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

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This post was sourced from by HurDat.

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

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

Alli Hipsher, Graphic Designer

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

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

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

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

Chelsea Miner, Content Strategist

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

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

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

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

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

Christian Andrew, Social Media Strategist

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

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

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

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

Nick Castner, Development Coordinator

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

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

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

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

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

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Reduce digital overwhelm with automation

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This article was shared by MOZ.

It starts with one app you think will improve how you get things done. Then you add another, and another. Suddenly, you’re spending more time switching between apps than you are on the work they were supposed to help you organize.

Organization and productivity go hand in hand: the more organized we are, the easier it is to be productive. When we keep installing apps without clear intention, it leads to digital overwhelm. And when you feel overwhelmed by your apps, automation comes in handy.

Automation: a secret tool for better organization and productivity

App automation tools—like Zapier—act like a hub for all your applications. You create automated workflows in Zapier to handle things you used to do manually. As in, if you do X with this app, you can have Zapier automatically do Y with another app—for example, when you article a photo on Instagram, automatically share it to Twitter, or when you add a label to an email, automatically add it to your to-do list.

Zapier is a tool that helps you automate tasks between web apps. Our automatic workflows—which we call Zaps—send information from one app to another so you can stop worrying about copying and pasting and focus on more meaningful work. Check out this Zapier demo to learn more about how it works.

Organization and productivity go hand in hand: the more organized we are, the easier it is to be productive. When we keep installing apps without clear intention, it leads to digital overwhelm. And when you feel overwhelmed by your apps, automation comes in handy.

App automation tools—like Zapier—act like a hub for all your applications. You create automated workflows—called Zaps—to handle things you used to do manually. As in, if you do X with this app, you can have Zapier automatically do Y with another app—for example, when you article a photo on Instagram, automatically share it to Twitter, or when you add a label to an email, automatically add it to your to-do list.

You’ll find a ton of things you can do with automation, saving you from getting buried in a digital mess.

Digital overwhelm and how it’s ruining our productivity

To better understand why software like Zapier matters, let’s first discuss digital overwhelm. It’s a real thing, folks. Most likely, it’s something all of us, at some point, have experienced.

We tend to have separate apps for different types of tasks—something to handle your grocery list and something else to track birthdays, a personal calendar for weekend barbecues and another one so you never miss a work meeting. Then add in social media apps and ones we use to collaborate or communicate at work. The moment we open our phones, we’re inundated with apps that want our attention—we get lost in the notifications. Instead of focusing on the important things, we end up only doing busywork that drains our energy. This is digital overwhelm and it disrupts focus and productivity.

When you notice yourself spending more time scrolling neverending social feeds or jumping from one app to another without actually accomplishing anything, that’s a signal that you should examine your relationship with the digital world.

One solution I discovered was to maximize automation. With a few clicks, I can set up a workflow that automatically creates a new task in Asana when a new event appears in my Google Calendar. I can have a new item added in Monday whenever I receive an email marked Important. This is especially useful on weekends when I try to go offline.

I’ve learned automation helps me save time, pay more attention to my mental wellbeing, and be more digitally efficient.

Identify your apps and how they intersect

One way to start with automation is to assess all the applications and software you use regularly and software you use regularly. Be honest with yourself: which of these apps do you actually use and which are just taking up space? Once that’s done, uninstall the ones you don’t use and categorize the rest based on how you use them. This is what my category list looks like:

Social Media:

Work:

Family/personal:

Twitter

Google Calendar

Google Calendar

Instagram

Asana

Evernote

Facebook

Zoom

Pocket

Monday

Zoom

Pocket

The next step is to study how these applications and software intersect. Ask yourself, “What do I use Instagram for?” If it’s purely for personal reasons then that’s that. If you’re a social media manager and you’re also articleing and commenting on behalf of your brand, jot that down—we’re doing this old school, pen and paper style.

Do this for all your apps, and you’ll see places where information in one app is the starting point for something you do somewhere else, or where you’re moving information from one place to another. These are signals that automation—in the form of a Zap—could help you out.

Every Zap follows the same structure: When this happens, do that.

Here are some examples:

  • You have a daily calendar event reminding you to upload new content to Instagram. Once that’s done, you also add the same photo to Pinterest and Twitter.

  • Your team communicates in Slack, and that’s where you learn tasks you need to accomplish, but you track work in Asana and are always moving events from one place to the other.

  • You use a calendar for work and a separate one for personal events. You don’t want complete visibility between the two, but it’s important that personal events during the workday are blocked off in your work calendar.

All of these are places where Zapier could handle part—or all—of the process. You’ll set the starting point as the trigger and the things you want done as the actions. Once you’ve identified the places where your apps intersect, you can start to play with the automated workflows. Here are some examples of Zaps you could try:

There are tons of automated workflows you can set up, depending on your lifestyle, your work, and the software you use. The idea is to use automation to reduce the number of places you have to check and the effort it takes for you to make sure everything’s as it should be.

Organization and productivity go hand in hand

The main goal of each productivity app you install is to make things easier, but too many tools can make it a challenge to stay organized. Automating things helps us use our time and energy wisely. It saves us from drowning in things we should have done and ensures everything flows smoothly between all the applications we use.

We’re human: we can get off balance, lose track of time, feel unmotivated, unproductive, or lose control of things we thought we have full control over. We need to remember that more doesn’t always mean better. Minimizing things—like the number of places we have to check for important information—can enhance our productivity. That’s also a signal that we’ve harnessed our organization skills and learned to distinguish what to keep, what to delete, and what tools to use to make things easier.

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Categories SEO

5 automation ideas to do more with Google Forms

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This post was sourced from by MOZ.

Google Forms is a quick and flexible tool that allows you to gather information from customers, friends, or family, about anything you need. It can help you gather feedback, take orders, or find the best time for that family road trip you’ve been meaning to take. Plus, it can automatically save responses into a spreadsheet with Google Sheets—and you know how much I love spreadsheets—for easy viewing later on!

