Summary Direct Email Services
For many a day in 2004, three people sat Around a single desk in a small medical office — an office which functioned as the team’s conference room, breakfast area, and idea heart. Backed by a little programming group in India, the trio (comprising 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 concept. Simple email marketing. Many of the ideas were beyond the means of the fledgling business, but that did not stop Keller from moving ahead.
The first Clients of Benchmark Mail were small businesses located in close proximity to Benchmark’s one-room HQ in Long Beach, CA. Keller and his staff 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 company championed such innovative ideas as customizable templates and software which adapted to consumer needs. They also made sure from the beginning that anyone who needed help would have quick access to outstanding customer support.
Benchmark Has continued to grow and advantagesper. Its current focus. Providing global email advertising services to small and midsize businesses while continuing to honor a commitment to assist children in need. This doesn’t indicate that Benchmark is a little-guys-only service, however; it’s stuck to its core principle of adaptability and serves big organizations like UNICEF and Kaiser-Permanente via its High Volume Enterprise plans.
Today, Benchmark serves upwards of 73,000 users from across the globe, but the company hasn’t forgotten its roots. Benchmark still maintains good relationships with small, locally-based businesses. In fact, the company offers a complete page of testimonials from local users of this program. You can read about Benchmark’s history and development here.
While most of the attributes Benchmark supplies Are on par with the rest of the industry, one of the standout features of the ESP is the fact that nearly all its attributes come standard with every single account — such as the free ones. Below are a few of Benchmark’s most notable offerings.
· Hundreds of Industry-Specific, Themed Templates. Benchmark provides all customers access to its library of over 400 templates. These are organized into 19 classes, some of which are tailored to specific industries such as education, entertainment, and retailstores. There is also a class for social media-specific templates.
· Video Emails. Possibly the best-known benefit of Benchmark is its support for video mails. The company describes the benefits of this feature here.
· Online Surveys. You’ll be able to create professional-looking online polls 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 rates. Users on other programs have the option of paying for this service ($30/month) to increase their own delivery stats. Read more about the advantages of dedicated servers .
· Email Delivery Management. Benchmark’s email shipping management program is all about getting clients’ mails into inboxes. The company is a member 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. Direct Email Services
· Mobile App. Benchmark’s mobile programs allow customers with an Apple device to get several purposes on the road. They can get and include contacts, browse reports, send videos via integration using a YouTube account, and even design and send fast email blasts with one of 10 templates that are available. That is quite a bit more than many other businesses offer in their mobile programs, making them much more functional.
· Photo Editing. If the pictures you plan to use on your email campaign aren’t perfectly sized or need some colour adjustment, you may use Benchmark’s integrated photo editor. This is a fairly handy feature if you do not have photoshop accessible.
· Code Editor. If you have the know-how to work magic with HTML, Benchmark offers this ultra-customization choice with which you may construct your emails from scratch.
· Autoresponder. Each Benchmark client has the power to design around eight custom autoresponder messages. These could be scheduled as a string or event lead-up, or made as annual messages such as birthday or anniversary mails.
· Sign-Up Forms. The only way to be prosperous in email advertising is by way of growing your own list, and Benchmark really promotes doing this through 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 custom templates for each medium.
· Inbox Checker. Because every email program is different and every internet browser has a signature style, making sure your emails look good across the board is important. It is possible to use Inbox Checker to look at the way your email screens in Gmail using Explorer and Outlook 3. Employing the full app (which assesses everything out of 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 out of their sites mechanically through the RSS-to-Email attribute, which works with any blog which handles an RSS-feed. Users only have to establish 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 permits users with XML-RPC, HTTP POST, or HTTP GET abilities to retrieve data from other apps which use JSON, XML, XML-RPC, or PHP serialization strings. In a nutshell, this allows them to play three purposes. Manage contact lists, handle campaigns and campaign sending, and check data. The business describes this role in more detail .
· 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 account is pretty straightforward. After entering your name, email, phone number, and company name, you need to confirm your email address. This is a five-minute procedure for me. Upon logging in to my new account (with the free plan) I was greeted by an attractive 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 create a new campaign, proceed into the Emails section, then hit the large blue”Create New Mail” button in the upper right-hand corner. Direct Email Services
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’re somebody who codes their own email, then my hat is off to you, but I am not personally gifted that way, so I went with the drag-and-drop option.
I was prompted to enter a subject line for my Email and setup how much observation I wanted on the message, as well as if I wanted an automatic tweet once the campaign went out. The next task was to select which contacts I wished to receive the campaign. With that, I was eventually able to start constructing the email . If you want to, you can construct your personal email designs employing a very intuitive editor. On the flip side, you can modify one of Benchmark’s templates, which are great, and better than I was able to do on my own.
Sending the Email Campaign
If you are just Starting out, you can certainly do as I did and manually input contacts 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 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 appear on your dashboard, along with a Master Unsubscribe List.
