Summary Benchmark Internet Group
For many a day in 2004, three people sat Around one desk in a tiny medical office — an office that functioned as the group’s conference room, lunch room, and thought heart. Backed by a small programming team in India, the trio (consisting of Benchmark Internet Group founder Curt Keller, his wife Denise, along with an SEO expert) discussed ideas for how to execute a deceptively simple idea. Simple email advertising. Many of their ideas were beyond the means of the fledgling company, but that didn’t stop Keller from moving ahead.
The first Clients of Benchmark Email were small companies 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 create a very simple user interface that would be simple to operate. All the while, the company uses such novel ideas as customizable templates and applications which adapted to user requirements. They also made certain from the outset that anyone who needed help would have quick access to outstanding customer care.
Benchmark Has continued to rise and advantagesper. Its current focus. Providing global email marketing solutions to small and medium-sized businesses while continuing to honor a commitment to assist kids in need. This does not indicate that Benchmark is a little-guys-only company, however; it’s adhered to its core principle of adaptability and serves big organizations like UNICEF and Kaiser-Permanente via its High Volume Enterprise plans.
Today, Benchmark serves up of 73,000 users from across the planet, however, the company hasn’t forgotten its roots. Benchmark still keeps good relationships with little, locally-based companies. In reality, the company offers a complete page of testimonials from local users of the app. 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, one of the standout features of the ESP is the fact that most of its attributes come standard with each account — including the free ones. Here are a few of Benchmark’s most notable offerings.
· Hundreds of 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 such as education, entertainment, and retail. There’s also a category for societal media-specific templates.
· Video Emails. Perhaps the best-known benefit of Benchmark is its support for video mails. The business explains the advantages of this attribute here.
· Online Surveys. You can create professional-looking online polls using one of Benchmark’s 6 templates. Post your survey on your site or construct it into an email.
· Dedicated Email Server. All Benchmark’s High Volume programs 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 particular delivery stats. Read more about the advantages of dedicated servers .
· Email Delivery Direction . Benchmark’s email shipping management program is all about getting clients’ mails into inboxes. The company is a part of the Email Sender and Provider Coalition and works with ReturnPath, a top email delivery and consulting support. The company also communicates with ISPs on its clients’ behalf. Benchmark Internet Group
· Mobile App. Benchmark’s mobile apps allow customers with an Apple device to access several purposes on the street. They can access and add contacts, read reportsand send videos through integration using a YouTube accounts, and even layout and send fast email blasts with one of 10 templates that are available. That is quite a bit more than a number of other companies offer in their mobile programs, making them much more operational.
· Photo Editing. If the photos you plan to utilize in your email campaign aren’t perfectly sized or need some colour adjustment, you can use Benchmark’s integrated photo editor. This is a pretty 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 construct your mails from scratch.
· Autoresponder. Each Benchmark client has the power to style around eight custom autoresponder messages. These can be scheduled as a series or event lead-up, or made as yearly messages such as anniversary or birthday mails.
· Sign-Up Types . The only way to be successful in email marketing is through growing your own list, and Benchmark really promotes doing so via sign-up forms. The business bases its Free For Life account completely around site and Facebook sign-ups and supplies an easy-to-use tool to create custom templates for every medium.
· Inbox Checker. Since every email program is different and each internet browser has a signature fashion, making sure your emails look great across the board is important. You can use Inbox Checker to have a look at the way that your email screens in Gmail using Explorer and Outlook 3. Employing the entire app (which checks everything out of AOL to Yahoo, Explorer to Safari, mobile to PC) is a paid add-on provider, available for $14 per 100 checks.
· RSS-to-Email. Regular bloggers can create newsletters out of their blogs mechanically through the RSS-to-Email feature, which works with any blog which manages an RSS-feed. Users simply have to set up a template and campaign within Benchmark once.
· API Integration. An API (Application Program Interface) enables different software programs to communicate with one another without a formal plug-in link. Benchmark’s API Integration feature permits users using XML-RPC, HTTP POST, or HTTP GET skills to recover data from some other apps that use JSON, XML, XML-RPC, or PHP serialization strings. In brief, this permits them to perform three purposes. Manage contact lists, manage campaigns and effort sending, and check statistics. The business describes this role in more detail here.
