Summary Ecommerce Email Marketing
For many a day in 2004, three people sat Around a single desk in a small medical office — an office that served as the team’s conference room, lunch room, and thought heart. Backed by a small programming group in India, the trio (comprising Benchmark Internet Group founder Curt Keller, his wife Denise, and an search engine optimization pro ) discussed ideas for how to implement a deceptively simple idea. Simple email advertising. Many of the thoughts were beyond the resources of this fledgling company, but that didn’t stop Keller from moving ahead.
The first Customers of Benchmark Email were small companies located in close proximity to Benchmark’s one-room HQ in Long Beach, CA. Keller and his staff personally sold them on the usage of email marketing, while working hard to make a simple user interface which would be easy to operate. All the time, the company uses such innovative ideas as customizable templates and software which adapted to user needs. They also made certain from the outset that anybody who needed help would have quick access to excellent customer support.
Benchmark Has continued to grow and advantagesper. Its current focus. Providing worldwide email advertising solutions to small and medium-sized businesses while continuing to honor a commitment to help kids in need. This does not mean that Benchmark is a little-guys-only service, 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 up of 73,000 users from throughout the planet, however, the company hasn’t forgotten its origins. Benchmark still maintains good relationships with small, locally-based companies. In fact, the company offers a full page of testimonials from users of the program. You can read more about Benchmark’s background and development here.
While most of the attributes Benchmark provides Are on par with the rest of the industry, one of the standout characteristics of the 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 provides all customers access to its 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 category for social media-specific templates.
· Video Emails. Possibly the best-known advantage of Benchmark is its support for video mails. The company describes the advantages of this attribute here.
· Online Surveys. You can create professional-looking online surveys using one of Benchmark’s 6 templates. Post your poll on your site or construct it into an email.
· Dedicated Email Server. All Benchmark’s High Volume programs have a dedicated IP address to help increase deliverability rates. Users on other plans 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 Direction . Benchmark’s email delivery management program is all about getting clients’ emails into inboxes. The company is a member of the Email Sender and Provider Coalition and operates with ReturnPath, a top email delivery and consulting service. The business also communicates with ISPs on its customers’ behalf. Ecommerce Email Marketing
· Mobile App. Benchmark’s mobile apps make it possible for customers having an Apple device to get several functions on the road. They can get and include contacts, browse reportsand send videos via integration using a YouTube accounts, and even design and send fast email blasts with one of 10 templates that are available. This is quite a bit more than many other businesses offer in their mobile programs, which makes them much more functional.
· Photo Editing. If the photos you intend to use on your email campaign are not perfectly sized or need some color adjustment, you can use Benchmark’s integrated picture editor. This is a fairly handy feature if you don’t have photoshop available.
· Code Editor. In case you have the know-how to work magic with HTML, Benchmark offers this ultra-customization choice with which you can construct your emails from scratch.
· Autoresponder. Each Benchmark client has the ability to style 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 is different and every web browser has a signature fashion, making sure your emails look good across the board is important. It is possible to use Inbox Checker to look at the way that your email displays in Gmail using Explorer and Outlook 3. Employing the entire program (which checks everything from 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 automatically through the RSS-to-Email feature, which works with any blog which manages an RSS-feed. Users only need to establish a campaign and template inside Benchmark once.
· API Integration. An API (Application Program Interface) allows different software programs to communicate with one another without a formal plug link. Benchmark’s API Integration feature allows users using XML-RPC, HTTP POST, or HTTP GET skills to retrieve data from some other apps that use JSON, XML, XML-RPC, or PHP serialization strings. In a nutshell, this allows them to perform three functions. Manage contact lists, manage campaigns and effort sending, and check data. The business describes this function in more detail here.
· Advanced Metrics. Benchmark offers 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
Enrolling in a Benchmark accounts is fairly straightforward. After entering your name, email, phone number, and company name, you need to confirm your email address. This is a five-minute process for me. Upon logging in to my new account (using the free plan) I was greeted by an appealing UI that gave me a clear direction on how to make my very first email campaign. Good beginning!
