Summary About Email Marketing
For many a day in 2004, three people sat Around one desk in a tiny medical office — an office that functioned as the group’s conference room, lunch room, and thought heart. Backed by a small programming team in India, the trio (comprising Benchmark Internet Group founder Curt Keller, his wife Denise, along with an search engine optimization pro ) discussed ideas for how to execute a deceptively straightforward concept. Simple email advertising. Many of their thoughts were beyond the resources of this fledgling business, but that didn’t stop Keller from moving ahead.
The first Customers of Benchmark Mail were small companies located in close proximity to Benchmark’s one-room HQ in Long Beach, CA. Keller and his staff sold them on the usage of email advertising, while working hard to create a very simple user interface that would be simple to operate. All the while, the company championed such novel ideas as customizable templates and software which adapted to user needs. They also made sure from the outset that anyone who needed help would have rapid access to outstanding customer support.
Benchmark Has continued to grow and advantagesper. Its current focus. Providing global email marketing services to small and midsize businesses while continuing to honor a commitment to help kids in need. This doesn’t indicate that Benchmark is a little-guys-only company, however; it’s stuck to its core principle of adaptability and serves large organizations like UNICEF and Kaiser-Permanente via its High Volume Business plans.
Today, Benchmark serves up of 73,000 users from across the planet, but the company hasn’t forgotten its origins. Benchmark still keeps good relationships with little, locally-based businesses. In reality, the organization supplies a complete page of testimonials from local users of this app. You can 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 characteristics of this ESP is the fact that most of its features come standard with each accounts — including the free ones. Here are a few of Benchmark’s most notable offerings.
· Countless Industry-Specific, Themed Templates. Benchmark offers all customers access to the library of over 400 templates. These are organized into 19 classes, some of which are tailored to specific industries such as education, entertainment, and retailstores. There is also a class for societal media-specific templates.
· Video Emails. Possibly the best-known benefit of Benchmark is its support for video mails. The business explains the advantages of this attribute here.
· Online Surveys. You’ll be able to create professional-looking online surveys using among Benchmark’s 6 templates. Post your poll on your website or construct it directly into an email.
· Dedicated Email Server. All Benchmark’s High Volume plans come with a dedicated IP address to help increase deliverability prices. Users on other plans have the option of paying for this service ($30/month) to boost their own delivery stats. Read more about the advantages of dedicated servers .
· Email Delivery Management. Benchmark’s email shipping management program is all about getting customers’ emails into inboxes. The company is a part of the Email Sender and Provider Coalition and works with ReturnPath, a leading email delivery and consulting support. The company also communicates with ISPs on its clients’ behalf. About Email Marketing
· Mobile App. Benchmark’s mobile apps make it possible for customers having an Apple device to access several purposes on the street. They can access and add contacts, read reports, send videos through integration using a YouTube account, and even layout and send fast email blasts with one of 10 templates that are available. That is quite a little more than a number of other businesses offer on their mobile programs, which makes them considerably more functional.
· Photo Editing. If the photos you plan to utilize on your email campaign aren’t perfectly sized or need some colour adjustment, you may use Benchmark’s integrated picture editor. This is a pretty handy feature if you do not have photoshop accessible.
· Code Editor. In case you have the know-how to work magic with HTML, Benchmark provides this ultra-customization option with which you can build your mails from scratch.
· Autoresponder. Each Benchmark client has the ability to design around eight custom autoresponder messages. These can be scheduled as a series or occasion lead-up, or designed as annual messages such as birthday or anniversary emails.
· Sign-Up Types . The only way to be successful in email marketing is through growing your own list, and Benchmark really promotes doing so via sign-up forms. The business bases its Free For Life account completely around site and Facebook sign-ups and supplies an easy-to-use instrument to create custom templates for every medium.
· Inbox Checker. Because every email program is different and every web browser includes a signature style, making certain that your emails look good across the board is important. It is possible to use Inbox Checker to have a look at the way that your email screens in Gmail using Explorer and Outlook 3. Employing the full app (which checks everything from AOL to Yahoo, Explorer to Safari, mobile to PC) is a paid add-on provider, available for $14 per 100 checks.
· RSS-to-Email. Regular bloggers can create newsletters out of their sites automatically through the RSS-to-Email feature, which works with any site which manages an RSS-feed. Users only have to establish 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-in connection. Benchmark’s API Integration feature allows users with XML-RPC, HTTP POST, or HTTP GET abilities to recover data from other apps which use JSON, XML, XML-RPC, or PHP serialization strings. In a nutshell, this permits them to play three purposes. Manage contact lists, handle campaigns and effort sending, and check statistics. The business describes this role in more detail here.