But once you’ve received a submission from your form, actually doing anything with it requires some manual work—whether that’s copying it over to a to-do list, adding a customer to your CRM, or messaging your team. With Zapier, you can have all of that taken care of automatically, so all you have to do is create the form and turn it on. Then you can relax while all the repetitive work is done for you!

Below, we’ve put together some automation ideas for Google Forms. You’ll find a list of Zaps (our word for the automated workflows you create with Zapier) to help you take Google Forms submissions and automatically turn them into to-do list tasks, new issues, messages, subscribers, and more. You can click the Use this Zap button on any of them to get started with a guided setup process, or go into your account and create a new Zap from scratch.

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.

To-do lists and project management

While you could use your form submissions as a to-do list inside of Google Sheets, your team might rely on apps like Trello, Asana, or Jira to help make sure everyone stays on track. These Zaps help take new submissions from a form and turn them into tasks for you and your teammates.

You can also make sure tasks get dynamically assigned to the correct person by using Paths or a Lookup Table action.

Send messages to your team

When working on a new project here at Zapier, I’ll often set up a Google Form as a simple way to take in feature requests or feedback. That’s great while I’m in the office, but what about after I’ve logged out for the day, or am out of the office for a few days? With the Zaps below, you can make sure that your team gets a message about each new submission to your form, so nothing gets missed.

Does your team prefer meetings to messages? You can also create Google Calendar events from new form submissions.

Custom email or SMS notifications

While checking on form responses is easy enough while you’re sitting at a desk, there’s a lot of time during the day where that isn’t a possibility. With the Zaps below, you can have custom notifications for each new submission be sent to your email inbox, or even messaged directly to your phone, so you can stay up-to-date no matter where you are.

Track leads, contacts, and subscribers

Manually tracking leads or adding subscribers to a mailing list can take hours out of your day. With Google Forms and one of these Zaps, you can let those leads come to you, and automatically add them to your CRM or contact list.

If you’re gathering subscribers, you’ll want to get those email addresses on your list as soon as possible so they hear from you right away.

Everything else

If you’ve got a Google Form set up, and want to send information to an app that isn’t listed here, or doesn’t integrate with Zapier (yet!), you can often use webhooks to make that happen! With this Zap, you can create a custom POST request that can send your form submission to any API that accepts it. Check out this guide to learn more about how webhooks work with Zapier.

Let your forms work for you

Taking advantage of automation means that once your form and Zap are set up, the hard work is over! You can take back the time (and energy!) that might have otherwise been spent manually acting on each submission, and concentrate on only the most important tasks.

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Categories SEO

Thoughts on taking time off, from a brand new hire

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This article was shared by MOZ.

My manager recently commended me for taking so much time off from work. I felt a pang of guilt.

4 self-care workflows to get through hard times

We had just completed my 90-day review, and it went well in spite of what my imarticleor syndrome told me to expect. Taking time off wasn’t a problem at all. On the contrary: my manager said he was going to take more vacation days because he was inspired by my use of Zapier‘s unlimited paid time-off policy.

I wasn’t expecting that, but maybe I should have been.

Fear of going out of office

The last company I worked for also had an unlimited time-off policy, but I struggled to use it, especially during the pandemic. I was leading and contributing to a project during my last six months there, and I felt like I couldn’t go anywhere—that the project would fall behind if I wasn’t working on it.

Turns out that wasn’t true at all. I was forced to take a few sick days here and there because I would inevitably get a migraine that left me unable to see what was on my computer screen. I eventually took more days off here and there. And you know what? The project didn’t fall behind. My coworkers had all the information needed and knew who to talk to when I was away.

Taking time off didn’t hurt the team. Not taking time off, though, burned me out. My partner noticed, my close friends noticed, and I’m sure my team noticed. In all likelihood, using my vacation days actually benefited my team—because I came back refreshed.

The second time around

So that’s why, when I accepted the job at Zapier, I immediately requested time off for vacations I already had planned with my partner and best friends. And that wasn’t all. I found myself requesting days off for friends’ birthdays, and I took all of the Canadian holidays off too (we get one every month up here). I used a week of vacation time in my first two months.

I’d like to say I’d gotten over my fear of being out of office, but I hadn’t. It crept back in, which made me nervous about my 90-day review. Every time I requested time off, I was worried I would get fired. That I was letting my coworkers down. That someone would notice I was gone a lot and would think that I didn’t contribute enough.

As I learned from that conversation with my manager, those were all grandiose lies that just fueled my shame of using a benefit that we all have at Zapier.

There’s a reason for the policy

Zapier is great at encouraging us to make the most of our unlimited days off. Even our CEO, Wade, is vocal about taking advantage of the policy. From a recent internal main site article he wrote:

Also, remember that time off is good for you! One of the best things I’ve done for Zapier, but also for the people in my life, is pay attention to my physical and mental health.

Having this encouragement, especially from managers and other leads, alleviates the stress that imarticleor syndrome likes to stir up around taking “too much” time off. Which is, again, a story—not facts.

So do yourself and everyone in your life (including your colleagues!) a favor by requesting some vacation time—no matter how recently you started the job. If the pandemic or finances or anything else makes it hard for you to travel, try a staycation. Work on a personal project, or pick up a new hobby. Or, you know, just binge watch TV shows and nap.

It’s an act of kindness to yourself—one that you deserve.

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Categories SEO

Building Zaps for others: set up automation for your team or clients

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This article was sourced from by MOZ.

Small and medium-sized businesses often struggle with productivity, especially in start-up or early growth mode. It seems there’s always more work to do than the people, time, and expertise available to get it done.

I learned this the hard way. After a first career as a microbiologist, I co-launched a veterinary practice just for cats in 2010. My business partner ran the clinical side and I managed everything else. But after five years of looking after the marketing, sales, operations, and finance aspects of the practice, I left—burnt out and exhausted from the stress of running a business inefficiently.

Fortunately, I glimpsed the proverbial silver lining in those storm clouds. Searching for ways to relieve staff from inefficient and repetitive tasks, I stumbled across Zapier, and it literally blew my mind. Here was a tool that could automate manual tasks and empower staff to focus on the things that really mattered to a business—things like relationship building and customer care.

