Overview Compare Email Marketing Services
For many an evening in 2004, three people sat Around a single desk in a tiny medical office — an office that served as the group’s conference room, breakfast area, and idea heart. Backed by a small programming team in India, the trio (comprising Benchmark Internet Group founder Curt Keller, his wife Denise, and an search engine optimization pro ) discussed ideas for how to execute a deceptively straightforward concept. Simple email advertising. Many of the thoughts were beyond the resources of this fledgling company, but that didn’t stop Keller from moving ahead.
The first Customers of Benchmark Email were small companies located in near 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 create a very simple user interface that would be easy to operate. All the while, the company uses such innovative ideas as customizable templates and applications which adapted to consumer needs. They also made certain from the beginning that anyone who needed help would have quick access to excellent customer support.
Benchmark Has continued to grow and advantagesper. Its current focus. Providing global email advertising solutions to small and medium-sized businesses while continuing to honor a commitment to assist children in need. This doesn’t mean that Benchmark is a little-guys-only company, however; it has stuck to its core principle of adaptability and serves big organizations such as UNICEF and Kaiser-Permanente through its High Volume Business plans.
Today, Benchmark serves up of 73,000 users from throughout the globe, but the company hasn’t forgotten its origins. Benchmark still keeps good relationships with little, locally-based companies. In fact, the organization offers a full page of testimonials from users of this app. You can read about Benchmark’s history and development here.
While the Majority of the attributes Benchmark supplies Are on par with the rest of the industry, among the standout characteristics of the ESP is the simple fact that nearly all its attributes come standard with every single accounts — including the free ones. Here are some of Benchmark’s most noteworthy offerings.
· Countless Industry-Specific, Themed Templates. Benchmark offers all customers access to its library of over 400 templates. These are organized into 19 categories, some of which are tailored to particular industries like education, entertainment, and retailstores. There is also a category for societal media-specific templates.
· Video Emails. Perhaps the best-known benefit of Benchmark is its support for video emails. The company describes the advantages of this feature 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 have a dedicated IP address to help increase deliverability prices. Users on other programs have the option of paying for this service ($30/month) to boost their own delivery stats. Read more about the advantages of dedicated servers here.
· Email Delivery Management. Benchmark’s email shipping management program is about getting customers’ mails into inboxes. The business is a member of the Email Sender and Provider Coalition and operates with ReturnPath, a leading email delivery and delivery service. The company also communicates with ISPs on its customers’ behalf. Compare Email Marketing Services
· Mobile App. Benchmark’s mobile programs allow customers having an Apple device to access several functions on the road. They can access and include contacts, read reportsand send videos via integration with a YouTube accounts, and even layout and send fast email blasts with one of 10 available templates. That is quite a little more than many other businesses offer on their mobile apps, making them much more functional.
· Photo Editing. If the pictures you plan to utilize on your email campaign are not perfectly sized or need some color adjustment, you may use Benchmark’s integrated picture editor. This is a fairly handy feature if you do not have photoshop accessible.
· Code Editor. In case you’ve got the know-how to work magic with HTML, Benchmark provides this ultra-customization choice with which you may construct your emails from scratch.
· Autoresponder. Every Benchmark client has the ability to style up to eight custom autoresponder messages. These can be scheduled as a series or event lead-up, or made as annual messages like birthday or anniversary mails.
· Sign-Up Forms. The only way to become prosperous in email advertising is through growing your own list, and Benchmark really promotes doing so through sign-up forms. The business bases its Free For Life account entirely around site and Facebook sign-ups and supplies an easy-to-use instrument to create customized templates for every medium.
· Inbox Checker. Because every email program differs and every internet browser includes a signature fashion, making sure that 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 program (which assesses everything out of AOL to Yahoo, Explorer into Safari, mobile to PC) is a paid add-on provider, available for $14 each 100 checks.
