Summary Benchmark Software Reviews
For many a day in 2004, three people sat Around a single desk in a tiny medical office — an office which functioned as the group’s conference room, breakfast area, and thought heart. Backed by a small programming group in India, the trio (consisting of Benchmark Internet Group founder Curt Keller, his wife Denise, and an search engine optimization pro ) discussed ideas on how best to implement a deceptively straightforward idea. Simple email marketing. Many of their ideas were beyond the resources of this fledgling business, but that didn’t stop Keller from planning ahead.
The first Clients of Benchmark Mail were small businesses located in near proximity to Benchmark’s one-room HQ in Long Beach, CA. Keller and his team personally sold them on the use of email advertising, while working hard to make a very simple user interface that would be easy to operate. All the time, the company uses such novel ideas as customizable templates and applications which adapted to user needs. They also made certain from the outset that anyone who needed help would have quick access to excellent customer care.
Benchmark Has continued to rise and advantagesper. Its current focus. Providing worldwide email advertising solutions to small and midsize businesses while continuing to honor a commitment to assist kids in need. This does not indicate that Benchmark is a little-guys-only service, however; it has adhered to its core principle of adaptability and functions large organizations such as UNICEF and Kaiser-Permanente via its High Volume Business plans.
Today, Benchmark serves up of 73,000 users from across the globe, however, the company has not forgotten its roots. Benchmark still maintains good relationships with small, locally-based businesses. In reality, the company offers a full page of testimonials from users of this program. You can read about Benchmark’s background and development here.
While the Majority of the attributes Benchmark supplies Are on par with the rest of the business, among the standout features of the ESP is the fact that nearly all its attributes come standard with every single accounts — such as 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 classes, some of which are tailored to particular industries like education, entertainment, and retailstores. There’s also a class for social media-specific templates.
· Video Emails. Possibly the best-known advantage of Benchmark is its support for video emails. The business explains the benefits of this attribute here.
· Online Surveys. You can create professional-looking online surveys using among Benchmark’s 6 templates. Post your survey on your website or build it into an email.
· Dedicated Email Server. All of Benchmark’s High Volume plans come with a dedicated IP address to help increase deliverability prices. Users on other programs have the option of paying for this service ($30/month) to increase their own delivery stats. Read more about the advantages of dedicated servers here.
· Email Delivery Management. Benchmark’s email delivery management program is about getting clients’ emails into inboxes. The company is a part of the Email Sender and Provider Coalition and works with ReturnPath, a top email delivery and consulting service. The business also communicates with ISPs on its clients’ behalf. Benchmark Software Reviews
· Mobile App. Benchmark’s mobile apps allow customers with an Apple device to get several purposes on the road. They can get and include contacts, read reports, send videos through integration with a YouTube accounts, and even design and send quick email blasts with one of 10 templates that are available. This is quite a little more than many other businesses offer on their mobile programs, making them much more operational.
· Photo Editing. If the photos you intend to use in your email campaign aren’t perfectly sized or want some color adjustment, you may use Benchmark’s integrated photo editor. This is a fairly handy feature if you don’t have photoshop accessible.
· Code Editor. If you have the know-how to work magic with HTML, Benchmark provides this ultra-customization choice with which you can construct your emails from scratch.
· Autoresponder. Every Benchmark client has the power to design around eight custom autoresponder messages. These could be scheduled as a series or occasion lead-up, or made as yearly messages such as birthday or anniversary emails.
· Sign-Up Types . The only way to be successful in email marketing is through growing your own list, and Benchmark really promotes doing this via sign-up forms. The company bases its Free For Life account entirely around site and Facebook sign-ups and supplies an easy-to-use instrument to create custom templates for each medium.
· Inbox Checker. Since every email program is different and each web browser includes a signature fashion, making sure your emails look good across the board is crucial. It is possible to use Inbox Checker to have a look at the way that your email screens in Gmail using Explorer and Outlook 3. Using the full program (which assesses everything out of AOL to Yahoo, Explorer into Safari, mobile to PC) is a paid add-on service, available for $14 each 100 checks.
