Zapier 101 for Wedding Planners: How to automate your entire life
As a wedding planner, you have a lot of irons in a lot of fires. In just one day you can be a marketing guru, a travel agent, and a graphic designer. And that’s all before you do any actual wedding planning!
While you’re bouncing around between different parts of your hectic job, you may wonder if it’s possible to make any of it easier. Fortunately, there’s one app that can take all the technological bits and pieces of your wedding planning business and turn them into one smooth operation!
This little orange gear is about to become your new best friend. Zapier is an app that brings automation to the many apps that don’t do it themselves.
Want your email to create an event in your calendar? Easy. Need to create a line in a spreadsheet whenever you get a lead from The Knot? Done. How about checking to see if a client already exists in your CRM, and then either adding a new project or creating an entry for them when they fill out your lead contact form? Even that can happen in the blink of an eye.
Why do I need it?
We think there are three main advantages to integrating your apps and automating your business with Zapier:
1) It saves you time and money.
Even if you are automating a task that just takes you 1 minute a day, that's probably about 260 minutes per year that you can save. If you value your time at, say, $75/hour, that's $325 you spend each year performing that task! Instead, let Zapier do it while you stay focused on tasks that generate revenue for you and your business.
2) It eliminates the possibility for human error.
Even if you've got it all together and you have SOPs, written workflows, and checklists for every aspect of your business, there is always the possibility (and likelihood) that something will slip between the cracks. You or a member of your team will forget to send that followup email or to write that thank you note or to add that important milestone or deadline to your calendar. And these small mistakes can directly or indirectly cause thousands of dollars in lost revenue. Zapier never forgets and is working around the clock, 24/7/365, so you will never miss those little tasks again.
3) It frees you up to do something else!
This one should be obvious. When you don't have to perform a task manually, you free yourself up to do something else. And whether that's squeezing in an extra meeting with a client, writing a blog post (fact: Zapier has performed 17 automated tasks for me since I started writing this "Why Do I Need It" section), or sipping mimosas on a beach, you will add significantly more value to your time.
Does it work with ___?
The easy answer is “most likely.” Zapier boasts over 3,000 integrations (a list that is growing every day), with apps that you would never think could be automated. For wedding planners specifically, there are too many options to name them all.
Here are just some of the different app categories that just about any wedding professional can get their value out of:
There’s a pretty good chance that you use all of those in your business right now, and some on a daily basis! Can you imagine all of those working on their own, rather than taking time out of your busy day?
Even if an app isn't directly supported by Zapier (like WeddingWire or The Knot), there are often workarounds you can use to get them working together (by having Zapier keep an eye on your email account for new leads, for example).
Map out your Zap
The best tip we can give before you dive in and start integrating is to plan out the process you want beforehand. Just like when we all outlined essays in grade school, you need to create the process from introduction to conclusion.
What app comes first? What information needs to be received for the Zap to start? What app does that information get sent to? What happens when that second app receives that information? Where does it go next?
Rinse and repeat these steps until you reach the final thing that needs to happen. Your brain will thank you later when you’re actually plugging these steps into Zapier.
The One With The Pictures
Like with any new tech tool, you’re probably expecting the part now where you find out that it requires a degree in computer science, years of coding experience, and a supercomputer to make all of this happen.
Sometimes that’s the case, but not with Zapier. The interface is about as simple as it can be, especially for how complicated some Zaps can get. Here’s a quick guide to a simple Zap that blocks out time in your calendar for a rehearsal the day before a wedding (note: while this Zap is written specifically for use with Google Calendar, you can adapt it to just about any online calendar app).
(FYI: We've also created a video guide walking you through setting up this Zap at THIS LINK)
Start by adding a new test event to your wedding booking calendar in Google. In this case, I'll use the couple's names as the title of the event.
In Zapier, create a new trigger for a New Event in Google Calendar. Click on "Continue" then choose the Google account you'd like to use (you may need to provide login info if you've never connected your Google account before).
Choose your booking calendar and click "Continue."
For this Zap, it's important for the calendar you use for the actual wedding and the calendar you use for the rehearsal are different, or you might accidentally trigger a never-ending loop.
Test the trigger and ensure it pulls information from the test event you just created. Then click "Continue".
Now we'll start working on the action step. In the "Action" box, choose "Google Calendar" as the app again, but this time, select "Create Detailed Event" as the action. Then click "Continue". Choose your Google account once more, and click "Continue" again.
This is the most complicated step, but don't worry, the outline and screenshot below should make it easy!
In the "Set up action" window, select the calendar you'd like the rehearsal to appear in (remember: this should be different than the calendar you used in the trigger step above).
Write something like "Reserve for X's Rehearsal" in the Summary field, and then replace "X" with the Summary of the trigger step (in this case, "Ashley + Tristan").
In "Start Date & Time", write "1 day before X at 3pm" and replace "X" with the "Event Begins" time from the trigger step. You can also choose a different start time, if you'd like. Do the same with "End Date & Time".
In the "Show me as Free or Busy" field, I like to put "Busy", because part of the reason for this Zap is to block that time out of my calendar so nobody can book an appointment with me.
Click "Test & Continue". Zapier should immediately send a test to your Google Calendar. Double check that it worked before moving forward so you can make adjustments as needed before turning on your Zap.
Once you've confirmed that your test worked, delete the two fake events from your calendar and turn on your Zap!
Relax and let Zapier do its thing
We know, it feels too good to be true. You can get the automation that frees up your busy schedule while keeping all the apps you’re familiar with. And the best part? You can start using it for free.
That Zap we shared above? You can set that up with the free plan so you can start saving time today without paying a cent. You can play around with Zapier and see how it will fit your business before you invest in it.
Once you see the magic of automation, though, it’ll be hard to go back. But the benefits of paying are apparent: