Hurrdat Answers: What New Year’s Resolutions Do You Always Give Up?

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This post was shared by HurDat.

For many of us, the ball dropping on New Year’s Eve isn’t just about kicking off a new year. It’s also a reminder that we kind of dropped the ball on our New Year’s Resolutions. But hey, we’re totally going to get it together this time. This year is our year, right? (Remember when we said that last year?)

Maybe we’ll learn a new language. Or run a marathon. Or stop eating sugar. Or spend less time on our phones. Or save up for retirement. Or finish that novel we’ve been working on. No matter what lofty goals we set for ourselves, we know there’s a pretty good chance we won’t follow through on them.

We asked members of the Hurrdat team to share their thoughts on making New Year’s Resolutions and what goals they frequently set yet struggle to complete before the end of the year.

Chris Gorman, Media & Entertainment Director

We live in such a digital world that each year I try to learn some kind of skill that will come in handy if we get hit by a giant solar flare and revert back to the Stone Age. So far, I have learned how to make barely edible and rock-like sourdough bread, lasted one boxing lesson after I tore my fleshy “made for typing” hands up, and bailed on marathon training when it dipped below 10 degrees outside.

I think, like most people, I’ve set goals too large and expected results too quickly. Like “Why am I not fighting for the UFC Heavyweight Championship next month?”

This year, I think I’m going to set more modest goals like drinking more water, making space for personal time, getting my screen time down to less than 8 hours (not an exaggeration), and eating one vegetable.

Half of those sound doable.

Grant Muessel, Content Editor

I try not to limit my un-keepable resolutions to New Year’s. But I do find myself thinking about what I eat a lot more after December. So I guess, in a way, I do have New Year’s Resolutions.

Around the new year every year since about 2015, I’ll always be coming off of three ridiculously decadent meals, thanks to my birthday, Christmas, and anniversary with my girlfriend all happening between December 21-31. My wallet gets lighter. I do not.

So my resolutions are usually to eat out at restaurants less, not eat fast food every week, or dial it back on the calorie-laden craft beer. (Pro Tip: Make your resolution slightly different every year so it doesn’t feel like you’re consistently failing.) These resolutions all have have a different success rate, but they all seem doomed to fail by the end of Q1.

Working in the hectic and unpredictable world of marketing makes it tough to resist the convenience of fast food, so that “resolution” usually doesn’t last past January. The goal of eating out less is a little easier to stick to, until spring hits and suddenly every day with sun seems ripe for patio/rooftop dining.

As for laying off the craft beer—does it count if I switch it out for hard seltzer or light beer? That counts, right? You be the judge. And during a pandemic year? I think staying alive and healthy past Q1 is this year’s goal.

Meagan Morris, SEO Strategist

I’m not joking when I say that my favorite part of the holiday season isn’t the delicious food served on Thanksgiving or the family togetherness of Christmas, but New Year’s Day.

There’s something about a new year that makes me feel like anything is possible. “That’s great,” you’re probably thinking, “having a positive attitude is a good thing.”

Of course! But it also leads me to create resolutions that are not only wildly ambitious, but also pretty unrealistic given my actual interests. For example, one year I set a goal of running a marathon by the end of the year. The problem? I hate running. Another year I decided to read 100 books in a year when really I can only get through a book or two a month.

You get the idea.

For 2021, I’ve vowed to stop with the grandiose resolutions and instead work to form habits I can actually stick with, like walking a certain number of steps each day or actually washing my face before bed every night. Pretty boring, but way, way, way more likely to happen.

Jill Thomas, Podcast Services Director

I’ve never been good at resolutions. It seems like they revolve around some grand change of direction or habit in order to fix something we don’t like about ourselves. A course correction, if you will. And the word is so heavy. It feels like it carries some political weight with it—like something you would do in Congress! I think that’s where it fails us at this time of year. We need to do something to live up to the expectations of the word “resolution.” Then, we bite off more than we can chew, break the resolution, and push it aside until next year.

Actually, resolution itself just sounds stuffy and does nothing to get me excited. Now, goals, on the other hand—I like the sound of that! That sounds aspirational, with intent, and as though it’s a step toward an actual vision. You can build on smaller goals to reach the bigger goal. It’s like the difference between actual grades to measure improvement and the unconcerned pass/fail grade.

If I’m being honest, I’ve never really tried as hard in a pass/fail class. When it was done, it was done. But being graded and seeing progress (or lack thereof) so I could measure my advancement—that was something I took more seriously. Plus, when I look back at those pass/fail classes, and I see a pass, it tells me nothing of how close I came to that being a fail.

