Integrate via Zapier or build your own integration?

Your email communication will be at its most relevant if you have correct data to start with. Of course you can work with manual imports, but you will save a lot of work if you can use the most recent contact details throughout your various tools.

To do this, you can call in the help of Zapier or build an API integration yourself. In this article, we provide information about the two methods and which one is more relevant for your specific situation.

What is Zapier?

Zapier is an automation tool that can help you perform repetitive tasks that need to be done among various apps/tools, without any technical knowledge being required. If something happens in one software program, Zapier informs the other program or has an automatic action performed by it.

This is how Zapier works

There are several Zaps in Zapier. A Zap is an automated workflow that makes a connection between various apps/software programs. Every Zap triggers one or multiple actions. Here is an example: you can subscribe a new lead in your CRM to your newsletter automatically and add this lead to Flexmail.

The differences and similarities between Zapier and API

Zapier Custom API integration
You do not need a development team. A custom API integration is flexible and fully tailored to your wishes, but this does require an internal or external development team.
There are no development costs involved, and maintenance is performed via Zapier and the apps you want to connect. You only pay for your Zapier subscription. The development costs of your integration can increase, depending on the complexity of your integration and the choice for an external development partner.
A Zapier integration is possible and is included for each Flexmail subscription. Of course you need a Zapier subscription, depending on your consumption. Your Flexmail subscription suffices, provided that it covers your API consumption and the desired Flexmail functionality. With Flexmail no extra costs are involved.
Via Zapier, you have immediate access to a connection with over 4,000 other apps. Per tool you want to integrate with Flexmail you build a new integration. It can only be used for the connection between these two apps.
No maintenance required, so no maintenance costs involved either. You need to maintain your integration depending on its use. General maintenance, uptime/hosting costs should be taken into account, as well as API upgrades.
Every app that builds a connection with Zapier chooses the actions and triggers it requires. The integration is therefore limited to the functionality of the apps Zapier works with. You can use all Flexmail API functionality. You choose which data is exchanged and how it is exchanged, which provides considerably more flexibility. Additionally, it is perfectly transparent which data result from which action.
With Zapier, triggers are built in two ways: via webhooks or via polling. Webhooks are only included in the higher packages. If you use polling, remember that the response time of your Zap is between one minute and 15 minutes. It is up to you to decide what happens when, by retrieving data yourself at the preferred moment or by reacting to a webhook.

But when is Zapier and when is API the best option?

Actually, they almost do the same. In fact, Zapier also uses our API. Yet, the two methods differ from each other. You have to decide which solution works best for you now and in the future, depending on your business case and use case. We have listed the pros and cons for you. The choice is yours.

If you have a small enterprise that does not have the resources to build or maintain a custom API integration (or have it built or maintained), Zapier is a good choice. It is also a good choice if you want to automate very concrete, small tasks.

For bigger companies with a team of developers or with the resources to finance this, it could be more interesting to build a custom API integration, especially if your use case requires exchanging many data in the short term.

Is the use of Zapier GDPR-compliant?

Since the discontinuation of the Privacy Shield, no alternative has been arranged for. Unlike other American tools, Zapier is very transparent in mentioning processors. Furthermore, it also meets all requirements concerning minimum data processing. Their complete GDPR documentation can be found here.

Very specifically:

  • All connections are SSL-encrypted, so Zapier encrypts all your connected app credentials.
  • Zapier does not touch your connected accounts or their data in any way, except when it is about executing the zaps you have set up.
  • API requests are retained for seven days for troubleshooting. Next, the information is deleted from the Zapier servers.
  • The user-oriented zap history (the logs you can view in Zapier) is retained for up to three months, mostly for only 14 days.


How to connect Flexmail with Zapier?

Getting started with using Zapier is easy:

  1. Log in with your Zapier account (or create one).
  2. Select ‘My apps’ in the menu.
  3. Click ‘Connect a new account…’ and select the app of your choice.
  4. Use your login details of this app to connect with your account.
  5. As from that moment, you can start with composing your Zap. In the process, you also select the details you want to exchange.

How to automate an action in Flexmail with Zapier?

Zapier is an automation tool, so IF A happens, B WILL happen. Once you have set IF with another app, a new contract WILL be created in Flexmail, for instance. You can use this creatively and set the actions according to your needs.

Which actions and triggers does Zapier support with Flexmail?

There are no limits to the use of Flexmail via Zapier. As soon as you link your Flexmail account to another app via Zapier, you can use all actions and trigggers that Flexmail can offer you.

These are the triggers:

  • Contact created
    When a new contact is added to Flexmail, this data can be sent to another platform.
  • Contact updated 
    When a contact is adjusted in Flexmail, this adjusted data can be sent to another platform.
  • Contact unsubscribes from interest
    When a contact unsubscribes from an interest in Flexmail, this can be reported to a linked platform.
  • Contact unsubscribed
    When a contact unsubscribes in Flexmail, this can be reported to a linked platform.
  • Contact subscribed to interest
    When a contact subscribes to an interest in Flexmail, this can be reported to a linked platform.
  • Opt-in confirmation 
    When contacts confirm their opt-in in Flexmail, this can be reported to a linked platform.

These are the actions:

  • Create or Update Contact 
    A new contact is created, or an existing contact is updated.
  • Unsubscribe a Contact 
    A contact is unsubscribed from your communication.
  • Subscribe Contact to Interest
    A contact is subscribed to an interest.
  • Unsubscribe Contact from Interest
    A contact is unsubscribed from an interest.
  • Find Contact 
    A contact is found on the basis of an email address. Comes in handy for conditional parameters on the basis of whether or not a contact already exists.
  • Find or Create a contact 
    An existing contact is found, or a new contact is created. Related to the foregoing, but this goes further, to the extent that it will create the contact for you so that your Zap can continue without another action being required. In other words: a guarantee that a contact you are going to do something with definitely exists.

For a quick start you can also choose from several pre-programmed Zap templates.

Zapier terms and definitions

Building links with Zaps

A Zap is an automated workflow that makes a connection between your apps and services. Every Zap consists of a trigger and one or more actions. When you activate your Zap after you have built the links, the Zap will perform the action steps whenever the trigger event takes place.

So in Zapier you set up the Zaps all by yourself. For each Zap you choose what it has to do and which data needs to be transferred. Zaps may consist of various steps. For instance:

  • For every new Facebook lead:
    • a notification can be shown in Slack
    • a new contact can be created in Flexmail.

Triggers and actions

Every Zap starts with a trigger. If you want to react whenever a new contact is created in Salesforce, your trigger will be ‘New contact in Salesforce’. After you have chosen a trigger, you choose one or several actions. An action is what you want your Zap to perform as soon as a trigger is registered. This could be: ‘Create or update a contact in Flexmail’.

Test data

When you choose your trigger when creating a new Zap, Zapier will try to retrieve existing data to be used in your Zap. If you choose the trigger ‘Bring in data from a new Google sheets spreadsheet row’, Zapier will try to load a row from your Google sheet. This test data gives you more context.

Polling interval

The ‘polling interval’ or ‘update time’ is the frequency with which Zapier will check your chosen trigger. It can vary from one minute to 15 minutes, depending on your pricing plan with Zapier.

There are also ‘instant’ triggers. These will always activate a Zap immediately (regardless of your subscription plan). When an event takes place, the source application immediately pushes your data to Zapier.


A task is an action your Zap has completed successfully. If creating a new contact was your action, for instance, every contact that is created will be considered one task.

Zap history

In your Zap history, a log of all of your Zap activity is displayed, including all data that went through the steps of your Zap automation.

Getting started

If you want to get started with building an integration, check the following resources:

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