Overview Benchmark Email E-Commerce
For many a day in 2004, three people sat Around one desk in a tiny medical office — an office which functioned as the team’s conference room, lunch room, and idea heart. Backed by a small programming group in India, the trio (comprising Benchmark Internet Group founder Curt Keller, his wife Denise, along with an SEO pro ) discussed ideas for how to execute a deceptively straightforward idea. Simple email marketing. Many of their thoughts were beyond the resources of the fledgling business, but that didn’t stop Keller from moving ahead.
The first Clients of Benchmark Mail were small businesses located in near proximity to Benchmark’s one-room HQ in Long Beach, CA. Keller and his team sold them on the use of email advertising, while working hard to make a very simple user interface that would be easy to operate. All the while, the business championed such innovative ideas as customizable templates and applications which adapted to consumer requirements. They also made sure from the beginning that anyone who needed help would have quick access to outstanding customer support.
Benchmark Has continued to grow and advantagesper. Its current focus. Providing worldwide email marketing solutions to small and medium-sized businesses while continuing to honor a commitment to help children in need. This does not mean that Benchmark is a little-guys-only company, however; it has stuck to its core principle of adaptability and functions big organizations such as UNICEF and Kaiser-Permanente through its High Volume Business plans.
Today, Benchmark serves upwards of 73,000 users from across the globe, however, the company has not forgotten its roots. Benchmark still maintains good relationships with small, locally-based businesses. In fact, the organization offers a complete page of testimonials from local users of this program. You may read about Benchmark’s history and development here.
While most of the attributes Benchmark supplies Are on par with the rest of the industry, among the standout features of this ESP is the fact that nearly all its features come standard with every single accounts — including the free ones. Here are some of Benchmark’s most notable offerings.
· Countless Industry-Specific, Themed Templates. Benchmark provides all customers access to its library of over 400 templates. These are organized into 19 classes, some of which are tailored to particular industries like education, entertainment, and retailstores. There’s also a class for societal media-specific templates.
· Video Emails. Perhaps the best-known advantage of Benchmark is its support for video emails. The company describes the advantages of this attribute here.
· Online Surveys. You can create professional-looking online surveys using one of Benchmark’s 6 templates. Post your poll on your site or construct it 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 increase their own delivery stats. Read more about the benefits of dedicated servers here.
· Email Delivery Management. Benchmark’s email shipping management program is about getting clients’ emails into inboxes. The company is a part of the Email Sender and Provider Coalition and operates with ReturnPath, a leading email delivery and consulting service. The business also communicates with ISPs on its customers’ behalf. Benchmark Email E-Commerce
· Mobile App. Benchmark’s mobile apps allow customers having an Apple device to access several functions on the road. They can get and include contacts, read reports, send videos through integration with a YouTube accounts, and even layout and send fast email blasts with one of 10 available templates. This is quite a little more than a number of other businesses offer in their mobile programs, which makes them considerably more operational.
· Photo Editing. If the pictures you intend to utilize 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. If you have the know-how to work magic with HTML, Benchmark provides this ultra-customization choice with which you can construct your emails from scratch.
· Autoresponder. Each Benchmark client has the ability to style around eight custom autoresponder messages. These could be scheduled as a string or event lead-up, or designed as yearly messages such as anniversary or birthday mails.
· Sign-Up Forms. The only way to become prosperous in email advertising is through growing your list, and Benchmark really promotes doing this via sign-up forms. The company 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. Because every email program differs and each internet browser has a signature style, making certain that your emails look great across the board is important. It is possible to use Inbox Checker to look at the way your email displays in Gmail using Explorer and Outlook 3. Using the full app (which assesses 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 may create newsletters from their blogs automatically through the RSS-to-Email feature, which works with any site which manages an RSS-feed. Users only 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 connection. Benchmark’s API Integration feature allows users using XML-RPC, HTTP POST, or HTTP GET skills to retrieve data from some other apps that use JSON, XML, XML-RPC, or PHP serialization strings. In brief, this permits them to perform three functions. Manage contact lists, handle campaigns and campaign sending, and assess data. The company explains this function in more detail .