Zapier is a tool that helps you automate tasks between web apps. Our automatic workflows—which we call Zaps—send information from one app to another so you can stop worrying about copying and pasting and focus on more meaningful work. Check out this Zapier demo to learn more about how it works.

Fast-forward several years, and I now work as a business process automation specialist and Zapier Expert, at the agency I finded, Solvaa. My clients range from solopreneurs to those with loads of employees, in many different industries, located all over the world. It’s a dream job, solving problems and streamlining business processes by analyzing the way a business does things. As Chief Problem Solver, I simplify systems and processes, connect technology tools together and automate whatever is possible.

Along the way, I’ve discovered how to apply best practices in business process management when building automations for others. In this article, I’ll share some of those practices as well as tips on putting together new workflow projects, using problem-solving for existing processes, and the best ways to collaborate, organize Zaps, and share app connections.

This site article was adapted from a presentation Kelly Goss gave at ZapConnect 2021, Zapier’s user conference. Kelly is finder and chief problem solver at Solvaa, a Zapier Certified Expert agency that helps clients improve their business processes with automation, and is author of the book “Automate It with Zapier.”

Business process management 101

The findation for automation is business process management (BPM), frequently defined as “a discipline that enables organizations to discover, model, analyze, measure and improve their operating processes and procedures.”

Business process automation (BPA) goes a step further by reducing costs and increasing productivity using technology to automate formerly manual and inefficient work.

And when I am working with clients, I insist on one more critical concept—process improvement (PI), which Appian defines as “the proactive task of identifying, analyzing and improving upon existing business processes within an organization for optimization.”

To put it into a formula (cut me some slack, I’m a scientist by training):

BPA + PI = successful use of BPM

The BPM approach ensures that your project doesn’t get overly complicated. With process improvement techniques, you’ll be able to gather the information you need to understand the current process, strategize a new solution, roll it out and review it.

And whether you’re collaborating to build workflows with team members within your company, or for clients, the simplest and one of the most effective process improvement techniques to use is the “Continuous Improvement Cycle.”

The Continuous Improvement Cycle

As you can see by the graphic below, there are four stages in the Continuous Improvement Cycle.

An illustration of the Continuous Improvement Cycle, with the stages—identify, plan, execute, review—in separate ovals, with arrows connecting them in that order, in a circle.

The IDENTIFY phase

This is the most crucial part of the process. In this stage we gather data and analyze the existing processes for opportunities to automate tasks where possible. You can see that there are two main activities here—first we need to collect all the requirements for the project. In my practice, this means gathering top-level management input, such as budget, time scales, constraints, and the overall goal.

It also means including the key players using the process in your project team. This will not only help you to understand the process better but it will help you get buy-in when you want to implement the changes. Here’s a tip: Use templated scoping documents in a Google Sheet or Typeform to help gather and centralize all this information. And you should eat your own dog food—use a Zap to automate the collection process.

Once you have your initial requirements in place and your team assembled, use problem-solving techniques to break the process down into steps. One of my favorite techniques is group brainstorming, which may mean using a digital whiteboard tool like Miro or Mural if the team involves remote workers.

Another technique I recommend is the 5W1H method. Here, you want to know:

  • Who is involved in the process?

  • What is involved in each step?

  • Why does the step need to be completed?

  • When does the step occur in the overall process?

  • Where does the step occur (in which app for example)?

  • How is the task completed?

With these questions answered and data collected, draw a map of the current process. Remember, all you’re doing at this point is identifying how the work is getting done now. You can also use tools such as Microsoft Visio or Draw.io, but you don’t need to get overly complicated with using flowcharts shapes and styles in the process map. The important thing is that the process is clear to you and the team.

The PLAN phase

Once we’ve done our groundwork, we need to prepare for building out and implementing the workflows. It is worth spending time on this stage as it will reduce the time spent in later stages of the cycle.

Simplify the existing process where possible. This involves reviewing the steps in the process, deciding if they are actually required, and determining if there is a better way of getting to the outcome. Next, you should identify what needs to remain as a manual step and what can be automated. Zapier’s app integration pages show a handy list of triggers, actions, and searches for each app you’re using. It’s a terrific resource.

Now you can create the automation plan—where your creativity takes charge and you strategize how to create the workflows in Zapier. With thousands of apps on the Zapier platform and tens of thousands of pre-made templates, it’s easy to find what you need to make your plan work, with no coding required. And for more complex processes, you can build Zaps with multiple filters and branching logic.

Features like multi-step Zaps and conditional logic vary based on your Zapier plan. A paid plan is required for some of them.

One final step in the plan sequence—updating the process map to highlight manual steps, automated steps, and their sequence (see the graphic below). Preparing a new process map at this point will help to provide a visual representation to the stakeholders during the next part.

A process map, starting with a lead coming in and moving through to the lead being booked or lost.

The EXECUTE phase

Here is where we’ll build the Zaps, test them, and get feedback. When automating for teams or for other organizations, it’s essential to keep these best practices in mind.

  1. Keep collaboration in mind at every step. The Zap editor gives you plenty of opportunities to do so. For instance, you can give each Zap a name and rename each step so that it is obvious what’s happening at any point in the process. You should add notes to the Zap Settings Description box for a bird’s eye view of the automation. I also recommend organizing your Zaps in folders, with clear titles.

  2. Before moving the Zap into production, test it with dummy data to ensure data integrity in the apps involved. Solicit feedback from the team and get explicit sign-off from management.

  3. And perhaps sounding like a broken record, I have to say it: update the process map one more time! But take it one step further and publish a process manual on the company’s intranet or using a wiki-type tool such as Notion. And of course, Notion has a robust Zapier integration…

Now you are ready to hand the new, automated process over to the process owner. But that’s not the end of the road.

The REVIEW phase

When the automated process is first launched, it should be monitored for issues. The simplest way to do this is to set up a few maintenance Zaps using the Zapier Manager trigger and a notification action step, such as creating a new task in Asana or sending a Slack or Microsoft Teams alert. You use Zapier Manager’s triggers for New Zap Error, New Halted Task and Zap Turned Off, to alert you to problems with your Zap. I’ve included a few Zap templates here for your use.

