Summary E-Shot Email Marketing Software
For many an evening in 2004, three people sat Around one desk in a small medical office — an office which served as the group’s conference room, breakfast area, and thought heart. Backed by a small programming group 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 implement a deceptively straightforward concept. Simple email advertising. Many of the ideas were beyond the means of this fledgling company, but that did not stop Keller from moving ahead.
The first Customers of Benchmark Email were small businesses located in near proximity to Benchmark’s one-room HQ in Long Beach, CA. Keller and his team personally sold them on the use of email advertising, while working hard to create a very simple user interface which would be easy to operate. All the while, the business uses such innovative ideas as customizable templates and software which adapted to consumer requirements. They also made sure from the beginning that anybody who needed help would have quick access to excellent customer care.
Benchmark Has continued to grow and advantagesper. Its current focus. Providing global email marketing solutions to small and midsize companies while continuing to honor a commitment to assist kids in need. This doesn’t mean that Benchmark is a little-guys-only company, however; it’s stuck to its core principle of adaptability and serves large organizations such as UNICEF and Kaiser-Permanente via its High Volume Business plans.
Today, Benchmark serves upwards of 73,000 users from throughout the planet, however, the company has not forgotten its origins. Benchmark still maintains good relationships with little, locally-based businesses. In reality, the company supplies a full page of testimonials from local users of this program. You can read about Benchmark’s background and development here.
While most of the attributes Benchmark provides Are on par with the rest of the industry, among the standout characteristics of this ESP is the fact that most of its features come standard with each account — such as the free ones. Here are a few of Benchmark’s most notable offerings.
· Hundreds of Industry-Specific, Themed Templates. Benchmark provides all users access to the library of over 400 templates. These are organized into 19 classes, some of which are tailored to particular industries such as education, entertainment, and retailstores. There’s also a class for social media-specific templates.
· Video Emails. Perhaps the best-known benefit of Benchmark is its support for video emails. The company describes the benefits of this feature here.
· Online Surveys. You can create professional-looking online polls using among Benchmark’s 6 templates. Post your survey on your site or build it directly 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 choice of paying for this service ($30/month) to boost their own delivery stats. Read more about the advantages of dedicated servers here.
· Email Delivery Direction . Benchmark’s email shipping management program is about getting customers’ mails into inboxes. The business 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 clients’ behalf. E-Shot Email Marketing Software
· Mobile App. Benchmark’s mobile apps make it possible for customers having an Apple device to access several purposes on the street. They can get and add contacts, browse reports, send videos via integration using a YouTube accounts, and even layout and send fast email blasts with one of 10 templates that are available. This is quite a bit more than many other companies offer on their mobile apps, which makes them considerably more operational.
· Photo Editing. If the photos you plan to use in your email campaign are not perfectly sized or need some colour adjustment, you can use Benchmark’s integrated picture 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 build your mails from scratch.
· Autoresponder. Each Benchmark client has the ability to design around eight custom autoresponder messages. These can 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 become prosperous in email marketing is through growing your list, and Benchmark actually promotes doing so through sign-up forms. The company bases its Free For Life account completely around site and Facebook sign-ups and supplies an easy-to-use tool to create customized templates for every medium.
· Inbox Checker. Because every email program differs and each web browser includes a signature style, making sure your emails look good across the board is important. You can use Inbox Checker to have a look at the way your email screens in Gmail using Explorer and Outlook 3. Employing the full program (which checks everything out of AOL to Yahoo, Explorer to Safari, mobile to PC) is a paid add-on provider, available for $14 per 100 checks.
· RSS-to-Email. Regular bloggers may create newsletters out of their sites automatically through the RSS-to-Email feature, which works with any site which handles an RSS-feed. Users only need 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 without a formal plug connection. Benchmark’s API Integration feature allows users using 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 permits them to play three purposes. Manage contact lists, handle campaigns and campaign sending, and assess data. The business describes this role in more detail .
· Advanced Metrics. Benchmark provides both List 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
Signing up for a Benchmark account is pretty straightforward. After entering your name, email, phone number, and business name, you have to confirm your email address. This is a five-minute procedure for me. Upon logging in to my account (with the free program ) I was greeted by an appealing UI that gave me a clear path on how to make my first email campaign. Good beginning!
