FluentCRM to do email marketing automation on WordPress
FluentCRM is a plugin that allows you to transform WordPress into a CRM capable of performing numerous email marketing automation functions.
With this plugin, it is possible to collect and manage lists of contacts, to which it is possible to assign tags and custom fields to be able to segment them and make targeted communications.
It is then possible to send emails to a single contact or campaigns to the entire list, to a single segment, or automated sequences that are activated when certain events occur.
Being a WordPress plugin it has been designed to integrate with many other popular plugins available for this CMS, such as WooCommerce, Easy Digital Downloads, LearnDash, MemberPress, Lifter LMS, Restrict Content Pro, Elementor, WP Fusion, Uncanny Automator, and also with services externals such as Zapier or Integromat.
FluentCRM is free to download and is present in the official repository of WordPress plugins, but a paid version is also available, which is essential to be able to do serious marketing automation with this plugin.
In this, it is very similar to Groundhogg, another plugin for doing email marketing automation with WordPress, which I have already written about in a previous article. Currently, FluentCRM boasts a larger number of installations than Groundhogg, despite being a younger solution. Compared to Groundhogg, FluentCRM is much more competitively priced. Initially, the pro version was also offered with a lifetime license, which is now no longer available.
Configuration and first steps with FluentCRM
FluentCRM offers a wizard for the guided configuration of the plugin, through which you can enter your personal or company data, define the names of the contact lists and start creating the first tags. Later it is also possible to import a list of contacts, if you have one available, or continue with the configuration.
As with Groundhogg, also with FluentCRM it is highly recommended, I would say that it is essential, to proceed with the configuration of an external SMTP service for sending emails. In practice, you do not have to rely on the hosting service on which the site is hosted to send e-mail messages to your contacts.
To make this easier, WPManageNinja — the company responsible for the development of FluentCRM— created the free fluentSMTP plugin. Thanks to it it is very simple to configure your WordPress site, and therefore also FluentCRM, to send mail messages using services such as Amazon AWS SES, SendGrid, Mailgun, SparkPost, or other specialized services that guarantee that the mail messages arrive correctly at their destination. and support the sending of a large number of email messages.
As I have already highlighted in the article dedicated to Groundhogg, when you choose to install a plugin to do email marketing on WordPress you have to take care of some technical issues to manage, the configuration of an external SMTP service is one of them.
Differences between the free and the Pro version of FluentCRM
As I have already written, to seriously use FluentCRM you need to purchase the Pro version. With the free version you can already do many things, but some features, such as those listed below, are only available in the paid version of the plugin:
- the ability to send an email to a single contact;
- the creation of dynamic segments, an option that allows you to automatically segment your contacts based on criteria that change over time (for example, contacts who have not opened an email in the last 30 days);
- the creation of conditional content blocks within emails, to show content only to certain contacts;
- the A / B tests on sending email messages ;
- the creation of sequences of email messages, this is certainly the main reason why to buy the Pro version of the plugin;
- the largest number of triggers and actions that you can use in automation processes are 12 in the free version and 25 in the Pro version of FluentCRM;
- full integration with WooCommerce, Easy Digital Downloads, LifterLMS, LearnDash, TutorLMS, Paid Memberships Pro, WishList Member, Memberpress, Restrict Content Pro ;
- the possibility of using the forms created with Elementor to collect contacts;
- the ability to receive incoming webhooks, which allow you to integrate FluentCRM with other plugins and services.
I also point out that the section dedicated to reporting is also available in the free version of the plugin.
Another useful function is the Smartlinks one, available only in the Pro version, which allows you to assign or remove a tag for contacts who click on a specific link.
Collecting contacts with Fluent Forms
FluentCRM is perfectly integrated with Fluent Forms, and it could not be otherwise, since both plugins are developed by the same software house.
This means having a powerful, easy-to-use, and customizable tool to create various types of forms on your site. Modules that can then transmit the data to FluentCRM.
Double opt-in with FluentCRM
Within the FluentCRM interface, there is a section dedicated to the management of the double-opt-in, in which it is possible to customize the email that is sent to contacts to request confirmation on registration and also the message they will see after they have confirmed.
Contact management with FluentCRM
For all the contacts collected, you can access a tab that shows all the details of each contact.
FluentCRM also allows the creation of an unlimited number of custom fields for each contact. Whether it’s a single line of text, a drop-down menu, a date, a numeric field, or …
For each contact, you can see the lists to which he is subscribed, the associated tags, the emails and automation he has received, the forms he has filled in, and other information. You can also send personal emails to each contact.
Autoresponders with FluentCRM
As in most email marketing services, even with FluentCRM, it is possible to create automatic sequences of emails, the so-called autoresponders.
In practice, a series of emails are created and the time intervals between one email and another are set.
A useful feature of FluentCRM is to make it very easy to set a time range and the days you prefer to send the email. In some systems, the automatic emails are always sent at the same pre-set time, while in others the sending time depends on the time in which the contact registered or was inserted in the automation. Congratulations to the FluentCRM developers for thinking of introducing this handy option.
For writing email content, FluentCRM uses the WordPress Gutenberg editor. You can then create the different emails with the same ease with which you compose an article or a page of your site. When writing an email, however, not all the blocks of the Gutenberg editor are available, also because many of them are not suitable for use within an email message.
Automation with FluentCRM
When you create automation with FluentCRM you can choose from a series of possible activation events, some of them related to CRM while others that depend on WordPress or one of the plugins that can be integrated with CRM, such as WooCommerce.
Once the trigger has been set, that is the condition that activates the automation, FluentCRM provides you with a convenient editor that allows you to build the entire sequence of events and conditions to define what the automation must do.
Through this editor, you can set waiting times, conditions to decide what should happen based on the data associated with that contact, and much more.
A nice aspect of this editor is the speed of execution of operations. In fact, with some online email marketing services, you don’t always have a quick and reactive interface like that of FluentCRM.
However, it is clear that, if your hosting service is a bit poor in performance, the overall experience with FluentCRM may be less enjoyable.
In the following image, I show you the possible actions and conditions that you can use for creating automation with FluentCRM. Also consider that, by installing other plugins among those supported by FluentCRM, the number of actions and conditions available is greater.
Unlike more advanced email marketing services, such as ActiveCampaign, with FluentCRM it is not possible to trigger automation when a contact field value is created or updated.
Furthermore, FluentCRM does not provide a feature to manage offers, which is possible with services like ActiveCampaign or plugins like Groundhogg.
While still a relatively young product, FluentCRM is growing rapidly and is a great plugin for email marketing with WordPress. We are not yet at the levels of functionality offered by systems like ActiveCampaign but, given the low cost of FluentCRM, the quality/price ratio is excellent.
The interface is also very pleasant and simple to use. In addition, it is also well supported by other WordPress plugins such as WP Fusion and Uncanny Automator, useful for those who want to automate the various processes on the site.
Is FluentCRM the best email marketing automation solution? Answering a yes or a no would be equally wrong, as it is a meaningless question. In fact, there is no better solution for everyone, always and in any case. However, FluentCRM may be the right answer:
- to those looking for an email marketing system integrated with WordPress;
- to those who want to save;
- to those who are not afraid of “getting their hands dirty” with the management of the technical aspects;
- to those who do not need too many integrations with services external to their WordPress site.
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