Overview Benchmark Email Offices
For many a day in 2004, three people sat Around a single desk in a small medical office — an office which served as the group’s conference room, lunch room, and idea heart. Backed by a small programming team in India, the trio (comprising Benchmark Internet Group founder Curt Keller, his wife Denise, along with an SEO expert) discussed ideas on how best to implement a deceptively straightforward idea. Simple email advertising. Many of their thoughts were beyond the resources of the fledgling business, but that didn’t stop Keller from planning ahead.
The first Clients of Benchmark Mail were small businesses located in close proximity to Benchmark’s one-room HQ in Long Beach, CA. Keller and his staff sold them on the use of email advertising, while working hard to create a simple user interface that would be simple to operate. All the while, the business uses such novel ideas as customizable templates and software which adapted to user needs. They also made certain from the outset that anybody who needed help would have rapid access to outstanding customer support.
Benchmark Has continued to grow and advantagesper. Its current focus. Providing worldwide email advertising solutions to small and midsize businesses while continuing to honor a commitment to help children in need. This doesn’t indicate 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 via its High Volume Enterprise plans.
Today, Benchmark serves up of 73,000 users from throughout the planet, but the company hasn’t forgotten its origins. Benchmark still keeps good relationships with small, locally-based businesses. In fact, the company supplies a complete page of testimonials from users of this program. You may read more about Benchmark’s background and development here.
While most of the features Benchmark supplies Are on par with the rest of the business, among the standout characteristics of this ESP is the simple fact that most of its attributes come standard with each accounts — including the free ones. Below are some 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 like education, entertainment, and retailstores. There’s also a category for social media-specific templates.
· Video Emails. Possibly the best-known advantage of Benchmark is its support for video emails. The business explains the benefits of this attribute here.
· Online Surveys. You’ll be able to create professional-looking online polls using one of Benchmark’s 6 templates. Post your survey on your site or construct it directly into an email.
· Dedicated Email Server. All of Benchmark’s High Volume plans come with a dedicated IP address to help increase deliverability prices. Users on other plans have the choice of paying for this service ($30/month) to boost their own delivery stats. Read more about the benefits of dedicated servers here.
· Email Delivery Direction . Benchmark’s email shipping 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 top email delivery and consulting support. The business also communicates with ISPs on its clients’ behalf. Benchmark Email Offices
· Mobile App. Benchmark’s mobile apps make it possible for customers with an Apple device to access several functions on the street. They can access and include contacts, read reportsand send videos via integration using a YouTube account, and even design and send fast email blasts with one of 10 templates that are available. This is quite a bit more than many other businesses offer on their mobile apps, which makes them much more operational.
· Photo Editing. If the pictures you intend to utilize on your email campaign aren’t perfectly sized or want some color adjustment, you may use Benchmark’s integrated picture editor. This is a fairly handy feature if you don’t have photoshop available.
· Code Editor. If 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 power to style around eight custom autoresponder messages. These could be scheduled as a series or event lead-up, or designed as yearly messages like birthday or anniversary emails.
· Sign-Up Types . The only way to be prosperous 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 entirely around website and Facebook sign-ups and supplies an easy-to-use instrument to create customized templates for every medium.
· Inbox Checker. Because every email program is different and each internet browser includes a signature style, making sure that your emails look good across the board is crucial. It is possible to use Inbox Checker to look at the way your email displays in Gmail using Explorer and Outlook 3. Using the entire app (which checks everything out of AOL to Yahoo, Explorer to Safari, mobile to PC) is a paid add-on service, available for $14 each 100 checks.
· RSS-to-Email. Regular bloggers can create newsletters from their sites mechanically through the RSS-to-Email attribute, which works with any blog 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) allows different software programs to communicate with one another with no formal plug link. Benchmark’s API Integration feature permits users using XML-RPC, HTTP POST, or HTTP GET abilities to retrieve data from other programs which use JSON, XML, XML-RPC, or PHP serialization strings. In a nutshell, this allows them to play three purposes. Manage contact lists, manage campaigns and effort sending, and check data. The business explains this role in more detail .