· Advanced Metrics. Benchmark offers both Listing Segmentation and AB Split Testing.
· Multiple-Language Interface. Benchmark is offered in seven languages. Chinese, English, German, Japanese, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish.
Ease Of Use
Signing up for a Benchmark accounts is pretty straightforward. After entering your name, email, phone number, and business name, you have 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 create my very first email campaign. Good start!
Email Campaign Creation
On its dashboard, Benchmark offers users five main options. Emails, Automations, Contacts, Surveys, and Reports. To create a new effort, go into the Emails section, then hit on the large blue”Create New Mail” button at the upper right-hand corner. About Email Marketing
From there, you have to decide if you want an RSS Or traditional email message. You can use Benchmark’s drag-and-drop editor, or move for more customization using the built-in code editor. If you are someone who codes their own email, then my hat is off to you, but I am not personally gifted that way, so I moved with the drag-and-drop alternative.
I had been prompted to enter a subject line for my Email and set up how much observation I wanted on the message, in addition to if I wanted an automatic tweet once the campaign went out. The next task was to select which contacts I wanted to get the campaign. With that, I was eventually able to start building the email . If you want to, you can assemble your personal email layouts employing a very intuitive editor. On the other hand, you can modify one of Benchmark’s templates, which can be great, and much better than I was able to do in my.
Sending the Email Campaign
If you are just Starting out, you can certainly do as I did and manually enter contacts 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 right from your computer; import contacts directly from Salesforce.com, Hotmail, or Gmail accounts; or copy and paste large 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 actual sending of this email is rather easy. Once you’ve finished all your tweaks, you can either save email as a draft, send it instantly, or schedule a time and date for delivery. If you want to check all is well before unleashing your email on the world, you can send it to yourself to preview it as many as 10 times/day. I opted to schedule my email for delivery to see how timely the automatic system would really be. I scheduled my email for 2.45 and received it at 2.50, so while the timing wasn’t exactly perfect, it was probably within tolerance levels for many users. If you’re among the more rare users who demand on-the-minute email sending, you might have to appear elsewhere. More worryingly, my email did not go to my primary inbox but was automatically sorted into my”promotions” folder. Definitely not ideal.
Mail Campaign Reporting
First thing I Noticed about Benchmark email reports was something I’d read in a few reviews. They are really, really fast. I mean lightning fast. Opens register from the Benchmark system virtually immediately. I have worked with several different apps where these reports take hours or even days to look.
Benchmark provides users with several key Pieces of information about every effort. The possibly most important statistic, the available speed, appears in both pie graph and numerical type. Additionally, Benchmark provides users with stats for clicks, forwards, bounces, unsubscribes, and misuse. Each stat further breaks down to the exact email addresses related to a given activity. Users may export this information for additional analysis via a csv or xls file. There’s also a social networking area which reports shares through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, as well as a map that breaks down, by country, that opens your mails. About Email Marketing
Though all of this information is great and Necessary, it isn’t enough to sustain higher level marketers that want more info such as conversions, which hyperlinks were clicked, and earnings analysis. Although Google Analytics provides a whole lot of that info with appropriate integration, there may come a time when serious marketers need more information than Benchmark provides. Whether a small business will get to that point varies, naturally, based on the business.
Specific Size Of Business
Benchmark designed its 3-tiered pricing Structure with the goal of serving everyone from the smallest kitchen-table startup to large email marketers. On the other hand, the company’s key focus is on small to medium businesses, particularly those just starting out in email advertising. This is particularly reflected in the fact that clients subscribing to the moderate plans get unlimited emails, while bigger plans have limitations.
Integrations and Add-Ons
Benchmark Offers roughly 20 plug-ins and integrations. If you don’t see the integration you want, there’s still hope. You’re able to use the API or ask a integration by sending an email to [email protected]
· Benchmark Occasions — Benchmark Events is event marketing applications designed to integrate fully with Benchmark Email. Launched in 2012, this app allows users to create and customize events, promote and market tickets, and track the success of their events through their Benchmark Email account. A number of subscriptions are available, such as a free option.
· Salesforce.com — This integration enables users to import contacts into Benchmark and utilize Benchmark’s email system to keep Salesforce customers engaged. Read our review of Salesforce here.
· Twitter — Benchmark Email Lite is a WordPress plugin which permits users to easily build an email viewer via their readers. The plug-in can automatically create email versions of blog articles and permits users to connect up to five Benchmark accounts.
· Highrise — Merges Highrise contacts using a Benchmark listing. Read our review of Highrisehere.
