6 canned responses to make email easier

SEO and General Business tutorials and tips.

This post was sourced from by MOZ.

Sometimes even the simplest email responses feel like too much work, and putting them off for later in the day (er, week?) is tempting. Instead of ignoring emails or reinventing the wheel every day in your inbox, you can use canned responses saved as templates to speed up your workflow.

Tips for creating and using a canned responses

An email template, or “canned response,” is an email you use repeatedly. Instead of writing a version of the same email over and over, you write it once and then just make minor tweaks before sending it each time. It’s a simple tool that leads to huge time savings—but there are some tricks of the trade. Here are a few tips to make sure you get the most out of canned responses.

Spend less time in your inbox
  • Create templates for your most-used responses. If you aren’t sure what messages you can templatize, log your email activity for a week or a month. Then review what types of messages pop up frequently, and turn them into templates.

  • Don’t be afraid to go long—or short. If you consistently send a lot of information via email, like onboarding a new client or contractor, create a template. Turning long emails into canned responses saves you a ton of time and ensures everyone gets the same relevant info. On the other side of things, there’s no such thing as too short. Time is valuable—even a few seconds saved by a twelve-word template is worth it.

  • Create variations of the same template. Even a 5% variation deserves a unique template. For example, you might want slightly different versions of an inbound response template if the person asks for a backlink vs. invites you to be a podcast guest. You can’t have too many templates, so any time you find yourself making the same tweaks to a template over and over, it’s time for a new template.

  • Customize the email. Canned email responses save time, but you don’t want to sacrifice the recipient’s experience. At the very least, add their name, and consider having a spot to write in a little context or some personal details. If you put in placeholders, like “Hi {Name},” be absolutely sure you update it before sending.

  • Update templates periodically. If you often rewrite a portion of a canned response before sending it because the information has changed, go ahead and update the template with the new details.

And remember, each email you send should only take a few minutes. If a response needs to be completely customized, like sending project feedback, consider a place better suited for the communication.

6 canned response templates you can start using today

The best canned email responses are the ones that are hyper-specific to your role and company. But a little inspiration never hurt, so I asked people to share the email templates they use. Most of these are universally relevant, so take a look and see which ones you can adapt for your own work.

1. Buying time

Sometimes when people reach out to you, you don’t have the answer in front of you. In those cases, Brittany Berger, finder of Work Brighter, uses a template she calls “buying time.”

“It tells the recipient that I’ve received their email but need more time to find an answer or get their response. It’s so drastically reduced email anxiety about replies I need to write,” she provided. Here’s what it looks like in action.

Brittany's canned response for buying time

Hey [Name]!

Thanks for getting in touch.

I need to check on [follow-up needed] before I can answer that for sure, but I’ve put that on the to-do list and will get back to you about it next week.

Thanks for your patience!

2. Following up

What if, instead of responding to a question, you’re the one who needs to ask it? Create a template for following up on a project or request.


Hi [Name],

Have you had a chance to review my previous email? [Remind them of what you need/need to know].

Once I have that, I can [next action]. Let me know if there’s anything you need from me.

Thank you!

3. Responding to inbound requests

Almost every person in almost every role will get cold emails for offers or connections they aren’t interested in. And as David Bitton, co-finder and CMO at DoorLoop, told me, “you don’t want to constantly invest all of your time and efforts thinking of the best way to compose an email refusing the request, especially if you have difficulty saying no.”

To manage this situation, he provided a template for politely declining an offer.


We appreciate your reaching out, but this isn’t something we’re interested in discussing. Please accept our apologies. Have a good day!

If the collaboration seems interesting, but you want to vet the request a bit, you can follow in James Sowers‘ footsteps. James, Director of Marketing at The Good, noted that “most people want to help others, but it can get tiresome sharing the same recommendations repeatedly. Not to mention it takes you away from work that benefits you and your business.”

In these scenarios, James uses the following template.


Would love to help! Before I commit to anything, please review the list below to see if I’ve already answered your question for someone else. If not, I’ll be happy to put something together and expand the list.

Inbound requests are one of the few times when personalization isn’t really necessary, so it’s worth automating the process. Create a new label in Gmail to group inbound requests, then use Zapier to automatically send a response to each newly labeled message.

Auto-respond to Gmail emails

4. Kicking off a new project

Neil Sheth, finder of writefully, uses email templates for project kickoffs. “I used to feel bad about it, but these days, it seems more emails are becoming templates. It’s about streamlining your day where possible,” he provided. Here’s the canned response Neil uses at the beginning of a project.


Hi [name],

Nice speaking with you on [day]. [Add something specific to the conversation e.g., Here’s the about page for the brand that I mentioned]

Content Package

Brand Story (About page)

  • Includes:

    • Brief questionnaire

    • Interview with our writer

    • [#words]-word written brand story

    • Meta tags

    • Editorial reviews/checks

Price: £[ADD]

Please let me know if you have any questions. If you’d like to go ahead, we’ll send the invoice and an initial questionnaire to get started. Many thanks.

Deb Tennen, Managing Editor at Zapier, does something similar to get new freelance writers up to speed. “I have about a dozen variations on a long email template that explains all of our processes,” she said. “Each one is a bit different, depending on the content type, and I review them once a month to be sure they’re all up to date.”

5. Forwarding a question to the correct person

When you aren’t the right person to answer a question, a canned response helps you send the request along quickly. Katheriin Liibert, Head of Marketing at Woola, provided her template for forwarding a question.

Forwarding a question canned response

Jordie van Rijn, an email marketing consultant at eMailMonday, also provided a template for moving a request along.


Hi [name],

Thanks for your request. Let me introduce you to [name] (in CC) from [company]. They are experts in [topic] and may be able to help you out with your question.

@[name] – see the short ask here below. Can you contact them?

PS: My work here is done; feel free to move me to BCC and save my inbox a little.

vriendelijke groet / greetings,

6. Scheduling a meeting

Using a scheduling tool like Calendly is the first step—a canned response will streamline things even more. Here’s the template David Bitton uses:


I’d love to get a meeting set up. The easiest way to find a time to chat is by scheduling directly on my calendar here: [link to Calendly/other scheduling app].

You can choose either a Zoom/Teams meeting or a phone call – all the details will be sourced from on the scheduling page. If you don’t see any times that work, please send me an email with a few days/times that would work for you.

I look forward to our conversation!

How to create templates in Gmail

Almost all email apps have a way to create, save, and edit templates. I personally use email templates for Gmail, so I’ll walk you through creating Gmail templates here.

  1. Enable Gmail email templates by clicking Settings > See all settings > Advanced > Templates > Enable > Save Changes.

  2. Compose a new message with your template text.

  3. Click the three vertical dots in the bottom-right corner, hover over Templatesand then Save draft as template.

  4. You can then either overwrite an existing template (if you’re editing an existing Gmail template) or Save as new template.

  5. If you selected Save as new template, you’ll be prompted to enter the template name; do that, and click Save.

  6. To use your Gmail canned response, click the three vertical dots in the bottom-right of your message, hover over Templates, and select your template from the list.

Creating a canned response in Gmail

Note: you can only use Gmail templates on the web app—the mobile apps don’t support it.

Streamline your inbox

Creating canned responses for your common emails frees up much-needed mental space. If you want to spend even less time in your inbox, take a look at these time-saving Gmail settings, and then try these powerful Gmail automations.

I hope that you find the above useful or interesting. You can find similar content on our blog: https://rankmysite1st.com//blog/

Please let me have your feedback below in the comments section.

Let us know what topics we should cover for you in future.

Categories SEO

How to integrate webhooks with Google Sheets

SEO and General Business tutorials and tips.

This post was shared by MOZ.

When you’re building a new product or service on the web, connecting your database to an API can be one of the more daunting tasks. There are about a million ways to do it, and each of them has its own specifications.

But what if you don’t have the time to jump waist-deep in custom code? That’s where Zapier comes in. Using Zaps (our word for automated workflows), Google Sheets, and webhooks, you can connect your information to any API without the anxiety of writing code from scratch.

Here are step-by-step guides for three different use cases. Each one takes about 10 minutes to complete (or 30 minutes total, if you’re going for the webhooks hat trick).

Table of contents

Before you begin

The examples below will require a Zapier account—it’s free to sign up. Once you’re signed in, you can create new Zaps using the “Create Zap” button or go to zap.new.

To make sure you’re ready to connect webhooks with your Google Sheets spreadsheets, you’ll need to put the sheets in the right format for use with Zapier. Most importantly, each column should have a header in the first row (think of it as giving each column a name).

Need help? Check out our webhooks guide or ask for help in the Zapier Community.

Make regular GET requests that create new Google Sheets rows

When working with an API for an app that stores information for you—like a customer relationship manager (CRM), chat app, or spreadsheet—they will often have a URL (or “endpoint”) that provides that information as a list.

Using a Zap, we can check for new items that get added to that list and save them to a Google Sheets spreadsheet for easier reference and sorting. From start to finish, this will take five steps:

  1. Create a spreadsheet (or pick an existing one) and give it column headers in the first row

  2. Create a new Zap

  3. Add the Webhooks by Zapier Retrieve Poll trigger

  4. Add the Google Sheets Create Spreadsheet Row action

  5. Test the action and publish the Zap

To start, find that URL from your app and copy it. Usually, it will be listed in the app’s API docs, using terms like “list” or “GET.”

For this example, I’ll be using products from a fictional online store listed at this URL: https://this-store-does-not-exist.glitch.me/products

Once you have the URL in hand, create a new Zap and select the Webhooks by Zapier app as the trigger app.

Webhooks by Zapier has three different trigger events to choose from: Retrieve Poll, Catch Raw Hook, and Catch Hook.

The webhooks app logo next to the text "Webhooks by Zapier"

The latter two will provide you with a unique URL that you can have apps send data to (learn more about those here). Retrieve Poll tells the Zap to send a request to another URL at regular intervals.

Since we want to retrieve data from a list hosted by another app, select Retrieve Poll,then click Continue.

The next screen will have several fields you can fill in. The only required one is URL, which is the location of the list you’d like to monitor with this Zap.

A menu labeled "Set up trigger" with a set of fields with a URL in one of them

The other fields are optional but are useful if things don’t look quite right in the next step. For example, you can use the Basic Auth field if the list requires a username and password to view, or the Key field if the same URL provides multiple lists and you only need one of them.

Note: To get the most out of the Retrieve Poll trigger, the list shared by the URL should be in “reverse chronological” order, meaning the newest items should show up first. Most apps do this by default, but you may want to check their documentation to see if they require a “sort” or “order_by” parameter to put everything in the right order.

Once the required fields are filled in, click Continue, and you’ll be asked to Test Trigger. That will have the Zap check the URL, see what data it provides, and show you the first three items as Sample Data.

