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We’re going to use Google Sheets as our data source for this tutorial. But it’s worth noting that you could easily follow the same steps using another platform to pull data from.
Regardless of the platform you’re pulling data from, the same concepts hold true. You’ll be mapping and matching the information from your database to BuildFire using Zapier as the middleman. So you could follow these same steps using Salesforce, Shopify, or another platform with customer data.
Step #1: Organize Your Data Sets
The first thing you need to do is organize your data. So before you do anything inside of Zapier, you’ll want to create a spreadsheet with columns that are labeled appropriately. Eventually, Zapier will take the info from your spreadsheet (or alternative data source) and use it to create an automation in BuildFire.
Take your time and make sure everything is labeled correctly. As you’ll shortly discover, proper labels make your life much easier once you start creating workflows in Zapier.
Here’s an example of a spreadsheet template that you can follow for scheduling push notifications:
In addition to columns and data within each column, you also want to carefully label the spreadsheet and worksheet. For this example, the spreadsheet is “Zapier Training,” and the worksheet is labeled “Send Push Notifications.”
Step #2: Create a New “Zap”
Now head into your Zapier dashboard and click “Make a Zap” at the top left corner of the screen.
If you just signed up for Zapier and you’re still on the free plan, you’ll have the ability to create 5 Zaps and 100 tasks. Most of you will likely need more than this, so you’ll have to upgrade to a premium Zapier package. It’s worth noting that Zapier is a third-party tool and the subscriptions are completely separate from your BuildFire plan.
Step #3: Start Your Trigger
Every new Zap starts with a trigger event. To do this, you’ll need to select an app with your data source. For this example, we’re going to use Google Sheets. If your data source is located in another platform, you’d go ahead and select that app instead.
Here’s an example of what the beginning of this trigger event looks like from your Zapier dashboard:
Most of the time, Google Sheets should be one of the first options on the main menu. But if you don’t see it right away, just search for it using the “Search apps…” function on the screen.
Step #4: Choose Your Trigger Event
If you’re not already signed into your Google Sheets account within Zapier, you’ll be prompted to log in at this time. From here, just navigate to “New or Updated Spreadsheet Row” from the “Trigger Event” dropdown menu.
Here’s what that looks like:
Step #5: Select Your Spreadsheet and Choose the Worksheet Data
Earlier, we discussed the importance of proper labeling. Now you’re going to put those labels to good use.
Zapier will pull information from all of the Google Sheets within your linked account. You need to scroll through those sheets or search until you find the spreadsheet with your customer data. For our purposes, we’re looking for “Zapier Training.”
Once you find that spreadsheet, select the worksheet that has your push notification data. In this example, we’re going to choose “Send Push Notifications.”
Once you’ve selected the right data source, Zapier will ask you to run a test, confirming that the right information is being pulled from Google Sheets. Confirm the data to continue.
Note: The values might be different depending on your data source. For example, if you’re pulling the user data from a CRM, the columns might not be identical to Google Sheets. You can always export your data and create a Google Sheet for an exact match.
Step #6: Connect to BuildFire
Once you’ve verified the data from Google Sheets, Zapier will ask you to set up another app and event for the workflow. For this specific example, we want to take the data from Google Sheets and use it to send push notifications in BuildFire.
Assuming you already have an invitation from BuildFire, the app icon will appear in your Zapier dashboard.
If you don’t see the icon right away, just search for it to continue.
Step #7: Select “Schedule Push Notification” as the Event
Similar to what we did earlier when setting up an event with Google Sheets, we need to choose an event within BuildFire. In this case, we’re telling Zapier that we want to schedule a push notification in BuildFire using the data from our spreadsheet.
So choose “Schedule Push Notification” as the event to proceed.
Step #8: Customize the Push Notification
Next, you’re going to create the notification using the values from your worksheet.
It’s as simple as filling in the form fields in Zapier using the column titles in your Google Sheet. Here’s what that looks like:
As you can see, the values shown above match the columns in the worksheet that we created in the first step. This is another reason why it’s so important to label everything correctly from the beginning.
Zapier will automatically pull data from these columns as more information continues to get added in the future.
When you send a notification in BuildFire, you have full control over who the message goes out to. You can send a push notification to everyone, to specific people, or to groups. In this example, we created a group called “Zapier.” As you can see, this test message will be sent to that group, as noted in the “Group ID” value in the screenshot above.
For the “Message” value, you have lots of customization options. Rather than creating the message in Google Sheets, you can always customize the message here instead. For example, let’s say you have the user’s first name. You could add that name to the message column, and continue typing the push notification in Zapier. So you’re not limited by the text in your Google Sheet. You can use that in combination with a customized message within Zapier. All of that will be customized in this step.
Note: If you leave the “Users” field blank, the push notification will be sent to everyone.
Step #9: Test Your Zap
Once the message has been customized, Zapier will prompt you to run a test to ensure everything is accurate and the workflow is pulling the data correctly.
You need to have a live app in order to run this test. The app needs to be published and have all of its certificates up to date. If not, you’ll see an error when you’re running this test.
Step #10: Turn on the “Zap”
Assuming the test ran smoothly and everything checks out, the final step is turning on your Zap.
Zapier runs on a cycle of every 15 minutes for anyone on the free plan. So if you add a new email to the push notification list in Google Sheets, they won’t get the notification immediately. Premium Zapier users will benefit from a cycle that runs every 5 minutes, so the user will get the notification a little faster in that scenario. But in both cases, it won’t happen instantaneously.