As a business owner, I’m sure you realize the importance of collecting and storing your customers and clients’ information. It allows you to keep in touch with them as well as follow up on a regular basis.
Now, there are plenty of customer relationship management tools on the market. But, they can be quite costly as the number of customers or clients grow, not to mention it’s yet another tool that you have to remember the login information for. On top of that, sometimes you have to resort to using a third-party tool to integrate the CRM software with your site.
Wouldn’t be nice if you could gather your customer’s details and import leads from your store or membership site directly on your WordPress website?
Turns out there is a handy little plugin that allows you to do just that. WP Contacts allows you to import and capture leads and maintain the database on your WordPress site. Furthermore, thanks to its front-end management system, it also gives you an easy to way to outsource your customer relationship tasks without giving away access to your WordPress dashboard.
In today’s post, we’ll explore what WP Contacts has to offer and show you how to set it up on your site.
What is WP Contacts?
WP Contacts is a premium plugin available from CodeCanyon for $37 for a regular license. Touted as the “only complete contact management plugin for WordPress,” WP Contacts offers several useful benefits for WordPress users.
Here’s a brief overview of the plugin’s core features:
- Import and export contacts as .csv or .xls
- Compatible with Contact Form 7, Gravity Forms, and Ninja Forms
- Complete integration with MailChimp and other email marketing tools
- Works with any WordPress theme
- Add, edit, and remove quick notes for your contacts
- Drag-and-drop field and column ordering and filtering
- Plenty of customization options
- Enable or disable images and file uploads for your contacts
- Translation ready
- Integration with over 750 applications via Zapier extension
- Built-in database snapshot backups functionality
Plugin installation and setup
To get started with WP Contacts, you’ll need to purchase the plugin and download the files from your Envato account. Unzip the folder and then login to your WordPress dashboard. Go Plugins > Add New and upload the shwcp.zip folder. When the installation is complete, activate the plugin.
After the plugin has been activated, go to WP Contacts.
The first thing you’ll need to do is create a blank page and assign the WP Contacts template to it. To do this, go to Pages > Add New and name the page Contacts or Customers or Clients; whatever makes the most sense for your business. Assign the WP Contacts Template from the dropdown and then publish the page. By doing so, you’ll create the front-end management page that will allow you to view and manage your contacts.
Now that the page has been created, let’s go back to the settings and continue the plugin setup.
As you can see from the screenshot below, you can adjust a number of general settings. You can set the name for your database, specify whether login is required to view the front-end interface, how many records should display on one page, customize how the front-end looks, and more.
The next tab allows you to set plugin’s permissions for existing users on your site and create new roles, each with their own set of rules.
To create a new role, click the Add New Role button and you’ll be able to view all of the available permissions you can assign to the role.
When you’re done, click the Save Changes and then you can move onto the next tab.
On the next tab doesn’t have anything for you to configure. It simply shows you the information about your server settings which you can use for troubleshooting if you run into any problems with the plugin.
The last tab, Database Operations, allows you to backup and restore your database as well as to restore it to its default settings and delete all the data.
Adding and deleting databases
One of the benefits of this plugin is that you can create and manage an unlimited number of databases. This is extremely useful if you’d like to separate your contacts into several groups such as Leads, Customers, Partners, and any other group that makes sense for your type of business.
To add a new database, go to WP Contacts > Add New Database while logged into your dashboard. All you have to do is enter a name and click the Add Database button. After that, you’ll notice a new menu has been created for the database and you can click on in to configure the database settings.
In a similar fashion, you can delete the database from WP Contacts > Delete Database. A word of warning, there is no confirmation so make sure you are deleting the right database before you click the button.
Working with the front-end
Once you’ve setup the plugin and any additional databases, it’s time to get familiar with the front-end interface. On the page you created earlier, you can access a menu that links to the contacts page, gives you access to the settings, statistics, logging, and the ability to import and export all your contacts.
You’ll also notice a top bar that allows you to export the view, add new contacts, and search the database using any field.
The settings section allows you to control how the information is displayed on the front-end.
If you select Manage Front Page, you’ll be able to order the fields displayed when viewing the data. The plugin uses a simple drag and drop interface which allows you to easily move around and remove fields.