The sending of the email is quite easy. Once you’ve finished all of your tweaks, you may either save the email as a draft, send it instantly, or schedule a date and time for delivery. If you would like to verify all is well before distributing your email about the world, you can send it to yourself to preview it as many as 10 times/day. I opted to program my email for delivery to see how timely the automatic system would really be. I advised my email for 2.45 and obtained it at 2.50, so while the timing was not exactly ideal, it was probably present in tolerance levels for many users. If you are among the more infrequent users who demand on-the-minute email sending, you might need to look elsewhere. More worryingly, my email did not go to my primary inbox but was automatically sorted in my”promotions” folder. Definitely not ideal.
Mail Campaign Reporting
The first thing I Noticed about Benchmark email reports was something I would read in a couple of reviews. They’re really, really quickly. I mean lightning fast. Opens enroll in the Benchmark system almost instantaneously. I’ve worked with several different apps where these reports require hours or even days to appear.
Benchmark provides users with several key Bits of information about every effort. The possibly most important statistic, the available rate, appears in both pie graph and numerical form. In addition, Benchmark supplies users with stats for clicks, forwards, bounces, unsubscribes, and misuse. Each stat further breaks down to the exact email addresses related to a given action. Users can export this data for further analysis via a csv or xls file. There’s also a social media area which reports shares through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, as well as a map which breaks down, by state, that opens your emails. Direct Email Services
Though all of this information Is Excellent and Necessary, it is not enough to sustain higher level marketers that want more info such as conversions, which hyperlinks were clicked, and earnings analysis. Although Google Analytics provides a lot of this info with appropriate integration, there might come a time when serious entrepreneurs need more info than Benchmark provides. Whether a small company will reach that point changes, naturally, based on the company.
Particular 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 businesses, particularly those just starting out in email advertising. This is particularly reflected in the reality that customers subscribing to the medium plans get unlimited mails, while bigger plans have limitations.
Integrations and Add-Ons
Benchmark Offers approximately 20 plug-ins and integrations. If you do not observe the integration you need, there’s still hope. You can use the API or request a 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 create and customize events, promote and sell tickets, and track the success of their events through their Benchmark Email account. A number of subscriptions are available, including a free alternative.
· Salesforce.com — This integration allows users to import contacts directly into Benchmark and utilize Benchmark’s email system to maintain Salesforce customers participated. Read our review of Salesforce here.
· WordPress — Benchmark Email Lite is a WordPress plugin which permits users to easily build an email viewer via their subscribers. The plugin can automatically produce email versions of blog articles and permits 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 plug-in lets you supply images for your Benchmark emails from locations throughout the web. Benchmark Power captures images you locate and instantly uploads them to your Benchmark accounts for future usage.
· 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 review of Shopify here.
· PayPal — Users can add some of their PayPal customers to their Benchmark email lists bylinking the accounts. Read our overview of Paypal here.
· Easy List — Know more about this simple list-making app and download it here.
· WordPress — The ever-present site and site builder provides an integration with Benchmark. Use it to send mails of your blog posts and use the analytics to observe how your readers react to them. Learn more here.
· Zapier — Gain entry to Zapier’s huge integration library . Direct Email Services
Social Media Integrations
Because Of the integral link between social media and email advertising, it’s very important to check out the social networking features included in Benchmark.
· Social Media Templates — One segment of Benchmark’s massive email template list is made of social media-specific templates that directly promote your company’s participation in social networking forums like facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
· Facebook”Like” Button — Benchmark offers a simple function which permits you to add 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 enthusiast pages, so you can convert followers into subscribers.
· Social Links within Mail — After you link your Benchmark account together with your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn accounts, you can add buttons to every email that will direct your subscribers to each of your social media 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 these nations. When clients provide credit card numbers to Benchmark, the business utilizes secure socket layer (SSL) security to encrypt the info. The entire platform is encrypted to ensure the security of all customers’ personal details.
Anti-Spam Policy and Protection
Like All valid ESPs, Benchmark takes spam seriously and summarizes a clear zero-tolerance coverage for any of the users hoping to engage in spam activities. The company is fully in compliance with the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. Benchmark additionally 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 delivered through its server.
To prevent users from Unknowingly sending spam-like materials, Benchmark supplies a spam test feature which looks for words commonly utilized in spam messages. It scores each email on a scale from 1 to 5; 5s are assigned to content that is likely to be blocked. In case of a high score, the program suggests”less spammy” alternatives. Individualized IP addresses also assist large-volume senders decrease their spam amounts.
Client Support and Service
Benchmark Offers its users a great deal of support tools. Customer service is generally responsive, with minimal waiting times. The site provides good learning resources, but may be opaque occasionally. Key information is often buried and difficult to locate, particularly if you don’t know precisely what you’re searching for, especially in regards to minute details about plans. As an example. The Free For Life plan comprises Benchmark branding on each email, however you won’t see that mentioned on the Free For Life page, not even at 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. Direct Email Services
· Live Support and Email — Benchmark supplies live one-on-one support through the following means.
