Summary Benchmark Email Marketing Tool
For many an evening in 2004, three people sat Around a single desk in a small medical office — an office that functioned as the group’s conference room, breakfast area, and thought 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 expert) discussed ideas on how best to execute a deceptively straightforward idea. Simple email marketing. Many of their ideas were beyond the resources of this fledgling company, but that did not stop Keller from moving ahead.
The first Clients of Benchmark Email were small companies located in close proximity to Benchmark’s one-room HQ in Long Beach, CA. Keller and his team personally sold them on the usage of email advertising, while working hard to create a very simple user interface that would be easy to operate. All the while, the company uses such innovative ideas as customizable templates and software which adapted to user requirements. They also made certain from the beginning that anyone who needed help would have rapid access to excellent customer support.
Benchmark Has continued to rise and advantagesper. Its present focus. Providing worldwide email advertising services to small and midsize businesses while continuing to honor a commitment to assist kids in need. This doesn’t indicate that Benchmark is a little-guys-only service, however; it’s adhered to its core principle of adaptability and serves big organizations such as UNICEF and Kaiser-Permanente via its High Volume Business plans.
Today, Benchmark serves up of 73,000 users from throughout the planet, however, the company hasn’t forgotten its origins. Benchmark still maintains good relationships with little, locally-based companies. In fact, the organization supplies a full page of testimonials from users of the app. You can read more about Benchmark’s background and development here.
While the Majority of the attributes Benchmark supplies Are on par with the rest of the industry, among the standout features of the ESP is the fact that nearly all its features come standard with each accounts — such as the free ones. Here are some of Benchmark’s most notable offerings.
· Hundreds of Industry-Specific, Themed Templates. Benchmark offers all customers access to the library of over 400 templates. These are organized into 19 categories, some of which are tailored to specific industries such as education, entertainment, and retail. There is also a category for societal media-specific templates.
· Video Emails. Perhaps the best-known benefit of Benchmark is its support for video emails. The business describes the benefits of this attribute here.
· Online Surveys. You can create professional-looking online polls using one of Benchmark’s 6 templates. Post your poll on your website or build it into an email.
· Dedicated Email Server. All Benchmark’s High Volume plans have a dedicated IP address to help increase deliverability rates. Users on other plans have the choice of paying for this service ($30/month) to boost their particular delivery stats. Read more about the benefits of dedicated servers here.
· Email Delivery Management. 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 consulting support. The company also communicates with ISPs on its clients’ behalf. Benchmark Email Marketing Tool
· Mobile App. Benchmark’s mobile programs make it possible for customers having an Apple device to access several functions on the street. They can access and add contacts, browse reportsand send videos via integration using a YouTube accounts, and even design and send quick email blasts with one of 10 templates that are available. That is quite a bit more than many other companies offer in their mobile apps, which makes them much more functional.
· Photo Editing. If the pictures you plan to use on your email campaign are not perfectly sized or want some colour adjustment, you may use Benchmark’s integrated photo editor. This is a pretty handy feature if you do not have photoshop available.
· Code Editor. In case you’ve got the know-how to work magic with HTML, Benchmark offers this ultra-customization option with which you can construct your emails from scratch.
· Autoresponder. Every Benchmark customer has the power to design up to eight custom autoresponder messages. These could be scheduled as a string or occasion lead-up, or designed as annual messages like birthday or anniversary emails.
· Sign-Up Forms. The only way to become successful in email advertising is by way of growing your list, and Benchmark actually promotes doing so through sign-up forms. The company bases its Free For Life account completely around site and Facebook sign-ups and provides an easy-to-use tool to create customized templates for every medium.
· Inbox Checker. Since every email program is different and every internet browser includes a signature fashion, making sure 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 displays in Gmail using Explorer and Outlook 3. Using 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 may create newsletters from their sites 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 within Benchmark once.
· API Integration. An API (Application Program Interface) enables different software programs to communicate with one another without a formal plug-in connection. Benchmark’s API Integration feature allows users using XML-RPC, HTTP POST, or HTTP GET skills to retrieve data from other apps that use JSON, XML, XML-RPC, or PHP serialization strings. In brief, this permits them to perform three functions. Manage contact lists, manage campaigns and campaign sending, and check statistics. The company explains this role in more detail .
