Gmail is the most popular email client in the world. It’s loved for its simplicity, intuitive UX, and deliverability. It’s also extremely convenient and offers great built-in labeling and filtering. And, with a Gmail Zapier integration, you can expand it with a wealth of amazing automation features.
In this guide to Gmail Zapier automation, we’ll look at why you should connect the two – and how to use them to create amazing workflows.
Why Connect Gmail to Zapier?
As an email client, Gmail offers a host of features that make managing emails a breeze. Its UX is world-class, and thanks to an integration with other Google tools, it can skyrocket your productivity. As of 2023, it’s used by over 1.5 billion people worldwide (and counting).
While it’s already a pretty powerful tool on its own, there are several important benefits why you should integrate Gmail with Zapier:
Skyrocket Your Productivity
First, let’s look at personal reasons. With Zapier, you can reduce the amount of time that you spend managing your email. Simply create Zaps that let you organize attachments, archive important emails, and even respond to urgent ones.
With Gmail for Zapier, you can:
- Save important emails for future use. Simply use Zapier to archive emails with a certain label (you can automate labeling inside Gmail) in a Google spreadsheet.
- Stay on top of critical emails with automated notifications. For example, you can set Zapier to receive notifications for emails from specific email addresses or with a specific topic.
- Boost your productivity through the roof with an automated to-do list. Simply use Zapier to turn select emails into a personal to-do list in a task management tool of your choice!
The best is, you don’t need complex workflows to reap some of the benefits. For example, adding emails to a to-do list can be as simple as a two-step Zap!
Improve Business Management
Another reason to integrate the two is how much time and money you can save on managing your business. Whether you’re a consultant, a manager, or a business owner, there’s a lot you can automate with Zapier and Gmail.
Some of the business management benefits of using Gmail and Zapier are:
- Automatically create tasks for your team. Turn a Gmail email into a task in your favorite PM tool. With the right Zap, you can even schedule the task, categorize it, and assign it to the right person.
- Save time by automatically organizing incoming files. Archive Gmail email attachments in Google Drive or Onedrive. For example, you can collect invoices that you receive, add them to a Google Drive, and then to your accountant’s to-do list. It’s one of my favorite Zaps in this list that I use daily.
- Keep your team up-to-date about important matters. Automate Slack notifications for important emails. You can even send them to the right team members right inside Slack!
Naturally, the more complex workflows you build, the more time you’ll save and the more your business will benefit. This is true for all areas of your business where you decide to use Gmail with Zapier in.
Give Your Marketing a Boost
Another important area where connecting your Gmail account to Zapier gives you a competitive edge is marketing. Some benefits that using Gmail with Zapier can offer you, include:
- Improve client communication with automated emails. For example, you can set a Zap to respond to form submissions with a relevant email, giving the lead clear instructions on what happens next.
- Turn every email lead into a marketing opportunity. Use Zapier and Gmail to collect lead data from all form submissions and add it to your marketing database. Automatically tag and categorize those leads for future use.
- Act faster than your competitors. Speed is of the essence in marketing. With automation, you can automatically notify your marketing team about new emails. This, in turn, allows them to respond on time, creating an excellent client experience.
Close More Deals
The fourth area in which you can heavily benefit from using Gmail for Zapier is sales. Here are a couple of examples of how it could benefit you or your sales team:
- Speed up cold outreach. With Zapier, you can integrate Gmail with most sales and outreach tools. This allows you to create draft emails pre-filled with user data or copy that suits the stage that they’re in.
- Streamline sales process and lead management. Automatically tag leads or move them to the right funnel stage when you or one of your salespeople adds a label to a Gmail email.
As you can see, there’s a lot you can achieve with Gmail and Zapier. Now, let’s look at how you can connect the two to. Starting with a list of triggers.
Zapier Gmail Triggers
As of now, there are seven different triggers that you could use to trigger your Zapier workflow:
The available triggers include:
- New Attachment. This triggers whenever you receive a new email with an attachment. Note that this triggers the Zap once per attachment, so if there are five attachments, it will trigger the Zap five times.
- New Label. This triggers the Zap whenever you create a new label in your Gmail account.
- New Labeled Email. One of the most convenient and popular Gmail triggers. It starts the Zap whenever you add a label to one of your emails.
- New Email. As the name suggests, this starts the Zap whenever you get a new email.
- New Email Matching Search. This is similar to the previous trigger. The difference is, you can apply some filtering as to what email should trigger the Zap.
- New Starred Email. Similar to the “New Labeled Email” trigger. Triggers on all starred emails that are less than two days old.
- New Thread. It starts a Zap whenever you create a new email thread.
As you can see, the list covers all the most popular things the average person does with their Gmail account favorites.
Now, let’s look at what you can do if you put Gmail further in your Zapier workflow.
Zapier Gmail Actions
Compared to some of the most popular Zapier integrations, Gmail offers just a few actions. However, some of them are pretty powerful.
The integration developers split them into two categories – Create and Search:
There are six different actions in total in the search category. They allow you to automatically:
- Add a label to an email (pretty self explanatory).
