Getting your online business in front of your customers' eyeballs is important and has an incredible impact on your success. Outreach, marketing, and search optimization all play a role—and it doesn't take long before you realize you're looking at a substantial workload on top of everything else you're doing to run your business.
I learned this for myself when I started my site, Coffee In My Veins. I automated parts of the process to free up time for more worthwhile endeavors, which helped me grow traffic to tens of thousands of visits per month.
One of the most time consuming processes I encountered was collecting emails for outreach and then actually sending the emails.
When done manually, this meant maxing out the number of tabs Google Chrome could handle, and visiting each tab, finding an email address, opening a Google sheet, copy/pasting the email, and going to the next tab.
Not only did this take a lot of time, it was incredibly boring and repetitive. Since I was just starting out, I did not have the budget to pay an hourly wage to a virtual assistant.
Sending the emails was another massive time investment. If you have hundreds of emails to send, you need to be able to automate the process. Copying and pasting won't work here!
Here's how I reworked my process to help me gain traffic without extra time investment:
1. Share new posts to social channels
A strong social media presence goes a long way to add a degree of trust and legitimacy to your business. A well maintained strategy can:
Put your company in front of thousands of new customers
Funnel visitors to your landing pages and products
Grow brand awareness and online following
Develop shareable content that builds healthy backlinks for your site
Promote future events and deals
A good social media strategy means planning posts in advance and tailoring your content for the platforms that are important for you.
Your zinger that killed it on Twitter would probably bomb on Pinterest. Your Instagram content won’t automatically gain traction on Facebook, and so on. Not only is manually posting to each platform a hassle, getting your content to work on each site can prove challenging.
Zapier and ContentCal
Tons of social media marketers use solutions like ContentCal, an online content planner. When you add apps like Zapier into this mix, things start to get interesting.
You can set up Zapier to automatically post content for you based on what you add to ContentCal.
Let’s say you add a new post to your schedule. Once everything’s set up, this one post could generate Pinterest pins, Instagram posts and Facebook updates automatically. All of these can be unique to the platform, with no extra input needed from you.
See more ways to have Zapier connect ContentCal to other apps you use so you can automatically post to your social media accounts or management tool, generate content from your bookmarking app, archive your social posts, and more.
2. Use scraping apps to quickly extract search result data
Results scraping helps you develop SEO strategies that actually work. Knowing where you want to go is half the battle; you also need to know who else is trying to get there and how they’re doing it.
Scraping organic search results can tell you who your competitors are and what they’re doing. Scraping is also really useful when prospecting for links.
With this information, you already have the skeleton of a good content plan. Knowing what your competitors are doing means you can double down and beat them at their own game!
It’s not about copying content; it’s about gathering information for your own marketing and using it to improve your approach.
Scraping can be done manually on a site-by-site basis, but this takes forever. A far better approach is to take advantage of scripts and online scrapers.
Perhaps the best use of scrapers is to start collecting data on the right keywords and post titles to use for your own content. There are simple plugins for lighter workloads, sites like Semrush to take things one step further, and then automated scripts for the heavy-duty stuff.
If you’re familiar with programming, languages like Python can be used to run some pretty robust SEO scripts.
NOTE: While competition online is healthy and a good thing, it’s important to always practice white hat SEO.
3. Become a Google Sheets wizard
So you’ve done the smart thing and automated your data collection process. Now what on earth do you do with all this information? Spreadsheets are a great way to start. Automated spreadsheets are even better.
Google Sheets can be used to wrestle your mountains of information into manageable, actionable chunks. It can also take the hassle out of creating documents in the first place.
Integrate with Google Search Console
Google Search Console is a miracle worker for managing your site’s search traffic, growth and performance. The “performance” page of the Search Console contains detailed information about your relevant queries, searches, and page data.
Instead of manually transferring this into your own document, take advantage of the platform’s automatic export feature.
On any of the performance page tabs, click the arrow that’s pointing downwards at the right portion of the tab. This will reveal the option to export your data to Google Sheets. In just one more click, you’ll have an automatically generated Google Sheet with insights into your clicks, CTR and impressions.
IF formula in Google Sheets is a powerful tool that tells the software “if this happens, do something for me”. One great use of IF statements, given by Ahrefs head writer Joshua Hardwick, is to quickly determine which keywords in a collected list are most worth targeting.
Let’s say you’ve collected a list of potential keywords using one of the scraping tools we described above. A well-implemented IF statement can scan through this list and tell you which terms are likely to bring in the most visitors per month.
By telling your IF statement to throw back a “good” value for terms that will bring in, say, 500+ visitors a month, you can quickly highlight your top-shelf keywords.
Check out this guide for a more in-depth exploration.
4. Automate email work and send outreach emails on the fly
When done properly, outreach emails are a great way to continue building healthy backlinks to your content.
The more reputable sites that link to your posts, the higher your content is likely to rank in search results. Establishing worthwhile collaborations can be valuable, but it can also eat into your available time.
With a little Zapier magic, some of your more tedious email work can be automated.
Automatic contact saving
Zapier and Google Sheets can be connected to make it much easier to manage your leads. You’ll need:
A Zapier account
A Google Sheets account
In Google Sheets, create a new Sheet. This is where you’ll save the contact details for your potential leads. This Sheet can now be connected to your Zapier account. But what does this do?
Once you’re set up, new contact rows added to your Google Sheet will automatically create a contact for you in your Google account.
Trust us, the process is mercifully simple. Click the Use this Zap button to try it out.
Automatically email contacts
Now you’ve set up your basic contact Sheet, it’s time to integrate some automatic email functionality. You can use Zapier to automatically email contacts when you add them to the sheet, or if you want to add an extra human verification step, to email them when you make a specific type of update in a row (say adding a
Y to a column named "outreach made").
As you collect contact info for potential outreach leads, you’ll now be able to:
Automatically save their contact details
Get in touch on the fly
Be sure to follow all applicable rules around sending cold emails.
This is just one example of how Zaps can transform your online workflow. Other email automation ideas include:
5. Keep track of what you publish
Once your site has been up for a while, you may find yourself with hundreds (or even thousands) of posts. The last thing you want to do is to target a keyword or topic that you’ve already written content for hundreds of posts ago.
Google Sheets is a great way to visualize this data. Imagine a setup where you could automatically track your published content without ever having to enter the data yourself.
The WordPress and Zapier integration has been around for a while now and it works really well.
This Zap will populate a Google Sheet with data for each new WordPress post you publish.
A Google account for Google Sheets (An option exists for Microsoft Excel too)
A Zapier Account
A WordPress account and site
First, set up the Sheet you’ll be using to store data about your posts. Create columns for post dates, titles, categories, relevant tags, and any other info you'd find useful to track.
Next, set up a Zap to add data to the sheet each time you publish a post. Within the Zap, assign the relevant WordPress data to each column you’ve created.
After this initial bit of tinkering, your publishing record is now automated!
Develop a system to support your growth
The better you get at automating and systematizing your traffic generation workflows, the more efficient your business will become.
This will free up more time for you to focus on overall growth strategies for your business rather than choking up your schedule with menial and repetitive tasks. You’ll also enjoy your work a lot more, too!
This was a guest post from Shabbir Nooruddin, is the chief caffeine officer at Coffee in My Veins, where he writes about coffee. Want to see your work on the Zapier blog? Check out our guidelines and get in touch.