict job titles. People should learn how to delegate tasks to the new technology, just as doctors learned to trust technology by reading X-rays or MRIs. Employees must be able to teach intelligent agents new skills and train them to perform well within AI-enhanced processes, for example, knowing how to put questions to an AI agent in the most rewarding way. Lastly, employees must ensure companies' AI systems are used responsibly, i.e., do not violate legal or ethical boundaries."

Gosia Hytry, Spacelift

This was a guest post from Terkel. Terkel creates community-driven content featuring expert insights. Sign up at to answer questions and get published. Want to see your work on the Zapier blog? Read our guidelines, and get in touch.

]]> (Brett Farmiloe from Terkel) Thu, 21 Apr 2022 04:00:00 GMT
The 8 best journal apps of 2022 .css-rclntc-Outer{overflow:auto;}.css-rclntc-Outer > *{margin-bottom:20px;margin-top:20px;}.css-rclntc-Outer > H2{margin-top:60px;}.css-rclntc-Outer > H3{margin-top:40px;}.css-rclntc-Outer > [id]{-webkit-scroll-margin-top:20px;-moz-scroll-margin-top:20px;-ms-scroll-margin-top:20px;scroll-margin-top:20px;}@media (min-width:660px){.css-rclntc-Outer > [id]{-webkit-scroll-margin-top:100px;-moz-scroll-margin-top:100px;-ms-scroll-margin-top:100px;scroll-margin-top:100px;}}

Journaling can boost your productivity and well-being in a few minutes a day. Just jot your thoughts down or record what happened during the day—it's a simple way to manage stress, enhance creativity, increase happiness, improve health, and increase work performance.

Hate every journaling app?
Build your own

The trouble is, keeping a journal isn't easy. It takes dedication to this new habit and a willingness to open up when writing on a blank page. What have you done today? Who are you, really? Journaling apps can help you figure this out and help you establish a daily writing routine.

After testing nearly two dozen options, these are the top journaling apps to record your memories this year and in years to come. Click on any app to learn more about why we chose it, or keep reading for more context on journal apps.

The best journaling apps

If you don't want a completely new app, you can always use your current note-taking app as your journal. Or, do one better and build your own journal app without any code—just a quick automation.

What makes a great journal app?

How we evaluate and test apps

All of our best apps roundups are written by humans who've spent much of their careers using, testing, and writing about software. We spend dozens of hours researching and testing apps, using each app as it's intended to be used and evaluating it against the criteria we set for the category. We're never paid for placement in our articles from any app or for links to any site—we value the trust readers put in us to offer authentic evaluations of the categories and apps we review. For more details on our process, read the full rundown of how we select apps to feature on the Zapier blog.

A paper notebook and pen are fine for journaling, but apps offer more. They give you more context on what you've accomplished and where you might want to go. They also let you include photos from your phone or posts from your social media feeds to make the journaling experience more rewarding. Add in reminders and the ability to search your journal entries, and digital journaling is almost a no-brainer.

I've been testing and writing about software professionally for over a decade. I've also journaled every day for the past three years. It's an important ritual for me, personally, and it's also where a lot of the best ideas in my writing originate. In my experience, the best apps for keeping a journal have a few things in common:

  • Easy entry: If it takes more than a couple of clicks or taps to add a journal entry, chances are you're not going to do it.

  • Pleasant interface: A minimalist, uncluttered interface helps you focus on your thoughts and makes journaling a pleasant experience.

  • Reminders: Perhaps the biggest challenge to journaling is remembering to do it. Automatic reminders help you keep up the habit.

  • Exporting: In case the app stops being developed or you want to move to a different journaling platform, you'll want to be able to export your entries in a format other programs can read, such as PDF or RTF.

  • Syncing: Syncing will make sure your journal's up to date no matter what device you're using.

  • Affordability: We eliminated some apps because of the high price. Journaling shouldn't be expensive.

Other features for a digital journal that might be important to you include password protection, Markdown support, the ability to add more than one photo, location and weather tags, and journaling prompts.

For each diary app, I started by creating a handful of new entries, complete with images. I then spent some time exploring the settings, testing the daily reminders, and ensuring that syncing and exporting worked as described.

