The Benefits and Pitfalls of Email Parsers

Imagine if a technology existed that could read your email for you, and use that data to trigger a workflow, or automate something. The good news is that it already exists, and has for some time. It’s called an email parser. The bad news is that it is at best kind-of helpful, and at worst, wildly inaccurate.

Although email is rapidly becoming an outdated tool, it is still widely used and email parsing does have a place in the automation toolbox.

 

WHAT ARE EMAIL PARSERS?

The way email parsers work is that they use the structure of an email (usually text or HTML) to look for matches to pre-defined fields. The two email parsers I would usually recommend are Zapier Email Parser, and Mailparser.

So, using the Zapier parser as an example, you set up a template by highlighting and naming the data that you want to look for in the email. Then, by some dark magic (actually, some code) the email parser will return the data it has found in usable format (e.g. for...

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What is Business Automation, Anyway?

Business Automation might seem like a complex or difficult topic, but even if you have never consciously done so, you have most likely used an automation tool.

Do you know what this object does? You have probably never used one. I certainly haven’t, but it was revolutionary in its time.

slide rule

It is a slide rule, and it is used for simple or complex calculations. We don’t use them anymore, because desktop calculators came along. A desktop calculator takes some numbers (variables), performs a function, and gives you an output. So, slide rules went by the wayside.

Now, I usually just ask Siri, Google Assistant, or Alexa to calculate something for me.

Those examples – from the slide rule, to voice enabled helpers, are all types of automation.

There is a good chance that you run your business with apps. Whether that is mobile apps (e.g. Instagram), or web apps (e.g. Airtable), they are now fulfilling a huge number business of functions like accounting, marketing,...

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