Summary Best Email Marketing
For many an evening in 2004, three people sat Around a single desk in a small medical office — an office that served as the group’s conference room, lunch room, and thought heart. Backed by a little programming group in India, the trio (comprising Benchmark Internet Group founder Curt Keller, his wife Denise, and an search engine optimization expert) discussed ideas for how to implement a deceptively simple idea. Simple email marketing. Many of the ideas were beyond the means of the fledgling business, but that didn’t stop Keller from planning ahead.
The first Clients of Benchmark Mail were small companies located in close proximity to Benchmark’s one-room HQ in Long Beach, CA. Keller and his team personally sold them on the usage of email advertising, while working hard to make a simple user interface which would be simple to operate. All the while, the business championed such innovative ideas as customizable templates and applications which adapted to user needs. They also made sure from the beginning that anybody who needed help would have rapid access to excellent customer support.
Benchmark Has continued to grow 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 doesn’t 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 planet, but the company hasn’t forgotten its origins. Benchmark still keeps good relationships with little, locally-based companies. In reality, the company offers a complete page of testimonials from users of this app. You may read about Benchmark’s history and development here.
While the Majority of the features Benchmark supplies Are on par with the rest of the industry, among the standout characteristics of the ESP is the fact that most of its attributes come standard with each accounts — such as the free ones. Here are a few of Benchmark’s most notable offerings.
· Countless Industry-Specific, Themed Templates. Benchmark offers all customers 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 retail. There is also a category for social media-specific templates.
· Video Emails. Possibly the best-known advantage of Benchmark is its support for video mails. The company explains the advantages of this attribute here.
· Online Surveys. You’ll be able to create professional-looking online surveys using among Benchmark’s 6 templates. Post your poll on your website or build it into an email.
· Dedicated Email Server. All Benchmark’s High Volume plans come with a dedicated IP address to help increase deliverability prices. Users on other plans have the choice of paying for this service ($30/month) to boost their own delivery stats. Read more about the benefits of dedicated servers here.
· Email Delivery Management. Benchmark’s email delivery management program is about getting customers’ emails into inboxes. The business is a part of the Email Sender and Provider Coalition and operates with ReturnPath, a top email delivery and delivery service. The business also communicates with ISPs on its clients’ behalf. Best Email Marketing
· Mobile App. Benchmark’s mobile programs allow customers with an Apple device to get several functions on the road. They can get and include contacts, browse reportsand send videos via integration using a YouTube account, and even design and send fast email blasts with one of 10 available templates. This is quite a little more than a number of other companies offer in their mobile apps, making them much more operational.
· Photo Editing. If the pictures you plan to utilize in your email campaign are not perfectly sized or want some colour adjustment, you can use Benchmark’s integrated picture editor. This is a fairly handy feature if you do not have photoshop available.
· Code Editor. If you’ve got the know-how to work magic with HTML, Benchmark offers this ultra-customization option with which you can build your mails from scratch.
· Autoresponder. Each Benchmark customer has the ability to style around eight custom autoresponder messages. These could be scheduled as a series or event lead-up, or designed as yearly messages like anniversary or birthday 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 website and Facebook sign-ups and provides an easy-to-use instrument to create customized templates for every medium.
· Inbox Checker. Because every email program differs and every web browser has a signature style, making sure that your emails look great across the board is crucial. 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 full app (which assesses everything out of AOL to Yahoo, Explorer into Safari, mobile to PC) is a paid add-on provider, available for $14 per 100 checks.
· RSS-to-Email. Regular bloggers may create newsletters out of their sites automatically through the RSS-to-Email feature, which works with any blog which manages an RSS-feed. Users only have to establish a template and campaign within Benchmark once.
· API Integration. An API (Application Program Interface) enables different software programs to communicate with one another with no formal plug link. Benchmark’s API Integration feature allows users using XML-RPC, HTTP POST, or HTTP GET abilities to recover data from some other programs that use JSON, XML, XML-RPC, or PHP serialization strings. In brief, this allows them to play three functions. Manage contact lists, handle campaigns and campaign sending, and check statistics. The business explains this function in more detail here.