In the end, I feel a resolution should be about what motivates you. Some people don’t believe in the annual “reset” that the New Year offers to others (myself included). That’s why I opt for a steady diet of smaller goals to keep me on track to reach that shiny goal on the hill!

Hurrdat Answers is an ongoing series of interviews with Hurrdat team members. Check back for more!

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Formidable Forms: App of the day

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This post was shared by MOZ.

Your customers have all been there—they spot a snazzy sweater in their social feed and tap the link to buy it.

But first, they have to fill out their details with an overly complex (and slightly janky) online form. After that comes their credit card information. Then their shipping and billing addresses. Then maybe their Zodiac sign. On and on it goes until they give up.

This familiar dynamic explains some of the more than 70 percent of customers who have abandoned an online shopping form. Security concerns and the sheer arduousness of providing personal information are key reasons why most leave this digital paperwork unfiled.

And all your hard work put towards creating those forms in the first place? Lost.

Fortunately, there are ways you can easily create complex forms that fit any touchpoint on your customer’s journey. Forms your customers will be happy to fill out just because they’re so darn simple and user-friendly. Enter: Formidable Forms, a solutions-focused WordPress form plugin.

With it, you can easily create complex forms of all shapes and sizes—like contact forms, surveys, quizzes, registration forms, payment forms, or calculator forms—that are appealing and streamlined to suit your customer.

Despite its name, (you’ll have to ignore the misnomer) it’s actually incredibly easy to use. You drag, drop, and essentially you’re done. You can customize and adapt your form according to the theme you’re after with the visual styler, or simply choose from the tons of templates available. And when you have important data, you can display it with graphs and custom views.

Plus, every time a user submits a form, their response is automatically stored in your WordPress database, so you never have to worry about losing a lead. And as for your customers, they’ll have an easier time filling out your business’s forms (leading them to that snazzy sweater that much faster). It’s a win-win.

You can automate your forms and surveys with Zapier’s Formidable Forms integrations. Here are a few popular workflows to get you started:

New to Zapier? It’s a tool that helps anyone connect apps and automate workflows—without any complicated code. Sign up for free to use this app, and many others, with Zapier.

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5 ways automation can help your customer support team

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This post was shared by MOZ.

Customer support is a tough job, and making sure that your customers are taken care of without burning out your support team is even tougher. Whether it’s keeping the team on target, updating your knowledge base to help customers self-serve, or even just keeping remote meetings from being too boring, the tasks can quickly pile up, and often lead to points of friction, or wasted effort.

Luckily, many of these tasks can be automated to help you stay on top of tickets, get your customers the help they need, and keep your team healthy and growing. We’ve collected some popular Zaps (our name for Zapier’s automated workflows) that help keep your Customer Support team running smoothly. Click Use this Zap next to any of the templates listed below to get started!

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.

Create tickets from forms and social media mentions

Questions can come from anywhere, and—because you’re the Steven Tyler of support—you don’t want to miss a thing. Using these Zaps, you can take form submissions or mentions on social media and turn them into tickets in your support apps. It makes your support team look like they’re everywhere at once!

Using tools like Typeform or Wufoo, you can put a form anywhere on the web, giving your customers lots of ways to get in touch. Using these Zaps, you can connect those submissions to your support team right away.

Prefer a more social approach? These Zaps let you search for mentions or specific words in the social networks your customers use, and send those to your team right away for further review.

Notify your team about new tickets

Support doesn’t always happen in just one app—your team might be putting out fires in multiple places, or building documentation to help answer even more questions in the future. To make sure a ticket never gets lost, use the Zaps below to notify your team about new tickets in your company’s team chat app, which they most likely always have open.

Create a knowledge base

It’s a familiar feeling to anyone who’s answered support questions: “Didn’t I just write this email?” To relieve your typing fingers and help your customers even faster, building a knowledge base with guides and frequently asked questions is essential. These Zaps help you flag information and get those questions into your knowledge base quickly, so “frequently asked” can become “already answered”.

These Zaps take messages you’ve called out in Slack, Jira, or GitHub, and turns them into Trello cards for your team to save for later.

And once you have the information formatted in the way you like, these Zaps can help you turn them into preformatted documents.

Keep an eye on the numbers

While putting a number score on how much”help” your team is providing can sound harsh, it can be a tool for transparency, and let each member of the team know how they’re doing in a more tangible way than just “good”. Most customer service apps have built-in metric trackers, but these Zaps help you call out great work, or can be customized for each rep.