· Advanced Metrics. Benchmark provides both Listing 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 accounts is pretty straightforward. After entering your name, email, phone number, and company name, you have to confirm your email address. This was a five-minute procedure for me. Upon logging into my account (with the free program ) I was greeted by an attractive UI that gave me a very clear path on how best to create my very first email campaign. Good beginning!
Email Campaign Creation
On its own dashboard, Benchmark offers users five chief choices. Emails, Automations, Contacts, Surveys, and Reports. To make a new campaign, go to the Emails segment, then hit the big blue”Create New Email” button at the top right-hand corner. Benchmark Email E-Commerce
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 go 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 gifted that way, so I moved with the drag-and-drop alternative.
I was prompted to enter a subject line for my Email and set up how much tracking I desired on the message, as well as when I wanted an automated tweet when the campaign went out. The following task was to choose which contacts I wanted to get the campaign. With that, I was finally able to begin building the email . If you want to, you can assemble your personal email layouts employing a very intuitive editor. On the flip side, you can alter one of Benchmark’s templates, which can be great, and much better than I managed to do on my own.
Preventing 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 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 your computer; import contacts directly from Salesforce.com, Hotmail, or Gmail accounts; or copy and paste large lists of contacts to a text type. When you create your Benchmark lists, they will appear on your dash, together with a Master Unsubscribe List.
The sending of this email is quite simple. When 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 check all is well before distributing your email about the world, it is possible to 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 automated system would really be. I advised my email for 2.45 and obtained it in 2.50, therefore while the timing wasn’t exactly perfect, it was probably within tolerance levels for many users. If you’re among the more rare users who need on-the-minute email sending, then you might need to appear elsewhere. More worryingly, my email didn’t go to my primary inbox but was automatically sorted in my”promotions” folder. Definitely not perfect.
Email Campaign Reporting
First thing I Noticed about Benchmark email reports was something I would read in a couple of reviews. They’re really, really quickly. I mean lightning fast. Opens register in the Benchmark system virtually instantaneously. I’ve worked with a lot of other apps where these reports take hours or even days to appear.
Benchmark provides users with several key Bits of information about each campaign. The possibly most important statistic, the open rate, appears in both pie chart and numerical type. In addition, Benchmark provides 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 may export this information for further analysis by means of a csv or xls file. There’s also a social media place which reports shares via Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, in addition to a map that breaks down, by state, who opens your mails. Benchmark Email E-Commerce
Though all of this information is great and Necessary, it isn’t enough to sustain higher level marketers who want more information such as conversions, which links were clicked, and revenue analysis. Although Google Analytics provides a whole lot of this info with appropriate integration, there may come a time when serious entrepreneurs need more info than Benchmark provides. Whether a small company will reach that point changes, of course, based on the business.
Specific Size Of Business
Benchmark made its 3-tiered pricing Structure with the goal of serving everybody from the smallest kitchen-table startup to large email marketers. However, the company’s main focus is on small to medium businesses, especially those just beginning in email marketing. This is particularly reflected in the fact that clients subscribing to the medium plans get unlimited emails, while bigger 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’s still hope. You can use the API or request a 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 app permits users to make and customize occasions, promote and market tickets, and track the success of the events via their Benchmark Email accounts. A number of programs are available, including a free option.
· Salesforce.com — This integration allows users to import contacts into Benchmark and utilize Benchmark’s email system to maintain Salesforce customers participated. Read our review of Salesforce here.
· WordPress — Benchmark Mail Lite is a WordPress plug-in which permits users to easily build an email viewer via their subscribers. The plugin can automatically produce email variations of blog posts and permits users to connect up to five Benchmark accounts.
· Highrise — Merges Highrise contacts with a Benchmark listing. Read our review of Highrisehere.
· Benchmark Power — This free plugin lets you supply pictures for your Benchmark mails from locations throughout the web. Benchmark Power captures images 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 can link a Shopify accounts to Benchmark and mechanically add Shopify customers to Benchmark lists. You may even add contributors to various lists based on what they bought. Read our review of Shopify here.
