Overview Benchmark Email Blogs
For many a day in 2004, three people sat Around a single desk in a tiny medical office — an office which functioned as the group’s conference room, lunch room, and idea hub. Backed by a little programming group in India, the trio (consisting of Benchmark Internet Group founder Curt Keller, his wife Denise, along with an search engine optimization pro ) discussed ideas on how best to execute a deceptively simple concept. Simple email advertising. Many of the thoughts were beyond the resources of the fledgling business, but that did not stop Keller from moving ahead.
The first Customers of Benchmark Email 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 use of email advertising, while working hard to create a simple user interface which would be simple to operate. All the while, the company championed such novel ideas as customizable templates and applications which adapted to consumer needs. They also made sure from the outset that anybody who needed help would have rapid access to excellent customer care.
Benchmark Has continued to grow and advantagesper. Its present focus. Providing worldwide email advertising services to small and midsize companies while continuing to honor a commitment to help children in need. This does not mean that Benchmark is a little-guys-only service, however; it has adhered to its core principle of adaptability and serves big organizations such as UNICEF and Kaiser-Permanente via its High Volume Enterprise plans.
Today, Benchmark serves up of 73,000 users from across the globe, but the company has not forgotten its roots. Benchmark still maintains good relationships with little, locally-based companies. In reality, the organization offers a full page of testimonials from users of the app. You can read more about Benchmark’s history and development here.
While the Majority of the attributes Benchmark provides Are on par with the rest of the industry, one of the standout features of this ESP is the simple fact that most of its features come standard with every single account — such as the free ones. Below are a few of Benchmark’s most notable offerings.
· Hundreds of Industry-Specific, Themed Templates. Benchmark offers 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 retailstores. There is also a class for social media-specific templates.
· Video Emails. Perhaps the best-known benefit of Benchmark is its support for video emails. The business explains the advantages of this attribute here.
· Online Surveys. You can create professional-looking online polls using among Benchmark’s 6 templates. Post your poll on your website or build it into an email.
· Dedicated Email Server. All of Benchmark’s High Volume programs come with a dedicated IP address to help increase deliverability rates. Users on other programs have the choice of paying for this service ($30/month) to increase their own delivery stats. Read more about the advantages of dedicated servers here.
· Email Delivery Direction . Benchmark’s email delivery management program is about getting customers’ emails 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 company also communicates with ISPs on its clients’ behalf. Benchmark Email Blogs
· Mobile App. Benchmark’s mobile programs make it possible for customers having an Apple device to get several purposes on the street. They can access and add contacts, browse reportsand send videos via integration with a YouTube accounts, and even design and send quick email blasts with one of 10 available templates. This is quite a little more than many other businesses offer in their mobile apps, making them considerably more operational.
· Photo Editing. If the photos you intend to use in your email campaign aren’t perfectly sized or want some colour adjustment, you can use Benchmark’s integrated picture editor. This is a pretty handy feature if you do not have photoshop available.
· Code Editor. In case you’ve got the know-how to work magic with HTML, Benchmark offers this ultra-customization choice with which you can construct your emails from scratch.
· Autoresponder. Each Benchmark customer has the ability to style up to eight custom autoresponder messages. These could be scheduled as a series or event lead-up, or designed as yearly messages like birthday or anniversary mails.
· Sign-Up Forms. The only way to be prosperous in email marketing is by way of growing your own list, and Benchmark really promotes doing so via sign-up forms. The company bases its Free For Life account entirely around website and Facebook sign-ups and provides an easy-to-use instrument to create customized templates for each medium.
· Inbox Checker. Because every email program is different and every web browser includes a signature style, making certain your emails look good across the board is important. You can use Inbox Checker to look at the way your email displays in Gmail using Explorer and Outlook 3. Employing the entire program (which assesses everything out of AOL to Yahoo, Explorer to Safari, mobile to PC) is a paid add-on service, 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 handles an RSS-feed. Users simply have to establish a template and campaign within Benchmark once.
