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5 things you should automate today

Automation inspiration

4 min read

5 things you should automate today

So you don't have to do them tomorrow

By Justin Pot · December 18, 2020
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How much time do you spend each day moving information from one app into another? If you use software at work, you’re probably moving data around manually at least some of the time.

We think you should make the computers do that for you. Here are five things Zapier users automate. If these are things you do regularly, consider following their lead. Spend less time copying and pasting, so you can focus on the parts of your job that actually require—and deserve—human brainpower.

You'll need a Zapier account to use the workflows in this piece. If you don't have an account yet, it's free to get started.

Message your team about leads or customers

If a lead comes in and nobody acts on it, did it actually come in? We can't answer that question—we'll leave that to philosophers—but what we can do is help you make sure this never happens. You could say it's one of the things we do best: Notifying teammates about leads is one of the most common ways people use Zapier.

And it's a really simple Zap—what we call our automated workflows—to set up. All you need to do is connect whatever source you're getting leads from to whatever communication tool your team reacts to most quickly. That way your team gets notified every time a new lead comes in, in the place they're most likely to see it, so they can take action right away.

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For example: you could send an email to your team whenever a lead comes in. Here are some quick templates for that. I'll be using Facebook Lead Ads and LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms as examples here, but you could set this up for a wide variety of other applications.

To get started with a Zap template—what we call our pre-made workflows—just click on the Use this Zap button, and we'll guide you through customizing it. It only takes a few minutes. You can read more about setting up Zaps here.

You could also set up Slack notifications, either in a public channel or as a private message.

SMS is also an option.

You could send these leads to any messaging service supported by Zapier. Set this up once and you'll be able to react to new leads faster than ever before.

Message your leads or customers

It's one thing to find out about new leads quickly, but what if you could follow up with leads without having to actually do anything? You can also set that up with Zapier. Let's explore a few options, using Facebook Lead Ads as an example again.

You could instantly follow up with new leads via SMS or email by having Zapier automatically send a message to your new leads.

You could also sign those leads up for your email newsletter, saving you from having to add them manually. Just make sure they've opted into the subscription first to make sure you're staying compliant with GDPR.

Set up automated workflows like this and your new leads will hear from you with no effort on your part, making it just a little more likely that you'll end up working with them.

Get things onto your task list from other apps

Stop me if this has happened to you. Someone tells you about something they need, in an email or in your chat app. Or possibly you write something down in your note-taking app, knowing that it needs a follow-up.

You make a mental note to do the thing. Then you forget about the thing entirely, only to hear back from the person in question a week later. Not a great feeling, right?

This is why it's crucial to send those one-off requests to somewhere actionable, like your to-do list application. You can automatically turn those requests into tasks with the right Zap. Here are few examples using Todoist, but note you can do this with any major to-do list or project management application.

This isn't just limited to messaging. You could quickly send things into your to-do list from your note-taking app or project management system.

Set up a few Zaps like this and you'll wonder how you ever remembered to do anything without it.

Consolidate information in a spreadsheet or database

Spreadsheets are a great place to store all kinds of information, but manually adding information to them is time-consuming. This is why Google Sheets is one of the most-used apps on Zapier.

It's easy to set up automatic workflows that send information to a spreadsheet so you don't have to spend time copying and pasting it in yourself. For example, you can send the information from forms that your customers have filled out to a spreadsheet.

You can also keep track of your sales.

There's really no limit here. If there's information that's incoming, somewhere, you can use Zapier to send it to a Google Sheet, or to a database app like Airtable.

Heck, you can even move data between Google Sheets and Airtable, if you want.

Stop copying and pasting information into spreadsheets or databases. Let the computers do it for you. They don't get bored, and also tend to make fewer mistakes.

Streamline your social media

There are too many social media networks, and you want to post on all of them. You could copy and paste from network to network, but who has the time? Happily you can set up an automation to do it for you.

For example, you could send every new Instagram photo over to Twitter, complete with the image.

You could also automatically tweet every post you make on your Facebook Page, videos you post on your YouTube channel, or even new articles on your WordPress site.

Or, if you're the sort of person who forgets to post on LinkedIn, you can automatically send tweets there.

Again, these are just a few examples. The point is you can set up Zaps that re-post stuff, so that you don't have to. It will save you just a little bit of time every day, meaning you can focus more on things that deserve your attention.

And that's the idea: letting computers do the computer stuff, so you can focus more on the things that matter to you. Hopefully, these workflows save you a little bit of time every day.

If you work with apps or software not included in this article, don't worry—Zapier works with thousands of apps. Head to our App Directory and search for the one you use, or browse to find the right solution for your needs.

This article was originally published in February 2020 and updated by Zapier writer Krystina Martinez to include new recommended Zaps.

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Justin Pot picture

Justin Pot

Justin Pot is a staff writer at Zapier based in Hillsboro, Oregon. He loves technology, people, and nature, not necessarily in that order. You can follow Justin on Twitter: @jhpot. You don't have to. But you can.


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