Overview Direct Email Marketing Services
For many an evening in 2004, three people sat Around one desk in a tiny medical office — an office which served as the team’s conference room, lunch room, 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 SEO pro ) discussed ideas on how best to execute a deceptively simple idea. Simple email marketing. Many of the ideas were beyond the resources of this fledgling company, but that didn’t stop Keller from planning ahead.
The first Customers of Benchmark Email were small companies located in close proximity to Benchmark’s one-room HQ in Long Beach, CA. Keller and his staff personally sold them on the use of email advertising, while working hard to create a simple user interface that would be simple to operate. All the while, the business uses such novel ideas as customizable templates and applications which adapted to user requirements. They also made sure from the beginning that anybody who needed help would have quick access to outstanding customer support.
Benchmark Has continued to grow and advantagesper. Its current focus. Providing worldwide email advertising solutions to small and midsize businesses while continuing to honor a commitment to help children in need. This does not mean that Benchmark is a little-guys-only company, however; it’s stuck to its core principle of adaptability and functions big organizations like UNICEF and Kaiser-Permanente through its High Volume Enterprise plans.
Today, Benchmark serves up of 73,000 users from throughout the planet, however, the company has not forgotten its roots. Benchmark still keeps good relationships with small, locally-based businesses. In reality, the organization offers a complete page of testimonials from local users of this app. You may read more about Benchmark’s background and development here.
While most of the features Benchmark supplies Are on par with the rest of the industry, among the standout features of this ESP is the fact that most of its features come standard with every single account — including the free ones. Below are some of Benchmark’s most noteworthy offerings.
· Countless Industry-Specific, Themed Templates. Benchmark offers all users access to the library of over 400 templates. These are organized into 19 classes, some of which are tailored to particular industries like education, entertainment, and retailstores. There 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 explains the advantages 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 website or construct 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 increase their own delivery stats. Read more about the benefits of dedicated servers .
· Email Delivery Management. Benchmark’s email shipping management program is all about getting clients’ emails into inboxes. The company is a part of the Email Sender and Provider Coalition and works with ReturnPath, a leading email delivery and delivery service. The company also communicates with ISPs on its customers’ behalf. Direct Email Marketing Services
· Mobile App. Benchmark’s mobile apps make it possible for customers with an Apple device to access several functions on the street. They can access and include contacts, browse reports, send videos through 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 a number of other companies offer on their mobile apps, making them much more functional.
· Photo Editing. If the pictures you plan to use in your email campaign aren’t perfectly sized or need some colour adjustment, you may use Benchmark’s integrated photo editor. This is a pretty handy feature if you do not have photoshop accessible.
· 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. Every Benchmark client has the power to style up to eight custom autoresponder messages. These could be scheduled as a string or occasion lead-up, or made as yearly messages such as anniversary or birthday mails.
· Sign-Up Types . The only way to be prosperous in email advertising is through growing your own list, and Benchmark actually promotes doing so 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 tool to create customized templates for every medium.
· Inbox Checker. Since every email program differs and every internet browser has a signature fashion, making certain that your emails look good across the board is important. It is possible to use Inbox Checker to have a look at the way your email screens in Gmail using Explorer and Outlook 3. Using the full program (which assesses everything from 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 from their sites mechanically through the RSS-to-Email feature, which works with any blog which handles an RSS-feed. Users simply need to set up a campaign and template 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 abilities to recover data from some other programs that 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 describes this function in more detail here.
· Advanced Metrics. Benchmark provides both List Segmentation and AB Split Testing.
· Multiple-Language Interface. Benchmark is available in seven languages. Chinese, English, German, Japanese, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish.
Ease Of Use
Signing up for a Benchmark accounts is fairly straightforward. After entering your name, email, phone number, and company name, you need to confirm your email address. This was a five-minute procedure for me. Upon logging into my new account (with the free program ) I was greeted by an attractive UI that gave me a very clear direction about how best to create my very first email campaign. Good beginning!
Email Campaign Creation
On its own dashboard, Benchmark provides users five chief choices. Emails, Automations, Contacts, Surveys, and Reports. To make a new campaign, proceed to the Emails segment, then hit on the large blue”Create New Email” button at the top right-hand corner. Direct Email Marketing Services
From there, you must decide if you want an RSS Or classic 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 personally gifted that way, so I moved with the drag-and-drop alternative.
I had been prompted to enter a subject line for my Email and setup how much observation I wanted on the message, as well as when I wanted an automatic tweet once the effort went out. The next 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 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 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 certainly do as I did and manually input contacts one 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 large lists of contacts into a text form. Once you make your Benchmark lists, they will show up on your dash, together with a Master Unsubscribe List.
The actual sending of this email is rather simple. When you’ve completed all your tweaks, you may save email as a draft, send it immediately, or schedule a date and time for delivery. If you want to check all is well before distributing your email on the world, it is possible to send it to yourself 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 scheduled my email for 2.45 and received it in 2.50, so while the timing wasn’t exactly ideal, it was likely present in tolerance levels for most users. If you’re among the more rare users who need on-the-minute email sending, then you may need to appear elsewhere. More worryingly, my email did not go to my main inbox but was automatically sorted into my”promotions” folder. Definitely not ideal.