When you’re happy with the sample data you’re getting, click Continue and use the + button to add a new action to the Zap.

In the new action, select the Google Sheets app, and the Create Spreadsheet Row event.

The Google Sheets app logo next to the text "Create Spreadsheet Row in Google Sheets"

Click Continue and connect your Google Sheets account when prompted.

At this point, you should have a Google Sheets spreadsheet ready to receive data. If not, you can head to sheet.new to start a new one.

To prepare it for use with Zapier, add Column Headers in row one to tell the Zap where it should place each value. For example, I’ll want to assign columns for the product Name, Description, Price, Inventory Level, and Image.

A Google Sheets spreadsheet titled Example Inventory Tracker with header titles added in row 1.

Back in the Zap, select that worksheet in the Google Sheets action, and you should see those column headers appear as fields to be filled. You can then map each value from the webhook trigger to its respective field.

A list of fields with data mapped in some of the fields.

As an added bonus, Google Sheets lets us enter formulas directly into the input fields, which I’ve taken advantage of by adding an IMAGE formula to the Image field.

Now when you select Continue and then Test the action, you should see that sample data appear as a new row in your spreadsheet.

A Google Sheets spreadsheet with sample data successfully added to the sheet.

Congrats! Now you can publish the Zap, and any time a new item appears in the webhook URL, it will automatically show up as a new row in your spreadsheet.

Note: If you would prefer to update an existing row in your spreadsheet instead of creating a new one, you can replace the Create Spreadsheet Row action with Lookup Spreadsheet Row then Update Spreadsheet Row.

Send Google Sheets data to a webhook with POST

Now that we’ve covered getting information from a webhook and into Google Sheets, let’s do the opposite: send information from a Google Sheets spreadsheets to a webhook URL using a POST request. This is great for cases where you not only want to track information in a spreadsheet but send updates back to the server that hosts the API.

Note: There are several different kinds of request methods we can use, depending on what we’re looking to accomplish. The most common is GET, which gathers information, and POST, which sends information. You can read about all of the different methods and their uses here.

In this example, I’m going to use Google Sheets to add new products to my online store, which accepts new product information via this webhook URL: https://this-store-does-not-exist.glitch.me/product

Setting up this Zap will take five steps:

  1. Create a spreadsheet (or pick an existing one) and give it column headers in the first row

  2. Create a new Zap

  3. Add the Google Sheets New or Updated Spreadsheet Row trigger

  4. Add the Webhooks by Zapier POST action

  5. Test the action and publish your Zap

Usually this takes about 10 minutes the first time, but once you’ve got one under your belt, future Zaps like this only take a couple of minutes to set up (I’ll race you!).

To get started, create a new Zap, and add a Google Sheets trigger. For most cases, New or Updated Row is a great trigger event to start with.

The Google Sheets app logo with "New or Updated Spreadsheet Row in Google Sheets"

Click Continue, connect your Google Sheets account, then pick the spreadsheet you want to monitor for changes.

The New or Updated Spreadsheet Row trigger also lets us select a specific column to monitor so it triggers on new rows or when something changes in that column. That’s handy if you only want some changes to be sent to your webhook.

Fields un der "Set up trigger" with data entered in the fields.

Select Continue and test the trigger. You should see the last few rows of the spreadsheet appear as Sample Data, showing we’re able to get information from the sheet successfully.

Note: Remember to add column headers in the first row of your sheet so Zapier knows what to call each value. Check out this guide for more tips on setting your spreadsheet up to work with Zaps.

Once the Sample Data looks correct, click Continue, then use the + button to add a new action. Then select Webhooks by Zapier as the action app and POST as the action event.

The Webhooks by Zapier app logo selected with "POST" selected under the action event.

On the next screen, you’ll see several fields to help customize the POST request we’re making to your API. Only the URL field is required, as that’s where we’ll send the request. The other fields might be useful depending on what your API needs.

Under "Set up action", a series of fields info filled out.

Payload Type determines the format we’ll put the data into before sending it. This is equivalent to Content-Type if you’re used to sending this kind of request manually.

The Data fields are where you’ll send the data in key-value pairs. For example, to send the product’s name, you can enter “name” into the field on the left as the key, then map the name value into the field on the right. If you leave the Data fields blank, The Zapp will send all values shared by the previous action.

Here’s what the Data fields look like for my store example:

A series of Data fields with Google Sheets data mapped in them.

Wrap Request in Array tells the action to take the data and put it inside an array. This option isn’t used very often, but some API require it, so it’s a good thing to keep in mind if things don’t look right during testing.

The File field lets you attach a file to the request—this automatically sets the Content-Type to multipart/form-data and makes it easy to send files to apps that support them.

The Unflatten field is only relevant if some of the values you’re sending are nested, meaning there are values stored inside other values. When that happens, put two underscores between each value name. For example, if you have a “product” value that has a “details” value inside it, we’d call it “product__details”. Changing Unflatten to false disables that.

At the bottom of the action, two fields help you work with APIs that have specific authentication requirements, and you need to make sure that you’re actually allowed to do what you’re asking them to do. Those are Basic Auth and Headers.

An API key and password entered in the Headers fields.

Basic Auth lets you enter basic username/password credentials for APIs that use HTTP authentication. More often, you’ll use Headers to enter specific header details required by the API. Usually, you’ll find those requirements in your app’s API documentation under “Authentication”. In my case, my API’s requirement is a header called “api_key”, with its value set to my personal, super-secret API key.

Once the fields look correct based on your API’s documentation, select Continue.

At this point, you can test the POST request but bear in mind that it will actually send the data shown to your API. If you’re feeling good about how things look at this point, I’d recommend selecting Skip Test, which will let you publish the Zap right away and try it out with real data from your spreadsheet.

A test screen for the webhooks action step with a purple Test & Continue button.

Once the Zap is live, you should see that when you update the Trigger Column in your spreadsheet, that row’s data will send to your API as a POST request. Keep an eye on your API to see it show up. Here’s a quick GIF showing what that looks like in my store example:

A GIF showing a Google Sheets spreadsheet being updated by a Zap

Note: Although Google Sheets’ triggers are labeled as Instant, not all rows will trigger your Zaps right away. They have a slight delay built in to help make sure that rows aren’t processed while you’re still typing. In the GIF above, I edited out about a minute of waiting for the new data to appear in my store.

Look up data in Google Sheets to use in a custom request

Another benefit of integrating Google Sheets with webhooks is that you can use your spreadsheet as a reference table and look up information before sending it to its final destination. Setting that up in a Zap takes five steps:

  1. Create and fill out your spreadsheet, making sure to include column headers in row 1

  2. Create a new Zap and add any trigger you prefer

  3. Add the Google Sheets Lookup Spreadsheet Row action

  4. Add the Webhooks by Zapier Custom Request action

  5. Test the action and publish the Zap

This kind of Zap can be used for a wide array of purposes. As an example, let’s say that we want to use an API to send custom messages to our customers on their birthdays. To start, we can add the Schedule by Zapier trigger to check for a birthday every day. Then, add the Google Sheets Lookup Spreadsheet Row action.

The Google Sheets app logo with "Lookup Spreadsheet Row in Google Sheets"

After connecting your Google Sheets account, you can select the Spreadsheet and Worksheet you want to search in, then fill in the Lookup fields.

In the Lookup Column field, select the column that you want to search within. In Lookup Value, type in the value you’d like to search for or map it from a previous step. In my case, I’ve mapped the month and date from the trigger, separated by a slash:

A field labeled "Lookup Column" with "Birthday" selected from the dropdown.

You might have also noticed the Supporting lookup fields. These are useful if you want to really narrow down your search or have lots of rows that might have the same information in your selected Lookup Column. For example, if I wanted to select a row with a matching birthday and name, I could use the Supporting fields to do that.

Once the fields are mapped, select Continue and test the action. If there is a row that matches your search, it will appear as sample data. Otherwise, you might see an error message.

An error message that says "Failed to find a spreadsheet row in Google Sheets"

If that happens, don’t panic! Double-check the trigger sample data, and check your spreadsheet to see if a row should have been find with that data.

If not, what I like to do is create a temporary row just for testing, then re-test the action to receive that row as a sample.

A successful test screen that says "A spreadsheet row was sent to Google Sheets about 2 seconds ago"

Sample data in hand, use the + button to add a Webhooks by Zapier action. We’ve used POST and GET in the above examples already, so let’s use the Custom Request event this time.

The webhooks app logo with "Custom Request in Webhooks by Zapier"

Custom Request is the most advanced option in the Webhooks by Zapier app, as it lets us fully customize the request. That can sound daunting, but if the API you’re sending data to has documentation, usually all you’ll need to do is copy the work they’ve done already. Let’s take a look at my birthday example:

I’ve gone ahead and selected PUT in the Method field, but you can select whichever option your API requires. Because this is just an example, I’ve entered a URL from httpbin.org, a great resource that returns whatever you send it, making it perfect for testing this kind of action.

I’ve also set Data Pass-Through to False here—setting it to True would prompt the action to automatically send all of the data from the previous action. That could make things easier, as you wouldn’t have to put anything in the Data field. But it only works if the previous action is giving us exactly the data that the API is expecting, so use with caution.

In the Data field, we can use a combination of mapped values and manually-entered text to create the raw data we’ll send to the API. This is where copying from your API’s documentation will come in handy unless you’re already used to writing in JSON or XML. In my case, I’m going to send the birthday information as JSON.

JSON code

And because I’ve used JSON here, I’ll also need to update the Headers field to tell the API that I’m using the “application/json” content type.

Note: The “Content-Type” header is used by API to determine what type of data it’s receiving, so it can be processed correctly (these types are also called “MIME types”, presumably because they’re silent and mysterious). There are several types to choose from, and you can read more about them here.

Once you’re ready, select Continue and test your action (or skip testing if you’re feeling confident).

If everything is set up correctly according to the API, we should see a successful response from their server. In my case, httpbin has sent back exactly what I sent them, which is perfect.

Now you’re ready to publish the Zap and start using your spreadsheet as a tool to help organize and fill in data that’s missing from the Zap’s initial trigger.

This setup can be used for birthdays (like my example above), gathering detailed information about customers or products, lead enrichment, or anything else that you can use a spreadsheet for.

Note: For extra credit, take a look at the Method field again—did you notice that you can use a custom value to fill it in? That means that you can even map a value from your spreadsheet to change the request’s method each time the Zap runs. That way, your spreadsheet can determine not only what data to send, but what method to send it with!

The next level in automation

Whether you’ve built all of the examples above or just one, you’ve just tackled two of the most powerful tools in the automation tool belt: spreadsheets and webhooks. And not only that, you did it without having to write your own code! Take a minute or two of the time you saved to celebrate—you earned it.

