If there's one thing online marketers love, it's automation.
I think the most appealing part of automation is that most of us are already stretched for time so anything that can help us leverage more out of everyday is useful.
We're going to be talk about the IFTTT service today, but I don't want to overwhelm you either. Coming from a personal preference of minimalism, it's better to keep things in your business simpler. IFTTT can help you with repetitive tasks, but it can also add to your growing list of to-do's.
Forget the hype.
More than half the pre-made connections are useless. But there are some great ones too.
Let's break this post into 3 parts:
- Defining What IFTTT Is & It's Terminology
- Creating An IFTTT Applet Together
- Example IFTTT Applets For Niche Site Builders
What Is IFTTT?
“If This Then That” is a service that connects several apps together. It's mostly geared towards a consumer crowd so you won't find anything that will let you hook up SalesForce to Slack. However, you can connect the most random things together or even the most logical. When you connect two apps together with a certain “trigger”, they form an “applet”. In layman's terms, when one action is triggered from one app, it will automatically start an action for another. You'll understand this better once we go through the first example of creating an Applet.
Warning: Don't create IFTTT Applets unless you are sure of what you need. I wouldn't go exploring for Applets as it can be a big-time waster. Go in, create the connection, and get out. There's a lot more stuff that will propel the success of your site. Again, this stuff can be useful but it's all about how you use the tool.
Here are two wild and crazy examples of IFTTT Applets:
Example #1: Every time your site publishes a blog post then it will trigger your electronic dog bowl to feed your dog.
Example #2: Each time your site publishes a blog post then it will automatically be posted on your Twitter too.
Both are pretty cool, but only one of those Applets really makes sense to use.
How To Set Up An IFTTT Applet
Let's run through a quick walkthrough of setting up your first Applet. For this example, we'll be connecting the Google Webmasters Blog to your phone. So that every time Google releases a blog post from it's webmasters blog, you'll get a text message.
1. The first thing you need to do is create a login for IFTTT and afterward, click on your profile picture to see the drop down. Select “Create New Applet”
2. Then you'll see the words “If this then that”. It's easy to miss the button, but you'll have to click the word “This“ to start building your Applet.
3. Next, we need to designate our first trigger. Since we're going to be using a new Google Webmasters blog post as our trigger, we want to select RSS Feed.
4. Select “New Feed Item” since we want the trigger to be affected with each new blog post. No matter what the post is about.
5. Go to the Google Webmasters blog and select the RSS Feed. Copy and paste the RSS URL into the next IFTTT step.
Copy the RSS feed link, don't click it. Just copy it.
6. We're half way there now. We've completed the trigger, which is a new blog post via an RSS Feed, and now we have to setup the resulting action for that trigger. It's the “That” portion of the connection.
7. The action service for this portion will be the SMS service. We could choose a variety of actions to be triggered, but the sensible one is to set it up as a text message. We could also trigger an email action, but we get enough emails as it is.
8. You'll be asked to verify your phone number and then will have to select the appropriate action. For this SMS action, there's only one option to choose from.
9. After you select the option, you're able to select the type of information that will be texted to you. I usually just leave this section the same unless there's something specific I want to see.
10. Finally, you'll name your applet! Choose something that won't be confusing for you in the future.
Pretty simple right? Now that we've seen what's possible. Let's continue with a few more applets. These are specifically geared towards affiliate site builders and anyone looking to build a bigger online presence. I don't want you guys to get lost in the weeds looking for the “best” applets because so I've only provided a few here that I think we could all use.
Top IFTTT Applets For Affiliate Marketers
1) Get Top Posts From Relevant Subreddits In Your Niche
This is an excellent way for you to see what people are upvoting on Reddit regularly. Then you can shape your content around this crowd. Sometimes you can ignore search volumes and write for a social community instead.
2) If Someone Tweets a Relevant Hashtag In Your Niche, Retweet It
A lot of us have dead social accounts, beyond adding your blog posts on there – you're social profiles could probably use a bit more energy. Here's a quick win – if you're in the Hockey Gear niche, each time someone tweets the hashtag #hockey or #hockeynight then you can automatically retweet it.
It's a good way to start engaging with people in your niche. From an Amazon affiliate site perspective, these are your potential customers. This should help you get on the radar of hockey fans.
3) Conduct Hands-On Product Reviews By Using Craigslist Alerts
One thing that will set your affiliate site apart will be the ability to conduct hands-on product reviews. With photos and even video if possible. You can find some great deals on Craigslist or Kijiji (in Canada.) Jon Dykstra recently wrote an article on hiring a videographer locally for very cheap to create a professional product review for one of his niche sites. We mentioned this article in our Best of Internet Marketing series.
This applet below will allow you to get alerts for any search, so don't just stop at product alerts. You could also set up an alert for finding writers too 😉
4) Each Time A New Pin Is Added, Post It On Your Facebook Page
If you've been on this blog for a while now, you'll know we love Pinterest. It's the only social network where people go to find blog posts and it's one we've automated to a great deal.
For this Applet, simply hook up a Pinterest board and have IFTTT post to your Facebook page every time a new pin is added. Make sure that whatever board you choose, your own content is also being pinned. Not just other brands.
Unfortunately, this specific app isn't available to the public as it's a private one I created. However, this would be a good opportunity to try and create this yourself.
You should have a few ideas floating in your head about what to do with IFTTT. It's all about creating leverage and setting up a chain of triggers where you only have to do one thing. Then that one action will cause an action on multiple platforms.
One thing you might think that's missing from this article is an applet for using WordPress posts to trigger actions across all your other social networks. I did that on purpose. It's been done and is relatively easy as well once you get the hang of it. What I really wanted to get across were some out-of-the-box connections so that you can go beyond step 1.
Let us know in the comments how your first hook up was and what you're looking to build!