Overview Benchmark Email Automation Pro
For many an evening in 2004, three people sat Around one desk in a small medical office — an office that functioned as the group’s conference room, lunch room, and idea heart. Backed by a small programming group in India, the trio (consisting of Benchmark Internet Group founder Curt Keller, his wife Denise, and an SEO pro ) discussed ideas on how best to execute a deceptively simple idea. Simple email marketing. Many of their thoughts were beyond the resources of the fledgling business, but that didn’t stop Keller from planning ahead.
The first Clients of Benchmark Mail were small businesses located in close proximity to Benchmark’s one-room HQ in Long Beach, CA. Keller and his team personally sold them on the usage of email marketing, while working hard to make a very simple user interface that would be easy 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 anybody who needed help would have rapid access to excellent customer support.
Benchmark Has continued to rise and advantagesper. Its present focus. Providing global email marketing services to small and medium-sized companies while continuing to honor a commitment to assist children in need. This does not indicate that Benchmark is a little-guys-only service, however; it’s stuck to its core principle of adaptability and serves big organizations such as UNICEF and Kaiser-Permanente through its High Volume Business plans.
Today, Benchmark serves upwards of 73,000 users from throughout the globe, however, the company hasn’t forgotten its origins. Benchmark still keeps good relationships with little, locally-based businesses. In reality, the company offers a full page of testimonials from local users of the app. You may read more about Benchmark’s background and development here.
While the Majority of the features Benchmark supplies Are on par with the rest of the industry, among the standout characteristics of this ESP is the simple fact that most of its attributes come standard with every single accounts — such as the free ones. Here are some of Benchmark’s most noteworthy offerings.
· Hundreds of Industry-Specific, Themed Templates. Benchmark provides all users access to its library of over 400 templates. These are organized into 19 categories, some of which are tailored to particular industries such as education, entertainment, and retail. There’s also a category for social media-specific templates.
· Video Emails. Perhaps the best-known benefit of Benchmark is its support for video mails. The company describes the advantages of this feature here.
· Online Surveys. You can create professional-looking online polls using among Benchmark’s 6 templates. Post your poll on your site 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 boost their particular delivery stats. Read more about the benefits of dedicated servers here.
· Email Delivery Management. Benchmark’s email shipping management program is about getting clients’ mails into inboxes. The business is a part of the Email Sender and Provider Coalition and operates with ReturnPath, a top email delivery and delivery service. The business also communicates with ISPs on its customers’ behalf. Benchmark Email Automation Pro
· Mobile App. Benchmark’s mobile apps allow customers having an Apple device to access several functions on the road. They can access and include 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. That is quite a bit more than many other businesses offer in their mobile programs, which makes them much more functional.
· Photo Editing. If the pictures you plan to utilize in your email campaign aren’t perfectly sized or need some color adjustment, you may use Benchmark’s integrated picture editor. This is a fairly handy feature if you don’t have photoshop available.
· Code Editor. In case you have the know-how to work magic with HTML, Benchmark provides this ultra-customization choice with which you may construct your emails from scratch.
· Autoresponder. Every Benchmark client has the power to style up to eight custom autoresponder messages. These can be scheduled as a string or event lead-up, or made as annual messages such as birthday or anniversary mails.
· Sign-Up Types . The only way to become prosperous in email marketing is by way of growing your list, and Benchmark really promotes doing this through 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 each medium.
· Inbox Checker. Because every email program is different and each web browser has a signature style, making certain that your emails look good across the board is crucial. You can use Inbox Checker to have a look at the way your email displays in Gmail using Explorer and Outlook 3. Employing the entire app (which assesses everything from AOL to Yahoo, Explorer into Safari, mobile to PC) is a paid add-on provider, available for $14 per 100 checks.
· RSS-to-Email. Regular bloggers may create newsletters out of their sites automatically through the RSS-to-Email feature, which works with any blog which manages an RSS-feed. Users simply have to set up a campaign and template inside Benchmark once.
