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The 7 best zaps for launching and running your online business

Running an online business takes two things in spades: resources and time. Discover the 7 best zaps to help you save on both in this guide.

February 6, 2020 by Cyn Meyer

You’re about to blossom your side-hustle into a full-time online business idea

What an exciting time that will be.

The only issue? You’re a single solopreneur vs. entrepreneur with a team.

Which means you’re running around in a frantic frenzy.

Well, you can relax once you dive into our tips today. 

There are ways to streamline and automate key parts of your business, so you can work on growing your business while avoiding burnout.

Today, we bring you seven zaps that will help you launch and run your online business. But first, let’s briefly cover the basics, starting with defining and then creating a zap.  

What is a zap?

A zap is an automation between two or more web apps, which you set up to complete repetitive tasks for you. You create an if-this-then-that (IFTTT) rule in advance, and once your zap is triggered, it automatically runs your assigned action or task.

Zapier is the automation tool that allows you to create zaps.

The company touts over 1,500 web apps to choose from and connect when building your custom zaps.

Every zap has a trigger and one or more actions. They can be as simple as connecting two apps with one trigger and action, like this single-step zap that sends an SMS before any Google Calendar meetings. 

Or they can be multi-step zaps involving several automated action steps in a workflow, like this multi-step zap that sends the daily weather to both you (through an SMS) and your team (through a Slack message).

Regardless of the number of steps you use, the purpose of a zap is to automate your repetitive workflows, so you can save time and focus on less tedious parts of your business. 

Sound good to you? Great, let’s quickly walk through how to create a zap. 

How do you create a zap?

To create a zap, first, decide on what trigger and action you want to automate. It’s always a good idea to head into any technical process with a clear direction of where you want to end up.

For instance, let’s say you want to receive an email notification each time you earn a new customer in your Stripe account.  

This means your trigger is a new customer in your Stripe account, and your action is your email notification. 

Zapier makes this really easy to set up. Once you log into your Zapier account, you see two form fields in your dashboard. 

You simply select the app for your trigger on the left, which, in this case, is Stripe. And the app for your action on the right: your email. (For the purpose of this example, I’ll choose Gmail). 

Once you choose your two apps, two more form fields pop up immediately below.

This is where you select from the drop-down menu your trigger and action, which, in our example, is “new customer” and “send email,” respectively. Then, your Stripe-to-Gmail zap shows up right below. Simply hit the blue “use zap” button.

Your next step is to connect your accounts, starting with signing into your Stripe account, which you can do by clicking “sign in to Stripe”.  

Once you submit your login credentials and connect your account, hit “test & continue”.

Now it’s time to set up your action app, which is just as straightforward. Simply click “continue,” then “sign into Gmail” and log into your email account.

Once you’re logged in and connected to the right email account, customize your email and fill out the subsequent form fields -- which are pretty basic details here, such as “to,” “from,” “subject,” “body,” and et cetera. 

After you complete your email details, hit “continue” and then “test & continue” on the next screen. If your test email goes through successfully, you’ll see a notification at the bottom of your screen that says your zap is ready.

Simply turn it on with the toggle and your zap is live. To manage your zaps and see which ones are turned on, you can navigate to the “my zaps” tab where you’ll see the active zaps listed under “home”.

Pretty straightforward, right?

It’s worth mentioning this is simply an example of how to set up a zap. Every zap will have its nuances. The main theme here is to set up an IFTT rule that connects your trigger to one or more actions.

OK -- that covers the logistics of setting up your zaps. Now, let’s help you decide which business processes to create zaps for.

This is important because a lot of folks don’t always get this right. In fact, nearly 50% of automation projects fail because of choosing the wrong process.

To avoid automating the wrong processes, here are seven zaps to use when launching and running your business. We break it down into three categories: marketing automation, sales follow-up, and customer service zaps.

7 useful zaps for your online business<!>

Marketing automation zaps

One of the most effective zaps to use in your business is one that helps with marketing automation. 