· Benchmark Power — This free plug-in lets you source pictures for your Benchmark emails from locations across the net. Benchmark Power captures pictures you locate and immediately uploads them to a Benchmark accounts for future usage.
· Flickr — Users with Flickr accounts may link Flickr for their Benchmark image galleries.
· Shopify — You are able to link a Shopify accounts to Benchmark and mechanically add Shopify customers to Benchmark lists. You may even add contributors to different lists based on what they bought. Read our review of Shopify here.
· PayPal — Users can add some of the PayPal customers for their own Benchmark email lists bylinking the accounts. Read our review of Paypal here.
· Easy List — Know more about this very simple list-making program and download it here.
· WordPress — The ever-present site and website builder provides an integration using Benchmark. Use it to send emails of your blog articles and use the analytics to observe how your readers react to them. Learn more here.
· Zapier — Gain entry to Zapier’s enormous integration library . About Email Marketing
Social Media Integrations
Because Of the integral link between social media and email marketing, it’s very important to look at the social media features included in Benchmark.
· Social Media Templates — One section of Benchmark’s massive email template list consists of social media-specific templates which directly promote your company’s involvement in social networking forums such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
· Facebook”Like” Button — Benchmark provides a very simple function which permits you to bring a Facebook”Just Like” button into your own emails.
· Facebook Sign-Up Form — Benchmark provides easy-to-create sign-up forms (see”Features” above) for both sites and Facebook enthusiast pages, to help you convert followers to readers.
· Social Links within Mail — After you connect your Benchmark account with your Facebook, Twitter, and/or LinkedIn account, you can add buttons to every email which will direct your subscribers to each of your social networking pages.
The Business also fully Complies with all the U.S.-E.U. and U.S.-Swiss Safe Harbor Frameworks regarding the selection of personal data from citizens of these countries. When customers provide credit card amounts to Benchmark, the business uses secure socket layer (SSL) protection to encrypt the info. The entire system is encrypted to ensure the security of customers’ personal information.
Anti-Spam Policy and Protection
Like All valid ESPs, Benchmark takes junk seriously and summarizes a clear zero-tolerance coverage for any of their users hoping to engage in spam actions. The business is entirely in compliance with the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. Benchmark additionally takes several measures to preserve its reputation as a spam-free provider, one of them membership in the Email Sender and Provider Coalition. The business employs the app SpamAssassin to filter messages sent through its host.
To prevent users from Unknowingly sending spam-like materials, Benchmark provides a spam test feature which looks for words commonly used in spam messages. It scores every email on a scale from 1 to 5; 5s are assigned to content that is very likely to be blocked. In case of a top score, the program suggests”less spammy” choices. Individualized IP addresses also assist large-volume senders reduce their spam amounts.
Customer Support and Service
Benchmark Offers its users a great deal of support resources. Customer support is generally responsive, with minimal waiting times. The site offers good learning resources, but can be opaque at times. Crucial information is often buried and hard to locate, especially in the event that you don’t know precisely what you’re looking for, particularly when it comes to minute particulars about plans. For instance. The Free For Life plan comprises Benchmark branding on each email, but you won’t see that mentioned on the Free For Life webpage, not even at the fine print. Nor are you going to see it said when you register. The only place it is mentioned is at the FAQ, here.
Here are some of those resources Benchmark offers. About Email Marketing
· Live Email and Support — Benchmark supplies live one-on-one aid through the following means.
· Email Support. Contact Benchmark at [email protected] or via the organization’s contact form . Available 24 hours Monday — Friday and restricted hours on Saturday.
· Phone Support. You can reach Benchmark in 800-430-4095 (U.S.) or even 001-562-252-3789 (all states ). Available weekdays from 6 am to 5 pm PT.
· Chat Support. Accessible almost 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 because it is closer to some QandA-format knowledge foundation than a normal FAQ. There are more than 900 entries, sorted into 18 topics ranging from”Getting Started” to”API.” Users may execute a keyword search of any topic (or sub-topic) or of the FAQ as a whole. 1 caveat. With such a comprehensive knowledge base, it is pretty much inevitable that some entries will be out of date. A few of the QandAs offer advice which is wholly inaccurate, so in some cases, you may want to contact assistance to hash things out.
· Video Tutorials and Webinars — Benchmark supplies about two dozen video tutorials that take users step by step through the features of this app. The business also offers a webinar known as”Benchmark Mail 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 also ask for a particular webinar on a number of other subjects. Live webinars include the chance to ask questions during the demonstration.
