So, you’re looking for a way to improve your company’s marketing efforts. You scour the web in search of ways to do this and keep hearing about these things called webhooks.

You’re intrigued. They sound useful, whatever they are. So you look into them a bit more. You pop on over to the business dictionary to see what you can find, and are handed this definition: “A Webhook is an HTTP callback; a simple event-notification via HTTP POST”

Great! But ummm … what in the world does that even mean?

Webhooks definition … in English

Essentially, a Webhook is a way for one application to send data to other applications. You probably use a lot of programs to run your marketing department. Maybe you use Mailchimp to send out monthly newsletters, WordPress to run your website, and Twilio to send customers SMS updates about upcoming sales. Wouldn’t it be great if all of these programs were able to talk to each other, cutting out the need to manually sync the data? Webhooks allow that to happen.

Technically speaking, Webhooks are lines of code that “activate” and send specific information to a predefined URL when a certain event occurs. For example, you could set a Webhook to activate when a customer makes a purchase on your website. Now, whenever a customer makes a purchase, webhooks will collect the information and send it to the URL you defined.

What makes Webhooks particularly powerful is that your other applications can then interpret and use this information, without the need for human intervention.

Let’s have a look at a simple example of how a website might use Webhooks.

Carol’s Online Clothing Store

Webhooks Blog post infographic

Carol sells athletic clothing online. She uses Shopify as an online store, Aftership for shipping, Freshbooks for accounting, and MailChimp for her email marketing. Before she began using webhooks, each time she made a  sale on her Shopify store, Carol would have to go into each of these programs and manually input the data required. This was very time consuming. Now that Carol has implemented Webhooks she needn’t do all this error-prone manual data entry. When a user clicks “Order Now”, webhooks whisk away all the raw data provided by the customer in the Shopify order form and send it to her specified URL. Once there, each of the other programs that Carol uses can take the necessary data and update their systems accordingly. Aftership takes the shipping address and product number, Freshbooks uses the price and quantity values, and Mailchimp collects the customers name and email address.

To sum up

Clearly Webhooks have their benefits. They allow apps to automatically communicate with other applications, saving time and preventing human transcription errors.

With a little bit of setup, you can have your marketing programs working together. What better way to provide the best experience for your customers, while demanding less effort from you.

Now you know a little bit more about what Webhooks are and how they can automate your marketing tasks. With this knowledge in hand, you are ready to get to work on improving your marketing efforts.