Why? Marketing automation increases sales productivity by 14.5% and decreases your marketing costs by 12.2%. 

More specifically, we recommend three types of marketing zaps, the first of which is an email marketing zap. 

#1. Email marketing zap

Whether you’re using Mailchimp, ActiveCampaign, Drip, or another email service, it’s a good idea to streamline all of your email collecting methods and manage your contacts in one central email service. You can create zaps to do that.

For example, if you’re running a Typeform survey, Facebook ad campaign, and Popup Maker lead magnet offer to generate leads, that’s three different sources of contacts that can channel to one email service platform. 

Zapier will more than likely have your email app of choice and the email collecting apps that you need to create your zaps. 

Case in point: Let’s say you want to subscribe your Typeform, Facebook ad, and Popup Maker leads to your Mailchimp email list. Simply search and select the various apps in Zapier’s database to create your zaps, like so.

Easy-peasy.

Our next marketing automation app is just as straightforward, and also an integral part of your marketing effort: posting on your social channels. 

#2. Social media posting zap

You can create a zap that automatically posts content to your social media platforms. 

For instance, every time you publish a new blog post, you can trigger your RSS feed to schedule a new social post in Buffer. Just use the RSS-to-Buffer zap.

Which is a good idea because, chances are, your blog readers (and business audience) are using social media. A staggering 42% of the population, or 3.2 billion people, use social media as of 2019.

So, it’s best not to miss out on connecting with your target audience by automatically posting your latest blog content to your social channels.

If you don’t have a stream of written blog articles to post, then perhaps video or podcasting is your format of choice. Well, our next zap helps you turn audio and visual content into its written form. 

#3. Content transcribing zap

Another marketing automation zap to use is one that transcribes your content to help you build a content bank. 

After all, content marketing generates triple the number of leads per dollar spent when compared to paid search marketing.

Definitely worth the effort to expand your content inventory by transcribing and repurposing your audio and video files.

To transcribe your video and podcast content, explore something like a  Dropbox-to-Rev zap. This zap allows you to upload video and audio files to your Dropbox folder and then automatically transcribe it using Rev.

Take it a step further (literally) and add another step to the same zap, which stores your transcriptions in your Google Drive, for instance. 

OK. That covers our marketing zaps, but what about the sales side of things? We’ve got two must-haves for that.

Sales follow-up zaps 

We also recommend creating zaps to help automate your sales process.

If you need a compelling reason, it’s in the numbers. Creating a zap to automate your lead nurturing sales automation could give you a 225% increase in the number of prospects that convert to sales opportunities. 

To help automate your sales follow-up process, we have two suggestions here: a webinar zap and a meeting zap for streamlining your follow-up communication.

#4. Pre- and post-webinar communication zap

Try using a zap that connects your webinar app to a follow-up communication app. 

For example, if you use Webinarjam to host your presentations, create a zap that connects your webinar software to a communication platform, like Facebook Messenger.  

We recommend communicating through social media because it’s a powerful communication channel for sales. In fact, salespeople who use social selling are 50% more likely to meet or exceed their quotas.

Your solution here is to create a Webinarjam-to-Facebook Messenger zap.

This allows you to automatically instigate Facebook Messenger conversations with your attendees based on several webinar actions. Simply specify your trigger and action in Zapier.

To continue our example, you can choose trigger “registrant stays until” and action “send message from page,” which tells your zap to send a Facebook message to any attendee who watches your presentation up until a specified time that you input.

Pretty convenient, no? 

What’s even more convenient is that you can mix and match any set of rules using the webinar and communication apps that best suit your sales process. 

The same mix-and-match concept applies to our next zap revolving around meeting communication.  

#5. Pre- and post-meeting communication zap

Another sales follow-up option is to create automated interactions with your meeting attendees, using a zap like a Zoom-to-ActiveCampign zap.

If you host a meeting in Zoom, you can set up a zap that sends meeting attendees an email sequence before and/or after your meeting. 

