Summary Benchmark Email Expert
For many an evening in 2004, three people sat Around one desk in a tiny medical office — an office which functioned as the team’s conference room, breakfast area, and idea hub. Backed by a little programming team 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 implement a deceptively simple idea. Simple email advertising. Many of the ideas were beyond the resources of this fledgling business, but that didn’t stop Keller from planning 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 marketing, while working hard to create a simple user interface that would be simple to operate. All the time, the company uses such novel ideas as customizable templates and software which adapted to user requirements. They also made certain from the outset that anyone who needed help would have quick access to outstanding customer care.
Benchmark Has continued to grow and advantagesper. Its present focus. Providing global email advertising services to small and medium-sized companies while continuing to honor a commitment to help kids 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 functions big organizations like UNICEF and Kaiser-Permanente through 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 keeps good relationships with small, locally-based businesses. In fact, the company offers a full page of testimonials from users of this program. You may read more about Benchmark’s history and development here.
While most of the features Benchmark supplies Are on par with the rest of the industry, one of the standout features of the ESP is the simple fact that most of its attributes come standard with each account — including the free ones. Below are a few of Benchmark’s most notable offerings.
· Hundreds of Industry-Specific, Themed Templates. Benchmark offers all customers access to its library of over 400 templates. These are organized into 19 categories, some of which are tailored to specific industries such as education, entertainment, and retailstores. There’s also a class for social media-specific templates.
· Video Emails. Perhaps the best-known advantage of Benchmark is its support for video mails. The business explains the advantages of this attribute here.
· Online Surveys. You can create professional-looking online surveys using one of Benchmark’s 6 templates. Post your survey on your website 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 boost their own delivery stats. Read more about the benefits of dedicated servers .
· Email Delivery Management. Benchmark’s email delivery management program is all about getting customers’ mails into inboxes. The business is a part of the Email Sender and Provider Coalition and works with ReturnPath, a leading email delivery and delivery support. The company also communicates with ISPs on its clients’ behalf. Benchmark Email Expert
· Mobile App. Benchmark’s mobile programs make it possible for customers with an Apple device to get several functions on the street. They can access and add contacts, read reports, send videos via integration with a YouTube account, and even layout and send fast email blasts with one of 10 available templates. This is quite a bit more than many other companies offer on their mobile apps, making them considerably more functional.
· Photo Editing. If the photos you plan to use in your email campaign are not perfectly sized or want some colour adjustment, you can use Benchmark’s integrated photo editor. This is a fairly handy feature if you don’t have photoshop available.
· Code Editor. In case you’ve got the know-how to work magic with HTML, Benchmark offers this ultra-customization option with which you can build your emails from scratch.
· Autoresponder. Each Benchmark client has the ability to design up to eight custom autoresponder messages. These could be scheduled as a string or event lead-up, or designed as annual messages like birthday or anniversary mails.
· Sign-Up Forms. The only way to become successful in email marketing is through growing your list, and Benchmark actually promotes doing this via sign-up forms. The business bases its Free For Life account entirely around website and Facebook sign-ups and supplies an easy-to-use tool to create custom templates for every medium.
· Inbox Checker. Since every email program differs and every web browser includes a signature style, making certain your emails look great across the board is crucial. It is possible to use Inbox Checker to have a look at the way that your email screens in Gmail using Explorer and Outlook 3. Using the entire program (which checks everything out of AOL to Yahoo, Explorer into Safari, mobile to PC) is a paid add-on provider, available for $14 each 100 checks.
· RSS-to-Email. Regular bloggers can create newsletters out of their sites mechanically through the RSS-to-Email feature, which works with any site which manages an RSS-feed. Users only need to set up a template and campaign within Benchmark once.
· API Integration. An API (Application Program Interface) allows different software programs to communicate with one another without a formal plug link. Benchmark’s API Integration feature permits users using XML-RPC, HTTP POST, or HTTP GET skills to retrieve data from some other programs that use JSON, XML, XML-RPC, or PHP serialization strings. In brief, this permits them to play three functions. Manage contact lists, handle campaigns and effort sending, and check statistics. The business explains this function 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 fairly straightforward. After entering your name, email, phone number, and business name, you need to confirm your email address. This is a five-minute process for me. Upon logging in to my account (using the free program ) I was greeted by an appealing UI that gave me a very clear direction about how to create my first email campaign. Good beginning!
Email Campaign Creation
On its dashboard, Benchmark provides users five main options. Emails, Automations, Contacts, Surveys, and Reports. To create a new effort, go to the Emails segment, then hit on the big blue”Create New Email” button in the upper right-hand corner. Benchmark Email Expert
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 moved with the drag-and-drop option.
I was 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 once the campaign went out. The next task was to select which contacts I wanted to receive the campaign. With that, I was eventually able to begin building the email . If you want to, you are able to construct 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 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 people who already have a listing, there are numerous ways to import it. You can 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. Once you create your Benchmark lists, they’ll appear on your dashboard, along with a Master Unsubscribe List.