· RSS-to-Email. Regular bloggers may create newsletters out of their blogs mechanically through the RSS-to-Email feature, which works with any blog which handles an RSS-feed. Users simply need to set up 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 allows users with XML-RPC, HTTP POST, or HTTP GET skills to recover data from other apps which use JSON, XML, XML-RPC, or PHP serialization strings. In brief, this permits them to play three purposes. Manage contact lists, manage campaigns and campaign sending, and check data. The company explains this function in more detail here.
· Advanced Metrics. Benchmark offers both Listing 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
Signing up for a Benchmark accounts is fairly straightforward. After entering your name, email, contact number, and company name, you have to confirm your email address. This is a five-minute process for me. Upon logging into my account (using the free plan) I was greeted by an appealing UI that gave me a very clear direction on the best way to make my very first email campaign. Good beginning!
Email Campaign Creation
On its dashboard, Benchmark provides users five main choices. Emails, Automations, Contacts, Surveys, and Reports. To make a new effort, go to the Emails section, then hit the large blue”Create New Mail” button in the top right-hand corner. Benchmark Software Reviews
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 go for more customization with the built-in code editor. If you are somebody 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 motivated to enter a subject line for my Email and set up how much tracking I wanted on the message, in addition to if I wanted an automatic tweet when the effort went out. The following task was to choose which contacts I wanted to receive the campaign. With that, I was finally able to begin building the email . If you want to, you are able to construct your own email designs using an extremely intuitive editor. On the other hand, you can modify one of Benchmark’s templates, which are great, and better than I managed to do on my own.
Sending the Email Campaign
If you are just Starting out, you can certainly do as I did and manually input contacts one at a time. However, for people who already have a listing, there are numerous ways to import it. You are able to upload a CSV, xls, or txt file right from the personal 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 create your Benchmark lists, they’ll show up on your dash, along with a Master Unsubscribe List.
The actual sending of this email is quite simple. When you’ve finished all of your tweaks, you can save the email as a draft, send it instantly, or schedule a date and time for delivery. If you would like to check all is well before unleashing your email on the world, you can send it to your self to preview it as many as 10 times/day. I chose to schedule my email for shipping to view how timely the automated system would actually be. I advised my email for 2.45 and obtained it in 2.50, therefore while the timing wasn’t exactly perfect, it was probably present in tolerance levels for most users. If you are among the more infrequent users who demand on-the-minute email sending, then you may need to look elsewhere. More worryingly, my email did not go to my main inbox but was mechanically sorted into my”promotions” folder. Definitely not ideal.
Mail Campaign Reporting
The first thing I Discovered about Benchmark email reports was something I would read in a couple of reviews. They’re really, really fast. I mean lightning fast. Opens enroll from the Benchmark system almost immediately. I’ve worked with several different apps 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 open speed, seems in both pie graph and numerical form. In addition, Benchmark supplies users with stats such as clicks, forward, bounces, unsubscribes, and abuse. Each stat further breaks down to the exact email addresses related to a given activity. Users can export this information for further analysis via 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 that breaks down, by country, that opens your mails. Benchmark Software Reviews
Though all of the information is great and Necessary, it isn’t sufficient to sustain increased level marketers who want more info such as conversions, which links were clicked, and earnings analysis. Although Google Analytics provides a lot of that info with appropriate integration, there may come a time when serious marketers need more information than Benchmark provides. Whether or not a small business will get to that point varies, naturally, based on the company.
Particular Size Of Company
Benchmark made its 3-tiered pricing Structure with the goal of serving everybody from the smallest kitchen-table startup to large email marketers. On the other hand, the organization’s key focus is on small to medium businesses, particularly those just beginning in email marketing. This is particularly reflected in the fact that customers subscribing to the moderate plans get unlimited emails, while larger plans have limitations.
Integrations and Add-Ons
Benchmark Offers roughly 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 Occasions — Benchmark Events 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 their events through their Benchmark Email accounts. A variety of subscriptions 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 Mail Lite is a WordPress plug-in which permits users to quickly build an email viewer through their readers. The plugin can automatically produce email variations of blog articles and permits 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 plug-in lets you supply pictures for your Benchmark mails from places throughout the net. Benchmark Power captures pictures you locate and immediately uploads them to a Benchmark accounts for future usage.