If you’re interested in learning more about using the Webhooks by Zapier actions and triggers, check out this page for all of our documentation. Similarly, this guide has everything you’ll need to be a Google Sheets automation hero, and I think that’s pretty cool.

I hope that you find the above useful or interesting. You can find similar content on our blog: https://rankmysite1st.com//blog/

Please let me have your feedback below in the comments section.

Let us know what topics we should cover for you in future.

Categories SEO

5 ways to automatically thank your customers and clients

SEO and General Business tutorials and tips.

This post was sourced from by MOZ.

It’s tough to retain customers, but a memorable experience keeps them coming back. One way to do that: Thank your customers.

Why? Showing gratitude helps keep your customers happy, feel valued, and more likely to keep doing business with you.

With Zapier, you can automate post-purchase thank yous for a more personal customer experience—and you don’t have to panic about forgotten follow-ups. Here are a few ways you can use Zaps—what we call our automated workflows—to show your appreciation.

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.

Skip ahead

Send a thank you email or text

You just closed a deal and earned a new customer. Good job! But you’re not done yet.

Before you move on to the next sale, thank your new customer for choosing to do business with you. You can use Zapier to set up automatic thank-yous whenever there’s a new purchase or closed deal.

Send your message through your email marketing platform, a text service, or straight from your work email with one of these Zaps.

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

Send emails via Gmail when Google Sheets rows are updated

Send emails via Gmail when Google Sheets rows are updated

  • Gmail logo
  • Google Sheets logo
Gmail + Google Sheets

Thank Stripe customers with a Gmail email

Send Twilio texts for new HubSpot contact property changes

Add updated Salesforce records to a Mailchimp tag

Add updated Salesforce records to a Mailchimp tag

  • Mailchimp logo
  • Salesforce logo
Mailchimp + Salesforce

Want to make your message to be more human? Customize your message text when you’re setting up your Zap. You can map data from the apps used in your Zaps to add your customer’s name, the product they purchased, or other personalized details.

You can also adjust the timing of your message with Delay. Available on our paid plans, delay steps allow you to control the timing of your Zap’s actions.

For example, you could automatically message a new customer 15 minutes after marking a deal closed and won in your CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tool. That way, it’s not super obvious it’s an automated message.

Send a handwritten card

Handwritten notes are a pleasant surprise. They add an extra level of personalization, but it can be time-consuming to do yourself.

If you don’t have the time (or you’re worried about your handwriting), services like Handwrytten and Thankster will send handwritten cards for you. Pair them with Zapier, and you can make handwritten cards a regular part of the customer experience, no stamp-licking necessary.

To get started, try these Zaps, which will automatically create and send new handwritten notes from your CRM or spreadsheet contacts.

Send Thankster cards for new rows on Google Sheets

Send Thankster cards for new rows on Google Sheets

  • Google Sheets logo
  • Thankster logo
Google Sheets + Thankster

Mail Thankster handwritten cards with new contact changes in Hubspot

Send Handwrytten cards for updated Salesforce records

Send Handwrytten cards for updated Salesforce records

  • Handwrytten logo
  • Salesforce logo
Handwrytten + Salesforce

Send swag and gifts

Everyone loves swag, but managing orders and fulfillment is stressful. If you use a swag management platform like Printfection, you can use a Zap to automatically create new orders from contacts in your CRM, a spreadsheet, or a form.

Add Printfection gift URL to new contacts on a list in HubSpot

Add Printfection gift URL to new contacts on a list in HubSpot

  • HubSpot logo
  • Printfection logo
HubSpot + Printfection

Send Printfection gift URL to new contact from a Google Sheet

Send Printfection gift URL to new contact from a Google Sheet

  • Email by Zapier logo
  • Google Sheets logo
  • Printfection logo
Email by Zapier + Google Sheets + Printfection

Add Printfection gift URL to updated Salesforce records

Add Printfection gift URL to updated Salesforce records

  • Printfection logo
  • Salesforce logo
Printfection + Salesforce

Create and send Printfection giveaway links from Google Form responses

Create and send Printfection giveaway links from Google Form responses

  • Gmail logo
  • Google Forms logo
  • Printfection logo
Gmail + Google Forms + Printfection

Note: Some of these Zaps are multi-step Zaps, which are available on paid plans or the first two weeks of a paid trial.

Prefer sending digital gift cards? These Zaps will automatically send e-gift cards to customers, so you don’t have to remember to do it yourself.

Send e-gift cards via Tango Card when contact properties change in HubSpot

Order Tango Card e-gift cards for new custom objects in Salesforce

Order Tango Card e-gift cards for new custom objects in Salesforce

  • Salesforce logo
  • Tango Card logo
Salesforce + Tango Card

Send Tango Card rewards for new Airtable records in a view

Send Tango Card rewards for new Airtable records in a view

  • Airtable logo
  • Tango Card logo
Airtable + Tango Card

Send content

Depending on the products or services you offer, consider sending your customers a useful piece of content as a thank you. It can be a great way to follow up on customer interactions, address their needs, and increase customer retention.

Depending on the apps you use to communicate with customers, you may need to upload your content somewhere first, such as a cloud storage app or CRM.

Then, set up a Zap that sends an email when there’s a new purchase or an updated record in your CRM. When customizing your message, be sure to include the link to the file you want to send. You can either hyperlink it within text or send it as an attachment, depending on the app you’re using.

A thank you message for a customer with a link embedded in the message to a Dropbox file.

These Zaps are a good place to start:

Add customers to ActiveCampaign automations when they are charged on Stripe

Send Gmail emails for updated Salesforce records

Send Gmail emails for updated Salesforce records

  • Gmail logo
  • Salesforce logo
Gmail + Salesforce

Send Microsoft Outlook emails for updated Microsoft Dynamics CRM opportunities

Send Microsoft Outlook emails for updated Microsoft Dynamics CRM opportunities

  • Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM logo
  • Microsoft Outlook logo
Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM + Microsoft Outlook

Show a little (automated) appreciation

When your customers feel valued and taken care of, they’re more likely to stick around. Automation with Zapier can help you include personal touches throughout the customer experience.

A previous version of this post was published in 2019 by Jasmine Williams. It was updated in June 2022 by Krystina Martinez.

I hope that you found the above useful or interesting. You can found similar content on our blog: https://rankmysite1st.com//blog/

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Categories SEO

How Zapier’s apps make your workflows even more powerful

SEO and General Business tutorials and tips.

This article was sourced from by MOZ.

With Zapier, you can connect thousands of apps to create customized automated workflows—what we call Zaps. But when you go to connect your favorite apps, you might run into a few things those apps can’t do.

We built a collection of our own tools that help you customize your workflows even more. There are tools for scheduling emails, sending SMS notifications, working with RSS feeds, formatting data to work better as it moves between apps, and much more.

Here are some of Zapier’s built-in tools you can use to make your workflow automation work better:

Webhooks by Zapier

If you’re looking to fine-tune automated workflows or create integrations for apps that aren’t already on the Zapier platform, webhooks might be just what you need.

Webhooks get information from websites or apps or push information out to them. You can use Zapier’s Webhooks feature to create workflows that connect any website or app that supports webhooks.

Learn more about webhooks and how to use them with Zapier.

Formatter by Zapier

With Formatter, you can add a step to your Zap to make sure information like text, dates, numbers, and phone numbers are correctly formatted from one step to the next. You can split text, change date formats, extract email addresses or links, change capitalization, convert from markdown to HTML, and more.

Learn more in our guide to Formatter and keep all your information usable, no matter the start or end point. Or for more assistance, review our help documentation.

Filter by Zapier

Once you set up a Zap to handle an aspect of your work, it’ll keep running while you focus on other things. When you want your automated workflow to run only some of the time, add a filter.

Filter lets you set conditions for when your Zap continues and when it stops, so you’re sending the right information to the next steps. For example, you may have a Zap that triggers for each new task in a provided project, but you only want the tasks assigned to you.

Learn more about setting ground rules for automation in our guide to using Filter.

Email Parser by Zapier

If you’re moving information from your inbox into other platforms, Email Parser by Zapier can reduce and tidy data as you transfer info between the source and destination.

Payment reminders, shipping notifications, and error messages follow a set format. If you want that information tracked in a project management app or sent as urgent alerts to your team chat or via text, an email parser will help.

Learn how this tool can help you manage email in our guide to Email Parser.

Zapier Manager

Use Zapier Manager to stay on top of everything happening in your Zapier account. You can use it to track Zap errors, invite team members, create folders, notify you when you reach your task limit, find apps, and more.

Learn more about using Zapier Manager to add automation to your Zapier account and check out our help documentation for more assistance.


Moving physical things is a pain, and moving digital records can be just as bad. Transfer allows you to easily move data in bulk from one place to another. This isn’t how Zaps typically work (where a single trigger kicks off one or more actions). Instead, you select a number of pre-existing records that you want moved, all at once, into another place.

Transfer is helpful when you want to migrate historical data, manage one-time data transfers for big projects, or copy data when you start using a new app.

Learn more about Transfer in our guide, including when to use it and how to set it up. Or if you need more assistance, check out our help documentation.


Zapier’s Paths tool is for anyone who needs a Zap to do more than one job. Paths allow you to create conditional workflows based on the information it receives.

Think of it as a choose-your-own-adventure for automation. For example, let’s say you use a form to collect leads for your business. If someone is interested in a particular product, you can use Paths to alert the correct team in Slack.

That’s just one example. The sky’s the limit when it comes to Paths.

Check out our guide to Paths to learn how to use it.

Code by Zapier

While Zapier is a no-code platform, our Code app lets you add Python or JavaScript to your Zaps for building complex lookup tables, cleaning up a lot of raw data, advanced date-finding, or working with line items.

Our guide to using Code by Zapier will help you get started.

Storage by Zapier

Zapier’s Storage tool allows you to save and retrieve information from your Zaps. You can use Storage to create custom data stores your Zap references or to retrieve information from a store you’ve already set up.

Check out these examples for inspiration and refer to our help documentation to get started.

Email by Zapier

The ROI for email is still high—and climbing. In fact, 78% of marketers saw an increase in engagement over the last 12 months in 2020. But if you use a lot of different tools at work, you might be struggling to keep your inbox as your single source of truth.

Zapier’s built-in Email tool makes it easier to tame your inbox. Using Email, you can set up automated emails from your favorite apps to keep you up to date.

For example, with a Zap, you can instantly send survey and form responses to your inbox.

You can create your own email newsletters for any RSS feed or Twitter account to keep you informed without checking those websites a million times a day. (We’re not saying this is the cure for social media addiction, but it might be).

Our email tool doesn’t just send you emails—you can also use it to deliver information to other apps. For example, you can forward emails to a custom Zapier email address to upload attachments to cloud storage services.

You could also forward emails to a particular address in order to share them with your team on Slack.

