Summary 2017 Association Email Marketing Benchmark Report
For many a day in 2004, three people sat Around one desk in a tiny medical office — an office which functioned as the group’s conference room, breakfast area, and thought hub. Backed by a little programming group in India, the trio (consisting of Benchmark Internet Group founder Curt Keller, his wife Denise, and an SEO expert) discussed ideas for how to implement a deceptively straightforward concept. Simple email advertising. Many of their thoughts were beyond the resources of this fledgling business, but that did not stop Keller from planning ahead.
The first Customers of Benchmark Email were small companies located in close proximity to Benchmark’s one-room HQ in Long Beach, CA. Keller and his staff personally sold them on the use of email marketing, while working hard to create a simple user interface that would be simple to operate. All the while, the business championed such novel ideas as customizable templates and software which adapted to user requirements. They also made sure from the beginning that anybody who needed help would have quick access to excellent customer support.
Benchmark Has continued to grow and advantagesper. Its present focus. Providing worldwide email advertising solutions to small and midsize businesses while continuing to honor a commitment to assist kids in need. This does not indicate that Benchmark is a little-guys-only company, however; it’s adhered to its core principle of adaptability and functions large organizations like UNICEF and Kaiser-Permanente via its High Volume Enterprise plans.
Today, Benchmark serves upwards of 73,000 users from throughout the globe, however, the company has not forgotten its origins. Benchmark still keeps good relationships with small, locally-based companies. In fact, the company offers a full page of testimonials from local users of the program. You may read more about Benchmark’s history and development here.
While the Majority of the features Benchmark supplies Are on par with the rest of the business, among the standout features of the ESP is the fact that most of its attributes come standard with each accounts — including the free ones. Below are a few of Benchmark’s most notable offerings.
· Countless Industry-Specific, Themed Templates. Benchmark offers all users access to its library of over 400 templates. These are organized into 19 classes, some of which are tailored to particular industries like education, entertainment, and retailstores. There is also a class for societal media-specific templates.
· Video Emails. Perhaps the best-known advantage of Benchmark is its support for video mails. The business describes the benefits of this feature here.
· Online Surveys. You can create professional-looking online surveys using one of Benchmark’s 6 templates. Post your poll on your site or construct it into an email.
· Dedicated Email Server. All Benchmark’s High Volume plans have a dedicated IP address to help increase deliverability prices. Users on other programs have the choice of paying for this service ($30/month) to boost their particular delivery stats. Read more about the advantages of dedicated servers here.
· Email Delivery Management. Benchmark’s email shipping management program is about getting customers’ mails into inboxes. The business is a part of the Email Sender and Provider Coalition and works with ReturnPath, a leading email delivery and consulting support. The business also communicates with ISPs on its clients’ behalf. 2017 Association Email Marketing Benchmark Report
· Mobile App. Benchmark’s mobile programs make it possible for customers with an Apple device to get several purposes on the road. They can access and include contacts, read reports, send videos through integration using a YouTube account, and even design and send quick email blasts with one of 10 available templates. This is quite a little more than a number of other businesses offer on their mobile apps, which makes them much more functional.
· Photo Editing. If the photos you intend to use in your email campaign are not perfectly sized or need some color adjustment, you can use Benchmark’s integrated photo editor. This is a fairly handy feature if you do not have photoshop accessible.
· Code Editor. If you’ve got the know-how to work magic with HTML, Benchmark provides this ultra-customization choice with which you can construct your mails from scratch.
· Autoresponder. Each Benchmark customer has the ability to design up to eight custom autoresponder messages. These can be scheduled as a string or event lead-up, or designed as yearly messages like birthday or anniversary mails.
· Sign-Up Types . The only way to become prosperous in email advertising is by way of growing your list, and Benchmark really promotes doing so via sign-up forms. The company bases its Free For Life account completely around site and Facebook sign-ups and supplies an easy-to-use tool to create custom templates for every medium.
