Overview Benchmark For Email Newsletters
For many a day in 2004, three people sat Around one desk in a tiny medical office — an office which served as the team’s conference room, breakfast area, and idea hub. Backed by a small programming team in India, the trio (comprising Benchmark Internet Group founder Curt Keller, his wife Denise, and an SEO pro ) discussed ideas on how best to execute a deceptively straightforward concept. Simple email advertising. Many of their thoughts were beyond the resources of the fledgling company, but that didn’t stop Keller from planning ahead.
The first Customers of Benchmark Mail were small businesses located in near 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 make a very simple user interface that would be simple to operate. All the while, the company championed such novel ideas as customizable templates and software which adapted to user needs. They also made sure from the beginning that anyone who needed help would have rapid access to outstanding customer care.
Benchmark Has continued to grow and advantagesper. Its present focus. Providing global email advertising services to small and midsize companies while continuing to honor a commitment to help children in need. This does not indicate that Benchmark is a little-guys-only service, however; it’s stuck to its core principle of adaptability and serves 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 planet, however, the company hasn’t forgotten its origins. Benchmark still maintains good relationships with small, locally-based businesses. In reality, the company offers a full page of testimonials from local users of this program. You can read about Benchmark’s history and development here.
While the Majority of the features Benchmark provides Are on par with the rest of the industry, among the standout characteristics of the ESP is the simple fact that nearly all its features come standard with every single account — including the free ones. Here are a few of Benchmark’s most noteworthy offerings.
· Hundreds of Industry-Specific, Themed Templates. Benchmark provides all customers access to the library of over 400 templates. These are organized into 19 categories, some of which are tailored to specific industries like education, entertainment, and retailstores. There’s also a class for societal media-specific templates.
· Video Emails. Perhaps the best-known advantage of Benchmark is its support for video mails. The company describes the benefits of this attribute here.
· Online Surveys. You’ll be able to create professional-looking online surveys using among Benchmark’s 6 templates. Post your poll on your website or build it into an email.
· Dedicated Email Server. All of Benchmark’s High Volume plans have a dedicated IP address to help increase deliverability rates. Users on other programs have the option of paying for this service ($30/month) to increase their own delivery stats. Read more about the benefits of dedicated servers .
· Email Delivery Direction . Benchmark’s email delivery management program is about getting customers’ emails into inboxes. The business is a member of the Email Sender and Provider Coalition and works with ReturnPath, a leading email delivery and delivery service. The business also communicates with ISPs on its clients’ behalf. Benchmark For Email Newsletters
· Mobile App. Benchmark’s mobile apps allow customers having an Apple device to access several functions on the road. They can access and add contacts, browse reportsand send videos through integration using a YouTube accounts, and even design and send fast email blasts with one of 10 available templates. That is quite a little more than many other companies offer in their mobile apps, which makes them considerably more functional.
· Photo Editing. If the photos you intend to utilize in your email campaign aren’t perfectly sized or want some color adjustment, you may use Benchmark’s integrated photo editor. This is a pretty handy feature if you don’t have photoshop available.
· Code Editor. In case you’ve got the know-how to work magic with HTML, Benchmark offers this ultra-customization choice with which you may build your mails from scratch.
· Autoresponder. Every Benchmark client has the ability to style around eight custom autoresponder messages. These can be scheduled as a series or occasion lead-up, or made as annual messages such as anniversary or birthday emails.
· Sign-Up Forms. The only way to be prosperous in email marketing is by way of growing your list, and Benchmark really promotes doing so via sign-up forms. The company bases its Free For Life account completely around site and Facebook sign-ups and supplies an easy-to-use tool to create customized templates for each medium.
· Inbox Checker. Because every email program differs and each internet browser includes a signature style, making sure that your emails look good across the board is important. You can use Inbox Checker to look at the way that your email screens in Gmail using Explorer and Outlook 3. 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 per 100 checks.
· RSS-to-Email. Regular bloggers can create newsletters out of their sites mechanically through the RSS-to-Email attribute, which works with any blog which manages an RSS-feed. Users simply need to establish a template and campaign inside 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 allows users using XML-RPC, HTTP POST, or HTTP GET abilities to recover data from some other apps that use JSON, XML, XML-RPC, or PHP serialization strings. In a nutshell, this permits them to play three purposes. Manage contact lists, manage campaigns and effort sending, and assess statistics. The business describes this role in more detail .
