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FluentCRM Review - Best Self-Hosted CRM for WordPress

Written by:
Mohammed Wasim Akram
First Published on:
June 2, 2021
Last Updated on:
July 1, 2021
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If you're looking for an ultimate solution for your CRM and Email Marketing Campaigns then in this post I am going to review FluentCRM which is the most powerful self-hosted all-in-one CRM plus email marketing solution for WordPress, that can put any other mainstream CRMs to shame.

This tool is just mind-blowing which can fulfill almost all your email marketing needs to build complex email campaigns using the automation feature which offers you to set up condition-based email automation based on various factors like email open by a user, link click within the email, and the user contains particular tags etcetera.

Note: This review has been written based on my testing and experience of using FluentCRM Pro and I didn't test the FluentCRM Free version alone, therefore if you are here to learn more about the free version then this post is not suitable not for you.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Introduction of FluentCRM

FluentCRM is one of the most feature-rich and rare self-hosted customer relationship management and email marketing tools dedicatedly made for WordPress to manage your leads and customers to nurture them and funnel them down for your products/services by running email campaigns starting from broadcast, drip, and automation based on various triggers right from your WordPress admin dashboard.

FluentCRM is developed and maintained by WPManageNinja, the same company behind the most popular WordPress products like Fluent Forms, Ninja Tables, and Fluent SMTP.

Consider reading the objectives and vision behind FluentCRM.

My good friend Shahjahan Jewel is the founder of WPManageNinja, who is also the most talented and well-known person in the WordPress space.

I would like to thank him for providing me with access to FluentCRM to explore and test this awesome piece of tool, which eventually led me to write this in-depth review about this powerful product and you can expect more helpful content around this product in the near future.

However, this is neither a paid review nor influenced by any external force in any way, whatever you are going to read over here are my personal words based on my extensive testing and research of this product.

I would only be benefitted if someone follows my affiliate links from this article to make a purchase of FluentCRM or any other product that I might have mentioned.

Useful Resources for FluentCRM

Main Features of FluentCRM

In this section I am going to talk about all the main features of FluentCRM, also I will explain each of them briefly to make you aware of how powerful this product is and how you can leverage the power of FCRM to grow your business through the online marketing.

Email Campaign Management

FluentCRM Campaigns Image - SyncWin

Email Campaigns basically let you send or schedule broadcast emails to your CRM contacts and it also allows you to split test your headings before sending them to see which email heading brings the most open rate and in this way it helps you to optimize the conversation rate.

Inside each email campaign, you can see all the most important data including campaign details, emails, link metrics, and actions, you can check what are the options each of these data types offer in the below sections.

Campaign Details

  • Sent Emails: The number of emails you sent.
  • Total Emails: Total emails you sent.
  • Click Rate: Rate of link clicks that the email contains.
  • Open Rate: The email open rate by the contacts.
  • Click to Open Rate: The ratio of link clicks as compared to the email open ratio.
  • Email Contents: The sent Email title, scheduled timing, subject total recipient, and email body.

Email

  • Name: Name of the Recipients.
  • Emails: Email addresses of the Recipients.
  • Actions: Which contact opened the email AND/OR clicked links on the email.
  • Date: The date and time stamp of the delivered email.
  • Status: If the email was Sent or Failed.
  • Preview: Option to preview the sent email and resend the email to individual contacts.

Link Metrics

  • URL: All the links that the sent email contains.
  • Unique Clicks: The number of recipients that have clicked on the links from the email.

Actions

  • Action Type: Add or Remove Tags
  • Select Tags: Select from all the available tags you created in FluentCRM
  • Filter Subscribers: Select Subscribers Who Opened, Did Not Open, or Clicked on particular links.
  • Add tags to Subscribers Button: This button helps you apply the selected action type to the selected tags to the contact based on the selected filters.

360° Contact View

FluentCRM 360° Contact View - Image - SyncWin

360° Contact View allows you to learn everything about the people that are in your CRM contacts, it has the options to contain the most important data of each contact in your CRM including List, Tags Contact Overview, Emails, Form Submissions, Notes & Activities etcetera, check out the below sections for more information about the mentioned data.

