Hurrdat Answers: What Does Your Life Look Like in a Parallel Universe?

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This post was shared by HurDat.

Have you ever wondered what your life might be like in a parallel universe? Maybe you’re more courageous and you do the things you’re too afraid to try in this universe. Maybe you followed your childhood dreams and became a full-time princess astronaut. Maybe you helped the world avoid a global pandemic (If only, right?). Or maybe you’re a scary doppelgänger who’s actively trying to hunt down and replace yourself.

We asked members of the Hurrdat team what they envision for their parallel selves in a parallel universe. Here’s what they had to say…

Alli Hipsher, Graphic Designer

If I were to imagine what my life currently looks like within a parallel universe, I would say that I am, in fact, already living in that one right now. I was born and raised in Nebraska, but I moved away to Kansas while I was still very young. Only a year ago did I finally return to Nebraska, where most of my family is and where I currently work.

Growing up in Kansas for a decade but still considering Nebraska to be home for so long made it very exciting for me to come back to be surrounded by things I vividly remembered as a child. And now that I’m here, everything seems to be the same…but also totally different. It’s much smaller in scale than I recall, and there are more places to explore around me outside of the zoo or children’s museum. It’s almost as if the moment I moved back, I crossed over into a parallel universe and left the old one—the Kansas one—behind.

I would have to say that this parallel universe is more suited to me, especially now as an adult, as I’ll always feel more grounded here. If I were ever to move away from Nebraska again, I imagine it would open another parallel universe for me to step into—that is, until I decide to return to this one again because this feels like the main one, and I think it always will be.

I have so many fond memories of this state—Omaha specifically speaking—so I’d like to say this version of me is probably one of the better ones out there. It helps to be able to look out my window and see real hills and huge trees (Those don’t exist where I lived in Kansas), as well as slightly better seasons!

Chelsea Miner, Content Strategist

Assuming there are an infinite number of parallel universes, the most interesting version of myself probably exists in the one where I’m a cow-girl. Not a cowgirl, as in a girl who herds cattle, but a human girl who was raised by a herd of cattle.

Once, when I was a small child, I ran away from my grandmother’s house. It was Thanksgiving, and I had gone over to her house early in the day to help out before everyone else arrived. But when we were done, I got bored. My house was only about a mile away, and since we all lived out in the middle of nowhere, I didn’t have to worry about stranger danger if I decided to walk home alone. So I did.

While my grandmother was in another room, I slipped out her front door and began what felt like a very long journey home. Given that this was out in the country, I was walking alongside a dirt road with a corn field on one side and a pen of cattle on the other. I was about halfway home when I started to get very unnerved by the way the cows were looking at me. As cows do, they just stood still and stared. And despite growing up in the country, I was suddenly petrified.

In this universe, I sat down and cried until my grandma came and got me. However, I’d like to think that in a much more interesting universe, the cows adopted me into their herd, and I assimilated to the bovine culture—Julie of the Wolves style.

If cow-girl Chelsea is out there somewhere in space time, I hope she’s doing well and that eating grass all the time isn’t getting too boring. Then again, I’m also a vegetarian in this universe, so maybe we aren’t so different after all.

Christian Andrew, Social Media Strategist

In eighth grade, my reading teacher had all of us write a letter to the soon-to-be high school graduate version of ourselves that we would open on graduation day. In that letter, 14-year-old Christian said that he would probably be getting ready to be drafted by the Celtics but would settle if it was just the Lakers. Those dreams were quickly killed when the NBA instituted its one-and-done rule shortly after I wrote the letter.

The truth is that I’ve been terrified by the parallel universe question since I watched the “Mirror Image” episode of The Twilight Zone. In it, a woman is waiting at a bus stop. She begins to experience strange things: People who she’s never talked to saying that she’s spoken to them, her luggage mysteriously moving around, and seeing a duplicate of herself in a mirror.

After fainting, she tells the people attending to her that she believes she has a doppelgänger who arrived here due to two planes of existence converging, and that her doppelgänger can only survive by eliminating or replacing her. I won’t ruin the rest, and I left a lot out, but you should check out that episode if you like Jordan Peele’s Us.

Long story short, I don’t know what I’d be doing in a parallel universe, but I do know that I’m more likely to fight another version of myself in this one than ever start at forward in the NBA.

Nick Castner, Development Coordinator

Growing up, my dad worked for the outdoor retail company, Cabela’s. He was involved in opening new stores, which caused us to go to a different Cabela’s location weekly. We would change routes on family road trips to maximize the number of store locations we could visit.

Whenever we entered a Cabela’s, my dad was laser-focused on speaking with cashiers, shoe salesmen, or managers. Before beelining it to the employees, he would give us $10 to feed into the arcade game “Big Buck Hunter.” Having Big Buck Hunter as a babysitter allowed me to become wicked good at the game. In a three-game series, I haven’t been beaten in over ten years. However, I’ve never played competitively.

In a parallel universe, I pursue a career in Big Buck Hunting. The Big Buck World Championships take place every year in Vegas. Most competitors qualify through the Big Buck Hunter loyalty card that’s scanned on the machine before games. Instead of qualifying through this normal process, I imagine my pathway would look more similar to Jack Dawson winning his ticket onto the Titanic.

Once in the tournament, I soon would garner respect from the Big Buck Hunting community. After a few years competing in and winning the championships, I would leverage my stature to advance the sport of virtual hunting. My team would develop programs for underprivileged youth, bring additional machines to rural areas, and create a competition circuit of our own. We would then monetize this community of like-minded Big Buck Hunters by hiring Hurrdat Media to create digital products like podcasts and YouTube channels.

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

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8 tips for getting the most out of online conferences

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This article was sourced from by MOZ.

Can I admit something to you, as a friend? I think I might like virtual conferences better than in-person ones.

Not only are tickets cheaper, or in some cases free (apparently lavish cocktail hours and flying in a Gates or Obama for a 10-minute keynote adds up), but it’s also more accessible and flexible for attendees. Folks all across the globe can tune in to a world-class professional development experience without having to get on a flight or make family arrangements.

Over the last year of tuning in to virtual conferences for my job as a partnership professional—and for my own curiosity and learning—I’ve picked up some tricks of the trade for getting the most out of an online conference. Here they are.

Getting ready for your first in-person conference article-pandemic? We’ve got 10 tips for that too.

1. Set your expectations

Simply put, a virtual conference is not going to offer you the same experiences as an in-person event. You’re not going to serendipitously make a new friend while waiting in line for a busy talk, crash a fun afterparty, or get a selfie with your favorite business leader. And that’s ok.

Like in-person conferences, online conferences are a great opportunity to learn, grow, network, and try new things. Conferences are particularly refreshing now, when many parts of the world are still locked down, and life and work feel like a lot of the same day-to-day.

Set your expectations. Reflect on what you’re looking to gain from the conference, and be realistic about it.

2. Take time off regular work

Just because you can work and attend an online conference at the same time doesn’t mean you should. The last conference I went to was the longest (five days!), and it was also the first conference where I didn’t try to juggle work alongside sessions.

