Overview Best Email Marketing Automation Software
For many a day in 2004, three people sat Around one desk in a tiny medical office — an office that served as the team’s conference room, lunch room, and idea heart. Backed by a little programming team in India, the trio (consisting of Benchmark Internet Group founder Curt Keller, his wife Denise, and an SEO pro ) discussed ideas on how best to execute a deceptively simple idea. Simple email marketing. Many of the ideas were beyond the resources of this fledgling company, but that didn’t stop Keller from planning ahead.
The first Customers of Benchmark Mail were small businesses located in close proximity to Benchmark’s one-room HQ in Long Beach, CA. Keller and his staff sold them on the usage of email advertising, while working hard to create a very simple user interface which would be simple to operate. All the time, the company uses such innovative ideas as customizable templates and software which adapted to user requirements. They also made sure from the outset that anyone who needed help would have quick access to excellent customer support.
Benchmark Has continued to grow and advantagesper. Its present focus. Providing global email advertising services to small and midsize businesses while continuing to honor a commitment to assist children in need. This doesn’t mean that Benchmark is a little-guys-only service, however; it has adhered to its core principle of adaptability and functions big organizations such as UNICEF and Kaiser-Permanente via its High Volume Enterprise plans.
Today, Benchmark serves upwards of 73,000 users from across the globe, however, the company has not forgotten its origins. Benchmark still maintains good relationships with little, locally-based companies. In reality, the organization offers a full page of testimonials from users of the app. You can read about Benchmark’s history and development here.
While the Majority of the attributes Benchmark provides Are on par with the rest of the industry, among the standout characteristics of this ESP is the fact that most of its attributes come standard with every single accounts — such as the free ones. Below are some of Benchmark’s most notable offerings.
· Countless Industry-Specific, Themed Templates. Benchmark offers all users access to the 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 societal media-specific templates.
· Video Emails. Perhaps the best-known benefit of Benchmark is its support for video emails. The company explains the advantages of this feature here.
· Online Surveys. You can create professional-looking online polls using among Benchmark’s 6 templates. Post your survey on your site or build it into an email.
· Dedicated Email Server. All of Benchmark’s High Volume programs come with a dedicated IP address to help increase deliverability rates. Users on other plans have the option of paying for this service ($30/month) to boost their particular delivery stats. Read more about the benefits of dedicated servers here.
· Email Delivery Management. Benchmark’s email delivery management program is all about getting customers’ emails into inboxes. The business is a part of the Email Sender and Provider Coalition and operates with ReturnPath, a leading email delivery and consulting support. The company also communicates with ISPs on its clients’ behalf. Best Email Marketing Automation Software
· Mobile App. Benchmark’s mobile apps allow customers having an Apple device to get several functions on the street. They can get and include contacts, browse reportsand send videos via integration with a YouTube accounts, and even layout and send quick email blasts with one of 10 available templates. That is quite a little more than a number of other businesses offer on their mobile programs, which makes them much more functional.
· Photo Editing. If the photos 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 do not have photoshop accessible.
· Code Editor. If you have the know-how to work magic with HTML, Benchmark offers this ultra-customization option with which you can construct your emails from scratch.
· Autoresponder. Every Benchmark customer has the ability to style up to eight custom autoresponder messages. These could be scheduled as a series or occasion lead-up, or made as annual messages like anniversary or birthday emails.
· Sign-Up Types . The only way to be successful in email advertising is by way of growing your list, and Benchmark really promotes doing this via sign-up forms. The business bases its Free For Life account entirely around website and Facebook sign-ups and provides an easy-to-use tool to create customized templates for each medium.
· Inbox Checker. Because every email program is different and every web browser includes a signature fashion, making sure your emails look great across the board is important. 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. Employing the full app (which assesses everything out of AOL to Yahoo, Explorer to Safari, mobile to PC) is a paid add-on service, available for $14 each 100 checks.
· RSS-to-Email. Regular bloggers can create newsletters from their sites automatically through the RSS-to-Email attribute, which works with any site which manages an RSS-feed. Users only need 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 retrieve data from some other apps which use JSON, XML, XML-RPC, or PHP serialization strings. In a nutshell, this permits them to perform three purposes. Manage contact lists, manage campaigns and campaign sending, and assess data. The business explains this function in more detail here.