Best journal app for Mac and iOS users

Day One (Mac, iOS, watchOS, Android)

Day One, our pick for the best journal app for Mac and iOS users

Since its release in 2011, Day One has been one of the most highly recommended journaling apps, landing a spot as Apple's Editors Choice in the App Store numerous times.

It's not hard to see why. The app offers a wide array of features—just about everything you might want or need in a digital journal. You can create journal entries in one click on the Mac from the menu bar, use templates to make journaling easier, and automatically add metadata, such as location, weather, motion activity, currently-playing music, and step count. There are optional prompts, if you're not sure what to write about. You can also tag entries with hashtags, insert photos and videos, password-protect your journal, and format entries in Markdown. And all of this is within an elegant, unobtrusive design. It has one main blue color plus menus and icons in gray—no gaudy toolbars in sight.

Perhaps Day One's best feature is the ability to customize multiple reminders. Most other journal apps only send you one reminder during the day. But with Day One, you can get prompted to write, say, when you start the day, at lunchtime, and then at the end of your workday to keep track of your activities and thoughts throughout the day.

The free app offers pretty much all of the core journaling features, but for syncing, unlimited photos, handwritten and audio entries, and multiple journals, you'll need to subscribe to the Day One Premium service.

Day One pricing: Free version available; $2.92/month for premium features when billed annually

Best cross-platform journal app

Diarium (Windows, Android, macOS, iOS)

Diarium, our pick for the best cross-platform journal app

Diarium offers beautiful native apps for every platform. The Windows application, in particular, is nicer than any other I could find. But there's so much more to recommend here. You can add multiple media types to your journal entries. If you'd rather speak than type, you can dictate your thoughts with accurate speech recognition. You can attach an audio file, inked drawing, or any other type of file to your entries, as well as multiple photos. Heck, you can even rate your journal entries (perhaps most useful as a way to track how happy you are each day).

Diarium works without any sign-in, or you can sync using your choice of cloud apps—OneDrive, Google Drive, Dropbox, or WebDAV. You can also export your entries to DOCX, HTML, RTF, or TXT formats—with separate files for media attachments—so you can rest assured that your data will always be accessible. 

To make journaling even easier, Diarium can automatically pull in feeds from Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram; or fitness apps, including Google Fit, Fitbit, and Strava, among others. It can also pull in your calendar appointments and even the day's weather. Combine this with daily reminders and beautiful native apps for every platform, and you've got the best cross-platform journal app on the market.

Diarium pricing: Free version available on Android ($4.99 for Pro), iOS ($4.99 for Pro), and macOS ($8.99 for Pro). Windows 10 version for $19.99.

Best journal app for secure journaling

Penzu (Web, iOS, Android)

Penzu, our pick for the best journal app for secure journaling

Writing a journal entry in Penzu is much like writing a blog post in WordPress, with a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) interface, complete with a text formatting toolbar. So why not just use Word, WordPress, or a note-taking app like Evernote? For one thing, Penzu keeps your entries together in one journal online, as opposed to several different files. Custom email reminders help you remember to record your journal entry. And Penzu can send you reminders of what you've written in the past so that you can reminisce about the good old days.

More importantly, Penzu will keep your entries 100% private. You can lock your journal with a special password (which is different from your account password), secure your content with 128-bit encryption, and choose to auto-lock your journal at all times. If you're on the Pro plan, Penzu can safeguard your entries with military-strength 256-bit encryption.

If you want to keep a journal the same way you might a personal blog but keep it private, Penzu is an excellent option. You'll need to spring for the paid Pro plan, though, to get core digital journaling features such as tagging.

Penzu pricing: Free version available; paid version from $19.99/year for advanced encryption, reminders, and PDF export.

Best journal app for social media power users

Momento (iOS)

Momento, our pick for the best journal app for social media power users

If you're already documenting your life online on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Medium, you're already keeping a journal—it's just spread across the internet. Momento brings all of your shared posts and interactions from sites like these into one place, helping you keep a digital archive of your online interactions. Momento supports 11 feeds, including your Uber trip history, Spotify saved tracks, and YouTube videos. You can also create new journal entries like you would with a typical journaling app.

Momento excels at resurfacing where you've been and what you've done in the past. You can group separate entries (or "moments") into "events"—so all of the Instagram photos you were tagged in for a family reunion could live together. The app will show you what happened on a specific date in previous years, so you can see how time has flown. And preset reminders—for example, "what did you dream?" at 7:30 a.m. and "how was your day?" at 8 p.m.—make it easier to journal when you're not sure what to write.