You can even set up email notifications to let you know when we article new jobs here at Zapier.

Note: With Email by Zapier, you can create a custom email address that can take information from an app and send it to another one with an email. It’s important to note that any emails sent with Email by Zapier will be from a no-reply email address and you won’t have an email inbox. If you want readers to reply to you from these emails or be able to manage them from an inbox, you’ll need to use a transactional email app.

Check out our Email by Zapier guide to learn how to set it up or review our help documentation.

Delay by Zapier

Delay can be inserted in the middle of a multi-step Zap so you can pause the rest of the workflow for a predetermined time. For example, say you want to send a follow-up email one day or one week after someone fills out a form—Delay allows you to do that from within the same Zap.

Schedule by Zapier

Your Zaps, for the most part, kick off when something happens in an app, like sending an email when a lead fills out a form. But sometimes, you might want to schedule your workflow to run at a specific time. That’s where Schedule can help.

This simple app lets you pick a time for your Zap to run so your workflow runs on a routine basis. You could, for example, send an email at the same time every day or every week.

If you manage projects using a to-do app like Trello and have a recurring task you need to be reminded of, you can set up an automation that will create cards regularly.

Or you could set something up for the fun of it. Schedule a random GIF to show up in Slack once a day to brighten your team’s afternoon.

But wait, there’s more

We’ve outlined some of the most popular built-in apps above, but those are really just the beginning.

  • SMS may be old-fashioned, but it works. Notably, it works even if you don’t have an internet connection. With Zapier, you can get SMS notifications with information from the apps you use every day to keep you connected when 5G, 4G, and even 3G signals are scarce.

  • RSS feeds are a great way to keep up with your favorite websites. Combined with our built-in RSS tool, you can use these feeds to push information to thousands of apps, all without you having to do much of anything. Learn how to automate RSS feeds with Zapier and ways to use RSS to boost productivity.

  • Zapier’s built-in URL shortener allows you to create simplified links in the middle of a Zap. You can take links from a bookmarking app, RSS feed, or cloud storage platform, pass them through the URL shortener, then send them to social media, spreadsheets, or any other app on the Zapier platform. Learn more about using URL Shortener by Zapier in our help documentation.

  • You can use the Zapier Chrome extension to launch workflows from your browser. When you install the extension, you’re able to click a button to send information about any website—including its title, the URL, and custom fields you create—to a spreadsheet, task management program, CRM, or any other app that works with Zapier. Learn more in our help documentation or get a walk-through on adding information from URLs to a spreadsheet in this tutorial.

  • Use Lead Score and MadKudu.com to find information about people and companies based on their email address. You can use this integration to enrich leads, subscribers, and more. Learn how to use Lead Score by Zapier in our help documentation.

  • Use Translate when you need to translate text from one language to another. You can choose from more than 100 languages, and set up the Zap to translate between known languages, or have Zapier guess the original language of the source material. Learn more about how to use Translate in our help documentation.

  • Use our IMAP and SMTP tools to connect Zapier to the most common email protocols, allowing you to build automated workflows regardless of where your email is hosted.

  • Digestcan collect bits of information from multiple workflows and combine them in a summary you can send to other apps.

Want to learn more? Check out all of Zapier’s built-in tools/categories/zapier-tools.

This piece was originally published in April 2020 and lightly updated in June 2022.

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Categories SEO

The 7 best email clients for Windows in 2022

SEO and General Business tutorials and tips.

This post was sourced from by MOZ.

Five hours. That’s how long we spend checking both our business and personal email at work each day. Can we be more productive with our email? Yep.

There’s a better way to deal with email.

With a desktop email client, you can bring all your accounts under one app roof, deploy a range of productivity tools, and integrate your other favorite apps. They’re easy to install and generally offer more power than web apps. If you are a die-hard Windows user, a Windows email app is the way to go.

To help you understand what’s out there, we researched and reviewed almost two dozen Windows email clients. Here we’ll share the eight best—but first, here’s how we evaluated the platforms and made our decisions.

What makes a great email client for Windows?

How we evaluate and test apps

All of our best apps roundups are written by humans who’ve spent much of their careers using, testing, and writing about software. We spend dozens of hours researching and testing apps, using each app as it’s intended to be used and evaluating it against the criteria we set for the category. We’re never paid for placement in our posts from any app or for links to any site—we value the trust readers put in us to offer authentic evaluations of the categories and apps we review. For more details on our process, read the full rundown of how we select apps to feature on the Zapier site.

It shouldn’t matter what web email service you currently use (Gmail, Yahoo!, Outlook, AOL, or anything else): desktop email clients should work with most providers. That was the starting point for our search—apps that played well with a variety of email services.

From there, we looked at the most important elements of user experience: ease of setup, ease of use, and customization options. All of our picks were easy to get started on—generally under five minutes to start sending emails. Each email client on this list has some degree of customization to get the experience you’re looking for, which is part of what makes a desktop app worthwhile to begin with.

Finally, we looked at features that made each app different. Productivity features like automated email routing, chat, templates, and filtering can help you claw back more time in your day. And having your most-used third-party apps connected inside your inbox makes for a more efficient work experience, especially if you’re spending much of your day on email.

The 7 best email apps for Windows

Best Windows email client for customization

eM Client

eM Client, our pick for the best Windows email client for customization

eM Client‘s intuitive, modern UI makes it a pleasure to use, but it may not be to everyone’s liking. Fortunately, you get several dozen themes and the ability to customize nearly every aspect of the UI to make it your very own.

To start, pick your layout: messages on bottom, to the right, or turn them off. Common actions such as reply, forward, archive, and others are conveniently located at the top of your inbox, but you can add, delete, and rearrange what’s shown here by right-clicking on any of the actions. On the right side, you’ll get a list of previous emails with that address to make founding past conversations simple.

For most of the UI fine-tuning, go to Settings > Appearance > Themes. Click on your theme, and select Theme Editor. Want to change hovered-over buttons from your theme’s blue to purple? No problem. Spinning wheels, progress bars, links, and other elements can be changed with a few clicks too.

The handy sidebar shows contact details, past conversations, your agenda, your calendar, and any invitations you may have. These items can also be rearranged and removed. If you need to add a task to your agenda, click the checkmark icon in the sidebar, type in a task note, and select a due date with reminders.

If you send a lot of emails with the same message, the Quick Text feature lets you create templates to populate the email body with a click. Perhaps eM Client’s Achilles heel is the absence of a mobile app. But if you use a different mobile app, eM can automatically sync to that app so that your emails are always up to date.

eM Client Pricing: Free license available for two accounts; $49.95 one-time payment for the Pro version that includes VIP support, unlimited accounts, and commercial use.

Best free Windows email client


Thunderbird, our pick for the best free Windows email client

With Thunderbird, you can specify where your email is stored locally, schedule backups, and manage server settings. It also provides some security features like end-to-end encryption that aren’t found in other clients. Because it’s open source, Thunderbird has a catalog of add-ons by various developers to help enhance the user experience. And it’s all free.

It doesn’t have the most modern UI—it’s modeled after Mozilla’s browser, Firefox, and uses a tab system—but you wouldn’t choose Thunderbird for its style points anyway. Still, you have options. To see them, click on the hamburger menu at the top right. From here, you’ll be able to customize the look of the app, select privacy settings, and choose basic functions like email composition options. Themes such as Suave, Dark Fox, and Two Little Birds (shown above) provide different looks for your inbox.

Compared to other email clients we tested, Thunderbird was noticeably a little slower to push sent emails out and receive replies. For example, the same three emails, which arrived at the same time to eM Client, took another five minutes to show up in Thunderbird.

Click Tools > Add-on Options to see the extensions available to get more out of Thunderbird. Smart templates and Quicktext let you create email templates for quick responses. Send Later lets you schedule future times to send emails or send messages repeatedly using rules such as “every two days.”

Thunderbird Pricing: Free

Best Windows email client for people who live in their inbox


Mailbird, our pick for the best Windows email client for people who live in their inbox

One of the more modern and user-friendly email clients tested, Mailbird‘sarray of third-party integrations makes managing both email and your most-used apps easy. When connected, the integrations share the UI with your inbox, which makes Mailbird attractive for users who don’t want to leave. Slack, Trello, Google Drive, Dropbox, and Twitter are just some of the apps with native integrations.

To get started, download the client, add your email (or connect to an existing client), and you’re ready to go. As your emails sync, you’ll be asked to select a layout and connect third-party apps. To connect, click on your app, sign in, and you’re ready to go without leaving your inbox. Each app you add appears as an icon in the sidebar for one-click access. With my Slack account connected, I just had to glance at the sidebar to see activity and quickly respond to messages.

One way to use your inbox without resorting to other tools is the Snooze feature. If you want to be reminded of an event such as a webinar, right-click the email, pick a date and time, and the email will appear back in your box at that moment. It will also be stored in your Snooze folder to let you see what’s coming up. With the unified mailbox feature, you can add multiple email accounts and manage all emails and folders from your one inbox.

Mailbird Pricing: From $39 a year for Mailbird Personal or a one-time $79. The Business plan ($59 annually) adds priority and Exchange support and unlimited email tracking.

Best Windows email client for simplicity

Windows Mail

Windows Mail, our pick for the best Windows email client for simplicity

I’ve used Windows Mail regularly since the ’90s and continue to use it as a secondary email account because it’s both free and simple to use.

Click the settings wheel to found all your available options, from personalization to notifications. You can create a signature and set up basic automatic replies. Personalization lets you create a few different themes with accent and background colors.

One feature I like is the Focusedinbox—a filter that learns which emails you read regularly and places these in a separate inbox. All other emails are put in the Other inbox. You can specify Other emails to be moved to the Focused inbox by right-clicking and selecting Move to Focused. There’s also a Microsoft To Do add-on that lets you schedule tasks and create repeatable to-do lists with a few clicks from the taskbar.

You won’t really found many bells or whistles here—which, for plenty of people, is perfect for your inbox.

Windows Mail Pricing: Free

Best Windows email client with a robust business platform

Microsoft Outlook

Microsoft Outlook, our pick for the best Windows email client with a robust business platform

Since the ’90s, Microsoft Outlook has been the go-to email client for businesses large and small. It’s a sophisticated platform with many advanced features, but it’s still relatively easy to use. And when bundled with Microsoft Office 365—a suite of several dozen productivity apps including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and SharePoint, among others—it makes for a powerful platform. For any business that wants to buy one email client and never look back, Outlook is that platform.

Once downloaded, click Info > Options to access your settings. To start, you get a handful of themes and seemingly limitless options for organizing all of the functions within the UI. That includes customizing the horizontal top menu (the Ribbon), which contains all your commands for performing tasks. You can add any of hundreds of command options for quick access based on your preferences.

