Overview Best Email Marketing Software To Buy
For many an evening in 2004, three people sat Around one desk in a small medical office — an office that functioned as the team’s conference room, breakfast area, and thought hub. Backed by a little programming team 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 execute a deceptively straightforward idea. Simple email marketing. Many of the ideas were beyond the resources of this fledgling business, but that didn’t stop Keller from planning ahead.
The first Clients of Benchmark Email were small businesses located in close proximity to Benchmark’s one-room HQ in Long Beach, CA. Keller and his staff personally sold them on the usage of email marketing, while working hard to make a very simple user interface that would be easy to operate. All the time, the company championed such innovative ideas as customizable templates and applications which adapted to consumer needs. They also made certain from the outset that anybody who needed help would have rapid access to outstanding customer support.
Benchmark Has continued to rise and advantagesper. Its present focus. Providing worldwide email marketing services to small and medium-sized businesses while continuing to honor a commitment to assist children in need. This doesn’t indicate that Benchmark is a little-guys-only company, however; it’s stuck to its core principle of adaptability and serves large organizations like UNICEF and Kaiser-Permanente via its High Volume Business plans.
Today, Benchmark serves up of 73,000 users from throughout the globe, however, the company hasn’t forgotten its origins. Benchmark still maintains good relationships with little, locally-based businesses. In fact, the organization offers a full page of testimonials from local users of this app. You can read about Benchmark’s background and development here.
While most of the features Benchmark provides Are on par with the rest of the business, one of the standout features 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 noteworthy offerings.
· Hundreds of 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 specific industries such as 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 emails. The business describes the benefits of this attribute here.
· Online Surveys. You’ll be able to create professional-looking online surveys using one of Benchmark’s 6 templates. Post your survey on your site or construct it directly into an email.
· Dedicated Email Server. All Benchmark’s High Volume plans have a dedicated IP address to help increase deliverability prices. Users on other plans have the choice of paying for this service ($30/month) to increase their particular delivery stats. Read more about the benefits of dedicated servers here.
· Email Delivery Management. Benchmark’s email shipping management program is all about getting clients’ mails into inboxes. The business is a member of the Email Sender and Provider Coalition and operates with ReturnPath, a top email delivery and delivery service. The company also communicates with ISPs on its customers’ behalf. Best Email Marketing Software To Buy
· Mobile App. Benchmark’s mobile programs make it possible for customers having an Apple device to get several purposes on the street. They can access and include contacts, read reportsand send videos via integration using a YouTube accounts, and even design and send fast email blasts with one of 10 templates that are available. That is quite a little more than many other businesses offer on their mobile apps, which makes them considerably more functional.
· Photo Editing. If the pictures you plan to use in your email campaign aren’t perfectly sized or want some colour adjustment, you can use Benchmark’s integrated picture editor. This is a pretty handy feature if you don’t have photoshop available.
· Code Editor. If you’ve got the know-how to work magic with HTML, Benchmark provides this ultra-customization option with which you may construct your mails from scratch.
· Autoresponder. Each Benchmark customer has the power to design around eight custom autoresponder messages. These can be scheduled as a series or event lead-up, or made as annual messages such as anniversary or birthday mails.
· Sign-Up Forms. The only way to be successful in email advertising is by way of growing your own list, and Benchmark really promotes doing this through 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. Since every email program is different and each internet browser includes a signature fashion, making certain your emails look great across the board is important. You can use Inbox Checker to have a look at the way that your email displays in Gmail using Explorer and Outlook 3. Employing the full app (which assesses everything from 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 blogs mechanically through the RSS-to-Email attribute, which works with any blog which manages an RSS-feed. Users only have to set up a campaign and template inside 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 skills to retrieve data from other apps which use JSON, XML, XML-RPC, or PHP serialization strings. In a nutshell, this permits them to perform three functions. Manage contact lists, handle campaigns and campaign sending, and assess data. The business explains this function in more detail .
