Summary Benchmark Email Service Review
For many an evening in 2004, three people sat Around one desk in a tiny medical office — an office which functioned as the team’s conference room, breakfast area, and idea hub. Backed by a small programming team in India, the trio (consisting of Benchmark Internet Group founder Curt Keller, his wife Denise, and an search engine optimization 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 did not 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 team personally sold them on the usage of email marketing, while working hard to make a very simple user interface that would be easy to operate. All the time, the business championed such innovative ideas as customizable templates and software which adapted to consumer requirements. They also made certain from the outset that anyone who needed help would have rapid access to outstanding customer support.
Benchmark Has continued to grow and advantagesper. Its present focus. Providing worldwide email marketing services to small and midsize companies while continuing to honor a commitment to help children in need. This does not mean that Benchmark is a little-guys-only company, however; it has adhered to its core principle of adaptability and functions big organizations such as UNICEF and Kaiser-Permanente through its High Volume Enterprise plans.
Today, Benchmark serves upwards of 73,000 users from across the globe, however, the company hasn’t forgotten its roots. Benchmark still keeps good relationships with small, locally-based businesses. In reality, the organization supplies a complete page of testimonials from local users of the app. You can read more about Benchmark’s history and development here.
While the Majority of the attributes Benchmark provides Are on par with the rest of the business, one of the standout characteristics of this ESP is the simple fact that most of its features come standard with every single accounts — such as the free ones. Below are a few of Benchmark’s most notable offerings.
· Countless Industry-Specific, Themed Templates. Benchmark offers all users access to its library of over 400 templates. These are organized into 19 classes, some of which are tailored to specific industries such as education, entertainment, and retailstores. There’s also a class for social media-specific templates.
· Video Emails. Perhaps the best-known benefit of Benchmark is its support for video emails. The business explains the advantages of this feature here.
· Online Surveys. You can create professional-looking online polls using one of Benchmark’s 6 templates. Post your survey 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 own delivery stats. Read more about the advantages of dedicated servers here.
· Email Delivery Direction . Benchmark’s email shipping management program is about getting customers’ mails into inboxes. The business is a member of the Email Sender and Provider Coalition and operates with ReturnPath, a leading email delivery and consulting support. The company also communicates with ISPs on its customers’ behalf. Benchmark Email Service Review
· Mobile App. Benchmark’s mobile apps allow customers with an Apple device to get several functions on the road. They can get and include contacts, read reportsand send videos via integration using a YouTube account, and even design and send quick email blasts with one of 10 available templates. That is quite a little more than many other companies offer on their mobile apps, which makes them much more functional.
· Photo Editing. If the pictures you intend to utilize on your email campaign aren’t perfectly sized or want some color 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’ve got the know-how to work magic with HTML, Benchmark provides this ultra-customization option with which you can construct your emails from scratch.
· Autoresponder. Each Benchmark client has the power to design around eight custom autoresponder messages. These can be scheduled as a series or occasion lead-up, or made as annual messages like birthday or anniversary emails.
· Sign-Up Forms. The only way to become prosperous in email marketing is through growing your own list, and Benchmark really promotes doing this via sign-up forms. The business bases its Free For Life account entirely around site and Facebook sign-ups and provides an easy-to-use instrument to create customized templates for each medium.
· Inbox Checker. Because every email program differs and every web browser includes a signature style, making certain your emails look good across the board is important. You can use Inbox Checker to have a look at the way that your email displays in Gmail using Explorer and Outlook 3. Employing the entire app (which checks everything from AOL to Yahoo, Explorer into Safari, mobile to PC) is a paid add-on provider, available for $14 each 100 checks.
· RSS-to-Email. Regular bloggers may create newsletters out of their sites mechanically through the RSS-to-Email feature, which works with any site which handles an RSS-feed. Users simply need to set up a campaign and template inside Benchmark once.
· API Integration. An API (Application Program Interface) enables different software programs to communicate with one another with no formal plug link. Benchmark’s API Integration feature permits users with XML-RPC, HTTP POST, or HTTP GET skills to retrieve data from some other apps which use JSON, XML, XML-RPC, or PHP serialization strings. In brief, this allows them to perform three functions. Manage contact lists, handle campaigns and effort sending, and assess statistics. The company explains this function in more detail here.
· 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.
Benefits Of Use
Enrolling in a Benchmark account is fairly straightforward. After entering your name, email, contact number, and company name, you need to validate your email address. This is a five-minute process for me. Upon logging into my account (using the free program ) I was greeted by an appealing UI that gave me a clear direction on the best way to create my very first email campaign. Great start!
Email Campaign Creation
On its dashboard, Benchmark provides users five chief options. Emails, Automations, Contacts, Surveys, and Reports. To make a new campaign, proceed into the Emails section, then hit the big blue”Create New Mail” button at the upper right-hand corner. Benchmark Email Service Review
From there, you have to decide if you want an RSS Or classic email message. You can 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 personally gifted that way, so I moved with the drag-and-drop option.
