How to: Build a basic CRM for your personal life with Trello and Zapier

Are you rubbish at remembering to catch up with people? (I sure am)

Whether it be mates you haven’t seen in a while, cool people you met at events or clients, it is SO hard to keep up with everyone. For a long time, I’ve wanted a system that would pop up every so often and say “Oi, you haven’t seen Steve in ages. Don’t be a prick. Go see him.”

I’m definitely not the only one. My search for a “Social CRM” has yielded only threads of people asking for one. Most people end up using a full blown CRM, which seems overkill.

Like pretty much everyone in the online biz space, I freaking love Trello. After spending a bit of time messing around with Trello and Zapier, I’ve managed to build a pretty simple CRM that does exactly what I wanted in the beginning.

You only need to create two Zaps and one Trello board.

The basic premise is to set a due date on when you should catch up with each person. If you contact that person, add a comment on their card and the due date will be reset to a period determined by the label you applied in Trello. If the due date is reached, we’ll create a to-do in another app.

Step 1 – Create your Trello contact board

I broke mine down into lists (columns) that categorise where I know that person from. Local business, certain events, friends, whatever. This is optional. You could also just write it in the card name. If you use labels for this, there may be some issues with the Zap. I haven’t tested this.

Step 2 – Create Trello Labels

The labels are used to determine how often you want to see someone. For example, if you have say 30, this would mean you want a reminder if you haven’t spoken to someone in 30 days.

Open the menu on the right and edit labels.

In this example I’ve made a 14, 30 and 60 day label. Make sure you only enter a number as this will get used in a formula later.

Step 3 – Create a reset Zap

This Zap will be used to set a due date on each person. Whenever you catch up with someone, you will open your Trello board and put a comment on their name. This zap will look at the label you applied to them and move the due date out appropriately.

In Zapier, create a new Zap. Choose Trello and fire on New Activity.

Connect to your Trello account, then select the board you created in Step 1. Leave it as Any List and Any Card.

Continue through the rest of the trigger step until it asks you to set up an action. At this point you need to hit the + icon to add a new intermediate step.

Add a filter on Type exactly matches commentCard

And now we’ll create the final action. If it doesn’t automatically move onto the action, just click “set up this step” on the left hand side.

Choose Trello and “Update Card” as the action.

Under Card, select “Choose a custom value” – it is right down the bottom of the list. Under the Custom Value for ID, find Step 1 – Data Card ID.

This is the most complex part of the setup. For the Card Due Date:

  1. Click the button on the right and find “Step 1 – Date”
  2. Enter a “+”
  3. Click the button again and find “Step 1 – Card Labels Name”
  4. Enter the letter d.

It should look like this. This is taking the existing due date, and adding the number of days as specified by the label name.

And finally, choose Card position as bottom. This will move the card to the bottom of the list, so the people you haven’t spoken to recently will bubble to the top.

Continue through and turn on the zap. I named mine “Social CRM – Update Due Date”.

Step 4 – Create a Task Zap

So far, we have a system that will reset the due date for each person whenever you add a comment on their card.

Now, all we need to do is let you know if that due date is reached. You can use whatever task management app you like here as long as Zapier supports it. So you could use Asana, Teamwork, Basecamp etc.

I use Trello, so I’ll be creating a new card in my “Priority Tasks” Trello board.

Since we’ve been through the various steps on Zapier, I’ll give you the steps without as much guidance. I’m sure you’ll be fine 🙂

  1. Create a new Zap
  2. Trigger on Trello – New Notification
  3. Create a Filter
  4. Filter on Data Board Name = (Whatever your Board is named)
  5. AND Filter on Type = cardDueSoon

  1. Create an action to contact the person. For me this meant to create a Trello Card on my Priority Tasks board in the “A” list with the name “Contact {Data Card Name}” – where the Data Card Name was from the Trello notification.

Step 5 – Creating People

Add your people into your new Trello CRM board.

Whenever you add someone, make sure you do these three things:

  1. Add a label to them (from step 3)
  2. Set their first due date
  3. Subscribe to the card (click the Subscribe button or add yourself to it as a Member). This is required to trigger the notification.

Annnnd we’re done. You now have a reminder system to catch up with the important people in your life.

If you wanted to get creative, you could create some Zaps that when a card is created, automatically add yourself to it and set a due date.

What do you think? Have some ideas to improve it? Let me know below.

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