What’s IF?

IF, aka ‘If this, then that’, is a service which connects other services. This makes it both incredibly powerful and somewhat confusing, as the best way to learn IF is to find an applet and try it out.

Since its founding in late 20101 and official launch in September 20112, the number of recipes created each day increased to 20 million in 20153.

Since recipes, now called Applets, rely on the number of services connected to IF, then number of possible combinations increases when ever a new service connects, or an existing service adds a new trigger or action.

Applet Examples

Let’s look at some examples that aren’t small business specific, just to get an idea of how an Applet is structured.

IF has a connected service called Space, which has a trigger to get an update every time the season changes for the Curiosity Rover on Mars depending on its location.

Now, you get to choose what you’d like to do with this information. Let’s have IF send us an email based on the Space trigger.

Here you can see how IF filled in the email action based on the Space trigger we selected4:

The action step setting up an IF Applet from the Space service, on a blue background in white text: Send me an email. This action will send you an HTML based email. Images and links are supported. Subject. NewSeason has arrived on Mars near the Curiosity Rover SunriseAt. Add Ingredient. After SolarDays this Martian year, OldSeason has ended and NewSeason has arrived.<br><br>It’s AtmosphericCondition today on Mars, with a low of LowTempFahrenheit F (LowTempCelsius C) and a high of HighTempFahrenheit F (HighTempCelsius C).<br><br>The solar longitude in SolarLongitude degrees. The barometric pressure on Mars is Pressure Pa.<br><br>The sun rose at SunriseAt and the sun will set SunsetAt.<br><br>via NASA. Note: SunriseAt, SolarDays, NewSeason, OldSeason, AtmosphericCondition, LowTempFahrenheit, LowTempCelsius, HighTempFahrenheit, HighTempCelsius, SolarLongitude, Pressure, and SunsetAt are all ingredients in this Applet, and are dynamically filled in every time this trigger is triggered.

If you click on ‘Add Ingredient’, you can change what Ingredient goes where, so you could change the email subject to read (in editing mode) ‘{{NewSeason}} is here on Mars!’, optionally also changing the email body.

Once you’ve got the subject and email setup, you can finish setting up your Applet. Make sure to finish all the set-up steps to make sure your Applet is active. You can always toggle Applets on an off from the ‘My Applets’ page in IF.

You’ll now be able to display your up-to-date knowledge about the weather experienced by the Curiosity Rover on Mars with all your friends (at least those also interested in Space, Mars, or the Curiosity Rover).

What does the weather on Mars have to do with using IF for my small business?!

Seeing how an Applet works provides a starting off point to look at a wide range of pre-designed Applets and understand what’s going on. These Applets already have a trigger and action chosen, so all you must do is connect the services you want to use to IF, and then turn on the Applet.

You’ll want to focus on connections available between services you’re already using to get started. You may also find new services that it might make sense for your business to utilize in the future. Some services you can connect are related to 3rd party subscriptions.

Useful IF Applets for Small Business Owners

There are a few categories where Applets fall, which complement the Small Biz Owner’s toolbox, including communication and information, social media automations, and keeping track of things.

Listing the Applets here, I’ll be using the format ‘Trigger Service > Action Service : Applet Name’.

Communication and Information

Weather Underground > IF App Notification : Get a daily 6:00 AM notification with the weather report

MailChimp > Gmail/Slack/Google Drive : Share newsletter performance with the team

Note Widget > Email : Quickly email yourself a note (this trigger uses the IF app to create a note widget on your home screen; fill in the note field and submit to perform the action)

Email > iOS Reminders : Automatically create iOS Reminders via email

Gmail > Notification : Get a notification when you get a new email with a specific label (for example, create and apply label ‘orders’ and get a notification whenever a new email with this label is delivered)

Social Media Automations

Facebook > Twitter : Keep your Facebook and Twitter profile pictures in sync

Facebook > Twitter : Posts your Tweets to Facebook when you use a specific hashtag

Instagram > Twitter : Tweet your Instagrams as native photos on Twitter

Is it Christmas? > LinkedIn : If it is Christmas, then say Happy Holidays to my LinkedIn connections

Instagram > LinkedIn : Instagram Video on LinkedIn

Keeping Track of Things

Android Device > Android SMS / Phone Call : Find my lost phone! Text your phone to turn up the volume and call itself

MailChimp > Google Drive : Save your MailChimp campaign stats to a Google spreadsheet

Gmail > Google spreadsheet : Add incoming receipts in your Gmail to a Google spreadsheet (w/first attachment)

Gmail > Google Drive : Send labelled email in Gmail to Google Drive folder (for example, create and apply label ‘store-orders’ and save them all in a Google Drive folder for ‘Store Orders’, to easily reference them later)

Button Widget > Google Sheets : Press a button to track work hours in Google Drive (this trigger uses the IF app to create a button widget on your home screen; to log your time, just click the button!)

Bonus Category: Automated Assistants

If you use Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa at home or work, you might also find helpful Applets to use them as the trigger for other actions.

Discover More Applets

IF has a collection of small business Applets and a collection of Applets for social media, as well as a number of other collections. You can also search for services and Applets.

There are many other lists available of recipes that may be of interest to you:
IFTTT Recipes for Small Business Owners
8 IFTTT Recipes for the Small Business Owner
9 Clever Ways to Automate Your Small Business with IFTTT
The Big List of IFTTT Recipes for Social Media
35 Super Useful IFTTT Recipes You Might Not Know About

More about Services on IF

All services do not have the same triggers or actions, and some only have triggers or actions! Even services like Gmail and Office 365 Mail, while similar, have different triggers, actions, and ingredients available.

This means that depending on the services you use, you may be looking for a slightly different Applet than the ones mentioned above. It is also possible that the service you’re using doesn’t support it. As more services, triggers, and actions are added to IF, you may find you will be able to do it in the future.


These examples didn’t even scratch the surface of what you could do with IF; they do cover lots of use examples that might help you stay on top of your small business. Hopefully you can use this to have a better understanding of what you can do with IF, and remember, the best way to learn if to do. Join IF and setup your first Applet.

If you are looking for a step-by-step guide to creating an Applet, we’ve got it as part of our Master Your Follow Up Guide, which uses IF, MailChimp, Calendly, and Gmail or Office 365 Mail to set-up an easy to use follow-up tool to reach out to your new connections. Click the button to find out more.

Get the Guide


  1. IF. (n.d.). Ifttt the beginning. Retrieved April 12, 2018, from https://web.archive.org/web/20110924230856/http://blog.ifttt.com/post/9919161101/ifttt-is-alive
  2. Lunden, I. (2015, February 20). IFTTT Launches 3 “Do” Apps To Automate Photo Sharing, Tasks, Notes; Rebrands Main App “IF”. Retrieved April 12, 2018, from https://ifttt.com/create/if-season-changes-on-mars-then-send-me-an-email
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