A blog about productivity, workflow best practices, company building and how to get things done with less work.

 

Archives for July 2012

This morning we are super excited to announce the launch of the Zapier developer platform. Service providers already building on the platform include HubSpot, Podio and 12 others (see below).

The Zapier developer platform lets users and vendors easily add their own apps to Zapier instead of waiting on us to build them out. App developers can instantly hook into the 60+ apps we already support plus any new ones added by building one integration rather than building out all those integrations themselves.

This saves app developers weeks to months in developer time building integrations and lets an app developer spend more time focusing on their own apps.

Learn How to Add Your App to Zapier

## Developer Platform Launch Partners
Obviously a developer platform isn't a platform if there aren't any developers. So we want to give a special thanks and point out some of the cool things that developers and vendors have already been doing with Zapier. These vendors have helped us debug and iterate our developer platform while it was in private-testing.
### Hubspot [HubSpot][hs] offers an all-in-one marketing software platform for small and medium sized businesses. > "HubSpot is an easy, integrated and powerful marketing software platform with tools for lead management, lead nurturing, email marketing, landing pages, marketing analytics, and more. Zapier makes it possible for our customers to integrate with dozens of other services, opening up exciting new possibilities around lead management and content creation." - Jeffrey Russo at HubSpot HubSpot supports triggers for new contacts, leads, blog articles and actions for new contacts and blog articles. [View on Zapier][hsz]
### Podio [Podio][p], now part of Citrix, is a collaborative work platform with a new take on how everyday-work gets done. > "Businesses often use Podio's collaborative work platform together with dozens of other web applications to get work done. Now, Zapier allows individuals to decide how they want information to flow between these different systems, finally enabling everyone to work the way that they want to work." - Jon Froda, Podio co-founder Podio supports actions for new tasks and notifications. [View on Zapier][pz]
### Instant Customer [Instant Customer][ic] offers a completely integrated multi-channel lead capture, follow up, sales and marketing system. Instant Customer supports triggers for new subscribers and actions for creating subscribers. [View on Zapier][icz]
### ActiveCampaign [ActiveCampaign][ac] combines all aspects of email marketing into a single & easy to use platform. > "ActiveCampaign + Zapier allows you to establish your own integrations with other products you use and love without writing a single line of code." says Matt Thommes of ActiveCampaign ActiveCampaign supports triggers for new subscribers and actions for creating subscribers. [View on Zapier][acz]
### AgileZen [AgileZen][az] is a simple, visual, and collaborative way to manage your projects. Whether you're on a team or flying solo, AgileZen helps you stay organized and always know at a glance the tasks at hand. > "AgileZen is project management software that helps you collaborate with your team and organize your work visually. Our integration with Zapier lets you work with stories, comments, and tasks through a variety of triggers and actions. This lets you integrate AgileZen easily with other applications, so you can work more efficiently." says Jayme Davis of Agile Zen. AgileZen supports triggers for new story cards, projects and actions for story cards, comments, and tasks. [View on Zapier][azz]
### Sign-Up.to [Sign-up.to][sut] offers social, mobile & email marketing in the cloud. Add Subscribers from other apps. > "This integration is a big leap forward in simplifying [our customers] data capture methods, simply set and forget. Your Zaps will run in the background keeping your marketing database in Sign-Up.to up-to-date and ready to go." says Brenden Rawson of Sign-Up.to, Sign-up.to supports actions for adding new subscribers. [View on Zapier][sutz]
### EmailDirect [EmailDirect][ed] is an email marketing tool for medium sized businesses. Coupled with traditional email marketing features, Purchase Behavior Targeting, Workflows, Advanced Filtering and Segmentation makes EmailDirect a great tool for any business. EmailDirect supports triggers for new publications and subscribers and actions for new subscribers. [View on Zapier][edz]
### Ronin [Ronin][r] is online invoicing and time tracking for small businesses and freelancers. Ronin helps you get paid quicker and painlessly helps you manage your staff and projects. > "[With Zapier], You'll never have to go through the hassle of manually syncing clients from another app by CSV ever again." says Lu Wang of Ronin. Ronin supports triggers for new invoices and clients and actions for new clients and expenses. [View on Zapier][rz]
### Totango [Totango][tt] analyzes in real time customer engagement and intention within SaaS applications to help you grow your business. > "Using the Totango Zapier integration, online businesses can more easily integrate realtime user and usage insights into customer facing business processes. User intelligence alone is not enough. You need to act on it. Open APIs such as provided by Totango and Zapier make this possible in realtime", said Guy Nirpaz, co-founder and CEO of Totango. Totango supports triggers for new lists. [View on Zapier][ttz]
### OnePage CRM [OnePage][op] is simple CRM software that produces amazing results. It combines a proven sales methodology with the elements of CRM to greatly increase sales. > "The cloud has enabled SMEs to choose their business apps "a la carte". As such, Zapier ensures any new contacts created in other business apps appear in OnePage. Sweet." via Gosia Jasiewicz of OnePage CRM. OnePage CRM supports actions for new contacts. [View on Zapier][opz]
### Findmyshift [Findmyshift][fms] lets you create and share staff schedules from anywhere, any time in any web browser. It gives your employees 24/7 access to their upcoming shifts and can keep staff up to date with built-in text alerts. > "Zapier's "integrate once, link to many" model provides an ever expanding set of features to our core system, without the ongoing maintenance; our customers directly benefit from a range of features added by third party apps, whilst we get to focus our efforts on enhancing our own services." says Mark Feldman of Findmyshift Findmyshift supports triggers for twenty different events and was the first to implement webhook functionality. Major props to them. [View on Zapier][fmsz]
### Sazneo [Sazneo][s] brings together elements of instant messaging, group chat and online communities into an enterprise group messaging application for your business. > "The partnership with Zapier will enable Sazneo users to rapidly integrate with a wider choice of platforms with no coding. This brings notifications and information from other platforms and services right into your Sazneo conversations, enabling immediate real-time team discussion and problem resolution." via Sazneo CEO Brett Davis. Sazneo supports actions for posting messages to your group chat rooms. [View on Zapier][sz]
### TriggerApp [TriggerApp][ta] is cloud software for project management, collaboration, and time tracking. > "Allowing our customers to choose exactly how TriggerApp interrelates with the rest of their online toolset means everyone gets a custom fit. Integrating with Zapier was an easy decision." says Dan Sowter of TriggerApp. TriggerApp supports triggers and actions for new tasks, companies and projects. [View on Zapier][taz]
### Catchwind [Catchwind][cw] lets you send SMS messages through a shared short code. Use List Send to burst up to 40 msg/sec. Use Single Send to send direct messages to deliver direct to mobile phones. > "Text messaging is the most widely used form of communication on mobile phones and the best way to deliver your message. Catchwind is carrier-grade technology, which means messages are delivered quickly and reliably." via Joe Vande Kieft of Catchwind. Catchwind supports actions for both broadcast sms and direct sms. [View on Zapier][cwz]