Mail Campaign Reporting
First thing I Discovered about Benchmark email reports was something I would read 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 programs where these reports require hours or even days to appear.
Benchmark provides users with several key Pieces of data about each campaign. The arguably most important statistic, the available speed, seems in both pie graph and numerical form. In addition, Benchmark provides users with stats for clicks, forward, bounces, unsubscribes, and misuse. Every stat further breaks down to the specific email addresses related to a given action. Users may export this information for further analysis by means of a csv or xls file. There is also a social media place which reports shares through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, in addition to a map that breaks down, by country, that opens your emails. Direct Email Marketing Services
Though all of this information Is Excellent and Necessary, it isn’t sufficient to sustain increased level marketers that want more information such as conversions, which links were clicked, and revenue analysis. Though Google Analytics provides a whole lot of this info with proper integration, there may come a time when serious entrepreneurs need more info than Benchmark provides. Whether or not a small business will reach that point varies, of course, based on the company.
Specific Size Of Business
Benchmark designed its 3-tiered pricing Structure with the goal of serving everybody from the tiniest kitchen-table startup to big email marketers. On the other hand, the organization’s key focus is on small to medium businesses, especially those just starting out in email advertising. This is particularly reflected in the reality that clients subscribing to the moderate plans get unlimited emails, while bigger plans have limitations.
Integrations and Add-Ons
Benchmark Offers approximately 20 plug-ins and integrations. If you do not see the integration you need, there is still hope. You can use the API or ask 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 allows users to create and customize occasions, promote and market tickets, and track the success of their events through their Benchmark Email accounts. A variety of programs are available, including a free alternative.
· Salesforce.com — This integration allows users to import contacts directly into Benchmark and use Benchmark’s email system to maintain Salesforce customers engaged. Read our review of Salesforce here.
· WordPress — Benchmark Mail Lite is a WordPress plugin which allows users to quickly build an email viewer through their subscribers. The plugin can automatically create email versions of blog posts and permits users to connect up to five Benchmark accounts.
· Highrise — Merges Highrise contacts using a Benchmark list. Read our review of Highrisehere.
· Benchmark Power — This free plugin lets you source images for your Benchmark mails from locations throughout the net. Benchmark Power captures images you locate and instantly uploads them to your Benchmark accounts for future use.
· Flickr — Users with Flickr accounts may link Flickr to their own Benchmark image galleries.
· Shopify — You can link a Shopify accounts to Benchmark and mechanically add Shopify customers to Benchmark lists. You can even add contributors to different lists based on which products they bought. Read our overview of Shopify here.
· PayPal — Users may add some of the PayPal clients to their Benchmark email lists bylinking the account. Read our overview of Paypal here.
· Easy List — Know more about this simple list-making program and download it here.
· WordPress — The ever-present site and site builder offers an integration using Benchmark. Use it to send mails of your blog posts and also use the analytics to observe how your subscribers respond to them. Learn more here.
· Zapier — Gain access to Zapier’s enormous integration library . Direct Email Marketing Services
Social Media Integrations
Since Of the key connection between social media and email marketing, it’s very important to check out the social media features contained in Benchmark.
· Social Media Templates — One section of Benchmark’s enormous email template list is made of social media-specific templates which directly promote your company’s involvement in social media forums like facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
· Facebook”Like” Button — Benchmark provides a very simple function which permits you to bring a Facebook”Just Like” button to your emails.
· Facebook Sign-Up Form — Benchmark provides easy-to-create sign-up forms (see”Characteristics” above) for both sites and Facebook fan pages, so you can convert followers to subscribers.
· Social Links within Email — Once you link your Benchmark account with your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn account, you can add buttons to every email that 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 concerning the selection of personal data from citizens of those nations. When customers provide credit card numbers to Benchmark, the business utilizes secure socket layer (SSL) security to encrypt the info. The whole system is encrypted to ensure the safety of customers’ personal details.
Anti-Spam Policy and Protection
Like All legitimate ESPs, Benchmark takes junk seriously and outlines a clear zero-tolerance policy for any of their users trying to engage in spam actions. The business is entirely in compliance with all the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. Benchmark also takes several steps to preserve its standing as a spam-free supplier, among them membership from the Email Sender and Provider Coalition. The business employs the program SpamAssassin to filter messages delivered through its host.
To prevent users from Unknowingly sending spam-like substances, Benchmark provides a spam test feature that looks for words widely 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 case of a high score, the program suggests”less spammy” choices. Individualized IP addresses also help large-volume senders reduce their spam amounts.
Customer Service and Support
Benchmark Offers its users a great deal of support resources. Customer support is usually responsive, with minimal waiting times. The site offers good learning resources, but can be opaque occasionally. Crucial information can be buried and difficult to find, particularly in the event that you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for, particularly when it comes to minute particulars about strategies. For instance. The Free For Life plan includes Benchmark branding on every email, but 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 register. The only place it is mentioned is at the FAQ, here.