Momento pricing: Free for up to 3 social feeds; $2.49/month for the Premium plan, $37.99/year for the Premium Gold plan, which offers unlimited feeds, hourly updates, and the ability to add multiple photos to an entry.

Best journal app for templated journaling

Grid Diary (macOS, Android, iOS)

Grid Diary, our pick for the best journal app for templated journaling

Grid Diary bills itself as "the simplest way to get started with keeping a diary." Instead of a blank slate, this diary app gives you a grid of boxes you can give custom headers to. The defaults are things like "Today's wins," "Heath and Fitness," and "Personal growth," though you can customize these to say whatever you want. 

This gives you a detailed and bird's-eye view of what's happening in your life, one day at a time. You can review entries using the built-in calendar, or you can use the Titles view to review all entries for a particular grid. There's also support for attachments, and syncing between multiple devices if you're using the paid version. Instead of wondering what you should write about each day, use Grid Diary to write down simple responses that help you reflect on your days. 

Grid Diary pricing: Free version available; paid version from $2.99/month for syncing, unlimited journals, and exporting to PDF.

Best journal app for beginners

Five Minute Journal (iOS, Android)

Five Minute Journal, our pick for the best journal app for beginners

If you're new to journaling, writing down your thoughts and feelings each day can feel daunting. It might also be challenging to find time to devote to it. Five Minute Journal makes journaling easy and approachable with timed prompts throughout the day. In the morning, the app asks you three questions designed to instill gratitude and set a purpose for your day. In the evening, two questions ask you to reflect on the positive things that happened and how you could improve for tomorrow.

Based on positive psychology research, Five Minute Journal helps support a gratitude habit and self-reflection, and if you pay for a subscription, you can also turn it into a free-form journal after the prompts—or add your own prompts.

Five Minute Journal pricing: Free version available; paid version for $4.99/month for customizable questions, home screen widgets, and the ability to add photos and videos to entries.

Best journal app for journaling over email 

Dabble Me (Web), our pick for the best journal app for journaling over email 

The main problem with journal apps: you have to remember to open them. Dabble Me doesn't have this problem because it works entirely over email. The paid version ($3/month) will email you once a day, reminding you it's time to journal—respond to that email, and you've journaled. The free version doesn't give you the daily prompts, but journaling is still as easy as writing an email—you can find a custom email address to send entries to in the settings.

You also can see the complete archive of your journals on the website, which also offers search, a calendar view, and even a page for reviewing and listening to any Spotify links you've included in your entires. There's also support for exporting your entries to TXT or JSON files, so you can take your entries with you should you decide to shut down your account. 

One way to journal is to pretend that you're writing letters to a friend. Dabble Me is great for this because it lives where you're already writing emails.

Dabble Me pricing: Pro starts at $3/month. 

Best journal app for non-writers

Daylio (iOS, Android)

Daylio, our pick for the best journal app for non-writers

Journaling has traditionally focused on longer-form writing, but not everyone has a way with words. If you prefer to communicate in visuals, Daylio is the best journaling app for you.

A journal entry in Daylio captures your mood and activities for each day. Best of all, there is absolutely no typing (unless you really want to add supplementary notes). Pick your mood by selecting one of five smiley face icons. You can also choose icons that represent what you did that day (for example, shopping, working, sports, gaming, and reading). Both the mood options and activities can be customized. While it only takes a few seconds to complete each entry, the details add up to form a well-rounded picture of what your day was like.

Daylio also includes standard journaling features, like reminders, exporting entries, and setting goals. As a bonus, it offers a detailed dashboard that aggregates a monthly mood chart, your mood and activity counts, and average daily mood. It can also surface patterns in the Often together section, showing you how you usually feel when you do certain activities (for example, when your mood is "good," you usually read and spend time with family).

Daylio doesn't offer a traditional journaling experience, but the free plan is an impressive way to track how you feel in only a few seconds each day.

Daylio pricing: Free version available; Premium starts at $2.99/month and offers additional icons, reminders, and color themes. 

This article was originally published in January 2019 by Melanie Pinola and has previously had contributions from Emily Esposito. It was most recently updated in April 2022.