Does your team need more individualized motivation? Here’s how to create a personal best challenge bot to push them forward.

Keep everyone in sync

If you’re working with a remote team or have multiple shifts to accommodate customer needs, it can be difficult to make sure everyone can attend the same meetings, or keep up-to-date with the latest company news. These Zaps keep everyone on the same page, by making sure they’re notified about every update, and can access every meeting. It’s like giving every member of your team a personal assistant!

Saving your Zoom recordings to another app? There are some settings you may need to change first. We’ve got you covered.

For members of your team who may not want to watch a full meeting recording, apps like Descript help you transcribe your videos and turn them into shareable documents.

Struggling to remember everything that happened this week? It’s okay, there are Zaps for that too. Using the Digest by Zapier app, you can automatically save tasks, notes, or even files, to a digest that gets sent back to you on a regular basis.

At Zapier, we also stay up to date with each other by writing personal updates every Friday. Here’s why.

Related reading

We wrote the book on customer support (no really, there’s a book!), and are here to help your team get up and running! For more inspiration on supporting your customers and your team, check out these posts about working in customer support through the best and worst of times:

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How can I copy or clone Zaps to save time mapping data between fields?

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This post was provided by MOZ.

This Ask Zapier question comes from Tony D. He asked about how he could copy or clone Zaps to save time mapping fields between different steps.

We’re answering this question as part of Ask Zapier, a series where we answer questions submitted by Zapier main site readers and social followers. If you’d like to ask us a question about automation, Zapier, productivity, apps, remote work, or anything else that’s not quite right to send to our support team, scroll to the bottom of this post and enter it in the form.

First, a little background:

Zapier is an automation platform that lets you connect different apps and software, so that when something happens in one place, a different action gets taken somewhere else. Here are some examples: You could use Zapier to get a team chat message every time someone fills out a form, an email when someone updates a provided spreadsheet, or automatically add someone to an email newsletter audience or CRM when they fill out a contact form.

You use Zapier to set up workflows—called Zaps—for those software-to-software or app-to-app tasks, so you no longer have to do that work yourself. When you set up a Zap, in order to send information from one app to another, you have to map those fields from one step to the next. Here’s what it looks like in the Zapier editor:

A screenshot of the action step of a Zap showing text on a gray background. Some of the text is inside white ovals that contain Google Forms logos, showing that is information mapped from an earlier step.
Each of the white ovals with the Google Forms logo at the start represents data I mapped from my form trigger step into my team chat action step.

Imagine I have five forms, and I want each of them to show up in my team chat in a similar way. I could make each Zap individually, or I could copy my first Zap and just change the place Zapier looks for the data.

There are two ways to copy or clone Zaps.

Copy a Zap

First, you can copy a Zap to use yourself or share with colleagues in a Team or Companies plan. After you log in to your Zapier account, click the arrow next to the Zap from the list of your Zaps. Then, select the option to copy the Zap. You’ll now have a new version of that exact same Zap that you can customize.

A screenshot of a list of Zaps showing the down arrow to click and the expanded menu that opens. An arrow points to the icon next to "Copy".

With this method, you should be able to get away without mapping your data. For example, let’s say you don’t want to make any changes to your Zap, other than selecting a new Google Form that asks the same questions.

The copied Zap will pull in everything that existed in your initial Zap. You’d first need to set up your new trigger step, selecting the correct form, and test it, so you know the right information is flowing into Zapier. After that, if you look at your action step, you should see the new data appear.

Here’s how that looked in my test:

Test data in a Zapier action step. The text reads "Questions:" then there is a small Google Forms logo followed by "1. whatquestionsdoyouhaveaboutremoteworkthatwecanhelpyouwith: test 2". The text that follows the logo is pulled in from a form.

However, we still recommend testing your Zap to make sure it runs the way you want.

Share a Zap

If you want to share a Zap with someone outside your organization, you can use the Zap sharing function. You can find that when you’re on the page where you edit your Zap. Click the blue Share button in the top right, and you’ll find a link. Copy that, and paste it where you want to share it. Anyone who clicks that link will be taken to a version of your Zap that they can set up using their own apps.

A screenshot with an arrow pointing to the blue "Share" button to the right of a Zap named "Boot Bot".