· Advanced Metrics. Benchmark offers both List Segmentation and AB Split Testing.
· Multiple-Language Interface. Benchmark is offered in seven languages. Chinese, English, German, Japanese, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish.
Benefits Of Use
Enrolling in a Benchmark accounts is pretty straightforward. After entering your name, email, phone number, and company name, you have to validate your email address. This was a five-minute process for me. Upon logging into my account (using the free program ) I was greeted by an attractive UI that gave me a clear path on the best way best to create my very first email campaign. Good beginning!
Email Campaign Creation
On its own dashboard, Benchmark offers users five main options. Emails, Automations, Contacts, Surveys, and Reports. To create a new campaign, proceed to the Emails section, then hit the large blue”Create New Mail” button at the top right-hand corner. Best Email Marketing
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 with the built-in code editor. If you are someone who codes their own email, then my hat is off to you, but I am not gifted that way, so I moved with the drag-and-drop option.
I was prompted to enter a subject line for my Email and setup how much observation I desired on the message, in addition to if I wanted an automated tweet once the effort went out. The next task was to choose which contacts I wished to receive the campaign. With that, I was finally able to start building the email itself. If you would like to, you are able to construct your personal email designs using an extremely intuitive editor. On the flip side, you can modify one of Benchmark’s templates, which can be great, and better than I was able to do on my own.
Sending the Email Campaign
If you are just Starting out, you can do as I did and manually enter contacts at a time. However, for those 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 to a text type. Once you make your Benchmark lists, then they will appear on your dashboard, together with a Master Unsubscribe List.
The actual sending of this email is rather easy. Once you have completed all your tweaks, you can save the email as a draft, send it immediately, or schedule a date and time for delivery. If you want to check everything is well before unleashing your email about the world, it is possible to send it to your self to preview it as many as 10 times/day. I chose to program my email for shipping to see how timely the automated system would actually be. I scheduled my email for 2.45 and obtained it at 2.50, so while the timing was not exactly perfect, it was probably present in tolerance levels for most users. If you’re one of the more infrequent users who demand on-the-minute email sending, then you may have to appear elsewhere. More worryingly, my email didn’t go to my primary inbox but was automatically sorted in my”promotions” folder. Definitely not perfect.
Mail Campaign Reporting
The first thing I Noticed about Benchmark email reports was something I’d read about in a few reviews. They’re really, really fast. I mean lightning fast. Opens enroll in the Benchmark system virtually immediately. I’ve worked with a lot of different apps where these reports take hours or even days to look.
Benchmark provides users with several key Bits of information about every campaign. The possibly most important statistic, the available rate, seems in both pie graph and numerical form. In addition, Benchmark provides users with stats such as clicks, forward, bounces, unsubscribes, and misuse. Each stat further breaks down to the exact email addresses related to a given action. Users may export this data for further analysis by means of a csv or xls file. There is also a social media area which reports shares through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, as well as a map which breaks down, by country, who opens your mails. Best Email Marketing
Though all of this information Is Excellent and Necessary, it is not sufficient to sustain increased level marketers who need more info such as conversions, which hyperlinks were clicked, and earnings analysis. Though Google Analytics provides a whole lot of that info with appropriate integration, there might come a time when serious entrepreneurs need more info than Benchmark provides. Whether a small business will get to that point changes, of course, dependent on the business.
Specific Size Of Business
Benchmark made its 3-tiered pricing Structure with the objective of serving everybody from the smallest kitchen-table startup to big email marketers. However, the company’s key focus is on small to medium businesses, especially those just beginning in email marketing. This is particularly reflected in the fact that customers subscribing to the moderate plans get unlimited mails, while larger plans have limitations.
Integrations and Add-Ons
Benchmark Offers roughly 20 plug-ins and integrations. If you do not see 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 app allows users to create and customize occasions, promote and sell tickets, and monitor the success of the events through their Benchmark Email account. A number of subscriptions are available, including a free option.
· Salesforce.com — This integration enables users to import contacts directly into Benchmark and use Benchmark’s email system to keep Salesforce customers participated. Read our overview of Salesforce here.
