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Although email is rapidly becoming an outdated tool, it is still widely used and email parsing does have a place in the automation toolbox.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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7 Compelling 2018 New Year Automation Resolutions

automation education Jan 10, 2018

The New Year is the perfect time to take stock and make resolutions for the coming 12 months.

Automation adoption went ahead by leaps and bounds in 2017 and 2018 promises to be another year laden with growth opportunities. So, what do we need to do to position ourselves to take advantage of these growth possibilities in 2018?

Professionally, many of us hold mixed feelings about making New Year’s resolutions. Yes, it seems like a natural time to identify important changes we would like to implement. It’s like an annual “reset” button.

So, now is the time to make some clear resolutions, sweep away any lingering debris from 2017 buckle up and get ready to jump-start the new year.

Here are 7 ideas for New Year automation resolutions to make for your business in 2018 that will make you and your organisation more creative, more productive, and generally more content at work.

 

  1. Reduce Email

Eliminate overflowing email and regain command of your...

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5 Things to Consider for Your First Website

education web development Sep 21, 2016

Before I started building websites, my first site (for a recruitment business) was a complete mess. If you remember the time Homer got a job designing his own car, and it turned out something like this:

TheHomer

If my first website was a car, this is what it would have looked like. The web designers listened to everything I asked for, and tried to include it all at once. It didn’t work so well. Is was visually unappealing, had poor function, and the user experience was terrible.

Fast forward to now, and there are so many fantastic online resources to help you get your first site up and running. The thing is, without some help you risk making the same mistakes Homer (and I) did. Here are some points to consider:

 

1. What is the purpose of your site?

Ok, this sounds pretty straightforward, but it’s not. Imagine you’re a martial arts school owner. You have lots of cool photos and videos to show of your classes, and you probably want a social media feed running on...

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Can That Be Automated?

automation education Sep 21, 2016

One of the first things I do when I meet with a new client is to do a kind of ‘automations audit’. That is, I look at every single process in their business to work out what processes are happening that could be automated. Some are obvious, some are not. If this is something you’d like to do yourself, it’s relatively simple. The best way to approach it is to take the customer-centric approach by looking at their journey through your business. Throughout that process, I’m asking “Can that be automated?”.

Take for example a personal trainer (PT) who would like to systematise their new lead process, in a way that is unique to them. Before automation, their process looks like this:

  • Prospective client completes website enquiry form
  • PT tries to call client to book in a time to talk/meet
  • PT talks to client, takes notes on a piece of paper or a post-it
  • Sends client a new signup document and indemnity waiver to complete and email back
  • Takes payment...
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