Newsletter (Semi-) Automation Via Integromat

I thought I’d share a little bit about how I’m using integromat, as it contains a gotcha that I need to remember for the future, and a solution to that problem.

I’m setting up a little newsletter called Ten Things I Found, in which I’ll share (wait for it…) 10 things I found on my journey as an indiehacker. It’ll include tools, advice, strategies, humourous tweets – anything that caught my eye really.

And I’ll share them in case anyone is interested. It won’t be a scheduled email – I’ll just send it when I’ve got 10 things worth sharing.

To help create the content, this is my flow:

And it works as follows:

  1. I bookmark anything of interest in raindrop.io. I started using this recently as a way of adding tags to my bookmarks, as I sometimes couldn’t find things in Chrome’s hierarchical structure. (I love Raindrop by the way – so much so that I upgraded with a small annual fee for some additional functions).
  2. Integromat sweeps Raindrop on a scheduled basis, and adds the bookmark details to a Google Sheet, one bookmark per row, in a tab called “Bookmarks”. (10/10 for originality, Andy). It stores the title, description, URL, and another column called “Issue Number”, which is set to 0.
  3. That 0 means I haven’t sent out the resource in a newsletter yet.
  4. The sheet includes a specific cell on another sheet, which shows the total number of bookmarks which have an issue number of 0, then it sends me an email with that number. Once it gets to 10, I’ll look to see if those 10 are suitable for the newsletter (I don’t share all bookmarks, as some are just for my own interests).
  5. Then it loops through the bookmarks it just added, and populates rows in another sheet (called “Tags”) with each tag linked to each bookmark, referring back to the row in the Bookmarks sheet where the bookmark was added. I’m not using the tags in the newsletter currently, but they’re there for future reference.

Ah yes, that “gotcha”.

Point 4 above refers to a cell which contains the total number of bookmarks not yet assigned to an issue. The reason for this is that originally I had Integromat do a search directly in the Google Sheet for the rows that had 0 for the Issue Number, then send the email.

At the time I wrote this, I had 118 bookmarks unassigned.

And I got about 30 mails before I realised what was going on and stopped the process.

I’m sure Integromat didn’t want their IP address blacklisted for spamming, so I put the solution above in place 🙂

Also – it’s more elegant: let Sheets do the thing it’s good at (calculating stuff), and let Integromat do the thing it’s good at (reading the output of that calculation).

And that’s it. You’ll notice the newsletter isn’t sent at this point, but that’s for another post.

Of course, if you’re interested in the newsletter itself, feel free to sign up. I’m sure you’ll get something useful from it on a regular basis.

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