- Create a draft email. Note that this doesn’t send the email and is ideal if you want to use Zapier to speed up your email creation but need to do some manual tweaking.
- Create a new label. This creates an entirely new Gmail label.
- Send an email. This creates a new email from scratch (perfect for sending automated emails).
- Remove a label from an email. Useful especially when you want to remove a label after a process triggered by that label gets finished.
- Reply to an email. Automate replying to incoming (or otherwise processed) emails.
When you look at actions in the “Search” category, there’s only one:
Finding an email allows you to look up an email before processing it. It’s also useful for finding attachments or old emails that you archived in one of the labels.
Note that if Zapier doesn’t find any emails, you can ask it to create a new one for you.
As you can see, while there are only a few actions available, they give you a lot of power over your Gmail workflow.
And there are two things you can use to make your future Gmail Zaps even more powerful.
Combining Zapier with Gmail Filtering and Labels
One of the powers of Gmail is that it already gives you a set of tools that you can use to organize or pre-filter your emails. This means you can use those tools to pick the right emails for your Zaps.
While this article is focused on Zapier, filtering and labeling your emails allows you to create even more targeted Zaps.
Here’s a quick video straight from the Google Workspace team on how you can create rules to filter your emails:
And if you want to dive a little bit deeper into labels (which are an amazing Zap trigger), here’s one covering labels:
Lastly, here are a few tips on how you can optimize your Gmail inbox.
Note that the better you optimize your workflow inside Gmail, the more powerful Zapier automations you can create. So if you want to get the most out of the two tools, it’s worth doing some Gmail optimization work first.
However, before you jump to cleaning up your Gmail inbox… There’s one more thing you should know about setting up Zapier Gmail automations. And it has to do with the type of inbox that you’re using.
Free Gmail vs Google Workspace Gmail
Zapier allows you to build powerful Gmail workflows. But while all triggers and actions are available for every type of inbox, there’s a limitation as to the kind of workflows you can build.
And it all comes down to the apps a free (consumer) Gmail account can send the data to.
If your email ends with @gmail.com or @googlemail.com, you will be unable to create Zaps that send data to most apps. As of now, there are less than twenty apps accepting data from consumer Gmail accounts.
The list includes all Zapier built-in apps, all Google apps, and most Microsoft apps. Other apps include Pipedrive, Streak, Todoist, Evernote, and Close.io.
If you’re using a business (Google Workspace) Gmail account (@yourdomain.com), you can send data to any Zap app. So, the only way to go around that limitation is to upgrade your account to Google Workspace.
An alternative could be to forward select emails to a business Gmail account. But that kills all the savings and convenience you get with building Zaps.
Speaking of which – let’s look at a few sample Gmail and Zapier workflows.
Most Popular Zapier and Gmail Workflows
Considering the power and popularity of Gmail, there are thousands of workflows that you could create with Gmail as one of the steps. All that will depend on the apps that you’re using and your business goals.
But, let’s start with something simple that anyone can benefit from. Here are four simple and popular workflows that will help any business streamline its business processes.
1. Create Zapier Workflows with Airtable and Gmail
Technically, Airtable already has a Gmail integration. But connecting it with Zapier gives you access to the entire Zapier ecosystem.
As a result, it allows you to achieve a lot more compared to Airtable’s native integration. Here are a few things that you could achieve with Airtable and Gmail in Zapier:
- Turn new emails into database records.
- Change values of a record based on email labels.
- Send a personalized email to a database record thanking them for their business once they reach the “Paid & Completed” stage.
In this example, we’re going to focus on that last example.
Here’s what the column with that Lead Status in Airtable looks like. We want to trigger the automation whenever a record reaches the Paid & Completed status:
Now, to set the automation, we need to go to Zapier and set our Airtable trigger. First, select the Airtable app and find the New or Updated Record trigger:
Once you select the account, base, table, and timestamp, it’s time to test the trigger.
As you may have guessed, the automation will now trigger for all records changed in that table. That’s why we need to create a filter:
.Next, it’s time to set the “Send Email” action. There are many fields that you may want to fill in here. Here are the “must-have” ones:
- To: Here, use Airtable’s record email address.
- From: Select the Gmail address that you connected to Zapier.
- From Name: Personalize the name of the sender to make it suit your brand (or personal name). For example, “Jacek at Clickleo”.
- Subject: The subject of the email.
- Body Type: Choose between plain and HTML.
- Body: The body of the email. If you chose HTML in the previous step, you can copy-paste a branded template here.
Once you fill in all the details, it’s time to test the step.
And here’s what the entire workflow should look like once you complete those three steps:
Of course, you could expand this workflow with different apps. For example, you could trigger an entire marketing campaign in your marketing automation tool.
Another thing you could do is send a Slack message to your team, confirming that the message has been sent. And, speaking of Slack, let’s look at other ways you can use Gmail with Zapier and Slack.