Even though I was nervous about being disconnected for so long, especially for something that wasn’t a vacation or had me physically away from work, I got so much more out of it. There was less context-switching and less stress of trying to “get it all done.” It also had the added benefit of setting an example for my team and others to feel like it was ok to make space for their own development in the future.

Need to convince your boss to give you the time off? Most conferences have picked up on this and now offer resources to help you justify the cost of the conference ticket. Build off that to make the case that the company’s money will be better spent if you have the space to focus on getting the most out of the event.

Part of the reason people are reluctant to take time off is because of what awaits them when they get back. Here are 5 ways to catch up on work after a vacation that will decrease the stress around being away.

3. Plan ahead

Online conferences still have capacity restraints. Some sessions, like roundtable discussions, Q&As, or mentor meetings, have limited capacities—and these sessions are typically the most valuable for networking and applying your learnings.

Plan your schedule early to avoid disappointment. Subscribe to the event’s email list or follow them on social media so you can stay up-to-date on when the schedule gets released.

4. Meet someone new

It’s easy to attend an online conference and not meet a single new person—again, no happy hours, no elevator meet-cutes, nothing. This is a missed opportunity, especially with how few organic chances there have been to make new connections during the pandemic.

When you’re planning your schedule, sign up for a number of networking events that’s just slightly above your comfort zone (wouldn’t be a true conference experience otherwise!), and also carve out time to prepare for them so you can make the most of them while you’re there.

5. Get off your desk

Attending an online conference doesn’t have to feel like just another day of work—switch things up by moving away from your desk for the day.

Some big conferences like SXSW are pulling out all the stops and creating TV apps to take the virtual experience to the next level. This was a game-changer for making the conference experience more immersive, and I was also able to share it with family members, which was even more fun.

Dannielle's TV conference setup

If the conference doesn’t have an app, consider casting or connecting your computer to a TV, if you have one. That way, you have a bigger screen to take in all the details, and you can enjoy a comfortable spot on the couch. Bonus points if you’re able to take notes on your laptop or a notepad while the talks play on your TV.

No TV? Or maybe your eyes can’t take another hour of being on a screen? Consider using the conference’s mobile app (or your mobile browser) to tune in with headphones while going for a refreshing walk—or folding up the distracting laundry pile. This works particularly well for a panel discussion or fireside chat where there won’t be an accompanying slide deck presentation.

Video brain breaks are helpful during the regular work week too—not only during virtual conferences. Consider joining Zoom meetings by audio more often.

6. Enjoy the entertainment

The best online conferences break up heavy content with lighter entertainment. One of the most memorable parts of Slack Frontiers, which I tuned into last October, was a monologue by comedian Sarah Cooper.

Use entertainment as a mental break from absorbing more dense material. If the thought of fun during work hours still feels weird, you can consider multi-tasking a little or using it as light background noise while you plan your next day, follow up with new connections, or squeeze in lunch.

7. Share your learnings

After any development opportunity, it’s valuable to take a few moments to reflect on what you’ve learned and the impact the experience had on your professional development or business outcomes. It’s even more valuable to share these details with your team. I typically do this by recapping my takeaways in an internal site article—in fact, this site article was the evolution of an internal one I provided with my team on tips for online conferences.

An internal site article from Dannielle talking about SXSW

Even if no one reads my articles, writing forces me to be accountable for getting the most out of my experience and consider how to apply my learnings to my job. Maybe writing an internal site article isn’t your style—you could publish a recap video on LinkedIn, share notes over Slack, live-tweet a session, or discuss your experience at a team meeting.

8. Invite your colleagues

Go beyond sharing your learnings: share the experience itself. As you plan your schedule, consider inviting teammates (or that industry acquaintance you’ve been meaning to reconnect with) to sessions that they’d be interested in, particularly if it’s a free event.

You can send a calendar hold with registration details and spin up a thread on Slack or Microsoft Teams to discuss the session live, which builds excitement and allows folks to share insights in real time.

Dannielle inviting people via Slack

Attending online conferences has taught me a ton about my work, but more importantly, about myself and my learning style. With the right environment, plan, and balance, I’m able to get the most out of my time and energy. Instead of being socially tapped out and usually a little jet-lagged after in-person conferences, I walk away (er, close my laptop) with new perspectives to apply to my life and share with others. I hope my tips help you do the same.

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How to use Zapier to automate Notion—and turn it into the perfect information hub

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This post was provided by MOZ.

Most people have a collection of productivity apps they use to take notes, list tasks, and track projects—but doesn’t that seem a little inefficient? Perhaps Notion saw the irony, because it brings together features and functions from apps like Airtable, Asana, Google Docs, and more into one streamlined app so you can store all your information in one spot.

While Notion is perfect for app minimalists and those who like to customize their workspace, users have had to manually move information between Notion and other apps to get everything in the right place.

Not anymore: Zapier’s Notion integration is now live.

Zapier helps you connect web apps to automate the tedious stuff in your day. Our automatic workflows—which we call Zaps—send information from one app to another, so you don’t have to hop between Notion and the other apps you use to get work done.

Whether you’re a Notion power user or you’re just getting started with the app, we’ve collected a few Zaps to help you make your Notion workspace a true one-stop shop for your most important information. Just click on a Zap and we’ll guide you through the set-up process.

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.

Table of contents

How the integration works


The Notion integration has one trigger—the event that can start a Zap. You can have Zapier start an automated workflow whenever there’s a new database item in your Notion workspace. You can specify which database or property Zapier should watch to start your Zap.


There is one search available for the Notion integration—Find Database Item. This will locate an existing database item in your Notion workspace so you can make a change to it or send information from it to another place.


The Notion integration also has two actions—the event your automated workflow performs in Notion. You can search for an item in a Notion database by property. You could use a trigger within Notion, say if you want a new item in one place to update an item somewhere else. Or you can set your trigger to be something outside Notion, like closing a new deal in your CRM or completing a task in a to-do list.

  • The Create Database Item action will create a new database item in your Notion workspace. For example, if you want an item created in Notion whenever you land a new client.

  • The Update Database Item will change an existing database item in your Notion workspace. This action works best when you use the Find Database Item search before it. Here’s an example: Let’s say you want to update an item in your team’s Notion workspace after you’ve marked a task complete in your personal Todoist account. You would first use the Find Database Item search to tell Zapier to look for the Notion item matching the Todoist task. Then, add the action to have Zapier update that item for you.

A multi-step workflow in Zapier's editor. The second step has a Notion search action and the third step is an update action.

How to connect Zapier to your Notion workspace

Here’s how to set it up:

  1. Check your Notion account permissions.

  2. Create your bot in Notion.

  3. Invite your bot to your Notion databases.

Check your Notion account permissions

Before you try to connect Zapier to your Notion account, make sure you’re an admin in your workspace. You can check this by clicking on Settings in the left-hand navigation window.

A red box highlights the Settings & Members menu item in Notion.

Under the Members tab, you can see whether you have admin-level access in your workspace.

The member permission settings in the Notion app.

Create your bot in Notion

Once you ensure you have the correct access, toggle to the Integrations tab in Settings. Click on the link that says Develop your own integrations.