· API Integration. An API (Application Program Interface) allows different software programs to communicate with one another with no formal plug-in link. Benchmark’s API Integration feature permits users using XML-RPC, HTTP POST, or HTTP GET abilities to retrieve data from other apps which use JSON, XML, XML-RPC, or PHP serialization strings. In a nutshell, this permits them to play three functions. Manage contact lists, manage campaigns and effort sending, and check statistics. The business describes this role in more detail .
· Advanced Metrics. Benchmark offers both List 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 business name, you need to confirm your email address. This was a five-minute procedure for me. Upon logging in to my new account (with the free plan) I was greeted by an attractive UI that gave me a very clear path on how to create my very first email campaign. Good beginning!
Email Campaign Creation
On its own dashboard, Benchmark provides users five chief choices. Emails, Automations, Contacts, Surveys, and Reports. To create a new campaign, go to the Emails section, then hit on the big blue”Create New Mail” button at the upper right-hand corner. Benchmark Email Blogs
From there, you have to decide If You Would like 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’re 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 prompted to enter a subject line for my Email and set up how much tracking I desired on the message, as well as if I wanted an automated tweet when 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 start constructing the email itself. If you would like to, you can construct your own 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 was able to do on my own.
Sending the Email Campaign
If You’re just Starting out, you can do as I did and manually enter contacts one at a time. However, for those who already have a list, there are numerous ways to import it. You are able to upload a CSV, xls, or txt file directly from the personal computer; import contacts directly from Salesforce.com, Hotmail, or Gmail accounts; or copy and paste huge lists of contacts to a text form. Once you create your Benchmark lists, then they’ll appear on your dashboard, together with a Master Unsubscribe List.
The actual sending of this email is quite simple. Once you have finished all of your tweaks, you may either save email as a draft, send it immediately, or schedule a date and time for delivery. If you would like to verify everything is well before distributing your email about the planet, 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 automated system would actually be. I advised my email for 2.45 and obtained it at 2.50, therefore while the timing was not exactly perfect, it was likely present in tolerance levels for many users. If you are one of the more infrequent users who demand on-the-minute email sending, then you may have to look elsewhere. More worryingly, my email did not go to my main inbox but was automatically sorted into my”promotions” folder. Definitely not perfect.
Mail Campaign Reporting
First thing I Discovered about Benchmark email reports was something I would read about in a couple of reviews. They are really, really fast. I mean lightning fast. Opens enroll from the Benchmark system almost immediately. I have worked with a lot of other apps where these reports require hours or even days to look.
Benchmark provides users with several key Pieces of data about every campaign. The possibly most important statistic, the available speed, appears in both pie chart and numerical type. Additionally, Benchmark provides users with stats for clicks, forwards, bounces, unsubscribes, and abuse. Each stat further breaks down to the exact email addresses associated with a given activity. Users can export this data for additional analysis by means of a csv or xls file. There’s also a social media place which reports shares through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, in addition to a map which breaks down, by state, that opens your emails. Benchmark Email Blogs
Though all of this information is great and Necessary, it is not sufficient to sustain higher level marketers that need more info such as conversions, which links were clicked, and earnings 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 business will get to that point changes, naturally, based on the company.
Particular 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. However, the organization’s key focus is on small to medium businesses, especially those just starting out in email marketing. This is particularly reflected in the reality that clients subscribing to the moderate plans get unlimited mails, while larger plans have limitations.
Integrations and Add-Ons
Benchmark Offers roughly 20 plug-ins and integrations. If you do not observe the integration you want, there is still hope. You’re able to use the API or request a integration by sending an email to [email protected]
· Benchmark Occasions — Benchmark Events is event marketing software designed to integrate fully with Benchmark Email. Launched in 2012, this program allows users to make and customize events, promote and market tickets, and monitor the success of the events via their Benchmark Email accounts. A variety of programs are available, such as a free option.
· Salesforce.com — This integration allows users to import contacts into Benchmark and use Benchmark’s email system to keep Salesforce customers engaged. Read our overview of Salesforce here.
