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Zapier: Your Code-Free Workflow Automation for Business

Efficiency isn’t just an advantage; it’s a necessity. Businesses of all sizes constantly seek ways to streamline operations, integrate applications seamlessly, maximize productivity, and reduce downstream errors. Zapier, the online automation tool, is the solution that makes it all possible. Let’s explore what Zapier is, how it works, and why it’s a great alternative to writing code for API integrations.

What is Zapier?

Zapier is an online automation platform designed to connect your favorite apps, such as CRM software, email marketing tools, and social media platforms, without writing a single line of code.

Zapier empowers you to automate tasks, integrate applications, and elevate your sales and marketing endeavors. Zapier’s name is derived from zap, signifying a workflow that connects two or more apps to trigger actions based on specific criteria.

How Does Zapier Work?

Zapier operates on a simple if this, then that principle. Zaps are created by defining a trigger event in one app and specifying resulting actions in another app. When the trigger event occurs, Zapier automatically executes the specified actions. Here’s a basic breakdown of how Zapier works:

  1. Trigger: Select an event in one app that initiates the automation process. For example, a new lead is added to your CRM.
  2. Action: Specify what should happen in response to the trigger event, such as sending a personalized welcome email to the new lead.
  3. Automation: Zapier continuously monitors the trigger app. When the chosen trigger event occurs, it seamlessly executes the predefined actions in the target app.

One of Zapier’s most significant advantages is its ability to eliminate the need for complex and time-consuming custom software development. Instead of investing resources in coding API integrations, you can leverage Zapier’s intuitive interface to create powerful automations quickly and cost-effectively. This democratizes automation, making it accessible to businesses of all sizes.

Zapier’s extensive library of integrations with virtually every major platform sets it apart. Here’s how this benefits you:

  • CRM and Email Marketing: Seamlessly sync your CRM system with email marketing platforms, ensuring that leads and customer data are always current.
  • Social Media: Automate posting, monitor brand mentions, and track social media interactions to strengthen your online presence across multiple platforms.
  • E-commerce: Integrate your online store with accounting software, order management systems, and customer support tools for efficient and error-free operations.
  • Analytics: Retrieve data from various sources, consolidate it for in-depth analysis, and generate comprehensive reports without custom coding.
  • Customer Support: Automate the creation of support tickets, assignment of tasks, and notification of your team when customer inquiries are received.

The beauty of Zapier is that it acts as a universal translator between these platforms, allowing them to work harmoniously together without writing a single line of code. This means that whether you’re using Salesforce, Mailchimp, Shopify, or Zendesk, there’s a good chance it’s already on Zapier.

From WordPress Forms To Your Marketing Platform

Let’s dive into a detailed example of setting up a Zap using an Elementor form on a WordPress site to post a form submission via a webhook to a platform like ActiveCampaign. We’ll walk through each step, from creating the Zap to mapping the data and setting up the webhook in your form.

What is a Webhook?

A webhook is a mechanism that allows one application or system to notify another application or system about events or data updates in real-time. It’s essentially a way for different software applications to communicate with each other automatically, without requiring constant manual intervention.

Here are some key points to understand about webhooks:

  1. Event-Driven Communication: Webhooks are used for event-driven communication. When a specific event occurs in the source application (e.g., a new form submission, a payment received, a status change), it sends a POST request to a predefined URL, the webhook endpoint.
  2. HTTP Requests: Webhooks use HTTP protocols (typically POST requests) to send data from one application to another. This means they rely on the internet to transmit information.
  3. Push Model: Unlike traditional polling methods, where one application repeatedly checks another for updates (a pull model), webhooks operate on a push model. The source application pushes data to the destination as soon as an event happens.
  4. Real-Time Updates: Webhooks provide real-time updates, enabling applications to react immediately to events. This is valuable for scenarios like notifications, data synchronization, and automation.
  5. Customizable Payload: Webhooks typically allow for custom payloads, meaning you can define the data structure and content sent to the receiving application. This makes webhooks flexible and adaptable to different integration needs.
  6. Security Considerations: Security is essential when working with webhooks. Authentication and authorization mechanisms are often employed to ensure that only authorized sources can trigger webhooks.
  7. Use Cases: Webhooks are widely used in various applications and services, including payment gateways (for transaction updates), messaging apps (for message notifications), form builders (for form submission alerts), and many more.
  8. Setup and Configuration: To use webhooks, you typically need to set up and configure them in both the source and destination applications. The source specifies the event triggers and the webhook URL, while the destination handles the incoming data.

In essence, webhooks serve as a bridge between different software systems, allowing them to communicate and coordinate their actions in real-time. They are an essential tool for enabling automation, notifications, and data synchronization in modern applications and services.

Building Your Zap

Your first step is to create a Zap in Zapier. A Zap is a blueprint for a task you want to do.

Inside Zapier

  1. Click on Make a Zap
  2. Choose app – On the left, you will see all the steps needed to complete the Zap. Choose Webhooks under Built in apps
Choose a Trigger App in Zapier
  1. Choose trigger – On the ‘Select webhooks by Zapier trigger’ screen, choose Catch hook and press Save + Continue.
Zapier Webhooks Trigger
  1. Set up options – In the ‘Set up Webhooks by Zapier Hook’, no additional actions are needed (choose ‘Continue’)
Set up webhooks by zapier hook
  1. Test this step – Copy the Zapier webhook to your clipboard
Test Webhook in Zapier

Inside Your Own Website

  1. Go to your WordPress site, and inside Elementor, edit the form you want to get integrated to Zapier. Under Actions after submit, add Webhook.
Actions after submit in Elementor
  1. Open the Webhook toggle, and enter the hook you copied from Zapier
Elementor Webhook
  1. Save the page, and go to the live version of the page. Now, submit the form. This sends the Webhook to Zapier, to confirm the hook we created.
Form Test to Webhook
  1. Back in Zapier, click continue. You should get a ‘Test successful’ notice.
Zapier Webhook Success

Now that you’re collecting the information properly, you can add an automation to push this data to whichever platform you’d like to integrate!

Zapier Pricing

Zapier offers a range of pricing plans to cater to users with varying automation needs. They have a Free Plan that provides access to basic automations with limited tasks per month. Paid plans, starting with Zapier Starter, offer increased task limits, more Zaps (automations), faster task execution, and access to premium features. The pricing tiers scale up to accommodate businesses of all sizes, including Zapier Professional, Team, and Company plans.

For larger enterprises, Zapier offers custom plans like Zapier for Teams and Zapier for Companies, tailored to specific requirements. Remember that premium apps or services integrated with Zapier may have separate subscription costs. Additionally, Zapier often provides a 14-day free trial for their paid plans, allowing users to explore advanced features before committing to a subscription. For the most up-to-date pricing details and features, it’s advisable to visit the official Zapier website.

Build Your First Zap!

Douglas Karr

Douglas Karr is the founder of the Martech Zone and CEO of DK New Media. Douglas has helped dozens of successful MarTech startups, has assisted in the due diligence of over $5 bil in Martech acquisitions and investments, and continues to assist companies in implementing and automating their sales and marketing strategies. Douglas is an internationally recognized digital transformation and MarTech expert and speaker. Douglas is also a published author of a Dummie's guide and a business leadership book.

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