· Flickr — Users with Flickr accounts can link Flickr to their own Benchmark image galleries.
· Shopify — You are able to link a Shopify accounts to Benchmark and automatically add Shopify clients to Benchmark lists. You can even add subscribers to different lists based on what they bought. Read our overview of Shopify here.
· PayPal — Users can add some of their PayPal clients for their 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 offers an integration with Benchmark. Use it to send emails of your blog articles and also use the analytics to observe how your readers respond to them. Learn more here.
· Zapier — Gain access to Zapier’s huge integration library . Benchmark Software Reviews
Social Media Integrations
Because Of the key link between social networking and email marketing, it is important to check out the social media features included in Benchmark.
· Social Media Templates — One segment of Benchmark’s massive email template listing consists of societal media-specific templates that directly promote your institution’s involvement in social networking forums like facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
· Facebook”Like” Button — Benchmark offers a simple function which permits you to bring a Facebook”Like” button to your emails.
· Facebook Sign-Up Form — Benchmark supplies easy-to-create sign-up forms (see”Features” above) for both websites and Facebook enthusiast pages, to help you convert followers into readers.
· Social Links within Mail — After you connect your Benchmark account with your Facebook, Twitter, and/or LinkedIn accounts, you can add switches to every email that will direct your subscribers to each of your social networking pages.
The Business also fully Complies with all the U.S.-E.U. and U.S.-Swiss Safe Harbor Frameworks regarding the collection of personal data from citizens of those nations. When clients provide credit card numbers to Benchmark, the company utilizes secure socket layer (SSL) security to encrypt the information. The whole platform 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 the users hoping to engage in spam actions. The business is fully in compliance with all 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 in the Email Sender and Provider Coalition. The business uses the program SpamAssassin to filter messages delivered through its host.
To stop users from Unknowingly sending spam-like materials, Benchmark provides 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 assist large-volume senders decrease their spam amounts.
Client Service and Support
Benchmark Offers its customers a lot of support resources. Customer service is usually responsive, with minimal waiting times. The website provides good learning resources, but can be opaque occasionally. Key information is often buried and hard to find, especially in the event that you don’t know precisely what you’re searching for, particularly in regards to minute details about plans. For instance. That the Free For Life plan includes Benchmark branding on every email, but you won’t see that mentioned on the Free For Life webpage, not even in the fine print. Nor are you going to see it said when you sign up. The only place it is mentioned is in the FAQ, here.
Here are some of those resources Benchmark offers. Benchmark Software Reviews
· Live Support and Email — Benchmark supplies live one-on-one aid through the following means.
· Email Service. Contact Benchmark at [email protected] or via the organization’s contact form here. Accessible 24 hours Monday — Friday and restricted hours on Saturday.
· Phone Support. You can reach Benchmark in 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 nearly 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’s closer to a QandA-format knowledge foundation than a typical FAQ. You will find over 900 entries, sorted into 18 topics ranging from”Getting Started” to”API.” Users may perform a keyword search of any subject (or sub-topic) or of the FAQ as a whole. 1 caveat. With such an extensive 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 may need to contact support to hash things out.
· Video Tutorials and Webinars — Benchmark provides about two dozen video tutorials that take users step by step through the features of the app. The company also supplies a webinar known as”Benchmark Email Crash Course.” You may see it live each Friday at 10.00 a.m. PST or watch the recorded version at any time. You can even request a special webinar on a number of different subjects. Live webinars include the chance to ask questions during the demonstration.
· Email Marketing Manuals and Articles — You can find more in-depth details on email marketing in general, as well as the Benchmark program specifically, in the Manuals Section. These downloadable documents also cover industry-specific troubles. Articles, very similar to sites, offer users advice beyond that found in the FAQ section, but in shorter, more digestible chunks than the manuals provide.
