Overview Benchmark Email Builder
For many a day in 2004, three people sat Around one desk in a tiny medical office — an office that served as the group’s conference room, breakfast area, and idea hub. Backed by a small programming team in India, the trio (comprising Benchmark Internet Group founder Curt Keller, his wife Denise, along with an SEO expert) discussed ideas on how best to execute a deceptively simple idea. Simple email marketing. Many of the ideas were beyond the means of the fledgling business, but that didn’t stop Keller from planning ahead.
The first Clients of Benchmark Email were small businesses located in near proximity to Benchmark’s one-room HQ in Long Beach, CA. Keller and his staff personally sold them on the use of email marketing, while working hard to create a simple user interface that would be easy to operate. All the time, the company uses such innovative ideas as customizable templates and software which adapted to user requirements. They also made certain from the beginning that anybody who needed help would have quick access to excellent customer care.
Benchmark Has continued to rise and advantagesper. Its current focus. Providing global email advertising 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 adhered to its core principle of adaptability and functions large organizations like UNICEF and Kaiser-Permanente via its High Volume Enterprise plans.
Today, Benchmark serves upwards of 73,000 users from throughout the globe, however, the company hasn’t forgotten its origins. Benchmark still keeps good relationships with little, locally-based businesses. In fact, the company offers a full page of testimonials from local users of the app. You can read about Benchmark’s history and development here.
While the Majority of the attributes Benchmark provides Are on par with the rest of the business, among the standout characteristics of this ESP is the simple fact that most of its attributes come standard with every single account — including the free ones. Below are a few of Benchmark’s most noteworthy offerings.
· Countless 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 like education, entertainment, and retail. There’s also a category for societal media-specific templates.
· Video Emails. Perhaps the best-known benefit of Benchmark is its support for video mails. The business describes the advantages of this feature here.
· Online Surveys. You’ll be able to create professional-looking online polls using among Benchmark’s 6 templates. Post your poll on your site or construct it directly into an email.
· Dedicated Email Server. All of 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 benefits of dedicated servers .
· Email Delivery Direction . Benchmark’s email shipping management program is about getting customers’ emails into inboxes. The business is a member of the Email Sender and Provider Coalition and operates with ReturnPath, a top email delivery and delivery support. The business also communicates with ISPs on its customers’ behalf. Benchmark Email Builder
· Mobile App. Benchmark’s mobile apps make it possible for customers having an Apple device to access several functions on the road. They can access and add contacts, browse reports, send videos through integration with a YouTube account, and even design and send quick email blasts with one of 10 available templates. This is quite a bit more than many other companies offer on their mobile programs, making them considerably more operational.
· Photo Editing. If the pictures you plan to use on 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. In case you have the know-how to work magic with HTML, Benchmark provides this ultra-customization choice with which you can build your mails from scratch.
· Autoresponder. Each Benchmark customer has the power to design around eight custom autoresponder messages. These can be scheduled as a string or occasion lead-up, or designed as yearly messages such as birthday or anniversary mails.
· Sign-Up Types . The only way to become prosperous in email advertising is through growing your list, and Benchmark really promotes doing so through sign-up forms. The business bases its Free For Life account completely around website and Facebook sign-ups and supplies an easy-to-use tool to create customized templates for each medium.
· Inbox Checker. Since every email program is different and each internet browser has a signature fashion, making sure that your emails look good across the board is crucial. You can use Inbox Checker to have a look at the way that 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 each 100 checks.
· RSS-to-Email. Regular bloggers can create newsletters out of their blogs automatically through the RSS-to-Email feature, which works with any site which manages an RSS-feed. Users simply need to establish a template and campaign inside Benchmark once.
· API Integration. An API (Application Program Interface) enables different software programs to communicate with one another with no formal plug connection. Benchmark’s API Integration feature allows users using XML-RPC, HTTP POST, or HTTP GET abilities to recover data from some other apps which use JSON, XML, XML-RPC, or PHP serialization strings. In brief, this permits them to perform three functions. Manage contact lists, handle campaigns and effort sending, and assess statistics. The company explains this function in more detail here.
· Advanced Metrics. Benchmark offers both Listing Segmentation and AB Split Testing.
· Multiple-Language Interface. Benchmark is available in seven languages. Chinese, English, German, Japanese, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish.
Ease Of Use
Enrolling in a Benchmark account is pretty straightforward. After entering your name, email, contact number, and business name, you need 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 very clear path on the best way to create my very 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, go to the Emails section, then hit the big blue”Create New Mail” button at the upper right-hand corner. Benchmark Email Builder
From there, you have to 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 with 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 option.
I had been prompted to enter a subject line for my Email and setup how much tracking I desired on the message, in addition to when I wanted an automated tweet when the effort went out. The next task was to choose which contacts I wanted to get the campaign. With that, I was eventually able to start building the email itself. If you would like to, you are able to assemble your own email layouts employing a very intuitive editor. On the flip side, you can alter one of Benchmark’s templates, that are 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 certainly do as I did and manually enter contacts at a time. However, for people 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 your computer; import contacts directly from Salesforce.com, Hotmail, or Gmail accounts; or copy and paste huge lists of contacts into a text form. When you make your Benchmark lists, then they’ll appear on your dashboard, together with a Master Unsubscribe List.