Email Campaign Creation
On its dashboard, Benchmark provides users five chief choices. Emails, Automations, Contacts, Surveys, and Reports. To create a new effort, proceed into the Emails section, then hit the large blue”Create New Mail” button at the top right-hand corner. E-Shot Email Marketing Software
From there, you have to decide If You Would like an RSS Or traditional email message. You can use Benchmark’s drag-and-drop editor, or move for more customization using the built-in code editor. If you are 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 option.
I was motivated to enter a subject line for my Email and setup how much tracking I wanted on the message, as well as if I wanted an automated tweet once the campaign went out. The next task was to choose which contacts I wished to get the campaign. With that, I was eventually able to start constructing the email itself. If you want to, you can construct your own email designs employing an extremely intuitive editor. On the other hand, you can alter one of Benchmark’s templates, which can be great, and much better than I was able to do on my own.
Preventing the Email Campaign
If you are just Starting out, you can certainly do as I did and manually enter contacts at a time. However, for those who already have a listing, there are numerous ways to import it. You can upload a CSV, xls, or txt file directly from the personal computer; import contacts directly from Salesforce.com, Hotmail, or Gmail accounts; or copy and paste huge lists of contacts to a text type. Once you make your Benchmark lists, they will show up on your dash, along with a Master Unsubscribe List.
The sending of the email is rather simple. Once you’ve finished all your tweaks, you may save email as a draft, send it instantly, or schedule a date and time for delivery. If you want to check all is well before distributing your email about the planet, it is possible to send it to your self to preview it as many as 10 times/day. I chose to program my email for delivery to see how timely the automatic system would really be. I scheduled my email for 2.45 and obtained it in 2.50, so while the timing was not exactly perfect, it was likely within tolerance levels for many users. If you are among the more rare users who demand on-the-minute email sending, you may have to look elsewhere. More worryingly, my email did not go to my main inbox but was automatically sorted into my”promotions” folder. Definitely not perfect.
Email Campaign Reporting
The first thing I Noticed about Benchmark email reports was something I’d read in a few reviews. They’re really, really quickly. I mean lightning fast. Opens enroll in the Benchmark system virtually instantaneously. I’ve worked with several other programs where these reports require hours or even days to appear.
Benchmark provides users with several key Bits of data about each campaign. The arguably most important statistic, the open speed, seems in both pie graph and numerical form. Additionally, Benchmark provides users with stats for clicks, forward, bounces, unsubscribes, and misuse. Every stat further breaks down to the specific email addresses associated with a given action. Users can export this data for further analysis via a csv or xls file. There is also a social networking place which reports shares through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, in addition to a map which breaks down, by country, who opens your emails. E-Shot Email Marketing Software
Though all of the information is great and Necessary, it isn’t enough to sustain higher level marketers who need more information such as conversions, which hyperlinks were clicked, and revenue analysis. Though Google Analytics provides a lot of that info with proper integration, there may come a time when serious marketers need more information than Benchmark provides. Whether or not a small company will get to that point varies, naturally, based on the business.
Particular Size Of Business
Benchmark designed its 3-tiered pricing Structure with the goal of serving everyone from the tiniest kitchen-table startup to large email marketers. On the other hand, the organization’s main focus is on small to medium companies, especially those just starting out in email advertising. This is especially reflected in the reality that customers subscribing to the moderate plans get unlimited mails, while larger plans have limitations.
Integrations and Add-Ons
Benchmark Offers roughly 20 plug-ins and integrations. If you do not observe the integration you need, there is 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 applications designed to integrate fully with Benchmark Email. Launched in 2012, this program allows users to create and customize events, promote and market tickets, and monitor the success of their events through their Benchmark Email accounts. A variety of programs are available, including a free option.
· Salesforce.com — This integration allows users to import contacts directly into Benchmark and use Benchmark’s email system to keep Salesforce customers participated. Read our review of Salesforce here.