Here are three starting points using Slack:

If you want to send alerts to another app, create a Zap of your own in your account. Choose Zapier Manager as the trigger app, and whichever type of alert you’d like to receive as the trigger event. Pick the app where you’d like to be notified or have a task created as the action app, and choose an action event like article message or create task. Test your Zap, and when it works the way you want, turn it on.

Once the process is running smoothly, you should revisit it regularly. You can set up a Zap with Schedule by Zapier to create a task in your task management system such as Trello to remind you or the process owners to review the process every three months, for example. Successful businesses constantly evolve with the times and so do their processes.

Automated processes require systems

To summarize, when you’re building Zaps for others, your system is essential. To leverage business process management, it should include:

  • Process improvement techniques

  • Involving the key stakeholders and users

  • An automation plan with process maps and documentation

  • Building Zaps with collaboration in mind

  • A clean hand-over

  • Continuous review cycles

Business processes improve things for everyone, so a system that takes everyone into account is essential.

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Categories SEO

4 tips for creating gated content worth the download

SEO and General Business tutorials and tips.

This post was shared by MOZ.

You want to use content to capture leads, but the thought of a PDF you worked hard on collecting digital dust on a desktop crushes your soul a bit. That’s the gated content conundrum. But as with every other type of content or marketing, a mix of strategic decisions and actions can help you get the most out of your efforts.

What is gated content?

Gated content is content that you lock behind a signup form so that people need to give you something (usually their email address) before they get to see it. Sounds like a win-win, but it comes with pros and cons.

Spend less time on lead management

For example, do you want to drive traffic and expand your reach, or drive conversions and increase engagement? Whether or not you use gated content (and how you approach it if you do) varies for each of these goals.

If you’ve done gated content in the past, be sure you use data from past performance to help guide your strategy. If not, here are some tips.

Use gated content if…

  • You have a clear plan for nurturing new subscribers. Collecting email addresses that sit around in your email marketing tool isn’t the best use of time and energy. There needs to be a clear marketing funnel or plan to leverage signups, whether it’s through your general newsletter or your sales sequence.

  • You can define a piece’s place in the buying journey. Gated content can help you expand your reach or capture new leads, but chances are a single piece can’t do both. The topic, format, and how many hoops people need to jump through to download should correlate with where they are in their customer journey. Try general topics, short pieces, and uncomplicated downloads at the top of the funnel. Niche, in-depth reports with the option to capture more subscriber data for segmentation are best for the bottom of the funnel.

Skip gated content if…

  • You don’t have other pieces ranking for the keyword. Putting content behind a signup means you can’t use that work for SEO. If the topic uses an important keyword that you aren’t ranking for yet, consider creating content that Google can find—it won’t see anything that’s gated.

  • Traffic is your top priority. If you want to increase impressions on your main site or for a particular topic, gated content won’t work. Unless you have something like a trend report with highly coveted data that everyone wants to share, you don’t want to lock information behind a signup.

In reality, you’ll want to do a mix of gated and ungated content (with an emphasis on ungated). With the above in mind, here are a couple tips for how to combine the two.

  • If you rank for a high-value keyword and have morecontent on that topic, you can always link the gated content to those SEO-focused pieces. People will find your SEO-focused pages organically and then click through to the gated content to get more.

  • You might repurpose a few short-form excerpts or infographics for shareability, and lock the full report behind an email signup to capture email addresses for your newsletter.

4 tips for creating gated content worth the download

Once you understand why you want to create gated content and how to align it with your content strategy, you have to make something worth trading an email address for. Here are some gated content best practices to keep in mind.

1. Give the landing page the attention it deserves

You can’t leverage gated content for SEO, but you still have the gated landing page to work with. Pick an excellent landing page builder, and then optimize for your keywords and A/B test design and copy to find which drives the most traffic and downloads. It also helps to keep focus on the gated content: don’t link to other ungated pieces that will pull attention away.

For example, this landing page for a Zapier eBook is distraction-free and descriptive. The page lists what information readers will walk away with, has a clear call to action (CTA), and doesn’t promote any other main site posts to potentially draw people away from that CTA.

A screenshot of Zapier's gated eBook landing page with a simple CTA

2. Think beyond the PDF

I don’t know what happens in your head, but when I think of gated content, a shiny new PDF is what comes to mind. And while a PDF makes sense for large pieces like guides or eBooks, it certainly isn’t your only option. Another format may fit your topic and audience better. Some examples:

  • Secret landing page/mini-main site

  • Exclusive access

  • Video series

  • Exclusive community

  • Access to past webinars

  • Dripped email series

  • Template

Litmus’s resource library is a prime example of using varied gated content formats. While larger eBooks and reports are still the standard, templates, webinars, and toolkits add variety.

A screenshot of Litmus's gated content hub with a webinar, template, and eBook included

When inspiration strikes, it’s tempting to get creative. Don’t lose those ideas, but you may want to sit on them until the right moment and initiative come around.

3. Bigger isn’t always better

You’re a nice person, so you want to make gated content worthwhile. But it helps to remember that more doesn’t necessarily mean more. You’ll need to follow the same self-editing principles as always to cut unnecessary fluff. People are expecting high quality, not high quantity.

4. Easy navigation helps engagement

If you do plan to create a hefty eBook, make it easy to navigate. A clickable table of contents, summaries, and visual callouts make a big piece easier to digest. If you use a different format, like a template or video series, ensure the content and any associated emails have instructions on how to access and use the information.

Making sure the content you offer is excellent is the first step in nurturing these folks who just handed over their email addresses. If what they get isn’t top-notch, they’ll unsubscribe right away when they get your first email.

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Categories SEO

Simplify your business with the layer method

SEO and General Business tutorials and tips.

This article was sourced from by MOZ.

If you run a company, you know the feeling of things being out of control. Perhaps you struggle to keep up with outreach to new leads, or you just can’t seem to get orders out on time—whatever it is—when you run a business, there’s a lot to keep track of.

