Workflow Automator Zapier Takes Another Step Toward De Facto Marketing Automation By Adding “Multi-Step Zaps”

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With so many software tools, one of the biggest challenges for businesses is just managing the workflow of one tool to another. That’s the need startup Zapier has tackled. In 2012, it launched its signature software, which allowed businesses to automate a step between one tool and…

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With so many software tools, one of the biggest challenges for businesses is just managing the workflow of one tool to another.

That’s the need startup Zapier has tackled. In 2012, it launched its signature software, which allowed businesses to automate a step between one tool and another. If someone registers for our event via an Eventbrite web form, for instance, dump that info into our supported customer relationship management (CRM) system, like Pipedrive.

Today, the Mountain View, California-based company takes its event-driven automation to the next step, so to speak, with the launch of Multi-Step Zaps. In effect, Zapier now creates an action-specific, de facto marketing automation platform out of your existing tools.

This new version, which had been in a private beta since early December, allows multiple steps to be automated for each trigger, for as many applications as one wants. A trigger might be a completed Web form, an incoming email, or another event.

A trigger of the same Eventbrite form registration, for instance, can now automatically add the contact info to the Pipedrive CRM, add a subscriber to the email list in MailChimp, and then send a welcoming email from the company’s Gmail account.

Zapier screenshot
Zapier screenshot

Currently, marketing director Danny Schreiber told me, Zapier supports nearly 600 applications, primarily desktop and mobile Web, but some mobile apps as well. Supported software include such popular business and marketing tools as Slack, Box, Trello, Evernote, Gmail, Twitter, WordPress, Podio, HubSpot, Asana, Salesforce, Zoho CRM, MailChimp, and Pipedrive.

In each case, the software tool’s developers establish what actions and data transfers are supported, and the Zapier team conducts QA testing. Some apps support only one trigger and one action, while others can handle multiple triggers or actions.

The Zapier user can see which automated actions the applications supports. No coding or IT knowledge is required to set up steps between applications.

In addition to the new multi-application capability, the newest version also now supports the passing of data resulting from a step to the next step, as well as nearly a dozen new or rebuilt global actions like search, autoreplay, and multi-account support.

A user might set up searching a spreadsheet to make sure a contact isn’t already recorded, when a new contact has filled out a Web form. Autoreplay can require Zapier to continue running a sequence until it’s successful if an application’s API is down or times out. The new multiple account support allows an unlimited number of accounts to be connected via one tool, such as multiple accounts in Slack, Box, or Trello.

This stitching together of steps between applications resembles what IFTT (which stands for “If This, Then That”) does. But Schreiber pointed out that IFTTT has been focusing on linking cloud-based, Internet of Things-like applications, such as turning on your house lights at sunset or recording the data from your athletic smartband into a spreadsheet.

By contrast, he said, Zapier is entirely oriented toward business applications, integrating 31 CRMs, 28 project management tools, 26 form and survey apps, 12 payment processors, 8 accounting tools, and 7 ecommerce platforms.

Compared to other workflow automators like Workato, Azuqua, and Bedrock Data, he pointed to Zapier’s breadth of integration with applications, its new multi-app configuration, and the new global functions.

Schreiber said Zapier has about 800,000 registered users for the initial version of its software, although he declined to say how many were paying customers. The company reports that it has been profitable since 2014. Subscriptions are $20/month for a single user, who can connect as many applications as they like.

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(Some images used under license from Shutterstock.com.)


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