2. Send Emails to Slack with Zapier
Another automation that you can set up is an automated Gmail to Slack workflow. In this Zap, we want to use Zapier to send a Gmail label to Slack as a channel message.
To pick the right channel, we’ll use the Gmail label as a trigger. First, select New Labeled Email from the drop-down menu:
Next, select the label. In our example, we’re going to use one named “Zapier”:
In the next step, select the Slack app. Next, select the Send Channel Message event for this action step:
Then, add the body of the email to the Slack message body and test the action.
Once that’s done, here’s what this super-simple Zap will look like:
Alternative Setup – for multiple labels and channels.
Because the “New Labeled Email” trigger requires you to pick a label, you’d have to create multiple Zaps, one for each label.
Instead of doing that, you can use the “New Email” label. Then, use filters and paths to send different messages to different channels depending on the label.
3. Save Gmail Messages to Google Sheets with Zapier
This Zap will be similar to the previous one. But, instead of Slack, we’re going to archive messages to a Google Sheet.
To differentiate this setup from the previous step, we’re going to save starred emails. But before we get to Zapier, we first need to prepare our Google sheets tab.
In this setup, we need four different columns in the spreadsheet:
- The “Date received” column. This will allow us to sort messages chronologically should we need to.
- The “From” column. This will help us sort messages by the sender. Alternatively, we could use Paths to save messages from different recipients in different tabs.
- The “Subject” column.
- The “Message”. Here, we’ll sort the body of the message itself.
Once you have the columns ready, let’s go to Zapier. First, select Gmail as your trigger and find the “New Starred Email” event:
Next, test the trigger so that we can pull the data required to configure the next step.
Now, we want to create two Zapier Formatter steps.
First, we want to use Zapier Formatter Date and Time event to change the date to a more user- friendly format:
After that, use the Zapier Formatter Text Event to remove excessive new lines from the body of the email. For that, use the Replace transformation. In the input field, put the Body Plain from the trigger Gmail step.
Note that we left the “Replace” field blank to remove the found text:
Next, it’s time to set up the Google Sheets step. Select it as the app for your next action step and then find the Create Spreadsheet Row event:
Now, let’s configure the Google Sheets action step to accept Gmail emails:
- First, select the drive and the spreadsheet and worksheet that you want to put the data in.
- In the Date received field, put the output from Step #2 in which we formatted the date.
- In the “From” and “Subject” select the “From Email” and “Subject” from the Gmail trigger step.
- In the Message step, select output from step #3, where you trimmed the body content from excessive new lines:
And here’s what the Gmail message looks like in a Google spreadsheet:
And here’s the Zap itself:
Note that, because we wanted to preserve the URLs, the email doesn’t look as readable as it could. However, there are a few things you could do to boost its readability:
First, you could strip HTML tags using Zapier Formatter Text (but this might cause you to lose links to articles):
Alternatively, you could extract the URLs to another column before strippingHTML tags. This would allow you to preserve important links.
You could also trim the text to remove footers or headers. But that would require some tweaking and personalization or extra rules in the Zap.
4. Save New Gmail Attachments to Google Drive
We have already mentioned a similar Zap earlier in this guide. Now, let’s look at how you can actually set it up. First, find and select the New Attachment in Gmail trigger:
Once you select it, make sure that you test it to ensure that Zapier has a test attachment to work with.
Note: When you select this step, it will trigger the Zap for every attachment in the Email. If you want to trigger it once per email, use the New Labeled Email or New Email triggers.
Keep in mind, though, that in this case, Zapier will turn all attachments in that email into an archive.
In the next step, select the Upload File step to Google Drive:
Next, select the file that you want to upload. Note you can’t see the file when setting the automation.
Note: Make sure that you don’t use the links to attachments or filenames. You have to choose the input data just like in the example below:
Lastly, you can send a Slack message to your team about a new Gmail attachment.
This is useful especially if you decide to trigger this automation with a labeled email trigger. This allows you to focus only on specific attachments.
Of course, you could also filter the messages or use paths to send them to different folders.
And, here’s what the finished Zap looks like:
Lastly, don’t forget that it’s entirely up to you what consecutive steps you add to this or any other workflow described in this guide.
Build Powerful Business Workflows with Gmail and Zapier
Gmail is an excellent addition to your Zapier workflows. Whether you use it as a trigger or action step, it can take your productivity to the next level.
It can also significantly improve your marketing communication and cooperation inside your business. Together with Zapier Paths and Gmail filters and labels, it can turn your Gmail account into a real command and automation center.
Of course, the results that you achieve will depend entirely on the workflows that you build.
If you have your own Gmail and Zapier workflows set up – don’t forget to mention them in the comments.
And, if you need help with your Zapier automation or want to discuss a possible setup, let’s talk. Go to this page to check my availability and book a meeting or shoot me a message with your ideas.
Hey, I’m Jacek. I’m the founder and Chief Automator at Clickleo.com
I’m on a mission to help you use automation to reclaim your time and achieve more in your business.
You can find out more about me – and why I started Clickleo – over on this page
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