You can also create a customized provided Zap page that explains the Zap, what it does, and a bit about how to set it up. You can see what that looks like for my Boot Bot, a Zap that sends me a Slack message at 5 p.m. every weekday reminding me to close Slack and stop working.

This method retains some information from step to step, but you’ll always want to confirm that things transferred as expected, particularly if you make changes that send information ahead to be used in other parts of your Zap.

Why field mapping is important

Field mapping is at the core of your Zaps, and it’s worth taking time to get it right.

It may seem easier to just have things transfer over. Confirming everything works is your insurance that Zapier will take the exact actions you want.

Ask Zapier

If you have a question you’d like us to answer, submit it using this form. We’re taking general questions about automation, Zapier, remote work, productivity, or apps, but are not able to answer specific questions about your account or help troubleshoot a Zap. Support-related questions about a specific Zap or your account should be submitted through the support contact form.

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App of the day: Bigin by Zoho CRM

SEO and General Business tutorials and tips.

This post was sourced from by MOZ.

Don’t let your messy spreadsheets fool you: there is a better way to manage your customers—and one that doesn’t involve clunky, confusing cells and columns.

In the early days of your small business, storing information about your customers on a spreadsheet might have made sense. But as your business grows and interest picks up, so does the amount of prospects pouring in, hankering for your services.

When that happens, you might find that your trusty spreadsheet is about as reliable as those illegible sticky notes you keep losing.

It’s time for an upgrade. Bigin by Zoho (an offshoot of Zoho CRM) is exactly the kind of springboard you need to take the plunge into successful sales. Geared towards small businesses who want something a little simpler, it skips the bells and whistles that Zoho CRM provides.

At its core, Bigin lets you manage deals, track their progress, and keep all your customer interactions in one place. You can drag-and-drop deals across various stages in the sales pipeline, mark them as done as you’ve successfully closed them, and keep track of customer conversations, be they through Twitter, email, or phone calls.

Bigin is user-friendly. Easy to use. Minimalist. (Like these sentences.) It also packs all the CRM essentials into its tidy framework, but without a lot of fuss and overkill features.

Each pipeline view portrays key information about your deals at a glance. You can also receive real-time notifications and alerts for incoming calls from prospective customers. Once all your team members are notified, you can work together to close more deals. Plus, you can keep tabs on the number of products you’ve sold in one place.

So: ready to graduate from spreadsheets? (Seriously, it’s time.) Keep things simple: give Bigin a shot. And if you do become a CRM pro, then you can easily migrate to Zoho CRM.

New to Zapier? It’s a tool that helps anyone connect apps and automate workflows—without any complicated code. Sign up for free to use this app, and many others, with Zapier.

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3 ways to automate your event marketing

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This article was shared by MOZ.

Event marketing is one of the toughest jobs around. There’s no way around the fact that running a high-quality event requires a lot of work, much of which starts months before the event itself.

Automation can be a helpful tool in event planning, because it lets you cut down on repetitive tasks like adding new registrants to a spreadsheet or sending out reminder emails. By automating repetitive, behind-the-scenes tasks with Zapier, you can free up time to focus on providing a high quality event experience.

Due to COVID-19, large in-person events are currently not allowed in many places. Please follow local guidance regarding in-person gatherings.

Zapier’s automations are called Zaps, and you’ll see several Zap templates—our pre-made Zap workflows—throughout this piece. To get started with a Zap template, just click on it, and we’ll guide you through the quick process of setting it up.

Looking for advice on choosing an event marketing app? Check out our top picks.

Seamlessly promote your event across platforms

So you’ve scheduled and planned an event. Now, it’s time to find attendees! One key way to promote your event is by sharing it online, but that can involve a lot of copy-and-pasting.

You can use automation to share your event as soon as you’ve finalized the details. For example, you can use a Zap to share your event on a platform like Twitter or Facebook. You can even customize that Zap so the article includes whatever text you’d like, as well as a link to the event registration page. This is a great way to spread the word early and quickly—without having to manually share event details on multiple platforms.

Prefer to use a social media management tool like Buffer or Hootsuite? A Zap can simply add any new events to your queue.

Automation can also help you more easily track how effective your social promotions are. Instead of manually exporting ticket purchases from your event platform, you can use a Zap that creates conversions in your advertising platform for all new ticket sales.

Add new registrants to a digital event or webinar

In order for an event to go off without a hitch, there’s a lot of work that needs to be done. Giving people an easy way to register—and sending them the information they need to show up, like a webinar link for a digital event—can take a lot of time when done manually.