Learn How to Add your App to Zapier

About the Author

Wade Foster is a Co-founder and CEO at Zapier. He likes to write about process, productivity, startups and how to do awesome work.

If you are a developer and your name isn't Patrick McKenzie, odds are marketing isn't your cup of tea.

Most developers I talk to feel like SEO is scammy, social media is snake oil, and generating targetted traffic that will actually convert and pay to use a web app is down right impossible.

For any software business or startup trying to promote their software/app/widget/etc this can be quite disheartening.

So what's a developer to do?

Utilize other companies marketing expertise and user base

An interesting thing we discovered early on when building Zapier is that lots of companies have products that do one thing great, but could use some help in other areas. If your product can help that company do other things great and in turn help their customers be more awesome, then said company has a vested interest in promoting you.

Usually that means blog posts, announcements on email newsletters, mentions on twitter, and generally all that marketing voodoo that developers aren't nearly as good at when compared to writing code and making useful products.

So the easy thing to do is pick out a company that likes to promote other services and aligns closely with the product you are building and make something that would be both useful to your customers and their customers.

Just how well does this work?

Typically an integration won't send you nearly as much traffic as a front page Hacker News link, but the traffic tends to be much higher quality since the visitor is already using a product that now plays well with your product. In fact, bounce rates from integration links tend to be half of what you see from Twitter, Facebook, Hacker News and the sort and time on site is way higher.

Below is an actually screenshot of our site referrers and you can see the ones labeled integration perform much higher for those two key stats which are generally signs of better traffic.

Bounce Rates

Other people have found this strategy works well too.

Ruben Gamez mentioned his integration with Highrise as one of the top things he did to increase revenue for BidSketch and in this podcast from minutes 28 to 32 Rob Walling talks about how well integration marketing has worked with his products.

How to get another companies attention

Keep in mind this isn't a magic strategy either. Sometimes getting a marketing or biz dev persons attention can be pretty tricky. Promoting 3rd party apps doesn't always get a lot of attention and tips@company_name.com isn't the most frequently checked email address.

Instead try getting a developers attention. Ask them a question about their API. Propose a new endpoint. Get a conversation going.

Then by the time your integration is good and ready you can simply ask the developer if they'd be willing to put you in touch with someone in charge of promoting 3rd party apps and usually they give you a nice warm juicy intro.

Good places to start

Some places that are great to do integrations with are MailChimp or Google Marketplace.

If you are interested in testing the integration waters with Zapier we'd be thrilled to have you as an integration partner. Fill out this quick form and we'll make sure to get in touch with you quickly about how to get started with an integration.

