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4 min read

10 takeaways from ZapConnect, Zapier's first user conference

By Janine Anderson · October 22, 2021
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Automation doesn't have to be a solo endeavor. Thousands of people came together for our first-ever user conference, where they learned from expert Zapier users, heard from our founders, and got a first look at our newest feature, Transfer

If you missed ZapConnect—or if you'd like to revisit any of the sessions—you're in luck. Recordings of the sessions are available for viewing in an on-demand video library. You'll find sessions on how to start using automation to solve business problems, learn ways to use Zapier's advanced features, and hear stories about customers who've scaled their businesses with automation.

We organized the sessions into three tracks, designed to ensure there were sessions that matched everyone's automation level and interest: 

  • Get started is geared toward people who are new to automation. This track features sessions that go over common ways to use automation and how to determine what you should automate at work.

  • Level up sessions will teach you how to make the most of automation by scaling and optimizing your use of Zapier. In these sessions, learn how to go beyond single Zaps to automate complex workflows. 

  • Dream big focuses on innovation and inspiration. In this track, you'll find stories of people who used automation to pivot through the pandemic and hear what some of today's most prominent tech founders wish they knew when starting their business. 

If the idea of diving in feels a little daunting, here are 10 of my favorite takeaways from the conference. After each, you'll find links where you can watch the session for yourself or learn more about what the speaker had to say. 

1. Think with an automation mindset

It all starts with an automation mindset. Find the right places to automate by identifying tasks that are repetitive, fragile, or time-sensitive. Automation lets you remove repetitive tasks from your list, bolster fragile processes by reducing the chance for human error, and deliver an always-on instant response. Just be sure you can spot the chance to use it.

Watch Thinking with an automation mindset from the Get started track.

2. Automate lead management

Lead management is critical for a successful business—and automation can help you do it better. If social lead gen is important for your growth, you'll want to hear what folks from Zapier and Facebook have to say about the best ways to add automation to your strategy. Whether you want to add leads to a CRM, track offline conversions, or create custom retargeting lists, automation can help.

Watch Automating lead management from the Get started track.

3. Make automation your productivity sidekick

Ready to save time? Use automation to add tasks to your to-do app of choice from wherever you get your next project. That might mean creating a task whenever you add a star or specific label in your inbox, or it could be adding tasks from saved messages or custom emoji in Slack.

Automation can even give you the downtime you need with an unmistakable signal that the workday has ended. This one's fun: you can automatically change your Philips Hue bulbs to a new color at a specific time of day, using a Zap that checks your calendar.

Watch Productivity hacks from Zapier Support in the Dream big track.

4. Automate your personal life

Automation isn't just for work. A Zapier data scientist has taken automation to a whole new level, automating things like travel checklists and personal reminders—and you can do the same.

Watch You can automate that? in the Dream big track.

5. Learn from people who've been there

Starting a business is different from scaling it. Founders and CEOs from Zapier, Calendly, Front, and Webflow talk about how they grew businesses to solve problems they themselves had. Learn how they started, how they scaled, and things they wish they knew when they first got going.

6. Use automation to drive engagement

Make automation fun by using it to increase engagement with your team and your audience. Justin Samuels of Render Atlanta has put "funimation" at the heart of his business, creating systems that connect staff and the community by email, chat apps, and on social. 

Watch Envisioning automation for your new business in the Dream big track.

7. Change data with Formatter so your apps play nice

Format data within your Zaps using Zapier's built-in Formatter. Transform dates, text, and more so that your systems are always in alignment—even when they work in different ways. Learn everything Formatter can do—and get an overview of other built-in tools—in this session from one of our support trainers. 

Watch Ready to up your Zapier game? in the Level up track.

8. Add a little code to your no-code

While Zapier is a no-code platform, sometimes a little bit of code is exactly what you need to make a specific Zap work just right. Take on this challenge by learning how to use JSON to process data through code snippets.

Watch Code steps 101 in the Level up track.

9. Become an automation hero

Let automation do more than handle individual tasks—make it manage processes. Complex Zaps with multiple steps or connected systems of automated workflows make things better for everyone, and turn you into an automation hero for your business. Work with stakeholders to find new ways to spread automation throughout your company. 

Watch From novice to master automator in the Level up track.

10. Don't go it alone

The ultimate way to avoid a solo automation journey is to hire some help. Zapier Experts are certified automation pros who can help you with single automation challenges or setting up business-critical systems. If you're not sure what to do (or don't know how to make your apps do what you want), Experts are the ones to call.

Watch Best practices for hiring an Expert in the Get started track.

Bonus: Meet Transfer, the newest offering from Zapier

Zaps help you move new information from one app to another in the background, but what about those situations when you may want to move lots of existing data? That's where Transfer comes in.

With Transfer, you can send data from one app to another on demand, so your historical information is right where you need it. Transfer is in beta: start using it today, or read more about it in our guide to using Transfer.


Zapier wants to help people discover ways to improve their work with automation. Here are some of the other resources available to you:

  • Zapier University: A self-paced video course to help you learn how to use Zapier to manage your repetitive, time-consuming tasks.

  • The Zapier quick-start guide: An online explainer of how Zapier works and how to set up your first Zap.

  • The Zapier Community: Discover and connect with other automators—post questions, read ongoing threads, and search for topics that interest you.

  • Automation articles on the Zapier blog: Read about ways automation can solve business problems, make it easier to work with the apps you use, and be inspired by Zapier users' success stories.

For more direct help with automation and Zaps, reach out to the Zapier support team, or hire an Expert to give you personalized assistance.

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Janine Anderson picture

Janine Anderson

Janine Anderson is the managing editor of the app directory, and works from Racine, Wis. You can often find her reading, writing or knitting, and is happiest when she is at the Lake Michigan shoreline.

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