· Advanced Metrics. Benchmark provides both List Segmentation and AB Split Testing.
· Multiple-Language Interface. Benchmark is available in seven languages. Chinese, English, German, Japanese, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish.
Benefits Of Use
Signing up for a Benchmark account is fairly straightforward. After entering your name, email, phone number, and company name, you need to confirm your email address. This was a five-minute process for me. Upon logging into my account (using the free plan) I was greeted by an attractive UI that gave me a very clear path on how best to create my first email campaign. Good start!
Email Campaign Creation
On its own dashboard, Benchmark provides users five main choices. Emails, Automations, Contacts, Surveys, and Reports. To create a new effort, go to the Emails segment, then hit the big blue”Create New Mail” button at the upper right-hand corner. Benchmark For Email Newsletters
From there, you have to decide If You Would like an RSS Or traditional 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 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 was prompted to enter a subject line for my Email and setup how much tracking I desired on the message, as well as when I wanted an automatic tweet when the campaign went out. The next task was to select which contacts I wished to receive the campaign. With that, I was eventually able to start constructing the email . If you would like to, you are able to assemble your own email designs employing an extremely intuitive editor. On the other hand, you can alter one of Benchmark’s templates, that are great, and 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 one at a time. However, for people who already have a list, there are numerous ways to import it. You are able to upload a CSV, xls, or txt file directly from the 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 make your Benchmark lists, they will appear on your dashboard, along with a Master Unsubscribe List.
The sending of this email is rather easy. When you have finished all of your tweaks, you may either save the email as a draft, send it instantly, or schedule a date and time for delivery. If you want to verify everything is well before unleashing your email on the planet, you can send it to your self 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 really be. I scheduled my email for 2.45 and obtained it in 2.50, so while the timing wasn’t exactly ideal, it was probably present in tolerance levels for many users. If you’re among the more rare users who demand on-the-minute email sending, then you may have to appear elsewhere. More worryingly, my email did not go to my primary inbox but was automatically sorted into my”promotions” folder. Definitely not ideal.
Mail Campaign Reporting
First thing I Noticed about Benchmark email reports was something I would read in a few reviews. They’re really, really fast. I mean lightning fast. Opens enroll in the Benchmark system virtually immediately. I have worked with several other programs where these reports take hours or even days to appear.
Benchmark provides users with several key Bits of data about every effort. The arguably most important statistic, the open speed, appears in both pie chart and numerical type. In addition, Benchmark supplies users with stats for clicks, forwards, bounces, unsubscribes, and misuse. Every stat further breaks down to the specific email addresses associated with a given activity. Users can export this information for additional analysis by means of a csv or xls file. There is also a social networking area which reports shares through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, in addition to a map that breaks down, by state, who opens your mails. Benchmark For Email Newsletters
Though all of the information is great and Necessary, it isn’t enough to sustain increased level marketers that need more information such as conversions, which hyperlinks were clicked, and earnings analysis. Though Google Analytics provides a whole lot of that info with appropriate integration, there may come a time when serious marketers need more info than Benchmark provides. Whether or not a small company will get to that point changes, of course, dependent on the business.
Specific Size Of Company
Benchmark made its 3-tiered pricing Structure with the objective of serving everybody from the smallest kitchen-table startup to big email marketers. However, the organization’s key focus is on small to medium businesses, especially those just starting out in email advertising. This is particularly 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 need, there is 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 app allows users to create and customize occasions, promote and market tickets, and track the success of the events via their Benchmark Email accounts. A variety of subscriptions are available, such as a free alternative.
· Salesforce.com — This integration allows users to import contacts into Benchmark and utilize Benchmark’s email system to keep Salesforce customers engaged. Read our overview of Salesforce here.
· WordPress — Benchmark Email Lite is a WordPress plug-in which allows users to easily build an email audience via their readers. The plug-in can automatically produce email versions of blog articles and permits users to connect up to five Benchmark accounts.
