Summary Benchmark Email Automation
For many an evening in 2004, three people sat Around one desk in a tiny medical office — an office that served as the team’s conference room, breakfast area, and thought hub. Backed by a little programming team in India, the trio (comprising Benchmark Internet Group founder Curt Keller, his wife Denise, and an search engine optimization pro ) discussed ideas on how best 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 Clients of Benchmark Email were small businesses located in close proximity to Benchmark’s one-room HQ in Long Beach, CA. Keller and his staff personally sold them on the usage of email advertising, while working hard to make a simple user interface which would be easy to operate. All the while, the business uses such novel ideas as customizable templates and software which adapted to consumer needs. They also made certain from the outset that anyone who needed help would have rapid access to excellent customer care.
Benchmark Has continued to grow and advantagesper. Its present focus. Providing worldwide email marketing solutions to small and medium-sized companies while continuing to honor a commitment to help kids in need. This doesn’t mean that Benchmark is a little-guys-only service, however; it’s stuck to its core principle of adaptability and functions big organizations like UNICEF and Kaiser-Permanente through its High Volume Business plans.
Today, Benchmark serves up of 73,000 users from across the globe, but the company hasn’t forgotten its roots. Benchmark still keeps good relationships with small, locally-based businesses. In reality, the company offers 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 every single account — including the free ones. Here are some of Benchmark’s most notable offerings.
· Countless Industry-Specific, Themed Templates. Benchmark provides all users access to the library of over 400 templates. These are organized into 19 classes, some of which are tailored to specific industries like education, entertainment, and retail. There’s also a category for societal media-specific templates.
· Video Emails. Perhaps the best-known advantage of Benchmark is its support for video emails. The company describes the benefits of this attribute here.
· Online Surveys. You can create professional-looking online surveys using among Benchmark’s 6 templates. Post your poll on your website or build it directly 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 plans have the choice of paying for this service ($30/month) to increase their own delivery stats. Read more about the benefits of dedicated servers .
· Email Delivery Management. Benchmark’s email delivery management program is all about getting customers’ mails into inboxes. The company is a member of the Email Sender and Provider Coalition and operates with ReturnPath, a leading email delivery and delivery support. The business also communicates with ISPs on its clients’ behalf. Benchmark Email Automation
· Mobile App. Benchmark’s mobile programs make it possible for customers with an Apple device to get several functions on the road. They can get and add contacts, browse reportsand send videos via integration with a YouTube accounts, and even layout and send quick email blasts with one of 10 available templates. This is quite a bit more than many other businesses offer on their mobile programs, which makes them much more operational.
· Photo Editing. If the pictures you plan to use in your email campaign aren’t perfectly sized or need some colour adjustment, you can use Benchmark’s integrated picture editor. This is a pretty 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 build your mails from scratch.
· Autoresponder. Every Benchmark customer has the ability to style around eight custom autoresponder messages. These can be scheduled as a string or event lead-up, or made as yearly messages like birthday or anniversary mails.
· Sign-Up Types . The only way to become successful in email advertising is through growing your list, and Benchmark actually promotes doing this through sign-up forms. The business bases its Free For Life account entirely around site and Facebook sign-ups and provides an easy-to-use tool to create custom templates for every medium.
· Inbox Checker. Since every email program is different and each internet browser includes a signature fashion, making sure your emails look great across the board is crucial. You can 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 each 100 checks.
· RSS-to-Email. Regular bloggers can create newsletters out of their sites automatically through the RSS-to-Email attribute, which works with any site which handles an RSS-feed. Users simply need 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-in connection. Benchmark’s API Integration feature permits users using XML-RPC, HTTP POST, or HTTP GET abilities to retrieve data from other programs which use JSON, XML, XML-RPC, or PHP serialization strings. In a nutshell, this allows them to perform three functions. Manage contact lists, manage campaigns and campaign sending, and assess statistics. The company describes this function in more detail here.