· Twitter — Benchmark Email Lite is a WordPress plugin which permits users to quickly build an email audience through their readers. The plugin can automatically create email variations of blog posts and permits users to connect up to five Benchmark accounts.
· Highrise — Merges Highrise contacts using a Benchmark list. Read our overview of Highrisehere.
· Benchmark Power — This free plug-in lets you supply images for your Benchmark mails from places throughout the web. Benchmark Power captures pictures you find and immediately uploads them to your Benchmark account for future usage.
· Flickr — Users with Flickr accounts can link Flickr to their Benchmark image galleries.
· Shopify — You are able to link a Shopify account to Benchmark and automatically add Shopify clients to Benchmark lists. You can even add contributors to various lists based on what they bought. Read our review of Shopify here.
· PayPal — Users may add any of the PayPal customers for their Benchmark email lists bylinking the accounts. Read our review of Paypal here.
· Easy List — Learn more about this simple list-making program and download it .
· WordPress — The ever-present site and site builder offers an integration using Benchmark. Use it to send emails of your blog articles and also use the analytics to see how your subscribers react to them. Learn more here.
· Zapier — Gain access to Zapier’s huge integration library . E-Shot Email Marketing Software
Social Media Integrations
Because Of the integral connection between social media and email advertising, it is important to look at the social media features included in Benchmark.
· Social Media Templates — One segment of Benchmark’s enormous email template listing is made of societal media-specific templates that directly promote your company’s involvement in social media forums like facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
· Facebook”Like” Button — Benchmark offers a very simple function which allows you to bring a Facebook”Just Like” button into 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 connect your Benchmark account with your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn accounts, you can add switches to each email which will direct your subscribers to each of your social networking pages.
The company also fully Complies with all the U.S.-E.U. and U.S.-Swiss Safe Harbor Frameworks concerning the collection of personal data from citizens of these countries. When customers provide credit card numbers to Benchmark, the business utilizes secure socket layer (SSL) protection to encrypt the info. 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 outlines a clear zero-tolerance coverage 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 also takes several measures to maintain its standing as a spam-free supplier, one of them membership in the Email Sender and Provider Coalition. The company uses the app SpamAssassin to filter messages delivered through its server.
To stop users from Unknowingly sending spam-like substances, Benchmark provides 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 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 Support and Service
Benchmark Offers its customers a great deal of support tools. Customer support is generally responsive, with minimal waiting times. The site offers 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, particularly when it comes to minute particulars about plans. For instance. The Free For Life plan comprises Benchmark branding on each email, however you won’t see that mentioned on the Free For Life webpage, not even in the fine print. Nor are you going to see it mentioned when you sign up. The only place it is mentioned is at the FAQ, here.
Here are some of the resources Benchmark offers. E-Shot Email Marketing Software
· Live Email and Support — Benchmark provides live one-on-one support through the following means.
· Email Support. Contact Benchmark at [email protected] or via the company’s contact form here. Available 24 hours Monday — Friday and limited hours on Saturday.
· Phone Support. You are able to reach Benchmark at 800-430-4095 (U.S.) or even 001-562-252-3789 (all states ). Available weekdays from 6 am to 5 pm PT.
· Chat Support. Accessible almost 24 hours daily Monday — Friday and restricted hours on Saturday. Founded in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian.
· FAQ — Benchmark’s FAQ section is somewhat mislabeled because it is closer to a QandA-format knowledge foundation than a typical FAQ. You will find over 900 entries, sorted into 18 subjects ranging from”Getting Started” to”API.” Users may execute a keyword search of any topic (or sub-topic) or of their FAQ as a whole. One caveat. With such an extensive knowledge base, it’s pretty much inevitable that some entries are going to be out of date. A few of the QandAs provide advice which is wholly inaccurate, so in some cases, you might need to contact assistance to hash things out.
· Video Tutorials and Webinars — Benchmark provides about two dozen video tutorials which take users step by step through the features of this program. The business also supplies a webinar known as”Benchmark Mail Crash Course.” You can see it live each Friday at 10.00 a.m. PST or see the recorded version at any time. You might also request a particular webinar on a number of other topics. Live webinars include the opportunity to ask questions throughout the demonstration.
