Overview Cost Of Email Marketing Services
For many an evening in 2004, three people sat Around a single desk in a tiny medical office — an office which served as the group’s conference room, breakfast area, and thought heart. Backed by a little programming team in India, the trio (consisting of Benchmark Internet Group founder Curt Keller, his wife Denise, along with an search engine optimization pro ) discussed ideas for how to execute a deceptively simple idea. Simple email advertising. Many of the ideas were beyond the resources of the fledgling company, but that didn’t stop Keller from planning ahead.
The first Customers of Benchmark Mail were small companies located in near proximity to Benchmark’s one-room HQ in Long Beach, CA. Keller and his staff sold them on the use of email marketing, while working hard to make a very simple user interface that would be easy to operate. All the while, the business championed such novel ideas as customizable templates and applications which adapted to consumer needs. They also made sure from the outset that anybody who needed help would have quick access to excellent customer care.
Benchmark Has continued to rise and advantagesper. Its present focus. Providing global email marketing solutions to small and midsize companies while continuing to honor a commitment to assist kids in need. This does not mean that Benchmark is a little-guys-only company, however; it’s adhered to its core principle of adaptability and functions big organizations like UNICEF and Kaiser-Permanente via its High Volume Business plans.
Today, Benchmark serves upwards 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 businesses. In reality, the company offers a complete page of testimonials from users of this app. You can read about Benchmark’s history and development here.
While most of the features Benchmark supplies Are on par with the rest of the industry, among the standout features of the ESP is the fact that nearly all its features come standard with every single accounts — such as the free ones. Here are some of Benchmark’s most noteworthy offerings.
· Countless Industry-Specific, Themed Templates. Benchmark provides all users access to its library of over 400 templates. These are organized into 19 classes, some of which are tailored to specific 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 mails. The business explains the advantages of this feature here.
· Online Surveys. You can create professional-looking online surveys using among Benchmark’s 6 templates. Post your survey on your site or build it directly into an email.
· Dedicated Email Server. All of Benchmark’s High Volume plans come with a dedicated IP address to help increase deliverability rates. Users on other programs have the choice of paying for this service ($30/month) to boost their particular delivery stats. Read more about the benefits of dedicated servers here.
· Email Delivery Management. Benchmark’s email delivery management program is all about getting clients’ emails into inboxes. The company 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. Cost Of Email Marketing Services
· Mobile App. Benchmark’s mobile programs make it possible for customers having an Apple device to get several functions on the road. They can access and add contacts, browse reportsand send videos via integration with a YouTube account, and even design and send quick email blasts with one of 10 templates that are available. This is quite a little more than many other businesses offer in their mobile programs, which makes them much more operational.
· Photo Editing. If the photos you plan to use in your email campaign are not perfectly sized or want some color adjustment, you may use Benchmark’s integrated photo 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 mails from scratch.
· Autoresponder. Each Benchmark customer has the ability to design up to eight custom autoresponder messages. These could be scheduled as a series or occasion lead-up, or made as yearly messages like anniversary or birthday emails.
· Sign-Up Forms. The only way to become prosperous in email advertising is by way of growing your own list, and Benchmark really promotes doing so through sign-up forms. The company bases its Free For Life account completely around website and Facebook sign-ups and supplies an easy-to-use instrument to create custom templates for each medium.
· Inbox Checker. Since every email program differs and each internet browser has a signature fashion, making sure your emails look good across the board is crucial. You can use Inbox Checker to look at the way your email screens in Gmail using Explorer and Outlook 3. Using the full app (which checks everything from AOL to Yahoo, Explorer into Safari, mobile to PC) is a paid add-on service, available for $14 per 100 checks.
· RSS-to-Email. Regular bloggers can create newsletters from their blogs mechanically through the RSS-to-Email feature, which works with any blog which handles an RSS-feed. Users only have to establish a campaign and template within Benchmark once.