Overview

  • Basic Information: It contains information including the name prefix, first name, last name, contact number, date of birth.
  • Address Information: It contains address line 1, address line 2, city, state, zip code, and country.
  • Custom Profile Data: It contains the custom fields that you would create on FluentCRM to collect additional user information.

Emails

  • Emails from different campaigns and automation: Which of the emails the contact has been received from the various campaigns and automation.
  • Email Sequences: From which of the sequences the contact belongs to.
  • Automation: From which of the automation the contact belongs to.

Form Submission

  • Form Submissions: Which of the opt-in form has been used by the contact to signed up.

Notes & Activities

  • Contact Notes & Activities: You can add custom notes to any contact from the available options including note, call, email, meeting, quote: sent, quote: accepted.

Contact Segmentation

FluentCRM Contacts Segmentations Image - SyncWin

Contact Segmentations allows you to segment your contacts using options like Lists, Tags and Dynamic Segments, in this way you can easily move different contacts into various Lists, Tags, OR/AND Dynamic Segments based on their particular actions from the past campaigns or the opt-in form they used to sign up on your CRM.

Email Sequencing

FluentCRM Email Sequences Image - SyncWin

Email Sequencing allows you to set up the series of email drips or sequences and send them based on the predefined triggers like applied or removed email lists, tags, dynamic segments, or by various available automation options.

Automated Email Funnels

FluentCRM Automation Image - SyncWin

Automated email funnels allow you to set up unlimited evergreen email automation series to send predefined emails from the campaigns, sequences, or custom emails to your CRM contacts based on various available automation options divided into categories including Action Blocks, BenchMark/Trigger Blocks, Condition Blocks, you can find more details in the below section.

Action Blocks

Actions blocks are tasks that you want to fire from your side for the target contact.

  • Wait X Days/Hours: Wait defined timespan before executing the next action.
  • Send Custom Email: Send a custom Email to your subscriber or custom email address.
  • Set Sequence Emails: Send Automated Emails based on your Sequence settings.
  • Cancel Sequence Emails: Cancel Sequence Emails for the contact.
  • Send Campaign Email: Send an Email from your existing campaign.
  • Cancel Automations: Pause/Cancel another automation for contact.
  • Apply List: Add this contact to the selected lists.
  • Apply Tag: Add this contact to the selected Tags.
  • Remove From List: Remove this contact from the selected lists.
  • Remove From Tag: Remove this contact from the selected Tags.
  • Update Contact Property: Update custom fields or a few main properties of a contact.
  • Add Notes & Activity: Add Notes or Activity to the Contact Profile.
  • End This Funnel Here: No further action will run once a contact hits this point.

Benchmark/Trigger Block

These are your goal/trigger items that your user will do and you can measure these steps or adding into this funnel.

  • List Applied: This will run when selected lists have been applied to a contact.
  • Tag Applied: This will run when selected Tags have been applied to a contact.
  • Tag Removed: This will run when selected Tags have been removed from a contact.
  • List Removed: This will run when selected lists have been removed from a contact.
  • Link Click: This will run once a subscriber click on this provided link.

Condition Blocks

Use the condition blocks to create separate path for your segmented contacts.

  • Has in Selected tags: Check If the contact has specific tags.
  • Check Contact's Properties: Check If the contact matches specific data properties.
  • Has in Selected Lists: Check If the contact has specific lists.

Granular Reporting

Granular Reporting of the FluentCRM allows you to analyze in-depth reports of all kinds of activities going on with the CRM contacts including CRM Reports, Campaign Analytics, Funnel Performance Analysis, A/B Testing Subject Lines, CTR Performance Analysis, and Individual User Activity Monitoring.

FluentCRM Integrations

FluentCRM integrates with the most popular WordPress products which makes it really easier to work with one another seamlessly.

FluentCRM Integrations with 3rd Party Integrators

If there is an integration that is not available as per your requirements still no worries as FluentCRM also integrates with the third party integrators.

FluentCRM Pricing Structure (June 2021)

FluentCRM comes with a yearly pricing model and the best thing about it is that it doesn't limit any feature based on the different tiers of pricing which means all the features are included regardless of the plan you purchase.

However, FluentCRM also offers a free version with a limited set of features which you can find here and find the paid plans details below.