· Advanced Metrics. Benchmark offers both List Segmentation and AB Split Testing.
· Multiple-Language Interface. Benchmark is available in seven languages. Chinese, English, German, Japanese, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish.
Benefits Of Use
Signing up for a Benchmark account is pretty straightforward. After entering your name, email, contact number, and business name, you have to validate your email address. This was a five-minute process for me. Upon logging into my account (using the free plan) I was greeted by an attractive UI that gave me a very clear path on how to make my very first email campaign. Good beginning!
Email Campaign Creation
On its own dashboard, Benchmark offers users five main choices. Emails, Automations, Contacts, Surveys, and Reports. To create a new effort, go into the Emails section, then hit the large blue”Create New Mail” button at the upper right-hand corner. Best Email Marketing Software To Buy
From there, you have to 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 using 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 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 desired on the message, in addition to if I wanted an automatic tweet once the campaign went out. The following task was to choose which contacts I wished to receive the campaign. With that, I was eventually able to begin constructing the email . If you would like to, you can construct your own email layouts employing an extremely intuitive editor. On the flip side, you can alter one of Benchmark’s templates, that are great, and much better than I managed to do in my.
Sending the Email Campaign
If You’re just Starting out, you can do as I did and manually input contacts one 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 directly from your personal computer; import contacts directly from Salesforce.com, Hotmail, or Gmail accounts; or copy and paste large lists of contacts into a text form. When you create your Benchmark lists, then they’ll show up on your dash, together with a Master Unsubscribe List.
The sending of the email is rather easy. Once you’ve finished all of your tweaks, you may either save the email as a draft, send it immediately, or schedule a time and date for delivery. If you want to check all is well before distributing your email about the world, you can send it to your self to preview it as many as 10 times/day. I opted to schedule my email for delivery to see how timely the automatic system would really be. I advised my email for 2.45 and received it in 2.50, so while the timing wasn’t exactly ideal, it was likely within tolerance levels for most users. If you’re one of the more infrequent users who need on-the-minute email sending, you might have to look elsewhere. More worryingly, my email didn’t go to my main inbox but was mechanically sorted into 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 few reviews. They are 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 require hours or even days to appear.
Benchmark provides users with several key Bits of data about each effort. The possibly most important statistic, the available rate, appears in both pie graph and numerical form. In addition, Benchmark supplies users with stats such as clicks, forward, bounces, unsubscribes, and misuse. Every stat further breaks down to the exact email addresses related to a given activity. Users may export this data for further analysis by means of a csv or xls file. There is also a social networking place which reports shares via Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, as well as a map that breaks down, by country, that opens your emails. Best Email Marketing Software To Buy
Though all of the information is great and Necessary, it is not enough to sustain increased level marketers that need more information such as conversions, which links were clicked, and revenue analysis. Although Google Analytics provides a lot of this information with appropriate integration, there may come a time when serious entrepreneurs need more information than Benchmark provides. Whether a small company will get to that point changes, naturally, dependent on the company.
Specific Size Of Business
Benchmark designed its 3-tiered pricing Structure with the goal of serving everyone from the smallest kitchen-table startup to big email marketers. On the other hand, the company’s key focus is on small to medium companies, especially those just starting out in email advertising. This is particularly reflected in the fact that clients 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 do not see the integration you want, there is still hope. You can use the API or request a integration by sending an email to [email protected]
· Benchmark Events — Benchmark Occasions is event marketing applications designed to integrate fully with Benchmark Email. Launched in 2012, this app permits users to make and customize events, promote and sell tickets, and monitor the success of their events via their Benchmark Email account. A number of programs are available, such as a free option.
· Salesforce.com — This integration allows users to import contacts into Benchmark and use Benchmark’s email system to maintain Salesforce customers engaged. Read our review of Salesforce here.
· WordPress — Benchmark Email Lite is a WordPress plugin which allows users to quickly build an email viewer through their readers. The plug-in can automatically produce email versions of blog posts and allows users to connect up to five Benchmark accounts.