A red box highlights a link that says "Develop your own integrations."

You’ll be taken to Notion’s My Integrations page. Click the + New integration button.

Notion's My integrations page. A red box highlights the + New integration button.

You’ll be prompted to give your bot a name. You can make it something simple, like Zapier Bot, so your team knows what it is. You can also associate your integration with specific workspaces and even upload a logo for your bot. When you’ve finished entering in your basic information, click Submit.

Creating a new integration in Notion. A red arrow highlights the area to give the bot a name.

You’ll see your newly-created bot. Under Secrets, click on Show to reveal your secret token, and click Copy.

A red arrow highlights the integration token for the new bot.

Click Copy token and paste it somewhere easy to find. You’ll need this when you try to connect Notion to Zapier for the first time.

A red arrow highlights the Copy link, instructing the user to copy the secret token.

Whenever you’re ready to connect Notion in the Zapier editor, search for and select Notion as your app, then select the trigger, action, or search. Click Continue.

The Notion app is selected in the Zap editor.

You’ll then be prompted to connect your Notion account. Click Sign in to Notion. You’ll see a window prompting you for your bot token. Paste the token you copied earlier from your Notion workspace, and click Yes, Continue.

A Zapier pop-up window requesting a bot token from Notion. A red arrow guides users to paste their bot token in the empty field.

You’ve now connected your Notion account to Zapier! But we’re not done yet.

Invite your Zapier bot to your Notion databases

Bots can only access Notion databases they’ve been explicitly invited to. (They’re polite bots.)

Before you can finish creating your Zap with Notion, you need to invite your bot to the databases you want it to have access to. When you do this, it’ll tell Zapier which databases it’s allowed to watch for trigger events or to perform actions in.

Sharing your database with your Zapier bot is simple. Toggle the database you need for your Zap, and click the Share link at the top-right corner of your workspace.

A red box highlights the Share option in a Notion database.

You’ll see a pop-up with different sharing options. Click on the space that says Add people, groups, or emails.

A pop-up of sharing options in Notion. There's a prompt to add people, groups, or emails, along with a blue invite button.

Find and select your bot, and click the Invite button.

The Zapier bot is selected within Notion's sharing options. A red box highlights the invite button.

Now you’ll see your bot listed under the sharing options anytime you click on the Share button in that database.

The sharing options in Notion with the Zapier Bot given edit permissions.

Repeat this process for other databases you want to use with Zapier. Then, set up your automated workflow in the Zap editor, and turn on your Zap!

New to Zapier? Learn more about how to build Zapier workflows in our Zapier quick-start guide, then come back here to learn how to connect your favorite apps to Zapier.

Popular ways to use Notion with Zapier

Notion combines the best of your favorite productivity tools into one app, but sometimes you still need information from outside apps. Here are a few ways you can turn your Notion workspace into a centralized hub for your most important information:

Note: The Zaps below may not include a specific Notion action or search that you’re looking for, but that doesn’t mean Zapier can’t do it. Whenever you click on a Zap, you can change the action or add steps right from the editor. Learn more about creating Zaps.

Create and update documents

I’m a writer and even I can get lost in a sea of documents. “Can you drop a link to the spreadsheet?” “Which doc are we looking at again?”

Notion allows you to create database items that look like pages, so you can create a centralized place for your most important documents, such as meeting notes or internal documentation.

Whether you need to copy spreadsheet rows into your Notion database or need your meeting agendas in one place, these workflows will automatically create and update the documents you need, when you need them.

Track tasks and projects

While Notion is a great option for managing projects, the one-size-fits-most approach doesn’t always work for teams who need to track software bugs, feature requests, or other specialized tasks. However, a developer may not want someone from sales poking into a Github repository.

If you use Notion as a public-facing version of a project, these Zaps will ensure your workspace matches up with the work you’re doing in JIRA or another project management tool.

Organize customer information

Whether you’re trying to organize form submissions, appointment bookings, or invite attendees, it can be helpful to have that information in the same space where you do most of your planning. These Zaps will automatically create Notion database items for you, so you can keep tabs on your customers, without wasting time manually importing information.

Stay on top of changes in Notion

When you’re working collaboratively in a provided workspace, it’s important for your team to know when something major has changed in your project plan.

Instead of relying on a human to notify the team—or trying spot the change on your own—these Zaps will automatically notify you in a team chat app whenever there’s a new database item in Notion.

You can also connect Notion with Microsoft Teams, Discord, or your preferred team chat app.

If you’re working with external stakeholders, they’ll also need to be notified of major changes. Instead of giving them access to your workspace, you can use an automated workflow to draft an email for you.

Log anything you want

Whether you’re tracking brand mentions online, your published posts, or you just want to save interesting posts in one place, Notion is a great tool for logging your favorite links. Skip the copy-and-paste routine with these Zaps, which will automatically create Notion database items for you.

You can also connect Notion with WordPress or Pocket.

Take your productivity to the next level with Notion and Zapier

This is just the start of all that you can do with Notion and Zapier. Zapier supports thousands of apps, so you automate almost any task at work. Create your Zap now and see what you can do.

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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How to choose project management software for external team members

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This post was sourced from by MOZ.

When you’re choosing project management software, you’re likely to focus on your internal team’s needs. It’s a natural instinct, and it’s a good one. But if you also work with third-party vendors, agencies, or freelancers, you need to pick a tool that can add them into the fold too.

Connect your project management software to your other apps

As a freelancer, I’ve used at least 17 different project management tools (there are probably more I’ve forgotten), and I currently have accounts with 11. I understand what makes some project management apps easy for working with a client, and which features—or lack of features—can make these tools migraine-inducing.

Here I’ll talk about how to choose a project management tool that facilitates teamwork with both internal and external team members alike.

Why you should consider external team members when choosing your app

The good news is that a big chunk of us external folks aren’t all that picky about learning new software—within reason.

Is the tool relatively straightforward? Is it necessary for the work we’re doing? Are you paying for me to have access to whatever features you want me to use? Then we’re all good: I’ll actively engage with the platform.

Some software, however, seems almost deliberately difficult for external team members to keep up with, especially when we have so many we’re using already. If the tool is a headache, your freelancers and agencies might say no to using it—they’ll want to work via email or a tool of their choice instead, preventing full integration.

How to choose project management software to share with external parties

In my work with all of the tools, I’ve noticed five things that make project management apps smooth as an external contributor.

1. Streamlined communication capabilities

I’m not naming any names, but for the better part of two years, I had a client who used a project management tool that I absolutely despised. The problem? The app’s communication wasn’t streamlined.

Conversations weren’t threaded, which was already confusing, and there were about five different locations in-app that people could send each other messages. I would get an email or push notification that I had a message, but it wouldn’t tell me where the message was or how many messages there were. If the message got buried under multiple conversations before you logged in (which happens a lot when working across different time zones), it was a nightmare.

In terms of communication among internal and external teams, one of my favorite tools has been Trello. You can comment on different cards, tag members as needed, and get emails that will take you directly to the comment in question. It also integrates with Zapier, so you can connect it to your own to-do list, calendar, or other app you use.