· API Integration. An API (Application Program Interface) allows different software programs to communicate with one another without a formal plug-in link. Benchmark’s API Integration feature allows users with XML-RPC, HTTP POST, or HTTP GET abilities to recover data from other apps which use JSON, XML, XML-RPC, or PHP serialization strings. In brief, this permits them to play three purposes. Manage contact lists, handle campaigns and effort sending, and check statistics. The company describes this role in more detail .
· 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.
Benefits Of Use
Enrolling in a Benchmark account is pretty straightforward. After entering your name, email, contact number, and business name, you have to confirm your email address. This was a five-minute procedure for me. Upon logging in to my new account (using the free program ) I was greeted by an appealing UI that gave me a clear path about how best to create my first email campaign. Great start!
Email Campaign Creation
On its own dashboard, Benchmark provides users five main choices. Emails, Automations, Contacts, Surveys, and Reports. To make a new effort, go into the Emails section, then hit the big blue”Create New Mail” button in the upper right-hand corner. Cost Of Email Marketing Services
From there, you must decide if you want an RSS Or traditional email message. You can use Benchmark’s drag-and-drop editor, or go for more customization using the built-in code editor. If you’re somebody 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 alternative.
I was motivated to enter a subject line for my Email and setup how much observation I wanted on the message, in addition to when I wanted an automatic tweet once the campaign went out. The following task was to choose which contacts I wanted to receive the campaign. With that, I was finally able to begin building the email . If you would like to, you are able to assemble your own email layouts using a very intuitive editor. On the flip side, you can alter one of Benchmark’s templates, that can be great, and better than I was able to do on my own.
Sending the Email Campaign
If You’re just Starting out, you can do as I did and manually enter contacts 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 right from the personal computer; import contacts directly from Salesforce.com, Hotmail, or Gmail accounts; or copy and paste huge lists of contacts into a text type. Once you make your Benchmark lists, then they will show up on your dash, along with a Master Unsubscribe List.
The actual sending of the email is rather easy. Once you’ve finished all 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 verify 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 chose to schedule my email for shipping to view how timely the automatic 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 present in tolerance levels for most users. If you’re one of the more rare users who need on-the-minute email sending, then you might need to look elsewhere. More worryingly, my email didn’t go to my main inbox but was mechanically sorted into my”promotions” folder. Definitely not ideal.
Mail Campaign Reporting
The first thing I Discovered about Benchmark email reports was something I would read in a couple of reviews. They’re really, really fast. 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 look.
Benchmark provides users with several key Pieces of data about every campaign. The arguably most important statistic, the open speed, appears in both pie graph and numerical type. In addition, Benchmark provides users with stats for clicks, forward, bounces, unsubscribes, and misuse. Each stat further breaks down to the exact email addresses associated with a given activity. Users may export this information for additional analysis by means of a csv or xls file. There is also a social networking area which reports shares via Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, in addition to a map that breaks down, by state, who opens your mails. Cost Of Email Marketing Services
Though all of this information Is Excellent and Necessary, it isn’t enough to sustain higher level marketers who want more info such as conversions, which hyperlinks were clicked, and revenue analysis. Though Google Analytics provides a lot of that information with proper integration, there may come a time when serious marketers need more information than Benchmark provides. Whether a small business will get to that point changes, of course, based on the business.
Particular Size Of Business
Benchmark designed its 3-tiered pricing Structure with the objective of serving everybody from the smallest kitchen-table startup to big email marketers. However, the organization’s main focus is on small to medium businesses, especially those just starting out in email advertising. This is especially reflected in the fact that customers subscribing to the medium plans get unlimited emails, while bigger plans have constraints.
Integrations and Add-Ons
Benchmark Offers approximately 20 plug-ins and integrations. If you don’t observe the integration you want, there’s still hope. You’re able to use the API or ask an integration by sending an email to [email protected]
· Benchmark Occasions — Benchmark Occasions is event marketing applications designed to integrate fully with Benchmark Email. Launched in 2012, this app permits users to make and customize occasions, promote and sell tickets, and monitor the success of their events via their Benchmark Email account. A variety of subscriptions are available, such as a free alternative.
