Overview Best Email Campaign Service
For many an evening in 2004, three people sat Around one desk in a tiny medical office — an office that functioned as the team’s conference room, lunch room, and idea heart. Backed by a small programming group in India, the trio (consisting of Benchmark Internet Group founder Curt Keller, his wife Denise, and an SEO expert) discussed ideas on how best to implement a deceptively simple concept. Simple email marketing. Many of their ideas were beyond the resources of the fledgling business, but that didn’t stop Keller from planning ahead.
The first Clients of Benchmark Mail were small companies 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 create a simple user interface which would be simple to operate. All the time, the company championed such innovative ideas as customizable templates and applications which adapted to consumer needs. They also made sure from the beginning that anyone who needed help would have quick access to excellent customer support.
Benchmark Has continued to rise and advantagesper. Its present focus. Providing worldwide email marketing services to small and midsize businesses while continuing to honor a commitment to assist kids in need. This does not mean that Benchmark is a little-guys-only company, however; it has stuck to its core principle of adaptability and serves large organizations like UNICEF and Kaiser-Permanente through its High Volume Business plans.
Today, Benchmark serves upwards 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 supplies a complete page of testimonials from users of this program. You can read about Benchmark’s background and development here.
While the Majority of the features Benchmark supplies Are on par with the rest of the business, one of the standout characteristics of the ESP is the fact that most of its attributes come standard with every single account — including the free ones. Here are a few of Benchmark’s most notable offerings.
· Countless 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 such as education, entertainment, and retail. There’s also a class for social media-specific templates.
· Video Emails. Possibly the best-known benefit of Benchmark is its support for video mails. The company explains the benefits of this feature here.
· Online Surveys. You can create professional-looking online polls using one of Benchmark’s 6 templates. Post your survey on your site or build it directly 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 choice of paying for this service ($30/month) to boost their particular delivery stats. Read more about the advantages of dedicated servers .
· Email Delivery Direction . Benchmark’s email shipping management program is about getting clients’ 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 support. The business also communicates with ISPs on its customers’ behalf. Best Email Campaign Service
· Mobile App. Benchmark’s mobile apps allow customers with an Apple device to get several functions on the street. They can get and add contacts, browse reports, send videos through integration with a YouTube account, and even design and send quick email blasts with one of 10 templates that are available. This is quite a bit more than many other businesses offer on their mobile programs, which makes them much more functional.
· Photo Editing. If the pictures you intend to utilize on your email campaign aren’t perfectly sized or want some colour adjustment, you may use Benchmark’s integrated picture editor. This is a pretty handy feature if you don’t have photoshop accessible.
· Code Editor. In case you’ve got the know-how to work magic with HTML, Benchmark provides this ultra-customization option with which you can build 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 occasion lead-up, or designed as yearly messages like birthday or anniversary emails.
· Sign-Up Types . The only way to be prosperous in email marketing is through growing your list, and Benchmark really promotes doing this through sign-up forms. The company 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 differs and every internet browser includes a signature fashion, making sure that your emails look good 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. Using the entire app (which assesses 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 attribute, which works with any blog which manages an RSS-feed. Users simply need to set up 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-in link. Benchmark’s API Integration feature allows users with XML-RPC, HTTP POST, or HTTP GET abilities to recover data from other apps which use JSON, XML, XML-RPC, or PHP serialization strings. In brief, this permits them to play three functions. Manage contact lists, manage campaigns and campaign sending, and assess statistics. The company explains this function in more detail .
· Advanced Metrics. Benchmark provides 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
Enrolling in a Benchmark account is fairly straightforward. After entering your name, email, contact number, and company name, you need to validate your email address. This was a five-minute procedure for me. Upon logging in to my new account (using the free plan) I was greeted by an appealing UI that gave me a very clear path on how best to create my very first email campaign. Great start!
Email Campaign Creation
On its own dashboard, Benchmark offers users five main choices. Emails, Automations, Contacts, Surveys, and Reports. To make a new campaign, proceed to the Emails section, then hit the large blue”Create New Mail” button in the top right-hand corner. Best Email Campaign Service
From there, you have to decide If You Would like 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 personally 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 setup how much observation I desired on the message, in addition to when I wanted an automated tweet once the effort went out. The next task was to select which contacts I wanted to get the campaign. With that, I was finally able to begin building the email . If you want to, you can assemble your personal email layouts using an extremely intuitive editor. On the flip side, you can modify one of Benchmark’s templates, that are great, and much better than I managed to do on my own.
Preventing the Email Campaign
If You’re just Starting out, you can do as I did and manually input contacts at a time. However, for people who already have a list, there are several 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 large lists of contacts to a text form. When you create your Benchmark lists, then they’ll appear on your dashboard, along with a Master Unsubscribe List.
