I asked my community a question this week
And the results are in… while many know, love and use Airtable in their businesses there are some who don’t or feel that they could be doing more.
So today I want to introduce you to Airtable, because I truly believe it can change your business like it did mine
So what is Airtable really?
I think of Airtable like a spreadsheet on steroids, but Airtable isn’t really a spreadsheet, it’s actually a relational database. This means that it doesn’t just store data, it stores relationships between data as well. For example the relationship between your marketing efforts and where your leads are coming from – when you have your lead/client database with categories for where the lead is coming from and how many converted to sales – it’s easy to see where you should focus your marketing efforts. When using spreadsheets to do this type of relational data storing, things can get messy and errors creep in when trying to sort through the data.
Traditionally databases were difficult to work with and you would probably need to code to be able to use them effectively, but Airtable makes using a database as easy as using a spreadsheet.
My clients often get tripped up with the terminology used in Airtable so let’s have a look at some common Airtable terminology.
Spreadsheet = Base
Each spreadsheet is organized into its own spreadsheet file. In Airtable, each spreadsheet will become its own base.
Tabs = Tables
Spreadsheets contain tabs for different data sets. In Airtable, each type of data is organized into its own table.
Columns = Fields
Spreadsheets contain columns of data. In Airtable, those are called fields, and there are dozens of field types to add formatting to your data.
Rows = Records
Spreadsheets contain rows of information. In Airtable, those are called records.
The 5 basic building blocks of Airtable
There are 5 basic building blocks in Airtable:
Let’s take a closer look at each one.
A base—that’s short for “database”—contains all of the information you need for one project, multiple projects, or a workflow. A base can be a sales pipeline, an editorial calendar, client management hub, or really, anything you can imagine!
A table keeps track of information of the same type. The default table looks a lot like a spreadsheet, but the magic happens when we create different views.
Fields give you a structure in which you can put the details that are relevant to each record. Each field has a special field type that determines what kind of rich information you can put in it
A record is an individual item in a table and could be many different things: for example, if you’re making a table of tasks that need to be completed, then each row in your table is a task; if you’re brainstorming a list of new ideas, then each row in your table is a new idea.
Remember I said at the beginning that Airtable creates relationships between data points? You can link one record in Table 1 to a record in Table 2.
Let’s look at an example from my own Marketing Hub
Inside of my Marketing Hub I have a table where I manage all of my blog posts. I repurpose these posts in various emails and on social media. I also have a table where I manage all of the newsletters that go out to my email list.
So what I did was create a relationship between the two tables so that I could link the blog post to the email in which I talk about that post.
This is really just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what Airtable is capable of but you get the idea.
Airtable views let you customize how information is displayed in a table: all the underlying information is the same, but how and what is shown can differ.
On Airtable’s free account you have 4 ways to view your data to choose from and 2 further ways on the paid plan.
This is the default view and looks the most like a spreadsheet. Each table must have at least one grid view.
A gallery view represents your records as large cards in a grid. While an attachment field is not required to make a gallery view, gallery views are particularly good for showing off images.
With a calendar view, you can display your records as event cards on a calendar, which you can move around to reschedule events as needed. Calendar views are great for visualizing schedules and deadlines or planning events. In order to make a calendar view, your table needs to have at least one date field.
With a kanban view, you can visualize all your records as stacks of cards on a board. The different stacks are defined by a designated single select field or single collaborator field; you can click and drag a record card from one stack to another to alter the value in its single select field or reassign it to a different collaborator.
Timeline View (pro feature)
The Timeline view allows you to visualize and track your records on a customizable horizontal scrolling timeline. One of the most exciting features of the Timeline view is the ability to group your records by any of your table’s fields into visually distinct “swimlanes.” The Timeline view is ideal for resource allocation, coordinating tasks across a team, and planning content out ahead of time.
Gantt View (pro Feature)
The Gantt view was designed with the Gantt chart in mind— you plot tasks, then the dependencies between those tasks, to visualize the “critical path” for a project. The Gantt view allows you to see every single step of a project from start to finish.
The magic of Airtable is in its flexibility and ability to adapt to the needs of the user.
Need more? Book a FREE CLARITY CALL and let’s chat about your needs.