· Advanced Metrics. Benchmark offers both List Segmentation and AB Split Testing.
· Multiple-Language Interface. Benchmark is available in seven languages. Chinese, English, German, Japanese, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish.
Ease Of Use
Signing up for a Benchmark accounts is fairly straightforward. After entering your name, email, contact number, and business name, you have to validate your email address. This was a five-minute process for me. Upon logging into my new account (using the free program ) I was greeted by an appealing UI that gave me a clear path on the best way to make my first email campaign. Good start!
Email Campaign Creation
On its own dashboard, Benchmark provides users five main options. Emails, Automations, Contacts, Surveys, and Reports. To create a new campaign, proceed to the Emails segment, then hit the big blue”Create New Email” button in the top right-hand corner. Benchmark Email Marketing Tool
From there, you must 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 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 set up how much observation I wanted on the message, as well as if I wanted an automatic tweet when the effort went out. The following task was to choose which contacts I wanted to get the campaign. With that, I was finally able to begin constructing the email itself. If you would like to, you are able to assemble your own email designs employing a very intuitive editor. On the other hand, you can alter one of Benchmark’s templates, which are great, and better than I managed to do on my own.
Sending the Email Campaign
If you are just Starting out, you can certainly do as I did and manually enter contacts one at a time. However, for those who already have a list, there are numerous ways to import it. You can upload a CSV, xls, or txt file directly from your personal computer; import contacts directly from Salesforce.com, Hotmail, or Gmail accounts; or copy and paste large lists of contacts into a text type. Once you make your Benchmark lists, they will show up on your dash, along with a Master Unsubscribe List.
The actual sending of this email is quite easy. When you’ve completed all your tweaks, you may save the email as a draft, send it immediately, or schedule a time and date for delivery. If you would like to check all is well before unleashing your email about the planet, it is possible to send it to yourself to preview it as many as 10 times/day. I opted to schedule my email for shipping to see how timely the automatic system would really be. I scheduled my email for 2.45 and obtained it at 2.50, therefore while the timing wasn’t exactly ideal, it was likely within tolerance levels for most users. If you’re one of the more rare users who demand 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 mechanically sorted in my”promotions” folder. Definitely not ideal.
Email Campaign Reporting
First thing I Noticed about Benchmark email reports was something I would read in a few reviews. They are really, really quickly. I mean lightning fast. Opens enroll in the Benchmark system virtually immediately. I’ve worked with several other programs where these reports take hours or even days to appear.
Benchmark provides users with several key Bits of information about each campaign. The arguably most important statistic, the available speed, appears in both pie graph and numerical type. In addition, Benchmark supplies users with stats such as clicks, forward, bounces, unsubscribes, and abuse. Every stat further breaks down to the specific email addresses associated with a given activity. Users may export this information for additional analysis via a csv or xls file. There is also a social networking area which reports shares via Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, as well as a map that breaks down, by country, that opens your mails. Benchmark Email Marketing Tool
Though all of this information Is Excellent 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. Though Google Analytics provides a lot of this information with proper integration, there might come a time when serious entrepreneurs need more info than Benchmark provides. Whether a small company will reach that point varies, naturally, based on the business.
Specific Size Of Company
Benchmark designed its 3-tiered pricing Structure with the objective of serving everybody from the tiniest kitchen-table startup to big email marketers. However, the company’s key focus is on small to medium companies, especially those just beginning in email marketing. This is especially reflected in the fact that customers subscribing to the moderate plans get unlimited emails, while bigger plans have constraints.
Integrations and Add-Ons
Benchmark Offers approximately 20 plug-ins and integrations. If you do not see 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 Events is event marketing software designed to integrate fully with Benchmark Email. Launched in 2012, this program permits users to create and customize events, promote and sell tickets, and track the success of the events through their Benchmark Email account. A number of programs are available, including a free alternative.