· Advanced Metrics. Benchmark provides both List 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 account is fairly straightforward. After entering your name, email, phone number, and company name, you have to confirm your email address. This is a five-minute process for me. Upon logging into my account (using the free plan) I was greeted by an appealing UI that gave me a clear path about how best to make my very first email campaign. Great start!
Email Campaign Creation
On its own dashboard, Benchmark provides users five chief options. Emails, Automations, Contacts, Surveys, and Reports. To create a new effort, go to the Emails segment, then hit the big blue”Create New Email” button in the top right-hand corner. Benchmark Email Automation
From there, you have to decide if you want an RSS Or traditional email message. It is possible to use Benchmark’s drag-and-drop editor, or move for more customization using the built-in code editor. If you are somebody who codes their own email, then my hat is off to you, but I am not personally gifted that way, so I went with the drag-and-drop alternative.
I was motivated to enter a subject line for my Email and setup how much tracking I wanted on the message, in addition to if I wanted an automatic tweet when the campaign went out. The next task was to select which contacts I wanted to receive the campaign. With that, I was eventually able to begin constructing the email . If you would like to, you can construct your own email designs using 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 on my own.
Preventing the Email Campaign
If You’re just Starting out, you can certainly do as I did and manually input contacts one at a time. However, for people who already have a listing, there are several ways to import it. You can upload a CSV, xls, or txt file right from the computer; import contacts directly from Salesforce.com, Hotmail, or Gmail accounts; or copy and paste large lists of contacts into a text type. Once you create your Benchmark lists, they will appear on your dashboard, together with a Master Unsubscribe List.
The actual sending of the email is rather easy. 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 would like to check all is well before unleashing your email on the planet, you can send it to your self to preview it as many as 10 times/day. I opted to program my email for shipping to view how timely the automatic system would really be. I advised my email for 2.45 and obtained it at 2.50, so while the timing wasn’t exactly ideal, it was likely present in tolerance levels for most users. If you’re among the more infrequent users who demand on-the-minute email sending, you may need to look elsewhere. More worryingly, my email did not go to my primary inbox but was mechanically sorted into my”promotions” folder. Definitely not ideal.
Email Campaign Reporting
The 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 almost instantaneously. I’ve worked with a lot of different programs where these reports require hours or even days to look.
Benchmark provides users with several key Pieces of data about every effort. The arguably most important statistic, the available speed, seems in both pie chart and numerical type. In addition, Benchmark supplies users with stats such as clicks, forwards, bounces, unsubscribes, and misuse. Each stat further breaks down to the specific email addresses associated with a given activity. Users may export this data for additional analysis by means of a csv or xls file. There’s also a social networking area which reports shares via Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, in addition to a map which breaks down, by country, that opens your mails. Benchmark Email Automation
Though all of this information is great and Necessary, it isn’t sufficient to sustain increased level marketers that want more information such as conversions, which hyperlinks were clicked, and revenue analysis. Though Google Analytics provides a lot of this information with proper integration, there might come a time when serious entrepreneurs need more info than Benchmark provides. Whether or not a small business will get to that point changes, of course, dependent on the business.
Specific Size Of Company
Benchmark made its 3-tiered pricing Structure with the goal of serving everyone from the tiniest kitchen-table startup to big email marketers. However, the company’s main focus is on small to medium businesses, particularly those just beginning in email marketing. This is especially reflected in the reality that clients subscribing to the medium plans get unlimited emails, while bigger plans have limitations.
Integrations and Add-Ons
Benchmark Offers approximately 20 plug-ins and integrations. If you don’t see the integration you need, there’s still hope. You’re able to use the API or request a integration by sending an email to [email protected]
· Benchmark Events — Benchmark Events is event marketing software designed to integrate fully with Benchmark Email. Launched in 2012, this app permits users to create and customize occasions, promote and market tickets, and track the success of the events via their Benchmark Email account. A number of programs are available, such as a free alternative.
· Salesforce.com — This integration enables users to import contacts into Benchmark and utilize Benchmark’s email system to keep Salesforce customers participated. Read our review of Salesforce here.
· Twitter — Benchmark Email Lite is a WordPress plugin which allows users to quickly build an email viewer via their subscribers. The plug-in can automatically produce email versions of blog posts and permits users to connect up to five Benchmark accounts.