I had been 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 begin building the email . If you would like to, you can construct your own email designs employing a very intuitive editor. On the flip side, you can modify one of Benchmark’s templates, that are great, and much better than I managed to do in my.
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 people who already have a list, there are numerous ways to import it. You can 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 into a text type. When you make your Benchmark lists, they’ll appear on your dash, along with a Master Unsubscribe List.
The actual sending of this email is quite easy. When you’ve completed all of your tweaks, you can either save email as a draft, send it immediately, or schedule a date and time for delivery. If you want 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 opted to schedule my email for delivery to view how timely the automated system would really be. I advised my email for 2.45 and received it in 2.50, so while the timing was not exactly perfect, it was likely within tolerance levels for most users. If you are one of the more infrequent users who demand on-the-minute email sending, you might need to look elsewhere. More worryingly, my email did not go to my main inbox but was automatically sorted into my”promotions” folder. Definitely not perfect.
Email Campaign Reporting
First thing I Noticed about Benchmark email reports was something I would read in a couple of reviews. They are really, really fast. I mean lightning fast. Opens enroll from the Benchmark system almost instantaneously. I have worked with several different apps where these reports require hours or even days to look.
Benchmark provides users with several key Bits of data about each effort. The arguably most important statistic, the open rate, seems in both pie graph and numerical form. In addition, Benchmark provides users with stats for clicks, forwards, bounces, unsubscribes, and abuse. Each stat further breaks down to the specific email addresses related to a given activity. Users may export this data for additional analysis via a csv or xls file. There’s also a social networking area which reports shares through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, as well as a map that breaks down, by country, that opens your mails. Benchmark Email Service Review
Though all of the information Is Excellent and Necessary, it isn’t sufficient to sustain higher level marketers who want more info such as conversions, which hyperlinks were clicked, and revenue analysis. Although Google Analytics provides a whole lot of that information with proper integration, there may come a time when serious entrepreneurs need more info than Benchmark provides. Whether a small business will get to that point changes, of course, based on the company.
Specific Size Of Business
Benchmark designed its 3-tiered pricing Structure with the objective of serving everybody from the smallest kitchen-table startup to large email marketers. However, the company’s main focus is on small to medium companies, particularly those just beginning in email advertising. This is particularly reflected in the reality that customers subscribing to the moderate plans get unlimited mails, 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 request a integration by sending an email to [email protected]
· Benchmark Occasions — Benchmark Occasions is event marketing software designed to integrate fully with Benchmark Email. Launched in 2012, this program permits users to make and customize events, promote and market tickets, and track the success of the events through their Benchmark Email account. A variety of programs are available, including a free option.
· Salesforce.com — This integration allows 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 Email Lite is a WordPress plug-in which permits users to quickly build an email viewer via their subscribers. The plugin can automatically produce email versions of blog posts and allows users to connect up to five Benchmark accounts.
· Highrise — Merges Highrise contacts with a Benchmark listing. Read our overview of Highrisehere.
· Benchmark Power — This free plugin allows you to source pictures for your Benchmark emails from locations throughout the web. Benchmark Power captures pictures you locate and instantly uploads them to your Benchmark account 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 can even add contributors to different lists based on which products they purchased. Read our review of Shopify here.
· PayPal — Users may add some of their PayPal customers for their own 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 .
· WordPress — The ever-present site and website builder offers an integration using Benchmark. Use it to send emails of your blog articles and use the analytics to see how your subscribers respond to them. Learn more here.
· Zapier — Gain access to Zapier’s huge integration library . Benchmark Email Service Review
Social Media Integrations
Since Of the key link between social media and email advertising, it is very important to check out the social media features contained in Benchmark.
· Social Media Templates — One section of Benchmark’s enormous email template listing consists of social media-specific templates which directly promote your institution’s involvement in social media forums such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
· Facebook”Like” Button — Benchmark provides a simple function which permits you to bring a Facebook”Like” button into your own emails.
· Facebook Sign-Up Form — Benchmark provides easy-to-create sign-up forms (see”Characteristics” above) for both websites and Facebook enthusiast pages, to help you convert followers to readers.
· Social Links within Mail — After you link your Benchmark account with your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn account, you can add switches to every email that 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 nations. When customers provide credit card amounts to Benchmark, the business utilizes secure socket layer (SSL) protection to encrypt the information. The entire system is encrypted to ensure the security of all customers’ personal information.
Anti-Spam Policy and Protection
Like All legitimate ESPs, Benchmark takes junk seriously and outlines a clear zero-tolerance policy for any of their users hoping 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 preserve its standing as a spam-free supplier, among them membership from the Email Sender and Provider Coalition. The business employs the app SpamAssassin to filter messages delivered through its server.
To stop users from Unknowingly sending spam-like materials, Benchmark provides a spam check feature that looks for words widely used in spam messages. It scores each email on a scale from 1 to 5; 5s are assigned 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 decrease their spam numbers.
