Overview Benchmark Email Marketing Campaigns
For many an evening in 2004, three people sat Around one desk in a tiny medical office — an office that functioned as the group’s conference room, breakfast area, and idea hub. Backed by a small programming group in India, the trio (consisting of Benchmark Internet Group founder Curt Keller, his wife Denise, and an SEO pro ) discussed ideas for how to execute a deceptively simple idea. Simple email marketing. Many of their ideas were beyond the resources of this fledgling company, but that didn’t stop Keller from planning ahead.
The first Customers of Benchmark Mail were small companies located in near proximity to Benchmark’s one-room HQ in Long Beach, CA. Keller and his staff sold them on the usage of email advertising, while working hard to create a very simple user interface which would be simple to operate. All the time, the company uses such novel ideas as customizable templates and software which adapted to user needs. They also made sure from the beginning that anybody who needed help would have quick access to excellent customer support.
Benchmark Has continued to rise and advantagesper. Its current focus. Providing global email marketing solutions to small and midsize companies while continuing to honor a commitment to help kids in need. This does not mean that Benchmark is a little-guys-only service, however; it has stuck to its core principle of adaptability and serves big organizations such as UNICEF and Kaiser-Permanente through its High Volume Business plans.
Today, Benchmark serves up of 73,000 users from across the planet, but the company hasn’t forgotten its origins. Benchmark still keeps good relationships with little, locally-based businesses. In reality, the company offers a complete page of testimonials from users of this program. You may read about Benchmark’s history and development here.
While the Majority of the attributes Benchmark provides Are on par with the rest of the industry, among the standout features of this ESP is the simple fact that nearly all its features come standard with each accounts — including the free ones. Here are a few of Benchmark’s most noteworthy offerings.
· Countless Industry-Specific, Themed Templates. Benchmark offers all users access to its library of over 400 templates. These are organized into 19 categories, some of which are tailored to particular industries such as education, entertainment, and retailstores. There’s also a class for societal media-specific templates.
· Video Emails. Possibly the best-known benefit of Benchmark is its support for video emails. The business describes 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 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 programs have the choice of paying for this service ($30/month) to increase their particular delivery stats. Read more about the benefits of dedicated servers .
· Email Delivery Management. Benchmark’s email shipping management program is about getting clients’ mails into inboxes. The business is a part of the Email Sender and Provider Coalition and works with ReturnPath, a top email delivery and delivery support. The business also communicates with ISPs on its clients’ behalf. Benchmark Email Marketing Campaigns
· Mobile App. Benchmark’s mobile apps make it possible for customers having an Apple device to get several functions on the street. They can access and include contacts, read reportsand send videos through integration using a YouTube account, and even layout and send fast email blasts with one of 10 available templates. This is quite a bit more than a number of other companies offer on their mobile programs, making them considerably more operational.
· Photo Editing. If the pictures you intend to utilize in your email campaign aren’t perfectly sized or need some color 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 provides this ultra-customization option with which you can build your emails from scratch.
· Autoresponder. Each Benchmark customer has the ability to design around eight custom autoresponder messages. These could be scheduled as a string or occasion lead-up, or designed as annual messages such as anniversary or birthday emails.
· Sign-Up Forms. The only way to be prosperous in email advertising is through growing your own list, and Benchmark actually promotes doing so through sign-up forms. The company bases its Free For Life account entirely around website and Facebook sign-ups and supplies an easy-to-use instrument to create custom templates for every medium.
· Inbox Checker. Because every email program differs and each web browser includes a signature fashion, making sure that your emails look great across the board is important. You can use Inbox Checker to look at the way that your email screens in Gmail using Explorer and Outlook 3. Employing the entire program (which checks everything from 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 sites automatically through the RSS-to-Email attribute, which works with any blog which handles an RSS-feed. Users only need to establish a campaign and template 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 recover data from other apps that use JSON, XML, XML-RPC, or PHP serialization strings. In brief, this allows them to play three purposes. Manage contact lists, manage campaigns and campaign sending, and check statistics. The company describes this role in more detail .
· Advanced Metrics. Benchmark provides both List 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 fairly straightforward. After entering your name, email, contact number, and business name, you have to confirm your email address. This is a five-minute procedure for me. Upon logging in to my account (with the free program ) I was greeted by an appealing UI that gave me a very clear direction about how best to make my first email campaign. Good start!
Email Campaign Creation
On its dashboard, Benchmark provides users five main choices. Emails, Automations, Contacts, Surveys, and Reports. To make a new effort, proceed to the Emails segment, then hit the large blue”Create New Email” button at the upper right-hand corner. Benchmark Email Marketing Campaigns
From there, you must decide if you want an RSS Or classic email message. You can use Benchmark’s drag-and-drop editor, or move 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 personally gifted that way, so I went with the drag-and-drop option.
I had been motivated to enter a subject line for my Email and set up how much observation I desired on the message, as well as 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 constructing the email itself. If you would like to, you can construct your own email designs 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.