The actual sending of the email is rather simple. Once you have completed all of your tweaks, you can save the email as a draft, send it immediately, or schedule a date and time for delivery. If you want to check all is well before unleashing your email about the world, it is possible to send it to yourself to preview it as many as 10 times/day. I opted to program my email for shipping to see how timely the automated system would actually be. I advised my email for 2.45 and obtained it in 2.50, so while the timing wasn’t exactly ideal, it was likely present in tolerance levels for many users. If you’re one of the more infrequent users who demand on-the-minute email sending, then you may have to appear 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
First thing I Discovered about Benchmark email reports was something I would read in a couple of reviews. They are really, really fast. I mean lightning fast. Opens register from the Benchmark system virtually immediately. I have worked with several different programs 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 available speed, appears in both pie graph and numerical form. In addition, Benchmark supplies users with stats for clicks, forward, bounces, unsubscribes, and abuse. Each stat further breaks down to the exact email addresses associated with a given activity. Users may export this data for further analysis via a csv or xls file. There is also a social media area which reports shares through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, in addition to a map that breaks down, by state, that opens your emails. Benchmark Email Expert
Though all of the information is great and Necessary, it is not enough to sustain higher level marketers who want more info such as conversions, which hyperlinks were clicked, and revenue analysis. Though Google Analytics provides a whole lot of this info with appropriate integration, there might come a time when serious marketers need more info than Benchmark provides. Whether or not a small business will reach that point varies, of course, based on the business.
Particular Size Of Business
Benchmark made its 3-tiered pricing Structure with the goal of serving everyone from the smallest kitchen-table startup to big email marketers. On the other hand, the organization’s main focus is on small to medium companies, especially those just starting out in email marketing. This is especially reflected in the reality that clients subscribing to the moderate plans get unlimited emails, while larger plans have limitations.
Integrations and Add-Ons
Benchmark Offers approximately 20 plug-ins and integrations. If you don’t observe the integration you want, 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 program permits users to create and customize occasions, promote and sell tickets, and monitor the success of their events via their Benchmark Email accounts. A variety of subscriptions 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 participated. Read our overview of Salesforce here.
· Twitter — Benchmark Mail Lite is a WordPress plugin which permits users to quickly build an email viewer through their readers. The plug-in can automatically produce email variations of blog posts and allows users to connect up to five Benchmark accounts.
· Highrise — Merges Highrise contacts using a Benchmark list. Read our overview of Highrisehere.
· Benchmark Power — This free plug-in allows you to supply pictures for your Benchmark emails from places across the net. Benchmark Power captures pictures you locate and immediately uploads them to your Benchmark accounts for future use.
· Flickr — Users with Flickr accounts can link Flickr to their Benchmark image galleries.
· Shopify — You are able to link a Shopify accounts to Benchmark and automatically add Shopify customers to Benchmark lists. You may even add contributors to different lists based on what they purchased. Read our overview of Shopify here.
· PayPal — Users may add any of the PayPal clients 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 .
· WordPress — The ever-present blog and website builder provides an integration using Benchmark. Use it to send emails of your blog articles 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 Expert
Social Media Integrations
Because Of the key connection between social media and email marketing, it’s very important to check out the social media features included in Benchmark.
· Social Media Templates — One segment of Benchmark’s enormous email template listing consists of societal media-specific templates which directly promote your institution’s involvement in social networking forums like facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
· Facebook”Like” Button — Benchmark provides a very simple function which permits you to add a Facebook”Like” button to your own emails.
· Facebook Sign-Up Form — Benchmark provides easy-to-create sign-up forms (see”Features” above) for both sites and Facebook fan pages, so you can convert followers into readers.
· Social Links within Mail — After you connect your Benchmark account together with your Facebook, Twitter, and/or LinkedIn accounts, you can add switches to every email which will direct your subscribers to each of your social media pages.
The Business 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 company uses secure socket layer (SSL) protection to encrypt the information. The whole system is encrypted to ensure the safety of customers’ personal information.
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 trying to take part in spam actions. The company is entirely in compliance with the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. Benchmark also takes several measures to maintain its standing as a spam-free provider, among them membership in the Email Sender and Provider Coalition. The business uses the program SpamAssassin to filter messages sent through its host.
To prevent users from Unknowingly sending spam-like substances, Benchmark supplies a spam test feature that looks for words widely utilized in spam messages. It scores every email on a scale from 1 to 5; 5s are delegated to content that’s likely to be blocked. In the event of a high score, the program suggests”less spammy” alternatives. Individualized IP addresses also help large-volume senders reduce their spam amounts.
Customer Service and Support
Benchmark Offers its customers a great deal of support resources. Customer support is generally responsive, with minimal waiting times. The website offers good learning tools, but can be needlessly opaque at times. Key information is often buried and hard to locate, particularly in the event that you don’t know precisely what you’re looking for, especially when it comes to minute particulars about strategies. As an example. The Free For Life plan includes Benchmark branding on every 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 register. The only place it is mentioned is at the FAQ, here.
Here are some of those resources Benchmark offers. Benchmark Email Expert
· Live Support and Email — Benchmark provides live one-on-one support through the following means.
· Email Service. Contact Benchmark at [email protected] or through the company’s contact form here. Accessible 24 hours Monday — Friday and restricted hours on Saturday.