· WordPress — Benchmark Mail Lite is a WordPress plug-in which permits users to easily build an email audience via their subscribers. The plugin 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 source images for your Benchmark emails from locations across the net. Benchmark Power captures pictures you find and instantly uploads them to a Benchmark accounts for future use.
· Flickr — Users with Flickr accounts can link Flickr to their own 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 what they purchased. Read our review of Shopify here.
· PayPal — Users may add any of the PayPal clients for their Benchmark email lists bylinking the account. Read our review of Paypal here.
· Easy List — Learn more about this simple list-making app and download it .
· WordPress — The ever-present blog and site builder provides an integration using Benchmark. Use it to send mails of your blog articles and use the analytics to observe how your readers respond to them. Learn more here.
· Zapier — Gain entry to Zapier’s huge integration library here. Benchmark Email Blogs
Social Media Integrations
Because Of the key connection between social media and email advertising, it’s very important to look at the social media features included in Benchmark.
· Social Media Templates — One segment of Benchmark’s massive email template list consists of social media-specific templates that directly promote your institution’s participation in social networking forums like facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
· Facebook”Like” Button — Benchmark offers a very simple function which allows you to bring a Facebook”Just Like” button into your emails.
· Facebook Sign-Up Form — Benchmark supplies easy-to-create sign-up forms (see”Features” above) for both sites and Facebook enthusiast pages, to help you convert followers into readers.
· Social Links within Mail — Once you link your Benchmark account with your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn account, you can add buttons to every email which will direct your readers 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 concerning 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 information. The entire 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 their users hoping to engage in spam actions. The business is fully in compliance with all the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. Benchmark also takes several steps to maintain its standing as a spam-free provider, one of them membership from the Email Sender and Provider Coalition. The company uses the program SpamAssassin to filter messages sent through its host.
To stop users from Unknowingly sending spam-like materials, Benchmark supplies a spam check 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 likely to be blocked. In the event of a top score, the program suggests”less spammy” choices. Individualized IP addresses also assist large-volume senders decrease their spam amounts.
Customer Service and Support
Benchmark Offers its customers a lot of support resources. Customer support is usually responsive, with minimal waiting times. The website offers good learning tools, but can be opaque at times. Crucial information is often buried and hard to find, particularly if you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for, particularly in regards to minute particulars about strategies. For instance. The Free For Life plan comprises Benchmark branding on each email, but you won’t find that mentioned on the Free For Life webpage, 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 those resources Benchmark offers. Benchmark Email Blogs
· Live Email and Support — Benchmark provides live one-on-one support through these 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 at 800-430-4095 (U.S.) or even 001-562-252-3789 (all states ). Available weekdays from 6 am to 5 pm PT.
· Chat Support. Available nearly 24 hours per day Monday — Friday and restricted hours on Saturday. Offered in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian.
· FAQ — Benchmark’s FAQ section is somewhat mislabeled as it is closer to a QandA-format knowledge foundation than a typical FAQ. You will find more than 900 entries, sorted into 18 topics ranging from”Getting Started” to”API.” Users can execute a key word search of any topic (or sub-topic) or of the FAQ as a whole. 1 caveat. With such an extensive knowledge base, it’s pretty much inevitable that some entries will be out of date. Some of the QandAs provide advice which is wholly incorrect, so in some cases, you might want to contact assistance 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 business also supplies 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 time. You can even ask for a special webinar on quite a few other topics. Live webinars comprise the opportunity to ask questions during the presentation.
· Email Marketing Manuals and Articles — There are more in-depth information on email marketing in general, as well as the Benchmark program especially, in the Manuals Section. These downloadable documents also cover industry-specific troubles. Articles, similar to blogs, offer users advice beyond that found in the FAQ section, but in shorter, more digestible chunks than the guides provide.
· Glossary of Email Marketing Requirements — This is a particularly valuable tool for all those brand new to email marketing who feel consumed by all the jargon. Benchmark gives a glossarywith 50 of the most popular email advertising terms from”above-the-fold” to”whitelists.”
· Blog and Newsletter — For current information about email marketing trends, check out Benchmark’s monthly newsletter, as well as its exceptionally active site. All readers automatically obtain access to current newsletters, and Benchmark also offers an archive of newsletter posts from November 2007-October 2012.