· Advanced Metrics. Benchmark provides 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, contact number, and business name, you need to confirm your email address. This is a five-minute process for me. Upon logging into my new account (with the free plan) I was greeted by an attractive UI that gave me a clear direction about how to create my very first email campaign. Good beginning!
Email Campaign Creation
On its dashboard, Benchmark offers users five main choices. Emails, Automations, Contacts, Surveys, and Reports. To make a new campaign, proceed to the Emails segment, then hit on the large blue”Create New Email” button in the top right-hand corner. Best Email Marketing Automation Software
From there, you must decide if you want an RSS Or traditional email message. It is possible to use Benchmark’s drag-and-drop editor, or move for more customization with the built-in code editor. If you’re someone who codes their own email, then my hat is off to you, but I am not gifted that way, so I went with the drag-and-drop option.
I had been prompted to enter a subject line for my Email and set up how much tracking I wanted on the message, in addition to when I wanted an automatic tweet when the effort went out. The following task was to choose which contacts I wished to get the campaign. With that, I was eventually able to start constructing the email itself. If you would like to, you are able to assemble your own email designs using a very intuitive editor. On the flip side, you can modify one of Benchmark’s templates, which can be great, and much 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 enter contacts one at a time. However, for people who already have a listing, there are several ways to import it. You can upload a CSV, xls, or txt file directly from the computer; import contacts directly from Salesforce.com, Hotmail, or Gmail accounts; or copy and paste large lists of contacts into a text type. When you create your Benchmark lists, they’ll show up on your dash, along with a Master Unsubscribe List.
The sending of this email is quite simple. When you’ve finished all 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, it is possible to send it to yourself to preview it as many as 10 times/day. I chose to program my email for delivery to view how timely the automated system would really be. I advised my email for 2.45 and received it at 2.50, therefore while the timing wasn’t exactly ideal, it was probably within tolerance levels for many users. If you’re among the more rare users who need on-the-minute email sending, you might need to appear elsewhere. More worryingly, my email didn’t go to my main inbox but was mechanically sorted in my”promotions” folder. Definitely not perfect.
Mail Campaign Reporting
The first thing I Discovered about Benchmark email reports was something I’d read in a couple of reviews. They’re really, really quickly. I mean lightning fast. Opens register from the Benchmark system virtually instantaneously. I have worked with several different programs where these reports take hours or even days to appear.
Benchmark provides users with several key Bits of data about each effort. The arguably most important statistic, the open rate, appears in both pie graph and numerical form. In addition, Benchmark provides users with stats for clicks, forward, bounces, unsubscribes, and misuse. Each stat further breaks down to the specific email addresses associated with a given action. Users may export this data for additional analysis via a csv or xls file. There is also a social media place which reports shares via Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, in addition to a map which breaks down, by country, that opens your emails. Best Email Marketing Automation Software
Though all of this information Is Excellent and Necessary, it is not sufficient to sustain higher level marketers who need more info such as conversions, which links were clicked, and earnings analysis. Though Google Analytics provides a lot of that info with appropriate integration, there might come a time when serious marketers need more information than Benchmark provides. Whether or not a small business will reach that point varies, naturally, based on the business.
Particular Size Of Company
Benchmark made its 3-tiered pricing Structure with the objective of serving everyone from the tiniest kitchen-table startup to large email marketers. On the other hand, the organization’s key focus is on small to medium companies, especially those just beginning in email advertising. This is particularly reflected in the reality that clients subscribing to the moderate plans get unlimited mails, while bigger plans have constraints.
Integrations and Add-Ons
Benchmark Offers roughly 20 plug-ins and integrations. If you do not see the integration you want, there’s still hope. You’re able to use the API or request a integration by sending an email to [email protected]
· Benchmark Events — Benchmark Events is event marketing software designed to integrate fully with Benchmark Email. Launched in 2012, this program allows users to make and customize occasions, promote and market tickets, and track the success of the events via 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 keep Salesforce customers participated. Read our review of Salesforce here.