The comment feature on Trello

2. Reliable notification systems

I have plenty of clients who don’t email me when they want something: they only use their project notification tools. While I do push back against this, as long as I get a prompt email notification alerting me to an in-app message, I can work with that.

Most tools send notifications, but not all of them reliably. Here are some of the issues I’ve run into that you should check for before committing to a tool:

  • Some apps may only send email notifications for “high-traffic” conversations.

  • Other tools only send email notifications days later if the message has gone unread.

  • Some popular tools won’t send notifications if I’m “away,” which often happens when I work in different time zones from the clients. It’s not that I’ll only get the notification when I return—I won’t get one at all.

  • Not all tools send notifications for new assignments or comments on a task.

I work with, on average, 15 different clients every month. Like many other freelancers, I don’t have the time or resources to log in to every account every day to check for messages. I need those notifications.

An email notification from

As for recommendations, ClickUp,, CoSchedule, Trello, and Asana have all been super reliable for me in terms of notifications.

3. Intuitive user experience

While your internal team has time to learn the ins and outs of the tool, streamlining it for their needs, freelancers won’t be on board with that. Any time we spend learning a tool isn’t usually billable, which means we’re not likely to go out of our way to do it.

If your project management tool is complex or has valuable features buried deep within the platform, assignments, tasks, and comments are easy to miss.

If you can’t figure out exactly how to use the tool within ten minutes, skip it. And even if you’re using the most intuitive tool on the planet, it’s worth documenting specific instructions for how you’d like external team members to use it. That’ll ensure that they’re using it in a way that makes your life easier too. You might even send a recording showing how to use the tool instead of scheduling a meeting—they’ll love that.

The intuitive Trello interface

4. Granular permissions levels

In many cases, you don’t necessarily want external workers to have access to all of the data you have stored in your project management app. A freelance graphic designer has no need to see your complex PPC strategy or internal hiring structure, for example. For this reason, choose a tool that allows you to share specific information as you see fit.

In Notion, for example, you can send specific projects and tasks to users, giving them access only to what’s needed for them to knock out their part of the assignment. In Asana, you can create boards specifically for external people. Lots of tools have features like this, but each one offers different levels of granularity. Be sure you’re comfortable with what your selection offers.

5. Price

A lot of project management apps are priced per user. If you have a single freelancer you want to add to the tool, it’s not a big deal. But if you’re working with a whole host of external team members, it can add up. Your freelancers definitely won’t pay their own way, so you want to be sure you can add team members without breaking the bank. (There are even some free project management apps.)

Look for apps that have plans with unlimited users, and be sure those users don’t have to all have your same email address.

Ask the stakeholders

If you’re actively looking for a new tool, you can always ask the external team members you’re working with. If they’ve been in the game for a while, there’s a good chance that they have solid recommendations. At the very least, they may be able to rule some contenders out.

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Facebook Lead Ads: 4 ways to automate your campaign’s success

SEO and General Business tutorials and tips.

This post was provided by MOZ.

As an advertising tool, Facebook Lead Ads is in a league of its own, with a reach of over 1.8 billion users and the ability to drive qualified leads to your company without ever forcing users to leave Facebook.

Many advertisers find that Facebook Lead Ads offers the best cost per acquisition (CPA) in their advertising arsenal. With this tool, you can create forms within Facebook that let potential customers request info or sign up for things like newsletters, coupons, price estimates, and more—all without leaving Facebook.

But there’s a catch. Since only seven customer relationship management (CRM) systems—out of more than 30 on the market— provide native integrations with Facebook Lead Ads, most advertisers have to manually download and import their leads before they become usable.

Facebook Lead Ads

Luckily, there is another way. Zapier’s Facebook Lead Ads integration allows you bring new leads into your CRM system, email marketing tool, or customer database of choice. More than 750 business apps are connected to Zapier.

In reaching out to over 40 of Zapier’s users, we find out that many of them were on the verge of giving up on Facebook Lead Ads altogether, before they find the way to automate the process.

One advertiser, Costin Geletu, Paid Traffic Manager of Cave Tools, went so far as to say: “From my point of view, Facebook Lead Ads without Zapier is like gun with no bullets. We didn’t used FB Lead Ads until we’ve find an automation solution like Zapier. If we had to do all that stuff manually, it would probably have taken us a lot of time and more money. Now, it’s set it and forget it. Definitely a must have in any business.”

Here’s how you can do the same for your business with Facebook Lead Ads and Zapier, with stories from Zapier users that share how they’ve built automated workflows to grow their businesses and gain new customers.

Quickly Get the Right Leads to the Right People

Downloading your Facebook leads and distributing them to your team several times a day is a huge time sink. But exporting once a day means that, by the time your outreach team gets ahold of these leads, they’ll be lukewarm.

For National University of Health Sciences webmaster Rachel Campbell, it was a long process to get the university’s Facebook leads into the hands of their Admissions team. Every week, Rachel would download leads, upload them to Hubspot, and then send them to the Admissions team, which use a different CRM. Now, she lets Zapier handle all that.

Without this Zap, I don’t think I would be able to use Facebook Lead Ads, to be honest.

“It literally saves me hours of work every week,” she said. “In addition to ensuring we don’t lose any leads due to manual error (of download/uploading sets of leads), it also saves me time. Our Admissions team is notified instantly, and our prospective students are contacted within 24 hours.”

Rachel had almost given up on Facebook Lead Ads altogether, before streamlining her process.

Without this Zap, I don’t think I would be able to use Facebook Lead Ads, to be honest. Facebook Lead Ads have turned out to be our best performing source of online advertising, so it would have been a huge opportunity missed had we not used them.

To start streamlining your own team-to-team workflow, use one of the Zaps below or create your own.

Provide a Better User Experience

We love the internet, but it has created an expectation of instant gratification. You click on a link, you expect no delay in page load. You trade your information to an advertiser, you expect the promised response. If this doesn’t happen quickly, you become indifferent to the advertisers—at best.

But for many advertisers like Siera Rejcek, an Account Executive at social media management company SocialStrategy1, sometimes processing your leads daily is the very best you can manage when the process is manual. Siera would download leads daily, manually input them into the company CRM, then copy and paste this data into Google Sheets. Users would have to wait at least 24 hours to get their requested information. Now, she does things differently.

If a lead requests information, and you contact them within 10 minutes, it is highly likely that you will still be top of mind.

“We use Zapier to input any leads that we receive from Facebook ads into a MailChimp list,” she explained. “We have also connected our MailChimp lists to our Google Sheets, so that when a lead is added to our MailChimp list, they are then added to a lead spreadsheet. Because these Zaps are performed every 5 minutes, we know that as soon as an individual requests information, they are going to receive a welcome email and then be contacted by our customer service employees via our Google Sheet.”

In addition to cutting out a lot of busywork every day, Siera’s Zaps help the company know that:

  1. Their CRM system is constantly being updated,

  2. Leads are receiving information within a timely manner, and

  3. The customer service team is reaching out as soon as leads request information from us.

But with all the other priorities that come with an advertising campaign, some advertisers wonder: Is user experience for a Facebook-hosted campaign really worth the energy companies like SocialStrategy1 put into it? Siera thinks so.

