Summary Benchmark Mailing
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, 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, and an search engine optimization expert) discussed ideas on how best to execute a deceptively simple concept. Simple email advertising. Many of their ideas were beyond the means of the fledgling business, but that didn’t stop Keller from moving ahead.
The first Customers of Benchmark Email were small companies located in near proximity to Benchmark’s one-room HQ in Long Beach, CA. Keller and his team sold them on the use of email advertising, while working hard to create a simple user interface which would be simple to operate. All the time, the business championed 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 rapid access to outstanding customer support.
Benchmark Has continued to grow and advantagesper. Its current focus. Providing global email advertising solutions to small and midsize companies while continuing to honor a commitment to help kids in need. This doesn’t indicate that Benchmark is a little-guys-only company, however; it’s adhered to its core principle of adaptability and functions big organizations like UNICEF and Kaiser-Permanente through its High Volume Business plans.
Today, Benchmark serves up of 73,000 users from across the globe, however, the company hasn’t forgotten its origins. Benchmark still keeps good relationships with little, locally-based companies. In fact, the organization supplies a full page of testimonials from local users of this program. You can read more about Benchmark’s background and development here.
While most of the attributes Benchmark supplies Are on par with the rest of the industry, among the standout characteristics of the ESP is the simple fact that most of its features come standard with each account — such as the free ones. Below are a few of Benchmark’s most noteworthy offerings.
· Hundreds of Industry-Specific, Themed Templates. Benchmark offers all customers access to the library of over 400 templates. These are organized into 19 categories, some of which are tailored to particular industries like education, entertainment, and retail. 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 business explains the advantages of this feature here.
· Online Surveys. You’ll be able to create professional-looking online polls 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 prices. Users on other plans 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 Management. Benchmark’s email shipping management program is all about getting customers’ mails into inboxes. The company is a member of the Email Sender and Provider Coalition and works with ReturnPath, a top email delivery and consulting service. The company also communicates with ISPs on its clients’ behalf. Benchmark Mailing
· Mobile App. Benchmark’s mobile programs make it possible for customers having an Apple device to get several functions on the road. They can access and include contacts, read reportsand send videos through integration using a YouTube accounts, and even design and send quick email blasts with one of 10 available templates. That is quite a bit more than many other businesses offer in their mobile apps, which makes them much more operational.
· Photo Editing. If the pictures you plan to utilize in your email campaign are not perfectly sized or need some colour adjustment, you can use Benchmark’s integrated picture editor. This is a fairly handy feature if you do not have photoshop accessible.
· 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 emails from scratch.
· Autoresponder. Every Benchmark customer has the ability to design around eight custom autoresponder messages. These could be scheduled as a series or occasion lead-up, or designed as yearly messages such as birthday or anniversary emails.
· Sign-Up Types . The only way to be prosperous in email advertising is through growing your own list, and Benchmark actually promotes doing so through sign-up forms. The business bases its Free For Life account completely around website and Facebook sign-ups and provides an easy-to-use instrument to create custom templates for each medium.
· Inbox Checker. Since every email program is different and each internet browser includes a signature fashion, making certain that your emails look great across the board is important. It is possible to use Inbox Checker to look at the way your email displays 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 from their blogs automatically through the RSS-to-Email attribute, which works with any site which manages an RSS-feed. Users only have to establish a template and campaign inside Benchmark once.
· API Integration. An API (Application Program Interface) enables different software programs to communicate with one another with no formal plug-in connection. Benchmark’s API Integration feature permits users with XML-RPC, HTTP POST, or HTTP GET abilities to recover data from some other programs which use JSON, XML, XML-RPC, or PHP serialization strings. In a nutshell, this allows them to play three functions. Manage contact lists, manage campaigns and campaign sending, and assess statistics. The company explains this role 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.
Ease Of Use
Enrolling in 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 procedure for me. Upon logging into my account (using the free program ) I was greeted by an appealing UI that gave me a very clear direction about the best way best to create my first email campaign. Good beginning!