· Highrise — Merges Highrise contacts using a Benchmark listing. Read our overview of Highrisehere.
· Benchmark Power — This free plug-in lets you source pictures for your Benchmark emails from locations throughout the web. Benchmark Power captures pictures you locate and instantly uploads them to a Benchmark accounts for future use.
· Flickr — Users with Flickr accounts can link Flickr for their own Benchmark image galleries.
· Shopify — You can link a Shopify account to Benchmark and mechanically add Shopify customers to Benchmark lists. You can even add contributors to different lists based on what they bought. Read our overview of Shopify here.
· PayPal — Users can add some of the PayPal clients to their own Benchmark email lists bylinking the account. Read our review of Paypal here.
· Easy List — Know more about this very simple list-making app and download it .
· WordPress — The ever-present site and site builder offers an integration with Benchmark. Use it to send mails 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 huge integration library . Benchmark Email Automation
Social Media Integrations
Since Of the key link between social networking and email marketing, it is important to look at the social media features included in Benchmark.
· Social Media Templates — One segment of Benchmark’s massive email template listing is made 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 offers a simple function which permits you to add a Facebook”Just Like” button into your emails.
· Facebook Sign-Up Form — Benchmark supplies easy-to-create sign-up forms (see”Characteristics” above) for both websites and Facebook enthusiast pages, so you can convert followers into subscribers.
· Social Links within Email — Once you connect your Benchmark account together with your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn accounts, you can add switches to each email that will direct your subscribers to each of your social media pages.
The company also fully Complies with all the U.S.-E.U. and U.S.-Swiss Safe Harbor Frameworks regarding the collection of personal data from citizens of these countries. When customers provide credit card numbers to Benchmark, the business uses secure socket layer (SSL) protection to encrypt the information. The whole system is encrypted to ensure the security of customers’ personal information.
Anti-Spam Policy and Protection
Like All valid ESPs, Benchmark takes spam seriously and summarizes a clear zero-tolerance coverage for any of the users trying to take part in spam actions. The business is fully in compliance with all the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. Benchmark also takes several measures to preserve its reputation as a spam-free supplier, one of them membership in the Email Sender and Provider Coalition. The company uses the program SpamAssassin to filter messages delivered through its host.
To prevent users from Unknowingly sending spam-like substances, 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 delegated to content that is very likely to be blocked. In the event of a top score, the program suggests”less spammy” choices. Individualized IP addresses also help large-volume senders reduce their spam amounts.
Customer Support and Service
Benchmark Offers its users a lot of support resources. Customer service is generally responsive, with minimal waiting times. The website provides good learning resources, but may be needlessly opaque occasionally. Crucial information is often buried and hard to locate, especially if you don’t know precisely what you’re looking for, particularly in regards to minute details about plans. As an example. That the Free For Life plan includes Benchmark branding on every 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 mentioned when you register. The only place it’s mentioned is in the FAQ, here.
Here are some of the resources Benchmark offers. Benchmark Email Automation
· Live Support and Email — Benchmark supplies live one-on-one support through the following means.
· Email Support. Contact Benchmark at [email protected] or through the company’s contact form . Accessible 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 countries). Available weekdays from 6 am to 5 pm PT.
· Chat Support. Available nearly 24 hours daily Monday — Friday and restricted hours on Saturday. Founded in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian.
· FAQ — Benchmark’s FAQ section is somewhat mislabeled because it is closer to some QandA-format knowledge base than a typical FAQ. There are over 900 entries, sorted into 18 subjects ranging from”Getting Started” to”API.” Users can perform a keyword search of any subject (or sub-topic) or of the FAQ as a whole. One caveat. With such an extensive knowledge base, it’s pretty much inevitable that some entries are going to be out of date. Some of the QandAs provide information that’s wholly incorrect, so in some cases, you might need to contact support to hash things out.