Automation can make it significantly easier (and faster!) to add registrants from your event marketing platform to an event or to a list in another app, like your web conferencing tool.

If you want to stay on top of registration numbers, you can do that with automation, too. Just use a Zap that notifies you in your favorite chat app whenever someone signs up for your event or buys a ticket.

Need to track ticket sales? You can use a Zap that creates a new record in your accounting app for every ticket sold. And if you prefer to track sales in a spreadsheet, a Zap can do that, too.

Looking for more guidance on running virtual events? Read more about how you can automate your webinars with Zapier.

Communicate with attendees before and during your event

A big challenge when running an event is making sure that registrants know all the details of your event—and that they remember to attend.

One of the most popular ways to keep in touch with attendees is email, but it can also be time-consuming. You have to import and export email addresses, segment them into lists for specific events, and then schedule and send email blasts.

Instead of doing it manually, you can use automation to add attendees to your CRM, your marketing automation platform, or to a specific list in your email marketing app so you can send targeted emails.

You can also automate the process of staying in touch with attendees during an event. For example, if you’re running a conference with several sessions, you can send attendees a reminder in a Slack channel or by SMS before the next session is about to begin.

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Automatically expand your Facebook Custom Audiences with Zapier

SEO and General Business tutorials and tips.

This post was sourced from by MOZ.

No matter what kind of audience you’re trying to reach online, you’ll probably find them on Facebook. With 2.60 billion monthly active users (and 1.73 billion users that visit the blog daily), Facebook reigns supreme in the social media landscape and offers a massive audience of potential customers for brands and businesses of all sizes.

With Facebook Ads, you can create and run digital ad campaigns to directly market your business to potential customers. However, if you want to get the most bang for your buck, you should make sure your ads are reaching the Facebook users who are most likely to be interested in what you have to offer.

This is where Facebook Custom Audiences comes in. You can use this feature to create highly defined groups of people who already have a relationship with your business, which you can then engage with targeted marketing campaigns. These groups could include past customers, people who have viblogd your webblog, or users who installed your app.

You can also use Facebook Custom Audiences to create “lookalike audiences”. These are groups of people who share key characteristics with your existing customers and fans, meaning they’ll be much more likely to be interested in your business.

Types of Facebook Custom Audiences

Now, not all Custom Audiences are created equal. There are three common ways that users can build these targeted lists.

1. Custom Audiences from customer lists

If you collect email addresses, such as when someone subscribes to your newsletter or makes a purchase, you can upload that information to Facebook to market to them via Facebook Ads. When you upload your email list, Facebook uses a process called “hashing” to match the email addresses with Facebook user profiles while keeping specific customer data private.

Keep in mind that you can only upload data from customers who have permitted you to market to them. For example, you can’t use an email list you’ve purchased or data you’ve gathered from other webblogs. Also, if someone opts out of your email list, you need to remove them from your Custom Audience too. Most countries have restrictions around how you collect, store, and share audience data, so you should double-check your region’s regulations before you delve into email marketing and Facebook ads.

2. Custom Audiences from your webblog

If you install the Facebook pixel on your webblog—the pixel is a piece of code that helps you measure customer actions and build audiences—then Facebook can match your webblog visitors to their Facebook profiles. You can then use this information to create Custom Audiences that include all your webblog visitors or generate smaller groups targeting people who have viblogd a specific product page or product category.

3. Engagement Custom Audiences

An engagement Custom Audience is a group of people who have already interacted with your brand on Facebook or Instagram. Some different types of engagement include watching a video on your page, filling out a lead form, visiting your Facebook Page or Instagram business profile, or registering for an event.

You can also target your existing customers with a Custom Audience. Learn how to use your customer list to create Custom Audiences in Facebook.

Using Zapier with Facebook Custom Audiences

Facebook Custom Audiences has two actions available on Zapier: you can create a new Custom Audience or add email addresses to an existing custom audience.

The latter is very popular as you can use it to automatically update your Facebook Custom Audience using data from a wide range of apps that you probably already use. It’s also pretty simple to set up. Just use it as an action step in any Zap that involves user data, and you can upload email addresses from your other apps to the Custom Audience of your choice.

Why you should use automation to build your Facebook Custom Audiences

Existing customers and followers already know your brand, so marketing to them can produce much higher conversion rates than trying to reach people who have never bought from you or haven’t even heard of your brand. It’s also more cost-effective. It can cost five times more to attract a new customer than retain an existing one.