· API Integration. An API (Application Program Interface) enables different software programs to communicate with one another without a formal plug-in link. Benchmark’s API Integration feature permits users with XML-RPC, HTTP POST, or HTTP GET abilities to retrieve data from some other programs which use JSON, XML, XML-RPC, or PHP serialization strings. In a nutshell, this allows them to play three functions. Manage contact lists, manage campaigns and effort sending, and check statistics. The company describes this role in more detail .
· Advanced Metrics. Benchmark offers both List Segmentation and AB Split Testing.
· Multiple-Language Interface. Benchmark is offered in seven languages. Chinese, English, German, Japanese, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish.
Benefits Of Use
Enrolling in a Benchmark accounts is pretty straightforward. After entering your name, email, contact number, and business name, you need to confirm your email address. This was a five-minute process for me. Upon logging into my account (with the free plan) I was greeted by an appealing UI that gave me a very clear direction on how to make my first email campaign. Good start!
Email Campaign Creation
On its dashboard, Benchmark offers users five main choices. Emails, Automations, Contacts, Surveys, and Reports. To create a new effort, proceed to the Emails section, then hit on the big blue”Create New Mail” button in the upper right-hand corner. Benchmark Email Automation Pro
From there, you must decide If You Would like 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 someone 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 had been motivated to enter a subject line for my Email and setup how much tracking I desired on the message, as well as if I wanted an automated tweet once the campaign went out. The following task was to select which contacts I wanted to get the campaign. With that, I was finally able to begin constructing the email . If you would like to, you are able to construct your personal email designs using an extremely intuitive editor. On the other hand, you can alter one of Benchmark’s templates, that can be great, and much better than I was able to do on my own.
Preventing the Email Campaign
If you are just Starting out, you can certainly do as I did and manually input contacts at a time. However, for those who already have a list, there are numerous ways to import it. You can upload a CSV, xls, or txt file directly from your personal computer; import contacts directly from Salesforce.com, Hotmail, or Gmail accounts; or copy and paste large lists of contacts to a text form. Once you make your Benchmark lists, then they’ll show up on your dashboard, along with a Master Unsubscribe List.
The actual sending of this email is rather simple. Once you’ve completed all of your tweaks, you can either save the email as a draft, send it immediately, or schedule a date and time for delivery. If you would like to verify all is well before distributing your email about the world, you can send it to yourself to preview it as many as 10 times/day. I chose to program my email for delivery to see how timely the automatic system would actually be. I advised my email for 2.45 and received it in 2.50, so while the timing wasn’t exactly perfect, it was probably present in tolerance levels for most users. If you’re among the more rare users who demand on-the-minute email sending, then you may need to look elsewhere. More worryingly, my email did not go to my main inbox but was mechanically sorted in my”promotions” folder. Definitely not ideal.
Mail Campaign Reporting
First thing I Noticed about Benchmark email reports was something I would read in a few reviews. They’re really, really quickly. I mean lightning fast. Opens register from the Benchmark system virtually instantaneously. I’ve worked with several different apps where these reports take hours or even days to look.
Benchmark provides users with several key Bits of information about every effort. The possibly most important statistic, the open rate, appears in both pie graph and numerical type. In addition, Benchmark provides users with stats such as clicks, forward, bounces, unsubscribes, and misuse. Every stat further breaks down to the specific email addresses related to a given activity. Users can export this information for further analysis via 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 that breaks down, by country, that opens your emails. Benchmark Email Automation Pro
Though all of the information is great and Necessary, it is not 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 that info with appropriate integration, there may come a time when serious entrepreneurs need more info than Benchmark provides. Whether or not a small company will get to that point changes, of course, based on the business.
Particular Size Of Business
Benchmark made its 3-tiered pricing Structure with the objective of serving everybody from the tiniest kitchen-table startup to large email marketers. On the other hand, the organization’s main focus is on small to medium businesses, especially those just beginning in email marketing. This is especially reflected in the fact that customers subscribing to the moderate plans get unlimited mails, while bigger plans have limitations.