Here are some of those resources Benchmark offers. Direct Email Marketing Services
· Live Support and Email — Benchmark supplies live one-on-one aid through these means.
· Email Support. Contact Benchmark at [email protected] or via the organization’s contact form here. Accessible 24 hours Monday — Friday and restricted hours on Saturday.
· Telephone 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 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’s closer to a QandA-format knowledge base than a typical FAQ. There are over 900 entries, sorted into 18 topics ranging from”Getting Started” to”API.” Users can execute a key word search of any subject (or sub-topic) or of their FAQ as a whole. One caveat. With such a comprehensive knowledge base, it’s pretty much inevitable that some entries will be out of date. A few of the QandAs offer information which is wholly inaccurate, so in some cases, you might need to contact support 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 this program. The business also offers 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 time. You can even ask for a special webinar on quite a few other subjects. Live webinars comprise the opportunity to ask questions during the presentation.
· Email Marketing Manuals and Articles — There are more in-depth information on email marketing in general, in addition to the Benchmark program especially, at the Manuals Section. These downloadable files also cover industry-specific issues. Articles, similar to blogs, offer users guidance beyond that found in the FAQ section, but in shorter, more readable chunks than the manuals provide.
· Glossary of Email Marketing Terms — This is a particularly valuable tool for those new to email marketing who feel absorbed by all the jargon. Benchmark gives a glossarywith 50 of the very popular email advertising conditions from”above-the-fold” to”whitelists.”
· Blog and Newsletter — For current info regarding email marketing trends, check out Benchmark’s monthly newsletter, in addition to its exceptionally active site. All subscribers automatically obtain access to current 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 production strategies, vote for their favourite newsletters, and gain inspiration from other Benchmark users.
Web-Based Or Locally-Installed
Benchmark is entirely web-based and does not 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. Direct Email Marketing Services
Some common points of compliments.
· Top Notch Support. This is perhaps the most common observation regarding Benchmark, and something I noticed for myself too. People are inclined to find support prompt and helpful, and a few say it is really the element that distinguishes Benchmark from its rivals. The company also receives praise for its website posts and videos.
· Characteristic Selection Across All Aims . Some customers praise the addition of features including AB analyzing and surveys from all programs; many firms charge extra for such features or only include them into their pricier plans.
· Benefits of Use. Users have a tendency to locate Benchmark’s interface incredibly intuitive and user-friendly. The program gathers compliments from a wide assortment of demographics, from first-time ESP users to people who have attempted many different programs before settling on Benchmark.
· Mobile Friendly Emails. Users were impressed with all the mobile-friendly email design of Benchmark’s templates. Since more and more 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 Benchmark experience. But, I was able to find a few complaints.
· Inconsistent Send-Times. Apparently some users experienced a problem with Benchmark in which their emails were sent hours when they were scheduled. One customer theorized the issue might arise from long lists of recipients. Not all customers of all Benchmark will have time-sensitive sending demands, but other people will. Should you need your mails to go out precisely when your schedule dictates, you might have to take into account this issue.
· Buggy Social Media Integrations. I watched several consumer testimonials that remarked the social media integrations in Benchmark aren’t up to par.
· “Spammy” Templates. Some users have been concerned that Benchmark’s templates can feel like spam email, causing recipients to mark them as spam and not studying the contents. Since the whole purpose of an ESP would be to prevent this from occurring, this may be a problem. On the other hand, I never felt this way whilst looking through the template list, so it might not be the most valid of complaints.
Benchmark Offers a enormous number of pricing plans, including a free plan and a massive array of paid programs 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 emblem at the bottom of every email you send out. Of course, you can always choose to upgrade to a paid program if you don’t want the Benchmark branding. The free program allows you to send up to 14000 mails to around 2000 subscribers and provides you access to most but not all Benchmark’s features record. Notable absences into the features list for free accounts comprise email automation and sub-accounts (allowing many users to get one Benchmark accounts ).
Paid Strategies. Direct Email Marketing Services
Users with little contacts lists and restricted Monthly messages have the option of paying to get their email marketing based on the number of emails that they send each month.
o Moderate Plans. 600-50,000 subscribers, $13.99-$254.99 a month
o Large Plans. 55,000-100,000 subscribers, $285.99-$494.99 per month
o Extra Large Plans. 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 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’s Simple to Use, Open to invention, and competitively priced. Its free alternatives might just be the very best in the business for anyone who just wants to dip into email marketing (particularly small, local businesses). For that matter, any Benchmark plan can work well for a small company which views email as a little aspect of its marketing and has no desire to work past the basics just yet.
If you are a little or even medium-sized Company trying to find a simple email advertising program with a host of amazing features, Benchmark is an excellent choice. Even though there may come a time when you outgrow the program, it provides a lot for the price, provides exceptional support, and the business appears to be sensitive to the needs of its customers. You can’t ask for much more.