Preventing 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 listing, there are several ways to import it. You are able to upload a CSV, xls, or txt file right from your 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 make your Benchmark lists, they’ll show up on your dashboard, along with a Master Unsubscribe List.
The sending of the email is quite easy. When you’ve finished all your tweaks, you may either save email as a draft, send it immediately, or schedule a time and date for delivery. If you would like to verify everything 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 shipping to see how timely the automatic system would actually be. I scheduled my email for 2.45 and obtained it in 2.50, so while the timing was not exactly ideal, it was likely within tolerance levels for most users. If you are one of the more infrequent users who need 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 in my”promotions” folder. Definitely not perfect.
Email Campaign Reporting
The first thing I Discovered about Benchmark email reports was something I would read in a couple of reviews. They are really, really quickly. I mean lightning fast. Opens enroll from the Benchmark system virtually immediately. I have worked with a lot of other apps where these reports require hours or even days to appear.
Benchmark provides users with several key Pieces of information about every campaign. The possibly most important statistic, the available speed, appears in both pie graph and numerical type. In addition, Benchmark supplies users with stats for clicks, forward, bounces, unsubscribes, and abuse. Each stat further breaks down to the specific email addresses related to a given activity. Users can export this information for further analysis by means of a csv or xls file. There’s also a social media place which reports shares through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, as well as a map which breaks down, by state, that opens your emails. Benchmark Email Marketing Campaigns
Though all of the information is great and Necessary, it is not enough to sustain higher level marketers who need more info such as conversions, which links were clicked, and revenue analysis. Although Google Analytics provides a whole lot of this information with appropriate integration, there might come a time when serious entrepreneurs need more info than Benchmark provides. Whether or not a small company will reach that point varies, of course, dependent on the business.
Specific Size Of Company
Benchmark made its 3-tiered pricing Structure with the goal of serving everybody from the smallest kitchen-table startup to big email marketers. On the other hand, the company’s main focus is on small to medium businesses, particularly those just beginning in email marketing. This is particularly reflected in the reality that customers subscribing to the medium plans get unlimited emails, while bigger plans have constraints.
Integrations and Add-Ons
Benchmark Offers roughly 20 plug-ins and integrations. If you do not observe the integration you need, there is still hope. You’re able to use the API or request an integration by sending an email to [email protected]
· Benchmark Occasions — Benchmark Events is event marketing applications designed to integrate fully with Benchmark Email. Launched in 2012, this app allows users to create and customize events, promote and market tickets, and monitor the success of the events through their Benchmark Email accounts. A variety of subscriptions are available, such as a free alternative.
· Salesforce.com — This integration allows users to import contacts into Benchmark and utilize Benchmark’s email system to maintain 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 plug-in can automatically create email variations of blog posts 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 plugin allows you to source pictures for your Benchmark emails from locations throughout the net. Benchmark Power captures pictures you find and instantly uploads them to a Benchmark accounts for future use.
· Flickr — Users with Flickr accounts may link Flickr to their own 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 contributors to various lists based on which products they purchased. Read our review of Shopify here.
· PayPal — Users may add any of their PayPal customers to their 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 offers an integration with Benchmark. Use it to send mails of your blog posts and also use the analytics to see how your subscribers react to them. Learn more here.
· Zapier — Gain access to Zapier’s enormous integration library . Benchmark Email Marketing Campaigns
Social Media Integrations
Since Of the integral connection between social networking and email advertising, it is very important to check out the social networking features contained in Benchmark.
· Social Media Templates — One segment of Benchmark’s massive email template listing is made of societal media-specific templates which directly promote your institution’s involvement in social media forums such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
· Facebook”Like” Button — Benchmark offers a simple function which allows you to bring 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 fan pages, so you can convert followers into readers.
· Social Links within Mail — Once you link your Benchmark account together with your Facebook, Twitter, and/or LinkedIn accounts, you can add buttons to every email that will direct your readers to each of your social networking pages.
The company also fully Complies with all the U.S.-E.U. and U.S.-Swiss Safe Harbor Frameworks regarding the selection of personal data from citizens of those countries. When customers 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 security of all customers’ personal information.
Anti-Spam Policy and Protection
Like All valid ESPs, Benchmark takes spam seriously and summarizes a clear zero-tolerance policy for any of the users hoping to take part in spam activities. The business is entirely 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 from the Email Sender and Provider Coalition. The company uses the program SpamAssassin to filter messages delivered through its server.
To stop users from Unknowingly sending spam-like materials, Benchmark provides a spam test feature which looks for words widely used in spam messages. It scores each email on a scale from 1 to 5; 5s are delegated to content that’s likely to be blocked. In the event of a top score, the program suggests”less spammy” alternatives. Individualized IP addresses also help large-volume senders reduce their spam numbers.
Customer Support and Service
Benchmark Offers its users a lot of support resources. Customer support is usually responsive, with minimal waiting times. The website provides good learning resources, but can be opaque occasionally. Crucial information can be buried and difficult to locate, especially in the event that you don’t know exactly what you’re searching for, especially in regards to minute details 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 page, not even in the fine print. Nor will you see it mentioned when you register. The only place it is mentioned is in the FAQ, here.