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’re able to use the API or request a 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 app permits users to make and customize events, promote and sell tickets, and track the success of the events through their Benchmark Email accounts. A variety of subscriptions are available, including a free option.
· Salesforce.com — This integration allows 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 Email Lite is a WordPress plug-in which permits users to easily build an email viewer through their readers. The plug-in can automatically produce email variations of blog articles and allows 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 allows you to supply pictures for your Benchmark mails from locations across the net. Benchmark Power captures pictures you locate and instantly uploads them to a Benchmark accounts for future usage.
· Flickr — Users with Flickr accounts can link Flickr for their own Benchmark image galleries.
· Shopify — You can link a Shopify accounts to Benchmark and mechanically add Shopify clients to Benchmark lists. You can even add contributors to different lists based on what they purchased. Read our review of Shopify here.
· PayPal — Users can add some of their PayPal customers to their own Benchmark email lists bylinking the account. Read our overview 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 provides an integration using Benchmark. Use it to send mails of your blog articles and also use the analytics to observe how your readers react to them. Learn more here.
· Zapier — Gain entry to Zapier’s enormous integration library . Benchmark Email Automation Pro
Social Media Integrations
Because Of the integral link between social media and email advertising, it’s very important to check out the social media features contained in Benchmark.
· Social Media Templates — One section of Benchmark’s enormous email template listing consists of social media-specific templates that directly promote your company’s participation in social networking forums such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
· Facebook”Like” Button — Benchmark provides a simple function which permits you to add a Facebook”Like” button to your emails.
· Facebook Sign-Up Form — Benchmark supplies easy-to-create sign-up forms (see”Features” above) for both websites and Facebook enthusiast pages, to help you convert followers to readers.
· Social Links within Email — After you link your Benchmark account together with your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn accounts, you can add switches to each email that will direct your readers to each of your social media 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 these nations. When clients 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 customers’ personal details.
Anti-Spam Policy and Protection
Like All legitimate ESPs, Benchmark takes junk seriously and summarizes a clear zero-tolerance coverage for any of the users trying to take part in spam activities. The business is fully in compliance with the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. Benchmark also takes several steps to preserve its standing as a spam-free supplier, among them membership in the Email Sender and Provider Coalition. The company employs the app SpamAssassin to filter messages delivered through its server.
To prevent users from Unknowingly sending spam-like substances, Benchmark supplies a spam check feature that looks for words widely 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 high score, the program suggests”less spammy” choices. Individualized IP addresses also assist large-volume senders reduce their spam numbers.
Customer Service and Support
Benchmark Offers its users a lot of support resources. Customer support is generally responsive, with minimal waiting times. The website provides good learning tools, but can be opaque occasionally. Key information is often buried and difficult to find, particularly in the event that you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for, particularly when it comes to minute details about plans. For instance. That the Free For Life plan comprises Benchmark branding on every email, but you won’t see that mentioned on the Free For Life webpage, not even in the fine print. Nor will you see it said 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 Pro
· Live Support and Email — Benchmark provides live one-on-one support through the following means.
· Email Service. Contact Benchmark at [email protected] or via the organization’s contact form . Available 24 hours Monday — Friday and limited hours on Saturday.
· Telephone Support. You can reach Benchmark in 800-430-4095 (U.S.) or 001-562-252-3789 (all countries). Available weekdays from 6 am to 5 pm PT.
· Chat Support. Accessible 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’s closer to a QandA-format knowledge base than a normal FAQ. You will find over 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 from their FAQ as a whole. 1 caveat. With such a comprehensive knowledge base, it is pretty much inevitable that some entries are going to be out of date. A few of the QandAs offer information that’s wholly inaccurate, so in some cases, you may need to contact support to hash things out.
· Video Tutorials and Webinars — Benchmark supplies about two dozen movie tutorials that take users step by step through the features of the app. The business also supplies a webinar called”Benchmark Email Crash Course.” You can see it live each Friday at 10.00 a.m. PST or see the recorded version at any moment. You can also request a special webinar on a number of other topics. Live webinars include the chance to ask questions during the demonstration.