· WordPress — Benchmark Email Lite is a WordPress plug-in which permits users to easily build an email viewer through their readers. The plugin can automatically create email versions of blog articles and permits users to connect up to five Benchmark accounts.
· Highrise — Merges Highrise contacts using a Benchmark listing. Read our overview of Highrisehere.
· Benchmark Power — This free plug-in allows you to supply images for your Benchmark emails from places throughout the web. Benchmark Power captures images you locate and instantly uploads them to a Benchmark account for future usage.
· Flickr — Users with Flickr accounts can link Flickr for their Benchmark image galleries.
· Shopify — You can link a Shopify account to Benchmark and mechanically add Shopify customers to Benchmark lists. You may even add contributors to different lists based on what they purchased. Read our overview of Shopify here.
· PayPal — Users can add some of their PayPal clients for their Benchmark email lists bylinking the account. Read our review of Paypal here.
· Easy List — Learn more about this very simple list-making app and download it here.
· WordPress — The ever-present site and website builder provides an integration using Benchmark. Use it to send emails of your blog posts and also use the analytics to see how your subscribers react to them. Learn more here.
· Zapier — Gain entry to Zapier’s enormous integration library here. Best Email Marketing Automation Software
Social Media Integrations
Since 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 enormous email template list is made 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 offers a very simple function which permits you to bring a Facebook”Like” button into your own emails.
· Facebook Sign-Up Form — Benchmark supplies easy-to-create sign-up forms (see”Features” above) for both websites and Facebook fan pages, to help you convert followers into subscribers.
· Social Links within Email — After you link your Benchmark account together with your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn account, you can add buttons to each 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 regarding the selection of personal data from citizens of those nations. When customers provide credit card amounts to Benchmark, the business uses secure socket layer (SSL) protection to encrypt the information. The whole system is encrypted to ensure the security of customers’ personal information.
Anti-Spam Policy and Protection
Like All valid ESPs, Benchmark takes spam seriously and summarizes a clear zero-tolerance policy for any of their users trying to take part in spam activities. The company is entirely in compliance with all the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. Benchmark also takes several measures to preserve its reputation as a spam-free provider, one of them membership from the Email Sender and Provider Coalition. The company uses the program SpamAssassin to filter messages sent through its server.
To stop users from Unknowingly sending spam-like materials, Benchmark supplies a spam test feature that looks for words widely used in spam messages. It scores every email on a scale from 1 to 5; 5s are delegated to content that is very likely to be blocked. In the event of a high score, the program suggests”less spammy” alternatives. Individualized IP addresses also assist large-volume senders decrease their spam amounts.
Customer Service and Support
Benchmark Offers its users a great deal of support tools. Customer service is generally responsive, with minimal waiting times. The site provides good learning tools, but can be opaque occasionally. Crucial information can be buried and hard to find, especially if you don’t know exactly what you’re searching for, especially in regards to minute particulars about strategies. For instance. The Free For Life plan comprises Benchmark branding on each email, however you won’t see that mentioned on the Free For Life webpage, not even at the fine print. Nor will you see it mentioned when you register. The only place it’s mentioned is at the FAQ, here.
Here are some of those resources Benchmark offers. Best Email Marketing Automation Software
· Live Support and Email — Benchmark provides live one-on-one aid through these means.
· Email Service. Contact Benchmark at [email protected] or via the company’s contact form here. Available 24 hours Monday — Friday and limited hours on Saturday.
· Telephone Support. You are able to 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. Accessible almost 24 hours daily Monday — Friday and restricted hours on Saturday. Founded in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian.
· FAQ — Benchmark’s FAQ section is somewhat mislabeled because it is closer to a QandA-format knowledge foundation than a normal FAQ. There are more than 900 entries, sorted into 18 subjects ranging from”Getting Started” to”API.” Users may execute a key word search of any topic (or sub-topic) or from their FAQ as a whole. One caveat. With such a comprehensive knowledge base, it is pretty much inevitable that some entries are going to be out of date. A few of the QandAs offer advice that’s wholly inaccurate, so in some cases, you might want to contact assistance 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 this app. The business 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 ask for a particular webinar on quite a few different subjects. Live webinars comprise the chance 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 issues. Articles, similar to blogs, offer users guidance beyond that found in the FAQ section, but in shorter, more readable chunks compared to the manuals provide.