Also within the email client are pre-made templates, built-in dictation, read-aloud text, and rules for managing emails with keywords, flags, sender name, to/from field, and more. And there are hundreds of third-party integrations (called Add-Ins) to customize your experience.

Microsoft Outlook Pricing: You need to purchase or own a Microsoft Office license to use Outlook (after a free trial). Office 365 Business Standard is $12.50/user/month. Note that Business Basic does not include the desktop client.

Best Windows email client for Gmail power users

Kiwi for Gmail

Kiwi for Gmail, our pick for the best Windows email client for Gmail power users

If you want your Gmail experience replicated in an email client, Kiwi for Gmail brings that—and then some. Not only does it provide the same Gmail UI you’re used to, but it also lets you work on all your Google apps without leaving the client—no opening files in new browser windows.

Once you connect, your Google Workspace is automatically loaded into the UI on the left sidebar next to your familiar Gmail inbox. From there, it’s just a click to open Docs, Sheets, and Slides. Your new window “floats” in the client by default, meaning you can drag it anywhere on your screen without having to perform another step (in Gmail, you have to press Shift + →).

By pressing Control + Alt + Windows + M (these are all essentially right together), you can open a compose window from anywhere you are on your computer. If you need to quickly access a closed document, click on File > Recently Closed Docs.

Because it’s designed to mirror the Gmail experience, Kiwi doesn’t provide many additional productivity tools or customization options, but they do offer integrations with Zoom, Grammarly, Boomerang, and a handful of others.

Kiwi for Gmail Pricing: From $9 yearly for a Basic license supporting one account; $34 yearly for a Premium license supporting six accounts

Best Windows email client for security and encryption

The Bat!

The Bat!, our pick for the best Windows email client for security and encryption

The Bat! is a highly secure email client and also one with tools to help you become more productive. It has more features than any other email client with the exception of Outlook, so learning what each does will take some time. But I found many of the common features, like setting up filters, folders, and rules, were self-explanatory. For the harder bits, the company’s support and forum section is excellent.

“On-the-fly encryption” lets you set a master password when you first launch The Bat! Then all your data (messages, address books, configuration files) will be sent and stored encrypted. You’ll get a warning if an attachment has a double extension (for example, photo.jpg.exe), and executable files cannot be opened.

The Bat! feels more utilitarian than some other clients (and similar to Thunderbird), but it gives you control over the layout. You can select a light or dark theme and from there, fine-tune the UI’s menu and toolbar to include only what you want. Format what appears, such as commands, the font, and the colors in messages. You can change almost any field or box you’re in by right-clicking and selecting Preferences in the menu. This will take you to options for that area/field.

The Bat! also comes with some nice-to-have, fun features. The MailTicker provides a running stock-like ticker on your screen for all unread emails. The ticker’s speed and colors can be customized, and you can drag (or hide) it anywhere on your screen. SmartBat lets you make notes on simple text files like a digital notepad or diary. And the QR code generator lets you quickly generate a code from text, emails, and about anything else within an email.

The Bat! Pricing: $49.99 for the Home version; $59.99 for the Professional version

Which Windows email client should you choose?

The best advice I can offer is to download a bunch of these and try them out—they all have free trials, and they’re all easy to set up. Since you’ll spend a lot of time in the app you choose, you want to be sure it’s the right one.

This post was originally published in March 2019 by Joseph Yaker.

I hope that you found the above useful or interesting. You can found similar content on our site: https://rankmysite1st.com//site/

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Categories SEO

123 Form Builder: App spotlight

SEO and General Business tutorials and tips.

This post was shared by MOZ.

Any business worth its salt—from startups to side hustles—has to create forms at some point.

In fact, roughly three-fourths of companies use online forms for generating leads, out of which 49.7% say these forms bring them the highest conversion for lead generation.

The takeaway? Forms aren’t dead—they’re vital for bringing in new business.

Perhaps you need to build a form for customer queries, or maybe you need a sign-up form so you can collect subscriber information. Whatever form (or survey!) you’re building, you probably want an easy way to go about it. And not only that, you’ll want a reliable way to view that data without manually collecting and transforming it into a report.

123 Form Builder, an online form builder, lets you easily build lead gen forms, quizzes, surveys, and more so you can collect the data you need to take action.

123 Form Builder origins: Turning a problem into a product

Florin Cornianu and Tudor Bastea met in college in Romania. Struck by a similar desire to build something online (that would sell), the pair worked on multiple endeavors until they found a problem they could monetize: a need to spend less time building forms for their online projects.

And so, in 2008, 123 Form Builder was born. After a year of developing the online form builder, the developers collected their first subscription a year later and officially set up shop in Romania.

Did you know? 123 Form Builder wasn’t an overnight success: it took ten years to develop, design, and advertise the product into something profitable.

123 Form Builder today: Creating forms for everything under the sun

Today, 123 Form Builder is an online form builder used by millions of customers to collect data through event registration forms, application forms, order forms, quizzes, surveys, and polls.

The tool comes with drag-and-drop functionality, add-on elements (like social buttons and rating stars), branding features (so you can add your own colors, fonts, and logo), and conditional logic to collect the exact data you need.

Plus, if you’re not sure how to build a form from scratch, 123 Form Builder offers a range of pre-made templates for literally any use case. Need to create a trivia quiz on animal facts for a team-building event? There’s a template for that. Want to set up a subscriber sign-up form for your newsletter? Ditto.

Fave feature: 123 Form Builder doesn’t let your data live in a silo. It collects your data in one central dashboard so you can filter out submissions that don’t interest you and generate reports that power meaningful actions.

Automate your forms and surveys: Popular 123 Form Builder workflows

Unlock even more value out of your forms and surveys by connecting 123 Form Builder with Zapier. That way, you can easily automate workflows with other apps you use. Here are a few popular workflows to get you started:

Add Google Sheets rows for new 123FormBuilder submissions

Add Google Sheets rows for new 123FormBuilder submissions

  • 123FormBuilder logo
  • Google Sheets logo
123FormBuilder + Google Sheets

Create or update ActiveCampaign contacts from new 123FormBuilder submissions

Create or update ActiveCampaign contacts from new 123FormBuilder submissions

  • 123FormBuilder logo
  • ActiveCampaign logo
123FormBuilder + ActiveCampaign

Create or update HubSpot contacts for new 123FormBuilder submissions

Create or update HubSpot contacts for new 123FormBuilder submissions

  • 123FormBuilder logo
  • HubSpot logo
123FormBuilder + HubSpot

Create Google Contacts for new 123FormBuilder submissions

Create Google Contacts for new 123FormBuilder submissions

  • 123FormBuilder logo
  • Google Contacts logo
123FormBuilder + Google Contacts

Create Trello cards from new 123FormBuilder submissions

Create Trello cards from new 123FormBuilder submissions

  • 123FormBuilder logo
  • Trello logo
123FormBuilder + Trello

New to Zapier? It’s an automation 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.

I hope that you found the above useful or interesting. You can found similar content on our blog: https://rankmysite1st.com//blog/

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Let us know what topics we should cover for you in future.

Categories SEO

11 small business advertising ideas for 2022

SEO and General Business tutorials and tips.

This post was sourced from by MOZ.

I spent years working with small restaurants and local businesses to help them grow—and, honestly, very few of them needed a huge advertising budget to drive business. Sure, you could invest thousands in paid ads, hire a top-tier advertising agency, and work with influencers to promote your brand. But you don’t have to: there are plenty of free or low-cost advertising options that will attract website traffic and in-person visits.

Technically, advertising refers to paid marketing—think newspaper or Google Ads. But other marketing strategies—the ones you don’t have to pay for—can be just as effective. So before dropping 5K on Facebook ads, try these 11 free or low-cost ad ideas for small businesses.

1. Claim Google advertising credits

Google Ads can help you reach your target audience in search results or on other websites through display ads. And you can get super specific with it: for example, you could target people who live within 10 miles of your store or folks who search for the items you sell.

How SMBs can run ad campaigns like the Fortune 500

The problem, of course, is money. Paid ads can cost quite a bit—and while they usually have a solid return on investment (ROI), it’s often too much for a small business to put down up front.

One solution: Google offers free ad credits to new Google Ads users. Right now, they’re offering $500 in free ad credits when you spend $500. Many hosting companies will also offer a few hundred dollars in free Google Ads credits. Use these credits to test advertising strategies and see if the ROI makes sense for your business.

Tip: Instead of starting your Google Ads strategy from scratch, see what works for other brands, and steal their strategies.

2. Claim and optimize your Google My Business account

Google My Business (GMB) is a completely free tool that lets you manage how your business appears in Google Search results. Imagine how much you’d have to pay for a Google Search ad on “Indian food” targeted to your local area—you can do it for free by optimizing your GMB account.

Google Search for "indian food near me" with GMB results showing

There’s a lot you can do with GMB, but these are the basics:

  • Fill out all available information, including address, name, phone number, business category, and website.

  • Use key terms people are likely searching for in your description.

  • Include images and videos of the inside and outside of your business.

  • Respond professionally to customer reviews.

Here are more tips for how to optimize your Google My Business account.

3. Use micro-audiences to stretch your Instagram ad budget

Yes, spending money on social media ads will help you reach a wider audience, but you don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars for each campaign. Instagram offers incredibly specific options to help you target micro-audiences.

Here are some ideas for targeting smaller audiences:

  • Custom audiences: Upload your email list, and target only those users. This is ideal to promote new products or to offer discounts to customers you haven’t seen in a while.

  • People who are interested in your big competitors: For example, a cake decorator might target people who like Cake Boss or Dairy Queen.

  • A small age range: If your ideal target audience is older or younger, make sure to target only those users.

  • A specific location: If you’re a local business, target folks within a few miles of your store. If you’re an online business, consider an ad campaign targeted to folks in a specific location, so you can still use geographic targeting.

Also make use of the Exclude option, which lets you exclude specific audiences, interests, or locations; and the Campaign Budget Optimization option, which lets the robots make your campaigns more budget-effective.

The Campaign Budget Optimization option in Instagram

If you focus your audience to a super-specific niche, you’ll decrease ad spending while only reaching the most relevant users. Start with a small budget—say $10 a day—and build from there.

4. Apply for business awards

Even taking out an ad in a newspaper will set you back a few hundred dollars, minimum. But there’s a good chance your city or industry has a “best of” awards program. Someone has to win those awards—why not you?

Search online for “Best of [your city]” or “[your industry] awards.” Applying is often free or only a few hundred dollars, and it gives your brand both online and print exposure. In local markets, winners are often invited to give demonstrations live on local news stations. That’s a lot of publicity for not a lot of money.

It’s easy to write this off if you’re not a local business, but there are awards for every type of business—local or not—from AC contractors to business tech and ed tech. There are also cross-industry awards like the Webbys, which recognize online excellence, and the US Search Awards, which recognize the best marketing campaigns.