· RSS-to-Email. Regular bloggers may create newsletters out of their sites mechanically through the RSS-to-Email feature, which works with any blog which handles an RSS-feed. Users only have 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 link. Benchmark’s API Integration feature allows users with XML-RPC, HTTP POST, or HTTP GET skills to recover data from other programs which use JSON, XML, XML-RPC, or PHP serialization strings. In a nutshell, this permits them to perform three purposes. Manage contact lists, handle campaigns and effort sending, and check data. The company describes 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.
Ease Of Use
Signing up for a Benchmark accounts is pretty straightforward. After entering your name, email, contact number, and company name, you need to validate your email address. This was a five-minute process for me. Upon logging in to my account (with the free program ) I was greeted by an attractive UI that gave me a clear path on the best way best to make my very first email campaign. Good start!
Email Campaign Creation
On its own dashboard, Benchmark offers users five main options. Emails, Automations, Contacts, Surveys, and Reports. To make a new campaign, proceed into the Emails section, then hit the large blue”Create New Email” button in the upper right-hand corner. Compare Email Marketing Services
From there, you have to decide If You Would like 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 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 if I wanted an automatic tweet when the campaign went out. The following task was to select which contacts I wanted to receive the campaign. With that, I was finally able to start constructing the email itself. If you want to, you are able to assemble your own email layouts using an extremely intuitive editor. On the flip side, you can modify one of Benchmark’s templates, which are great, and much better than I was able to do in my.
Preventing the Email Campaign
If you are just Starting out, you can certainly do as I did and manually input contacts one at a time. However, for those who already have a list, there are several ways to import it. You can upload a CSV, xls, or txt file right from your personal computer; import contacts directly from Salesforce.com, Hotmail, or Gmail accounts; or copy and paste huge lists of contacts to a text form. When you make your Benchmark lists, they will appear on your dash, along with a Master Unsubscribe List.
The sending of this email is rather easy. When you’ve finished all of your tweaks, you may either save email as a draft, send it instantly, or schedule a time and date for delivery. If you would like to check all is well before distributing your email on the world, you can send it to yourself to preview it as many as 10 times/day. I chose to schedule my email for delivery to see how timely the automated system would actually be. I scheduled my email for 2.45 and received it at 2.50, so while the timing was not exactly perfect, it was likely present in tolerance levels for most users. If you’re among the more infrequent users who need on-the-minute email sending, you may need to appear elsewhere. More worryingly, my email didn’t go to my primary inbox but was automatically sorted into my”promotions” folder. Definitely not ideal.
Email Campaign Reporting
First thing I Discovered about Benchmark email reports was something I’d read about in a few reviews. They’re really, really quickly. I mean lightning fast. Opens register from the Benchmark system almost 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 information about each effort. The possibly most important statistic, the available rate, seems in both pie chart and numerical type. Additionally, Benchmark supplies users with stats for clicks, forward, bounces, unsubscribes, and abuse. Each stat further breaks down to the specific email addresses related to a given activity. Users may export this data for further analysis via 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. Compare Email Marketing Services
Though all of the information Is Excellent and Necessary, it isn’t sufficient to sustain increased level marketers who need more information such as conversions, which hyperlinks were clicked, and revenue analysis. Although Google Analytics provides a whole lot of this information with appropriate integration, there might come a time when serious entrepreneurs need more information than Benchmark provides. Whether a small business will get to that point changes, naturally, based on the business.
Particular Size Of Company
Benchmark made its 3-tiered pricing Structure with the objective of serving everybody from the smallest kitchen-table startup to large email marketers. However, the organization’s main focus is on small to medium companies, especially those just beginning in email marketing. This is especially reflected in the reality that customers subscribing to the medium plans get unlimited mails, while bigger plans have constraints.
Integrations and Add-Ons
Benchmark Offers approximately 20 plug-ins and integrations. If you don’t see the integration you want, there’s still hope. You’re able to use the API or request an 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 permits users to create and customize events, promote and market tickets, and monitor the success of their events via their Benchmark Email accounts. A number of subscriptions 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 engaged. Read our overview of Salesforce here.