As we know, user experience is hard to quantify in terms of ROI, but has a huge ripple effect on the bottom line at any business. However, we do know that because our process is now streamlined, it has saved us anywhere from $300 to $600 a month!

Build a better user experience for your Facebook leads in just a few easy steps.

Nurture Leads with Autoresponders

One of the best uses for Facebook Lead Ads is to drive signups to your email list. Whatever lead magnet attracts these new subscribers in the first place, it’s important to acknowledge their addition to your list and give them a warm welcome—before you become one more email in their Gmail’s “Promotions” inbox.

For author Shannon Kuzmich , it’s very important that her new subscribers get their lead magnet and welcome email quickly, to build their long-term interest in her newsletter. This proved difficult when she was handling every lead herself.

“Several times a day, I was having to check whether there were any new leads in the Facebook forms library, download them, and then copy and paste them manually into the correct MailChimp email list,” Shannon explained.

“My Facebook Ads performed well, generating tens of leads a day, so I had to repeat this process four or five times a day to avoid delays in delivering the reader magnet to the lead. Added up, this took a great deal of time and focus away from my writing.”

No more worrying about whether a lead is feeling frustrated because they haven’t received their reader magnet and welcome email.

When she discovered Zapier, Shannon set up a Zap that automatically transfers leads generated from her Facebook Ads directly to her MailChimp list. Once transferred to the list, an automated email welcome sequence is triggered, sending a series of 5 emails over a period of 30 days, including a link to a reader magnet in the first email of the series.

Now, she says, “I’m able to leave it to Zapier and let the workflow run, allowing me to remain immersed in my writing. No more worrying about whether a lead is feeling frustrated because they haven’t received their reader magnet and welcome email.”

Easily set up autoresponder triggers for your new Facebook leads in Zapier by using one of the templates below, or by creating your own.

Make Good on Your Lead Magnet Promise

One sticking point with Facebook Lead Ads is that it’s difficult to quickly and efficiently follow up on leads. This is a problem especially if your lead magnet promises a download or coupon. People today expect fairly instant results if they submit their information in exchange for something.

Butter Maid Bakery faced this problem while trying to drive more email traffic during a high-opportunity season—and learned that, by emailing coupons instantly to new Facebook leads, they were able to achieve drastic results:

Thanks to Zapier we were able to offer a coupon on Lead Ads that was instantly emailed [through MailChimp] to the lead, increasing our Click Through Rate by over 6,000%, and significantly reducing our ad spend at $4.47 per lead.

Use Zapier to connect Facebook Lead Ads and your CRM or email platform of choice in just a few simple steps.

Use Efficiency as a Competitive Advantage

If you’re an agency that runs Facebook Lead Ads for your clients, you’re among hundreds of similar services. It’s tough to stay competitive, but one way you can rise above the pack is to emphasize efficiency and real-time service.

Zapier’s integration with Facebook Lead Ads has allowed us to get into the ‘NOW,’ as the in-real-time lead alert is one of the main selling points we have for our agency.

Michelle Via is the Vice President of iVelocity Marketing, and her team uses Facebook Lead Ads with Zapier to deliver real-time lead notifications to their client—something that’s a major attraction for their clients. Michelle and her team use a creative Multi-Step Zap with Facebook Lead Ads.

“With sending the leads to AWeber and Google Sheets we are able to alert our clients of a lead in real time, versus having to manually export. Zapier’s integration with Facebook Lead Ads have allowed us to be able to use [the real-time] ad style as a truly viable opportunity. Our business relies on real-time integration,” she said.

Prior to integrating with Zapier, iVelocity Marketing didn’t consider Facebook Lead Ads a viable option, since the manual process of exporting leads and sending to clients throughout the day was simply too slow. This lag time kept them from rolling it out as a service to all of their clients. The impact their new workflow has had on their business? Michelle says, “It has allowed us to continue to be innovative with a new ad platform while integrating with our existing systems and software that are vital to our operational flow.”

Automatically Register Leads for a Webinar

For some companies, Facebook provides a great platform for prospective webinar attendees. But asking users to click away from Facebook to a landing page—and from there to a form—heightens the risk of losing potential leads before they complete the registration process.

Shopify find a better way to leverage Facebook for driving webinar traffic:

“Shopify has been using Zapier’s Lead Ad integration to push Facebook users that sign up through our ad to our webinar and email list,” says Corey Ferreira, Shopify’s content marketer. “Instead of having to build out a landing page and send users to it from an ad, Zapier’s integration removes that step, creating less friction.”

This Zap is simple to set up: use the template below to get started in less than two minutes.

Maybe one of these solutions was the exact one you needed. That’s great! You can get started on your own success story right now.

Or maybe you have a unique situation or an unconventional business model, whose struggles don’t really fit with any of the stories we provided. That’s also great—it means you’re trying something new and facing new challenges.

Zapier is made for people like you—people who want to keep improving and innovating. So have fun, experiment with your own Zaps, and come up with some new ways to automate success with Facebook Lead Ads!

Lightbulb image designed by Freepik. Facebook Lead Ad image courtesy of Facebook.

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How to Filter, Combine, and Customize RSS Feeds

SEO and General Business tutorials and tips.

This article was shared by MOZ.

Want to keep up with your favorite blogs without getting overwhelmed? There are too many things published each day to possibly read them all—but you also don’t want to miss things. Skimming through headlines in your news reader app can help, but we’ve got a better trick: An RSS Superfeed—one you can customize and roll your own.

RSS—or really simple syndication—feeds are one of the best ways to keep up with your favorite blogs. Almost every blog and news blog includes an RSS feed, often at or Subscribe to them with an RSS feed reader app like Feedly or Newsblur, and you can read all of the top headlines together.

However, this can still be overwhelming if you follow more than a handful of blogs. Instead, customize and filter your own RSS feeds using app automation tool Zapier and you can create one RSS feed that includes just the articles you’re most interested in. You can even combine several RSS feeds to get all of your favorite articles into one easily digestible RSS feed.

Here’s how.

1. Find the RSS feeds you want to follow

First, copy the RSS feed link for each blog you want to follow. Just open your favorite webblogs and look for the RSS logo as you see below—or for the word feed in the blog footer.

An orange arrow points to the RSS logo in the footer of a web page. The RSS logo looks like a dot with two concentric quarter-circles above it and to the right.

If you don’t see that, there are a few ways to find the RSS feed on any blog. If you have a bookmarklet or browser extension installed for a feed reader app like Feedly, press it while visiting a blog to find its RSS feed. Or, drag the RSS autodiscovery bookmarklet from Laughing Meme to your browser’s bookmark bar, and click it to see the RSS feed as in the screenshot above. Another way is to open the webpage’s source from your browser’s Inspect Element menu option, and search for type="application/rss+xml" or feed, and you’ll likely find the link.

Or, you could start out with the RSS feed for the Zapier blog, if you’d like:

2. Make an RSS Zap

The trigger step of an RSS Zap in Zapier showing fieds for the feed URL, a username and password, if applicable, and the trigger information.