· Inbox Checker. Because every email program differs and every web browser includes a signature style, making certain your emails look good across the board is important. It is possible to use Inbox Checker to look at the way your email displays in Gmail using Explorer and Outlook 3. Employing the entire app (which assesses everything out of AOL to Yahoo, Explorer to Safari, mobile to PC) is a paid add-on service, available for $14 each 100 checks.
· RSS-to-Email. Regular bloggers may create newsletters out of their sites automatically through the RSS-to-Email attribute, which works with any blog which handles an RSS-feed. Users simply have to set up a template and campaign inside Benchmark once.
· API Integration. An API (Application Program Interface) allows different software programs to communicate with one another without a formal plug link. Benchmark’s API Integration feature permits users using XML-RPC, HTTP POST, or HTTP GET abilities to recover data from some other programs that use JSON, XML, XML-RPC, or PHP serialization strings. In brief, this allows them to perform three functions. Manage contact lists, handle campaigns and campaign sending, and assess statistics. The company explains this function in more detail here.
· Advanced Metrics. Benchmark offers both Listing Segmentation and AB Split Testing.
· Multiple-Language Interface. Benchmark is available in seven languages. Chinese, English, German, Japanese, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish.
Benefits Of Use
Enrolling in a Benchmark account is pretty straightforward. After entering your name, email, phone number, and company name, you need to confirm your email address. This is a five-minute process for me. Upon logging in to my account (with the free program ) I was greeted by an attractive UI that gave me a very clear direction on how to make my first email campaign. Good beginning!
Email Campaign Creation
On its dashboard, Benchmark offers users five chief choices. Emails, Automations, Contacts, Surveys, and Reports. To create a new campaign, proceed into the Emails segment, then hit on the big blue”Create New Email” button in the upper right-hand corner. 2017 Association Email Marketing Benchmark Report
From there, you have to decide If You Would like an RSS Or classic email message. You can use Benchmark’s drag-and-drop editor, or go for more customization using the built-in code editor. If you’re somebody who codes their own email, then my hat is off to you, but I am not gifted that way, so I moved with the drag-and-drop option.
I had been motivated to enter a subject line for my Email and setup how much tracking I desired on the message, in addition to when I wanted an automated tweet when the effort went out. The next task was to select which contacts I wanted to get the campaign. With that, I was eventually able to begin constructing the email . If you would like to, you are able to assemble your personal email layouts using an extremely intuitive editor. On the flip side, you can alter one of Benchmark’s templates, which can be great, and much better than I managed to do on my own.
Preventing the Email Campaign
If you are just Starting out, you can certainly do as I did and manually enter contacts one at a time. However, for those who already have a list, there are several ways to import it. You are able to upload a CSV, xls, or txt file directly from your computer; import contacts directly from Salesforce.com, Hotmail, or Gmail accounts; or copy and paste huge lists of contacts to a text form. When you make your Benchmark lists, then they will appear on your dash, together with a Master Unsubscribe List.
The sending of this email is quite simple. Once you’ve completed all of your tweaks, you can either save the email as a draft, send it instantly, or schedule a time and date for delivery. If you want to check everything is well before distributing your email about the world, you can send it to your self to preview it as many as 10 times/day. I chose to program my email for shipping to see how timely the automated system would really be. I advised my email for 2.45 and obtained it in 2.50, therefore while the timing wasn’t exactly ideal, it was probably within tolerance levels for most users. If you are among the more rare users who demand on-the-minute email sending, you might have to look elsewhere. More worryingly, my email didn’t go to my main inbox but was automatically sorted into my”promotions” folder. Definitely not ideal.
Email Campaign Reporting
First thing I Discovered about Benchmark email reports was something I’d read about in a few reviews. They are really, really fast. I mean lightning fast. Opens register from the Benchmark system almost immediately. I have worked with several other apps where these reports require hours or even days to appear.