Fortunately, by breaking down your work processes into stages, you can simplify your business and use automation to streamline your entire lead lifecycle. So, no matter how complex (or out of control) your business may feel, break it down into these five simple stages:

  1. Get a lead

  2. Turn that lead into a sale

  3. Onboard the customer

  4. Deliver product (or service) to the customer

  5. Offboard the customer

It might seem oversimplified, but it’s not. You’ll want to start by asking yourself questions to understand how you’re currently using these stages in your business:

Get a lead

  • How do you get the customer, and where do they come from?

  • Why does the customer stick around?

  • How do you validate the customer?

  • How do you track marketing effectiveness?

Make a sale

  • What is the customer buying?

  • How does the customer buy it?

Onboard your new customer

  • What does your team need to know or do to deliver the product?

  • What does the customer need to get the most out of their purchase?

  • What expectations are there?

Deliver your product or service

  • What is the customer getting?

  • How is the customer getting it?

  • Do you provide a physical product, a service, or both?

  • How long does it take?

Offboard and follow up

  • How do you follow up with the customer?

  • Do you ask for reviews, testimonials, social follows?

  • Do you market to the customer differently?

  • What are the customer’s next steps?

Breaking down your business into these stages allows you to map out the everyday tasks required to move through each stage. Once you see the tasks written out, you can find ways to automate them, giving you back valuable time.

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

So, how can you use this clarity about your business workflow to make your business feel less out of control? By intentionally building tasks on top of one another—like layers of bricks in a wall.

The layer method

By imagining your workflow in layers, you can pinpoint where you must have completed an earlier step to advance to the next task.

A brick wall being laid. The image shows a worker's hand in the foreground holding a brick above the in-progress wall.

Let me give you an example from my own business.

I was spending too much time in the leads stage. I couldn’t keep up with the emails I needed to send to each new lead. I also struggled to keep my task management tool and CRM (customer relationship manager) organized—all the manual tasks took hours of my time. I needed a way to streamline my lead communication, from initial outreach to holding a call with a new customer.

So, I thought through my process in layers and was able to see which steps I could automate. Creating automated workflows to take over manual tasks freed me to spend time on other, higher-touch tasks.

New to Zapier? It’s a tool that helps anyone connect apps and automate workflows—without any complicated code. Sign up for free.

With this method, you add layers that build upon one another. Each layer consists of a starting point, the desired outcome, and all the actions needed to get there.

Layer 1: The first step

I started with the very beginning of my sales cycle—when I got a new lead. I set my starting point as receiving the name and email of a new lead. The outcome I needed to achieve was sending the new lead a welcome email that included my guide.

So I wrote out the tasks required to get me to the outcome I wanted to achieve.

  • Capture email and name via form

  • Add new contact to a specific ActiveCampaign sequence

  • Send guide to new lead

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

Once I had the tasks needed to complete the layer, I could easily pick out ways to automate the process. Here are a few Zaps that would work:

Layer 2: Nurturing my lead toward a call

After I sent the guide to my new lead, I needed to explain how I can help them—because my next desired outcome was having that new lead schedule a call with me.

So, I wrote down the tasks needed to achieve that outcome from the starting point. The end of my first layer is the starting point for this one: the contact receiving my welcome email and guide. The outcome this time is the contact reaching so we can continue the conversation live. Here are the actions involved:

  • ActiveCampaign sequence runs, sharing information about my business and how I can help while encouraging them to book a Zoom call.

  • The action I’m hoping the lead takes is to book a call using my Acuity Scheduling link.

I was able to set up this whole workflow within ActiveCampaign.

Layer 3: Call preparation

Once a new lead signs up for a call, I need to make sure they are prepped and ready so that we can get the most out of our time together. To do that, I have to send confirmation and reminder emails and make sure they get updated in my customer relationship manager.

It took hours to accomplish this when I did things manually, but after writing everything down, it was easy to see how I could simplify the process after writing down all the required tasks.

For this one, my starting point is the Zoom call scheduled from the previous layer, but I have a significantly longer list of actions all driving toward the outcome of me and my prospective client being ready for our call. Here are the actions I want to have happen:

  • Confirmation email sent with a link to a form asking pertinent questions (What will make this a win for you, your business, your niche, etc.)

  • Booked call is added to my calendar

  • Contact information is added to the ClickUp task, including responses to the form questions

  • Remove contact from ActiveCampaign welcome and guide sequence

  • Add contact to ActiveCampaign sequence for Zoom call

  • Set expectations for the call (what you should have ready, what the goal is, and how I run my calls)

I saved hours each week after pinpointing the tasks I could automate by having Zapier do the busywork. Here are a few Zap templates that would work to automate this workflow:

Layer 4: call follow-up

The last layer is making sure the client has everything they need after the call.

I want to make sure my clients feel empowered to take the next steps after our call, so I listed out all the tasks I needed to do to get them there.

My starting point is the completion of the call we worked through in the third layer, with the outcome being that the contact knows the next steps and is ready to proceed. Here are the actions:

  • Zoom call recording saved to Google Drive

  • Recording URL is added to ClickUp task

  • Change status of task in ClickUp

  • Add contact to ActiveCampaign article-call sequence

  • Send call recording link to participants

Here are a few Zap templates that would work to automate this workflow:

How to build your own layered business plan

Ready to try using the layer method for yourself? Start by choosing one of the stages outlined above (I recommend a stage where you’re spending a lot of time). Set that as your first layer. Then work your way through the stage, creating more layers as needed to get from one part of your process to the next.

Defining and adding your layers:

Write down the starting point and outcome for each layer and organize them in the sequence they need to occur in your business for the chain of events to make sense.

Each layer is the next workflow that needs to occur to bring somebody through to the next stage. Each layer has four components:

  1. Starting point: The place where your layer begins

  2. Outcome: Where you want to get to

  3. Actions: Each individual action that must take place to get from the start to your desired outcome

  4. Automation possibilities: List out the places where you could add automation

Work through each layer by thinking about your starting point and desired outcome. From there, begin to write out all the tasks required to make the outcome possible and begin to brainstorm how you can automate these tasks.