]]> (Justin Pot) Wed, 20 Apr 2022 11:02:00 GMT
How a remote marketing team automated employee onboarding .css-rclntc-Outer{overflow:auto;}.css-rclntc-Outer > *{margin-bottom:20px;margin-top:20px;}.css-rclntc-Outer > H2{margin-top:60px;}.css-rclntc-Outer > H3{margin-top:40px;}.css-rclntc-Outer > [id]{-webkit-scroll-margin-top:20px;-moz-scroll-margin-top:20px;-ms-scroll-margin-top:20px;scroll-margin-top:20px;}@media (min-width:660px){.css-rclntc-Outer > [id]{-webkit-scroll-margin-top:100px;-moz-scroll-margin-top:100px;-ms-scroll-margin-top:100px;scroll-margin-top:100px;}}

In December 2019, right before the pandemic, I decided to take my marketing agency, South Street & Co., fully remote. I realized running our small office—like keeping us stocked in toilet paper and snacks—was taking up a lot of my time. And it was taking away from what I really wanted to do—marketing. 

My first concern was how am I going to onboard new team members if they're across the country or in another state? But with a little research, I found I could automate our onboarding process, so when someone joined the team, they automatically had everything they needed. 

The reality is the pandemic switched up how so many people worked. Many of us no longer have the luxury of sitting next to one another to walk through an entire onboarding process. And, in 2022, you don't need to do that anymore. 

With remote work thriving and more companies thinking about implementing it permanently, it's time to update how we onboard team members. It can take a little time to set up, but it will save you so much time once it's done. Here's how I automated our team member onboarding.

Create an onboarding agenda

The first step is to lay out a plan for onboarding your team member. 

I broke it up into five days: 

  • Day 1: Set up and company overview + quiz 

  • Day 2: Programs + quiz 

  • Day 3: Clients + quiz 

  • Day 4: Social media + quiz 

  • Day 5: SEO/ Blogging + quiz 

  • Final quiz

This is the process that anyone who onboards with the company—employee or contractor—goes through in the first week. If someone is part-time, I ask them to work at least 20 hours for the first two weeks to ensure they get through the process. 

Record instructional videos

Once you have a general layout of the items that your team needs to learn, start recording instructions. This is the part that took the most time. 

I went through our Slack channel to see what questions team members commonly asked and what tasks they'd need to learn how to do. I then recorded them on Zoom and uploaded the recordings to Google Drive, so they were all in one place. You can also use Loom or any other video recording software to make these videos. 

Learn how to automatically upload Zoom recordings to Google Drive.

After that, I added them under each category with the link to the video. Some examples of the videos that I recorded for each day are: 

Day 1: 

  • An overview of our company & brand

  • Employee handbook overview

  • How we communicate & programs we use to do it

  • Extensions & websites we use that you should download

Day 2: 

  • Asana overview

  • FileStage overview

  • How to record In Asana

  • Toggl overview 

Think about the basic tools and processes your team member will need to understand to get started. You can find articles explaining some of these things, but just make sure it's the same as the process that you use. You can also have your team members record their screens when they do some of these tasks to take the pressure off of you. 

Figure out what to automate

Now that you have an overview of how you do things and where to find things, it's time to figure out what parts you can do automatically. 

All Zaps start with a trigger event. Ours is when we add someone to our project management system—when we add a "New user" to Asana. Once that happens, 40+ other actions happen simultaneously in the same Zap. The Zap includes both tasks for the new team member and admin tasks for our team to help support their onboarding. 

A green toggle button to turn on a Zap with 40+ steps.

You may not have this many steps—or you may want to split them up into multiple Zaps. The important part is identifying which steps you can have Zapier do for you.

Here are some examples of what our Zap does:

For our staff

  • Add a six-month anniversary reminder to Asana for the team member

  • Add a one-year anniversary reminder to Asana for the team member 

  • Add a two-year anniversary reminder to Asana for the team member

  • Add the new team member to ADP for payroll 

  • Send a reminder to the operations manager to add the new team member to all of our programs 

  • Send a reminder to send a welcome note, water bottle, and t-shirt 

For the new team member

  • Send a reminder to the new team member to send in their I9 paperwork

  • Create a new folder in Google Drive with their first and last name

  • Create a KPI spreadsheet and add it to the Google Drive folder

  • Create a monthly meetings folder

  • Set up monthly meetings and intro calls with the team

  • Assign a task to the team member to share something to their personal LinkedIn page to help promote the company

And the list goes on! 