For instance, a “new registrant” trigger combined with “add contact to automation” action will send automated emails to your new Zoom meeting registrants based on the automation you set up in ActiveCampaign.

Alternatively, if you’re engaging in a more intimate one-on-one meeting, you can follow up with a text to make it more personal. In that case, try out the Zoom-to-TextMagic zap.

This, just as it sounds, allows you to send texts to your contact following the Zoom meeting. To set it up, use the trigger “new meeting” and action “send message”.

Texting afterward is a good idea and leads to a 112.6% higher lead-to-engagement conversion.

Speaking of contacting your audience at the right time, our next category of customer service zaps relies on it, especially post-sale.

Customer service zaps

Another effective way to use zaps in your business is to automate your customer service and support processes.

Good customer service is a big deal for your ideal customers. A whopping 72% of customers expect brands to already know who they are, what they've purchased, and details about their previous conversations. 

To keep up with such high demands, create zaps that help you maintain a high level of customer support, starting with the onboarding process. 

#6. Zap for onboarding new clients

A great way to make sure your customer experience starts off right is by automating the onboarding process with a zap. You’ll avoid missing any important steps when a client purchases from you.

For instance, if you’re using Podia to manage your online storefront and Sendinblue to manage your customer communication, create a zap that subscribes new clients to your email list (or an onboarding campaign), like a Podia-to-Sendinblue zap. 

As soon as someone purchases one of your profitable digital products, set up an action that adds them to your email list and sends a sequence of emails with pertinent onboarding information like login info, how-to guidance, and et cetera. 

To do this, select “new sale” as your Podia trigger and “add subscriber” as your Sendinblue action.

Use a different email service, such as Drip? Then you’re in luck. Podia integrates with a ton of popular email service providers, including Mailchimp, ActiveCampaign, Drip, and more. 

Discover for yourself how easy it is to connect your favorite tools to Podia with this 2-week free trial.

But, getting back to good customer service through zaps, it doesn’t stop at onboarding alone. Let’s cover keeping your clients happy over the long-term, which requires one vital ingredient: customer feedback.

#7. Customer feedback zap

Our final zap for you today helps you maintain a positive customer experience over the long-term by automating your customer feedback collection process.

Tapping into your customers’ sentiments and learning about their customer experience should never end, which means there’s a ton of data for you to continue collecting.

To save you from being overwhelmed, streamline the process by using a zap that automates the data collecting and presents it in a format that’s easy for you to monitor like a SurveyMonkey-to-Google Sheets zap.

This lets you run a SurveyMonkey form and transfer the survey answers to an organized Google Sheet that you can analyze. Just select “new response notification with answers” as your trigger and “create spreadsheet rows” as your action to make it happen. 

Just like any of these app combinations, choose the online tools that best fit your business when creating your zaps -- we’ve used some popular tools as examples, but they’re far from the only tools, and nothing in life is ever truly one-size-fits-all.

Especially in business. 

Zap your way to a smooth operation

While zaps won’t turn your entire business into a robot-run enterprise, they can certainly help you shed minutes off of key repeatable processes. 

This will save you a large chunk of time and resources in the big picture, so long as you create zaps for the right processes.

In a nutshell:

  • A zap is an automated task set up between two or more web apps using Zapier. Zaps can be single-step, which use two apps, or multi-step, which involve more apps and subsequent actions.  
  • To create one, you simply select your apps from Zapier’s database and assign a trigger and action using the dashboard. Once your app accounts are connected and relevant details are submitted, you just turn on your zap.
  • Marketing automation zaps help you streamline your email marketing, social media marketing, and content marketing tasks.
  • Sales follow-up zaps assist with lead nurturing and allow you to follow-up with leads after webinars and meetings.
  • Customer service zaps provide a great way to run your onboarding and customer feedback processes without missing any steps or data.

It’s time to up your efficiency level and streamline your business with zaps. Happy zapping. 

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