· Highrise — Merges Highrise contacts with a Benchmark listing. Read our review of Highrisehere.
· Benchmark Power — This free plugin allows you to supply images for your Benchmark emails from locations across the web. Benchmark Power captures pictures you find and instantly uploads them to a 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 account to Benchmark and mechanically add Shopify customers to Benchmark lists. You can even add subscribers to various lists based on what they bought. Read our review of Shopify here.
· PayPal — Users may add any of the PayPal clients 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 .
· WordPress — The ever-present blog and site builder offers an integration with Benchmark. Use it to send emails of your blog posts and use the analytics to observe how your subscribers respond to them. Learn more here.
· Zapier — Gain access to Zapier’s huge integration library here. Benchmark For Email Newsletters
Social Media Integrations
Because Of the integral connection between social networking and email advertising, it’s important to look at the social networking features contained in Benchmark.
· Social Media Templates — One section of Benchmark’s massive email template list consists of social media-specific templates which directly promote your company’s participation in social media forums such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
· Facebook”Like” Button — Benchmark provides a simple function which allows you to bring a Facebook”Just Like” button into your own emails.
· Facebook Sign-Up Form — Benchmark provides easy-to-create sign-up forms (see”Features” above) for both sites and Facebook enthusiast pages, to help you convert followers into readers.
· Social Links within Email — Once you link your Benchmark account with your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn accounts, you can add buttons to each email that will direct your readers 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 regarding the collection of personal data from citizens of those nations. When customers provide credit card amounts to Benchmark, the company utilizes secure socket layer (SSL) security 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 summarizes a clear zero-tolerance coverage for any of their users trying to take part in spam actions. The company is entirely in compliance with all the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. Benchmark also takes several measures to maintain its standing as a spam-free supplier, one of them membership from the Email Sender and Provider Coalition. The company employs the app SpamAssassin to filter messages sent through its host.
To prevent users from Unknowingly sending spam-like substances, Benchmark provides a spam check feature that looks for words widely used in spam messages. It scores every email on a scale from 1 to 5; 5s are assigned to content that’s very likely to be blocked. In case of a high score, the program suggests”less spammy” choices. Individualized IP addresses also help large-volume senders reduce their spam numbers.
Client Support and Service
Benchmark Offers its users a lot of support tools. Customer support is usually responsive, with minimal waiting times. The site provides good learning resources, but may be needlessly opaque at times. Key information is often buried and difficult to locate, particularly in the event that you don’t know precisely what you’re looking for, especially in regards to minute details about strategies. As an example. That the Free For Life plan comprises Benchmark branding on every email, however you won’t see that mentioned on the Free For Life webpage, not even at the fine print. Nor are you going to see it mentioned when you sign up. The only place it is mentioned is in the FAQ, here.
Here are some of those resources Benchmark offers. Benchmark For Email Newsletters
· Live Support and Email — Benchmark provides live one-on-one support through these means.
· Email Support. Contact Benchmark at [email protected] or through the company’s contact form . Available 24 hours Monday — Friday and limited hours on Saturday.
· Phone Support. You can reach Benchmark at 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 almost 24 hours daily Monday — Friday and limited hours on Saturday. Offered 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 normal FAQ. There are more than 900 entries, sorted into 18 subjects ranging from”Getting Started” to”API.” Users can perform a key word search of any topic (or sub-topic) or of the FAQ as a whole. One 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 incorrect, so in some cases, you might need to contact assistance to hash things out.
· Video Tutorials and Webinars — Benchmark provides about two dozen video tutorials which take users step by step through the features of the program. The company also supplies a webinar known as”Benchmark Mail Crash Course.” You may see it live each Friday at 10.00 a.m. PST or watch the recorded version at any moment. You might even ask for a special webinar on a number of other subjects. Live webinars include the chance to ask questions throughout the demonstration.
· Email Marketing Manuals and Articles — You can find more in-depth details on email marketing in general, in addition to the Benchmark program specifically, at the Manuals Section. These downloadable documents also cover industry-specific troubles. Articles, similar to blogs, offer users guidance beyond that found in the FAQ section, but in shorter, more digestible chunks compared to the manuals provide.