A view in the Zapier editor of a Zap titled Employee Training & Onboarding with multiple steps

I used to struggle to make sure everyone was added to our systems, had all of the info they needed, and had access to everything. Now it's automatically done for me. All I need to do is add someone to Asana, and the rest is taken care of. 

Keep it personal

Automatically onboarding a team member—especially remotely—may feel impersonal. But you can add personal touches throughout the onboarding process that make them feel connected.

For example, one step of our Zap has new team members fill out an intro survey that goes to Slack to introduce them to everyone on the team. This is one of my favorite parts of onboarding because it gets the whole team talking and finds common ground immediately.

A green toggle button to turn on a Zap called About Me > Slack Update to Team

The same Zap also creates a draft email that lets me send the new team member specifics about what to expect on their first day and what to do. I customize it for them, but the general idea is the same each time, so automating the draft cuts out some of my repetitive work. 

An email step of a Zap that shows draft copy for a welcome email.

I then add their onboarding document to Asana and assign them deadlines to finish it. This is where the videos and the daily breakdown come into play to ensure people are up-to-speed with your policies and how you do things. 

How you can start streamlining

Start asking yourself, what do I do over and over when onboarding someone? Make a list of those things, then record yourself doing them, and add it to one place. Then figure out which tasks you and your new team member need to do to get set up for their new role you can automate. 

Here are a few workflows to help you get started:

To get started with a Zap template—what we call our pre-made workflows—just click on the button, and we'll guide you through customizing it. It only takes a few minutes. You can read more about setting up Zaps here.

Not only have I streamlined our onboarding process, but I've covered myself when the how-do-I-do-this questions arise from the team. They can always go back to the onboarding document to refresh their memory. This has been such a time-saver for me, and it's set the tone for what's expected because it's all laid out. 

This was a guest post from Kaitlyn Study, Owner & Creative Director of South Street & Co., a digital marketing agency that drives business growth and brand awareness. When she's not working she's enjoying the Florida sunshine and spending time with friends and family. Want to see your work on the Zapier blog? Check out our guidelines and get in touch.

]]> (Kaitlyn Study) Wed, 20 Apr 2022 07:00:00 GMT
6 ways to automate ClickFunnels .css-rclntc-Outer{overflow:auto;}.css-rclntc-Outer > *{margin-bottom:20px;margin-top:20px;}.css-rclntc-Outer > H2{margin-top:60px;}.css-rclntc-Outer > H3{margin-top:40px;}.css-rclntc-Outer > [id]{-webkit-scroll-margin-top:20px;-moz-scroll-margin-top:20px;-ms-scroll-margin-top:20px;scroll-margin-top:20px;}@media (min-width:660px){.css-rclntc-Outer > [id]{-webkit-scroll-margin-top:100px;-moz-scroll-margin-top:100px;-ms-scroll-margin-top:100px;scroll-margin-top:100px;}}

These days, you don't need to know how to code to be a successful entrepreneur. Tools like ClickFunnels make it easier to build websites that streamline your marketing and sales funnels.

And creating successful sales funnels is key to turning leads into customers. But that's just the beginning. What about all the work that comes after you make a sale? From email follow-up to customer data entry, there are a lot of time-consuming tasks you still need to get done. Fortunately, when you pair ClickFunnels with Zapier, you can streamline your post-sales processes so you can provide the best customer experience from start to finish. 

Table of contents

Integrate ClickFunnels with almost any app using Zapier

Zapier helps streamline your work by automatically passing data between ClickFunnels and the other apps you use.

To get started automating ClickFunnels with Zapier, you'll need:

  • A ClickFunnels account

  • A Zapier account

  • An account for whatever app(s) you wish to integrate with ClickFunnels

Zapier works by combining triggers and actions. For example, when you get a new or updated ClickFunnels contact (your trigger), you can automatically add or update a new subscriber in your mailing list (your action). 

Don't sweat the technical details too much—Zapier will handle all the communication between the apps. All you have to do is connect your accounts and decide what info you want to share between them. Let's get started!