· Salesforce.com — This integration enables users to import contacts into Benchmark and utilize Benchmark’s email system to maintain Salesforce customers engaged. Read our review of Salesforce here.
· WordPress — Benchmark Mail Lite is a WordPress plugin which allows users to quickly build an email viewer via their subscribers. The plugin can automatically produce email versions of blog articles and allows users to connect up to five Benchmark accounts.
· Highrise — Merges Highrise contacts with a Benchmark list. Read our review of Highrisehere.
· Benchmark Power — This free plugin lets you source pictures for your Benchmark mails from locations across the net. Benchmark Power captures images you locate and immediately uploads them to your Benchmark accounts for future usage.
· 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 automatically add Shopify customers to Benchmark lists. You may even add subscribers to different lists based on which products they bought. Read our overview of Shopify here.
· PayPal — Users may add some of the PayPal clients for their Benchmark email lists bylinking the account. Read our review of Paypal here.
· Easy List — Learn more about this simple list-making program and download it .
· WordPress — The ever-present blog and site builder provides an integration with Benchmark. Use it to send emails 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 Marketing Tool
Social Media Integrations
Since Of the integral connection between social networking and email marketing, it is important to check out the social media features contained in Benchmark.
· Social Media Templates — One section of Benchmark’s enormous email template listing is made of societal media-specific templates which directly promote your company’s involvement in social media forums like facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
· Facebook”Like” Button — Benchmark offers a very simple function which allows you to add a Facebook”Like” button into your emails.
· Facebook Sign-Up Form — Benchmark provides easy-to-create sign-up forms (see”Features” above) for both websites and Facebook fan pages, to help you convert followers to subscribers.
· Social Links within Mail — After you connect your Benchmark account with your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn accounts, you can add switches to each email which will direct your readers to each of your social media pages.
The company also fully Complies with the U.S.-E.U. and U.S.-Swiss Safe Harbor Frameworks concerning the collection of personal data from citizens of these countries. When customers provide credit card amounts to Benchmark, the company utilizes secure socket layer (SSL) protection to encrypt the information. The whole system 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 coverage for any of the users hoping to engage in spam activities. The business is entirely in compliance with all the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. Benchmark additionally takes several steps to maintain its reputation as a spam-free provider, among them membership from the Email Sender and Provider Coalition. The company employs the program SpamAssassin to filter messages sent through its host.
To stop users from Unknowingly sending spam-like substances, Benchmark provides a spam check feature which looks for words commonly utilized in spam messages. It scores each email on a scale from 1 to 5; 5s are delegated to content that’s very likely to be blocked. In case of a high score, the program suggests”less spammy” alternatives. Individualized IP addresses also help large-volume senders decrease their spam numbers.
Customer Service and Support
Benchmark Offers its users a great deal of support tools. Customer service is usually responsive, with minimal waiting times. The website offers good learning tools, but may be opaque at times. Crucial information is often buried and difficult to find, particularly in the event that you don’t know precisely what you’re looking for, particularly when it comes to minute details about strategies. For instance. The Free For Life plan includes Benchmark branding on each email, however you won’t find that mentioned on the Free For Life page, not even at the fine print. Nor are you going to see it said when you sign up. The only place it’s mentioned is in the FAQ, here.
Here are some of the resources Benchmark offers. Benchmark Email Marketing Tool
· Live Email and Support — Benchmark provides live one-on-one support through these means.
· Email Support. Contact Benchmark at [email protected] or via the company’s contact form . 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 countries). Available weekdays from 6 am to 5 pm PT.
· Chat Support. Available nearly 24 hours per day Monday — Friday and limited hours on Saturday. Offered in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian.
· FAQ — Benchmark’s FAQ section is somewhat mislabeled as it is closer to a QandA-format knowledge foundation than a normal FAQ. There are more than 900 entries, sorted into 18 subjects ranging from”Getting Started” to”API.” Users may execute a key word search of any subject (or sub-topic) or of the FAQ as a whole. 1 caveat. With such a comprehensive knowledge base, it’s pretty much inevitable that some entries are going to be out of date. Some of the QandAs offer information that’s wholly inaccurate, so in some cases, you might want to contact support to hash things out.