Final Note: We haven't had much luck with integration funds. Instead building something the end users want has helped us out the most. If anyone has had better luck with integration funds and found that a viable strategy leave a note in the comments.

About the Author

Wade Foster is a Co-founder and CEO at Zapier. He likes to write about process, productivity, startups and how to do awesome work.

Building a product from scratch that will support you, a co-founder and your collective families is hard. Really hard.

One of the most comprehensive guides I have seen for doing this is the Thoughtbot Playbook which covers building and growing a product from start to finish.

But after reading a playbook like that you can easily be overwhelmed. After all the playbook has 60+ steps and each step is quite easy to simply not do at all.

So the instinct is to pick and choose articles you see on HN and imitate the darling tech companies we know. Eventually ours brains are stuffed with things like:

  1. If our stack is as good as Instagram's we'll be able to handle scale.
  2. If we can build product as efficiently as UserVoice we can eliminate waste.
  3. If we can manage and encourage growth like Facebook we'll be unstoppable.

All good things. But if you're a two or three man startup with zero customers none of this matters.

So how do you get to a point where these things matter?

Do things that don't scale

This advice has been beaten like a dead horse, but I still see startups every day trying to over optimize their startup in the beginning for scenarios that may or may not ever exist.

[Sidenote: Are we really sure that the process we are trying to optimize can't scale? Zappos managed to scale personalized customer service which I never would have thought to be possible. So maybe some things that feel like they can't be scaled actually can?]

Instead do things that help you learn more about your market. Learn about your customers. Learn about how your business might actually work.

  1. Email your first 1000 customers
  2. Cold call businesses to find early adopters
  3. Know what is core to your business and what isn't

Why we sent 25,000 messages to users and what happened as a result.

At Zapier we had a guess based on building our own web apps and conversations with a few people who used multiple SaaS apps that integrations might be a pain point. Past that we didn't know much.

It would have been easy to build our version of the ultimate integrations machine. But from the very beginning we insisted customers be a part of the conversation.

So we added Olark to our site and we started chatting with users who somehow stumbled across our site. We had one conversation, then ten conversations, then a hundred conversations and we started realizing that our version of the ultimate integration machine isn't what was needed.

The conversations were so valuable that we ended up sending over 25,000 messages to users before we launched while trying to get feedback by iterating on problems and features, and taking conversations to Skype where we could hand build integrations for first time users.

Our vision of the ultimate integrations machine turned into a simple way for businesses to create an integration between 48+ web apps and automate their businesses.

We might have eventually figured it out ourselves, but thousands of conversations with users made it way easier.

So for us doing things that seem to not scale was the most efficient way to build our product. Maybe it will be for you too.

About the Author

Wade Foster is a Co-founder and CEO at Zapier. He likes to write about process, productivity, startups and how to do awesome work.

When building software at a startup speed is the name of the game. And with Pivotal Tracker building better software, faster is their motto.

Sometimes getting data into and out of Pivotal Tracker though can be sluggish. So here's some of our favorite Zaps for supercharging productivity with Pivotal Tracker.

Time Tracking with Toggl

Pivotal Tracker Toggl

The last thing you want is to spend extra time tracking time. With Pivotal Tracker Toggl integration you can sync your Pivotal Tracker stories automatically to Toggl and use Toggl to keep track of time as you build new features and squish bugs.

Creating Stories from Other Apps

Basecamp Pivotal Tracker

It's pretty common for the business team to operate outside of Pivotal Tracker. As a results lots of tasks and todo items get created in other apps for the development team to follow up on.

Zapier makes it really easy to automatically send Basecamp todo items, Trello cards, Asana tasks and more into Pivotal Tracker so development can stay right on track.

A Lightweight Bug Tracker

Wufoo Pivotal Tracker

If you don't have a heavy support load it can seem like overkill to setup something like Zendesk or Desk.com to do support. Instead try using a simple Wufoo form.

Wufoo is a great form building tool. You can easily create a short bug report form and then use Zapier to send those Wufoo form entries to Pivotal Tracker so that you can keep track of all your customer requests.

Stay on the Same Page

Pivotal Tracker HipChat

The last thing you need when building software is to spend hours going down the wrong track. For that reason, it's popular to sync new Pivotal Tracker events to HipChat or Campfire.

With these integrations you can create a company feed to Pivotal Tracker activity all inside a chat room so that you can quickly discuss issues as they come in.

Getting Creative

Of course there's lots of other tips and tricks to supercharging Pivotal Tracker. Check out the Zapbook to see what others are doing or share in the comments your favorite Pivotal Tracker integrations.

About the Author

Wade Foster is a Co-founder and CEO at Zapier. He likes to write about process, productivity, startups and how to do awesome work.

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