· Video Tutorials and Webinars — Benchmark provides about two dozen movie tutorials that take users step by step through the features of this app. 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 time. You can also request a particular webinar on a number of other subjects. 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 generally, in addition to the Benchmark program especially, at the Manuals Section. These downloadable documents also cover industry-specific troubles. Articles, very similar to sites, offer users guidance beyond that found in the FAQ section, but in shorter, more readable chunks than the guides provide.
· Glossary of Email Marketing Terms — This is a particularly helpful tool for those brand new to email marketing who feel absorbed by all of the jargon. Benchmark provides a glossarywith 50 of the very popular email marketing 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 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 may post their newest newsletters on message boards at the Benchmark Community. This forum allows users to discuss newsletter production approaches, vote for their favourite newsletters, and gain inspiration from other Benchmark users.
Web-Based Or Locally-Installed
Benchmark is completely web-based and does not Require any setup on your PC.
Positive Reviews and Testimonials
Benchmark Has a four-out-of-five star rating on G2 Crowd, using a slightly better showing on GetApp and Capterra. 4.5 stars each. Benchmark Email Automation
Some common points of praise.
· Top Notch Support. This is perhaps the most typical observation concerning Benchmark, and something I discovered for myself too. People today are inclined to find support prompt and helpful, and some say it is really the element that distinguishes Benchmark from its rivals. The company also receives praise for its website articles and videos.
· Characteristic Selection Across All Aims . Some users praise the inclusion of features like AB analyzing and surveys from all programs; many companies charge extra for such attributes or just include them in their pricier programs.
· Ease of Use. Users tend to locate Benchmark’s interface incredibly user-friendly and intuitive. The program gathers praise from a wide range of demographics, from first-time ESP users to people who have attempted many different programs before settling on Benchmark.
· Mobile Friendly Emails. Consumers were impressed with the mobile-friendly email layout 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 Unable to find many people who loathed Their own Benchmark experience. But, I was able to find a couple of complaints.
· Inconsistent Send-Times. Apparently a few users experienced a problem with Benchmark where their mails were sent hours when they were first scheduled. 1 customer theorized the issue might arise from long lists of recipients. Not all customers of all Benchmark will have time-sensitive shipping needs, but others will. Should you need your mails to go out exactly when your program dictates, you may have 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 have been worried that Benchmark’s templates can feel like spam mail, causing recipients to mark them as spam rather than studying the contents. Since the entire purpose of an ESP is to stop this from happening, this might be a problem. On the flip side, I never felt this way while searching through the template list, so it might not be the most legitimate of complaints.
Benchmark Offers a huge number of pricing strategies, including a totally free plan and a massive scale of paid plans which can service anywhere between 600 and 7,140,000 subscribers.
Benchmark’s free plans do not require charge Cards, that is always refreshing. The only catch. There’ll be a small Benchmark emblem at the bottom of each email you send out. Obviously, you may always opt to upgrade to a paid program in case you don’t need the Benchmark branding. The free program allows you to send up to 14000 mails to around 2000 subscribers and gives you access to most but not all of Benchmark’s features record. Notable absences into the attributes list for free account comprise email automation and sub-accounts (allowing multiple users to access one Benchmark account).
Paid Plans. Benchmark Email Automation
Users with little contacts lists and limited Monthly messages have the choice of paying to get their email advertising based on the amount of emails they send every month.
o Medium 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 Plans. 125,000-1,000,000 subscribers, $659.99-$4,273.99 a 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 allows you to pay through PayPal. They also offer a 25% reduction for nonprofits and educators.
Benchmark is a good program. It is easy to use, Open to innovation, and competitively priced. Its free alternatives might just be the very best in the business for anyone who just wants to dip into email advertising (especially small, local companies ). For that matter, any Benchmark plan can work nicely for a small business which perspectives email as a minor aspect of its advertising and does not have any desire to work beyond the basics just yet.
If you are a small or maybe medium-sized Company trying to find a simple email marketing program with a multitude of great features, Benchmark is an exceptional option. Even though there may come a time when you launch the app, it provides a lot for the money, offers exceptional support, and the company seems to be sensitive to the requirements of its customers. You can’t ask for much more.