Customer Support and Service
Benchmark Offers its customers a lot of support tools. Customer service is usually responsive, with minimal waiting times. The website provides good learning tools, but may be opaque at times. Key information can be buried and difficult to find, especially if you don’t know precisely what you’re searching for, particularly in regards to minute particulars about strategies. As an example. The Free For Life plan includes Benchmark branding on every email, however you won’t see that mentioned on the Free For Life webpage, not even in the fine print. Nor will you see it said when you register. The only place it is mentioned is at the FAQ, here.
Here are some of those resources Benchmark offers. Benchmark Email Service Review
· Live Email and Support — Benchmark provides live one-on-one support through the following means.
· Email Service. Contact Benchmark at [email protected] or via the company’s contact form . Accessible 24 hours Monday — Friday and limited hours on Saturday.
· Telephone Support. You are able to reach Benchmark at 800-430-4095 (U.S.) or even 001-562-252-3789 (all states ). Available weekdays from 6 am to 5 pm PT.
· Chat Support. Available almost 24 hours 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 topics ranging from”Getting Started” to”API.” Users may perform a keyword search of any topic (or sub-topic) or from their FAQ as a whole. One caveat. With such a comprehensive knowledge base, it is pretty much inevitable that some entries will be out of date. A few of the QandAs offer advice which is wholly incorrect, so in some cases, you may want to contact assistance to hash things out.
· Video Tutorials and Webinars — Benchmark provides about two dozen movie tutorials that take users step by step through the features of the 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 can even request a particular webinar on quite a few different topics. Live webinars include the opportunity to ask questions throughout the demonstration.
· Email Marketing Manuals and Articles — You can find more in-depth information on email marketing in general, as well as the Benchmark program especially, in the Manuals Section. These downloadable files also cover industry-specific troubles. Articles, similar to blogs, offer users advice beyond that found in the FAQ section, but in shorter, more readable chunks than the guides provide.
· Glossary of Email Marketing Requirements — This can be a particularly helpful tool for those new to email marketing who believe consumed by all of the jargon. Benchmark provides a glossarywith 50 of the most popular email marketing conditions from”above-the-fold” to”whitelists.”
· Website and Newsletter — For current info about email marketing trends, check out Benchmark’s monthly newsletter, as well as its extremely active blog. All readers automatically obtain access to present 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 in the Benchmark Community. This forum allows users to discuss newsletter creation 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 PC.
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 Service Review
Some common points of praise.
· Top Notch Support. This is maybe the most typical observation concerning Benchmark, and some thing I noticed for myself as well. People today are inclined to find support prompt and helpful, and a few say it is actually the element that distinguishes Benchmark from its competitors. The business also receives praise for its blog articles and videos.
· Feature Selection Across All Plans. Some customers praise the inclusion of features including AB analyzing and surveys from all plans; many companies charge extra for such attributes or only include them in their pricier plans.
· Benefits of Use. Users tend to find Benchmark’s interface incredibly user-friendly and intuitive. The program gathers praise from a broad assortment of demographics, from first time ESP consumers to people who have attempted many different programs before settling on 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 aspect to consider.
Negative Reviews and Complaints
I was Unable to find many Men and Women who loathed Their Benchmark experience. However, I was able to discover a couple of complaints.
· Inconsistent Send-Times. Apparently a few users experienced a problem with Benchmark in which their mails were sent hours after they were scheduled. One customer theorized that the issue might arise in long lists of recipients. Not all clients of Benchmark will possess time-sensitive sending needs, but other people will. Should you want your emails to go out precisely when your program dictates, you may have to consider this situation.
· Buggy Social Media Integrations. I watched several consumer reviews that remarked the social media integrations in Benchmark are not up to par.
· “Spammy” Templates. Some users were concerned that Benchmark’s templates can feel like spam email, causing receivers to mark them as spam and not reading the contents. Since the entire point of an ESP is to prevent this from happening, this may be a problem. On the flip side, I never felt this way whilst looking through the template list, so it may not be the most valid of complaints.
Benchmark Provides a enormous variety of pricing plans, such as a totally free plan and a massive 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’ll be a little Benchmark logo in 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 allows you to send up to 14000 mails to around 2000 subscribers and gives you access to all but not all of Benchmark’s features list. Notable absences into the features list for free account comprise email automation and sub-accounts (allowing many users to get one Benchmark accounts ).
Paid Strategies. Benchmark Email Service Review
Users with small contacts lists and limited Monthly messages have the choice of paying to get their email advertising depending on the amount of emails they send every month.
o Moderate Plans. 600-50,000 subscribers, $13.99-$254.99 a month
o Large 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 a 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 teachers.
Benchmark is a good program. It’s easy to use, Open to innovation, and competitively priced. Its free alternatives might very well be the best in the business for anybody who just wants to dip into email advertising (particularly small, neighborhood companies ). For that matter, any Benchmark plan can work well for a little business which perspectives email as a little aspect of its advertising and does not have any desire to operate past the principles just yet.
If you are a little or maybe medium-sized Company trying to find a simple email advertising program with a host of great features, Benchmark is an exceptional option. Though there may come a time when you outgrow the app, it provides a lot for the price, offers exceptional service, and the company seems to be sensitive to the requirements of its users. You can’t ask for more.