Use your discretion, and don’t apply to every available award, or it will start to cost some serious cash. Instead, focus on the awards that you think will get you exposure to your target audience.

5. Host classes or events

Hosting classes or events is a great way to get the word out about your business and, depending on how you go about it, pull in some extra revenue. Here are a few examples:

  • A social media management company could host a free webinar about an up-and-coming social media platform, with the goal of educating customers and generating new leads.

  • A bakery could host a cookie decorating class and charge a few bucks for kids and parents. When families visit, a display of expertly decorated cakes might encourage them to order a cake for their next event.

  • A clothing store could host a paint-and-sip event, where users paint and drink wine with friends and then peruse the store after. It’s $25, but if they buy something, the entry fee is used as a credit toward the item.

Start by deciding what your goal is for the class: do you want to increase brand awareness, drive leads, or actually make a profit? If you’re using it for advertising, I suggest keeping the class affordable or free, if possible.

To increase signups, use established platforms like Airbnb Experiences or online learning platforms like Udemy or Skillshare. That way, you have a built-in audience who can discover your brand, product, or services. You can also use the Google Ads and Instagram ads tips above to increase your event signups.

6. Offer a Groupon deal

I have a love-hate relationship with Groupon. I’ve enjoyed using them to try new businesses myself, and I’ve used it to drive foot traffic for clients. But Groupon also brings out the deal-seekers who have no intention of returning to your business. And if you’re not careful with the discount amounts, it can end up costing you money. (Generally, Groupon takes half of your deal, so if you offer yoga classes for $10, Groupon takes $5.)

If you decide to give it a shot, here are a few tips:

  • Set a firm expiration date (120 days is usually good).

  • Make it for first-time customers only.

  • Limit the number of deals to one or two per customer.

  • Limit the total number of Groupon deals. This will vary by business size, but setting it at 25-30 total coupons is usually a good start.

Groupon is ideal for increasing business during slow seasons or building brand awareness—if you’re well established, it might not be worth it.

7. Pitch through HARO

HARO, which stands for Help A Reporter Out, connects journalists and media outlets with expert sources. Those experts can include business owners.

A few times a day, you’ll receive an email with lists of writers looking for sources. For example, a local reporter might be looking for fun summer camps or information on how small businesses are getting ready for the holiday season. You respond to their pitch, and they’ll include your quote or example in their story if it’s a good fit. You might even land a backlink in an online publication.

Here are some tips for how to write a HARO pitch to give you a better chance of getting that free publicity.

8. Send direct mail

Direct mail is alive and well. It’s more personal—and much more likely to be opened than an email.

As with most marketing, sending snail mail will be even more effective if you segment your audience. For example, after moving to a new house, I received a packet welcoming me to the neighborhood and offering me a discount on blinds and new windows. The ad mentioned my new house, so they were likely tracking public records and targeting new homeowners. In the age of personalization, hyper-relevant ads like this can be incredibly effective.

And it’s pretty cost-effective. If you wanted to send out 1,000 postcards through a direct mail platform, you’ll pay around $800, while getting the same number of clicks on a Facebook ad could cost you anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000, depending on your industry’s cost-per-click.

9. Partner with another business

Advertising is expensive, so why not split the costs? By pairing up with another business, you’ll spend less while increasing your reach to a new audience (theirs).

How you structure the partnership will depend on your business, but start by looking for a business with an overlapping audience that isn’t a competitor. Here are a few examples:

  • A family restaurant might partner with a bowling alley to promote birthday bowling parties with catering from the restaurant.

  • A yoga studio could offer discounted prenatal classes for parents-to-be from a local doctor’s office.

  • An HVAC company and an electric company could add each other to a “Trusted partner” page to refer each other for work outside of their scope.

  • A women’s eCommerce clothing company could pair with a kids eCommerce clothing company to create a new line of “Mommy and Me” matching clothes—and share the promotional costs.

Here are more tips on how to use brand partnerships as a growth strategy.

10. Create a newsletter of useful ideas or jobs

Not all advertising has to look like advertising. Rather than just promoting your business, consider leveraging content marketing by creating an industry-specific newsletter where you share useful resources, strategies, or even job openings with your audience.

One of my favorite examples is from Aleyda Solis, an SEO consultant and speaker. Every week or so, she sends out a roundup of industry news that includes trending topics, new updates in the SEO world, as well some resources she loves.

The email newsletter from Aleyda Solis that Danielle describes above

It’s useful to me because I stay up to date on industry news, but it also establishes her as an expert in the field. Depending on your business, you might also share local events or job listings. Once you build an audience with your content marketing, you can then use it as another spot to promote your business.

11. Go to local events

If you’re a local business, consider joining local events, either as a sponsor, volunteer, or board member. For example, I recently took my kids to an event, and a local martial arts school had set up a tent and was giving away free (small) cotton candy for the kids. Laid on the table were brochures and signs about their summer camps and classes. Would I have approached the tent if not for the cotton candy? Probably not. But it worked.

Any kind of local event is fair game: farmers’ markets, movies in the park, holiday parades, food festivals, craft fairs, you name it. Just make sure to offer something your audience will want to draw them in. Free swag and sugar usually do the trick.

Low cost doesn’t necessarily mean low returns

It would be nice to have a million-dollar advertising budget, but scrappiness is a virtue, right? And don’t forget: in addition to all the ideas on this list, there’s always SEO.

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Categories SEO

Zapier now connects to 5,000 apps. This is how we got there.

SEO and General Business tutorials and tips.

This post was sourced from by MOZ.

The first version of Zapier integrated with just 34 apps. Now, just a decade later, we’ve scaled our partner ecosystem to 5,000 apps—the most integrations of any automation tool on the market.

This is a massive celebration for Zapier—and for our customers, who are able to use Zapier regardless of their tech stack—so we wanted to share how we got here. The short answer: automation. We walked the walk and used Zapier and other automation tools to help us onboard new partners, manage partner development, and support partner launches. That way, our team is able to focus on the work that matters most: developing relationships with our amazing partners and making sure our integrations allow our customers to succeed on Zapier.

Here’s a peek into the journey a Zapier partner goes through once they’ve built their Zapier integration.

The journey of a Zapier partner

Once a partner has built their integration, someone from our team approves it, and the app enters our public beta phase. This stage involves a few steps that a partner needs to complete to be fully launched on the platform.

Partner journey at Zapier as an infographic

In the past, we sent a generic email to each partner at the beginning of their launch journey. Partners would progress at different paces, and unsurprisingly, things would slip through the cracks. When I started at Zapier just over two years ago, we had 1,500 partners. As our partner pool grew rapidly, we knew we needed to rely on automation to remove human error and allow our small (but mighty!) team to manage such a large scale of integrations.

Here’s what we set up.

Automation checks

The first step in the automation overhaul was building out a system that would check each partner’s individual progress—daily.

With Webhooks by Zapier and our integration with Copper (the CRM our team uses), our system is able to monitor which steps a partner is missing before they can graduate out of public beta and launch on Zapier.

Dynamic email campaigns

With automation checks in place, we know exactly where different partners are in their beta journey. Using Copper and Email by Zapier, we’re able to trigger dynamic emails, depending on which qualifications partners have left to meet.

This simple automation had a multiplier effect on our ability to connect with and respond to partners as they progressed through their launch journey.

Notifications for launch

Once partners have completed the launch checklist, they’re ready to leave beta. We set up a Zap that automatically notifies us on Slack when an app has officially qualified—from there, we remove the beta tags, and the partner officially becomes a member of our Partner Program.

Marketing content

We love sharing in our partners’ successes, so we want to make a splash about the partner in our marketing campaigns. When the beta tag gets removed, Zapier triggers an email to the partner, letting them know when they can expect their announcement to go live. The same trigger also sends a digest to our content team to refer to when they’re writing the main site post announcing launches each month.

Build for the future

Scaling is a challenge for any organization, but automation can bear the brunt of these growing pains. Setting up thoughtful processes ahead of time has allowed us to grow quickly without sacrificing the quality of our relationships or integrations.

The robots did the busywork, but it was our team—and our incredible partners—that allowed us to get to this milestone of 5,000 partner apps. A big thanks to our brilliant Partner Operations and Partner Marketing teams, our amazing PMs and engineers, and our collaborative Partnerships team. And of course, thank you to each and every one of our 5,000 partner apps who’ve been part of this journey.

Want to join 5,000 other apps on the Zapier platform? We’d love to have you. Start here!

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Categories SEO

How to talk to your clients about mental health issues

SEO and General Business tutorials and tips.

This post was sourced from by MOZ.

Talking about mental health is never easy, especially when you’re self-employed. But it’s a conversation I have to have constantly because I live with two anxiety disorders (generalized anxiety and PTSD) and chronic depression. Whether you’re struggling with wellness and it’s affecting your work, or the work itself is causing stress, it’s important to know how to address it with clients.

Here are two different approaches that work for me.

Approach #1: Open and direct

I want to start by acknowledging that this is still the best-case scenario. We’ve come a long way in talking about mental health concerns at work, but it’s not an easy topic and can still come with professional consequences.

For this method to work, it’s extremely important to have a good rapport and healthy communication with a client you trust. Even more crucially, it requires a willingness and the ability for you to be open about your mental health. If those requirements don’t fit your current situation, feel free to focus on Approach #2 (though I still suggest reading through this one!).

When it comes to mental health-related interactions with my clients, I’m usually dealing with one of three scenarios:

  • Introducing myself and my mental health to a new client

  • Asking a client for more flexibility on a project when I’m having a bad day or am in crisis

  • Addressing issues or pushback with a current client that are affecting my wellbeing

Introducing yourself

The few times I’ve been open and direct about my mental health to new clients, I’ve already established enough of a rapport for them to know my story of chronic, ongoing anxiety and depression. Many of those clients have their own mental health stories, which makes the conversation much easier.

If you don’t have a personal connection in place yet, one way to gauge if you can be open with a potential client is to ask how they approach mental health at their company. It’ll also give you a sense of whether they’ll be a good fit and provide you an opening to say “the reason I ask is that I sometimes deal with X…”

Tip: Share how you prefer to work, and leave clients an open invitation to have a more personal discussion about wellness at work later.

When you’re struggling

If you’re struggling with a project or having a bad day, letting a good client know should be as simple as sending a quick email or text.

Example: “Hi X, I’m dealing with some mental health stuff today and need a bit more time on our project. Do you mind if I submit it tomorrow/X date instead?”

Here’s an actual text I sent last year to a long-standing client during a project.

A text exchange between Leanna and a client about needing some extra time on a project

On bad days, having a standard or canned answer ready to go can really alleviate stress and allow you to focus on recovery. You could even use a text expander to make things easier on yourself.

Tip: Tell your client about your situation as early as possible and either suggest an alternative day for submitting your work, or let them know when you’ll check in with a new due date.