· Video Tutorials and Webinars — Benchmark supplies about two dozen video tutorials that take users step by step through the features of this app. The business also offers 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 quite a few different topics. Live webinars comprise the opportunity to ask questions during the demonstration.
· Email Marketing Manuals and Articles — There are more in-depth details 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 blogs, offer users advice beyond that found in the FAQ section, but in shorter, more readable chunks compared to the guides provide.
· Glossary of Email Marketing Terms — This can be a particularly helpful tool for all those new to email marketing who feel absorbed by all of the jargon. Benchmark gives a glossarywith 50 of the very popular email advertising terms from”above-the-fold” to”whitelists.”
· Blog and Newsletter — For current information regarding email marketing trends, check out Benchmark’s monthly newsletter, in addition to its extremely active site. All subscribers automatically obtain access to present 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 other Benchmark users.
Web-Based Or Locally-Installed
Benchmark is completely web-based and does not Require any setup on your computer.
Favorable Reviews and Reviews
Benchmark Includes 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 Marketing Tool
Some common points of praise.
· Top Notch Service . This is maybe the most typical monitoring regarding Benchmark, and something I noticed for myself too. People tend to find support prompt and helpful, and some say it’s really the component that distinguishes Benchmark from its competitors. The company also receives praise for its blog posts and videos.
· Feature Selection Across All Plans. Some customers praise the inclusion of features like AB testing and surveys from all plans; many firms charge extra for these features or only include them into their pricier programs.
· Benefits of Use. Users tend to find Benchmark’s interface extremely user-friendly and intuitive. The program gathers compliments from a broad range of demographics, from first time ESP users to those who have tried a variety of programs before settling on Benchmark.
· Mobile Friendly Emails. Users were impressed with all the mobile-friendly email layout of Benchmark’s templates. Since an increasing number of people access their email from mobile devices, this is an increasingly important factor to take into account.
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 couple of complaints.
· Inconsistent Send-Times. Apparently a few users experienced a problem with Benchmark in which their emails were sent hours when they were first scheduled. 1 customer theorized that the issue might arise from lengthy lists of recipients. Not all customers of Benchmark will have time-sensitive sending demands, but other people will. If you want your emails to go out exactly when your schedule dictates, you might need to consider 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 were concerned that Benchmark’s templates can feel like spam email, causing recipients to mark them as junk and not reading the contents. Since the entire purpose of an ESP would be to stop this from happening, this may be a problem. On the flip side, I never felt this way while searching through the template list, so it may not be the most valid of complaints.
Benchmark Offers a huge variety of pricing plans, including a totally free plan and a huge scale of paid plans that can service anywhere between 600 and 7,140,000 subscribers.
Benchmark’s free programs do not require credit Cards, which is always refreshing. The only catch. There’ll be a small Benchmark emblem at the bottom of each email you send out. Of course, you may always choose to upgrade to a paid program in case you don’t need the Benchmark branding. The free program allows you to send up to 14000 emails to around 2000 subscribers and provides you access to all but not all Benchmark’s features list. Notable absences to the features list for free accounts comprise email automation and sub-accounts (enabling multiple users to access one Benchmark account).
Paid Plans. Benchmark Email Marketing Tool
Users with small contacts lists and restricted Monthly messages have the choice of paying for their email advertising based on the number of emails they send each month.
o Moderate 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 Strategies. 125,000-1,000,000 subscribers, $659.99-$4,273.99 a 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 you a 25% reduction for nonprofits and educators.
Benchmark is a solid program. It’s Simple to Use, Open to innovation, and competitively priced. Its free options might very well be the best in the business for anyone who just wants to dive into email advertising (especially small, local companies ). For that matter, any Benchmark strategy can work nicely for a small company which views email as a minor aspect of its marketing and does not have any desire to work beyond the principles just yet.
If you are a small or maybe medium-sized Company trying to find a easy email advertising program with a multitude of great features, Benchmark is an excellent option. Even though there might come a time when you launch the program, it provides a lot for the price, offers excellent support, and the company seems to be sensitive to the requirements of its users. You can not ask for much more.