However, manually creating Custom Audiences from spreadsheets and forms can be a time-consuming chore. With a Zapier integration, you can automatically cut out the manual work and sync your app data with Facebook Custom Audiences automatically, so your ads will always target your most recent subscribers and customers, and nobody falls through the cracks.

Ways you can use Zapier’s Facebook Custom Audiences integration

Add new subscribers to your Custom Audience

If you use MailChimp or ActiveCampaign to keep in touch with customers, you can create a Zap that will automatically add subscribers to a Facebook Custom Audience.

Import contacts from a data provider dropped onto a Google Sheet

If you’re using Google Sheets to collect audience data, such as with a Google Form, you can use Zapier to connect your spreadsheet to Facebook Custom Audiences. With this integration, you can automatically add email addresses from a Google Sheet to a Facebook Custom Audience.

Connect your CRM to Facebook Custom Audiences

Do you use a CRM like Salesforce to keep track of leads and customers? You can set up a Salesforce integration with Zapier and add existing leads or contacts to your Custom Audience.

Zapier works with dozens of CRMs. You can create a Zap to send information from any of them into Facebook Custom Audiences. Explore ways to link HubSpot, Pipedrive, or Agile CRM with Facebook Custom Audiences.

A Facebook Custom Audience made for you

No matter where you track audience information, you can use Zapier to help keep your Facebook Custom Audience up-to-date. Here are a few more ideas that you can explore on your own.

To get started, visit the links listed to be taken to our App Directory, then select your trigger and action events. You’ll be taken to the Zap editor where you can customize those steps in your Zap and begin to use your automated workflow.

Collect emails from support tickets

If you use a system like Freshdesk, Help Scout, or Zendesk to manage your communication with users, you may also want to use Facebook Ads to deliver targeted messaging to these customers. With Zapier, you can automatically connect these platforms to Facebook Custom Audiences and add new contacts to an audience.

Upload form submissions

You can use Zapier to send information from form submissions to Facebook Custom Audiences automatically. For example, you could instantly sync new email addresses submitted through a form to an existing custom audience. You can set this up for Gravity Forms, Typeform, JotForm, and many other form apps.

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.

Remarket to customers from your eCommerce store

If you create a Custom Audience from a Shopify, Kajabi, or WooCommerce customer list, you can target past customers with Facebook ads. For example, you could create campaigns with special offers for repeat clients or let people know when you release a new version of a product they already own. With Zapier, you can automate the ad audience building process by creating a Zap that will instantly add new customers to a Facebook Custom Audience.

Create focused ads for custom segments

With Facebook Custom Audiences, you can create laser-focused remarketing ads for a wide variety of custom segments, from leads to customers and even webblog visitors. You can also remarket to these audiences and remind people about products they’re interested in or have abandoned in a shopping cart to encourage them to take the final step of making a purchase.

Facebook Custom Audiences is a powerful marketing tool for businesses of all sizes, but don’t let the chore of creating audiences from scratch hold you back from giving it a try. Add Zapier to the mix, and you can streamline the process even more by automatically adding customer data from the other apps in your toolkit to Facebook so you can reach the people most important to you.

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How automation helped this journalist quench a ‘news desert’

SEO and General Business tutorials and tips.

This post was sourced from by MOZ.

While there’s more information at our fingertips than ever before, there’s also more misinformation. With small newspapers shutting down across the United States, many towns are becoming “news deserts”—communities no longer covered by local newspapers.

Simon Galperin sought to fill this hole in Bloomfield, N.J., with the Bloomfield Information Project, which collects and shares news and information to people across the community. This longtime journalist has spent his career working to make news more accessible to the public, and he knew Bloomfield needed a different way to receive news.

“I’ve been looking at Zapier for years in hopes of being able to put it to work in journalism, but I [didn’t] have the time or bandwidth to do so,” Simon says.

The challenge: Manually curating information into a newsletter

In a listening session, Bloomfield residents told Simon that news and information in town came in pieces, with no single reliable source. He needed to bring all those pieces together and disseminate them to the public—a full-time job.

This news product wouldn’t exist in its present form without Zapier.

Simon Galperin

The Bloomfield Information Project aggregates news through RSS, webblogs, online search, and CrowdTangle, a social monitoring tool. While verifying sources and information require a human touch, Simon used Zapier to help with some of the more tedious aspects.

“We use Mailparser.io to parse press releases we get sent by the municipality and county and Zapier readies them as posts on our WordPress blog,” he said.