Simplify and streamline your business to empower growth

I hope this helps you change the way you think about your business. I use it every day in my own business and when I help entrepreneurs like you improve how they work.

To get started, you can pair the directions in this article with our template to writing down your layers. You can make a copy and get started today. Here’s what the template looks like:

A screenshot of a table in Google Docs showing rows for starting point and outcome above columns for "actions" and "automation possibility." For each action, like "capture email and name via form" there is a corresponding automation possibility.

Richard Schnitzel of Bow Tie Botsis a Zapier Expert. He helps help clients set up automated workflows to run their businesses more efficiently. Learn more about BowTie Bots’ Zapier consulting services.

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Categories SEO

Automation is about to cement its place in the history of technology

SEO and General Business tutorials and tips.

This post was sourced from by MOZ.

The way we work has changed, and this transformation shows no signs of slowing down. Across all industries, we see people embracing new ways of working, and as the future unfolds, I believe automation will play a pivotal role in how we work.

A version of this post was first presented as the keynote talk at ZapConnect, Zapier’s user conference. Take a look at the ZapConnect content library for more content like this.

The evolution of technology

Technology tends to follow a cycle. Jobs or tools that once were considered specialized become commonplace as humans get better at technology. Let’s take a step back in time to understand this evolution.

1700s: Human computers

Computers date back as far as the 1700s. I’m not talking about the machines you and I use today. Before digital computers were invented, humans served as computers, and they powered everything from astronomy, to navigation, to the space race. This role was particularly popular with scientific and government entities, which had begun to collect large swaths of data by the 19th century but required people to process the data.

Human computers broke down calculations into basic math and often spent entire days solving the same problem over and over. The profession required accuracy, precision, and the ability to work for long periods of time, often on mind-numbing, repetitive tasks and equations.

1962: A distrust of technology

Katherine Johnson, who you may know from the popular film Hidden Figures, is one of the most famous human computers: she was responsible for verifying the flight path of the first rocket launch into space in 1962. Notably, at this time, digital computers did exist, but the technology wasn’t trusted by astronauts, who wanted Johnson’s eyes on the flight path.

A picture of Katherine Johnson

As technology continued to advance, NASA realized that digital computers had the ability to handle complex math with accuracy, at a speed far greater than humans. As the demand for human computers began to dwindle, those human computers became some of the first coders, programming digital computers that you and I use today.

1970s: Typists

As digital computers became more mainstream in the 1970s, new in-demand skill sets emerged. One of them was typists. Typists could be found in all sorts of industries and were sought after for their ability to transcribe documents from shorthand or dictation. Like human computers, typists had to deal with working long hours on tedious tasks, producing the same document multiple times.

As the digital computer advanced, it became more common for workers to have their own keyboards. While most employers wouldn’t dream of hiring a typist today, the skill didn’t disappear. Rather, technology enabled everyone to develop the skill—increasing efficiency and productivity.

Digital computers continued to gain steam quickly, but the machines were heavy, expensive, and had terrible battery life, which made their adoption into the mainstream slow. Over time, laptop technology improved: the machine became lighter, durable, and easy to use, and that led to an explosion in mainstream adoption.

Moving from manual to mainstream

Ok, so what’s with the history lesson here?

My point is that we’re now seeing this trend occur with automation. In the past, tasks like transferring data from one place to another were done manually. Just as human computers were tasked with repetitive equations, workers were assigned the tedious and often mind-numbing job of simply collecting and moving data.

Then, the 2000s brought about a software explosion, and everything from forms to spreadsheets went digital. To this day, new apps that solve specific problems are being brought to market regularly, leaving people with more choices for tools than ever before.

Despite this boon, automation has remained expensive, technical, and a specialized skill—reserved for enterprise companies with deep pockets and highly-paid engineers. This has left smaller businesses overlooked and underserved. Until now.

Thanks to tools like Zapier, anyone can use automation. An increasing amount of open job roles ask for automation as a skill; nearly one-third of job seekers list automation as a skill on their resume; and people are using Zapier in ways we never thought possible when we first started, just a decade ago.

Where we are today

We’re finally at a place where businesses of all sizes can tap into the same technology used by companies like Spotify, Disney, and Netflix. In fact, 88% of small businesses that use automation say a key benefit is that it allows them to compete with larger companies. Look no further than Segment, who used Zapier to scale their sales operation, and then sold to Twilio for multi-millions.What started out as a small operation grew to a massive scale.

Even if an acquisition isn’t your goal, one thing is true: the more you automate, the more you can innovate.

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

Hack your calendar, to-do list, and work environment for optimal productivity

SEO and General Business tutorials and tips.

This article was shared by MOZ.

I’ve been on a 10-year quest to find the perfect way to organize myself and my teams. Sure, it’s been a crooked path, dotted with wrong turns and missteps, but over the last three years at Zapier I’ve developed a system that works well for me—and taught me a lot about what doesn’t work.

If you’re at the start of your own productivity quest (or even somewhere in the middle), I recommend focusing efforts in three broad categories: calendar management, tasks and projects, and work-life balance.

Why target these? First, as sustainable productivity guru Carey Nieuwhof has written, they involve the three assets everyone brings to work: time, priorities, and energy. Just as important, these three areas represent the best opportunities to improve your productivity with low-effort, high-impact automation.

This was adapted from a session given at ZapConnect, Zapier’s user conference. Watch the presentation and browse other sessions from the event.

Hack your calendar with timeboxing and swimlanes

Since I can’t wait for technology to create more hours in a day, using time more intentionally is a great jumping-off point for creating an effective productivity system. Honestly, I adore my calendar. I live and die by Google Calendar, and it’s true: if it’s not in there, it’s not happening!

But even my beloved calendar has a dark side: it’s easy to overload or overcommit. It’s not just me: A recent study by Atlassian revealed that “45% of meeting-goers have felt overwhelmed by the volume of meetings on their calendar.” Ring any bells?

To optimize my calendar, I rely on two techniques—timeboxing my tasks and using swimlanes to create daily routines.