Dealing with stressful clients or projects

A few years ago, I chose to take on a project I knew I’d hate because I adored my client (a boutique marketing agency). It got so bad that I’d panic every time I opened my computer. Eventually, I confessed to my contact in tears. And while she was sweet and understanding, it was a messy transition that damaged the client relationship, all because I ignored my own boundaries.

Point is, even if you have a good client and work well together, stressful situations can crop up.

First, try to identify the source of your stress: is it the project, your contact, or the client? Could it be you, your mental health, the timing, or other external factors? Think carefully about all the circumstances, and be honest with yourself about your own involvement.

No one wants to hear “we need to talk,” but an “I’m having a hard time with this project. Can we hop on a call to discuss?” will help you get past that initial awkwardness. Remind them of the positive aspects of your relationship, lay out the problems as simply as you can, and offer potential solutions.

Tip: Look at every stressful situation as a learning experience. If the problem was the project or the client, that’s a good sign that you may need to set some new work boundaries. If you were even partially responsible, it’s probably time for a self-assessment.

Approach #2: Direct, but not open

There is zero need to be upfront if you don’t want to or are concerned that it will affect your livelihood. Talking about your mental health upfront can and has led to discrimination, false assumptions, and soured professional relationships. I’m a mental health advocate who writes about mental health, and I still choose not to disclose my private life to everyone all the time.

This method can be used with any client, and you don’t necessarily need to build up a rapport beforehand.

Introducing yourself

For this approach, I tend to lean into the professional rather than the personal. Instead of sharing my mental health story, I lay out my approach to work and how we can work best together.

Focus on how you’re a business that supports worker mental health and what that looks like in terms of communication, work hours, mental health days, and project deadlines. When I talk to potential new clients about scope, I mention my minimum turnaround times, when I’m available for communication and calls based on timezone, and any upcoming time off.

You don’t even have to mention mental health at all if you don’t want to—just lay out the boundaries that allow you to work well.

Tip: A great resource for sharing mental health details professionally is Manual of Me, a tool created by freelance mental health community, Leapers. My Manual of Me lays out my ideal clients, work style, and most important boundaries.

When you’re struggling

As a birthparent, talking about my daughter (who I placed for adoption at birth) can be a sensitive subject. So when people ask if I’m a parent or have kids, my answer varies. And that’s ok. Same thing with mental health: if you don’t feel like going into details, you don’t have to.

In an emergency, you still want to reach out to your client as soon as you can. But this time, choose more neutral wording, like:

  • I’m taking a sick day

  • I have a health or personal emergency

  • I need to go on a short leave for family reasons

An email from Leanna to a client about needing some extra time on a project

Tip: If you need more time to “dig in” to a project and mental health is getting in the way, let the client know that giving you a few extra days will achieve better results. I learned this from my wonderful business friend, Chrissy Kozol, who was our guest on a recent Bettermental episode.

Dealing with stressful clients or projects

Similar to the first approach, it’s important to assess the situation objectively (or as objectively as possible, anyway) before talking to your client. The message is the same; it just comes from a different angle.

Rather than leading with how the project is affecting you, summarize your concerns along with the terms of your agreement, so they can see the difference. Make sure the original scope you’ve agreed on is spelled out explicitly in your contract, statement of work (SOW), or at the very least, emails, so there’s a record you can refer back to.

Tip: Consider adding your work approach (boundaries, limitations, personal work terms) to your standard contract or SOW. You can even share a Manual of Me-type document at the beginning of your relationship to establish your expectations upfront.

But what if they push back?

At some point or another, you’re going to deal with unhappy clients; it’s just the cost of doing business.

The first thing I do before even talking to a pushy client is to write them out of my income for the month. A bit drastic, right? But stress like this can easily lead to a mental health crisis if I’m not careful. And there’s a lot of comfort in knowing that I’ll be covered financially if I have to choose my mental health over working with them. If I’m short on savings, I’ll reduce my monthly expenses temporarily and start reaching out to other clients about extra work.

Then, the best way to respond to client pushback will depend on the exact circumstances. But your response will come a lot easier once you decide how much energy you want to put into the relationship. Here are a few factors to consider:

  • How long the issue has been going on. Is it a one-time thing or an ongoing problem? If this is a new client, I’d probably just let them know we aren’t a good fit.

  • How good your relationship is. Setting aside the issue, are they a good client?

  • Whether you should or can negotiate/compromise. Remember, this is your mental health we’re talking about.

  • How valuable the client is to you. Do you really need or want them, or are they replaceable? Another great reason to deal with finances first: the value of the client relationship becomes a lot clearer once money is off the table.

Now comes the hard part: finding the right words. I can’t tell you exactly what to say, but here are a few potential options based on how you want to move forward.

Scenario #1: Keeping the client

“Hi CLIENT, I’m sorry this [boundary, time off, solution to an issue] isn’t going to work for you.

I really want to make sure we keep this project on track, so how would you feel about this instead: [share the compromise you’ve decided on, such as a shortened deadline, discount, or adjusted boundary].”

Scenario #2: Letting go of the client

“Hi CLIENT, I’m sorry this [boundary, time off, solution to an issue] isn’t going to work for you.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a better solution to offer and think it would be best if we end our work together here. Therefore, I would like to [give X notice according to our contract / send a partial or discounted invoice / other project wrap-up scenario]. “

There’s no easy way to handle this, but being prepared financially and emotionally can help you face any potential lashback and act promptly and effectively on your decision.

Finally, some mental health disclaimers

I’m not (and never will be) a mental health professional. But as someone who has lived with chronic mental health issues my entire professional life, I’ve learned that there’s no separating the two. I live and work a lot better when my health is the priority.

But every mental health experience is unique, and there’s no one right way to make your needs known, especially when disclosing them is difficult. I can only share what I’ve done and what’s worked for me.

The most important thing you can do is learn what your own mental health needs are and find a professional approach that works best for you.

I hope that you find the above useful or interesting. You can find similar content on our blog: https://rankmysite1st.com//blog/

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Categories SEO

The best mind mapping software in 2022

SEO and General Business tutorials and tips.

This post was sourced from by MOZ.

Mind mapping is a creative way to brainstorm and find connections between different ideas. Done right, it’s a great way to come up with new ideas and solutions to tricky problems, outline an post or presentation, and generally just get your thoughts in order.

Use automation to support brainstorming, delegation, and communication

I do most of my mind mapping digitally—and even when I don’t, I often recreate a paper mind map online so that I can have it safely stored and easily searched. (It’s a weird hybrid approach, but it works for me.)

Over the past several years of updating this list, I’ve tested close to 50 different mind map tools, many multiple times as they’ve been updated and added new features. I’ve also made dozens of mind maps myself, both on paper and digitally. Pen and paper set a very high bar to clear, but these are the five best mind mapping apps that manage to clear it.

The 5 best mind mapping tools in 2022

  • Coggle for mind map beginners and occasional use

  • MindMeister for collaborating on a mind map with a team

  • Ayoa for a modern approach to mind mapping

  • MindNode for Apple users

  • XMind 2022 for personal brainstorming

What is mind mapping?

Traditionally, a mind map is done with a pen (or, ideally, loads of colored pens) and paper. You start by writing a central idea or theme in the middle of a blank sheet of paper. Then the fun starts: around your central theme, you create “nodes” connected by lines, each with its own related idea or theme. For example, if the central theme was “Summer” (say, for a marketing campaign), the first five or so nodes might be “Good weather,” “BBQs,” “Vacation,” “Air conditioning,” and “School’s out.”

From each node, you then repeat the process, drilling deeper into the different concepts. “BBQs” might lead to “Family time,” “Good food,” and “Burgers.” “School’s out” could lead to “Summer jobs,” “Extracurriculars,” and “Alice Cooper.”

Some ideas will also connect back to other ideas. “Family time” could also link to “Good weather” and “Vacation.” “Burgers” could link to “Summer jobs.” But by getting all these branching concepts down on paper, you can start to see the relationships between different things and generate new ideas. Who’d have thought before we started brainstorming that Alice Cooper flipping burgers at a family BBQ (or maybe in a fast food joint?) could make for a killer summer ad?

What makes for great mind map software?

How we evaluate and test apps

All of our best apps roundups are written by humans who’ve spent much of their careers using, testing, and writing about software. We spend dozens of hours researching and testing apps, using each app as it’s intended to be used and evaluating it against the criteria we set for the category. We’re never paid for placement in our posts from any app or for links to any site—we value the trust readers put in us to offer authentic evaluations of the categories and apps we review. For more details on our process, read the full rundown of how we select apps to feature on the Zapier main site.

Mind mapping with a sheet of paper and a pen is an incredibly intuitive and natural way to work. You just start drawing and go from there with almost nothing in your way.

It does have its downsides, though. Unless you have a gigantic whiteboard knocking around, you’re limited to a fairly small piece of paper. It’s not searchable, and you can’t easily undo things or make edits. And, worst of all, if you lose your mind map, you don’t have a backup. So even though pen-and-paper mind mapping is delightful, it might be worth considering a mind map app.

While each mind mapping tool on this list has its own unique benefits, they all meet at least the following criteria:

  • It’s actually a mind mapping app. A lot of drawing, diagramming, and flowchart apps are marketed as mind map apps—but they aren’t. While you could make a mind map in them, you could also use PowerPoint, Photoshop, or MS Paint. You could even get a key and carve a mind map into your computer screen. Just because something can be used to make a mind map, doesn’t mean it should or that it will do it well. These more general-purpose apps tend to lack the features that make creating a mind map digitally as easy as possible, like automatically linking nodes, brainstorming modes that let you get a lot of concepts down quickly, and search. For an app to make this list, we dug past the marketing and made sure it was designed from the ground up for brainstorming, not for drawing or creating professional diagrams or charts.

  • It gets out of the way. Mind mapping with a pen and paper is a joy. No app is ever going to be quite as intuitive, but it should come as close as possible. After a short learning period to get up to speed, you shouldn’t have to stop and think to create a node, or dig through menus to connect two ideas. The app should just fade into the background—the same way your web browser does.

  • It offers an unlimited canvas. A digital mind map tool should have a practically unlimited canvas size, so you can make a mind map as big as you can conceive of, connecting huge numbers of ideas if you want. Using an app is all about overcoming the analog downsides, not reinforcing them.

  • It allows you to attach files. Sometimes you need more than a few words to fully illustrate a concept—and doodling is a big part of analog mind mapping. For an app to make this list, you need to be able to attach images, videos, documents, web pages, and other assorted extras to your mind maps.

  • It allows you to save and export. You can’t easily edit, save, or share your paper mind maps, so one of the big reasons to go digital is that you can. The best mind map software lets you come back to a mind map later and change it up, save it, and export it in different formats, so you can send it to your colleagues, classmates, or anyone else.