Note: I have good news for you, now you can use the coupon code "SyncWin" offered by the WPManageNinja team exclusively for our readers and community to get an additional 20% Discount on FluentCRM or any other products.

Single Site License Costs $129 Yearly

  • 1 Domain License
  • 1 Year Plugin Update
  • 1 Year Priority Support
  • All Features Included

Five Site Licenses Cost $249 Yearly

  • Up to 5 Domains
  • 1 Year Plugin Update
  • 1 Year Priority Support
  • All Features Included

Fifty Site Licenses Cost $499 Yearly

  • 50 Domains
  • 1 Year Plugin Update
  • 1 Year Priority Support
  • All Features Included

PROs of FluentCRM

FluentCRM is one of the finest products I have ever seen in this category on the WordPress ecosystem and it has many PROs that you should consider checking out if you are thinking of purchasing it. Therefore to make you aware of those PROs I am going to list all of them in the below sub-sections and also will explain each of them in brief.

Manage Everything from the WordPress Dashboard

I love WordPress and almost every day I log in to my website backend more than I log in to any other tools that I use to manage my online business.

Therefore I consider it one of the pros of FluentCRM that it made things really easy for me to manage my CRM contacts, email campaigns, and website from one single place because whenever I log in to my WordPress website dashboard I feel like I should manage my email campaigns without being lazy as everything is easily accessible under my fingertips.

Great User Interface (UI) & User Experience (UX)

WPManageNinja is popular for its great UI & UX, you would know that if you use any of their products. I have been using Ninja Tables and Fluent Forms for a long time and I really love the clean user interface they offer which makes them really easy to use and improves the overall user experience.

Therefore same goes for FluentCRM like their already established other products that I mentioned above as it also has got beautifully crafted easy to use user interface with a great user experience.

Gutenberg & Custom HTML Email Editor

If you're a religious WordPress Gutenberg user then let me inform you that FluentCRM offers a Gutenberg editor to edit your emails which is a great thing in my opinion as it makes me feel that I am writing another article on my WordPress dashboard while composing the emails.

On the other hand, if you don't want to use Gutenberg and you use some HTML editor to compose your emails then you won't get disappointed as it also offers a custom HTML editor where you can write emails or even copy-paste your readymade emails from somewhere else.

It Comes with Advanced Free SMTP Plugin

FluentCRM requires a dedicated email sending service like Amazon AWS SES or Google Workspace to send a large number of emails as WordPress by default will not be able to handle this.

Therefore to connect those services you are going to need an SMTP plugin and the FluentCRM team already developed a very powerful solution called FluentSMTP which allows you to connect and use multiple email services at the same time without even charging you any single penny.

A/B Split Testing for Email Headlines

FluentCRM allows you to set up A/B split testing for the email headlines before sending the campaigns which is the most powerful feature to improve the email open rate.

It will let you send the emails with multiple variants of headlines with a custom ratio predefined by you to see which headline brings the more open rates and which ones are not so that you can optimize your future campaigns in the right way based on this crucial data.

Advanced Contact Management

FluentCRM has the most advanced contact management system as it lets you see a great amount of information under each particular contact starting from their name, email address, date of birth, the emails they have received, the campaigns they are part of, and the form they used to opt-in etcetera.

This is a must-have feature of any great customer relationship management system to improve your email campaign funnels and nurture your leads as well as existing customers to grow your business fast.

Webhook for Easy 3rd Party Integrations

If you are a person who loves to set up integrations with different tools to make them work with one another, then you would love FluentCRM as it offers you a webbook feature so that even if a particular integration is not available yet you can use the webhook to set up the integration like I used webhook to integrate Group Collector tool to collect emails and other data from my Facebook Groups and push them to my FluentCRM contacts.

Smart Links to Segmentations Based on Link Clicks

Smart Links are really powerful as it allows you to create unique links with the ability to segment users by applying AND/OR removing lists/tags when someone clicks that link.

You can create a smart link and predefine the list/tag you want to apply/remove if someone clicks on that link from the email you sent to your contacts.

Auto-Sync WP User Data & Fluent CRM Contact Data

FluentCRM offers a great feature to keep your contacts data auto-sync with their WordPress user profiles if they already have a user account on your website.