The sending of this email is rather easy. When you’ve finished all of your tweaks, you can either 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, 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 see how timely the automated system would actually be. I scheduled my email for 2.45 and received it in 2.50, therefore while the timing was not exactly perfect, it was probably within tolerance levels for many users. If you are among the more infrequent users who need on-the-minute email sending, you may need to look elsewhere. More worryingly, my email did not go to my main inbox but was automatically sorted into my”promotions” folder. Definitely not perfect.
Mail Campaign Reporting
First thing I Noticed about Benchmark email reports was something I’d 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 a lot of other apps where these reports take hours or even days to appear.
Benchmark provides users with several key Pieces of information about each effort. The possibly most important statistic, the available speed, appears in both pie chart and numerical form. In addition, Benchmark supplies users with stats for clicks, forward, bounces, unsubscribes, and misuse. Every stat further breaks down to the specific email addresses associated with a given activity. Users may export this information for further analysis by means of a csv or xls file. There’s also a social networking area which reports shares via Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, in addition to a map which breaks down, by state, that opens your mails. Best Email Campaign Service
Though all of the information Is Excellent and Necessary, it is not sufficient to sustain higher level marketers that need more information such as conversions, which hyperlinks were clicked, and revenue analysis. Though Google Analytics provides a lot of this information with proper integration, there might come a time when serious entrepreneurs 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 designed its 3-tiered pricing Structure with the objective of serving everyone from the tiniest kitchen-table startup to large email marketers. However, the company’s main focus is on small to medium businesses, especially those just beginning in email advertising. This is especially reflected in the reality that customers subscribing to the medium plans get unlimited emails, while bigger 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 can use the API or ask a integration by sending an email to [email protected]
· Benchmark Occasions — Benchmark Occasions is event marketing software designed to integrate fully with Benchmark Email. Launched in 2012, this program allows users to create and customize occasions, promote and sell tickets, and track the success of their events through their Benchmark Email accounts. A number of programs are available, including 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 participated. Read our review of Salesforce here.
· Twitter — Benchmark Mail Lite is a WordPress plugin which allows users to easily build an email audience via their subscribers. The plug-in can automatically produce email variations 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 plugin lets you source images for your Benchmark emails from locations across the net. Benchmark Power captures pictures you locate and immediately uploads them to your Benchmark account for future usage.
· Flickr — Users with Flickr accounts can link Flickr to their Benchmark image galleries.
· Shopify — You can link a Shopify accounts to Benchmark and automatically add Shopify customers to Benchmark lists. You can even add contributors to different lists based on what they purchased. Read our overview of Shopify here.
· PayPal — Users can add any of the PayPal clients for their own Benchmark email lists bylinking the accounts. Read our overview of Paypal here.
· Easy List — Learn more about this very simple list-making app and download it .
· WordPress — The ever-present site and website builder provides an integration with Benchmark. Use it to send emails of your blog posts and use the analytics to observe how your readers respond to them. Learn more here.
· Zapier — Gain access to Zapier’s huge integration library . Best Email Campaign Service
Social Media Integrations
Since Of the key link between social media and email marketing, it is important to check out the social media features included in Benchmark.
· Social Media Templates — One segment of Benchmark’s enormous email template listing consists of social media-specific templates that directly promote your institution’s participation in social media forums such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
· Facebook”Like” Button — Benchmark provides a very simple function which permits you to bring a Facebook”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 enthusiast pages, to help you convert followers into readers.
· Social Links within Mail — Once you connect your Benchmark account together with your Facebook, Twitter, and/or LinkedIn account, 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 concerning the collection of personal data from citizens of these nations. When clients provide credit card amounts to Benchmark, the business utilizes secure socket layer (SSL) security to encrypt the info. The entire system is encrypted to ensure the safety of customers’ personal details.
Anti-Spam Policy and Protection
Like All legitimate ESPs, Benchmark takes junk seriously and outlines a clear zero-tolerance policy for any of their users hoping to engage in spam activities. The business is fully in compliance with the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. Benchmark additionally takes several steps to preserve its standing as a spam-free provider, among them membership in the Email Sender and Provider Coalition. The company uses the app SpamAssassin to filter messages sent through its host.
To stop users from Unknowingly sending spam-like materials, Benchmark provides a spam check feature which looks for words commonly used in spam messages. It scores each email on a scale from 1 to 5; 5s are assigned to content that is 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 decrease their spam amounts.
Customer Support and Service
Benchmark Offers its customers a great deal of support tools. Customer service is usually responsive, with minimal waiting times. The website offers good learning resources, but may be needlessly opaque occasionally. Key information can be buried and difficult to find, particularly if you don’t know precisely what you’re searching for, especially in regards to minute particulars about strategies. For instance. The Free For Life plan comprises Benchmark branding on every email, however you won’t find that mentioned on the Free For Life page, 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 at the FAQ, here.
Here are some of those resources Benchmark offers. Best Email Campaign Service
· Live Support and Email — Benchmark supplies live one-on-one support through the following means.
· Email Service. Contact Benchmark at [email protected] or via the company’s contact form . Accessible 24 hours Monday — Friday and restricted hours on Saturday.