· Telephone Support. You can reach Benchmark in 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 almost 24 hours daily Monday — Friday and restricted hours on Saturday. Founded in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian.
· FAQ — Benchmark’s FAQ section is somewhat mislabeled because it is closer to a QandA-format knowledge base 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 keyword search of any subject (or sub-topic) or of their FAQ as a whole. One caveat. With such a comprehensive knowledge base, it’s pretty much inevitable that some entries will be out of date. A few of the QandAs provide information which is wholly incorrect, so in some cases, you might need to contact support 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 this program. The business also offers a webinar called”Benchmark Email Crash Course.” You may view it live each Friday at 10.00 a.m. PST or see the recorded version at any moment. You might also ask for a particular webinar on a number of different subjects. Live webinars include the chance to ask questions throughout the demonstration.
· Email Marketing Manuals and Articles — You can find more in-depth information on email marketing in general, in addition to the Benchmark program specifically, 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 compared to the guides provide.
· Glossary of Email Marketing Requirements — This is a particularly valuable tool for all those new to email marketing who believe absorbed by all the jargon. Benchmark provides a glossarywith 50 of the most popular email marketing terms from”above-the-fold” to”whitelists.”
· Blog and Newsletter — For current info regarding email marketing trends, check out Benchmark’s monthly newsletter, as well as its exceptionally active site. All subscribers automatically obtain access to current newsletters, and Benchmark also offers an archive of newsletter posts from November 2007-October 2012.
· Benchmark Community — Benchmark users may post their newest newsletters on message boards at the Benchmark Community. This forum allows users to talk about newsletter production approaches, vote for their favorite newsletters, and gain inspiration from additional Benchmark users.
Web-Based Or Locally-Installed
Benchmark is completely web-based and does not Require any setup on your computer.
Positive Reviews and Reviews
Benchmark Has a four-out-of-five star score on G2 Crowd, with a slightly better showing on GetApp and Capterra. 4.5 stars each. Benchmark Email Expert
Some common points of praise.
· Top Notch Service . This is maybe the most common monitoring concerning Benchmark, and some thing I discovered for myself as well. People today are inclined to find support prompt and helpful, and some say it is really the component that distinguishes Benchmark from its competitors. The company also receives praise for its website articles and videos.
· Characteristic Selection Across All Plans. Some customers praise the addition of attributes like AB testing and surveys from all programs; many companies charge extra for these features or just include them in their pricier plans.
· Benefits of Use. Users have a tendency to find Benchmark’s interface extremely user-friendly and intuitive. The program gathers praise from a broad range of demographics, from first time ESP consumers to people who have attempted a variety of programs before settling on Benchmark.
· Mobile Friendly Emails. Consumers were impressed with all the mobile-friendly email design of Benchmark’s templates. Since more and more people access their email from mobile devices, this can be an increasingly important aspect to consider.
Negative Reviews and Complaints
I was Unable to find many people who disliked Their Benchmark experience. But, I was able to find a few complaints.
· Inconsistent Send-Times. Apparently a few users experienced an issue with Benchmark in which their emails were sent hours when they were scheduled. One customer theorized the issue might arise in lengthy lists of recipients. Not all customers of all Benchmark will have time-sensitive sending needs, but others will. If you need your emails to go out precisely whenever your schedule dictates, you may need to take into account this issue.
· Buggy Social Media Integrations. I saw several user testimonials 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 mail, leading receivers 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 an issue. On the flip side, I never felt this way whilst searching through the template list, so it might not be the most legitimate of complaints.
Benchmark Provides a enormous variety of pricing strategies, such as a totally free plan and a massive array of paid plans which may service anywhere between 600 and 7,140,000 subscribers.
Benchmark’s free programs do not require credit Cards, that is always refreshing. The only catch. There’ll be a small Benchmark logo at the bottom of each 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 allows you to send up to 14000 emails to up to 2000 subscribers and gives you access to all but not all Benchmark’s features list. Notable absences into the features list for free accounts include email automation and sub-accounts (enabling multiple users to access one Benchmark account).
Paid Plans. Benchmark Email Expert
Users with small contacts lists and restricted Monthly messages have the option of paying for their email marketing depending on the amount of emails they send every month.
o Moderate Plans. 600-50,000 subscribers, $13.99-$254.99 a 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 a month
o Massive Plans. 1,070,000-7,140,000 subscribers, $4,500-$29,200 a month
Benchmark accepts all Major credit cards and also allows you to pay through PayPal. They also offer a 25% discount for nonprofits and educators.
Benchmark is a solid program. It’s Simple to Use, Open to innovation, and competitively priced. Its free options might just be the best in the company for anyone who only wants to dip into email marketing (particularly small, neighborhood businesses). For that matter, any Benchmark plan can work nicely for a small business which perspectives email as a little element of its advertising and has no desire to work beyond the basics just yet.
If you are a small or maybe medium-sized Company trying to find a easy email advertising program with a host of amazing features, Benchmark is an exceptional option. Even though there may come a time when you outgrow the program, it provides a great deal for the price, provides excellent support, and the company appears to be sensitive to the requirements of its users. You can not ask for more.