· Glossary of Email Marketing Requirements — This can be a particularly helpful tool for those brand new to email marketing who feel absorbed by all the jargon. Benchmark gives a glossarywith 50 of the most popular email advertising terms from”above-the-fold” into”whitelists.”
· Website and Newsletter — For current information regarding email marketing trends, check out Benchmark’s monthly newsletter, as well as its exceptionally active blog. All subscribers automatically gain access to present newsletters, and Benchmark also provides an archive of newsletter posts from November 2007-October 2012.
· Benchmark Community — Benchmark users can post their latest newsletters on message boards at the Benchmark Community. This forum allows users to discuss newsletter creation approaches, vote for their favorite newsletters, and gain inspiration from additional Benchmark users.
Web-Based Or Locally-Installed
Benchmark is entirely web-based and doesn’t Require any installation on your PC.
Positive 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 Software Reviews
Some common points of praise.
· Top Notch Service . This is perhaps the most common monitoring regarding Benchmark, and some thing I discovered for myself too. People tend to find support prompt and beneficial, and a few say it is actually the component that distinguishes Benchmark from its competitors. The company also receives praise for its blog articles and videos.
· Characteristic Selection Across All Aims . Some customers praise the addition of features including AB analyzing and surveys in all plans; many companies charge extra for these attributes or only include them into their pricier programs.
· Benefits of Use. Users have a tendency to locate Benchmark’s interface extremely user-friendly and intuitive. The program gathers compliments from a wide range of demographics, from first-time ESP users to those who have tried a variety of programs before settling Benchmark.
· Mobile Friendly Emails. Consumers were impressed with all the mobile-friendly email design of Benchmark’s templates. Since an increasing number of 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. But, I managed to find a couple of complaints.
· Inconsistent Send-Times. Apparently a few users experienced an issue with Benchmark in which their emails were sent hours after they were scheduled. 1 customer theorized that the issue might arise from lengthy lists of recipients. Not all customers of all Benchmark will possess time-sensitive sending demands, but others will. If you want your mails to go out exactly when your program dictates, you might need to take into account this issue.
· Buggy Social Media Integrations. I watched several consumer reviews that remarked the social media integrations in Benchmark aren’t up to par.
· “Spammy” Templates. Some users have been concerned that Benchmark’s templates may feel like spam mail, leading recipients to mark them as spam and not reading the contents. Since the entire point of an ESP is to stop this from happening, this may be an issue. On the other hand, I never felt this way whilst looking through the template list, therefore it may not be the most legitimate of complaints.
Benchmark Offers a enormous number of pricing plans, such as a free plan and a huge array of paid plans which can service anywhere between 600 and 7,140,000 subscribers.
Benchmark’s free plans do not require charge Cards, which is always refreshing. The only catch. There’ll be a little Benchmark logo in the bottom of every email you send out. Of course, you can always opt to upgrade to a paid program in case you don’t need the Benchmark branding. The free plan permits you to send up to 14000 mails to around 2000 subscribers and gives you access to most but not all Benchmark’s features list. Notable absences into the attributes list for free accounts comprise email automation and sub-accounts (enabling multiple users to get one Benchmark account).
Paid Strategies. Benchmark Software Reviews
Users with little contacts lists and limited Monthly messages have the option of paying for their email marketing based on the amount of mails they send each 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 a month
o Extra Large Plans. 125,000-1,000,000 subscribers, $659.99-$4,273.99 a month
o Massive 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% reduction for nonprofits and educators.
Benchmark is a good program. It’s easy to use, Open to innovation, and competitively priced. Its free alternatives may very well be the very best in the business for anybody who only wants to dive into email advertising (especially small, neighborhood companies ). For that matter, any Benchmark plan can work well for a small company which views email as a little aspect of its marketing and does not have any desire to work beyond the principles just yet.
If you are a small or maybe medium-sized Business trying to find a simple email marketing program with a multitude of great features, Benchmark is an excellent option. Even though there may come a time when you outgrow the program, it supplies a great deal for the price, offers exceptional support, and the business appears to be sensitive to the requirements of its customers. You can’t ask for more.