· WordPress — Benchmark Email Lite is a WordPress plug-in which allows users to quickly build an email audience through their subscribers. The plugin can automatically create email variations of blog articles and allows 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 source images for your Benchmark emails from locations throughout the web. Benchmark Power captures images you find and instantly uploads them to your Benchmark accounts for future usage.
· Flickr — Users with Flickr accounts can link Flickr to their Benchmark image galleries.
· Shopify — You can link a Shopify account to Benchmark and automatically add Shopify clients to Benchmark lists. You can even add contributors to various lists based on what they purchased. Read our overview of Shopify here.
· PayPal — Users may add any of their PayPal clients for their Benchmark email lists bylinking the account. Read our overview of Paypal here.
· Easy List — Know more about this very simple list-making app and download it .
· WordPress — The ever-present site and site builder offers an integration using 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 entry to Zapier’s huge integration library . Best Email Marketing
Social Media Integrations
Since Of the integral connection between social networking and email advertising, it’s very important to check out the social networking features included in Benchmark.
· Social Media Templates — One section of Benchmark’s enormous email template listing is made of societal media-specific templates which directly promote your company’s participation in social networking forums such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
· Facebook”Like” Button — Benchmark offers a simple function which allows you to add a Facebook”Like” button to your own emails.
· Facebook Sign-Up Form — Benchmark provides easy-to-create sign-up forms (see”Characteristics” above) for both websites and Facebook fan pages, to help you convert followers to readers.
· Social Links within Email — Once you connect your Benchmark account with your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn account, you can add switches to each email which will direct your readers to each of your social media pages.
The company 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 these countries. When customers provide credit card amounts to Benchmark, the business uses secure socket layer (SSL) security to encrypt the info. The whole system is encrypted to ensure the security of customers’ personal details.
Anti-Spam Policy and Protection
Like All valid ESPs, Benchmark takes junk seriously and outlines a clear zero-tolerance policy for any of the users trying to engage in spam activities. The company is entirely in compliance with the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. Benchmark additionally takes several measures to preserve its reputation as a spam-free supplier, among them membership from the Email Sender and Provider Coalition. The company employs the program SpamAssassin to filter messages delivered through its host.
To prevent users from Unknowingly sending spam-like substances, Benchmark supplies a spam test feature that looks for words widely utilized 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 the event of a high score, the program suggests”less spammy” alternatives. Individualized IP addresses also help large-volume senders decrease their spam amounts.
Customer Service and Support
Benchmark Offers its users a lot of support tools. Customer support is generally responsive, with minimal waiting times. The site offers good learning tools, but may be needlessly opaque occasionally. Key information can be buried and hard to locate, especially if you don’t know precisely what you’re looking for, especially in regards to minute particulars about plans. As an example. The Free For Life plan comprises Benchmark branding on every email, however you won’t see that mentioned on the Free For Life webpage, not even at the fine print. Nor are you going to see it mentioned when you sign up. The only place it’s mentioned is at the FAQ, here.
Here are some of the resources Benchmark offers. Best Email Marketing
· 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 organization’s contact form here. Available 24 hours Monday — Friday and limited hours on Saturday.
· Phone Support. You are able to reach Benchmark at 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 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 as it is closer to a QandA-format knowledge base than a typical FAQ. You will find over 900 entries, sorted into 18 topics ranging from”Getting Started” to”API.” Users may perform a key word search of any topic (or sub-topic) or from the FAQ as a whole. 1 caveat. With such an extensive knowledge base, it is pretty much inevitable that some entries will be out of date. Some of the QandAs provide advice which is wholly incorrect, so in some cases, you may want to contact assistance to hash things out.
· Video Tutorials and Webinars — Benchmark supplies about two dozen video tutorials that take users step by step through the features of the app. The company also supplies a webinar called”Benchmark Mail Crash Course.” You can view it live each Friday at 10.00 a.m. PST or watch the recorded version at any moment. You can even ask for a particular 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 generally, as well as the Benchmark program specifically, at the Manuals Section. These downloadable documents also cover industry-specific issues. Articles, very similar to blogs, offer users guidance beyond that found in the FAQ section, but in shorter, more readable chunks than the guides provide.