· Advanced Metrics. Benchmark offers both Listing 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 account is fairly straightforward. After entering your name, email, phone number, and company 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 very clear path on how to create 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 section, then hit on the large blue”Create New Mail” button at the top right-hand corner. Benchmark Email Offices
From there, you must decide if you want an RSS Or classic email message. You can use Benchmark’s drag-and-drop editor, or go for more customization using the built-in code editor. If you’re 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 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 if I wanted an automated tweet once the campaign went out. The next task was to choose which contacts I wished to receive the campaign. With that, I was eventually able to begin constructing the email itself. If you would like to, you can assemble your personal email layouts using an extremely intuitive editor. On the other hand, you can alter one of Benchmark’s templates, that are great, and much better than I managed to do in my.
Sending the Email Campaign
If You’re just Starting out, you can do as I did and manually enter contacts 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 right from the personal computer; import contacts directly from Salesforce.com, Hotmail, or Gmail accounts; or copy and paste huge lists of contacts into a text form. When you create your Benchmark lists, then they’ll show up on your dash, along with a Master Unsubscribe List.
The sending of this email is rather simple. Once you’ve finished all your tweaks, you can either save the email as a draft, send it immediately, or schedule a time and date for delivery. If you want to verify all is well before distributing your email about the planet, it is possible to send it to your self to preview it as many as 10 times/day. I opted to schedule my email for delivery to view how timely the automatic system would actually be. I advised my email for 2.45 and obtained it in 2.50, therefore while the timing was not exactly ideal, it was probably within tolerance levels for most users. If you are one of the more rare users who need on-the-minute email sending, you may have to appear elsewhere. More worryingly, my email didn’t go to my main inbox but was automatically sorted into my”promotions” folder. Definitely not ideal.
Mail Campaign Reporting
First thing I Discovered about Benchmark email reports was something I would read about in a couple of reviews. They’re really, really quickly. I mean lightning fast. Opens enroll from the Benchmark system virtually instantaneously. I’ve worked with a lot of other programs where these reports take hours or even days to appear.
Benchmark provides users with several key Pieces of information about every effort. The arguably most important statistic, the available speed, appears in both pie chart and numerical type. Additionally, Benchmark supplies users with stats for clicks, forwards, bounces, unsubscribes, and misuse. Every stat further breaks down to the exact email addresses related to a given activity. Users can export this data for further analysis by means of a csv or xls file. There’s also a social networking place which reports shares through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, in addition to a map that breaks down, by state, that opens your mails. Benchmark Email Offices
Though all of this information Is Excellent and Necessary, it isn’t sufficient to sustain higher level marketers that need more information such as conversions, which links were clicked, and revenue analysis. Although Google Analytics provides a lot of that info with proper integration, there may come a time when serious marketers need more info than Benchmark provides. Whether a small business will get to that point varies, naturally, based on the business.
Particular Size Of Business
Benchmark made its 3-tiered pricing Structure with the goal of serving everyone from the tiniest kitchen-table startup to large email marketers. However, the organization’s key focus is on small to medium businesses, particularly those just beginning in email advertising. This is especially reflected in the reality 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 don’t observe the integration you want, there is still hope. You can use the API or ask a integration by sending an email to [email protected]
· Benchmark Events — Benchmark Events is event marketing applications designed to integrate fully with Benchmark Email. Launched in 2012, this app permits users to create and customize occasions, promote and sell tickets, and track the success of their events via their Benchmark Email account. A variety of subscriptions are available, such as a free alternative.
· Salesforce.com — This integration enables users to import contacts directly into Benchmark and utilize Benchmark’s email system to maintain Salesforce customers engaged. Read our overview of Salesforce here.
· WordPress — Benchmark Mail Lite is a WordPress plug-in which allows users to easily build an email viewer via their subscribers. The plug-in can automatically create email versions of blog articles and permits 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 plugin allows you to source images for your Benchmark emails from places throughout the net. Benchmark Power captures images you find and immediately uploads them to your Benchmark account for future use.