In an early main site article on the topic, Cal Newport says timeboxing made him 50 percent more productive. Sometimes called time-blocking, it’s the process of accounting for all your tasks in your calendar each day, allocating a specific duration for each. See the screenshot below for an example.

A screenshot of Lauren's Google Calendar showing the day's events in different colors, starting with a red hour-long meeting, followed by a gray break, and three blue slots for task work.
My timeboxes are color-coded—red for meetings, gray for breaks, blue for tasks.

I’ve find two significant benefits to timeboxing:

  1. First, it holds me accountable to complete a specific task on a specific day. I hate dragging an unfinished task to a new day,

  2. Second, timeboxing is great for estimating level of effort. This is a great project management skill to have. You assign yourself an amount of time for a task and check yourself on how long it actually took.

Worried you might end up spending too much time moving your tasks from your to-do app to your calendar? My colleague Pedro, a Support Team Lead, uses Todoist. He recommends this Zap that allows you to create a task in Todoist when a new detailed event is created in Google Calendar, allowing you to block time in your calendar and work from Todoist on your tasks!

Using swimlanes has been a game-changer. In the example below, notice the rectangles in yellow borders that run across the week? The intention is to create a consistent, flexible daily routine for myself. The swimlanes I use reserve specific times for meetings, focused work, interviews, and breaks. I still have flexibility in my day, but I know where I need to be at any point of the day, and it helps me to feel in control of my time.

A screenshot of Lauren's week in Google Calendar showing horizontal rectangles around the times in each day she reserves for different activities, like meetings, or focused work.
I set swimlanes for meetings, focused work, interviews and breaks every day.

Once you have your swimlanes set up, use this Zap to send yourself a text message before the next calendar event is due to start. This is helpful when you have a meeting that starts after lunch or a break—just a nudge that your meeting is due to start. It’s a simple two-step Zap with one trigger and one action using Google Calendar and SMS By Zapier. Best of all, the advance notice time is configurable.

Polling time varies based on your Zapier plan. If you’re on a free or starter plan, set the advance time to be at least 15 minutes to ensure your text comes before your meeting.

Hacks for to-dos, notes, and projects

Researchers at Microsoft report that “information workers switch windows, on average, 373 times per day—or around every 40 seconds while completing their tasks.” Yikes! Frequent context-switching exacts a huge toll on your focus, increases distractions and can undermine your priorities. How can you keep yourself and your team on task?

My first simple piece of advice is to categorize tasks with a limited set of lists—and use the same app to store all your lists. For instance, I currently keep three lists in Google Tasks:

  • My main list is for bigger pieces of work and helps me plan weekly priorities.

  • My second list is for work in progress (WIP)—for example, all the tasks needed to complete this article. This one helps me zoom in on immediate action items.

  • The third list—and my all-time favorite—is “Quick Actions – 5 mins or less.” I use this list to quantify reactive tasks like Slack replies, emails to send, etc. I spend about 30 minutes each morning knocking out items on this list, clearing the day for more focused work.

You can aggregate tasks and notes in your list-keeping app with automations. For instance, a lot of my to-dos come from Slack and it’s important to move them to the right lists in Tasks. This Zap will create a task from a Reacji on a message, and I have three Zaps and three Reacjis, each corresponding to one of my three lists. This is a fun, simple Zap that can help you to stay organized and quantify quick tasks that eat into your time.

A screenshot of Lauren's Google Task lists, showing "Lauren Fearn's list," "Zapconnect List," and "Quick Actions - 5 mins or less."
Three lists, one app. It’s power and simple!

The next tip is even more simple. Stop multitasking.A recent survey by Go Remotely showed that multitasking can diminish your productivity by about 40 percent. We are not wired to do two things at once and studies show that constant switching from one task to another is stressful for the brain, making us less efficient. Retrain your brain to focus on one thing at a time.

One way to keep focused is to jot down incoming information for later processing instead of dealing with it in the moment. I use this Zap to make a quick note in the Zapier Chrome Extension and send it to a table in a Coda doc. At the end of my day, I check my daily notes in Coda. Do I need to act on any of these (if so, move them to Tasks)? Or were they notes that I just needed out of my head to concentrate?

Here are other starting places for you:

Do you ever feel like you’re juggling lots of different projects or tasks at once, for long stretches of time? My third tip applies to project management and sprint planning. With a global team, it can be challenging to stay in sync without constantly jumping into progress meetings and a lot of workplace stress—44 percent, according to a 2020 DynamicSignal.com survey—results from delays in project completion.

Two-week sprints can help managers plan and prioritize asynchronous work. Working within the same time-period, with the same completion dates, creates a sense of camaraderie – and accountability.

At Zapier, we use Geekbot at the start of each sprint to define and commit to deliverables. Each person on the channel completes a report and those responses are maintained in a Google Sheet. Individual responses are also sent to Small Improvements, which is the app we use to create notes for our 1:1 check-ins. Doing this manually would be onerous, but fortunately, I’ve got a Zap that automates the process and uses Paths to ensure that right reports are attributed to the right person on the team.

Hacks for you work environment

Never underestimate the importance of your work environment and happiness—companies that promote work-life balance record two times more productivity than those that do not!

The first piece of advice I can offer is to schedule your workout at the end of the day. Even if you’re not working out, engineer a clear break from work—what Newport calls a “system shutdown” process. A lot of remote workers don’t have a traditional commute to separate work life from home life and can find it hard to switch off.

Moving my workout has been hard, but it has made an enormous difference in my life. Here’s an awesome Zap that will change your Slack status and change the color of your Philips Hue bulbs at a scheduled time to prompt you to wrap up your day and get ready for your new “commute!”

Finally, celebrate your team. Creating fun automations to be intentional about celebrating is a good way to make sure that everyone – no matter their timezone – can participate.

I use a weekly “Brag Bot” on Slack to ping my team to share their wins for the week. It’s a fantastic way to get people to practice advocating for themselves and these could also be beneficial in performance reviews.

We also use an “Ice Ice Breaker Bot” during onboarding to encourage team members to get to know each other better. Here are my zaps for the brag bot and the ice breaker bot.