Now, we’ll add the RSS feeds to a Zapier workflow. Open Zapier, create a free account if you don’t have one yet, then click the Make a Zap button in the top left corner.

Select the RSS app, then you’ll need to choose the correct trigger for your needs. If you want to follow multiple RSS feeds, select the New Items in Multiple Feeds option. Or, to follow only one RSS feed, choose the New Item in Feed trigger, and click Continue.

Setting up a trigger for new items in multiple feeds. There are spaces to add several feeds to the Zap.

You’ll now paste your RSS feed into the Feed URL box. If you’re using the New Items in Multiple Feeds trigger, a new line will appear each time you add a URL, letting you add multiple feeds. Tap the X button if you need to remove one.

Click Continue again, then test the RSS connection to make sure Zapier can copy new articles from your RSS feeds.

Tip: If you have a private RSS feed, perhaps for an internal company blog or a subscription-based blog, you may need to enter the username and password for the feed as well—and for that, you’ll need to use the single feed New Item in Feed trigger.

3. Filter your RSS feed articles (optional)

A Filter step in Zapier showing fields for setup and testing, including the condition to filter by "Title," the restriction "(Text) Contains", and the specific text to look for "Trello."

Want to only get certain articles in your combined RSS feed? The next step is to filter your RSS feed, so you’ll only get new articles that interest you. This is an advanced Zapier step—one that requires a paid Zapier account, so if you are using Zapier’s free plan you can contact our support team and mention this article to activate a new 14-day trial to try this out.

In the Choose App part of your Zap, select the Filter app. There, we’ll have Zapier watch your article titles for the keywords you want to follow.

Say you only want to read articles about Trello from the Zapier blog. You’d select Title in the filter’s first menu, then select (Text) Contains, and finally type Trello in the last field.

Want to watch for multiple things, perhaps either articles about Trello or Salesforce? Click Or, and add a new filter to also watch for Salesforce articles. You could click And instead to watch only for articles about both Trello and Salesforce.

Want to only read articles from specific authors? Select Raw Author in the filter’s first menu, and then add your favorite author’s name.

Learn more about filtering data with Zapier.

4. Add your filtered articles to a new RSS feed

Setting up an RSS action step. In an action step, you will see fields for the feed URL, the feed title, the maximum number of records to be returned, and the title of the item in the feed.

Now you need a way to read these filtered articles. Add one more step to your Zap, this time selecting Zapier’s RSS app once more. Choose Create Item in Feed to build your RSS Superfeed.

First add a Feed URL—this is the new RSS feed you’ll follow to see your filtered articles. You’ll get a default Zapier URL like, and then you’ll add your own suffix to it, perhaps “superfeed”.

Tip: Copy this link and save it in your favorite note-taking app or a new document so you’ll have it whenever you want to share or subscribe it.

Mapping fields in the Zapier editor, bringing in items from a prior step, like the item title, source URL, and content description.

Give your RSS feed a name in the Feed Title field. Then click the Item Title field, and select the article title from your RSS feed. Repeat that for the Source URL and Content fields, selecting the Link and Description fields from your RSS feed, respectively.

If the blogs you follow often publish long articles, you might want to select Yes in the Automatically Truncate Messages over 10KB option as well. You can also fill in any other fields for your RSS feed—but that’s enough to get your feed working.

5. Turn on your Zap

A turned on Zap, with an alert in the upper right corner that reads "Your Zap is on! you can turn off your Zap at any time by toggling this switch."

With that, your filtered RSS feed is ready to use! Just give your Zap a name and turn it on. Then open your RSS feed reader, and subscribe to your new RSS Superfeed link that you copied previously.

Don’t stop there!

Now that you’ve got a Zapier-powered RSS Superfeed, it’s time to put it to work. Zapier has hundreds of triggers and actions for over 750 apps, so you can build the wildest RSS app ever imagined.

You can add alerts to your RSS feed to get notified via email, SMS, or push notification whenever a new article comes in.

Or you could add other apps to your RSS feed such as Pocket and Evernote or articles from social networks like Facebook and Twitter.

Then check out Zapier’s RSS integrations for other great ways to use your new RSS Superfeed.

Continue reading

Post originally published March 20, 2013; updated in March 2017 by Matthew Guay, and on May 11, 2021, by Tyler Robertson to include Zapier’s latest interface and features.

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9 mistakes you’re making as a founder

SEO and General Business tutorials and tips.

This article was shared by MOZ.

Startups are scary. It’s like the first day of kindergarten on repeat. Except you don’t actually know where your classroom is—or where your school is, for that matter.

A startup is also a breeding ground for mistakes. Some small, like the time I articleed a bachelorette party outing on my company’s Instagram story (thankfully we didn’t have that many followers)—and some big, like thinking that micromanaging the new hire made me a good leader because I knew it all (she quit).

Everyone will make mistakes, and that’s part of the experience. But there are some mistakes you can make as a founder that can really cost you. And I’m not talking about not getting enough sleep or pretending your coffee counts as water. Those are important, yes, but I’m talking about the mistakes we don’t realize are mistakes until it’s too late. I’m a startup and small business consultant, so I’ve seen these mistakes up close. And, of course, I’ve made almost all of them myself.

9 mistakes you’re making as a founder

As a founder, you have the weight of the world on your shoulders. It’s do or die—not just for you, but for your family, your investors, and the employees relying on the company’s success so they can see that next paycheck. Here are the mistakes I’ve seen from founders that are detrimental—but completely preventable.

1. Assuming your employees will be just as passionate about your company as you

You are the parent of your company; your employees are like the cousins. You’re going to be up at night sweating the small stuff, worrying about growth and VCs and when you’ll sleep again, while your employees are just looking to have a casual playdate.

I’ve seen founders get so frustrated because their team just isn’t executing at the level they expect, when in reality, they’re comparing their team’s performance to their own. Your company will always be a bigger part of you than it is for your employees. Expecting your employees to feel what you feel and work how you work is going to be a losing game.

Don’t get me wrong—your employees need to be engaged in the work and support your mission. But just like the fun cousin, they’ll get to leave at 5 p.m. and not spend their entire evening worried about all the terrible things that might happen to your baby.

2. Overhiring for specialties

I’m going to take a wild guess and say that your business doesn’t have a lot of disposable cash.

You may feel the need to quickly hire a CMO or Director of Sales and start building the departments you will inevitably need. Resist that urge, at least for a while. You probably don’t have enough for a specialist to do right now, which will be frustrating for them and also a big financial burden for you. Instead, think about what you need now and how well you need it done. Then go hire a generalist or two. They’ll be able to build the foundations of these areas and automate the necessary tasks to keep you moving.

3. Not making data-driven decisions

Whoever said “always trust your gut” didn’t run a startup. Just like steak pairs well with wine, your gut instinct pairs well with data.

I know it’s a lot easier to just run with an idea and see what sticks—and there’s definitely a time and place for that, like writing a new email sequence. But when it comes to bigger decisions that can greatly impact the direction of your company, like determining which industry your company should target next, use data. And wine.