Benchmark provides users with several key Bits of information about each effort. The arguably most important statistic, the available rate, appears in both pie graph and numerical form. In addition, Benchmark supplies users with stats for clicks, forward, bounces, unsubscribes, and abuse. Each stat further breaks down to the exact email addresses associated with a given action. Users may export this data for additional analysis via a csv or xls file. There’s also a social networking area which reports shares through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, in addition to a map that breaks down, by country, who opens your emails. 2017 Association Email Marketing Benchmark Report
Though all of this information is great and Necessary, it is not enough to sustain higher level marketers who need more information such as conversions, which hyperlinks were clicked, and earnings analysis. Though Google Analytics provides a lot of that information with proper integration, there may come a time when serious marketers need more info than Benchmark provides. Whether a small company will reach that point varies, naturally, based on the company.
Specific Size Of Company
Benchmark made its 3-tiered pricing Structure with the objective of serving everybody from the smallest kitchen-table startup to large email marketers. On the other hand, the organization’s main focus is on small to medium companies, especially those just beginning in email marketing. This is especially reflected in the fact that clients subscribing to the medium plans get unlimited emails, while larger plans have constraints.
Integrations and Add-Ons
Benchmark Offers roughly 20 plug-ins and integrations. If you do not see the integration you need, there’s still hope. You can use the API or request an integration by sending an email to [email protected]
· Benchmark Events — Benchmark Occasions is event marketing software designed to integrate fully with Benchmark Email. Launched in 2012, this program allows users to make and customize occasions, promote and sell tickets, and track the success of the events through their Benchmark Email accounts. A variety of subscriptions are available, such as a free option.
· Salesforce.com — This integration enables users to import contacts directly into Benchmark and utilize Benchmark’s email system to keep Salesforce customers participated. Read our review of Salesforce here.
· Twitter — Benchmark Mail Lite is a WordPress plugin which allows users to easily build an email viewer via their subscribers. The plug-in can automatically produce email variations of blog posts and permits users to connect up to five Benchmark accounts.
· Highrise — Merges Highrise contacts using a Benchmark list. Read our review of Highrisehere.
· Benchmark Power — This free plugin lets you source images for your Benchmark mails from locations across the net. Benchmark Power captures pictures you find and instantly uploads them to your Benchmark account for future usage.
· Flickr — Users with Flickr accounts can link Flickr to their Benchmark image galleries.
· Shopify — You can link a Shopify accounts to Benchmark and automatically add Shopify customers to Benchmark lists. You may even add subscribers to various lists based on which products they purchased. Read our review of Shopify here.
· PayPal — Users can add any of the PayPal clients to their Benchmark email lists bylinking the account. Read our overview of Paypal here.
· Easy List — Learn more about this very simple list-making program and download it .
· WordPress — The ever-present site and website builder provides an integration using Benchmark. Use it to send emails of your blog articles and also use the analytics to see how your readers respond to them. Learn more here.
· Zapier — Gain access to Zapier’s enormous integration library . 2017 Association Email Marketing Benchmark Report
Social Media Integrations
Since Of the key connection between social media and email marketing, it is important to check out the social networking features contained in Benchmark.
· Social Media Templates — One section of Benchmark’s massive email template listing consists of societal media-specific templates which directly promote your company’s involvement in social networking forums like facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
· Facebook”Like” Button — Benchmark provides a very simple function which allows you to add a Facebook”Just Like” button to your own emails.
· Facebook Sign-Up Form — Benchmark provides easy-to-create sign-up forms (see”Features” above) for both websites and Facebook enthusiast pages, to help you convert followers into subscribers.
· Social Links within Email — After you link your Benchmark account with your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn accounts, you can add buttons to each email that will direct your subscribers to each of your social networking pages.
The company also fully Complies with the U.S.-E.U. and U.S.-Swiss Safe Harbor Frameworks regarding the selection of personal data from citizens of those nations. When customers provide credit card numbers to Benchmark, the business uses secure socket layer (SSL) protection to encrypt the info. The entire system is encrypted to ensure the safety of all customers’ personal information.