· Twitter — Benchmark Email Lite is a WordPress plug-in which allows users to quickly build an email viewer through their readers. The plug-in can automatically create email versions of blog articles and allows users to connect up to five Benchmark accounts.
· Highrise — Merges Highrise contacts with a Benchmark list. Read our overview of Highrisehere.
· Benchmark Power — This free plug-in lets you supply images for your Benchmark emails from locations throughout the net. Benchmark Power captures images you locate and instantly uploads them to a Benchmark accounts for future usage.
· Flickr — Users with Flickr accounts may 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 can even add subscribers to various lists based on which products they bought. Read our overview of Shopify here.
· PayPal — Users can add some of the PayPal customers to their own Benchmark email lists bylinking the account. Read our review of Paypal here.
· Easy List — Learn more about this simple list-making app and download it .
· WordPress — The ever-present site and website builder offers an integration using Benchmark. Use it to send mails of your blog posts and use the analytics to see how your subscribers respond to them. Learn more here.
· Zapier — Gain entry to Zapier’s huge integration library here. Compare Email Marketing Services
Social Media Integrations
Because Of the key connection 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 massive email template list is made of societal media-specific templates which directly promote your institution’s participation in social media forums such as 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 provides easy-to-create sign-up forms (see”Characteristics” above) for both websites and Facebook enthusiast pages, to help you convert followers to readers.
· Social Links within Mail — After you link your Benchmark account with your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn account, you can add switches to every email that will direct your subscribers 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 concerning the selection of personal data from citizens of these countries. When customers provide credit card amounts to Benchmark, the company uses secure socket layer (SSL) protection to encrypt the information. The entire platform is encrypted to ensure the security of customers’ personal details.
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 engage in spam activities. The business is entirely in compliance with the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. Benchmark also takes several measures to maintain its reputation as a spam-free provider, among them membership from the Email Sender and Provider Coalition. The business employs the app SpamAssassin to filter messages sent through its host.
To stop users from Unknowingly sending spam-like substances, Benchmark provides a spam test feature that looks for words commonly utilized in spam messages. It scores each email on a scale from 1 to 5; 5s are delegated to content that’s very likely to be blocked. In the event of a high score, the program suggests”less spammy” alternatives. Individualized IP addresses also assist large-volume senders reduce their spam numbers.
Customer Service and Support
Benchmark Offers its users a lot of support tools. Customer support is generally responsive, with minimal waiting times. The website provides good learning tools, but can be opaque at times. Crucial information is often buried and hard to find, particularly if you don’t know precisely what you’re searching for, especially in regards to minute details about strategies. As an example. That the Free For Life plan comprises Benchmark branding on each email, but you won’t see that mentioned on the Free For Life webpage, not even in 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 the resources Benchmark offers. Compare Email Marketing Services
· Live Email and Support — Benchmark supplies live one-on-one support through these means.
· Email Service. Contact Benchmark at [email protected] or through the company’s contact form . Available 24 hours Monday — Friday and limited hours on Saturday.
· Phone Support. You can reach Benchmark in 800-430-4095 (U.S.) or 001-562-252-3789 (all states ). Available weekdays from 6 am to 5 pm PT.
· Chat Support. Available nearly 24 hours daily Monday — Friday and restricted hours on Saturday. Offered in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian.
· FAQ — Benchmark’s FAQ section is somewhat mislabeled because it’s closer to a QandA-format knowledge base than a typical FAQ. There are more than 900 entries, sorted into 18 topics ranging from”Getting Started” to”API.” Users can execute a key word search of any topic (or sub-topic) or from the FAQ as a whole. One caveat. With such an extensive knowledge base, it’s pretty much inevitable that some entries are going to be out of date. A few of the QandAs provide advice that’s 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 company also supplies a webinar called”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 might also request a particular webinar on quite a few different topics. Live webinars comprise 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 files also cover industry-specific issues. Articles, very similar to blogs, offer users advice beyond that found in the FAQ section, but in shorter, more digestible chunks than the guides provide.