· Highrise — Merges Highrise contacts with a Benchmark listing. Read our review of Highrisehere.
· Benchmark Power — This free plugin lets you source pictures for your Benchmark mails from locations throughout the net. Benchmark Power captures images you locate and immediately uploads them to a Benchmark accounts for future use.
· Flickr — Users with Flickr accounts may link Flickr for 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 may even add contributors to different lists based on what they bought. Read our review of Shopify here.
· PayPal — Users can add any of their PayPal customers for their Benchmark email lists bylinking the account. Read our review of Paypal here.
· Easy List — Learn more about this very simple list-making program and download it here.
· WordPress — The ever-present site and site builder provides an integration using Benchmark. Use it to send mails of your blog articles and use the analytics to see how your readers react to them. Learn more here.
· Zapier — Gain access to Zapier’s huge integration library here. Best Email Marketing Software To Buy
Social Media Integrations
Because Of the integral link between social networking and email advertising, it’s important to look at the social networking features included in Benchmark.
· Social Media Templates — One section of Benchmark’s enormous email template list consists of societal media-specific templates which directly promote your institution’s involvement in social media 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”Characteristics” above) for both sites and Facebook fan pages, to help you convert followers to subscribers.
· Social Links within Email — After you connect your Benchmark account together with your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn accounts, you can add buttons to every email which will direct your readers to each of your social networking pages.
The Business also fully Complies with the U.S.-E.U. and U.S.-Swiss Safe Harbor Frameworks regarding the collection of personal data from citizens of those countries. When clients provide credit card numbers to Benchmark, the company utilizes secure socket layer (SSL) security to encrypt the information. The entire platform is encrypted to ensure the security of all customers’ personal information.
Anti-Spam Policy and Protection
Like All valid ESPs, Benchmark takes junk seriously and summarizes a clear zero-tolerance coverage for any of the users hoping to engage in spam activities. The business is fully in compliance with all the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. Benchmark also takes several measures to maintain its standing as a spam-free supplier, 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 substances, Benchmark supplies a spam check feature that looks for words widely utilized in spam messages. It scores every email on a scale from 1 to 5; 5s are assigned to content that’s likely to be blocked. In case of a high score, the program suggests”less spammy” choices. Individualized IP addresses also help large-volume senders reduce their spam numbers.
Client Service and Support
Benchmark Offers its users a great deal of support tools. Customer support is usually responsive, with minimal waiting times. The site offers good learning tools, but can be opaque occasionally. Key information can be buried and hard to find, especially if you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for, especially when it comes 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 Marketing Software To Buy
· Live Email and Support — Benchmark supplies live one-on-one aid through these means.
· Email Support. Contact Benchmark at [email protected] or through the company’s contact form . Accessible 24 hours Monday — Friday and limited hours on Saturday.
· Telephone Support. You are able to reach Benchmark at 800-430-4095 (U.S.) or 001-562-252-3789 (all states ). Available weekdays from 6 am to 5 pm PT.
· Chat Support. Accessible almost 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 foundation than a typical FAQ. There are over 900 entries, sorted into 18 subjects ranging from”Getting Started” to”API.” Users can perform a keyword search of any topic (or sub-topic) or of their FAQ as a whole. One caveat. With such an extensive knowledge base, it is pretty much inevitable that some entries will be out of date. Some of the QandAs offer advice which is wholly incorrect, so in some cases, you may want to contact support to hash things out.
· Video Tutorials and Webinars — Benchmark provides about two dozen video tutorials that take users step by step through the features of the program. The business also supplies a webinar known as”Benchmark Mail Crash Course.” You can see it live each Friday at 10.00 a.m. PST or see the recorded version at any moment. You can also ask for a particular webinar on a number of other topics. Live webinars include the opportunity to ask questions throughout the presentation.
