How I Use Act!’s Web API to Run My Webinars

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Act! comes in a variety of flavors including Act! Pro, Act! Premium Subscription and Act! Premium Cloud. Many single users and small shops assume that they will be best served by purchasing the entry level Act! Pro product. However, I like to sell the software based on the customer’s needs and not their size. The first questions I ask to determine if a prospect should go with the Pro or Premium product is whether they need to access their database remotely or if they are using any kind of online app that they would like to integrate to Act!.  If they answer “Yes” to either of those questions they need to be using Act! Premium.

One of the perks of having an Act! Premium Subscription is the inclusion of Act! web API or Act! Connect. This tool allows you to easily connect Act! to a variety of online apps so that Act! will be automatically updated with new information. For those of us who aren’t programmers or coders this can be accomplished quite simply using a free tool called Zapier. A quick perusal of the zapier.com website will show you literally hundreds of web applications; and yes, you can connect your Act! database to most any one of them. So what does that mean for Act! users? Quite simply, information that your company receives from apps including PayPal, EventBrite, HubSpot and WordPress will appear like magic in Act!.

I have been running webinars for the Virtual Act! Users Group for years. Prior to the introduction of the web API into Act! Premium I would send out invitations (using Act! emarketing of course!) to the Prospects and Clients in my Act! database who would in turn sign up for the webinar in either EventBrite or GoToWebinar. Both services provide decent reporting but there wasn’t an easy way to view a contact’s attendance patterns in my Act! database, nor could I easily add any new contacts that registered for my event to my Act! database.

In a nutshell, here’s what I did to automate a recent Webinar on Act! emarketing (AEM):

  1. I created a field which I called “Webinar” in my Act! database
  2. I signed up for a free Zapier account at www.zapier.com
  3. I created “connected” accounts for both Act! and GoToWebinar in Zapier which basically meant that I added my account credentials and clicked “Test” to make sure they worked.
  4. I created and tested a “Zap.”
  5. I sent out invitations to my database with a link to my webinar.

Sound easy? It was. The trick was to create the correct “Zap.” Fortunately, Zapier allows you to test every step of your Zap to make sure it works. Here’s what I wanted mine to do:

  1. Take notice of any new registrants to my webinar
  2. Find any existing contacts in my Act! database, add “AEM Webinar” to my Webinar field and create a History that would reflect the date and time they signed up for my webinar. I used the email address field to determine if a contact already existed in my Act! database.
  3. If no existing contacts were found I requested that Zapier create a new Act! contact, add “AEM Webinar” to both the Referred by and Webinar fields, and create a history that they signed up for my webinar.

You can see the steps I created in Zapier in the figures below.

Create ZapWebinar Zap