To get started with a Zap template—what we call our pre-made workflows—just click on the button, and we'll guide you through customizing it. It only takes a few minutes. You can read more about setting up Zaps here.

Send lead emails to the right lists

New leads can come from a bunch of different places like Facebook Ads or Calendly events. It's critical that you get the email addresses of those new leads into ClickFunnel lists so you can cultivate them into sales. But when you have leads coming in from multiple channels, they can get lost in the shuffle. 

Keep track of all new leads (and make sure they get the right experience) by automatically adding new lead emails to specific ClickFunnel lists. That way, no lead slips through the cracks. 

Create contact profiles for new leads

Keeping contact profiles up-to-date is critical if you want to make sure contacts are getting the right information at the right time. Unfortunately, manually adding or updating contact information is time-consuming—not to mention hard to keep track of. 

Fortunately, you can create a Zap that will automatically create or update a ClickFunnel profile whenever activity is recorded. You can also capture info from an intake form on your website, making it easy for you to keep your ClickFunnel profiles up-to-date—without adding tasks to your to-do list. 

Automatically organize emails with tags

When you're tracking lots of different customer emails, it can be difficult to remember the details. Sure, you can split them into different email lists, but sometimes it's necessary to have data (like email tags) available at a glance. With Zapier, you can automatically tag emails when they enter ClickFunnel—helping keep your data organized and easy to manage.

Tag emails from lead sources

Want to discover which lead generation channels are bringing in the most leads? Or maybe you just want better insight into your customer profiles. Either way, you can automatically tag emails based on where they came from. That way, you can measure the success of your marketing channels and bolster customer profiles at the same time. 

Tag undeliverable emails

Sometimes, emails bounce back. This can happen when an email address has a typo or when the user disables their email. Automatically tag these emails so you don't waste any additional time or resources trying to contact a customer without a viable inbox.

Keep track of activity and purchases

Logging your business activity gives you insight into how your business is functioning—which then allows you to invest in what's working and improve on areas that need improving. But manually entering data into your tracking tool can be cumbersome, especially when you have other things on your to-do list. Fortunately, you can use Zapier to create automatic workflows that immediately send customer data to whatever tool you use to track contacts or purchases. 

Logging new contacts

There are tons of reasons to log new contacts in a place outside of ClickFunnels—such as having a backup of contact data or alerting coworkers who don't use ClickFunnels personally. Keep track of ClickFunnel activity by adding a new row to a Google Sheet or posting a message to a specific Slack channel every time a new contact is added to ClickFunnels. Now, the right people can easily see the contact info they need when they need it.

Logging successful purchases

When a customer successfully completes a purchase, that's something to celebrate! Plus, keeping track of purchases is a great way to gather data for further analysis, like determining what makes your repeat customers come back. Use automation to log successful customer purchases in Google Sheets, a particular Slack channel, or wherever else you want. That way, you don't have to go back later and enter data—instead it's all logged in real-time. 

Follow up quickly with leads

One of the most important parts of the sales process is maintaining customized outreach with leads. When you don't follow up with leads in a timely manner, the chance to convert them into a sale dwindles. But quick follow-up, well, that's easier said than done. 

Fortunately, you can create a Zap that automatically follows up with your leads once they make a purchase—or on any other specific contact activity. Plus, you can follow up in the way that makes the most sense for your customers, from email to SMS. With automation, you can build the best possible experience for your customers, from first email to repeat sale.

Connect ClickFunnels with your CRM

CRMs are great for keeping all customer data in one, easy-to-find place. If you're using ClickFunnels for any step of the sales pipeline, you'll still need to sync that customer data with your CRM. Use Zapier to automatically update your CRM whenever you get a new ClickFunnels contact—making it easy to keep customer data accurate across all your platforms.

Automate your post-sales processes

Using ClickFunnels is a great way to create a website, connect with customers, and make sales. With Zapier, you can take that one step further by automating the whole customer experience. No more manually adding new customers to email lists, logging purchases, or updating your contacts in your CRM. Instead, let Zapier do all the heavy lifting for you so you can focus on what truly matters: your product and customers.