4. Not working on your leadership skills

Leadership isn’t a part of your job—it’s another job entirely. It requires just as much, if not more, attention and nurturing than your production responsibilities. And just because you’re good at your job doesn’t mean you’ll make a good leader.

Not understanding this was one of my biggest failures and greatest learning experiences. I was having the weekly one-on-ones, giving feedback, handing out tasks, and answering all the questions—I was making it so that my employees needed me around in order to succeed. But that just made me a subpar manager, not a leader. What my team really needed was for me to make them feel empowered.

5. Not leading by example

Your employees look to you for guidance: they will mirror what you model. If you’re working through dinner, coming in on weekends, never taking a vacation…chances are, most of your employees will do the same. The difference? They can quit when they burn out. You can’t.

I remember consistently having this conversation with the founder of a startup. “We give our people unlimited PTO, but they never take it!” he’d say. And I would ask, “well, when’s the last time you took a vacation?” [Crickets.]

Yes, taking a vacation is important for you, but it’s also important for your employees. Block it off on your calendar and talk publicly about why you’re doing it. Set the example, and allow your employees the same privilege of not burning the candle at both ends.

6. Not delegating

I get it: nobody could ever run your business better than you. You built it from the ground up. You know the ins and outs and the nuances. It’s just easier if you continue to do even those small tasks that keep the gears moving.

As someone who was paralyzed by the mere idea of handing anything off, I will tell you in my best Morgan Freeman voice that it is, in fact, noteasier if you continue to do everything yourself. This isn’t Thanksgiving dinner—no need to try to fit as much on your plate as possible. I promise that your employees want nothing more than to show you that they can tackle a task—and even improve upon it.

7. Not listening to your employees

When’s the last time you sat down with one of your employees and said, “I want to know from you what I could be doing better, as your coworker, as your leader, as the founder of this company. Where can I improve?”

This kind of conversation can unlock another level of understanding and growth for both you and your team. For me, it became one of the conversations I most looked forward to. I could see how empowered they felt and how it helped them gain more confidence. And I learned more about myself from those conversations than anywhere else.

8. Not being transparent

There are some things that shouldn’t be transparent. Like bathroom stalls. But how can you expect your team to do their best work if they don’t know what the bigger picture is, or if they can’t see behind the curtain?

If you want your team to become efficient, self-motivated, and to go above and beyond, they need to know the good and the bad. They need to know where the gaps are so they can help you. I’ve personally witnessed how a team’s investment in their work drastically improves when they feel like they’re in the know. When you’re vulnerable with your team and show them the greater impact of what they’re doing, it becomes more personal to them.

Plus, if you have a smart team, they already know what’s behind the curtain, so hiding it only makes it seem like they should fear the direction of the company.

“Default to transparency” is one of Zapier’s core values. But transparency has its limits.

9. Making your team constantly switch priorities

You know what’s fun? A Nintendo Switch. You know what’s not fun? Constantly switching priorities. It’s exhausting, for both you and your team.

The larger your business is, the more important it will be to stop and make sure the idea you’re about to pull the trigger on is really something that needs to be done immediately—and if so, what other priorities can your team members shift off their plates to fully execute the new initiative?

Having been a part of a startup that was a daily direction changer and then a startup that made more thoughtful, strategic decisions, the difference in company culture and employee happiness was astounding. Don’t be the startup that does a million things at 50%, but not one thing at 100%.

This was a guest article from Isidora Prohaska, founder of Lunarlo Consulting, a consulting firm that helps small businesses and startups build their plans, processes, and automation. She has spent many years working alongside founders and business owners and has seen her share of successes and mistakes alike. Her work as a generalist gives her unique insight into all facets of a startup. She offers a free 30-minute consultation to first-time clients to help get them positioned for success. Want to see your work on the Zapier site? Read our guidelines, and get in touch.

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I tried replacing my computer with an iPad Pro. It did not go well.

SEO and General Business tutorials and tips.

This post was sourced from by MOZ.

Apple once aired a commercial where an iPad-toting young person is asked what she’s doing on her computer, only to ask what a computer is. The implication being that these devices are so great you don’t need a computer, or even to know what a computer is.

This might be why, when I dropped my laptop off at the Apple Store for battery repair, I figured I could do 100% of my job on my iPad Pro. I was optimistic. I’m a team lead here at Zapier, which means I don’t write a lot of code anymore. I spend most of my time on my laptop in Zoom calls, in Slack, or in a browser—all things you could theoretically do on an iPad.

I have a 2020 iPad Pro with one of the older clamshell keyboards (not the fancy ones with a touchpad). In the past, I’ve found that using my iPad is a great way to cultivate dedicated focus time for reading or writing. So I figured an iPad could replace a laptop. This should be easy, right?

It wasn’t easy

Unfortunately, the first few days were pretty rough. Mondays and Tuesdays, I spend almost all of my day on Zoom calls—and it’s a pain looking down at my iPad on call after call. The posture just isn’t great.

I tried a variety of positions: my iPad propped on my standing desk with me looming above it (can’t really use the screen), the iPad on the couch (less craning down, still pretty unusable), or with it on my lap. Only the last one actually let me use the device while taking a call.

One thing I didn’t anticipate: Zoom’s iPad app cuts out your video if you do anything else. Want to change the brightness? No video. Switch apps to look at the meeting agenda? Nope. Check your notifications? Bye-bye.

The only workaround is the two flavors of multitasking on iPadOS. The best version of this is where you can have two apps share the screen—but often you’ll lose some functionality when the apps shrink. If you’re on a call with screen sharing, Zoom drops your video from the call. The pop-over version of multitasking also works, but it’s much more inconsistent and presents a super skinny version of the second app.

The ridiculous trick that (kind of) made this work

Fortunately, I happened to talk with another iPad enthusiast. He saved my neck (literally) by recommending I use my Mac’s external keyboard and touchpad with the iPad. This let me hang my iPad on my external monitor and restored somewhat ergonomic working conditions by allowing me to stand while using the device. It did, however, look absurd.

Scott's iPad Pro hanging on his monitor

The touchpad in particular is really helpful—it’s mouse-like but does “feel” like using touch. The mouse-like pointer will expand and form around usable touch elements, so you know when to drag, pull, and use other gestures.

Using my monitor as a stand for an iPad is absurd, yes, but it worked. I found myself starting to get into a bit of a groove. The singular focus of iPadOS forced me to take one task at a time instead of hopping between email, Slack, my to-do list, and meetings. I could almost imagine this as my solution full-time and, getting really galaxy-brain, if I only could only plug my iPad into my external monitor (and it didn’t hijack my sound) and webcam, this could even be an improvement.

Still, some things just don’t work. Parts of Jira, Coda, and Figma just don’t fully function as an iPad app or in a mobile browser. And other seemingly easy things become impossible. I use Zappy, a Mac app, to host internal images. I have no idea how I’d access those images on my tablet. And of any kind of coding would be impossible, especially if I needed to inspect elements in a browser.

This works, but only barely

Overall I’d give the experience a C+. Using an iPad for my job is passable for the short term, but just barely. And it only really worked with the change in posture, plus the additions of an external keyboard and touchpad.

