As a growth marketing consultant for startups, I need to be a seamless part of the team, which means integrating myself into their workflows. But it's increasingly difficult to do that well. There's no one system that ties everything together neatly. I may be working out of 10 email accounts, checking dashboards for different clients, and working with teams all over the world.
That's why I spend time creating automated workflows for every project to cut out the drudgery.
Workflow automation connects business processes from different people and systems. By creating a series of automated actions for each process, businesses improve efficiency and save significant time by seamlessly connecting systems, people, and content from different data sources.
Workflow automation also eliminates errors and ensures consistency. Manual processes are prone to human errors. Automated processes help your team work smarter, faster, and be more connected.
Automation can also save you money. If you can save yourself 5-10 hours per week by automating administrative tasks, you've freed up that amount of billable time. If your rate is $100 an hour, that could mean an extra $500 to $1,000 in revenue. Apply this across your company and you can save even more—automating repetitive tasks gives everyone on your team the ability to focus on more important tasks that drive your business forward.
How to automate workflows with Zapier
Most people know that switching between business and productivity apps slows them down. Zapier optimizes workflows by connecting different apps—through workflows called Zaps—which integrate two or more different systems. Even without any coding experience, it's easy to set up Zaps: Just choose a trigger, define one or more actions, and the automation is ready.
Let's take a look at some of the Zapier workflows I use to automate time-consuming tasks.
Integrate CRM software with project management tools
I use HubSpot as my CRM and Asana to manage projects, and Zapier to create a connection between the two. Our leads are tracked in HubSpot, but we manage projects in Asana.
If you have the premium paid version of HubSpot you can use a direct integration to connect them, but if you don't have access to that, Zapier can help.
First, connect a free HubSpot account to Asana in Zapier. Then, create a specific task in Asana based on a certain action from HubSpot. For example, when someone creates a new form submission through Hubspot, you can create a corresponding task in Asana. It saves money and is very customizable with different tasks and triggers.
By creating a connection between the CRM and a project management tool like Asana, my clients have had fewer potential leads fall through the cracks. Other ways you can connect HubSpot and Asana include:
One of my favorite integrations is SEO monitoring in SEMRush. I love integrating the SEMRush site health tracker into Basecamp using Zapier. This way, I can quickly create tasks to fix website issues as soon as they pop up. If you're tracking an SEO client in SEMRush using their project feature and see a site health issue like a broken internal link, image, or indexing issue, there's an easy shortcut to fix it.
Click the issue in SEMRush, assign it to Zapier and add a message for your development team like "Please help with this task." It will automatically send the task over with all the information and transfer it to the person you choose in Basecamp.
Here's a version of our SEMRush Zap that you can set up for yourself.
This saves a ton of time because it immediately assigns the issue to the correct person and you don't have to worry about writing down information or sending an email. This saves 2-3 hours per week across several projects.
Track hours automatically
Did I mention that I work with teams and freelancers from all over the world? It's a pain keeping track of everyone's hours and getting an accurate log for billing clients. Combining them into an easy-to-use Google Sheet saves time and makes hour tracking more organized.
When freelancers, agencies, and partners work together on projects, they eventually need to come together to bill the client. For my past projects, I've found it's easiest to use time tracking in Toggl, which automatically logs entries to a Google Sheet using a handy Zap. Other partners can sync their time trackers to the same spreadsheet, which puts everything in one place. This makes billing a client easier and less time-consuming.
See more ways you can add automation to your time-tracking systems.
Track marketing campaign info in your CRM
Viral Loops is a great referral marketing tool that gets more people to subscribe for a pre-order, sign-up for a pre-launch or giveaway campaign. It's important to capture those leads in your CRM as quickly as possible so you're quickly engaging with new clients or prospects. Despite being one of the best referral platforms, they don't have many direct CRM integrations out of the box. That's where Zapier comes in handy.
Zapier makes it super easy to connect the two apps with their integration Viral Loops to Zoho CRM integration. I've used this for Viral Loops, and it's been amazing integrating it with Zoho CRM. Once it's automated, it decreases the chances of export errors and improves your visibility into how the campaign is performing.
You can set up a version of this for yourself, using our Zap as a starting point.
In this case, Zapier is checking the CRM to see if there are any duplicates before adding contacts to the CRM. Now, we have all of these new participants directly in our customer database.
Automate social media posts
Ever since Facebook discontinued the integration with Twitter, automating social media posts has been a headache. The old link for the integration is still being shared on many sites that offer to help you integrate the two social media platforms.
The integration was quite simple: You post on Facebook and it automatically tweets your post. A lot of businesses and Facebook group managers utilized this feature to help automate their workflow.
Since Facebook's integration no longer works, you can create a Zap that connects Facebook Pages to Twitter. You can set the workflow to when you create a new post a tweet is automatically created, and the process is done automatically. This allows you to repurpose content across different social channels without having to manually post multiple times. Zapier also lets you connect Facebook Pages to LinkedIn or Instagram for Business for seamless cross-posting.
Whether you're a business owner, freelancer, or bootstrapping startup, Zapier can help you simplify processes and cut down on busywork. Zapier provides tons of integrations that make automating workflows customizable and affordable. Whether you want to connect Hubspot to Mailchimp to better keep track of unsubscribers, connect a viral marketing campaign to your CRM, or have a team's hour tracking in one place, Zapier has you covered.
With hundreds of integrations, you can connect all your automated workflows in Zapier and work more efficiently. Thanks to Zapier, I save hundreds of hours in a month's time by automating tasks that would otherwise need to be done manually. I also don't have to worry about mistakes or inconsistencies because of my workflow automation system.
At the end of the day, your time is finite. By automating these types of tasks with workflow automation, you'll focus on high-value projects that improve the likelihood of your success.
This was a guest post from David Bell, owner of Diving Bell Creative, a growth marketing agency for startups and enterprise clients. Want to see your work on the Zapier blog? Check out our guidelines and get in touch.