For small businesses generating, and sending invoices is often necessary and time-consuming especially for businesses/people who send invoices manually. Sometime over the last year while helping a Music center with their billing, stumbled upon a use-case to figure if we could automate their manual cycle of sending emails to each customer fetching data from gsheet. This integration should help anyone who wishes to send similar emails to a large group of people.
What is the solution?
Using an existing google sheet with invoice/billing details, we connect to an app called Autocrat which allows us to send emails to all our users in one click.
Who can benefit from it?
Anyone sending emails to large groups of people wanting to automate it.
Customers on top of my head for which this can be beneficial:
- Billing (Online SMB's, Tutors, musicians, artists)
- Report Cards( Teachers -Intended use-case)
- Announcement (New product, failure, holiday)
- Welcome emails.
Basically, anyone whose life involves sending similar but personalized emails to a large group of customers.
1) Google Document for Drafting Bill Template (Sample Document)
2) Google sheet [Invoicing details of Customers]
3) Autocrat Plugin (Download Link) from New Vision Cloudlab
The tutorial aims to help teams set up billing cycles for all their customers with a click of a button. Create a template of billing and click a button to send your desired email - to everyone or a selected few (totally up to you).
First Step [Activating Autocrat]
a) First we will be enabling and downloading the autocrat plugin. Click on Add-ons on the menu
b) Search for Autocrat in the search bar and click Install
c) Make sure to Allow & Give access to autocrat software so that it’s able to read your document/column and rows. Please don’t give access if you feel uncomfortable sharing data with Autocrat.
d) Autocrat should be available under your Add-ons.
Second Step [Invoice/Report Card or any Template]
a) Create an invoice template used to send billing receipts to the customers.
The one I created for this example can be found here: Link to document
<<####>> are called tags.
<<date >> , <<service>>, <<name>> , <<due>> → These <<tags>> enable two way connection with data in google sheet and your template. This allows you to send multiple emails keeping the underlying template same.
Third Step [Getting Triggers ready]
a) Your version of google sheet or excel should already having billing details/student marks/ invoices for your business. Add two new fields namely
-- email (of your customers)
Fourth Step [Setup autocrat for your customers]
a) Click on New Job Name(can be anything).
b) Choose a template (select invoice template from your google drive).
c) Autocrat will map and fetch all the key tags from your template.
d) Name your file according to your wish. This filename will be automatically added to your google sheet so that you can tally the records later for audit.
→ File Name - Name of your file [ use tags for more personalized message]
→ Type for the bill - Select pdf
→ Output as Multiple Output Mode.
e) Choose your GDrive and Skip Dynamic folder
f) Setup the merge condition and build your mail template for the customer.
Quick Note: Our merge only works when ready field has a value (yes/go/ready etc) else the mail wont be sent. You can use this as a blocker to ignore invoices you do not want to send.
Final Step [Delivering Invoices/Report card for your users]
a) To run and send email to your customers, check if email id and merge condition(ready field) are correctly configured.
b) Open autocrat, chose your job name and hit "RUN".
Emails will be sent out to all the customers. Please test out the feature internally before using it for customers. And we are done! Hopefully, it was not very exhaustive.