Anti-Spam Policy and Protection
Like All legitimate ESPs, Benchmark takes junk seriously and outlines a clear zero-tolerance policy for any of their users hoping to take part in spam activities. The business is fully in compliance with all the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. Benchmark additionally takes several steps to preserve its reputation as a spam-free supplier, among them membership from the Email Sender and Provider Coalition. The company uses the program SpamAssassin to filter messages delivered through its server.
To prevent users from Unknowingly sending spam-like materials, Benchmark provides a spam check feature which looks for words widely used in spam messages. It scores each email on a scale from 1 to 5; 5s are assigned to content that is very likely to be blocked. In the event of a top score, the program suggests”less spammy” alternatives. Individualized IP addresses also help large-volume senders reduce their spam numbers.
Customer Support and Service
Benchmark Offers its users a great deal of support tools. Customer support is generally responsive, with minimal waiting times. The website offers good learning resources, but may be opaque occasionally. Key information is often buried and hard to locate, particularly in the event that you don’t know exactly what you’re searching for, especially when it comes to minute particulars about strategies. As an example. The Free For Life plan comprises Benchmark branding on each email, but you won’t see that mentioned on the Free For Life page, not even in the fine print. Nor will you see it said when you sign up. The only place it’s mentioned is in the FAQ, here.
Here are some of those resources Benchmark offers. 2017 Association Email Marketing Benchmark Report
· Live Email and Support — Benchmark supplies live one-on-one support through the following means.
· Email Service. Contact Benchmark at [email protected] or through the organization’s contact form here. Available 24 hours Monday — Friday and limited hours on Saturday.
· Telephone Support. You can reach Benchmark in 800-430-4095 (U.S.) or even 001-562-252-3789 (all countries). Available weekdays from 6 am to 5 pm PT.
· Chat Support. Available nearly 24 hours per day Monday — Friday and limited hours on Saturday. Offered in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian.
· FAQ — Benchmark’s FAQ section is somewhat mislabeled as it’s closer to a QandA-format knowledge base than a typical FAQ. You will find over 900 entries, sorted into 18 subjects ranging from”Getting Started” to”API.” Users can perform a key word search of any topic (or sub-topic) or of their FAQ as a whole. One caveat. With such a comprehensive knowledge base, it is pretty much inevitable that some entries are going to be out of date. Some of the QandAs offer information which is wholly inaccurate, so in some cases, you might want to contact support to hash things out.
· Video Tutorials and Webinars — Benchmark supplies about two dozen movie tutorials which take users step by step through the features of the program. The company also supplies a webinar known as”Benchmark Email Crash Course.” You can view it live each Friday at 10.00 a.m. PST or watch the recorded version at any moment. You can even ask for a special webinar on a number of other topics. Live webinars include the opportunity to ask questions throughout the demonstration.
· Email Marketing Manuals and Articles — There are more in-depth details on email marketing in general, as well as the Benchmark program specifically, in the Manuals Section. These downloadable files also cover industry-specific troubles. Articles, similar to sites, offer users guidance beyond that found in the FAQ section, but in shorter, more readable chunks compared to the guides provide.
· Glossary of Email Marketing Requirements — This is a particularly helpful tool for all those brand new to email marketing who feel absorbed by all the jargon. Benchmark gives a glossarywith 50 of the most popular email advertising terms from”above-the-fold” into”whitelists.”
· Blog and Newsletter — For current information regarding email marketing trends, check out Benchmark’s monthly newsletter, as well as its exceptionally active site. All readers automatically obtain access to present newsletters, and Benchmark also provides an archive of newsletter articles from November 2007-October 2012.
· Benchmark Community — Benchmark users may post their newest newsletters on message boards at the Benchmark Community. This forum allows users to discuss newsletter production strategies, vote for their favorite newsletters, and gain inspiration from additional Benchmark users.
Web-Based Or Locally-Installed
Benchmark is completely web-based and does not Require any setup on your PC.
