FluentCRM Pro Review: Can this replace Mailchimp and other 3rd Party Solutions?

Published: 4 months ago

FluentCRM Pro is a new WordPress plugin offering email marketing automation. it's designed to go head to head with other solutions like MailChimp, Getresponse, Constant Contact, and more. The differentiating factor is that this is a self hosted WordPress plugin, meaning that all of your contacts and email campaigns will be accessible and manageable on your WordPress installation (and there's no limit on subscribers or campaigns).

If you have a website with a ton of users, like a membership setup or an ecommerce store, you may be interested in this new platform. It integrates with all of the other Fluent products, other popular WordPress plugins, and offers unique features.

We recently were able to experience this plugin for ourselves by using it on a client WooCommerce project, and will review it in this article.

FluentCRM Pro Intro Video

Please note that this review is discussing the FluentCRM pro features. There is a free version on the WordPress repository which we recommend installing first, testing out, and then going for pro if you like how it works for you.

At its core, FluentCRM is a two pronged application. First, it allows you to manage and send email campaigns. Second, it allows you to manage and segment contacts. Both of these features work together, with the end goal of turning leads into customers, and customers into repeat customers. Graphical user interface, application, Teams

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Self Hosted Email Marketing Platform For WordPress

The email campaign management and creation tool is a fully fledged marketing platform that allows you to create campaigns, use templates, and even AB test subjects and content. The implementation of the email builder is ingenious. It uses a stripped down version of Gutenberg, giving you elements like paragraphs, headings, tables, images, buttons, columns, and custom HTML. Like Gutenberg, it's drag and drop, and you can change the individual blocks via block settings panel to the right.

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With this interface, you can build a very complex and good looking emails for marketing, sales, followups and more.

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There's also a template library, and you can save your own designs as templates as well.

After building out your email, you've been set up your subject and settings. You can A/B test an email subject, add a pre header, set a custom from name and email, and even add UTM parameters for URLs. These are all of the features that we've come to expect from a premium email marketing solution like Getresponse or MailChimp.

To personalize emails, there are a collection of dynamic tags such as first name, last name, email, various WooCommerce variables, and even custom tags that you can create yourself.

Once you've set everything up, you can send a test email to your address, and visualize what it will look like in an actual inbox.

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After creating the email, you can then select your list, the list segment, and exclude contacts. Fluentu CRM will tell you the number of contacts found based on the selection, from which we will then review and send your campaign manually.

In addition to being able to choose from preset lists and tags, you can also create dynamic segments which pulls from WordPress users, WooCommerce customers, and in our case, Affiliate WP users.

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Now that we've taken a look at this email builder, we can see that it is a fully featured solution that allows you to create dynamic and complex email marketing templates, set your subject in settings, and then send it to recipients based on lists or segments.

FluentCRM Contact Management Solution

Let's take a look at how this platform manages contacts. This is the other main feature of FluentCRM, and when you combine it with the email platform, you get a ton of advanced automation tools.

Contacts can be imported from a CSV or the standard WordPress user management system. You can set up the CRM to automatically add new customers as they register on your site or shop. You can also manually add new contacts.

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Once the user is added, you have access to a massive amount of information about them. This includes emails that were sent to them, purchases made if using WooCommerce, and notes and activities.

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Groups of contacts can be made into lists. Lists can be segmented by tags, and you can then use all of this information and data to create email marketing campaigns for specific groups of customers.

As we mentioned before when you take the email marketing platform and the contact management system, they can marry together to create automations and email sequences.

FluentCRM Email Sequences

One of the best features of FluentCRM is the email sequence creation. With this, you can create individual emails, and string them together into various sequences. As many know, email sequences are the best way to do email marketing campaigns. This is when you send a number of emails over a period of time, with the end goal of getting a contact to purchase.

With this tool, you have access to the same email building interface as before. The only additional thing here is that you can create multiple emails, set the delays, and even she is a sending time range.

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You do this over and over again until you have a complete email sequence.

Now let's take a look at the automation tools, which you can use to automatically trigger an email sequence based on conditions and events.

FluentCRM Automation Tools

Automation funnels are ways that FluentCRM can tag and specify specific users. First, you select the trigger, which can be WordPress, WooCommerce, or FluentCRM specific.

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Then, we select various conditions for this automation funnel. In this example, we chose the trigger WooCommerce - new order. That means every time a customer orders a product on this shop, this automation will apply to them. We can use this to send them a review reminder seven days after they purchased the product.

With conditions, we can even target products and product categories.

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After setting all of this out, we get to the automation funnel builder page. This is a unique flow chart like experience, where you can create multiple actions, conditions, benchmarks and variables. You can get as complex or simple as you want with this automation, and we feel that this user interface makes it easy to manage whatever the case is.