· Glossary of Email Marketing Requirements — This can be a particularly valuable tool for those brand new to email marketing who feel consumed by all of the jargon. Benchmark provides a glossarywith 50 of the most popular email advertising conditions from”above-the-fold” to”whitelists.”
· Website and Newsletter — For current info regarding email advertising trends, check out Benchmark’s monthly newsletter, as well as its exceptionally active blog. All readers 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 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 entirely web-based and does not Require any installation on your PC.
Favorable Reviews and Testimonials
Benchmark Includes a four-out-of-five star score on G2 Crowd, using a slightly better showing on GetApp and Capterra. 4.5 stars each. Benchmark For Email Newsletters
Some common points of praise.
· Top Notch Service . This is maybe the most typical monitoring regarding Benchmark, and something I noticed for myself as well. People tend to find support prompt and beneficial, and a few say it’s actually the component that distinguishes Benchmark from its competitors. The business also receives praise for its website posts and videos.
· Characteristic Selection Across All Aims . Some users praise the addition of features like AB analyzing and surveys from all programs; many firms charge extra for such features or only include them in their pricier plans.
· Ease of Use. Users have a tendency to find Benchmark’s interface extremely user-friendly and intuitive. The program gathers compliments from a broad assortment of demographics, from first-time ESP users to people who have attempted a variety of programs before settling on Benchmark.
· Mobile Friendly Emails. Consumers were impressed with the mobile-friendly email design of Benchmark’s templates. Since more and more people access their email from mobile devices, this is an increasingly important aspect to take into account.
Negative Reviews and Complaints
I was not able to find many Men and Women who loathed Their Benchmark experience. However, I was able to find a few complaints.
· Inconsistent Send-Times. Apparently some users experienced a problem with Benchmark in which their emails were sent hours when they were first scheduled. One customer theorized the issue might arise from lengthy lists of recipients. Not all customers of Benchmark will possess time-sensitive shipping needs, but other people will. If you want your mails to go out precisely when your program dictates, you may need to take into account this situation.
· Buggy Social Media Integrations. I watched several consumer testimonials that remarked the social media integrations in Benchmark aren’t up to par.
· “Spammy” Templates. Some users have been concerned that Benchmark’s templates can feel like spam mail, leading receivers to mark them as spam rather than studying the contents. Since the entire point of an ESP is to prevent this from occurring, this may be a problem. On the other hand, I never felt this way whilst searching through the template list, therefore it may not be the most legitimate of complaints.
Benchmark Provides a enormous variety of pricing plans, including a free plan and a massive array of paid programs that may service anywhere between 600 and 7,140,000 subscribers.
Benchmark’s free plans do not require credit Cards, which is always refreshing. The only catch. There’ll be a small Benchmark emblem in the bottom of every email you send out. Of course, you may always choose to upgrade to a paid plan if you don’t want the Benchmark branding. The free plan allows you to send up to 14000 emails to around 2000 subscribers and gives you access to all but not all Benchmark’s features record. Notable absences to the attributes list for free accounts comprise email automation and sub-accounts (enabling many users to get one Benchmark accounts ).
Paid Strategies. Benchmark For Email Newsletters
Users with little contacts lists and limited Monthly messages have the option of paying for their email advertising depending on the amount of emails they send each 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 Strategies. 125,000-1,000,000 subscribers, $659.99-$4,273.99 per month
o Massive Plans. 1,070,000-7,140,000 subscribers, $4,500-$29,200 per month
Benchmark accepts all Major charge cards and also lets you pay through PayPal. They also offer you a 25% reduction for nonprofits and teachers.
Benchmark is a solid program. It is easy to use, Open to invention, and competitively priced. Its free alternatives might very well be the best in the business for anyone who only wants to dive into email marketing (particularly small, neighborhood businesses). For that matter, any Benchmark strategy can work well for a small company which views email as a minor aspect of its marketing and does not have any desire to operate past the basics just yet.
If you are a little or even medium-sized Company looking for a easy email marketing program using a host of great features, Benchmark is an excellent choice. Even though there may come a time when you outgrow the program, it supplies a lot for the price, provides exceptional support, and the business appears to be sensitive to the requirements of its customers. You can’t ask for much more.