]]> (Kaylee Moser) Wed, 20 Apr 2022 07:00:00 GMT
Google Calendar shut down SMS notifications. Here's how to keep getting them. .css-rclntc-Outer{overflow:auto;}.css-rclntc-Outer > *{margin-bottom:20px;margin-top:20px;}.css-rclntc-Outer > H2{margin-top:60px;}.css-rclntc-Outer > H3{margin-top:40px;}.css-rclntc-Outer > [id]{-webkit-scroll-margin-top:20px;-moz-scroll-margin-top:20px;-ms-scroll-margin-top:20px;scroll-margin-top:20px;}@media (min-width:660px){.css-rclntc-Outer > [id]{-webkit-scroll-margin-top:100px;-moz-scroll-margin-top:100px;-ms-scroll-margin-top:100px;scroll-margin-top:100px;}}

Google shut down SMS notifications for Google Calendar events in 2019, encouraging users to use in-app notifications instead. This makes sense for most users—the Google Calendar app is ubiquitous—but there are still a few cases where SMS notifications come in handy, such as users without access to a reliable internet connection.

Bring context to your calendar by connecting other apps
Learn how

Zapier can help if you want to keep the SMS notifications flowing. We offer simple automations called Zaps that can move information between your favorite apps—including sending you an SMS message when a Google Calendar event is about to begin.

Let's dive into setting everything up.

Note that as of right now we only support sending SMS messages to phone numbers in the U.S. and U.K.

Get SMS alerts for approaching events

Zapier lets you create automated workflows called Zaps, which send your information from one app to another. You can create your own Zap from scratch without any coding knowledge, but we also offer quick templates to get you started. 

If you'd like to start with a template, click the button below, and you'll be taken to the Zapier editor. You'll need to create a Zapier account if you don't already have one. Then, follow the directions below to set up your Zap.

Set up your Google Calendar trigger

We'll start at the beginning (which, as I understand, is a very good place to start). We need to set up our trigger—the event that starts our Zap. Select Google Calendar as the trigger app and Event Start as our trigger event. This will be the source of our notifications. If you're using the Zap template above, this will already be selected for you.

Google Calendar selected as the trigger app and "Event Start" selected under Trigger Event.

Next, you'll be asked to sign in to your Google Calendar account or to choose from any accounts you've already signed into. Click Continue once you've signed in and connected or chosen an account.

For each app you connect, Zapier will ask for a general set of permissions which allows you to be flexible with your Zaps. The only actions Zapier takes on your app accounts are those a given Zap needs to accomplish what you've set up.

Customize your Zap by choosing a calendar and when texts are sent

Now we can choose which calendar we want to see events from and decide how many minutes before an event the text should be sent.

Choose and configure your Google Calendar

Zapier scans Google Calendar every five to 15 minutes (depending on your plan), so we recommend setting this to 15-25 minutes ahead of time if you want at least a 10-minute SMS warning of your upcoming calendar event.

Note that you can also set a search term to filter your calendar. This is useful if you only want notifications for particular events, such as events on your calendar that include words like "meeting" or "important!".

Click the Continue button when you're ready. You'll be shown some sample data; check it out, then click the Continue button again.

Set up your SMS by Zapier action

Now let's set up the action—the event your Zap will perform once it's triggered. Select SMS by Zapier as your action app and Send SMS as your action event.


If you've set up SMS by Zapier before, you can reuse that account, but don't worry if you haven't, it's simple. You’ll need to enter your phone number, then request a PIN. Enter this PIN to prove you own the number in question.

Setting up SMS by Zapier

Once that's done, pick your account and click Continue.

Customize your SMS message

Now you can customize your SMS alert. The default tells you that your event is starting soon.

Customize your message

As you can see, I've got a busy afternoon ahead of me.

You can edit this text to say whatever you want. You can also insert a Field to pull other information from your Google Calendar event, such as the start time. Click inside any empty field and you’ll see a variety of information pulled from your calendar event.

Play around until your text looks just right, then click Continue. Click Test & Continue and your phone should get a text message.

Test SMS

It's working!

Text notification!

Turn your Zap on

Now that everything is set up, it's time to turn on your Zap. Give it a name and optionally save it to a folder on Zapier.

You will now get SMS notifications for every event on your Google Calendar. Enjoy!

This article was originally published in October 2019. It was previously updated by Krystina Martinez and most recently by Elena Alston in April 2022.

]]> (Justin Pot) Wed, 20 Apr 2022 05:00:00 GMT