· Glossary of Email Marketing Terms — This can be a particularly valuable tool for all those brand new to email marketing who believe consumed by all the jargon. Benchmark provides a glossarywith 50 of the very popular email marketing terms from”above-the-fold” to”whitelists.”
· Blog and Newsletter — For current info about email advertising trends, check out Benchmark’s monthly newsletter, in addition to its exceptionally active site. All readers automatically obtain access to present newsletters, and Benchmark also offers an archive of newsletter articles from November 2007-October 2012.
· Benchmark Community — Benchmark users may post their newest newsletters on message boards at the Benchmark Community. This forum allows users to talk about newsletter creation approaches, vote for their favourite newsletters, and gain inspiration from other 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, with a slightly better showing on GetApp and Capterra. 4.5 stars each. Compare Email Marketing Services
Some common points of compliments.
· Top Notch Service . This is maybe the most typical observation concerning Benchmark, and some thing I discovered for myself as well. People are inclined to find support prompt and beneficial, and some say it’s really the element that distinguishes Benchmark from its competitors. The company also receives praise for its website articles and videos.
· Feature Selection Across All Plans. Some users praise the addition of attributes like AB analyzing and surveys from all programs; many companies charge extra for such features or only include them into their pricier programs.
· Ease of Use. Users have a tendency to locate Benchmark’s interface extremely intuitive and user-friendly. The program gathers compliments from a broad range of demographics, from first time ESP consumers to those who have tried a variety of programs before settling Benchmark.
· Mobile Friendly Emails. Users were impressed with the mobile-friendly email design of Benchmark’s templates. Since an increasing number of people access their email from mobile devices, this can be an increasingly significant factor to consider.
Negative Reviews and Complaints
I was not able 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 a problem with Benchmark where their mails were sent hours after they were scheduled. One customer theorized the issue might arise in long lists of recipients. Not all clients of all Benchmark will have time-sensitive shipping needs, but other people will. Should you want your mails to go out exactly whenever your schedule dictates, you might have to take into account this issue.
· Buggy Social Media Integrations. I saw several user testimonials that remarked the social media integrations in Benchmark are not up to par.
· “Spammy” Templates. Some users have been concerned that Benchmark’s templates may feel like spam mail, leading recipients to mark them as spam rather than reading the contents. Since the whole purpose 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 searching through the template list, so it may not be the most legitimate of complaints.
Benchmark Provides a huge variety of pricing strategies, including a free plan and a huge scale 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 grab. There’ll be a little Benchmark logo in the bottom of every email you send out. Of course, you may always choose to upgrade to a paid program in case you don’t need the Benchmark branding. The free plan allows you to send up to 14000 emails to up to 2000 subscribers and provides you access to most but not all Benchmark’s features record. Notable absences to the features list for free accounts comprise email automation and sub-accounts (enabling multiple users to get one Benchmark account).
Paid Strategies. Compare Email Marketing Services
Users with little contacts lists and restricted Monthly messages have the option of paying for their email marketing depending on the amount of emails that they send each month.
o Medium 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 Massive Plans. 1,070,000-7,140,000 subscribers, $4,500-$29,200 per month
Benchmark accepts all Major credit cards and also allows you to pay through PayPal. They also offer a 25% discount for nonprofits and teachers.
Benchmark is a solid program. It is Simple to Use, Open to invention, and competitively priced. Its free alternatives might very well be the very best in the business for anyone who only wants to dive into email advertising (especially small, neighborhood companies ). For that matter, any Benchmark plan can work well for a little business which views email as a minor element of its advertising and has no 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 with a multitude of amazing features, Benchmark is an excellent option. Even though there might come a time when you launch the app, it provides a lot for the price, provides excellent service, and the company appears to be sensitive to the requirements of its users. You can not ask for more.