· Email Marketing Manuals and Articles — You can find more in-depth details on email marketing generally, as well as the Benchmark program especially, in the Manuals Section. These downloadable documents also cover industry-specific issues. Articles, very similar to sites, offer users advice beyond that found in the FAQ section, but in shorter, more digestible chunks compared to the guides provide.
· Glossary of Email Marketing Terms — This can be a particularly helpful tool for those new to email marketing who believe consumed by all the jargon. Benchmark gives a glossarywith 50 of the most popular email marketing terms from”above-the-fold” to”whitelists.”
· Website and Newsletter — For current info regarding email advertising trends, check out Benchmark’s monthly newsletter, as well as its exceptionally active site. All readers automatically obtain access to present newsletters, and Benchmark also offers an archive of newsletter posts from November 2007-October 2012.
· Benchmark Community — Benchmark users can post their newest newsletters on message boards at the Benchmark Community. This forum allows users to discuss 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 does not Require any installation on your PC.
Favorable Reviews and Testimonials
Benchmark Has a four-out-of-five star rating on G2 Crowd, using a slightly better showing on GetApp and Capterra. 4.5 stars each. Best Email Marketing Software To Buy
Some common points of compliments.
· Top Notch Support. This is maybe the most common observation concerning Benchmark, and some thing I noticed for myself as well. People tend to find support prompt and helpful, and a few say it’s actually the element that distinguishes Benchmark from its rivals. The company also receives praise for its blog posts and videos.
· Feature Selection Across All Aims . Some customers praise the addition of features like AB analyzing and surveys in all programs; many companies charge extra for such features or just include them in their pricier plans.
· Ease of Use. Users tend to locate Benchmark’s interface incredibly intuitive and user-friendly. The program gathers praise from a broad range of demographics, from first time ESP consumers to people who have tried a variety of programs before settling on Benchmark.
· Mobile Friendly Emails. Users were impressed with all 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 important aspect to take into account.
Negative Reviews and Complaints
I was Unable to find many Men and Women who disliked Their Benchmark experience. But, I managed to find a couple of complaints.
· Inconsistent Send-Times. Apparently some users experienced an issue 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 clients of Benchmark will have time-sensitive sending needs, but others will. If you want your emails to go out precisely when your program dictates, you might have to take into account this issue.
· Buggy Social Media Integrations. I saw several user reviews that remarked the social media integrations in Benchmark are not up to par.
· “Spammy” Templates. Some users were concerned that Benchmark’s templates can feel like spam mail, leading receivers to mark them as junk and not studying the contents. Since the entire point of an ESP is to prevent this from occurring, this might be a problem. On the other hand, I never felt this way while looking through the template list, therefore it might not be the most valid of complaints.
Benchmark Offers a huge variety of pricing plans, including a totally free plan and a huge array of paid programs which may service anywhere between 600 and 7,140,000 subscribers.
Benchmark’s free plans do not require credit Cards, which is always refreshing. The only catch. There will be a little Benchmark logo at the bottom of every email you send out. Of course, you can always choose to upgrade to a paid plan in case you don’t want the Benchmark branding. The free plan permits you to send up to 14000 mails to up to 2000 subscribers and provides you access to most but not all of Benchmark’s features record. Notable absences to the features list for free accounts comprise email automation and sub-accounts (allowing many users to access one Benchmark account).
Paid Plans. Best Email Marketing Software To Buy
Users with small contacts lists and restricted Monthly messages have the choice of paying to get their email advertising based on the amount of mails that they send every month.
o Medium 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 per 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 teachers.
Benchmark is a good program. It’s Simple to Use, Open to innovation, and competitively priced. Its free alternatives might very well be the very best in the company for anyone who only wants to dip into email marketing (especially small, local companies ). For that matter, any Benchmark strategy can work well for a little business which views email as a minor aspect of its advertising and has no desire to work beyond the basics just yet.
If you are a little or maybe medium-sized Company looking for a easy email marketing program with a host 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 money, offers exceptional support, and the company appears to be sensitive to the needs of its customers. You can’t ask for more.