· Email Marketing Manuals and Articles — You can find more in-depth details on email marketing in general, as well as the Benchmark program specifically, in 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 compared to the manuals provide.
· Glossary of Email Marketing Requirements — This is a particularly valuable tool for those brand new to email marketing who feel absorbed by all the jargon. Benchmark gives a glossarywith 50 of the most popular email advertising conditions from”above-the-fold” to”whitelists.”
· Website and Newsletter — For current information regarding email marketing trends, check out Benchmark’s monthly newsletter, in addition to its extremely active site. All readers automatically obtain access to present newsletters, and Benchmark also offers an archive of newsletter articles from November 2007-October 2012.
· Benchmark Community — Benchmark users may post their latest newsletters on message boards at the Benchmark Community. This forum allows users to talk about newsletter production strategies, vote for their favorite newsletters, and gain inspiration from other Benchmark users.
Web-Based Or Locally-Installed
Benchmark is completely web-based and doesn’t Require any installation on your PC.
Favorable Reviews and Reviews
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. Benchmark Email Automation Pro
Some common points of compliments.
· Top Notch Support. This is maybe the most common observation regarding Benchmark, and something I discovered for myself as well. People today tend to find support prompt and beneficial, and a few say it is actually the element that distinguishes Benchmark from its rivals. The business also receives praise for its website articles and videos.
· Characteristic Selection Across All Plans. Some customers praise the addition of features including AB testing and surveys from all plans; many firms charge extra for such attributes or just include them in their pricier programs.
· Ease of Use. Users tend to locate Benchmark’s interface incredibly intuitive and user-friendly. The program gathers praise from a wide range 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 layout of Benchmark’s templates. Since an increasing number of people access their email from mobile devices, this is an increasingly significant factor to consider.
Negative Reviews and Complaints
I was Unable to find many people who disliked Their Benchmark experience. However, I was able to find a couple of complaints.
· Inconsistent Send-Times. Apparently some users experienced an issue with Benchmark where their emails were sent hours after they were first scheduled. 1 customer theorized the issue might arise from lengthy lists of recipients. Not all clients of Benchmark will have time-sensitive shipping demands, but others will. Should you need your mails to go out precisely when your schedule 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 were concerned that Benchmark’s templates may feel like spam mail, leading recipients to mark them as junk and not studying the contents. Since the whole point of an ESP is to prevent this from happening, this may be a problem. On the other hand, I never felt this way while looking through the template list, so it may not be the most legitimate of complaints.
Benchmark Offers a enormous number of pricing strategies, including a free plan and a massive scale of paid plans that may service anywhere between 600 and 7,140,000 subscribers.
Benchmark’s free programs do not require credit Cards, which is always refreshing. The only catch. There will be a small Benchmark emblem at the bottom of every email you send out. Of course, you may always opt to upgrade to a paid plan if you don’t need the Benchmark branding. The free program permits you to send up to 14000 mails to around 2000 subscribers and gives you access to all but not all Benchmark’s features record. Notable absences to the attributes list for free account include email automation and sub-accounts (allowing multiple users to get one Benchmark accounts ).
Paid Strategies. Benchmark Email Automation Pro
Users with little contacts lists and limited Monthly messages have the option of paying to get their email marketing depending on the amount of emails that they send every month.
o Medium Plans. 600-50,000 subscribers, $13.99-$254.99 per month
o Large Plans. 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 you a 25% reduction for nonprofits and educators.
Benchmark is a solid program. It is Simple to Use, Open to innovation, and competitively priced. Its free alternatives might just be the best in the business for anyone who just wants to dive into email advertising (particularly small, local companies ). For that matter, any Benchmark strategy can work nicely for a little business which views email as a minor aspect of its marketing and has no desire to work past the principles just yet.
If you are a small or maybe medium-sized Company trying to find a simple email marketing program using a host of amazing features, Benchmark is an excellent choice. Even though there might come a time when you outgrow the app, 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.