It’s a shame. I like the way I work on iPadOS and wish I could do more of it. A decade after launch, though, the iPad still isn’t robust enough to replace my computer. I wonder if that will ever change.

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4 chatbot tips from business owners 

SEO and General Business tutorials and tips.

This post was sourced from by MOZ.

In college, I set up an AIM bot that automatically responded to people when I was away from my computer, using my chat logs to predict reasonable responses to anything people said to me. This was a terrible idea.

The good news: chatbots have gotten much, much better since then.

In fact, plenty of small businesses use chatbots to answer questions and otherwise better serve their customers. These bots aren’t just a gimmick—they make it more likely that customers will work with you. And bots are easier to build than ever, thanks to a variety of no-code tools for the job.

I asked business owners with bots for their best bot-building tips. Here’s what they told me.

Answer common questions

Alexander Rådahl Ahlsen at Vogue Interiors, a UK-based home decor retailer, set up a bot using Intercom, which offers to help customers throughout the shopping process.

“If we see that the potential customer is spending some time at checkout, the bot takes the opportunity to ask if there is anything it can help with and also offers up a promo code to push them toward buying,” Alexander told me.

A chatbot offering a discount

The trick, he said, was to notice at what point in the shopping process people tend to get stuck—and to offer help at those exact moments.

“Start by looking at the most common questions you get across all your communication channels, and implement a simple bot to answer those,” he said. “It will really give the customer or user the feeling that you are there for them when it matters the most.”

Don’t overload your bot with features

Alina Clark, co-founder of PDF editing tool CocoDoc, used the HubSpot chatbot builder to make a bot that answers the most common customer questions. The bot immediately helped reduce churn, she told me.

Alina’s advice is to keep things simple:

Avoid overloading a chatbot with features. A chatbot with a mastery of one task is better than a chatbot with ten features, haphazardly clustered together. Besides, building a chatbot to undertake one task to completion is easier than building a chatbot to complete multiple tasks.

It’s tempting to try to build a bot for every possible problem, but that’s a rabbit hole that can take up a lot of time. Don’t dive in that deep right away. Think of the problem you want the chatbot to solve, and focus on solving that specific problem.

Bots don’t replace people—they supplement

Alejandro Uriarte of 1-800-Injured, a personal injury law firm, built a bot for their website using Juvo Leads. He told me the best bots are ones that know their limits.

An example of a chatbot

“As helpful as AI can be, it’s not quite as personal as human-to-human communication,” he said. “Bots can’t always offer the right solution if a problem or chat message is unrecognized by their programming flowchart.”

The solution? Directing users to an actual human person when the bot doesn’t have answers. “The customer will always appreciate it,” he said.

Alejandro’s setup connects customers to a human in the chat interface itself. You might not be able to afford to have humans on hand to respond to chat questions, but make sure you give customers something when the bot doesn’t have answers. That could be as simple as having the bot explain how to reach an actual person, whether that’s by email or by calling your office. The important thing is to keep the conversation going.

Stuck? Join a community.

Remember: you’re not the first person who’s trying to build a bot for their business. There are people all over the world doing the same thing.

Rick Hoskins of Filter King, which sells custom HVAC filters, used a ManyChat bot to build their Facebook following (ManyChat makes bots for Facebook Messenger). He couldn’t have done it without other business owners’ help.

“If you are DIYing this and not hiring a dedicated pro, then I strongly advise joining the ManyChat Community,” said Hoskins. “You can discover immediately why an issue may have happened without spending hours researching online—I’ve been there.”

It’s worth noting that teaching can also help you learn, so consider staying in such communities after you solve your problem. You’ll get a chance to help a fellow business owner, and you’ll learn more about building bots along the way. It’s a win-win.

Automate your bot

Once you’ve built your bot, connect it to the other apps you use for your business. That way, you can do things like adding new chat contacts to your CRM or email marketing tool and sending messages from your bot whenever there’s a new event or offer. Take a look at how you can automate Intercom for more ideas, or read about how a digital agency saves 30 hours a week using ManyChat and Zapier.

Zapier lets you automatically send information from one app to another, helping you reduce manual tasks. Learn more about how Zapier works.

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How to get the most out of SMS messaging with automation

SEO and General Business tutorials and tips.

This post was shared by MOZ.

*Bzzt bzzt* Your phone is vibrating again, and without a second thought, you glance down to see who messaged you. No matter where you are or what you are doing, your phone is likely right there with you.

According to techjury, mobile users check their phones 63 times a day, and millennials spend 48 minutes texting every day. With that knowledge, there is no doubt that SMS messaging is a powerful way to connect with consumers to drive engagement and generate sales.

The question then becomes, how do you get the most out of your SMS messaging platform? From instantly acknowledging feedback to keeping your team informed, there are impactful ways to use SMS messaging to take your business to the next level.

With our automatic workflows—called Zaps—you can use SMS messaging to its full potential. To help get you started, we have collected a few of the most used Zaps. Click on the button to access the Zap Template. Read more about Zap Templates and setting up a Zap here.

Not sure which SMS messaging tool is best for your business? Check out our guide to the best SMS apps.

Promptly follow up with new leads

Every Monday morning, I dread having to check my email—because I know it’s going to be full of emails that I might be interested in, but don’t have the time to wade through. Plus, I know that if I respond to one of those emails with a question, it will take days to get a response.

Two-way SMS messaging changes all of that, allowing businesses to promptly follow up with leads and engage in meaningful conversation. Check out a few Zaps that can help you optimize sales with quick responses:

SMS messaging also allows you to easily follow up with leads. Instead of sending another email, reach out via SMS message to engage your customers and make more sales:

Instantly acknowledge feedback

Feel like you are drowning in customer service emails? Maybe it’s time to discover how SMS messaging can help you provide personalized and thoughtful support to your customers—while minimizing repetitive tasks on your part.

SMS messaging opens up a whole new way to connect to your customers. Discover a few of our most popular workflows allowing you to take your customer support to the next level:

Keep yourself & your team informed with ease

Working with a team comes with its fair share of challenges. Communication is often one of the most challenging items. However, SMS messaging can be a helpful way to keep yourself and your team informed.

Set up automatic workflows that connect your platforms so that you never miss something important. For example, push notifications to Slack when you get new SMS messages. That way, you can easily stay on top of customer support and new orders.

Stay one step ahead of your meetings

In this day and age, it feels impossible to stay on top of all the weekly meetings. I found helpful ways to automate my meeting action items—the next step was figuring out how to automate calendar event reminders so that I actually remember to show up to the meeting. Enter: SMS messaging automation.

To ensure you (or your attendees) arrive promptly to your meetings, set up a workflow to send an SMS message for any approaching calendar event.

Missing the days when you could get an SMS notification for upcoming Google Calendar events? See our tutorial on how to recreate that feature using Zapier.

Get the most out of your SMS messaging tool

SMS messaging is a powerful way to connect to your customers and clients. With Zapier, you can automate repetitive tasks and focus on the more important things—like making connections with your community that have an impact.

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.

Related reading:

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