As a kid, I loved playing with LEGOs. I could spend hours with a big pile of blocks and turn them into everything from houses and castles to cars and dragons. 

I bet you are wondering what this has to do with Zapier?  

It turns out a lot. 

Zapier is like LEGOs for grown-ups. 

Just like you start with a pile of toy blocks, and you can turn it into whatever your imagination dreams up, you can do the same with Zapier. You can use it to connect thousands of SaaS apps. 

If you are a founder growing an agency, this is great news. Zapier allows you to scale your agency through automating key portions (or entire) workflows and processes. 

However with nearly endless possibilities, Zapier can feel like the blank green LEGO baseplate. You need to have an idea of what you want to automate along with how to build it in Zapier.  

In this post, we’re taking a deep dive into some different ways you can use Zapier to streamline your processes, including: 

How does Zapier work in 2021?

Many of you reading this post are already aware of Zapier and how you can use it to connect thousands of apps. You likely already have a Zapier account, but you might not be getting as much use out of it as you could be. 

Before we dive into the newer and more advanced features, I wanted to share a quick refresher on how Zapier works for any newbies who might be reading this.  

Zapier allows you to automate tasks by connecting 2 or more apps.

Let’s take an example of how Zapier can work. Say you want to send a Slack notification to your project manager anytime one of your freelance podcast producers finishes editing an episode and completes the task in ProcessKit. 

Pro Tip: ProcessKit has an official Zapier integration. Try it out here.

This automation – a.k.a. recipe – is called a zap.

An example of a Zap

And, the trigger for the zap would be completing a task in ProcessKit. 

Zapier trigger example

The action is sending a Slack notification. 

Zapier action example

The trigger and action are the building blocks for the zaps you can create.

Building blocks in Zapier

However, the real power of Zapier comes from the nearly infinite recipes you can create and  all of the complex ways you can filter this data, including but not limited to:

So, adding to our earlier example, let’s say you are running a podcast production agency. You have 12 podcast producers and 2 project managers. Each project manager is leading a pod of 6 producers. So, you can set up a path in Zapier where if anyone in the first pod finishes editing an episode, only that project manager will receive a notification in Slack. Then, you can set up path B in the same zap for the 2nd pod.  

Build your core processes before you use any of these Zapier agency hacks

Once you see the nearly infinite ways you can use Zapier, it can be tempting to start automating all of the things. However, this is one of the biggest mistakes that we see agencies make.

The zaps you create should enhance the workflows and processes you’ve already built, not the other way around.

Once you’ve built out your processes, you can then automate portions of – if not the entire process – using Zapier.

For example, if you are using ProcessKit to manage all of your processes, ProcessKit becomes your central source of truth. You can integrate Zapier into some of your processes to further streamline and automate your workflows. 

Pro Tip: Check out our free process automation course to see three additional examples for how you can integrate ProcessKit and Zapier, including: 

What are some additional Zapier use cases? 

These are the seven key parts of your operation that should have standard repeatable processes.

In this section, we’ll show you how you can take these processes to the next level of automation using Zapier.

1. Sales calls & proposals 

From scheduling sales calls and creating Zoom links to updating your CRM and sending proposals, there are many ways you can leverage Zapier to streamline these processes. 

Here are a few ready-made templates you can use.

For example, if you want to automate creating Zoom meetings, but you use Acuity Scheduling and not Calendly, you can use this same link, but you’ll need to swap out the trigger and use Acuity Scheduling, not Calendly. 

2. New client onboarding 

Creating a streamlined client onboarding process is the key to unlocking predictable growth for your marketing agency.

The first step is setting up your processes in a tool such as ProcessKit and getting your team on board, and actively using it every single time. Adding zaps on top of your existing processes can make the process that much smoother.

Here are a few ideas for what this could like:

3. Employee hiring and onboarding 

Just like you have processes for finding and onboarding new clients, you should have processes for hiring and onboarding employees and freelancers.

For example, here is how to build out a dynamic hiring process for your agency

Adding some of these ready-made Zapier templates can complement your existing hiring and onboarding processes.

4. Reporting 

How much time do you and your team spend putting together reports internally and for clients? If you are like many agencies, it probably amounts to at least 5 hours a month. 

All of the time you are spending generating reports is time you aren’t spending actually executing and getting results for clients or working “on” the agency. 

The kicker – automating reporting is one of the easiest things to automate.

In fact, here are some ready-made templates you can try out. 

5. Invoicing and bookkeeping 

Getting paid and managing cash flow are essential components to running a successful agency. After all, if you aren’t making money, you can’t pay yourself or your team. You won’t be in business for long.

While these functions are essential, there are ways to automate key processes, so they are happening on autopilot without you having to think about them.  

6. Podcast Production

Did you know there are over 1.5 million podcasts? And, 51% of U.S. adults have listened to at least one podcast episode.

Podcast adoption has been steadily trending upward for the last decade.

Whether you are producing your own agency podcast or helping clients with their podcasts, the key is having a streamlined podcast production process. 

Pro Tip: Looking for a way to make your podcast run smoother? Download our free podcast production process template

In addition, here are some ready-made templates that can enhance your production process. 

7. Content Writing 

Publishing blog posts on a consistent publication schedule at a high level of quality requires a process. You can’t “wing it.” 

This process includes ideation, keyword research, writing, editing, formatting and uploading to your CMS, and promoting your content. 

Pro Tip: Check out our free blog writing process template.

In addition, here are some ready-made Zapier templates you can use. 

In sum, when you create zaps on top of your existing processes, it can run your agency like a well-oiled machine. This leads to predictable growth.