The Direct URL method allows you to build automated add-to-calendar functionality into your email campaign templates to give your users add-to-calendar links customized just for them. And now we've just made it even easier to use by including all that great functionality in the latest version of our Zapier integration. This means you can now automatically add add-to-calendar links to your emails without writing a single line of code.
This tutorial will show you how to create a Zapier workflow (or Zap) that will automatically pull in event information from a 3rd party source (which could be your CRM, an events database, or a spreadsheet), generate unique add-to-calendar links for your email, and then insert those links into an email template.
What you will need
- A paid AddEvent account (to access the Direct URL method)
- A paid Zapier account (to give you access to multi-step Zaps)
- A place where your event information is stored (in this example, we will pull the data from Google Sheets)
- An account on an email sending platform (in this example, we will use a MailChimp account)
How it works
- Trigger: The event data is added to Google Sheets. Zapier automatically pulls this data into the system.
- Action: The event data is sent to AddEvent, and the add-to-calendar links are returned.
- Action: The add-to-calendar links are sent to Mailchimp and added to the email template.
Once you have logged in to your Zapier account, click on the "Create Zap" button in the top left-hand corner. This will open the Zap editor, where you can create your new Zap.
Pull the event data from Google Sheets
These steps will show you how to set up a Zapier trigger to pull your event data from a Google Sheet every time a new row with event data is added.
In this tutorial, we are using a Google Sheets spreadsheet as our events "database," but you could use any CRM platform, 3rd party database, or spreadsheet to achieve the same thing. Here we use the Google Sheets "New Spreadsheet Row" trigger, but any trigger that makes sense in your workflow will do.
- Create a new spreadsheet in Google Sheets, and include the following column headers: Event name, Start, End, Duration, Description, Location, Timezone. Make sure to include example data for at least one event to test the trigger.
You can see a full list of the parameters for the Direct URL method in the documentation, and you can include any of these additional parameters in the spreadsheet if you need them.
- In Zapier, in the new Zap editor, search for "Google Sheets" in the search box, and then choose "New Spreadsheet Row" as the Trigger Event. Click "Continue"
- Choose which Google account you've created the spreadsheet in. You'll need to connect your Google account to Zapier if you haven't already done so. Click "Continue"
- Choose which spreadsheet and worksheet you want to pull data from, and click "Continue."
- Test your trigger by clicking the "Test and continue" button. If it's a success, you can continue to connect your AddEvent account. If not, check the error message and check the above steps to make sure you have it set up correctly.
Create add-to-calendar links with the Direct URL Method
These steps will show you how to set up a Zapier action to create add-to-calendar links containing the event data that's been pulled into Zapier in the previous step
- Click the "+" button to add a new step to your Zap. Choose AddEvent as the app, "Direct URL method" as the action, and click "Continue."
- If you don't already have your AddEvent account connected to Zapier, you will have to do so now. Open the drop-down and click the "Connect a new account" button. Enter your API token on the pop-up that appears. Your API token can be found on your account page in AddEvent.
If your AddEvent account is already connected, simply choose the account from the drop-down.
- Connect the data from the Google Sheet with the input parameters for the direct URL method by selecting the appropriate column header for each parameter
The required parameters and the expected format of the input are given within the Zap editor, and you can also check out our Direct URL method documentation for more information.
- Test the action! From the previous step, click the "Continue" button, and then click the "Test and Continue button" on the next step. Zapier will try to create add-to-calendar links using the data you provided and will return an error if the data is formatted incorrectly or if you are missing a required field.
If you run into an error that you don't understand, or if you're getting an error where you think you shouldn't be, please check out the documentation or contact our support team, who will be happy to help.
Add the add-to-calendar links to an email
These steps will show you how to set up Zapier actions to create a new email campaign in Mailchimp and add the add-to-calendar links to the email template for that campaign.
- Click the "+" button to add a new step to your Zap. Choose Mailchimp as the app, "Create campaign" as the action, and click "Continue".
- If you don't already have your Mailchimp account connected to Zapier, you will have to do so now. Open the drop-down and click the "Connect a new account" button. Follow the steps to connect your account.
If your Mailchimp account is already connected, simply choose the account from the drop-down.
- Set up the action by filling out the information necessary to create a campaign, including the Campaign Name, Audience, Email subject, From name, and From email address.
- Copy and paste your email template HTML into the Email content (HTML) field. If you don't already have an email template, you can log into your Mailchimp account, create a new template and then export that template as HTML and copy and paste it into Zapier.
- Within the email template HTML, select the location that you want to insert the add-to-calendar links. In the "Insert data" dropdown, expand the AddEvent section and choose the Add-to-calendar image links (HTML) option.
- You're done! Make sure you turn your Zap on before leaving. Every time you create a new event in your Google Sheet, a new campaign will be created in Mailchimp, and the add-to-calendar links for the event will be automatically inserted.
Make sure you test your email templates before sending them!
Additional actions in Zapier
Zapier allows you to connect AddEvent with over 3,000 apps and services. You can use many of these within a Zap similar to the above to create powerful automations around your events. For example:
- connect Zoom, GoToWebinar, Google Meet, or Microsoft Teams to include a webinar or meeting link within the location field of the calendar event
- connect your CMS to pull in event descriptions unique to each user
- send confirmation emails with add-to-calendar links included when a user registers for an event or books an appointment with you
The Direct URL Method Zapier has the following returned options:
Add-to-calendar image links - a HTML block of code for the add-to-calendar links using images of the calendar service logos
Add-to-calendar text links - a HTML block of code for the add-to-calendar links using text
Event landing page link (Redirect link) - a link to the event landing page hosted by AddEvent that users will click to view the event details and choose which calendar service to add the event to.
Download .ics file link (Stream link) - a link to the event that will download a .ics file when clicked.
Individual calendar service links - links to each of our supported calendar services that automatically redirect the user to the calendar service or download a .ics file, depending on what is supported by the calendar platform. Available for Apple, Google, Office 365, Outlook, Outlook.com, and Yahoo.