Summary Benchmark Email Pros And Cons
For many a day in 2004, three people sat Around a single desk in a tiny medical office — an office which served as the group’s conference room, breakfast area, and thought heart. Backed by a little programming team in India, the trio (consisting of Benchmark Internet Group founder Curt Keller, his wife Denise, along with an search engine optimization expert) discussed ideas for how to implement a deceptively straightforward idea. Simple email marketing. Many of the ideas were beyond the resources of this fledgling company, but that did not stop Keller from moving 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 very simple user interface which would be simple to operate. All the while, the company championed such innovative ideas as customizable templates and software which adapted to consumer needs. They also made certain from the beginning that anybody who needed help would have rapid access to excellent customer support.
Benchmark Has continued to rise and advantagesper. Its present focus. Providing global email advertising services to small and midsize businesses while continuing to honor a commitment to help kids in need. This doesn’t mean that Benchmark is a little-guys-only company, however; it’s stuck to its core principle of adaptability and serves large organizations such as UNICEF and Kaiser-Permanente via its High Volume Enterprise plans.
Today, Benchmark serves upwards of 73,000 users from across the planet, however, the company has not forgotten its origins. Benchmark still keeps good relationships with little, locally-based businesses. In reality, the company supplies a full page of testimonials from users of the program. You may read about Benchmark’s background and development here.
While the Majority of the attributes Benchmark supplies Are on par with the rest of the industry, one of the standout characteristics of the ESP is the simple fact that nearly all its attributes come standard with every single accounts — including the free ones. Below are a few of Benchmark’s most notable offerings.
· Countless Industry-Specific, Themed Templates. Benchmark offers all users access to the library of over 400 templates. These are organized into 19 classes, some of which are tailored to specific industries like education, entertainment, and retail. There is also a category for social media-specific templates.
· Video Emails. Possibly the best-known benefit of Benchmark is its support for video mails. The business describes the benefits of this attribute here.
· Online Surveys. You’ll be able to create professional-looking online surveys using one of Benchmark’s 6 templates. Post your poll on your site or build it directly into an email.
· Dedicated Email Server. All Benchmark’s High Volume programs come with a dedicated IP address to help increase deliverability rates. Users on other plans have the option 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’ emails into inboxes. The company is a part of the Email Sender and Provider Coalition and operates with ReturnPath, a top email delivery and delivery support. The company also communicates with ISPs on its clients’ behalf. Benchmark Email Pros And Cons
· 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 add contacts, read reports, send videos via integration with a YouTube accounts, and even design and send quick email blasts with one of 10 available templates. That is quite a little more than many other businesses offer in their mobile programs, making them considerably more operational.
· Photo Editing. If the pictures you intend to utilize 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 do not have photoshop available.
· Code Editor. In case you have the know-how to work magic with HTML, Benchmark provides this ultra-customization option with which you can construct your mails from scratch.
· Autoresponder. Each Benchmark client has the power to style around eight custom autoresponder messages. These could be scheduled as a series or occasion lead-up, or designed as annual messages such as anniversary or birthday 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 company bases its Free For Life account entirely around website and Facebook sign-ups and provides an easy-to-use instrument to create customized templates for each medium.
· Inbox Checker. Since every email program differs and each internet browser includes a signature style, making certain 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 assesses everything out of AOL to Yahoo, Explorer into 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 feature, which works with any site which manages an RSS-feed. Users only have to establish a campaign and template inside Benchmark once.
· API Integration. An API (Application Program Interface) allows different software programs to communicate with one another without a formal plug connection. Benchmark’s API Integration feature permits users with XML-RPC, HTTP POST, or HTTP GET abilities to retrieve data from some other programs that use JSON, XML, XML-RPC, or PHP serialization strings. In a nutshell, this permits them to perform three purposes. Manage contact lists, handle campaigns and effort sending, and assess data. The company describes this function in more detail .
· Advanced Metrics. Benchmark provides 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 accounts is fairly straightforward. After entering your name, email, phone number, and business name, you need to validate your email address. This is a five-minute process for me. Upon logging into my new account (with the free program ) I was greeted by an appealing UI that gave me a clear path about how to make my first email campaign. Great start!
Email Campaign Creation
On its dashboard, Benchmark offers users five main options. Emails, Automations, Contacts, Surveys, and Reports. To make a new effort, proceed into the Emails segment, then hit on the big blue”Create New Email” button at the upper right-hand corner. Benchmark Email Pros And Cons
From there, you must decide if you want an RSS Or classic email message. It is possible to use Benchmark’s drag-and-drop editor, or go for more customization using the built-in code editor. If you are someone 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 was motivated to enter a subject line for my Email and set up how much tracking I desired on the message, in addition to when I wanted an automated tweet when the effort went out. The next task was to select which contacts I wished to get the campaign. With that, I was finally able to start building the email . If you want to, you are able to assemble your own email designs using a very intuitive editor. On the other hand, you can modify 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 input contacts at a time. However, for those who already have a listing, there are several ways to import it. You can upload a CSV, xls, or txt file right from your 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 create your Benchmark lists, they will show up on your dash, together with a Master Unsubscribe List.