· Email Marketing Manuals and Articles — There are more in-depth information on email marketing in general, in addition to the Benchmark program specifically, at the Manuals Section. These downloadable documents also cover industry-specific issues. Articles, similar to blogs, offer users guidance beyond that found in the FAQ section, but in shorter, more digestible chunks compared to the manuals provide.
· Glossary of Email Marketing Requirements — This can be a particularly helpful tool for those new to email marketing who believe absorbed by all the jargon. Benchmark provides a glossarywith 50 of the most popular email marketing terms from”above-the-fold” into”whitelists.”
· Website and Newsletter — For current information about email advertising trends, check out Benchmark’s monthly newsletter, in addition to its extremely active site. All subscribers automatically obtain access to current newsletters, and Benchmark also provides an archive of newsletter posts from November 2007-October 2012.
· Benchmark Community — Benchmark users can post their latest newsletters on message boards at the Benchmark Community. This forum allows users to talk about newsletter production strategies, vote for their favourite newsletters, and gain inspiration from other Benchmark users.
Web-Based Or Locally-Installed
Benchmark is completely web-based and doesn’t Require any setup on your computer.
Positive Reviews and Testimonials
Benchmark Has a four-out-of-five star rating on G2 Crowd, with a slightly better showing on GetApp and Capterra. 4.5 stars each. About Email Marketing
Some common points of compliments.
· Top Notch Support. This is maybe the most typical monitoring concerning Benchmark, and something I discovered for myself as well. People tend to find support prompt and beneficial, and some say it’s really the element that distinguishes Benchmark from its rivals. The company also receives praise for its blog articles and videos.
· Characteristic Selection Across All Aims . Some customers praise the inclusion of attributes like AB analyzing and surveys from all programs; many firms charge extra for such features or just include them in their pricier plans.
· Benefits of Use. Users tend to locate Benchmark’s interface incredibly intuitive and user-friendly. The program gathers praise 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. Users were impressed with all the mobile-friendly email layout of Benchmark’s templates. Since more and more people access their email from mobile devices, this is an increasingly important factor to take into account.
Negative Reviews and Complaints
I was not able to find many people who loathed Their Benchmark experience. But, I managed to find a couple of complaints.
· Inconsistent Send-Times. Apparently a few users experienced an issue with Benchmark in which their emails were sent hours after they were scheduled. 1 customer theorized the issue might arise from lengthy lists of recipients. Not all clients of all Benchmark will have time-sensitive sending needs, but other people will. Should you want your mails to go out exactly when your schedule dictates, you might need to consider this situation.
· Buggy Social Media Integrations. I watched several consumer reviews that commented the social networking integrations in Benchmark aren’t up to par.
· “Spammy” Templates. Some users were worried that Benchmark’s templates can feel like spam email, causing recipients to mark them as junk and not studying the contents. Since the whole purpose of an ESP is to prevent this from occurring, this may be an issue. On the flip side, I never felt this way whilst searching through the template list, therefore it might not be the most legitimate of complaints.
Benchmark Offers a huge number of pricing plans, such as a totally free plan and a massive array of paid plans which may service anywhere between 600 and 7,140,000 subscribers.
Benchmark’s free plans do not require charge Cards, that is always refreshing. The only grab. There’ll be a little Benchmark emblem at the bottom of each email you send out. Obviously, you may always choose to upgrade to a paid program in case you don’t want the Benchmark branding. The free program permits you to send up to 14000 emails to around 2000 subscribers and gives you access to most but not all Benchmark’s features record. Notable absences to the features list for free account comprise email automation and sub-accounts (enabling many users to access one Benchmark accounts ).
Paid Plans. About Email Marketing
Users with small contacts lists and limited Monthly messages have the choice of paying for their email marketing based on the number of mails they send each month.
o Moderate Plans. 600-50,000 subscribers, $13.99-$254.99 per month
o Large Strategies. 55,000-100,000 subscribers, $285.99-$494.99 a month
o Extra Large Strategies. 125,000-1,000,000 subscribers, $659.99-$4,273.99 a month
o Massive 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 you a 25% discount for nonprofits and educators.
Benchmark is a solid program. It is easy to use, Open to innovation, and competitively priced. Its free options might just be the very best in the company for anybody who only wants to dive into email advertising (especially small, neighborhood companies ). For that matter, any Benchmark strategy can work well for a small business 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 Company looking for a easy email advertising program using a multitude of amazing features, Benchmark is an excellent option. Though there might come a time when you launch the app, it provides a great deal for the money, offers exceptional service, and the company appears to be sensitive to the needs of its users. You can’t ask for more.