The sending of this email is rather simple. Once you have finished all your tweaks, you may either save email as a draft, send it instantly, or schedule a date and time for delivery. If you would like to check everything is well before distributing your email on the planet, it is possible to send it to your self to preview it as many as 10 times/day. I chose to schedule my email for shipping to see how timely the automatic system would really be. I scheduled my email for 2.45 and received it at 2.50, therefore while the timing was not exactly ideal, it was probably within tolerance levels for many users. If you’re one of the more rare users who demand on-the-minute email sending, then you may have to look elsewhere. More worryingly, my email did not go to my primary inbox but was automatically sorted into my”promotions” folder. Definitely not perfect.
Email Campaign Reporting
The first thing I Noticed 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 in the Benchmark system virtually instantaneously. I have worked with a lot of other programs 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 open speed, appears in both pie chart and numerical form. Additionally, Benchmark supplies users with stats such as clicks, forward, bounces, unsubscribes, and abuse. Every stat further breaks down to the exact email addresses related to a given activity. Users can export this data for further analysis by means of a csv or xls file. There is also a social media place which reports shares through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, as well as a map that breaks down, by state, that opens your mails. Benchmark Email Builder
Though all of this information Is Excellent and Necessary, it is not enough to sustain higher level marketers that need more info 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 marketers need more information than Benchmark provides. Whether a small company will reach that point changes, of course, based on the company.
Specific Size Of Company
Benchmark designed its 3-tiered pricing Structure with the goal of serving everybody from the tiniest kitchen-table startup to big email marketers. On the other hand, the organization’s key focus is on small to medium businesses, especially those just beginning in email advertising. This is particularly reflected in the reality that customers subscribing to the medium plans get unlimited mails, while larger plans have limitations.
Integrations and Add-Ons
Benchmark Offers approximately 20 plug-ins and integrations. If you do not see the integration you need, there’s still hope. You can use the API or ask an integration by sending an email to [email protected]
· Benchmark Events — Benchmark Occasions is event marketing applications designed to integrate fully with Benchmark Email. Launched in 2012, this program allows users to make and customize occasions, promote and sell tickets, and monitor the success of the events through their Benchmark Email account. A variety of programs are available, including a free option.
· Salesforce.com — This integration enables users to import contacts into Benchmark and use Benchmark’s email system to keep Salesforce customers participated. Read our overview of Salesforce here.
· WordPress — Benchmark Email Lite is a WordPress plug-in which permits users to easily build an email viewer through their subscribers. The plugin can automatically create email variations of blog articles and permits users to connect up to five Benchmark accounts.
· Highrise — Merges Highrise contacts with a Benchmark list. Read our overview of Highrisehere.
· Benchmark Power — This free plug-in allows you to supply pictures for your Benchmark mails 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 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 subscribers to various lists based on what they bought. Read our review of Shopify here.
· PayPal — Users may add some of their PayPal clients to their own Benchmark email lists bylinking the accounts. 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 website builder provides an integration with Benchmark. Use it to send mails of your blog articles and also use the analytics to see how your subscribers react to them. Learn more here.
· Zapier — Gain access to Zapier’s huge integration library . Benchmark Email Builder
Social Media Integrations
Because Of the key connection between social networking and email advertising, it’s important to check out the social media features contained in Benchmark.
· Social Media Templates — One segment of Benchmark’s massive email template list is made of social media-specific templates which directly promote your company’s involvement in social networking forums like facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
· Facebook”Like” Button — Benchmark provides a very simple function which allows you to add a Facebook”Just Like” button into your own emails.
· Facebook Sign-Up Form — Benchmark supplies easy-to-create sign-up forms (see”Features” above) for both sites and Facebook fan pages, so you can convert followers to readers.
· Social Links within Mail — After you connect your Benchmark account together with your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn accounts, you can add buttons to every email which will direct your readers 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 concerning the selection of personal data from citizens of those 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 all customers’ personal details.
Anti-Spam Policy and Protection
Like All valid ESPs, Benchmark takes spam seriously and outlines a clear zero-tolerance coverage for any of their users hoping to engage in spam activities. 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 supplier, among them membership in the Email Sender and Provider Coalition. The company uses the app SpamAssassin to filter messages delivered through its server.
To stop users from Unknowingly sending spam-like substances, Benchmark provides a spam check feature which looks for words widely 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 case of a top score, the program suggests”less spammy” choices. Individualized IP addresses also assist large-volume senders reduce their spam numbers.
Client Support and Service
Benchmark Offers its users a great deal of support tools. Customer service is generally responsive, with minimal waiting times. The website provides good learning resources, but may be opaque occasionally. Key information is often buried and hard to find, especially in the event that you don’t know exactly what you’re searching for, particularly in regards to minute details about plans. As an example. The Free For Life plan comprises Benchmark branding on each email, however 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 sign up. The only place it’s mentioned is at the FAQ, here.