The actual sending of the email is quite easy. Once you have completed 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 would like to verify everything is well before unleashing your email on 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 view how timely the automated system would actually be. I scheduled my email for 2.45 and received it in 2.50, so while the timing wasn’t exactly perfect, it was probably within tolerance levels for many users. If you’re one of the more rare users who need on-the-minute email sending, you may have to look elsewhere. More worryingly, my email did not go to my main inbox but was mechanically sorted in my”promotions” folder. Definitely not perfect.
Email Campaign Reporting
The first thing I Discovered about Benchmark email reports was something I’d read in a few reviews. They are really, really quickly. I mean lightning fast. Opens register from the Benchmark system virtually instantaneously. I have worked with a lot of different apps where these reports require hours or even days to appear.
Benchmark provides users with several key Pieces of data about every effort. The arguably most important statistic, the open speed, appears in both pie graph and numerical type. Additionally, Benchmark provides users with stats for clicks, forward, bounces, unsubscribes, and abuse. Each stat further breaks down to the specific email addresses related to a given action. Users may export this information for further analysis via a csv or xls file. There is also a social networking place which reports shares via Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, in addition to a map that breaks down, by country, who opens your emails. Benchmark Email Pros And Cons
Though all of the information Is Excellent and Necessary, it is not sufficient to sustain higher level marketers that need more information such as conversions, which hyperlinks were clicked, and revenue analysis. Though Google Analytics provides a whole lot of that information with appropriate integration, there might come a time when serious marketers need more information than Benchmark provides. Whether or not a small company will get to that point changes, naturally, dependent on the business.
Specific Size Of Company
Benchmark designed its 3-tiered pricing Structure with the objective 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, especially those just beginning in email advertising. This is particularly 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 is still hope. You can use the API or request a integration by sending an email to [email protected]
· Benchmark Events — Benchmark Occasions is event marketing 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 monitor the success of the events through their Benchmark Email account. A variety of subscriptions are available, including a free option.
· Salesforce.com — This integration enables users to import contacts directly into Benchmark and utilize Benchmark’s email system to maintain Salesforce customers participated. Read our review of Salesforce here.
· WordPress — Benchmark Mail Lite is a WordPress plugin which permits users to quickly build an email viewer through their subscribers. The plug-in can automatically produce email versions of blog posts and permits users to connect up to five Benchmark accounts.
· Highrise — Merges Highrise contacts using a Benchmark listing. Read our overview of Highrisehere.
· Benchmark Power — This free plug-in lets you source pictures for your Benchmark emails from locations across the web. Benchmark Power captures pictures you find and immediately uploads them to your Benchmark accounts for future use.
· Flickr — Users with Flickr accounts may link Flickr for 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 subscribers to different lists based on which products they bought. Read our review of Shopify here.
· PayPal — Users can add any of their PayPal customers to their own Benchmark email lists bylinking the account. Read our overview of Paypal here.
· Easy List — Know more about this simple list-making program and download it here.
· WordPress — The ever-present site and site builder offers an integration with Benchmark. Use it to send emails of your blog articles and also use the analytics to observe how your readers respond to them. Learn more here.
· Zapier — Gain entry to Zapier’s huge integration library here. Benchmark Email Pros And Cons
Social Media Integrations
Since Of the integral link between social media and email marketing, it’s very important to look at the social media features contained in Benchmark.
· Social Media Templates — One segment of Benchmark’s massive email template listing consists of social media-specific templates which directly promote your institution’s participation in social networking forums such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
· Facebook”Like” Button — Benchmark provides a simple function which permits you to bring a Facebook”Like” button to your own emails.
· Facebook Sign-Up Form — Benchmark supplies easy-to-create sign-up forms (see”Characteristics” above) for both websites and Facebook enthusiast pages, to help you convert followers into readers.
· Social Links within Email — After you connect your Benchmark account together with your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn accounts, you can add switches to every email that will direct your subscribers to each of your social networking pages.
The Business 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 nations. When clients provide credit card numbers to Benchmark, the company uses secure socket layer (SSL) protection to encrypt the information. The entire platform is encrypted to ensure the security of customers’ personal information.
Anti-Spam Policy and Protection
Like All valid ESPs, Benchmark takes spam seriously and summarizes a clear zero-tolerance coverage for any of the users trying to engage in spam activities. The company is fully 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, one of them membership from the Email Sender and Provider Coalition. The business employs the program SpamAssassin to filter messages sent through its server.
To prevent users from Unknowingly sending spam-like materials, 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 is likely to be blocked. In case of a top score, the program suggests”less spammy” alternatives. Individualized IP addresses also assist large-volume senders decrease their spam numbers.
Client Support and Service
Benchmark Offers its users a great deal of support tools. Customer support is usually responsive, with minimal waiting times. The website provides good learning tools, but can be needlessly opaque occasionally. Key information can be buried and difficult to find, especially in the event that you don’t know precisely what you’re looking for, especially in regards to minute particulars about strategies. As an example. That the Free For Life plan includes Benchmark branding on every email, however you won’t see that mentioned on the Free For Life page, not even at the fine print. Nor are you going to see it mentioned 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 Pros And Cons
· Live Email and Support — Benchmark provides live one-on-one support through the following means.