Email Campaign Creation
On its dashboard, Benchmark offers users five main choices. Emails, Automations, Contacts, Surveys, and Reports. To create a new campaign, proceed into the Emails section, then hit on the big blue”Create New Mail” button at the top right-hand corner. Ecommerce Email Marketing
From there, you must decide if you want 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’re somebody who codes their own email, then my hat is off to you, but I am not gifted that way, so I went with the drag-and-drop alternative.
I had been prompted to enter a subject line for my Email and setup how much tracking I wanted on the message, in addition to if I wanted an automated tweet when the campaign went out. The next task was to select which contacts I wanted to get the campaign. With that, I was finally able to begin constructing the email . If you want to, you can assemble your own email designs using an extremely intuitive editor. On the other hand, you can modify one of Benchmark’s templates, that are great, and much better than I was able to do in my.
Preventing the Email Campaign
If you are just Starting out, you can do as I did and manually input contacts at a time. However, for those who already have a list, there are several ways to import it. You can upload a CSV, xls, or txt file directly from your personal computer; import contacts directly from Salesforce.com, Hotmail, or Gmail accounts; or copy and paste huge lists of contacts into a text form. When you make your Benchmark lists, then they’ll show up on your dash, along with a Master Unsubscribe List.
The actual sending of this email is quite simple. When you’ve completed all your tweaks, you may either save email as a draft, send it immediately, or schedule a date and time for delivery. If you want to verify everything is well before distributing your email on the planet, you can send it to yourself 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 actually be. I advised my email for 2.45 and obtained it at 2.50, therefore while the timing was not exactly perfect, it was probably within tolerance levels for many users. If you are among the more rare users who demand on-the-minute email sending, then you may have to look elsewhere. More worryingly, my email didn’t go to my main inbox but was mechanically sorted in my”promotions” folder. Definitely not perfect.
Mail 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 have worked with several other apps where these reports take hours or even days to appear.
Benchmark provides users with several key Bits of information about each campaign. The possibly most important statistic, the available rate, seems in both pie chart and numerical form. In addition, Benchmark supplies users with stats such as clicks, forwards, bounces, unsubscribes, and abuse. Every stat further breaks down to the exact email addresses associated with a given activity. Users may export this data 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 country, who opens your emails. Ecommerce Email Marketing
Though all of this information is great and Necessary, it is not sufficient to sustain higher level marketers that need more information such as conversions, which links were clicked, and earnings analysis. Although Google Analytics provides a lot of this information with proper integration, there may come a time when serious entrepreneurs need more info than Benchmark provides. Whether a small business will get to that point changes, of course, dependent on the business.
Particular Size Of Business
Benchmark designed its 3-tiered pricing Structure with the objective of serving everybody from the tiniest kitchen-table startup to large email marketers. On the other hand, the company’s key focus is on small to medium businesses, especially those just starting out in email marketing. This is particularly reflected in the fact that clients subscribing to the medium 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’re able to use the API or request an 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 make and customize occasions, promote and sell tickets, and track the success of their events via their Benchmark Email account. A number of programs are available, including a free option.
· Salesforce.com — This integration allows users to import contacts into Benchmark and utilize Benchmark’s email system to keep Salesforce customers participated. Read our review of Salesforce here.
· WordPress — Benchmark Mail Lite is a WordPress plugin which allows users to quickly build an email viewer via their subscribers. The plug-in can automatically create email versions of blog articles and allows users to connect up to five Benchmark accounts.
· Highrise — Merges Highrise contacts with a Benchmark listing. Read our overview of Highrisehere.
· Benchmark Power — This free plug-in allows you to source images for your Benchmark mails from locations across the net. Benchmark Power captures images you locate and instantly uploads them to a Benchmark accounts for future usage.