· Phone Support. You can reach Benchmark in 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 restricted hours on Saturday. Founded in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian.
· FAQ — Benchmark’s FAQ section is somewhat mislabeled as it is closer to some QandA-format knowledge base than a normal FAQ. You will find over 900 entries, sorted into 18 topics ranging from”Getting Started” to”API.” Users can execute a key word search of any subject (or sub-topic) or from 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 might need to contact support to hash things out.
· Video Tutorials and Webinars — Benchmark supplies about two dozen movie tutorials that take users step by step through the features of the app. The business also offers a webinar called”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 ask for a special webinar on quite a few other subjects. Live webinars include the opportunity to ask questions throughout the presentation.
· Email Marketing Manuals and Articles — There are more in-depth information on email marketing in general, in addition to the Benchmark program especially, 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 Terms — This is a particularly helpful tool for all those new to email marketing who believe consumed by all the jargon. Benchmark gives a glossarywith 50 of the very popular email marketing terms from”above-the-fold” into”whitelists.”
· Blog and Newsletter — For current info regarding email advertising trends, check out Benchmark’s monthly newsletter, as well as its exceptionally active site. All subscribers automatically gain access to current newsletters, and Benchmark also offers an archive of newsletter articles from November 2007-October 2012.
· Benchmark Community — Benchmark users can post their latest newsletters on message boards in the Benchmark Community. This forum allows users to discuss newsletter creation approaches, vote for their favourite newsletters, and gain inspiration from other Benchmark users.
Web-Based Or Locally-Installed
Benchmark is entirely web-based and doesn’t Require any setup on your computer.
Positive Reviews and Reviews
Benchmark Has a four-out-of-five star rating on G2 Crowd, with a slightly better showing on GetApp and Capterra. 4.5 stars each. Best Email Campaign Service
Some common points of praise.
· Top Notch Service . This is maybe the most common monitoring concerning Benchmark, and some thing I noticed for myself too. People today tend to find support prompt and helpful, and some say it is really the element that distinguishes Benchmark from its rivals. The company also receives praise for its blog articles and videos.
· Characteristic Selection Across All Plans. Some users praise the addition of attributes like AB testing and surveys from most programs; many firms charge extra for these features or just include them into their pricier programs.
· Ease of Use. Users tend to locate Benchmark’s interface incredibly intuitive and user-friendly. The program gathers praise from a wide range 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 layout of Benchmark’s templates. Since an increasing number of people access their email from mobile devices, this can be an increasingly significant aspect to consider.
Negative Reviews and Complaints
I was Unable to find many Men and Women who loathed Their Benchmark experience. However, I managed to find a couple of complaints.
· Inconsistent Send-Times. Apparently some users experienced a problem with Benchmark where their emails were sent hours after they were first scheduled. 1 customer theorized that the issue might arise from long lists of recipients. Not all clients of Benchmark will possess time-sensitive shipping needs, but others will. If you want your emails to go out precisely whenever your program dictates, you may need to consider this situation.
· Buggy Social Media Integrations. I watched several consumer reviews that remarked the social networking integrations in Benchmark are not up to par.
· “Spammy” Templates. Some users were concerned that Benchmark’s templates may feel like spam email, leading recipients to mark them as spam rather than studying the contents. Since the entire purpose of an ESP would be to stop this from happening, this may be an issue. On the flip side, I never felt this way while searching through the template list, therefore it might not be the most valid of complaints.
Benchmark Provides a huge number of pricing plans, such as a totally free plan and a massive array of paid programs which may 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 logo at the bottom of every email you send out. Obviously, you may always opt to upgrade to a paid program in case you don’t want the Benchmark branding. The free program permits you to send up to 14000 emails to around 2000 subscribers and provides you access to all but not all Benchmark’s features list. Notable absences into the features list for free accounts include email automation and sub-accounts (allowing many users to get one Benchmark account).
Paid Plans. Best Email Campaign Service
Users with small contacts lists and limited Monthly messages have the choice of paying to get their email marketing depending on the number of emails that 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 per month
o Extra Large Plans. 125,000-1,000,000 subscribers, $659.99-$4,273.99 per month
o Enormous Plans. 1,070,000-7,140,000 subscribers, $4,500-$29,200 a month
Benchmark accepts all Major credit cards and also allows you to pay through PayPal. They also offer a 25% reduction for nonprofits and teachers.
Benchmark is a solid program. It is easy to use, Open to innovation, and competitively priced. Its free options may very well be the very best in the company for anyone who only wants to dip into email advertising (especially small, neighborhood companies ). For that matter, any Benchmark strategy can work well for a small business which perspectives email as a minor aspect of its marketing 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 advertising program using a multitude of amazing features, Benchmark is an excellent choice. Even though there may come a time when you outgrow the app, it provides a lot for the price, offers exceptional service, and the company appears to be sensitive to the requirements of its users. You can’t ask for more.