· Glossary of Email Marketing Terms — This is a particularly helpful tool for all those brand new to email marketing who feel consumed 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, as well as its extremely active blog. All subscribers automatically gain access to current newsletters, and Benchmark also provides an archive of newsletter posts from November 2007-October 2012.
· Benchmark Community — Benchmark users may post their latest newsletters on message boards in the Benchmark Community. This forum allows users to talk about newsletter production approaches, vote for their favorite newsletters, and gain inspiration from additional Benchmark users.
Web-Based Or Locally-Installed
Benchmark is completely web-based and doesn’t Require any setup on your PC.
Favorable Reviews and Reviews
Benchmark Has a four-out-of-five star score on G2 Crowd, using a slightly better showing on GetApp and Capterra. 4.5 stars each. Best Email Marketing
Some common points of praise.
· Top Notch Support. This is perhaps the most typical observation regarding Benchmark, and some thing I noticed for myself too. People tend to find support prompt and beneficial, and some say it is really the element that distinguishes Benchmark from its rivals. The company also receives praise for its website posts and videos.
· Feature Selection Across All Plans. Some users praise the addition of attributes including AB analyzing and surveys from most plans; many companies charge extra for these features or only include them in their pricier plans.
· Ease of Use. Users tend to find Benchmark’s interface extremely user-friendly and intuitive. The program gathers compliments from a broad assortment of demographics, from first-time ESP users to those who have tried a variety of programs before settling on Benchmark.
· Mobile Friendly Emails. Users 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 factor to consider.
Negative Reviews and Complaints
I was not able to find many people who disliked Their own Benchmark experience. But, I was able to discover a couple of complaints.
· Inconsistent Send-Times. Apparently some users experienced a problem with Benchmark where their mails were sent hours when they were scheduled. 1 customer theorized that the issue might arise from lengthy lists of recipients. Not all customers of Benchmark will have time-sensitive sending demands, but other people will. Should you want your emails 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 commented the social media integrations in Benchmark are not up to par.
· “Spammy” Templates. Some users have been worried that Benchmark’s templates may feel like spam mail, leading receivers to mark them as spam and not studying the contents. Since the whole point of an ESP would be to stop this from occurring, this may be a problem. On the other hand, I never felt this way while looking through the template list, so it might not be the most valid of complaints.
Benchmark Offers a enormous variety of pricing strategies, such as a free plan and a huge array of paid plans that can service anywhere between 600 and 7,140,000 subscribers.
Benchmark’s free programs do not require charge Cards, which is always refreshing. The only catch. There will be a small Benchmark logo at the bottom of each 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 mails to up to 2000 subscribers and gives you access to all but not all of Benchmark’s features list. Notable absences to the features list for free accounts comprise email automation and sub-accounts (allowing multiple users to get one Benchmark accounts ).
Paid Plans. Best Email Marketing
Users with small contacts lists and limited Monthly messages have the option of paying for their email advertising based on the amount of mails they send every month.
o Moderate Plans. 600-50,000 subscribers, $13.99-$254.99 a month
o Large Strategies. 55,000-100,000 subscribers, $285.99-$494.99 per month
o Extra Large Strategies. 125,000-1,000,000 subscribers, $659.99-$4,273.99 a month
o Massive Plans. 1,070,000-7,140,000 subscribers, $4,500-$29,200 per month
Benchmark accepts all Major charge cards and also lets you pay through PayPal. They also offer a 25% discount for nonprofits and teachers.
Benchmark is a solid program. It’s Simple to Use, Open to invention, and competitively priced. Its free options might very well be the very best in the company for anybody who only wants to dive into email advertising (particularly small, neighborhood businesses). For that matter, any Benchmark strategy can work nicely for a small company which views email as a little aspect of its marketing and has no desire to operate past the basics just yet.
If you are a small or even medium-sized Business trying to find a simple email marketing program using a host of amazing features, Benchmark is an exceptional option. Though there might come a time when you outgrow the program, it supplies a lot for the money, provides excellent support, and the business appears to be sensitive to the requirements of its customers. You can not ask for much more.