How many times do you find yourself in the middle of the work day, with a dozen tabs open bouncing from your email, CRM, spreadsheet, social accounts, and few other mission critical tools you’re using as part of your marketing or management stack?
Or how many times have you caught yourself thinking (or saying to a college), “I just wish when this happened in [insert software name], then this other thing would happen in [insert other software name]”?
That’s the plight of the modern connected worker. Too many tools for too many specific tasks, and no way to get them to talk to each other.
But imagine if they could talk to each other: how cool would that be? Imagine being able to create Trello cards from new starred Gmail emails, or to automatically add attachments to your Dropbox, or being able to send a notification to your team in Slack when someone tweets about your brand? You could eliminate a large chunk of the tab surfing you do every day and stop serving as the humanoid secretary to the applications that are supposed to serve you.
Well, thanks to a little tool called Zapier, creating those connections between tools is not only possible, but also pretty easy to implement.
Zapier is growing more and more popular by the day, and it’s likely you’ll soon keep on hearing about it. And when you do, you should listen closely because Zapier is a powerful tool that business owners, marketers, and many others can utilize in ways that could change the way we all work forever.
At its core, Zapier is a trigger service. What Zapier does is make connections and send information from one system to another using automated actions, called “zaps”. A zap is initiated by a “trigger”. This trigger could be anything from a social media comment, to a new email, or even a new line being entered into a Google Doc.
The tools that we use every day, like social media apps, marketing automation software, file storage, and productivity tools, were all made by people whose core focus was on their own product. That’s to say, that when the people at Slack were developing their product, they probably weren’t thinking that much about how to connect it to HubSpot and then to QuickBooks. But that’s just what the good people at Zapier were thinking about, these types of connections and thousands more, and how enabling them could make people’s lives easier.
While APIs and app integrations are not necessarily new, Zapier makes it possible and actually easy for anyone to implement them without needing to tap up a software engineer to “hack” the solution together.
Another beauty of Zapier is that it’s scalable and versatile: professionals in diverse fields, such as marketing, communication, accounting, and sales, can all use it to integrate their existing apps. At the time of writing, Zapier is already capable of integrating over 2,000 apps with its customizable workflows. If a program has an API, then you should be able to use triggers and action sequences to link up via Zapier.
Traditionally, human labor (copy and paste) has been the only way to bridge the seams between two tools that can’t naturally share data. This means millions of hours of valuable time is wasted every year just moving information around from one browser tab or desktop app to another by brute force. Imagine how much time could be saved if all of these tools that we use could just integrate with each other in seamless and meaningful ways and pass that information back and for us.
While there are dozens of useful integration options out there, their scope is limited. The absence of a one-stop solution means that, until now, workers have had to use several tools to just do the integration between the dozens of other tools they were already using – way to many moving parts.
On the surface, Zapier is a neat tool that helps people make the aforementioned connections between tools in simple ways with lots of options and flexibility. However, if you dig deeper into what these connections mean for your business and productivity, you’ll see that Zapier can actual serve as the central nervous custom systems that can completely change the way you work.
Yes, It’s automation, but it’s also app communication in ways that no one had imagined before. With Zapier, it’s possible to integrate apps that no one had thought to use together before and to create entirely new functions. Disparate resources as different as HubSpot, QuickBooks, Trello, Gmail, or Privy can now use Zapier to bolt onto on another and create an infante number of robust aggregate solutions.
Zapier paves the way for unique, customized solutions. Now, any marketer or manager becomes the engineer for their own automated business systems with Zapier giving them the capability to seamlessly stitch together all the tools they are currently using into one central system.
And that’s why everyone should be excited about Zapier
Before Zapier, you’d have to spend hours writing a custom app and script if you wanted a specific action automated. Or, have to scour all ends of the internet for someone janky tool that some college kid built that may or may not do the trick. Or even worse, maybe you wouldn’t automate it and would just task someone with doing it it manually. Now with Zapier, it only takes a couple of minutes to set up to enjoy such functionality, which goes a long way to improving operational efficiency and standardization. Also, instead of crafting an app for one specific purpose, you can access millions of potential trigger relationships between thousands of different apps.
Learning anything new can be intimidating and invite procrastination. One of the most important perks of Zapier though is just how effortless it is to use. Adopters consistently praise it for the fact that it’s intuitive to use and easy to learn, which shortens the learning curve and accentuates the time and productivity savings.
If you’d like to see a list of some specific things you can do with Zapier, you can find that here [insert link]
But that’s not what this article is really about; this is about getting you excited about the idea of Zapier. And instead of showing you what other companies are using it for, you can easily formulate your own specific use-cases that will best serve your team and your business.
You could use Zapier to completely replace an existing system or workflow, or to create a whole new one altogether. The thing with Zapier that is getting marketers, developers, and managers the most excited is that it allows you to construct the ideal system or automatic work flow that works best for you, using the existing apps that you already use to help run your business. Lots of business leaders today buy in to the philosophy that “every company needs to be a technology company to compete in the modern economy,” and the biggest advocates of this mantra believe that we all should be building our own technology to run our specific business. And while there is a lot of truth to that, with something like Zapier, we have another option that allows you to piece together the individual tools you already use to create “your own” business central operating system.
It’s true the current build of Zapier is still not perfect yet. There’s still some limitations to what Zapier can do just now. While Zapier can, in theory, connect thousands of apps, what you can do with those connections is relativity limited to imaginable possibilities. For instance, recently we tried to create a zap to let us know when someone submitted their email details to watch one of our videos hosted on Vimeo, and we found that was not possible with the current integrations, so we still have some work to do.
But the possibilities of what types of zaps you can create will continue to increase exponentially, and many of today’s limitations will soon be overcome. It also seems likely that developers will continue to open up their platforms to Zapier. Zapier can save them time and make their product more valuable. Given the scale of integration that Zapier enables and the vast potential of the program, declining to do so would leave any app at a competitive disadvantage. So a lot more product teams moving forward will be conscious of how and why their apps should work with Zapier, which will lead to a lot more open connectivity and flexibility, and in turn more and more possibilities for “zaps.”
Getting Started with Zapier
Zapier isn’t perfect, but the idea of Zapier and its potential are very exciting. Any marketer, developer, or manager should be taking a long look at Zapier and starting to think about how it could help piece together the individual tools they’re using every day into a seamless system or workflow.
Considering the wide landscape of tools that you and other professionals use, it’s easy to see the value of Zapier’s smooth, efficient automation and the way it makes customized solutions accessible.
Setting up zaps is simple, to such an extent that won’t truly resonate with you until you’ve tried it yourself. Jumping in and trying it out is the best way you can experience Zapier, and the free version is well worth your time to check it out. It’s a remarkably smart program that does most of the work for you. Also, the website hosts a rich set of learning resources to help get you started.
We all know automation is growing increasingly necessary to stay competitive in the modern world. While Zapier isn’t perfect, it may be the best way to introduce automation to your workflow. It would certainly be worth your while to check out Zapier and to keep an eye on it and any programs it inspires.