· Benchmark Community — Benchmark users can post their newest newsletters on message boards in the Benchmark Community. This forum allows users to discuss newsletter production approaches, vote for their favorite newsletters, and gain inspiration from additional Benchmark users.
Web-Based Or Locally-Installed
Benchmark is entirely web-based and doesn’t Require any setup on your computer.
Positive Reviews and Reviews
Benchmark Includes a four-out-of-five star score on G2 Crowd, using a slightly better showing on GetApp and Capterra. 4.5 stars each. Benchmark Email Blogs
Some common points of praise.
· Top Notch Support. This is maybe the most common observation regarding Benchmark, and some thing I noticed for myself too. People are inclined to find support prompt and helpful, and some say it is actually the element that distinguishes Benchmark from its competitors. The business also receives praise for its blog articles and videos.
· Characteristic Selection Across All Plans. Some customers praise the inclusion of attributes including AB testing and surveys from most programs; many companies charge extra for such features or only include them in their pricier plans.
· Ease of Use. Users have a tendency to locate Benchmark’s interface incredibly intuitive and user-friendly. The program gathers praise from a broad assortment of demographics, from first-time ESP users to those who have attempted a variety of programs before settling 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 can be an increasingly significant aspect to take into account.
Negative Reviews and Complaints
I was Unable to find many Men and Women who disliked Their own Benchmark experience. But, I was able to find a couple of complaints.
· Inconsistent Send-Times. Apparently a few users experienced an issue with Benchmark where their mails were sent hours after they were scheduled. One customer theorized that the issue might arise in long lists of recipients. Not all customers of Benchmark will possess time-sensitive shipping demands, but others will. If you need your emails to go out exactly whenever your schedule dictates, you may have to take into account this situation.
· Buggy Social Media Integrations. I watched several consumer reviews that remarked the social networking integrations in Benchmark aren’t up to par.
· “Spammy” Templates. Some users were worried that Benchmark’s templates may feel like spam email, leading recipients to mark them as spam rather than reading the contents. Since the whole point of an ESP would be to prevent this from happening, this may be a problem. On the other hand, I never felt this way whilst searching through the template list, therefore it may not be the most legitimate of complaints.
Benchmark Offers a enormous number of pricing plans, including a totally free plan and a huge array of paid plans which can service anywhere between 600 and 7,140,000 subscribers.
Benchmark’s free programs do not require charge Cards, that is always refreshing. The only catch. There’ll be a small Benchmark emblem in the bottom of each email you send out. Obviously, you can always opt to upgrade to a paid plan if you don’t need the Benchmark branding. The free program allows you to send up to 14000 emails to up to 2000 subscribers and provides you access to most but not all Benchmark’s features list. Notable absences to the attributes list for free accounts include email automation and sub-accounts (enabling multiple users to access one Benchmark accounts ).
Paid Strategies. Benchmark Email Blogs
Users with little contacts lists and limited Monthly messages have the choice of paying for their email advertising depending on the amount of mails that 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 per month
o Extra Large Strategies. 125,000-1,000,000 subscribers, $659.99-$4,273.99 per month
o Massive Plans. 1,070,000-7,140,000 subscribers, $4,500-$29,200 a month
Benchmark accepts all Major charge cards and also allows you to pay through PayPal. They also offer a 25% discount for nonprofits and educators.
Benchmark is a good program. It’s easy to use, Open to invention, and competitively priced. Its free options may very well be the very best in the business for anybody who only wants to dive into email marketing (particularly small, neighborhood companies ). For that matter, any Benchmark plan can work nicely for a little company which views email as a minor aspect of its advertising and has no desire to work beyond the basics just yet.
If you are a small or maybe medium-sized Business trying to find a easy email advertising program using a multitude of amazing features, Benchmark is an exceptional option. Even though there may come a time when you outgrow the program, it supplies a great deal for the money, offers excellent service, and the business appears to be sensitive to the requirements of its users. You can not ask for more.