· Glossary of Email Marketing Requirements — This can be a particularly helpful tool for those brand new to email marketing who feel consumed by all the jargon. Benchmark provides a glossarywith 50 of the very popular email marketing terms from”above-the-fold” to”whitelists.”
· Website and Newsletter — For current information regarding email marketing trends, check out Benchmark’s monthly newsletter, in addition to its exceptionally active blog. All subscribers automatically gain access to current newsletters, and Benchmark also provides an archive of newsletter articles 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 talk about newsletter production strategies, 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 computer.
Positive Reviews and Testimonials
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 Marketing Automation Software
Some common points of compliments.
· Top Notch Service . This is maybe the most typical monitoring concerning Benchmark, and something I noticed for myself as well. People tend to find support prompt and beneficial, and some say it’s actually the element that distinguishes Benchmark from its competitors. The business also receives praise for its website articles and videos.
· Feature Selection Across All Aims . Some users praise the inclusion of attributes like AB analyzing and surveys in all plans; many companies charge extra for such attributes or just include them in their pricier programs.
· Ease of Use. Users tend to find Benchmark’s interface incredibly user-friendly and intuitive. The program gathers praise from a wide assortment of demographics, from first time ESP users to those who have attempted a variety of programs before settling Benchmark.
· Mobile Friendly Emails. Consumers were impressed with the mobile-friendly email layout of Benchmark’s templates. Since more and more people access their email from mobile devices, this can be an increasingly significant aspect to consider.
Negative Reviews and Complaints
I was not able to find many Men and Women who disliked Their Benchmark experience. But, I was able to discover a couple of complaints.
· Inconsistent Send-Times. Apparently a few users experienced a problem with Benchmark where their emails were sent hours after they were scheduled. One customer theorized that the issue might arise from lengthy lists of recipients. Not all customers of Benchmark will possess time-sensitive sending needs, but others will. If you want your mails to go out exactly whenever your program dictates, you might have to consider this issue.
· Buggy Social Media Integrations. I saw several user testimonials that remarked the social media integrations in Benchmark aren’t up to par.
· “Spammy” Templates. Some users have been worried that Benchmark’s templates may feel like spam mail, leading recipients to mark them as junk rather than studying the contents. Since the whole purpose of an ESP would be to prevent this from happening, this may be an issue. On the other hand, I never felt this way while searching through the template list, so it might not be the most legitimate of complaints.
Benchmark Offers a huge number of pricing plans, including a totally free plan and a huge array of paid plans that can 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 little Benchmark emblem at the bottom of every email you send out. Of course, you can always choose to upgrade to a paid program if you don’t need the Benchmark branding. The free plan permits you to send up to 14000 emails to around 2000 subscribers and provides you access to most but not all Benchmark’s features record. Notable absences to the features list for free account include email automation and sub-accounts (enabling many users to get one Benchmark account).
Paid Plans. Best Email Marketing Automation Software
Users with little contacts lists and limited Monthly messages have the option of paying for their email advertising depending on the amount of mails they send each month.
o Moderate Plans. 600-50,000 subscribers, $13.99-$254.99 a month
o Large Plans. 55,000-100,000 subscribers, $285.99-$494.99 a month
o Extra Large Strategies. 125,000-1,000,000 subscribers, $659.99-$4,273.99 per month
o Enormous Plans. 1,070,000-7,140,000 subscribers, $4,500-$29,200 a month
Benchmark accepts all Major credit cards and also lets you pay through PayPal. They also offer you a 25% discount for nonprofits and teachers.
Benchmark is a good program. It’s easy to use, Open to invention, and competitively priced. Its free alternatives may just be the very best in the business for anyone who only wants to dip into email advertising (especially small, local businesses). For that matter, any Benchmark plan can work well for a little business which perspectives email as a minor aspect of its advertising and has no desire to work past the basics just yet.
If you are a little or maybe medium-sized Company looking for a simple email marketing program using a multitude of great features, Benchmark is an excellent option. Even though there might come a time when you outgrow the program, it provides a lot for the money, offers excellent service, and the business seems to be sensitive to the needs of its customers. You can not ask for more.