Try the Bloomfield Information Project’s press release parser by using Simon’s Shared Zap. You’ll be able to create your own copy to set up for yourself. Or, explore other ways to automate Mailparser with Zapier.

Google Sheets and Digest by Zapier also play a big role in Simon’s newsgathering. Once information is curated into Google Sheets, where he writes headline summaries and links, a Zap adds those entries to Digest—a tool that allows Zapier users to aggregate anything into summaries.

Try the Bloomfield Information Project’s content curation workflow with this Shared Zap.

When he’s ready to publish his email newsletter, Simon uses Zapier’s Chrome extension to release those digests, draft an email, and send him a copy in Gmail to look over.

Try the Bloomfield Information Project’s digest publication Zap with this Shared Zap.

Zaps also help automate publication to the Bloomfield Information Project’s Mailchimp newsletter, Instagram, and Twitter accounts.

“Automation helps us put the news and information we find in the right places for publishing and sharing,” Simon says.

Democratizing news through automation

The Bloomfield Information Project has provided almost 2,000 news items across its blog, newsletter, and social media platforms since March. And with 400 email subscribers to the newsletter alone, there’s a clear appetite in the community for news.

“This news product wouldn’t exist in its present form without Zapier,” says Simon. “To produce this much content, I’d have to be doing a lot more reporting and more manual publishing. It might be the sort of thing that would even take up most of my day.”

With automation, Simon can focus on program development, community engagement, and other big picture projects for the Community Info Coop, his grander vision for news as a public utility.

“I believe that quality news and information is a human right and should be treated as a public good,” he says. “I’m working on developing policy and practice to make that happen.”

And with the Bloomfield Information Project as a pilot, automation has helped Simon begin to fill a gap in New Jersey’s news deserts.

What’s your story? Tell us how you use Zapier to do more. You can also read even more customer stories and find new ways to improve your workflow and productivity.

Photo by Joe Amditis of the Center for Cooperative Media. Simon Galperin is standing in the far right of this image.

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We Are Hurrdat: A Media, Marketing, & Entertainment Company

SEO and General Business tutorials and tips.

This post was sourced from by HurDat.

2020 has been an interesting year for Hurrdat.

We celebrated our ten-year anniversary. We experienced (and are still experiencing) a global pandemic that required us to change the way we work. We added several new faces and services to our company. And all the while, we’ve been working quietly behind the scenes to make some major brand updates.

We’re ready to share what we’ve been working on.

Hurrdat: A Media, Marketing, & Entertainment Company

From our humble beginnings as a social media marketing startup to our growth years as one of the first full-service digital marketing agencies in the Midwest, we’ve always been early adapters and game-changers. Our dedication to creativity, innovation, and seeking out new challenges has led us to where we are now, but it’s our team, our clients, and the incredible projects we get to work on that continue to push us forward.

Upon entering our second decade of operations, we took a step back to look at what we’ve accomplished as a company and noticed a pattern emerging. In all of our work across the board—regardless of whether we were filming a sports documentary, covering live events on social media, or designing a website for a local business—there was a common theme of storytelling. It was suddenly clear to us that storytelling was what we valued above all in our work. We want to tell stories that create memorable experiences.

This is where we found our vision for the future of Hurrdat.

We’re no longer the social media marketing agency we once were, nor are we the digital marketing agency we’ve been for the last few years. After several brand mergers and acquisitions, as well as the addition of new services among our agency offerings, we’ve grown into a media, marketing, and entertainment company that can do it all. And we’re here to help brands and businesses of all sizes tell their stories.

Along with this new brand identity, we’ve decided to consolidate the majority of our brand properties under a single parent company: Hurrdat. B2 Interactive—the former parent company of our organization, which merged with Hurrdat back in 2014—will be retired as a brand name and operating entity. We also now have dedicated divisions of our company focused specifically on the media, marketing, and entertainment work we’ll be taking on going forward. These will be Hurrdat Media, Hurrdat Marketing, and Hurrdat Entertainment.

Hurrdat Media

Led by Media & Entertainment Director Chris Gorman, Hurrdat Media is our digital media division. This includes our Hail Varsity college sports media, our commercial video work, and our recent acquisition of podcast production company Parkville Media. Services offered through Hurrdat Media include:

Individuals, brands, and businesses looking for a podcast network can also join the Hurrdat Media Network. Our network helps content creators reach a larger audience and monetize the content they’re creating. The team behind the media network brings decades of production experience to professionally produced podcasts that make creators sound as good as the content they share. The Hurrdat Media Network shows feature top talent covering a variety of interests and can be found on all primary podcast and streaming platforms, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Soundcloud, Stitcher, and TuneIn.