Here are some of those resources Benchmark offers. Benchmark Email Marketing Campaigns
· Live Email and Support — Benchmark provides live one-on-one support through these means.
· Email Service. Contact Benchmark at [email protected] or through the company’s contact form . Accessible 24 hours Monday — Friday and limited hours on Saturday.
· Phone Support. You can reach Benchmark in 800-430-4095 (U.S.) or even 001-562-252-3789 (all countries). Available weekdays from 6 am to 5 pm PT.
· Chat Support. Accessible almost 24 hours per day Monday — Friday and limited hours on Saturday. Founded in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian.
· FAQ — Benchmark’s FAQ section is somewhat mislabeled as it is closer to a QandA-format knowledge base than a typical FAQ. There are more than 900 entries, sorted into 18 subjects ranging from”Getting Started” to”API.” Users may perform a keyword search of any subject (or sub-topic) or from the FAQ as a whole. 1 caveat. With such an extensive knowledge base, it is pretty much inevitable that some entries are going to be out of date. A few of the QandAs offer information that’s wholly 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 that take users step by step through the features of the program. The company also supplies a webinar known as”Benchmark Mail Crash Course.” You can view it live each Friday at 10.00 a.m. PST or see the recorded version at any time. You can even request a special webinar on quite a few different topics. Live webinars comprise the chance to ask questions throughout the presentation.
· Email Marketing Manuals and Articles — There are more in-depth details on email marketing generally, as well as the Benchmark program especially, at the Manuals Section. These downloadable files also cover industry-specific troubles. Articles, very similar to sites, offer users advice 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 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.”
· Website and Newsletter — For current information about email advertising trends, check out Benchmark’s monthly newsletter, in addition to its extremely active site. All subscribers automatically obtain access to current newsletters, and Benchmark also provides 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 discuss newsletter production approaches, vote for their favourite 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 Testimonials
Benchmark Has 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 Marketing Campaigns
Some common points of compliments.
· Top Notch Support. This is perhaps the most common monitoring regarding Benchmark, and something I noticed for myself as well. People today are inclined to find support prompt and helpful, and some say it is actually the component that distinguishes Benchmark from its competitors. The business also receives praise for its blog posts and videos.
· Feature Selection Across All Aims . Some customers praise the inclusion of attributes including AB analyzing and surveys from all plans; many firms charge extra for these attributes or just include them in their pricier programs.
· Benefits of Use. Users have a tendency to find Benchmark’s interface extremely user-friendly and intuitive. The program gathers compliments from a wide range of demographics, from first-time ESP users to those who have attempted many different programs before settling Benchmark.
· Mobile Friendly Emails. Consumers were impressed with the mobile-friendly email layout of Benchmark’s templates. Since more and more people access their email from mobile devices, this is an increasingly important factor to consider.
Negative Reviews and Complaints
I was Unable to find many people who disliked Their own Benchmark experience. But, I managed to discover a few complaints.
· Inconsistent Send-Times. Apparently some users experienced an issue with Benchmark in which their mails were sent hours when they were first scheduled. 1 customer theorized that the issue might arise from long lists of recipients. Not all customers of all Benchmark will possess time-sensitive shipping demands, but other people will. Should you want your mails to go out precisely when your program dictates, you may need to take into account this issue.
· Buggy Social Media Integrations. I saw several user reviews that commented the social networking integrations in Benchmark aren’t up to par.
· “Spammy” Templates. Some users have been concerned that Benchmark’s templates may feel like spam email, leading recipients to mark them as spam rather than studying the contents. Since the entire point of an ESP would be to stop this from occurring, this might be a problem. On the other hand, I never felt this way while searching through the template list, so it may not be the most legitimate of complaints.
Benchmark Offers a enormous variety of pricing strategies, including a totally free plan and a massive array of paid plans that 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 little Benchmark emblem at the bottom of every email you send out. Of course, you can always choose 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 gives you access to most but not all of Benchmark’s features list. Notable absences into the features list for free accounts comprise email automation and sub-accounts (allowing many users to access one Benchmark account).
Paid Strategies. Benchmark Email Marketing Campaigns
Users with little contacts lists and limited Monthly messages have the option of paying for their email advertising based on the number of emails that they send every month.
o Medium 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 Enormous Plans. 1,070,000-7,140,000 subscribers, $4,500-$29,200 per month
Benchmark accepts all Major credit cards and also lets you pay through PayPal. They also offer a 25% discount for nonprofits and educators.
Benchmark is a solid program. It’s easy to use, Open to invention, and competitively priced. Its free options may just be the best in the company for anybody who just wants to dip into email marketing (especially small, local companies ). For that matter, any Benchmark strategy can work well for a little company which perspectives email as a little element of its marketing 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 marketing program with a multitude of amazing features, Benchmark is an excellent option. Though there may come a time when you outgrow the app, it supplies a lot for the money, offers excellent support, and the company seems to be sensitive to the needs of its customers. You can not ask for much more.