Email Campaign Creation
On its dashboard, Benchmark provides users five main choices. Emails, Automations, Contacts, Surveys, and Reports. To create a new effort, proceed to the Emails section, then hit on the large blue”Create New Mail” button in the upper right-hand corner. Benchmark Mailing
From there, you must decide If You Would like an RSS Or traditional email message. You can use Benchmark’s drag-and-drop editor, or move 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 moved with the drag-and-drop alternative.
I had been motivated to enter a subject line for my Email and setup how much observation I desired on the message, as well as when I wanted an automatic tweet once the campaign went out. The next task was to select which contacts I wished to get the campaign. With that, I was eventually able to begin constructing the email . If you would like to, you can 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 managed to do in my.
Sending the Email Campaign
If you are just Starting out, you can do as I did and manually enter contacts one at a time. However, for those who already have a list, there are several ways to import it. You are able to upload a CSV, xls, or txt file directly from the personal computer; import contacts directly from Salesforce.com, Hotmail, or Gmail accounts; or copy and paste huge lists of contacts to a text type. Once you create your Benchmark lists, they will appear on your dashboard, together with a Master Unsubscribe List.
The sending of this email is rather easy. Once you’ve finished all of your tweaks, you can save the email as a draft, send it immediately, or schedule a date and time 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 chose to program my email for shipping to view how timely the automated system would really be. I advised my email for 2.45 and obtained it in 2.50, therefore while the timing was not exactly ideal, it was likely present in tolerance levels for many users. If you are among the more rare users who need on-the-minute email sending, then you may need to appear elsewhere. More worryingly, my email didn’t go to my primary inbox but was automatically sorted in my”promotions” folder. Definitely not ideal.
Mail Campaign Reporting
First thing I Discovered about Benchmark email reports was something I’d read about in a couple of reviews. They’re really, really quickly. I mean lightning fast. Opens enroll in the Benchmark system almost immediately. I’ve worked with several different programs where these reports take hours or even days to look.
Benchmark provides users with several key Bits of information about every effort. The arguably most important statistic, the available rate, seems in both pie chart and numerical type. Additionally, Benchmark supplies users with stats such as clicks, forward, bounces, unsubscribes, and misuse. Every stat further breaks down to the exact email addresses related to a given action. Users can export this data for additional analysis via a csv or xls file. There is also a social networking area which reports shares via Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, in addition to a map that breaks down, by country, that opens your mails. Benchmark Mailing
Though all of the information Is Excellent and Necessary, it isn’t sufficient to sustain increased level marketers who need more information such as conversions, which links were clicked, and revenue analysis. Though Google Analytics provides a lot of that information with proper integration, there may come a time when serious marketers need more info than Benchmark provides. Whether or not a small company will reach that point changes, naturally, based on the company.
Specific Size Of Business
Benchmark made its 3-tiered pricing Structure with the goal of serving everyone from the smallest kitchen-table startup to large email marketers. However, the company’s key focus is on small to medium businesses, especially those just beginning in email advertising. This is especially reflected in the fact that clients subscribing to the medium plans get unlimited emails, while larger plans have constraints.
Integrations and Add-Ons
Benchmark Offers roughly 20 plug-ins and integrations. If you don’t see the integration you want, there’s still hope. You can use the API or ask an 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 allows users to create and customize occasions, promote and market tickets, and monitor the success of their events through their Benchmark Email accounts. A variety of programs are available, such as a free alternative.
· Salesforce.com — This integration enables users to import contacts directly into Benchmark and use Benchmark’s email system to maintain Salesforce customers participated. Read our overview of Salesforce here.
· Twitter — Benchmark Mail Lite is a WordPress plugin which allows users to quickly build an email viewer through their readers. The plug-in can automatically create email versions of blog posts and permits users to connect up to five Benchmark accounts.