· 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.
Ease Of Use
Enrolling in a Benchmark accounts is fairly straightforward. After entering your name, email, phone number, and business name, you have to validate your email address. This is a five-minute process for me. Upon logging into my new account (using the free plan) I was greeted by an attractive UI that gave me a very clear path about the best way best to make my first email campaign. Great beginning!
Email Campaign Creation
On its dashboard, Benchmark offers users five chief choices. Emails, Automations, Contacts, Surveys, and Reports. To make a new effort, proceed into the Emails segment, then hit the large blue”Create New Email” button at the top right-hand corner. Benchmark Internet Group
From there, you must decide if you want an RSS Or traditional email message. You can use Benchmark’s drag-and-drop editor, or move for more customization with 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 gifted that way, so I went with the drag-and-drop alternative.
I had been prompted to enter a subject line for my Email and setup how much tracking I desired on the message, in addition to when I wanted an automatic tweet once the campaign went out. The next task was to choose which contacts I wished to get the campaign. With that, I was eventually able to start constructing the email . If you want to, you can construct your own email layouts using an extremely intuitive editor. On the other hand, you can modify one of Benchmark’s templates, which 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 those who already have a listing, there are several ways to import it. You can upload a CSV, xls, or txt file directly from your personal computer; import contacts directly from Salesforce.com, Hotmail, or Gmail accounts; or copy and paste large lists of contacts to a text form. Once you make your Benchmark lists, then they will show up on your dash, along with a Master Unsubscribe List.
The actual sending of the email is rather simple. When you’ve completed all your tweaks, you may either save email as a draft, send it immediately, or schedule a time and date for delivery. If you would like to check all is well before unleashing your email about the planet, you can send it to your self to preview it as many as 10 times/day. I chose to program my email for shipping to view how timely the automated system would really be. I scheduled my email for 2.45 and received it at 2.50, so while the timing wasn’t exactly perfect, it was probably within 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 look elsewhere. More worryingly, my email didn’t go to my main inbox but was mechanically sorted in my”promotions” folder. Definitely not perfect.
Email Campaign Reporting
The first thing I Noticed about Benchmark email reports was something I would read in a few reviews. They are really, really quickly. I mean lightning fast. Opens enroll from the Benchmark system virtually instantaneously. I’ve worked with a lot of other apps where these reports take hours or even days to look.
Benchmark provides users with several key Pieces of information about each campaign. The possibly most important statistic, the open speed, seems in both pie chart and numerical type. In addition, Benchmark supplies users with stats such as clicks, forward, bounces, unsubscribes, and misuse. Each stat further breaks down to the exact email addresses related to a given action. Users can export this data for further analysis by means of a csv or xls file. There is also a social media place which reports shares through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, in addition to a map which breaks down, by state, who opens your mails. Benchmark Internet Group
Though all of the information is great and Necessary, it is not sufficient to sustain increased level marketers that want more information such as conversions, which links were clicked, and revenue analysis. Though Google Analytics provides a whole lot of this info with appropriate integration, there might come a time when serious entrepreneurs need more info than Benchmark provides. Whether or not a small business will get to that point changes, naturally, based on the company.
Particular Size Of Business
Benchmark made its 3-tiered pricing Structure with the objective of serving everybody from the tiniest kitchen-table startup to big email marketers. However, the organization’s main focus is on small to medium companies, especially those just starting out in email advertising. This is particularly reflected in the reality that clients subscribing to the medium plans get unlimited mails, 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 need, there’s still hope. You can use the API or ask an integration by sending an email to [email protected]
· Benchmark Occasions — Benchmark Events is event marketing software designed to integrate fully with Benchmark Email. Launched in 2012, this program allows users to make and customize events, promote and market tickets, and monitor the success of their events through their Benchmark Email accounts. A number 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 review of Salesforce here.