This is my third year keeping this list updated, so I’m very familiar with all our top picks—plus all the apps that come close to breaking into this list but just fall short. To test each mind map app, I use it. I start with some silly concept and just mind map away to see how it works and feels. (I’m always comparing things back to both paper and the other apps.) If it’s nice to use and ticks all the boxes, it goes on a shortlist to be considered for inclusion. If it’s awkward, gets in the way, or doesn’t have a key feature, I leave it off the list (though all the testing notes get added to an increasingly complex spreadsheet, so I can check if things improve next year). From that shortlist, I pull out the best of the best. So, here are the five best mind mapping apps.

Best mind mapping software for beginners and occasional use

Coggle (Web)

Coggle, our pick for the best mind mapping app for beginners and occasional use

Coggle is, in many ways, the mind map maker to beat. It’s fast, intuitive, and easy to use (with great keyboard shortcuts)—even though it’s only available through your web browser. Perhaps best of all, Coggle is free for up to three private mind maps. As long as you save your mind maps as PDFs, plain text documents, or images, you can delete your old drafts and basically have unlimited free mind mapping. If you’re only looking to use a digital option every few months, it’s practically perfect.

The moment you start a diagram in Coggle, you’ll see the central node of a new mind map. From there, you can create new nodes by clicking on the plus sign or—if you want a faster experience—tapping the tab key. There’s a handy cheatsheet of all the keyboard shortcuts in the bottom-right corner of the app, and it’s worth learning to use them.

Coggle is packed with thoughtful touches. One of my favorite features is that you can format your mind map items and messages with Markdown, so you can get as fancy as you need to while adding your text, images, and links to the canvas. There’s also collaboration built in. If you want to bounce some ideas off a colleague, you can go ahead and add them to your mind map, carry on a conversation in the messages sidebar, or go into full-screen presentation mode to take a step back and do more high-level ideation.

In short, for occasional mind mapping (whether on your own or with colleagues), Coggle nails it, and it’s your best option s for free mind mapping software. Its paid offering is also great, but for $60/year, you can get other mind mapping apps that work natively rather than just through a web browser.

Coggle pricing: Free for up to three private diagrams; $5/month for unlimited private diagrams and extra mind mapping tools (like additional shapes and color control).

Best mind mapping software for collaborating with a team

MindMeister (Web, iOS, Android)

MindMeister, our pick for the best mind mapping software for collaborating with a team

MindMeister is one of the best collaborative mind mapping tools out there. It’s a little less intuitive to use than Coggle, and some features—like exporting your mind maps as a PDF or image, or attaching images and videos—are limited to paid plans, so it’s a less enticing option for solo mind mappers. For teams, though, its collaboration features are great: you can add team members and guests to your mind map, leave comments for each other, and otherwise work together to brainstorm or present ideas.

It also has a sleek modern interface and plenty of customization options (including some more corporate layouts). Plus, it automatically aligns your nodes, which makes it easy to create great-looking mind maps that won’t look out of place in a meeting room.

MindMeister is owned by the same people that make MeisterTask, a web-based, kanban-style project management app. The two tools are integrated, so you can turn your brainstorm session into an actionable project, assigning individual items on a mind map to members of your team, tracking task progress, and syncing it all with your other project boards inside MeisterTask—which even integrates with Zapier.

For an in-depth look at what a sample MindMeister/MeisterTask project might look like, take a look at our post about how to jumpstart new projects with mind maps.

MindMeister pricing: Free for the Basic plan that includes up to three mind maps and real-time collaboration. From $4.99/month for the Personal plan that includes unlimited mind maps, file attachments, and PDF exports.

Best mind mapping software for a modern mind mapping approach

Ayoa (Web, iOS, Android, macOS, Windows)

Ayoa, our pick for the best mind mapping software with a modern mind mapping approach

Ayoa is the follow-up to one of our previous mind mapping picks, iMindMap. It was created by Chris Griffiths, a mind mapping expert and author who has collaborated with Tony Buzan, the man responsible for popularizing mind mapping in the 1970s. Put simply, it’s got a serious mind mapping pedigree—and it shows.

Open Ayoa, create a Mind Map, and you have a choice of making an Organic Map, a Speed Map, a Radial Map, or a Capture Map—though you can also change between them at any time with a dropdown menu. (You can also make a Whiteboard or Task Board if you’re doing some more corporate-style brainstorming, though these features are limited to the more expensive plans.)

  • The Organic Map is the most traditional and mimics the kind of thing you’d draw with a pen and paper. You aren’t confined to just putting words in boxes. Instead, you’re encouraged to label the swooshing, Sharpie-like branches that connect different ideas. It’s a much more natural process than a lot of the other apps.

  • A Speed Map is similar, but with a stripped-down setup designed for rapid brainstorming. You’re almost forced to use keyboard shortcuts, like Tab for a new child branch and Enter for a new sibling branch, as the buttons to do the same are hidden away unless you deliberately click on a node. It’s great when you want to ideate quickly.

  • A Radial Map is a totally modern approach to mind mapping. Instead of nodes and lines, every idea becomes part of a series of concentric circles. A peripheral segment of your central idea becomes the center of its own circle of ideas as you move outward. It’s mind mapping that’s moving beyond the limits of what can even be imagined with paper.

  • A Capture Map is a blank canvas that allows you to quickly add ideas, whether they’re related or not. They float around the page as little thought bubbles. You can then connect them and turn your rough outline into an Organic Map, Speed Map, or Radial Map.

And Ayoa isn’t just limited to basic (and not-so-basic) mind mapping. The chat, real-time collaboration, whiteboard, and task management features make it ideal if you’re part of a small team looking to realize your ideas. It’s also designed to be accessible to neurodiverse people. Ayoa is under rapid development, so it’s worth keeping an eye on their roadmap to see what features are coming down the line. When we reviewed this app two years ago, the whiteboard features didn’t exist. Last year, they were worth mentioning. Now, they’re so good that Ayoa almost made our list of best whiteboard apps.

This year’s surprise feature addition was GenerateIdeas.ai—an AI-powered brainstorming tool (though it’s only available on the most expensive Ultimate tier). Click Open in GI, then right-click on any node and select Ideas, Questions, or Explain, and it will come up with up to four related concepts. I find it was a little too willing to dive into controversial concepts like weight loss (a problem with many AI-powered tools). Using “Spring” as a test bed, I quickly generated ideas like “go for a morning jog” and “chocolate Easter eggs,” which, when the AI expanded on them, led to suggestions like “go for a morning jog to lose weight” and “develop a healthier chocolate to help with weight loss.” Keep this in mind if you’re going to use it in your workplace.

Ayoa pricing: Mind Map plan for $6.95/user/month with all mind mapping features. The Pro plan for $13/user/month adds whiteboards and other advanced features.

Best mind mapping software for Apple users

MindNode(iOS, macOS)

MindNode, our pick for the best mind mapping software for Apple users

Most mind mapping apps are web apps, and if there’s a native app available, it’s really just a shell for the web app. It’s fine if you want the collaboration, sharing, and other features you get with an online service, but what if you just want a simple way to brainstorm by yourself?

MindNode, a native Mac, iPhone, and iPad app, is perfect for Apple users (and when I’m in a big mind mapping buzz, it’s my go-to app). Start a new map on one device and it instantly syncs to your other devices using iCloud. The app is just as easy to use (and as powerful) whether you prefer to tap the plus icon to add a new node on your iPhone or click it on your Mac. And since it’s a fully native app, no internet connection? No problem.

MindNode also has a load of other features that will keep you happy if you’re deep in Apple’s ecosystem, like a Quick Entry dialog in the Menu Bar on your Mac, Widgets for the Home screen or Notification Center, a Watch app, Apple Pencil support, and integration with popular to-do apps Apple Reminders, Things, and OmniFocus. Select any node, and click Add Task to turn it into a to-do item. Or click the share menu and Export to Things (or OmniFocus), and your mind map will get converted into a project in your chosen app with all your to-dos ready to be checked off. It’s a great brainstorming app that lets you turn a brainstorming session into something actionable.

MindNode pricing: Free limited Mac and iOS app; $2.49/month for MindNode Plus with image support, tasks, themes, and styling options.

Best mind mapping software for personal brainstorming

XMind(Web, Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android)

XMind, our pick for the best mind mapping software for personal brainstorming

If you just make mind maps by yourself and don’t need to constantly brainstorm with other people, then a lot of the tools we’ve looked at are overkill. A lot of development time goes into supporting real-time collaboration, versioning, and the like. With XMind, however, all that same dev energy goes straight into making mind mapping nicer, faster, and easier.

While XMind is available on the web (if you have mind maps stored in a cloud storage provider like Dropbox or Google Drive), its native apps are what shine. It’s available on Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, and even Linux. If you need something cross-platform so you and your family (or professional team) can all use the same app, even if you aren’t collaborating in real-time, it’s hard to beat.

While it’s subjective, I also feel that XMind makes the nicest mind maps by default. It’s got a slightly hand-drawn style that I wish I could mimic with a pen and paper. It’s professional enough for the office (especially if you use the built-in Pitch mode), but also nice enough that you’ll want to use it by choice.

Otherwise, XMind hits all the marks you’d expect from a mind mapping app. It’s intuitive to use whether you rely on keyboard shortcuts, a touch screen, or clicking buttons with a mouse. There are enough customization options and themes that you can make your mind maps how you like.

Really, the biggest downside is that, at ~$7/month, it’s expensive for one person—especially when you consider all the features it lacks compared to, say, Ayoa or MindMeister. If a nice solo offline experience is more important than the most features for the money, then it’s easy to recommend. On the other hand, if you’re not mind mapping that often or need to work in a more deliberate way with other people, it’s probably not for you.

XMind pricing:$39.99 for 6 months (or $59.99 annually) for up to five desktops and five mobile devices.

If you’re wary of subscription fees and want something for personal use, SimpleMind is a solid XMind alternative. It’s available from €24.99 for Windows or macOS (€44.99 for both), $9.99 for iOS, and $8.49 for Android.

Do you need a mind mapping app?

Mind mapping can be a great way to generate and connect ideas, but unless you do it all the time, you probably don’t need a dedicated mind map creator—or at least not a paid one. Because, when it comes down to it, mind mapping software is just brainstorming software—and you can brainstorm pretty much anywhere. If you want a compromise, Coggle is a great place to start for free mind map software, since the free plan is pretty generous.

Also, reconsider the pen-and-paper method. It’s really hard to beat—which is why there are so many mind mapping apps available and so few on our list—and you can always take a photo of it to save it or share it. It’s not as tech-y as an app, but it works if you don’t make mind maps all the time as part of your job, or even in your personal life.

This piece was originally published in February 2019 by Maria Myre.

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