· Salesforce.com — This integration allows users to import contacts into Benchmark and use Benchmark’s email system to maintain Salesforce customers participated. Read our review of Salesforce here.
· WordPress — Benchmark Mail Lite is a WordPress plugin which permits users to quickly build an email audience through their subscribers. The plug-in can automatically produce email variations of blog posts and allows users to connect up to five Benchmark accounts.
· Highrise — Merges Highrise contacts using a Benchmark listing. Read our review of Highrisehere.
· Benchmark Power — This free plug-in lets you source pictures for your Benchmark mails from locations throughout the web. Benchmark Power captures images you locate and immediately uploads them to a Benchmark account for future use.
· Flickr — Users with Flickr accounts may link Flickr for their Benchmark image galleries.
· Shopify — You are able to link a Shopify accounts to Benchmark and mechanically add Shopify customers to Benchmark lists. You can even add contributors to different lists based on what they purchased. Read our overview of Shopify here.
· PayPal — Users can add any of the PayPal clients for their own Benchmark email lists bylinking the 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 offers an integration with Benchmark. Use it to send mails of your blog posts and also use the analytics to observe how your readers react to them. Learn more here.
· Zapier — Gain access to Zapier’s huge integration library . Cost Of Email Marketing Services
Social Media Integrations
Because Of the integral connection between social media and email advertising, it is important to look at the social networking features contained in Benchmark.
· Social Media Templates — One section of Benchmark’s massive email template listing is made of societal media-specific templates that directly promote your institution’s participation in social media forums like facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
· Facebook”Like” Button — Benchmark provides a simple function which permits you to add a Facebook”Like” button into your emails.
· Facebook Sign-Up Form — Benchmark supplies easy-to-create sign-up forms (see”Features” above) for both websites and Facebook enthusiast pages, so you can convert followers to readers.
· Social Links within Email — Once you connect your Benchmark account with your Facebook, Twitter, and/or LinkedIn account, 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 concerning the selection of personal data from citizens of those nations. When clients provide credit card amounts to Benchmark, the company utilizes secure socket layer (SSL) security 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 junk seriously and outlines a clear zero-tolerance policy for any of their users hoping to take part in spam activities. The business is fully in compliance with the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. Benchmark additionally 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 delivered through its host.
To stop users from Unknowingly sending spam-like materials, Benchmark supplies a spam check feature which looks for words commonly used in spam messages. It scores each email on a scale from 1 to 5; 5s are delegated to content that’s very likely to be blocked. In the event of a top 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 customers a lot of support tools. Customer service is generally responsive, with minimal waiting times. The site offers good learning resources, but may be needlessly opaque occasionally. Crucial information is often buried and hard to find, especially in the event that you don’t know exactly what you’re searching for, especially when it comes to minute details about plans. For instance. The Free For Life plan comprises Benchmark branding on each email, however you won’t find that mentioned on the Free For Life webpage, not even at the fine print. Nor are you going to see it said when you register. The only place it is mentioned is in the FAQ, here.
Here are some of those resources Benchmark offers. Cost Of Email Marketing Services
· Live Email and Support — Benchmark supplies live one-on-one aid through the following means.
· Email Service. Contact Benchmark at [email protected] or via the organization’s contact form here. Accessible 24 hours Monday — Friday and restricted hours on Saturday.
· Phone Support. You can reach Benchmark at 800-430-4095 (U.S.) or 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 because it is closer to some QandA-format knowledge foundation than a typical FAQ. There are more than 900 entries, sorted into 18 topics ranging from”Getting Started” to”API.” Users may execute a keyword 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. Some of the QandAs offer information that’s wholly inaccurate, so in some cases, you may need to contact assistance to hash things out.