Here are some of those resources Benchmark offers. Benchmark Email Builder
· Live Support and Email — Benchmark supplies 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 are able to 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. Accessible nearly 24 hours daily Monday — Friday and limited hours on Saturday. Offered in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian.
· FAQ — Benchmark’s FAQ section is somewhat mislabeled as it’s closer to a QandA-format knowledge base than a typical FAQ. You will find over 900 entries, sorted into 18 topics ranging from”Getting Started” to”API.” Users can 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’s pretty much inevitable that some entries will be out of date. Some of the QandAs provide advice which is wholly inaccurate, so in some cases, you may need to contact assistance to hash things out.
· Video Tutorials and Webinars — Benchmark provides about two dozen video tutorials that take users step by step through the features of the program. The business also supplies a webinar called”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 might also ask for a special webinar on quite a few other topics. Live webinars comprise the opportunity to ask questions throughout the demonstration.
· Email Marketing Manuals and Articles — There are more in-depth information on email marketing generally, as well as the Benchmark program specifically, at the Manuals Section. These downloadable files also cover industry-specific issues. Articles, similar to sites, offer users guidance beyond that found in the FAQ section, but in shorter, more readable chunks than the manuals provide.
· Glossary of Email Marketing Terms — This is a particularly helpful tool for all those brand new to email marketing who believe absorbed by all the jargon. Benchmark provides a glossarywith 50 of the most popular email advertising terms from”above-the-fold” into”whitelists.”
· Blog and Newsletter — For current info regarding email marketing trends, check out Benchmark’s monthly newsletter, in addition to its exceptionally active blog. All readers automatically gain 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 in the Benchmark Community. This forum allows users to talk about newsletter creation approaches, vote for their favourite newsletters, and gain inspiration from additional Benchmark users.
Web-Based Or Locally-Installed
Benchmark is completely web-based and doesn’t Require any setup on your PC.
Positive 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 Builder
Some common points of compliments.
· Top Notch Service . This is perhaps the most common observation regarding Benchmark, and some thing I noticed for myself as well. People are inclined to find support prompt and helpful, and a few say it is really the element that distinguishes Benchmark from its rivals. The company also receives praise for its blog posts and videos.
· Feature Selection Across All Aims . Some users praise the addition of attributes like AB testing and surveys from all programs; many firms charge extra for such features or just include them into their pricier plans.
· Ease of Use. Users tend to locate Benchmark’s interface incredibly user-friendly and intuitive. The program gathers praise from a wide assortment of demographics, from first time ESP consumers 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 an increasing number of people access their email from mobile devices, this can be an increasingly important aspect to consider.
Negative Reviews and Complaints
I was not able to find many people who disliked Their Benchmark experience. However, I managed to find a few complaints.
· Inconsistent Send-Times. Apparently a few users experienced a problem with Benchmark in which their emails were sent hours when they were scheduled. One customer theorized that the issue might arise from lengthy lists of recipients. Not all customers of all Benchmark will possess time-sensitive shipping demands, but other people will. If you want your emails to go out precisely whenever your program dictates, you might need to take into account this situation.
· Buggy Social Media Integrations. I watched several consumer reviews that remarked the social networking integrations in Benchmark are not up to par.
· “Spammy” Templates. Some users have been worried that Benchmark’s templates may feel like spam mail, causing recipients to mark them as spam and not reading the contents. Since the whole point of an ESP would be to prevent this from happening, this might be an issue. On the flip side, I never felt this way whilst searching through the template list, so it may not be the most legitimate of complaints.
Benchmark Provides a huge number of pricing strategies, such as a totally free plan and a massive array of paid plans that can service anywhere between 600 and 7,140,000 subscribers.
Benchmark’s free plans do not require charge Cards, which is always refreshing. The only catch. There’ll be a little Benchmark emblem in the bottom of each email you send out. Of course, you can always opt to upgrade to a paid plan if you don’t want the Benchmark branding. The free program permits you to send up to 14000 mails to around 2000 subscribers and provides you access to all but not all Benchmark’s features record. Notable absences to the attributes list for free accounts include email automation and sub-accounts (allowing multiple users to get one Benchmark account).
Paid Plans. Benchmark Email Builder
Users with small contacts lists and limited Monthly messages have the choice of paying to get their email marketing based on the amount of mails that they send each month.
o Medium Plans. 600-50,000 subscribers, $13.99-$254.99 a 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 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 a 25% reduction for nonprofits and teachers.
Benchmark is a good program. It’s Simple to Use, Open to invention, and competitively priced. Its free options might just be the very best in the business for anybody who just wants to dip into email advertising (particularly small, neighborhood companies ). For that matter, any Benchmark strategy can work nicely for a little business which views email as a minor element of its advertising and has no desire to work past the principles just yet.
If you are a small or even medium-sized Business trying to find a simple email marketing program with a host of great features, Benchmark is an excellent choice. Though there may come a time when you launch the app, it provides a lot for the price, offers excellent service, and the company appears to be sensitive to the requirements of its customers. You can not ask for more.