CRM Managers to Manage the FluentCRM

If you want someone from your team to manage all the operations of just FluentCRM then you can add them as the CRM Manager. In this way even though the CRM is on your WordPress website yet you have the ability to assign someone to manage it without even adding them as admin of your website.

Select Emails for Automation from the Sequences/Campaigns

By now you already know that the FluentCRM has a very powerful automation feature that allows you to set up things once and the automation will automatically perform the predefined actions based on the triggers, but what I like the most about it is that it also let you select the emails from the sequences as well as from the email campaigns to send them as email automation.

CONS of FluentCRM

I believe there is nothing perfect in this world so as the FluentCRM, and imperfection is the opportunity to make things better. Therefore I am going to share with you a few CONS I found that will help you decide if currently, this product is suitable for you or not.

However, this tool is constantly growing by addressing all the reported bugs and adding new features, therefore with time they might address all these cons and I may need to remove most or all of them from this list altogether.

Therefore if something from this list would resolve or I find anything new then I will keep updating them to this list whenever I update this post in the future.

The Hassle of Managing Technical Operations

If you're a non-techy person then it can be a pain to manage all the initial and ongoing technical management-related stuff when you are using a self-hosted CRM like FluentCRM.

However, if you pay some attention and willing to learn things yourself then you can easily manage everything without any problem and as a reward, you will be the sole owner of your crucial business data, which is not the case when you're using a SaaS-based CRM platform in my opinion.

Consider checking our easy-to-understand step-by-step tutorials of setting up Amazon SES to use it with FluentCRM:

Non Customizable Subscription & Profile Management Page

The subscription and profile management page is very limited in terms of the customizations that you can make and the information that you would allow your users to add or remove.

Allowing us to fully customize the subscription and profile management page using the power of WordPress Website Builders would be great.

Also currently the users can edit very limited information and it would be great if we can allow them to edit more information related to their profile so that we easily get access to more details about the contacts at our fingertips which will eventually help us create a better-personalized marketing strategy.

No Readymade Email Templates Available

By the time I am writing this review, there are no readymade email templates available with the FluentCRM which you can import, customize and use for your email campaigns.

Adding a few ready-to-use templates would be really helpful for the people to start setting up their campaigns without scratching their heads by thinking about how to start.

No Option to Bulk Select All the Contact at Once

Currently, it's not possible to select all the contacts at once in the FluentCRM in case if you want to delete, import, or export contacts in bulk you can only select 150 contacts at a time, which means if you have thousands of contacts then it's impossible to perform any above-mentioned bulk action.

It seems a very basic feature to me, therefore, I am really surprised that this is not available even after a few months of the initial launching of the product but I believe they will add this feature soon and I would need to remove this from the list of my cons in the future.

No Bulk Resend for Campaigns Based on the Activity

Once you send a broadcast email to your contacts after that if you want to resend a bulk email based on their activity with the previous email like the contacts who opens the email, who didn't open the email, who clicked on particular links then you can't do it now as there is no such option available yet.

However, you can apply or remove tags/lists based on those activities from the previous broadcast campaign yet you can't send a bulk email right now, but I believe they will consider adding this feature with the future updates and make me happy 😉

Slow Email Sending Speed as Compared to SaaS Based Platforms

I don't know why but I find the email sending speed is slow as compared to the other SaaS-based email marketing platforms like MailChimp, MailerLite, and SendFox, I think there could be mainly two reasons for that, #1 the web hosting environment (e.g. Shared Hosting vs VPS Hosting), #2. WordPress Cron job (E.g. Default vs Custom).

However, I would try to find a solution to improve the slow email sending speed by looking at the documentation as well as by asking the FluentCRM team and if I find any I will update that here to make you also aware of it.

Chance of Email Contacts Misuse if Your Site Got Hacked

If somehow your WordPress site gets hacked due to some reason then the hackers can easily get access to your CRM contacts data and misuse them for their own purposes or even can send them malicious emails from your system with your branded emails to hamper your brand reputation.

However, this thing also can happen with any SaaS-based CRM platform but the thing is that it is less likely that they will let you know about it whereas your website security is totally in your control, and if you secure your website properly and keep everything updated then there is very less chance that your site will get hacked in the first place.