· Highrise — Merges Highrise contacts using a Benchmark list. Read our overview of Highrisehere.
· Benchmark Power — This free plug-in allows you to supply pictures for your Benchmark mails from locations across the net. Benchmark Power captures images you find and instantly uploads them to a Benchmark account for future use.
· Flickr — Users with Flickr accounts can link Flickr to their own Benchmark image galleries.
· Shopify — You are able to link a Shopify account to Benchmark and mechanically add Shopify clients to Benchmark lists. You may even add subscribers to various lists based on what they purchased. Read our review of Shopify here.
· PayPal — Users can add any of their PayPal customers for their own Benchmark email lists bylinking the account. Read our overview of Paypal here.
· Easy List — Learn more about this very simple list-making app and download it here.
· WordPress — The ever-present blog and site builder offers an integration using Benchmark. Use it to send emails of your blog posts and also use the analytics to see how your subscribers respond to them. Learn more here.
· Zapier — Gain entry to Zapier’s enormous integration library . Benchmark Mailing
Social Media Integrations
Since Of the key connection between social media and email advertising, it’s very important to check out the social media features contained in Benchmark.
· Social Media Templates — One section of Benchmark’s enormous email template listing is made of social media-specific templates which directly promote your institution’s participation 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”Just Like” button to your own emails.
· Facebook Sign-Up Form — Benchmark provides easy-to-create sign-up forms (see”Features” above) for both sites and Facebook fan pages, to help you convert followers to readers.
· Social Links within Mail — After you link your Benchmark account together with your Facebook, Twitter, and/or LinkedIn account, you can add switches to every email that will direct your readers to each of your social media pages.
The Business also fully Complies with the U.S.-E.U. and U.S.-Swiss Safe Harbor Frameworks concerning the selection of personal data from citizens of these nations. When clients provide credit card amounts to Benchmark, the business uses secure socket layer (SSL) security to encrypt the info. The entire platform is encrypted to ensure the safety of customers’ personal details.
Anti-Spam Policy and Protection
Like All valid ESPs, Benchmark takes spam seriously and outlines a clear zero-tolerance policy for any of their users hoping to engage in spam actions. The business is entirely in compliance with all the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. Benchmark additionally takes several steps to preserve its reputation as a spam-free provider, one of them membership in the Email Sender and Provider Coalition. The business uses the app SpamAssassin to filter messages sent through its host.
To prevent users from Unknowingly sending spam-like materials, Benchmark supplies a spam test feature which 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 top score, the program suggests”less spammy” choices. Individualized IP addresses also help large-volume senders reduce their spam amounts.
Client Support and Service
Benchmark Offers its customers a great deal of support resources. Customer service is usually responsive, with minimal waiting times. The site provides good learning tools, but may be needlessly opaque occasionally. Key information can be buried and difficult to find, particularly if you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for, especially when it comes to minute details about plans. As an example. That the Free For Life plan comprises Benchmark branding on each email, but you won’t find that mentioned on the Free For Life page, not even in 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 the resources Benchmark offers. Benchmark Mailing
· Live Email and Support — Benchmark supplies live one-on-one support through the following 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 can 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 because 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 may execute a key word search of any topic (or sub-topic) or of the FAQ as a whole. One caveat. With such an extensive knowledge base, it is pretty much inevitable that some entries are going to be out of date. A few of the QandAs provide advice which is wholly incorrect, so in some cases, you may want to contact support 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 called”Benchmark Email Crash Course.” You can view it live each Friday at 10.00 a.m. PST or watch the recorded version at any time. You can also ask for a special webinar on a number of different subjects. Live webinars include the chance to ask questions throughout the presentation.
· Email Marketing Manuals and Articles — There are more in-depth details on email marketing in general, in addition to the Benchmark program especially, at the Manuals Section. These downloadable files also cover industry-specific troubles. Articles, very similar to sites, offer users guidance beyond that found in the FAQ section, but in shorter, more readable chunks than the manuals provide.