· WordPress — Benchmark Mail Lite is a WordPress plugin which permits users to easily build an email audience via their readers. The plug-in can automatically create email variations of blog posts and permits users to connect up to five Benchmark accounts.
· Highrise — Merges Highrise contacts using a Benchmark listing. Read our review of Highrisehere.
· Benchmark Power — This free plug-in allows you to supply pictures for your Benchmark mails from locations across the net. Benchmark Power captures pictures you locate and instantly uploads them to your Benchmark account for future usage.
· Flickr — Users with Flickr accounts can link Flickr for their Benchmark image galleries.
· Shopify — You are able to link a Shopify accounts to Benchmark and automatically add Shopify customers to Benchmark lists. You can even add subscribers to different lists based on what they purchased. Read our review of Shopify here.
· PayPal — Users can add any of the PayPal clients for their own Benchmark email lists bylinking the accounts. Read our review of Paypal here.
· Easy List — Know more about this simple list-making program and download it .
· WordPress — The ever-present blog and website builder provides an integration using Benchmark. Use it to send emails of your blog posts 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 . Benchmark Internet Group
Social Media Integrations
Because Of the key link between social media and email marketing, it is very important to check out the social networking features contained in Benchmark.
· Social Media Templates — One segment of Benchmark’s massive email template list consists of societal media-specific templates that directly promote your institution’s involvement in social media forums like facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
· Facebook”Like” Button — Benchmark provides a simple function which permits you to add a Facebook”Like” button into your emails.
· Facebook Sign-Up Form — Benchmark provides easy-to-create sign-up forms (see”Features” above) for both sites and Facebook enthusiast pages, so you can convert followers into subscribers.
· Social Links within Email — After you connect your Benchmark account together with your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn account, you can add buttons to every email which will direct your subscribers to each of your social media pages.
The Business also fully Complies with all the U.S.-E.U. and U.S.-Swiss Safe Harbor Frameworks concerning the selection of personal data from citizens of these nations. When customers provide credit card numbers to Benchmark, the business utilizes secure socket layer (SSL) protection to encrypt the information. The whole platform is encrypted to ensure the safety of customers’ personal details.
Anti-Spam Policy and Protection
Like All valid ESPs, Benchmark takes junk seriously and outlines a clear zero-tolerance coverage for any of their users hoping to take part in spam actions. The business is entirely in compliance with the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. Benchmark also takes several measures to preserve its reputation as a spam-free supplier, among them membership in the Email Sender and Provider Coalition. The company employs the program SpamAssassin to filter messages delivered through its server.
To stop users from Unknowingly sending spam-like substances, Benchmark supplies a spam check feature which looks for words widely used in spam messages. It scores each email on a scale from 1 to 5; 5s are delegated to content that’s very likely to be blocked. In case of a top score, the program suggests”less spammy” choices. Individualized IP addresses also help large-volume senders reduce their spam numbers.
Client Service and Support
Benchmark Offers its users a lot of support tools. Customer support is usually responsive, with minimal waiting times. The site offers good learning tools, but may be needlessly opaque at times. Key information can be buried and hard to locate, particularly if you don’t know precisely what you’re searching for, especially when it comes to minute particulars about plans. For instance. That the Free For Life plan comprises Benchmark branding on each email, but 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 said when you register. The only place it is mentioned is in the FAQ, here.
Here are some of those resources Benchmark offers. Benchmark Internet Group
· Live Support and Email — Benchmark provides live one-on-one aid through these means.
· Email Support. Contact Benchmark at [email protected] or via the company’s contact form . Accessible 24 hours Monday — Friday and restricted hours on Saturday.
· Phone 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 nearly 24 hours per day Monday — Friday and limited hours on Saturday. Offered in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian.