· PayPal — Users can add any of their PayPal customers for their own Benchmark email lists bylinking the accounts. Read our review of Paypal here.
· Easy List — Know more about this simple list-making program and download it here.
· WordPress — The ever-present site and website builder provides an integration with Benchmark. Use it to send mails of your blog posts and also use the analytics to see how your readers respond to them. Learn more here.
· Zapier — Gain entry to Zapier’s enormous integration library here. Benchmark Email E-Commerce
Social Media Integrations
Since Of the integral link between social networking and email advertising, it’s important to look at the social media features contained in Benchmark.
· Social Media Templates — One section of Benchmark’s enormous email template list consists of social media-specific templates that directly promote your institution’s participation in social networking forums such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
· Facebook”Like” Button — Benchmark offers a very simple function which allows you to add a Facebook”Like” button into your own emails.
· Facebook Sign-Up Form — Benchmark supplies easy-to-create sign-up forms (see”Characteristics” above) for both websites and Facebook enthusiast pages, to help you convert followers to subscribers.
· Social Links within Mail — Once you connect your Benchmark account together with your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn account, you can add buttons to every 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 concerning the selection of personal data from citizens of those countries. When clients provide credit card amounts to Benchmark, the company utilizes secure socket layer (SSL) protection to encrypt the info. The entire platform is encrypted to ensure the safety of all customers’ personal details.
Anti-Spam Policy and Protection
Like All legitimate ESPs, Benchmark takes junk seriously and summarizes a clear zero-tolerance policy for any of their users trying to take part in spam activities. The company is fully in compliance with the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. Benchmark additionally takes several measures to preserve its standing as a spam-free supplier, among them membership from the Email Sender and Provider Coalition. The business uses the app SpamAssassin to filter messages delivered through its host.
To stop users from Unknowingly sending spam-like materials, Benchmark supplies a spam check feature that looks for words commonly used in spam messages. It scores every email on a scale from 1 to 5; 5s are assigned to content that is very likely to be blocked. In case of a top score, the program suggests”less spammy” alternatives. Individualized IP addresses also assist large-volume senders decrease their spam amounts.
Customer Support and Service
Benchmark Offers its customers a lot of support tools. Customer service is usually responsive, with minimal waiting times. The site provides good learning tools, but may be opaque occasionally. Crucial information is often buried and difficult to locate, especially if you don’t know precisely what you’re searching for, particularly in regards to minute details about plans. As an example. That the Free For Life plan includes Benchmark branding on each email, but you won’t see that mentioned on the Free For Life page, not even at the fine print. Nor are you going to see it said when you register. The only place it’s mentioned is at the FAQ, here.
Here are some of the resources Benchmark offers. Benchmark Email E-Commerce
· Live Email and Support — Benchmark supplies live one-on-one aid through these means.
· Email Service. Contact Benchmark at [email protected] or via the organization’s contact form . Available 24 hours Monday — Friday and restricted hours on Saturday.
· Telephone Support. You can reach Benchmark in 800-430-4095 (U.S.) or 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 because it is closer to some QandA-format knowledge foundation than a typical FAQ. You will find more than 900 entries, sorted into 18 subjects 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. One caveat. With such an extensive knowledge base, it’s pretty much inevitable that some entries are going to be out of date. A few of the QandAs offer information which is wholly incorrect, so in some cases, you might want to contact assistance to hash things out.
· Video Tutorials and Webinars — Benchmark provides about two dozen video tutorials which take users step by step through the features of the program. The business also supplies a webinar known as”Benchmark Email Crash Course.” You can view it live each Friday at 10.00 a.m. PST or see the recorded version at any moment. You might also request a special webinar on a number of different subjects. Live webinars comprise the chance to ask questions during the presentation.
· Email Marketing Manuals and Articles — You can find more in-depth information on email marketing in general, as well as the Benchmark program especially, at the Manuals Section. These downloadable files also cover industry-specific issues. Articles, very similar to sites, offer users guidance beyond that found in the FAQ section, but in shorter, more digestible chunks than the manuals provide.