Good to Have Features & Improvements

FluentCRM already has a ton of powerful features in its portfolio but like all the other tools, it also can be further improved and enhanced with time by adding more useful features to the list, so keeping that in mind I am sharing a few things that can be incorporated to this awesome piece of tool to make it more robust and powerful.

Dedicated Backup system for FluentCRM Data

Having a dedicated backup system just for the FluentCRM data would be great as it will help the users to keep all the data safe even if something goes wrong with the site and you have to restore the full website from an old backup still you would have the option to restore just the FluentCRM data which will prevent any data loss from the CRM system.

Create WordPress Users from FluentCRM Contacts

Currently, if someone registers as a WordPress user then you can convert them as a FluentCRM contact as it allows to do that just with a single click but there is no option to create a WordPress user if someone signs up as a CRM contact, therefore adding such an option to create two-way synchronization would be truly helpful in many ways to build a personalized user experience for the logged-in website users.

Bulk Copy/Move Contacts from one to other List/Tags

A feature to copy/move data from one list to other lists, as well as one tag to other tags, would be really great as currently, it's only possible with manually import and export option but making this possible using the UI option will make it much easier and convenient for everyone.

Delete Option Inside the Particular Contacts

When contact is open there should be an option to delete it in case if I want but currently, it is only possible from the list view of all the contacts and not possible from inside the contact.

Campaigns Should be Rename as Broadcast

In my personal opinion, the campaigns should be renamed as broadcast as it is made for sending broadcast emails and campaign is a really broad term that represents a complete email marketing campaign.

According to Oxford Dictionary a campaign means an organized course of action to achieve a goal.

Email Sequences Should be a Part of Automations

I think email sequences should be a part of automation as far as I know FluentCRM sequences cannot work alone on their own if you just set up the sequence and don't use any automation to run it based on the triggers. Therefore it can create confusion for the users, so to make things crystal clear the sequences should be under automation as a part of it.

Automation Screen UI Improvement

Currently, the automation screen shows all the cards as funnels which looks nice but I think those cards should display more information about each particular automation so that we as a user can easily understand the purpose of any particular automation card at a glance without even opening it and checking into the settings.

Showcase Newsletters to The Front End with CPT

I think if I am already using a CRM on WordPress why not leverage the opportunity to show all my previously sent campaign newsletters as a post to the front end under a dedicated custom post type that I can build using any CPT plugin like Pods or Meta Box.

It would be really great if FluentCRM introduces a feature something like that to showcase all the newsletters from the campaigns as blog posts.

Live Countdown Timer Widget on Email Body

Sometimes we need to showcase the urgency to the readers to make them aware that the (shopping or offer) window is going to close within a few hours or days therefore having a live countdown timer would be great to improve the conversation rate.

More Dedicated CRM Functionalities

Currently, the FluentCRM is less of a CRM and more of an email marketing platform and I am sure that there is must be a strong reason for adding the CRM term in the product name and the team will end up adding more CRM-focused features like HubSpot and Salesforce to really make it a full-fledged CRM.

Conclusion

In this post, I have reviewed the FluentCRM after testing it for a few weeks now, I have tried my best to cover almost everything about this product from the introduction, main features, PROs, CONs, and the good to have features.

In my honest opinion if you are looking for a CRM and powerful email marketing tool with advanced automation features that you are ready to manage yourself from your WordPress dashboard then FluentCRM can be the best choice for you.

On the other hand, if you don't want to set up and manage the CRM and email marketing-related stuff on your own and you want to keep it completely separate from your WordPress website, this product is not for you.

So with that being said I strongly believe that you found this review helpful therefore you won't mind sharing it with your friends and community who are also looking for a self-hosted CRM solution as this post will help them discover the FluentCRM.

Note: I have good news for you, now you can use the coupon code "SyncWin" offered by the WPManageNinja team exclusively for our readers and community to get an additional 20% Discount on FluentCRM or any other products.

Also if you want to ASK or SAY something around this topic, please feel free to express your valuable thoughts in the comment section below to add some additional value for the community.

Thank you very much for visiting our website SyncWin.com.

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