The next section, Manage Fields, is a handy way of adding, editing, and sorting new and existing fields for your database. You can rename fields that are already created. Once you’re done adding or editing the fields, click on Save changes.
The last option under the settings is to manage individual pages, which allows you to adjust the width of the left side columns, and enable or disable contact information shown on individual database records.
Under the statistics tab, you can get a visual overview of contacts data, contact ownership, and any other information based on the fields you have in your data set.
If you have multiple people managing your database, then the logging feature will come in useful. It allows you to keep track of any changes made to your database, with a list of actions that include changes to data, export and import, the timestamp, username, and IP address of the user who made the changes.
Import and export
Lastly, the Import and Export section allows you to import existing contacts as well as export them using an .XLS or a .CSV file. All you have to do is select your file and map the correct fields to appropriate columns in your WP Contacts database. It’s worth mentioning that if you have enabled MailChimp export in the main settings of the plugin, you will also see a third tab where you can sync your contacts with MailChimp.
It’s worth mentioning that you’ll also have access to the Events page on the front-end if you have enabled Events in the backend settings. You’ll see a calendar with a weekly, monthly, and daily view that show all the events scheduled on a specific day.
Ease of use
The WP Contacts plugin is extremely easy to use. The settings are rather straightforward and there is no shortage of explanations in the official documentation of the plugin.
Adding a new database doesn’t take more than a minute and adding new custom fields is easy thanks to the drag and drop interface. Even without reading the documentation, the plugin can be easily setup and integrated into your website.
WP Contacts integrates directly with:
- Contact Form 7
- Gravity Forms
- Ninja Forms
You can also take advantage of Zapier extension to integrate it with other contact forms and apps. The online documentation offers a detailed guide on how to use Zapier and create custom integrations.
In most cases, you’ll need to map the appropriate fields via Manage Fields setting in WP Contacts. You will need to follow the naming convention of the form plugin you’re using and you can find the correct information and a setup guide in the online documentation.
Pros and cons
While WP Contacts is an easy way to keep track of your contacts database, it does come with some pros and cons which we will discuss below.
WP Contacts Pros
When it comes to the pros, the plugin does offer an easy and intuitive way to keep track of your customers and clients. You can easily create several different databases which make sense for your business so you can categorize your contact information.
On top of that, there is no limit to the amount of contacts you can have and you can even import or sync your contacts database with a tool like MailChimp allowing you to effortlessly add your contacts to your mailing list.
It also integrates with any theme and you can customize the plugin to match the rest of your branding.
What’s more, it allows your contacts to upload images and files and you can add notes for each customer. This is useful if you work on client projects and if you have multiple people who manage your contacts database.
WP Contact Cons
When it comes to cons, keep in mind that this is not a full-featured CRM. For example, there is no way to automatically send customers follow up emails or text messages. Likewise, there is no option to create custom workflows like what is offered in some CRM apps and software.
However, thanks to the Zapier integration, it is possible to automate this task using third-party tools.
Support and documentation
As mentioned before, the plugin has an extensive documentation available online. Purchasing a license entitles to you 6 months of support which includes:
- Availability of the author to answer questions
- Get assistance with reported bugs and issues
- Help with included 3rd party assets
You can purchase additional 6 months of support for an extra fee. Support is available via the author’s website.
WP Contacts is an easy to use plugin with just the right amount of features necessary for a simple contact database management. The plugin is a perfect choice for small business owners who want to manage their customers and clients without investing in a more-feature rich solution.
It’s also a decent option if you collaborate with your clients on projects and need them to upload documents or images for the projects you’re working on.
Lastly, the plugin makes it easy to give access to your sales team or your support team so they can manage your database without having to use the WordPress admin area.
Where this plugin falls short is the lack of some of the more advanced features such as bulk messaging, follow ups, and custom workflows. However, most of these cons can be somewhat mitigated through a Zapier integration.
Considering the plugin is available for $37, it’s a cheaper option than the basic starter plans offered by full-featured CRM software. If you’re a business owner on a budget, then this plugin is definitely worth considering.
However, if your business depends on the missing features mentioned above and you don’t want to use a third-party tool to connect the WP Contacts plugin with other apps, then looking into a CRM like Contactually or SalesForce may be a better choice for you.
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