· Email Service. Contact Benchmark at [email protected] or through the organization’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 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 restricted hours on Saturday. Founded in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian.
· FAQ — Benchmark’s FAQ section is somewhat mislabeled as it’s closer to some QandA-format knowledge foundation than a typical FAQ. There are 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. One caveat. With such a comprehensive knowledge base, it is pretty much inevitable that some entries are going to be out of date. A few of the QandAs offer advice that’s wholly inaccurate, so in some cases, you might need to contact assistance to hash things out.
· Video Tutorials and Webinars — Benchmark provides about two dozen movie tutorials which take users step by step through the features of this app. The company also offers a webinar called”Benchmark Email Crash Course.” You may see it live each Friday at 10.00 a.m. PST or see the recorded version at any moment. You might even request a particular webinar on a number of different subjects. Live webinars include the chance to ask questions throughout the presentation.
· Email Marketing Manuals and Articles — You can find more in-depth information on email marketing generally, in addition to the Benchmark program specifically, at the Manuals Section. These downloadable files also cover industry-specific troubles. Articles, similar to sites, offer users advice beyond that found in the FAQ section, but in shorter, more digestible chunks than the guides provide.
· Glossary of Email Marketing Requirements — This can be a particularly valuable tool for all those brand new to email marketing who feel consumed by all of the jargon. Benchmark provides a glossarywith 50 of the very popular email advertising conditions from”above-the-fold” to”whitelists.”
· Blog and Newsletter — For current information about email marketing trends, check out Benchmark’s monthly newsletter, as well as its extremely active site. All readers 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 latest newsletters on message boards in the Benchmark Community. This forum allows users to discuss newsletter creation approaches, vote for their favorite newsletters, and gain inspiration from other Benchmark users.
Web-Based Or Locally-Installed
Benchmark is entirely web-based and does not Require any installation on your PC.
Favorable Reviews and Testimonials
Benchmark Has a four-out-of-five star rating on G2 Crowd, using a slightly better showing on GetApp and Capterra. 4.5 stars each. Benchmark Email Pros And Cons
Some common points of praise.
· Top Notch Support. This is perhaps the most common monitoring regarding Benchmark, and some thing I discovered for myself too. People today tend to find support prompt and beneficial, and some say it is really the element that distinguishes Benchmark from its rivals. The business also receives praise for its blog articles and videos.
· Feature Selection Across All Aims . Some customers praise the addition of features including AB testing and surveys from most plans; many companies charge extra for these features or only include them into their pricier plans.
· Benefits of Use. Users have a tendency to find Benchmark’s interface extremely intuitive and user-friendly. The program gathers praise from a broad range of demographics, from first-time ESP users to people who have attempted many different programs before settling Benchmark.
· Mobile Friendly Emails. Consumers were impressed with the mobile-friendly email design of Benchmark’s templates. Since an increasing number of people access their email from mobile devices, this can be an increasingly significant factor to consider.
Negative Reviews and Complaints
I was Unable to find many Men and Women who loathed Their Benchmark experience. But, I managed to find a few complaints.
· Inconsistent Send-Times. Apparently a few users experienced an issue with Benchmark where their emails were sent hours when they were first scheduled. One customer theorized the issue might arise from long lists of recipients. Not all customers of all Benchmark will possess time-sensitive shipping needs, but other people will. If you need your emails to go out precisely when your program dictates, you might have to take into account this issue.
· Buggy Social Media Integrations. I saw several user reviews that remarked the social networking integrations in Benchmark are not up to par.
· “Spammy” Templates. Some users have been concerned that Benchmark’s templates may feel like spam email, leading receivers to mark them as spam and not studying the contents. Since the whole purpose of an ESP would be to stop 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 valid of complaints.
Benchmark Offers a huge number of pricing strategies, such as a free plan and a massive array of paid plans that may service anywhere between 600 and 7,140,000 subscribers.
Benchmark’s free plans 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. Obviously, you may always opt to upgrade to a paid plan if you don’t want the Benchmark branding. The free program allows you to send up to 14000 emails to around 2000 subscribers and gives you access to most but not all of Benchmark’s features record. Notable absences into the attributes list for free accounts comprise email automation and sub-accounts (allowing multiple users to get one Benchmark accounts ).
Paid Plans. Benchmark Email Pros And Cons
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 Plans. 55,000-100,000 subscribers, $285.99-$494.99 a 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 a 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 Simple to Use, Open to innovation, and competitively priced. Its free alternatives might just be the best in the company for anyone who only wants to dip into email advertising (particularly small, neighborhood companies ). For that matter, any Benchmark strategy can work well for a little company which views email as a little element of its marketing and does not have any desire to work past the principles just yet.
If you are a small or maybe medium-sized Company looking for a simple email advertising program using a multitude of amazing features, Benchmark is an exceptional option. Even though there may come a time when you outgrow the app, it supplies a great deal for the money, offers exceptional service, and the business appears to be sensitive to the requirements of its users. You can’t ask for much more.