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How to setup an automated Google Drive onboarding using Zapier


When you book a new client you’re probably setting up all of the folders and docs you need manually, yeah? What if I told you that you could automate your Google Drive onboarding using Zapier?

Before you dive in, you do need to have a paid Zapier plan in order to run this Zap as it has multiple steps.

Before you automate your Google Drive onboarding using Zapier

I have a couple notes before we dive into how the Zapier automation works:

  1. There are a few ways you can adjust the initial few steps based on how you classify a booked project. Depending on the platform you use for booking projects, keeping the initial step as a Gmail search may be the best option — especially if you have different setups you want to use based on the proposal that was booked.
  2. You can repeat the folder and doc steps as many times as you want, you’ll just want to make sure that you’re pulling the right ID code for each step.
  3. Naming each step in the workflow is going to be incredibly helpful especially if you’re setting up multiple folders and docs — it will make it easier for you to find which step you need to pull an ID code from. I would recommend naming your steps as you go along. Especially as you begin creating folders and docs, it will be easier to note which folder/doc you just created when you’re trying to get them nested in specific folders.

More of a visual learner? Watch this 15-minute step-by-step Loom walking through the steps below.

Loom video giph walking through google drive onboarding using zapier

How to automate your GDrive onboarding using Zapier:

Step 1: Create a new Zap

Step 2: Confirm your Gmail search string

In this step you’re confirming that there are emails with this information in them and that they’re the correct ones you want Zapier to be searching for.

If you use Dubsado, use this search string:

from:(noreply@dubsado.com) subject:(completed your proposal:)

If you use HoneyBook, use this search string:

from:(mailman@honeybook.com) subject:(File Completed:) smart file completed proposal

As a note, with both of these, this will search for (and eventually trigger the Zap) on any proposal. If you want this Zap to run based on a specific proposal title, you’ll need to add the full title at the end, before the “)” like the example below.

Screenshot showing gmail search string example for Dubsado proposals

Step 3: Set the initial Zap trigger

  1. Choose Gmail, select the relevant Gmail account (or connect it if you haven’t yet)
  2. Event: New Email Matching Search
  3. Trigger search string — enter the full search string, see the previous step for Dubsado and HoneyBook (for any proposal or smart file proposal completed)
  4. Test the search string — this will run a search in Gmail to confirm there is at least one email matching this search
  5. Continue with selected record

Step 4: Formatting the search for future steps

  1. Add a new step “Formatter by Zapier”
  2. Event: Text
  3. Transform: Split Text
  4. Input: choose the subject line if the client’s name is shown
  5. Separator: completed (if using Dubsado) or ‘s (if using HoneyBook)
  6. Segment index: first
  7. Test — the output should show the client’s first and last name

Step 5: Setting up the Google Drive folders

In these steps you’re going to set up all of the Google Drive folders that you want to have. This could be a main client folder and a few subfolders (ie. Meetings, Deliverables). I highly recommend making sure you rename the steps as you go along — click the 3 dots on the step (ie. Create main client folder, Create Meetings folder, Create deliverables folder).

We’ll create the main folder first

  1. Add a new step “Google Drive” (select/connect your account)
  2. Event: Create folder
  3. Drive: Confirm the Google Drive
  4. Parent Folder — select the folder you want your main client folder to be stored
  5. Folder name — select the output from the previous step (client name), you can also name it whatever you want (ie. Client Name | Branding)
  6. Test — go to your Google Drive and confirm the (test) folder has been added

Now to setup the subfolders — you can follow this process as many times as you like

  1. Add a new step “Google Drive” (select/connect your account)
  2. Event: Create folder
  3. Drive: Confirm the Google Drive
  4. Parent Folder — toggle to the step where you created the main client folder, open the menu and select ID, this will put your subfolder inside the main folder
  5. Test — go to your Google Drive and confirm the (test) folder has been added to the main client folder

You can repeat this step as many times as you’d like, and can even create a subfolder inside the subfolder you just made above, just select this new subfolder (above) as the one you want to add the next folder to.

Step 6: Create your template Google Docs/Spreadsheets/Slides

Before we head into the next step in the Zap, it’s time to make the docs/spreadsheets/slides you want to have added to the folders during onboarding. Personally, I have a Templates folder setup in my Drive where I organize and store all of my various templates. If you haven’t organized your Google Drive or need to do a clean up, check out this post for how I structure my folders.

Overall, you’re going to setup the templates however you want them to be set up. When you’re creating the Zap, you’ll be able to rename the doc to whatever you want it to be, even to have it include the client’s name.

Step 7: Find, create and add Google Docs/Spreadsheets/Slides to your Zapier onboarding workflow

This is going to be a two-part step, the first is where you’re going to find the doc you want to have the workflow create and add to your folder(s). The second part is when it actually creates the document and places it in the right folder. Just like with the steps for creating the folders, you can repeat this two-step process as many times as you’d like, you just need to know which ID you’re pulling from the right folder creation steps.

Part 1: Find the template doc/sheet/slide

  1. Create a new step and select “Google Docs” (or Google Sheets, or Google Slides) as the app
  2. Event: Find a Document
  3. Select your account
  4. Folder: Search for the template folder where you’ve stored the doc/sheet/slide you want the Zap to find
  5. Document Name: Enter the exact title of your doc/sheet/slide template that you want it to find
  6. Should this step be considered a “success” when nothing is found: I select no, this means the Zap will stop running and alert me if the doc is unable to be found.
  7. Test — Run the test to confirm the template doc has been found

Part 2: Create the doc/sheet/slide

  1. Create a new step and select “Google Docs” (or Google Sheets, or Google Slides) as the app
  2. Event: Create Document from Template
  3. Confirm account
  4. Template Document: From the previous step (finding the doc), select the ID
  5. New Document Name: Rename the doc however you want (you can even pull the client name from the Output in Step 2
  6. Folder for new document: Navigate to the step/folder where you want the doc to be added, select the ID
  7. Sharing Preference: Set your sharing preference
  8. Unused fields preference: Keep
  9. Test — go to your Google Drive and confirm the (test) folder has been added to the main client folder

Repeat Part 1 and Part two for as many docs as you’d like to create.

Once you’ve finished creating the folders and docs/sheets/slides you’d like to have, publish your Zap — you’re all done! Once your next client books their project, all you’ll have to do is edit any of the content that you’d like within those docs.

Bonus tip: You can also add additional steps that send you a Slack message confirming the onboarding has been setup, have different doc links added to different platforms, invite people to those docs, and so much more!

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