I hope these ideas save time and impact you and your teams immediately. To summarize:

  • Practice estimating levels of effort to accurately deliver work on time.

  • Keep distractions at bay by finding a place for them (but not in your head!).

  • Create flexible structures that promote consistency but permit changes when needed.

  • Be strict – and kind – about your own work/life balance

And when it comes to automation, keep it simple, revise when necessary and make it work for you!

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

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

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

10 takeaways from ZapConnect, Zapier’s first user conference

SEO and General Business tutorials and tips.

This post was shared by MOZ.

Automation doesn’t have to be a solo endeavor. Thousands of people came together for our first-ever user conference, where they learned from expert Zapier users, heard from our finders, and got a first look at our newest feature, Transfer.

If you missed ZapConnect—or if you’d like to revisit any of the sessions—you’re in luck. Recordings of the sessions are available for viewing in an on-demand video library. You’ll find sessions on how to start using automation to solve business problems, learn ways to use Zapier’s advanced features, and hear stories about customers who’ve scaled their businesses with automation.

We organized the sessions into three tracks, designed to ensure there were sessions that matched everyone’s automation level and interest:

  • Get started is geared toward people who are new to automation. This track features sessions that go over common ways to use automation and how to determine what you should automate at work.

  • Level up sessions will teach you how to make the most of automation by scaling and optimizing your use of Zapier. In these sessions, learn how to go beyond single Zaps to automate complex workflows.

  • Dream big focuses on innovation and inspiration. In this track, you’ll find stories of people who used automation to pivot through the pandemic and hear what some of today’s most prominent tech finders wish they knew when starting their business.

If the idea of diving in feels a little daunting, here are 10 of my favorite takeaways from the conference. After each, you’ll find links where you can watch the session for yourself or learn more about what the speaker had to say.

1. Think with an automation mindset

It all starts with an automation mindset. Find the right places to automate by identifying tasks that are repetitive, fragile, or time-sensitive. Automation lets you remove repetitive tasks from your list, bolster fragile processes by reducing the chance for human error, and deliver an always-on instant response. Just be sure you can spot the chance to use it.

Watch Thinking with an automation mindset from the Get started track.

2. Automate lead management

Lead management is critical for a successful business—and automation can help you do it better. If social lead gen is important for your growth, you’ll want to hear what folks from Zapier and Facebook have to say about the best ways to add automation to your strategy. Whether you want to add leads to a CRM, track offline conversions, or create custom retargeting lists, automation can help.

Watch Automating lead management from the Get started track.

3. Make automation your productivity sidekick

Ready to save time? Use automation to add tasks to your to-do app of choice from wherever you get your next project. That might mean creating a task whenever you add a star or specific label in your inbox, or it could be adding tasks from saved messages or custom emoji in Slack.

Automation can even give you the downtime you need with an unmistakable signal that the workday has ended. This one’s fun: you can automatically change your Philips Hue bulbs to a new color at a specific time of day, using a Zap that checks your calendar.

Watch Productivity hacks from Zapier Supportin the Dream big track.

4. Automate your personal life

Automation isn’t just for work. A Zapier data scientist has taken automation to a whole new level, automating things like travel checklists and personal reminders—and you can do the same.

Watch You can automate that? in the Dream big track.

5. Learn from people who’ve been there

Starting a business is different from scaling it. Founders and CEOs from Zapier, Calendly, Front, and Webflow talk about how they grew businesses to solve problems they themselves had. Learn how they started, how they scaled, and things they wish they knew when they first got going.

6. Use automation to drive engagement

Make automation fun by using it to increase engagement with your team and your audience. Justin Samuels of Render Atlanta has put “funimation” at the heart of his business, creating systems that connect staff and the community by email, chat apps, and on social.

WatchEnvisioning automation for your new businessin the Dream big track.

7. Change data with Formatter so your apps play nice

Format data within your Zaps using Zapier’s built-in Formatter. Transform dates, text, and more so that your systems are always in alignment—even when they work in different ways. Learn everything Formatter can do—and get an overview of other built-in tools—in this session from one of our support trainers.

Watch Ready to up your Zapier game? in the Level up track.

8. Add a little code to your no-code

While Zapier is a no-code platform, sometimes a little bit of code is exactly what you need to make a specific Zap work just right. Take on this challenge by learning how to use JSON to process data through code snippets.

WatchCode steps 101 in the Level up track.

9. Become an automation hero

Let automation do more than handle individual tasks—make it manage processes. Complex Zaps with multiple steps or connected systems of automated workflows make things better for everyone, and turn you into an automation hero for your business. Work with stakeholders to find new ways to spread automation throughout your company.

WatchFrom novice to master automator in the Level up track.

10. Don’t go it alone

The ultimate way to avoid a solo automation journey is to hire some help. Zapier Experts are certified automation pros who can help you with single automation challenges or setting up business-critical systems. If you’re not sure what to do (or don’t know how to make your apps do what you want), Experts are the ones to call.

WatchBest practices for hiring an Expert in the Get started track.

Bonus: Meet Transfer, the newest offering from Zapier

Zaps help you move new information from one app to another in the background, but what about those situations when you may want to move lots of existing data? That’s where Transfer comes in.

With Transfer, you can send data from one app to another on demand, so your historical information is right where you need it. Transfer is in beta: start using it today, or read more about it in our guide to using Transfer.


Zapier wants to help people discover ways to improve their work with automation. Here are some of the other resources available to you:

  • Zapier University: A self-paced video course to help you learn how to use Zapier to manage your repetitive, time-consuming tasks.

  • The Zapier quick-start guide: An online explainer of how Zapier works and how to set up your first Zap.

  • The Zapier Community: Discover and connect with other automators—post questions, read ongoing threads, and search for topics that interest you.

  • Automation posts on the Zapier blog: Read about ways automation can solve business problems, make it easier to work with the apps you use, and be inspired by Zapier users’ success stories.

For more direct help with automation and Zaps, reach out to the Zapier support team, or hire an Expert to give you personalized assistance.

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