· Email Service. Contact Benchmark at [email protected] or via the company’s contact form . Available 24 hours Monday — Friday and restricted hours on Saturday.
· Phone Support. You are able to 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. Accessible almost 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 is closer to some QandA-format knowledge foundation than a normal FAQ. You will find 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. 1 caveat. With such an extensive knowledge base, it is pretty much inevitable that some entries are going to be out of date. Some of the QandAs offer information that’s wholly incorrect, 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 which take users step by step through the features of the app. The company also supplies a webinar known as”Benchmark Email Crash Course.” You may view it live each Friday at 10.00 a.m. PST or watch the recorded version at any time. You might also request a special webinar on a number of different 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 specifically, at the Manuals Section. These downloadable files also cover industry-specific issues. Articles, very similar to sites, offer users guidance beyond that found in the FAQ section, but in shorter, more readable chunks compared to the guides provide.
· Glossary of Email Marketing Requirements — This can be a particularly valuable tool for all those brand new to email marketing who believe absorbed by all 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 info regarding email advertising trends, check out Benchmark’s monthly newsletter, as well as its extremely active blog. All subscribers automatically obtain access to present newsletters, and Benchmark also offers 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 discuss newsletter creation approaches, vote for their favorite newsletters, and gain inspiration from other Benchmark users.
Web-Based Or Locally-Installed
Benchmark is completely web-based and doesn’t Require any installation on your PC.
Favorable Reviews and Reviews
Benchmark Includes a four-out-of-five star rating on G2 Crowd, with a slightly better showing on GetApp and Capterra. 4.5 stars each. Direct Email Services
Some common points of praise.
· Top Notch Service . This is maybe the most typical monitoring regarding Benchmark, and something I noticed for myself as well. People tend to find support prompt and helpful, and some say it is actually the component that distinguishes Benchmark from its rivals. The company also receives praise for its website articles and videos.
· Characteristic Selection Across All Plans. Some users praise the addition of attributes like AB analyzing and surveys in all plans; many companies charge extra for these attributes or only include them into their pricier programs.
· Ease of Use. Users have a tendency to locate Benchmark’s interface extremely user-friendly and intuitive. The program gathers compliments from a wide range of demographics, from first-time ESP consumers to people who have tried a variety of programs before settling on Benchmark.
· Mobile Friendly Emails. Consumers 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 take into account.
Negative Reviews and Complaints
I was not able to find many people who loathed Their own Benchmark experience. But, I managed to discover a couple of complaints.
· Inconsistent Send-Times. Apparently a few users experienced a problem with Benchmark where their emails were sent hours when they were scheduled. One customer theorized that the issue might arise in long lists of recipients. Not all customers of Benchmark will possess time-sensitive sending demands, but other people will. If you want your mails to go out precisely whenever your schedule dictates, you might have to consider this issue.
· Buggy Social Media Integrations. I saw several user reviews that commented the social networking integrations in Benchmark are not up to par.
· “Spammy” Templates. Some users have been worried that Benchmark’s templates can feel like spam mail, leading recipients to mark them as spam rather than reading the contents. Since the entire point of an ESP would be to stop this from happening, this might be an issue. On the flip side, I never felt this way whilst looking through the template list, so it might not be the most legitimate of complaints.
Benchmark Provides a huge variety of pricing plans, including a free plan and a huge scale of paid plans that may service anywhere between 600 and 7,140,000 subscribers.
Benchmark’s free plans do not require charge Cards, that is always refreshing. The only grab. There will be a small Benchmark logo in the bottom of every email you send out. Of course, you can always opt to upgrade to a paid program if you don’t want the Benchmark branding. The free plan permits you to send up to 14000 emails to around 2000 subscribers and provides you access to most but not all Benchmark’s features list. Notable absences into the features list for free accounts comprise email automation and sub-accounts (allowing many users to get one Benchmark account).
Paid Plans. Direct Email Services
Users with little contacts lists and restricted Monthly messages have the choice of paying for their email marketing based on the number of mails they send each month.
o Moderate 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 a 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 lets you pay through PayPal. They also offer a 25% reduction for nonprofits and educators.
Benchmark is a good program. It is easy to use, Open to innovation, and competitively priced. Its free alternatives might very well be the very best in the business for anybody who only wants to dive into email advertising (particularly small, neighborhood businesses). For that matter, any Benchmark plan can work well for a little business which perspectives email as a minor element of its marketing and does not have any desire to operate past the principles just yet.
If you are a small or maybe medium-sized Company looking for a simple email marketing program with a host of great features, Benchmark is an exceptional choice. Even though there might come a time when you launch the program, it supplies a great deal for the price, offers excellent service, and the company seems to be sensitive to the requirements of its users. You can’t ask for more.