Hurrdat Marketing

Overseen by Agency Director Meghan Trapp, Hurrdat Marketing is our digital marketing agency, offering all of the in-house digital marketing services previously offered by both B2 Interactive and Hurrdat, including:

In addition, Hurrdat Marketing offers a Website & Local SEO turnkey solution for small businesses that need an affordable option for building an online presence. In early 2020, we also launched our Local Search Fuel solution designed to help small businesses improve local SEO visibility through updating and optimizing local business listings.

Hurrdat Entertainment

Also headed up by Media & Entertainment Director Chris Gorman, Hurrdat Entertainment is our live event and experiential marketing division. Through Hurrdat Entertainment, we provide businesses with unique brand marketing opportunities through film production, event hosting, event sponsorship, and more.

All of these changes to our company have been in the works for years, and it’s wonderful to finally see them come to fruition. We’re so grateful for the hard-working, dedicated team we have behind us, particularly when it comes to all of the work they did in launching this new brand and building out these divisions. And we look forward to continuously improving and expanding the storytelling opportunities offered to our clients.

We can’t wait to see what the next ten years have in store for us.

Interested in our media, marketing, and entertainment services? Want to join the Hurrdat team? Need more information on how we can help your brand? Contact Hurrdat today!

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4 ways to make your bookmarking app work for you

SEO and General Business tutorials and tips.

This article was sourced from by MOZ.

Reading things online is my favorite work distraction. While researching for this article, I went down a rabbit hole of tutorials for setting up Google Analytics. I should’ve sent it to a read-it-later app (also known as a bookmarking app), where I could return to my reading queue after I’ve finished my work.

While read-it-later apps are great for storing articles you intend to read later, the problem is that you need to remember to actually open the app in order to read things. This is where many people fail, myself included.

A solution: Use Zapier to automatically send those articles to an app you’re more likely to check. Our automatic workflows, which we call Zaps, send information from one app to another, helping you reduce manual tasks.

We’ve collected a few Zap templates—our pre-made workflows— to help you get the most out of your read-it-later app, no matter how you prefer to use it. Just click on a template, and we’ll guide you through the set-up process. You can read more about setting up Zaps here.

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.

Collect and organize source material

Read-it-later apps are helpful for gathering research, whether it’s for a presentation, competitor research, or writing a main blog article. Try these workflows, which will automatically add saved item links to Evernote, WordPress, or wherever else you’ll need them.

We’re using Pocket for most of these examples, but you can set up similar workflows up with any app that helps you save links for later that’s on the Zapier platform. To find out if the app you use is available, browse the collection of bookmark managers available in our App Directory.

If you need to take action on the items you save as part of your research, you can also send bookmarked links to your task or project management tool.

Share your favorite content

Are you the person who’s always sharing interesting industry articles in the team Slack channel? Do you manage a social media account for work and share relevant content from other sources? These workflows make it easier to share your favorite content elsewhere, without the need to copy and paste links.

Save content from other apps or feeds

A benefit of read-it-later apps is that many of them have built-in integrations with browsers and mobile devices, so if you’re browsing something on your phone and you find something interesting, it only takes a few taps or clicks to save it for later. This can get repetitive fast, though, if you find that you’re doing this often with the same blogs, such as Tumblr or Reddit.

These Zaps will save you a step by automatically adding your Tumblr likes and other content to your read-it-later app.

If there’s a specific blog you need to closely follow, you can also set up a Zap that will send all the items from its RSS feed into your read-it-later app so you never miss a article.

Send your reading list somewhere else

The “set it and forget it” nature of read-it-later apps means that you’ll likely forget to go back and read the article. We spend a large chunk of the workday in other apps, such as email or team chat tools. These Zaps will automatically gather saved items in your reading queue and send them in a chat message or email at a specific time.

Another way to use Zapier to see important articles or updates from blogs you follow is to get those updates in your inbox, even if they don’t have a newsletter. Learn how to create your own newsletters from almost any webblog.

Make sure later becomes now

Bookmarking and read-it-later apps keep you from drowning in a sea of tabs, but they’re only useful if you follow through. Whether you’re bookmarking source material, things to share, or curating your reading list, automation can help you put your research to work.

New to Zapier? It’s a tool that helps anyone connect apps and automate workflows—without any complicated code. Sign up for free to use this app, and many others, with Zapier.

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