· Flickr — Users with Flickr accounts can link Flickr for their own Benchmark image galleries.
· Shopify — You can link a Shopify accounts to Benchmark and automatically add Shopify customers to Benchmark lists. You may even add subscribers to various lists based on which products they bought. Read our review of Shopify here.
· PayPal — Users can add some of their PayPal clients to their Benchmark email lists bylinking the accounts. Read our overview of Paypal here.
· Easy List — Learn more about this simple list-making app and download it here.
· WordPress — The ever-present site and website builder offers an integration using Benchmark. Use it to send emails of your blog articles and also use the analytics to observe how your subscribers react to them. Learn more here.
· Zapier — Gain access to Zapier’s enormous integration library . Ecommerce Email Marketing
Social Media Integrations
Because Of the integral connection between social media and email advertising, it is important to look at the social networking features included in Benchmark.
· Social Media Templates — One segment of Benchmark’s massive email template listing consists of social media-specific templates that directly promote your institution’s participation in social networking forums such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
· Facebook”Like” Button — Benchmark provides a simple function which allows you to bring a Facebook”Like” button into your emails.
· Facebook Sign-Up Form — Benchmark supplies easy-to-create sign-up forms (see”Characteristics” above) for both sites and Facebook enthusiast pages, to help you 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 switches 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 regarding the collection of personal data from citizens of these nations. When clients provide credit card amounts to Benchmark, the company utilizes secure socket layer (SSL) security to encrypt the info. The entire system is encrypted to ensure the safety of customers’ personal information.
Anti-Spam Policy and Protection
Like All legitimate ESPs, Benchmark takes spam seriously and summarizes a clear zero-tolerance policy for any of their users trying 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 provider, among them membership from the Email Sender and Provider Coalition. The business uses the app SpamAssassin to filter messages delivered through its server.
To stop users from Unknowingly sending spam-like materials, Benchmark supplies a spam check feature that looks for words commonly used 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 the event of a top score, the program suggests”less spammy” alternatives. Individualized IP addresses also help large-volume senders decrease their spam amounts.
Client Support and Service
Benchmark Offers its users a great deal of support resources. Customer service is usually responsive, with minimal waiting times. The website provides good learning resources, but may be opaque at times. Crucial information can be buried and hard to locate, particularly if you don’t know precisely what you’re searching for, especially when it comes to minute particulars about plans. For instance. That 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 said when you sign up. The only place it’s mentioned is in the FAQ, here.
Here are some of those resources Benchmark offers. Ecommerce Email Marketing
· Live Email and Support — Benchmark supplies live one-on-one support through the following means.
· Email Support. Contact Benchmark at [email protected] or through the company’s contact form . Accessible 24 hours Monday — Friday and limited hours on Saturday.
· Phone Support. You are able to reach Benchmark in 800-430-4095 (U.S.) or even 001-562-252-3789 (all countries). Available weekdays from 6 am to 5 pm PT.
· Chat Support. Available nearly 24 hours daily Monday — Friday and limited hours on Saturday. Offered in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian.
· FAQ — Benchmark’s FAQ section is somewhat mislabeled as it is closer to some QandA-format knowledge foundation than a normal FAQ. There are over 900 entries, sorted into 18 subjects ranging from”Getting Started” to”API.” Users may execute a keyword search of any subject (or sub-topic) or from their FAQ as a whole. 1 caveat. With such a comprehensive knowledge base, it’s pretty much inevitable that some entries are going to be out of date. A few of the QandAs offer advice which is wholly inaccurate, so in some cases, you might want to contact support to hash things out.
· Video Tutorials and Webinars — Benchmark provides about two dozen movie tutorials which take users step by step through the features of the app. The company also supplies a webinar called”Benchmark Email Crash Course.” You may see it live each Friday at 10.00 a.m. PST or see the recorded version at any time. You can also ask for a particular webinar on a number of other topics. Live webinars include the chance to ask questions during the presentation.