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The various actions that you can add to this automation are wide ranging and based on the plugins that you have active on your WordPress website. Actions include waiting, sending emails, adding tags, and adding notes. Benchmarks include various milestones that a user could reach. In our situation, that may be the purchase of a WooCommerce product. Conditionals are if then statements, for example if a customer purchased a specific product, an action could be run, and if they didn't a different action would be run.

With FluentCRM, automations can be used for a number of things. This can include segmenting and managing an email list automatically. Can also include adding individuals to various email sequences, or directly messaging them.

FluentCRM Third Party Integrations

The actions for automations and email sequences can be furthered by integrating with third party platforms, plugins, and tools. Depending on what integrations you have active, additional actions, benchmarks, and conditionals will show up in the platform.

FluentCRM does a great job of integrating with popular plugins, and additional solutions designed to help automate your workflow.

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You can see that in our example website, we have affiliate WP installed, so there are specific actions to that. The native integration with fluent forms is great, as you can easily have user data imputed directly into the system. The various learning management system and membership management system integration should help you with your marketing needs.

Being able to work with WP Fusion and Automator WP open up another world of possibilities. And finally, FluentCRM integrates with the four major web hook connector platforms, we new can connect this to pretty much anything that exists on line today.

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This concludes the main review of what FluentCRM can do. Now let's take a look at how it compares to competition. Keep in mind, there are additional features that we didn't discuss here like smartlinks, the ability to add custom contact fields, incoming webhook management, and additional items.

Platform Design

Like any Fluent product, the UI and UX of this platform is very high quality. If you've ever used FluentSMTP or FluentForms, the interface, colors and the way it works is very similar to those products.

Something to note is that FluentCRM is still a new product, so there are some areas where improvements could be made. For example, when creating a new email, the top navigation steps can't be clicked to go backwards and forwards (as somebody would assume). Instead, you need to scroll all the way to the bottom of the page and click a tiny back link.

Not terrible, but an example of the oversights that come with a newer product.

Pricing

The pricing for FluentCRM is very fair based on the sheer number of features that it has to offer, and how it compares with competing solutions.

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A single site license comes in at $129 per year, a 5 site license comes in a $249 per year, and a 50 site license comes in at $499 per year. There is no lifetime deal, everything has a one year update, one year support policy. However, like any WordPress plugin, you can choose to not renew and still have access to the features of that current version. We don't recommend this for security purposes.

In terms of competing plugins, GroundHogg is really the only one out there (unless you want to include JetPack CRM). While a more mature product, GroundHogg's interface is tough to understand and dated (not great for a client project). AutomateWoo could also be included as a competitor, but this is something specific to WooCommerce, and not all that great for email marketing. That starts at $99/yr for a single site license.

For a comparison of WordPress CRM Plugins, read this post:

https://isotropic.co/wordpress-crm-plugins-compared

When taking a look at the top three email marketing platforms, the FluentCRMs pricing becomes even more appealing.

  • Mailchimp costs $14/mo ($168 for the year) for 500 contacts and similar features as FluentCRM
  • GetResponse costs $15/mo ($180 for the year) for 1000 contacts and less features. This tier is missing out on automation builders and has limited sales funnels.
  • Constant Contact costs $20/mo ($240 for the year) for 500 contacts. This tier doesn’t include dynamic content or automations.

FluentCRM allows you to manage as many visitors, users, email campaigns, and other elements as you want as it is self hosted. The only consideration you will need is the host and database constraints. It also offers comparable features to each of these email marketing platforms.

How Does This Stack Up Against “Real” Email Marketing Platforms?

We've put the real in quotes here, because with this review and our experience with FluentCRM, this too is a real email marketing platform. In many situations, it outperforms solutions like MailChimp as it is directly integrated with WordPress, and can be accessed and managed from that back end. That means that there's only one login that a website and user will need to know, and the direct integration, clean design of the plug-in, and extendability with third party tools makes it a very easy solution to use and master.

So far, FluentCRM can go head-to-head with any third party platform. What we haven't tested yet is how it performs at scale. Say, you are running a WordPress website with thousands of customers, hundreds of thousands of orders, and a ton of revenue. Will this platform be able to hold up? It's using the WordPress database/chron for its back end processes, so that remains to be seen.

Luckily, we will be able to answer this question in a few months, so check back then or subscribe to our mailing list for our follow up article regarding the long term performance of FluentCRM on larger WordPress websites.

Pricing, as mentioned above, is much better than any platform on the market.

Conclusion

We hope that this FluentCRM review was helpful to you. This plug-in gets an overwhelming recommendation to buy from us, as it replaces a third party platform, saves you money, and makes your life easier. It comes with virtually every integration, and feature that somebody would need to adequately create, manage, and send email marketing campaigns to users of their WordPress website.

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