Favorable Reviews and Reviews
Benchmark Includes a four-out-of-five star rating on G2 Crowd, with a slightly better showing on GetApp and Capterra. 4.5 stars each. 2017 Association Email Marketing Benchmark Report
Some common points of praise.
· Top Notch Service . This is maybe the most common observation regarding Benchmark, and something I discovered for myself as well. People today are inclined to find support prompt and helpful, and a few say it’s actually the element that distinguishes Benchmark from its competitors. The business also receives praise for its website articles and videos.
· Feature Selection Across All Aims . Some users praise the inclusion of features like AB testing and surveys from most programs; many firms charge extra for these attributes or only include them in their pricier programs.
· Ease of Use. Users tend to find Benchmark’s interface extremely user-friendly and intuitive. The program gathers compliments from a broad assortment of demographics, from first time ESP consumers to those who have attempted many different programs before settling on Benchmark.
· Mobile Friendly Emails. Consumers were impressed with the mobile-friendly email design of Benchmark’s templates. Since more and more people access their email from mobile devices, this is an increasingly significant aspect to take into account.
Negative Reviews and Complaints
I was not able to find many people who loathed Their own Benchmark experience. However, I managed to find a few complaints.
· Inconsistent Send-Times. Apparently some users experienced an issue with Benchmark where their emails were sent hours after they were scheduled. 1 customer theorized the issue might arise in long lists of recipients. Not all customers of Benchmark will have time-sensitive shipping demands, but other people will. If you want your emails to go out precisely whenever your program dictates, you may need to consider this situation.
· Buggy Social Media Integrations. I saw several user testimonials that commented the social media integrations in Benchmark are not up to par.
· “Spammy” Templates. Some users were worried that Benchmark’s templates can feel like spam email, causing receivers to mark them as junk and not reading the contents. Since the entire point of an ESP would be to stop this from happening, this may be an issue. On the flip side, I never felt this way while searching through the template list, so it might not be the most valid of complaints.
Benchmark Offers a enormous variety of pricing plans, including a totally free plan and a huge array of paid programs which may service anywhere between 600 and 7,140,000 subscribers.
Benchmark’s free plans do not require credit Cards, that is always refreshing. The only catch. There will be a little Benchmark emblem at the bottom of each email you send out. Obviously, you can always opt to upgrade to a paid plan in case you don’t want the Benchmark branding. The free plan permits you to send up to 14000 emails to around 2000 subscribers and provides you access to all but not all of Benchmark’s features list. Notable absences into the features list for free account include email automation and sub-accounts (allowing multiple users to get one Benchmark account).
Paid Strategies. 2017 Association Email Marketing Benchmark Report
Users with small contacts lists and restricted Monthly messages have the choice of paying to get their email advertising depending on the number of mails that they send each month.
o Moderate Plans. 600-50,000 subscribers, $13.99-$254.99 a month
o Large Strategies. 55,000-100,000 subscribers, $285.99-$494.99 a month
o Extra Large Plans. 125,000-1,000,000 subscribers, $659.99-$4,273.99 per month
o Enormous Plans. 1,070,000-7,140,000 subscribers, $4,500-$29,200 per month
Benchmark accepts all Major charge cards and also lets you pay through PayPal. They also offer a 25% reduction for nonprofits and teachers.
Benchmark is a solid program. It is Simple to Use, Open to invention, and competitively priced. Its free alternatives might just be the best in the business for anybody who only wants to dive into email marketing (particularly small, neighborhood businesses). For that matter, any Benchmark strategy can work well for a small company which perspectives email as a little element of its marketing and does not have any desire to operate past the basics just yet.
If you are a little or even medium-sized Business trying to find a simple email marketing program using a multitude of amazing features, Benchmark is an exceptional choice. Though there might come a time when you outgrow the program, it supplies a great deal for the money, offers excellent service, and the company seems to be sensitive to the needs of its customers. You can not ask for more.