· Glossary of Email Marketing Terms — This can be a particularly helpful tool for all those new to email marketing who believe absorbed by all of the jargon. Benchmark provides a glossarywith 50 of the most popular email advertising terms from”above-the-fold” to”whitelists.”
· Blog and Newsletter — For current info about email advertising trends, check out Benchmark’s monthly newsletter, in addition to its exceptionally active blog. All subscribers automatically gain access to current newsletters, and Benchmark also offers an archive of newsletter articles from November 2007-October 2012.
· Benchmark Community — Benchmark users can post their latest newsletters on message boards in the Benchmark Community. This forum allows users to talk about newsletter creation strategies, vote for their favourite newsletters, and gain inspiration from other Benchmark users.
Web-Based Or Locally-Installed
Benchmark is entirely web-based and does not Require any installation on your computer.
Favorable 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 E-Commerce
Some common points of praise.
· 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 some say it is actually the component that distinguishes Benchmark from its competitors. The company also receives praise for its website articles and videos.
· Characteristic Selection Across All Aims . Some users praise the addition of features including AB analyzing and surveys from all plans; many companies charge extra for such features or only include them in their pricier programs.
· Ease of Use. Users tend to find Benchmark’s interface extremely intuitive and user-friendly. The program gathers praise from a broad range of demographics, from first-time ESP consumers to those who have tried many different programs before settling on Benchmark.
· Mobile Friendly Emails. Users were impressed with the mobile-friendly email layout of Benchmark’s templates. Since more and more people access their email from mobile devices, this can be an increasingly significant factor to consider.
Negative Reviews and Complaints
I was not able to find many Men and Women who loathed Their Benchmark experience. But, I was able to discover a few complaints.
· Inconsistent Send-Times. Apparently some users experienced a problem with Benchmark in which their emails were sent hours after they were scheduled. One customer theorized that the issue might arise in lengthy lists of recipients. Not all customers of all Benchmark will possess time-sensitive shipping demands, but others will. Should you need your emails to go out exactly when your program dictates, you may need to take into account this situation.
· Buggy Social Media Integrations. I saw several user testimonials that commented the social media integrations in Benchmark aren’t up to par.
· “Spammy” Templates. Some users have been worried that Benchmark’s templates can feel like spam mail, leading recipients to mark them as spam and not reading the contents. Since the entire point of an ESP would be to stop this from happening, this might be a problem. On the other hand, I never felt this way while searching through the template list, so it might not be the most legitimate of complaints.
Benchmark Provides a huge variety of pricing strategies, such as a totally free plan and a huge scale of paid programs which can service anywhere between 600 and 7,140,000 subscribers.
Benchmark’s free programs do not require charge Cards, which is always refreshing. The only grab. There’ll be a small Benchmark logo at the bottom of every email you send out. Obviously, 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 most but not all of Benchmark’s features record. Notable absences to the features list for free accounts comprise email automation and sub-accounts (allowing multiple users to access one Benchmark account).
Paid Strategies. Benchmark Email E-Commerce
Users with small contacts lists and limited Monthly messages have the choice of paying for their email marketing based on the number of mails that they send each 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 per month
o Extra Large Plans. 125,000-1,000,000 subscribers, $659.99-$4,273.99 per month
o Enormous Plans. 1,070,000-7,140,000 subscribers, $4,500-$29,200 a 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 solid program. It is easy to use, Open to invention, and competitively priced. Its free options might just be the very best in the company for anybody who just wants to dip into email advertising (especially small, local businesses). For that matter, any Benchmark strategy can work well for a little company which perspectives email as a little aspect of its advertising and does not have any desire to work beyond the basics just yet.
If you are a small or even medium-sized Business looking for a simple email advertising program using a multitude of amazing features, Benchmark is an excellent choice. Though there might come a time when you outgrow the app, it provides a great deal for the price, offers exceptional support, and the business seems to be sensitive to the needs of its users. You can not ask for more.