Last week we launched ‘Tool Time Wednesday’, a weekly series of blog posts that covers a different inbound marketing tool which we believe may be useful to you, our beloved community of inbound marketers. If you haven’t checked out our blog post about Sniply then take a look now as we’re still drooling over the endless possibilities of how we can incorporate it into our inbound marketing campaigns.

Alternatively, if you’re a Social Media Today fanboy, you can also check out an article we published on there about Sniply titled Sniply: The Latest Essential Tool For Your Social Media Toolkit. We still stand by that claim. Get on it. It’s one of the best tools we’ve had the pleasure to use over the past couple of months.

Our Tool Of The Week

IFTTT - If This Then That

This week we’ve an oldie but a goodie for you to try out.

Have you heard of IFTTT (If This Then That)? It’s a website and mobile app which has been around since 2010 that allows you to automate actions from your favourite apps and websites by creating connections between the two. Sounds simple, right? If you can get your head around the “channels”, “triggers”, “recipes” and “actions” used by the app then it’s one of the most powerful free tools you have at your disposal. Allow us to help you get your head around these terms…

Channels – These are the foundation of any recipe you create. At the moment you can choose from 136 channels (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) that you wish to build connections between. Have you ever thought about linking Facebook and Twitter together so that when you update your profile photo on Facebook, your Twitter profile photo updates at the same time? It’s pretty cool and you can do it with this recipe. Just be sure to have both channels set up correctly in your account.

Triggers – This is the part of the recipe where you decide what needs to happen for an action to take place e.g. A blog post has just been posted on Moz. This would be your trigger and the channel would be the RSS feed for the Moz blog.

Actions – These are pretty easy to understand. What do you want to happen after the trigger has been initiated? In the example above, if a new blog post has been posted on Moz, I would like to be emailed a copy of it to my personal email account to check out during my morning and evening commute. Got to kill time somehow!

Ingredients – This is where you get a little bit more specific about the data of the trigger e.g. When I receive an email about the latest blog post on Moz, I would like the email to have a specific subject line and body copy so I can easily identify it.

*Remember* Recipes are a combination of a trigger and an action from your active channels

Are you still with me? Good. Let’s run through an example recipe so you can see how easy it is to do this in practice.

I try to go to the gym several times a week (the word ‘try’ can’t be understated) and I find it useful to be able to keep track of how often I’ve gone to the effort of going. By using IFTTT, it’s very easy to automate the tracking for this task without having to manually take note of the days that I do go (old school pen and paper).

In the recipe below we will walk through the steps you need to take if you’d like to create a note in your Google Calendar each time your iPhone enters your local gym (yes, it’s a little bit creepy at first).

Step-By-Step Recipe Example

1) Have you setup your IFTTT account? If so, go ahead and download the iPhone app and login with your access credentials to get started.

2) Once you’re logged into the iPhone app, you’ll be greeted with your dashboard which shows previous recipes that have been triggered on your account and any other activity that has taken place recently. Let’s kick start a new recipe by touching the icon in the top right hand corner.

IFTTT Dashboard

3) Do you remember channels and triggers that we talked about earlier? You will need to select these at this stage of the process. Begin by touching the blue box and selecting ‘iOS Location’ as the channel and ‘You enter an area’ as the trigger.

IFTTT- Select Trigger

4) You now need to decide what location will be the trigger for this recipe. In the example below I’ve chosen ‘Sportsco’ for the location as it’s my local gym. Unless you want to join my gym, I suggest you choose a different location for your recipe.

IFTTT - Locate An Area

5) As the ‘Action’ we want to add an event to Google Calendar so select the channel from the top navigation and then choose the appropriate event. That’s the recipe complete!

IFTTT - Select Action

If you’re trying to find interesting ways to automate marketing tasks that you haven’t time to do, SEER Interactive published The Ultimate List of IFTTT Recipes for Marketers which is definitely worth checking out. Also be sure to take a look at the Browse Recipes section on the IFTTT website to find other recipes submitted by their community.

Please be sure to share any useful recipes in the comments section below. We would love to hear how you use IFTTT in your day-to-day marketing roles.

Mark Scully

I'm Learn Inbound's co-founder, a geek and introvert at heart. When I'm not busying myself with inbound marketing, I'm relaxing with my Netflix account and a strong cup of coffee.

All articles by Mark Scully

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