· FAQ — Benchmark’s FAQ section is somewhat mislabeled as it’s closer to some QandA-format knowledge base than a normal FAQ. There are more than 900 entries, sorted into 18 subjects ranging from”Getting Started” to”API.” Users may perform a keyword search of any subject (or sub-topic) or from the FAQ as a whole. One caveat. With such a comprehensive knowledge base, it’s pretty much inevitable that some entries will be out of date. A few of the QandAs offer information which is 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 movie tutorials which take users step by step through the features of the app. The business also offers a webinar known as”Benchmark Mail Crash Course.” You can view it live each Friday at 10.00 a.m. PST or watch the recorded version at any time. You might even ask for a particular webinar on quite a few other subjects. Live webinars comprise the opportunity to ask questions during the presentation.
· Email Marketing Manuals and Articles — You can find more in-depth details on email marketing generally, as well as the Benchmark program especially, at the Manuals Section. These downloadable files also cover industry-specific troubles. Articles, very similar to blogs, 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 is a particularly valuable tool for those new to email marketing who feel consumed by all of the jargon. Benchmark provides a glossarywith 50 of the most popular email advertising terms from”above-the-fold” into”whitelists.”
· Website and Newsletter — For current info regarding email marketing trends, check out Benchmark’s monthly newsletter, as well as its exceptionally active site. All readers automatically gain 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 latest newsletters on message boards in the Benchmark Community. This forum allows users to discuss newsletter production approaches, vote for their favourite newsletters, and gain inspiration from additional Benchmark users.
Web-Based Or Locally-Installed
Benchmark is completely web-based and doesn’t Require any installation on your PC.
Positive Reviews and Reviews
Benchmark Includes a four-out-of-five star score on G2 Crowd, with a slightly better showing on GetApp and Capterra. 4.5 stars each. Benchmark Internet Group
Some common points of compliments.
· Top Notch Support. This is maybe the most common observation concerning Benchmark, and some thing I discovered for myself too. People today tend to find support prompt and beneficial, and some say it’s really the component that distinguishes Benchmark from its rivals. The company also receives praise for its website articles and videos.
· Characteristic Selection Across All Plans. Some customers praise the inclusion of attributes including AB testing and surveys in most programs; many companies charge extra for such attributes or just include them into their pricier programs.
· Benefits of Use. Users tend to locate Benchmark’s interface incredibly intuitive and user-friendly. The program gathers praise from a broad assortment of demographics, from first-time ESP users to people who have tried a variety of programs before settling 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 factor to take into account.
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 an issue with Benchmark in which their emails were sent hours when they were first scheduled. One customer theorized that the issue might arise from long lists of recipients. Not all clients of all Benchmark will have time-sensitive sending demands, but other people will. If you need your emails to go out precisely when your program dictates, you might need 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 recipients to mark them as spam rather than studying the contents. Since the entire point of an ESP is to prevent this from happening, this may be a problem. On the other hand, I never felt this way while looking through the template list, therefore it may not be the most legitimate of complaints.
Benchmark Offers a huge number of pricing strategies, including a totally free plan and a huge array of paid plans which 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 grab. There will be a small Benchmark emblem at the bottom of each email you send out. Obviously, you may always opt to upgrade to a paid plan in case you don’t need the Benchmark branding. The free plan permits you to send up to 14000 emails to around 2000 subscribers and gives you access to all but not all Benchmark’s features list. Notable absences into the attributes list for free accounts include email automation and sub-accounts (allowing multiple users to get one Benchmark account).
Paid Plans. Benchmark Internet Group
Users with little contacts lists and limited Monthly messages have the option of paying for their email advertising based on the number of emails they send each month.
o Medium 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 you a 25% reduction for nonprofits and teachers.
Benchmark is a solid program. It’s easy to use, Open to invention, and competitively priced. Its free options might very well be the very best in the company for anyone who just wants to dip into email advertising (particularly small, local companies ). For that matter, any Benchmark strategy can work nicely for a little company which perspectives email as a minor element of its advertising and does not have any desire to work past the principles just yet.
If you are a little or even medium-sized Business trying to find a simple email marketing program with a host of great features, Benchmark is an excellent choice. Even though there may come a time when you launch the program, it provides a great deal for the price, offers exceptional service, and the company appears to be sensitive to the needs of its users. You can not ask for much more.