· Video Tutorials and Webinars — Benchmark supplies about two dozen movie tutorials that take users step by step through the features of the app. The business also supplies a webinar known as”Benchmark Email Crash Course.” You may view it live each Friday at 10.00 a.m. PST or see the recorded version at any time. You might also ask for a special 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 information on email marketing in general, in addition to the Benchmark program specifically, in the Manuals Section. These downloadable files also cover industry-specific troubles. Articles, very similar to blogs, 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 Requirements — This is a particularly valuable tool for those new to email marketing who feel consumed by all of the jargon. Benchmark gives a glossarywith 50 of the very popular email marketing conditions from”above-the-fold” to”whitelists.”
· Blog and Newsletter — For current information regarding email marketing trends, check out Benchmark’s monthly newsletter, as well as its extremely active blog. All readers automatically obtain access to present 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 at the Benchmark Community. This forum allows users to talk about newsletter creation strategies, vote for their favourite newsletters, and gain inspiration from other Benchmark users.
Web-Based Or Locally-Installed
Benchmark is entirely web-based and doesn’t Require any installation on your computer.
Positive Reviews and Reviews
Benchmark Includes a four-out-of-five star score on G2 Crowd, with a slightly better showing on GetApp and Capterra. 4.5 stars each. Cost Of Email Marketing Services
Some common points of praise.
· Top Notch Service . This is perhaps the most common observation regarding Benchmark, and some thing I noticed for myself too. People are inclined to find support prompt and helpful, and a few say it is actually the element that distinguishes Benchmark from its competitors. The business also receives praise for its website articles and videos.
· Characteristic Selection Across All Aims . Some customers praise the inclusion of features like AB testing and surveys from most programs; many companies charge extra for such attributes or just include them into their pricier plans.
· Benefits of Use. Users tend to find Benchmark’s interface extremely user-friendly and intuitive. The program gathers compliments from a wide assortment of demographics, from first time ESP consumers to people who have attempted many different 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 significant factor to take into account.
Negative Reviews and Complaints
I was Unable to find many Men and Women who loathed Their own Benchmark experience. But, I was able to discover a couple of complaints.
· Inconsistent Send-Times. Apparently some users experienced an issue with Benchmark in which their emails were sent hours after they were scheduled. One customer theorized the issue might arise from long lists of recipients. Not all customers of Benchmark will have time-sensitive shipping needs, but other people will. Should you need your mails to go out exactly when your program dictates, you might have to take into account this situation.
· 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 were worried that Benchmark’s templates can feel like spam mail, leading recipients to mark them as junk and not studying 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 looking through the template list, so it may not be the most valid of complaints.
Benchmark Offers a huge number of pricing plans, including a totally 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 credit Cards, which is always refreshing. The only grab. There’ll be a small Benchmark emblem in the bottom of each email you send out. Of course, you can 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 around 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 Strategies. Cost Of Email Marketing Services
Users with small contacts lists and restricted Monthly messages have the option of paying to get their email marketing depending on the number of mails that they send every month.
o Medium Plans. 600-50,000 subscribers, $13.99-$254.99 per month
o Large Plans. 55,000-100,000 subscribers, $285.99-$494.99 per month
o Extra Large Plans. 125,000-1,000,000 subscribers, $659.99-$4,273.99 per month
o Enormous Plans. 1,070,000-7,140,000 subscribers, $4,500-$29,200 per month
Benchmark accepts all Major credit cards and also allows you to pay through PayPal. They also offer a 25% reduction for nonprofits and teachers.
Benchmark is a solid program. It is Simple to Use, Open to innovation, and competitively priced. Its free options might very well be the very best in the company for anybody who just wants to dip into email advertising (especially small, neighborhood businesses). For that matter, any Benchmark plan can work well for a small company which perspectives email as a little element of its advertising and does not have any desire to work beyond the basics just yet.
If you are a little or maybe medium-sized Company looking for a simple email advertising program using a host of great features, Benchmark is an excellent choice. Even though there might come a time when you outgrow the program, it provides a lot for the price, offers exceptional service, and the company appears to be sensitive to the needs of its users. You can not ask for more.