· Email Marketing Manuals and Articles — You can find more in-depth details on email marketing in general, as well as the Benchmark program specifically, in the Manuals Section. These downloadable files also cover industry-specific issues. Articles, very similar to blogs, offer users advice beyond that found in the FAQ section, but in shorter, more readable chunks compared to the guides provide.
· Glossary of Email Marketing Requirements — This can be a particularly valuable tool for those brand new to email marketing who feel absorbed by all the jargon. Benchmark provides a glossarywith 50 of the very popular email advertising conditions from”above-the-fold” into”whitelists.”
· Website and Newsletter — For current info regarding email advertising 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 articles from November 2007-October 2012.
· Benchmark Community — Benchmark users may post their latest newsletters on message boards in 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 setup on your PC.
Positive 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. Ecommerce Email Marketing
Some common points of praise.
· Top Notch Support. This is maybe the most typical monitoring regarding Benchmark, and something I discovered for myself too. People tend to find support prompt and beneficial, and a few say it is really the component that distinguishes Benchmark from its rivals. The business also receives praise for its website articles and videos.
· Characteristic Selection Across All Plans. Some users praise the inclusion of features including AB analyzing and surveys in most plans; many companies charge extra for such attributes or just include them in their pricier plans.
· Ease of Use. Users have a tendency to locate Benchmark’s interface incredibly user-friendly and intuitive. The program gathers praise from a wide assortment of demographics, from first time ESP consumers to people who have attempted a variety of programs before settling on Benchmark.
· Mobile Friendly Emails. Consumers were impressed with all the mobile-friendly email design of Benchmark’s templates. Since an increasing number of people access their email from mobile devices, this is an increasingly important aspect to take into account.
Negative Reviews and Complaints
I was Unable to find many people who loathed Their own Benchmark experience. But, I managed to discover a few complaints.
· Inconsistent Send-Times. Apparently some users experienced an issue with Benchmark where their mails were sent hours after they were first scheduled. 1 customer theorized the issue might arise from lengthy lists of recipients. Not all customers of Benchmark will have time-sensitive sending demands, but others will. If you need your mails to go out exactly whenever your program dictates, you might have to take into account this issue.
· Buggy Social Media Integrations. I watched several consumer reviews that commented the social networking integrations in Benchmark are not up to par.
· “Spammy” Templates. Some users have been concerned that Benchmark’s templates can feel like spam email, causing receivers to mark them as junk and not reading the contents. Since the whole purpose of an ESP would be to prevent this from occurring, this might be a problem. On the other hand, I never felt this way while searching through the template list, so it may not be the most valid of complaints.
Benchmark Offers a enormous number of pricing plans, including a free plan and a huge array of paid plans which may service anywhere between 600 and 7,140,000 subscribers.
Benchmark’s free plans do not require credit Cards, which is always refreshing. The only grab. There will be a small Benchmark emblem at 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 plan allows you to send up to 14000 emails to up to 2000 subscribers and provides you access to all but not all Benchmark’s features record. Notable absences to the features list for free accounts comprise email automation and sub-accounts (enabling many users to access one Benchmark account).
Paid Strategies. Ecommerce Email Marketing
Users with little contacts lists and limited Monthly messages have the choice of paying for their email marketing based on the amount of emails that they send every 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 per month
o Extra Large Strategies. 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 a month
Benchmark accepts all Major credit cards and also allows you to pay through PayPal. They also offer you a 25% discount 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 anybody who just wants to dive into email marketing (especially small, local companies ). For that matter, any Benchmark strategy can work well for a small business which views email as a little aspect of its advertising and has no desire to work past the principles just yet.
If you are a little or even medium-sized Business looking for a simple email marketing program using a multitude of great features, Benchmark is an excellent option. Though there might come a time when you outgrow the program, it provides a lot for the price, offers excellent service, and the company appears to be sensitive to the needs of its users. You can’t ask for more.