· Flickr — Users with Flickr accounts can link Flickr to their own Benchmark image galleries.
· Shopify — You are able to link a Shopify account to Benchmark and mechanically add Shopify customers to Benchmark lists. You may even add contributors to different lists based on what they purchased. Read our review of Shopify here.
· PayPal — Users can add any of their PayPal clients for their Benchmark email lists bylinking the accounts. Read our overview of Paypal here.
· Easy List — Know more about this very simple list-making program and download it here.
· WordPress — The ever-present site and site builder offers an integration using Benchmark. Use it to send emails of your blog articles and use the analytics to observe how your readers react to them. Learn more here.
· Zapier — Gain access to Zapier’s huge integration library . Benchmark Email Offices
Social Media Integrations
Because Of the integral connection between social media and email advertising, it is very important to look at the social media features included in Benchmark.
· Social Media Templates — One segment of Benchmark’s enormous email template list is made of social media-specific templates which directly promote your company’s involvement in social networking forums like facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
· Facebook”Like” Button — Benchmark provides a very simple function which allows you to add a Facebook”Just Like” button into your own emails.
· Facebook Sign-Up Form — Benchmark provides easy-to-create sign-up forms (see”Characteristics” above) for both sites and Facebook enthusiast pages, so you can convert followers into subscribers.
· Social Links within Mail — After you link your Benchmark account together with your Facebook, Twitter, and/or LinkedIn account, you can add buttons to each email that will direct your subscribers to each of your social networking pages.
The company also fully Complies with the U.S.-E.U. and U.S.-Swiss Safe Harbor Frameworks concerning the selection of personal data from citizens of those countries. When customers provide credit card amounts to Benchmark, the business uses secure socket layer (SSL) protection to encrypt the info. The whole 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 outlines a clear zero-tolerance coverage for any of their users trying to engage in spam actions. The company is fully in compliance with all the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. Benchmark also takes several steps to maintain its reputation as a spam-free provider, one of them membership in the Email Sender and Provider Coalition. The business employs the program SpamAssassin to filter messages sent through its server.
To stop users from Unknowingly sending spam-like substances, Benchmark provides a spam test feature that looks for words commonly used in spam messages. It scores every email on a scale from 1 to 5; 5s are delegated to content that’s very 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 Support and Service
Benchmark Offers its users a lot of support resources. Customer support is generally responsive, with minimal waiting times. The site offers good learning resources, but can be needlessly opaque occasionally. Crucial information is often buried and difficult to locate, especially in the event that you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for, especially when it comes to minute details about plans. As an example. That the Free For Life plan comprises Benchmark branding on every email, but you won’t see that mentioned on the Free For Life webpage, not even in the fine print. Nor will you see it said when you sign up. The only place it’s mentioned is in the FAQ, here.
Here are some of those resources Benchmark offers. Benchmark Email Offices
· Live Email and Support — Benchmark provides live one-on-one support through the following means.
· Email Support. Contact Benchmark at support[email protected] or through the organization’s contact form here. Accessible 24 hours Monday — Friday and limited hours on Saturday.
· Telephone Support. You are able to 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. Accessible almost 24 hours per day Monday — Friday and restricted hours on Saturday. Founded in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian.
· FAQ — Benchmark’s FAQ section is somewhat mislabeled because it’s closer to a QandA-format knowledge base than a typical FAQ. You will find more than 900 entries, sorted into 18 topics ranging from”Getting Started” to”API.” Users can execute a key word search of any subject (or sub-topic) or from 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 provide advice that’s wholly inaccurate, so in some cases, you might need to contact assistance 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 the program. The business also supplies a webinar called”Benchmark Email Crash Course.” You may see it live each Friday at 10.00 a.m. PST or watch the recorded version at any time. You might even request a special webinar on a number of other subjects. 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 in general, in addition to the Benchmark program especially, at the Manuals Section. These downloadable documents also cover industry-specific issues. Articles, very similar to blogs, offer users advice beyond that found in the FAQ section, but in shorter, more digestible chunks compared to the manuals provide.