· Glossary of Email Marketing Requirements — This can be a particularly valuable tool for those new to email marketing who believe absorbed by all the jargon. Benchmark gives a glossarywith 50 of the most popular email advertising terms from”above-the-fold” into”whitelists.”
· Blog and Newsletter — For current info regarding email marketing trends, check out Benchmark’s monthly newsletter, in addition to its exceptionally active blog. All subscribers 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 at the Benchmark Community. This forum allows users to talk about newsletter creation strategies, vote for their favourite newsletters, and gain inspiration from additional Benchmark users.
Web-Based Or Locally-Installed
Benchmark is entirely web-based and does not Require any setup on your computer.
Favorable Reviews and Testimonials
Benchmark Includes a four-out-of-five star rating on G2 Crowd, using a slightly better showing on GetApp and Capterra. 4.5 stars each. Benchmark Mailing
Some common points of praise.
· Top Notch Service . This is maybe the most common observation regarding Benchmark, and something I discovered for myself too. People today tend to find support prompt and helpful, and a few say it’s actually 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 attributes including AB analyzing and surveys from all plans; many companies charge extra for these features or only include them into their pricier plans.
· Ease of Use. Users have a tendency to locate Benchmark’s interface incredibly user-friendly and intuitive. The program gathers praise from a broad assortment 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 more and more people access their email from mobile devices, this can be an increasingly significant aspect to take into account.
Negative Reviews and Complaints
I was Unable to find many people who loathed Their own Benchmark experience. However, I was able to find a few complaints.
· Inconsistent Send-Times. Apparently some users experienced an issue with Benchmark in which their emails were sent hours after they were scheduled. One customer theorized the issue might arise in lengthy lists of recipients. Not all clients of Benchmark will have time-sensitive sending demands, but other people will. If you need your mails to go out precisely whenever your program dictates, you might have to consider this issue.
· Buggy Social Media Integrations. I saw several user reviews that commented the social media integrations in Benchmark aren’t up to par.
· “Spammy” Templates. Some users were worried that Benchmark’s templates may feel like spam email, leading receivers to mark them as junk rather than reading the contents. Since the entire purpose of an ESP is to stop this from occurring, this may be a problem. On the flip side, I never felt this way while looking through the template list, therefore it might not be the most legitimate of complaints.
Benchmark Provides a huge variety of pricing plans, such as a totally free plan and a massive array of paid programs which can service anywhere between 600 and 7,140,000 subscribers.
Benchmark’s free programs do not require charge Cards, that is always refreshing. The only catch. There will be a little Benchmark emblem at the bottom of each email you send out. Of course, you can always opt to upgrade to a paid program in case you don’t want the Benchmark branding. The free plan allows you to send up to 14000 emails to up to 2000 subscribers and provides you access to most but not all of Benchmark’s features record. Notable absences to the attributes list for free accounts include email automation and sub-accounts (allowing many users to access one Benchmark account).
Paid Strategies. Benchmark Mailing
Users with little contacts lists and limited Monthly messages have the choice of paying for their email marketing depending on the amount of mails they send every month.
o Moderate Plans. 600-50,000 subscribers, $13.99-$254.99 per 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 a month
Benchmark accepts all Major charge cards and also allows you to pay through PayPal. They also offer a 25% reduction for nonprofits and educators.
Benchmark is a good program. It’s easy to use, Open to innovation, and competitively priced. Its free options might just be the very best in the business for anyone who only wants to dive into email marketing (particularly small, neighborhood businesses). For that matter, any Benchmark plan can work nicely for a small company which views email as a little element of its marketing and has no desire to work past the basics just yet.
If you are a small or even medium-sized Business looking for a easy email advertising program using a host of amazing features, Benchmark is an excellent choice. Even though there may come a time when you launch the program, it supplies a lot for the money, offers exceptional support, and the business seems to be sensitive to the needs of its customers. You can not ask for more.