· Email Marketing Manuals and Articles — There are more in-depth information on email marketing generally, as well as the Benchmark program especially, in the Manuals Section. These downloadable files also cover industry-specific troubles. Articles, 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 Terms — This is a particularly helpful tool for those brand new to email marketing who feel consumed by all the jargon. Benchmark provides a glossarywith 50 of the most popular email advertising terms from”above-the-fold” into”whitelists.”
· Website and Newsletter — For current info regarding email marketing trends, check out Benchmark’s monthly newsletter, in addition to its extremely active blog. All readers automatically obtain access to present newsletters, and Benchmark also offers an archive of newsletter posts from November 2007-October 2012.
· Benchmark Community — Benchmark users may post their latest newsletters on message boards at the Benchmark Community. This forum allows users to discuss newsletter creation strategies, vote for their favorite newsletters, and gain inspiration from additional Benchmark users.
Web-Based Or Locally-Installed
Benchmark is entirely web-based and does not Require any setup on your PC.
Positive Reviews and Testimonials
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. E-Shot Email Marketing Software
Some common points of compliments.
· Top Notch Service . This is perhaps the most common observation regarding Benchmark, and something I noticed for myself too. People today are inclined to find support prompt and beneficial, and a few say it’s actually the component that distinguishes Benchmark from its competitors. The company also receives praise for its website posts and videos.
· Feature Selection Across All Aims . Some customers praise the addition of attributes like AB testing and surveys in all plans; many firms charge extra for such attributes or only include them in their pricier programs.
· Ease of Use. Users tend to locate Benchmark’s interface incredibly intuitive and user-friendly. The program gathers compliments from a broad range 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 more and more people access their email from mobile devices, this is an increasingly significant aspect to take into account.
Negative Reviews and Complaints
I was Unable to find many people who disliked Their own Benchmark experience. But, I managed to find a couple of complaints.
· Inconsistent Send-Times. Apparently some users experienced a problem with Benchmark where their emails were sent hours when they were first scheduled. One customer theorized the issue might arise from long lists of recipients. Not all customers of all Benchmark will have time-sensitive shipping needs, but others will. Should you want your mails to go out precisely when your schedule dictates, you may need to consider this issue.
· Buggy Social Media Integrations. I watched several consumer reviews that commented the social networking integrations in Benchmark aren’t up to par.
· “Spammy” Templates. Some users were concerned that Benchmark’s templates may feel like spam mail, causing receivers to mark them as junk rather than studying the contents. Since the whole purpose of an ESP would be to stop this from happening, this may be a problem. On the flip side, I never felt this way while looking through the template list, so it might not be the most legitimate of complaints.
Benchmark Provides a huge variety of pricing strategies, such as a totally free plan and a massive scale of paid programs which may service anywhere between 600 and 7,140,000 subscribers.
Benchmark’s free plans do not require credit Cards, that is always refreshing. The only grab. There will be a small Benchmark emblem in the bottom of each email you send out. Obviously, you can always opt to upgrade to a paid program if you don’t want the Benchmark branding. The free program permits you to send up to 14000 emails to up to 2000 subscribers and gives you access to most but not all of Benchmark’s features list. Notable absences into the features list for free accounts include email automation and sub-accounts (enabling multiple users to get one Benchmark accounts ).
Paid Plans. E-Shot Email Marketing Software
Users with little contacts lists and limited Monthly messages have the choice of paying to get their email marketing depending on the number of mails 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 a 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 lets you pay through PayPal. They also offer a 25% discount for nonprofits and teachers.
Benchmark is a solid program. It is easy to use, Open to innovation, and competitively priced. Its free options might very well be the best in the company for anyone who only wants to dip into email marketing (especially small, local businesses). For that matter, any Benchmark plan can work well for a little company which views email as a little element of its advertising and does not have any desire to operate past the principles just yet.
If you are a small or even medium-sized Business trying to find a easy email advertising program using a multitude of great features, Benchmark is an exceptional choice. Even though there may come a time when you outgrow the app, it provides a great deal for the money, offers exceptional support, and the business seems to be sensitive to the needs of its customers. You can’t ask for more.