Create a Subscription-Based Slack Team (No Programming Required)

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About a year ago, Tricia and I decided to create a Slack team for affiliate marketers: Affiliate Slackers. This is a paid team, set-up with the first month free then $12.97 / month after (we decided to charge for access, to only have serious people included in the team). In the first 6 months we brought in a few hundred dollars after having spent $220 to build the site and automated subscription process. Here’s how it was built:

What you need

Installation Steps

Create Accounts

You need accounts with PayPal, Zapier, and a Slack Team. The free level is fine for both Zapier and Slack. I’m not going to give step-by-step instructions here.

Install WordPress

Should be simple enough. Most hosting providers either have an installer, or you’re using a managed WordPress hosting service like WP Engine (which we used).

Secure Your Site

This step is optional. You’re not taking any payment information through your site, but it adds credibility. Plus, you can get one free. It’s really simple to set up on WP Engine (future blog post).

Install Your Theme

Again, just follow the directions. Nothing special here. We used Open Mind from {wrap} bootstrap but I’ve also purchased a few from ThemeForest in the past. Just keep it simple – all you really need is 1 page.

Create Some Pages

You’ll need to make your landing page and a “thank you” page. Our landing page was the homepage and our thank you page is pretty simple:

Install Gravity Forms

Pretty easy so far, eh? Here’s where the majority of your investment comes in. If you don’t already have it, you’ll need a Developer license from Gravity Forms. It’s $199. You need the Developer license because you also need the Gravity Form Add-Ons for PayPal, Slack and Zapier.

Create Your Slack Team

This can be done whenever, but you’re going to need to create a slack team. We stuck with the free version, which limits our message history to 10,000 messages.

Start Creating a Zap

We need to bounce back & forth a bit, but you’re going to need to start creating a Zap with Zapier to get the Webhook URL to put into the next step. Don’t worry – it’s simple.

Login to Zapier and click Make A Zap! 

  1. For the Trigger, choose “Gravity Forms” and choose “New Form Submission
  2. You’ll be given a Webhook URL, copy that. You’re done here for now (leave Zapier open).

Create Your Subscription Form

OK, time to get your hands dirty. First, you need to create a form in Gravity Forms for your visitors to join. I called my form “Subscribe” and the only visible field is Email (and it’s required). There’s also a hidden field for the monthly subscription.

Now for the Form Settings:

  • Form Settings
    • Form title: Subscribe
    • Form description: Subscribe to the Affiliate Marketers Slack Team
    • Form button Input Type: Text
    • Form button Button text: Subscribe with PayPal for $12.97 / Month (1st Month Free)
  • Confirmations
    • Default Confirmation: Thank you page
  • Notifications
    • Admin Notification: WordPress service (send {all_fields} to you)
  • Zapier
    • Zap Name: New Subscriber
    • Webhook URL: that URL that you copied from Zapier (previous step)
    • Active: Yes
  • PayPal
    • This is where you configure the subscription. There’s a lot here, so I’m going to let this screenshot say it all:

      Make sure in the Notifications are you only send notifications when payment is received.
  • Slack
    • This is optional, but useful. I created a private group in the Slack team called “admin” which only Tricia and I are part of. When someone enters their email address in our form, we’re sent a message. If they do not complete the PayPal signup, we know they’re interested and can follow-up with them.

Back to Zapier

OK, now that Gravity Forms is all configured, we need to finish up the Zapier portion. Right now, the user enters their email address in the form and clicks submit. The private Slack group “admin” is notified that they’re interested, and the user is sent off to PayPal. Only after they complete the PayPal subscription does the Zapier webhook get triggered. But then what? We need to invite the user to the Slack team.

Thanks to this post for lots of information on automating our user invitations!

You need to continue making your Zap in Zapier by telling it what Action to take. Step 2 in your Zap will be the “Webhooks by Zapier” Action. Set the Action to POST to

The Payload Type is form and the 3 pieces of Data are:

  • token: your token from this page (you may need to generate a token if you haven’t before)
  • email: Step 1 Email
  • set_active: true

Now what’s happening is once the PayPal transaction is successful, the user’s email is passed to the Slack API and the user is emailed an invitation to join your team. They just have to follow the link in the email and they’re in!

What about Cancellations?

Right now, cancellations are handled manually. I posted a page on how to cancel your PayPal subscription and when I receive an email about a cancelled subscription, I set myself a reminder to remove the person from the team when their subscription has expired.

Need help?

If you have any questions about this process, drop me a line.

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