· Glossary of Email Marketing Terms — This is a particularly valuable tool for all those new to email marketing who feel absorbed by all of the jargon. Benchmark provides a glossarywith 50 of the most popular email advertising conditions from”above-the-fold” to”whitelists.”
· Blog 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 gain access to current newsletters, and Benchmark also offers an archive of newsletter posts from November 2007-October 2012.
· Benchmark Community — Benchmark users can post their newest newsletters on message boards in the Benchmark Community. This forum allows users to discuss newsletter creation strategies, 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 rating on G2 Crowd, using a slightly better showing on GetApp and Capterra. 4.5 stars each. Benchmark Email Offices
Some common points of compliments.
· Top Notch Service . This is maybe the most typical observation regarding Benchmark, and something I noticed for myself too. People tend to find support prompt and helpful, and some say it is really the element that distinguishes Benchmark from its rivals. The company also receives praise for its website articles and videos.
· Characteristic Selection Across All Plans. Some users praise the addition of features like AB analyzing and surveys in most programs; many firms charge extra for these features or only include them into their pricier plans.
· Ease of Use. Users have a tendency to locate Benchmark’s interface incredibly intuitive and user-friendly. The program gathers compliments from a wide assortment 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 design of Benchmark’s templates. Since more and more people access their email from mobile devices, this can be an increasingly important factor to take into account.
Negative Reviews and Complaints
I was Unable to find many Men and Women who loathed Their own Benchmark experience. But, I was able to find a few complaints.
· Inconsistent Send-Times. Apparently some users experienced an issue with Benchmark where their emails were sent hours after they were scheduled. 1 customer theorized that the issue might arise from long lists of recipients. Not all clients of Benchmark will have time-sensitive shipping needs, but other people will. If you need your mails to go out exactly 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 media integrations in Benchmark aren’t up to par.
· “Spammy” Templates. Some users were concerned that Benchmark’s templates may feel like spam email, leading receivers to mark them as junk and not reading the contents. Since the entire 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 looking through the template list, therefore it may not be the most valid of complaints.
Benchmark Provides a enormous number of pricing plans, including a totally free plan and a huge scale of paid programs which may service anywhere between 600 and 7,140,000 subscribers.
Benchmark’s free programs do not require credit Cards, which is always refreshing. The only grab. There will be a small Benchmark emblem in the bottom of each email you send out. Of course, you can always choose to upgrade to a paid plan if you don’t need the Benchmark branding. The free program allows you to send up to 14000 mails to around 2000 subscribers and provides you access to most but not all Benchmark’s features record. Notable absences into the features list for free accounts comprise email automation and sub-accounts (allowing many users to get one Benchmark account).
Paid Strategies. Benchmark Email Offices
Users with small contacts lists and limited Monthly messages have the option of paying for their email marketing depending on the number of emails they send every month.
o Medium Plans. 600-50,000 subscribers, $13.99-$254.99 a month
o Large Plans. 55,000-100,000 subscribers, $285.99-$494.99 a 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 per month
Benchmark accepts all Major credit cards and also allows you to pay through PayPal. They also offer a 25% reduction for nonprofits and educators.
Benchmark is a good program. It is Simple to Use, Open to invention, and competitively priced. Its free alternatives might very well be the very best in the business for anybody who just wants to dive into email marketing (particularly small, neighborhood businesses). For that matter, any Benchmark strategy can work well for a small business which views email as a little element of its marketing and has no desire to operate beyond the principles just yet.
If you are a little or even medium-sized Company trying to find a easy email advertising program using a host of great features, Benchmark is an excellent choice. Even though there might come a time when you outgrow the app, it supplies a great deal for the price, offers exceptional support, and the company appears to be sensitive to the requirements of its users. You can not ask for more.