Overview Effectiveness Of Email Marketing
For many a day in 2004, three people sat Around a single desk in a tiny medical office — an office which functioned as the group’s conference room, lunch room, and thought heart. Backed by a little programming team in India, the trio (comprising Benchmark Internet Group founder Curt Keller, his wife Denise, and an search engine optimization pro ) discussed ideas on how best to implement a deceptively straightforward concept. Simple email advertising. Many of the thoughts 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 usage of email advertising, while working hard to make a very simple user interface which would be easy to operate. All the while, the company uses such novel 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 rapid access to outstanding customer care.
Benchmark Has continued to rise and advantagesper. Its present focus. Providing global email marketing services to small and midsize companies while continuing to honor a commitment to assist children in need. This doesn’t mean that Benchmark is a little-guys-only service, however; it’s adhered to its core principle of adaptability and serves large organizations such as UNICEF and Kaiser-Permanente through its High Volume Business plans.
Today, Benchmark serves upwards of 73,000 users from across the planet, however, the company hasn’t forgotten its origins. Benchmark still keeps good relationships with small, locally-based companies. In reality, the organization supplies a complete page of testimonials from users of the app. You can read more about Benchmark’s history and development here.
While most of the features Benchmark provides Are on par with the rest of the industry, among the standout features of the ESP is the fact that nearly all its features come standard with every single account — including the free ones. Here are some of Benchmark’s most notable 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 specific industries like education, entertainment, and retailstores. There is also a class for social media-specific templates.
· Video Emails. Perhaps the best-known advantage of Benchmark is its support for video mails. The company describes the advantages of this feature here.
· Online Surveys. You can create professional-looking online surveys using one of Benchmark’s 6 templates. Post your survey on your site or construct it directly into an email.
· Dedicated Email Server. All of Benchmark’s High Volume programs come with a dedicated IP address to help increase deliverability rates. Users on other programs have the option of paying for this service ($30/month) to boost their particular delivery stats. Read more about the advantages of dedicated servers .
· Email Delivery Management. Benchmark’s email shipping management program is about getting customers’ emails into inboxes. The business is a part of the Email Sender and Provider Coalition and operates with ReturnPath, a top email delivery and delivery support. The business also communicates with ISPs on its clients’ behalf. Effectiveness Of Email Marketing
· Mobile App. Benchmark’s mobile programs allow customers having an Apple device to access several purposes on the street. They can get and include contacts, browse reportsand send videos through integration with a YouTube accounts, and even layout and send quick email blasts with one of 10 available templates. This is quite a little more than a number of other businesses offer on their mobile programs, making them much more operational.
· Photo Editing. If the photos you plan to use on your email campaign aren’t perfectly sized or need some colour adjustment, you can use Benchmark’s integrated picture editor. This is a fairly handy feature if you don’t have photoshop accessible.
· Code Editor. In case you have the know-how to work magic with HTML, Benchmark provides this ultra-customization choice with which you can construct your mails from scratch.
· Autoresponder. Each Benchmark customer has the power to design up to eight custom autoresponder messages. These could be scheduled as a string or event lead-up, or designed as yearly messages like anniversary or birthday mails.
· Sign-Up Types . The only way to become prosperous in email advertising is through growing your own list, and Benchmark really promotes doing this via sign-up forms. The company bases its Free For Life account entirely around site and Facebook sign-ups and provides an easy-to-use instrument to create customized templates for each medium.
· Inbox Checker. Because every email program is different and every internet browser has a signature fashion, making sure that your emails look good across the board is important. You can use Inbox Checker to look at the way your email displays in Gmail using Explorer and Outlook 3. Employing the entire program (which checks everything out of 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 out of their blogs automatically 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 within Benchmark once.
· API Integration. An API (Application Program Interface) allows different software programs to communicate with one another without a formal plug-in link. Benchmark’s API Integration feature permits users with XML-RPC, HTTP POST, or HTTP GET abilities to recover data from other programs which use JSON, XML, XML-RPC, or PHP serialization strings. In a nutshell, this permits them to perform three purposes. Manage contact lists, handle campaigns and effort sending, and assess data. The business describes this function in more detail .
· 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.
Benefits Of Use
Signing up for a Benchmark account is fairly straightforward. After entering your name, email, contact number, and company name, you need to confirm your email address. This was a five-minute process for me. Upon logging in to my new account (with the free plan) I was greeted by an appealing UI that gave me a clear path about how best to make my first email campaign. Good beginning!
Email Campaign Creation
On its own dashboard, Benchmark provides users five chief options. Emails, Automations, Contacts, Surveys, and Reports. To make a new campaign, go to the Emails section, then hit the large blue”Create New Email” button at the top right-hand corner. Effectiveness Of Email Marketing
From there, you must decide If You Would like an RSS Or classic email message. You can use Benchmark’s drag-and-drop editor, or go for more customization with 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 personally gifted that way, so I moved with the drag-and-drop alternative.
I was prompted to enter a subject line for my Email and setup how much observation I desired on the message, in addition to if I wanted an automatic tweet once the effort went out. The following task was to select which contacts I wanted to receive the campaign. With that, I was finally able to start building the email . If you want to, you can assemble your personal email designs employing an extremely intuitive editor. On the flip side, you can modify one of Benchmark’s templates, that can be great, and 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 input contacts at a time. However, for people who already have a listing, there are numerous ways to import it. You can 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 large lists of contacts into a text form. Once you make your Benchmark lists, then they’ll appear on your dash, together with a Master Unsubscribe List.
The sending of this email is quite easy. Once you have finished all of your tweaks, you may either save email as a draft, send it instantly, or schedule a time and date for delivery. If you would like to verify everything is well before distributing your email about the planet, it is possible to 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 scheduled my email for 2.45 and received it in 2.50, so while the timing wasn’t exactly perfect, it was probably within tolerance levels for many users. If you are among the more rare users who need on-the-minute email sending, then you might need to look elsewhere. More worryingly, my email didn’t go to my main inbox but was mechanically sorted into my”promotions” folder. Definitely not perfect.
Mail Campaign Reporting
First thing I Noticed about Benchmark email reports was something I would read in a couple of reviews. They are really, really quickly. I mean lightning fast. Opens register from the Benchmark system virtually instantaneously. I’ve worked with a lot of other apps where these reports take hours or even days to appear.
Benchmark provides users with several key Pieces of data about each campaign. The arguably most important statistic, the open rate, appears in both pie chart and numerical type. Additionally, Benchmark supplies users with stats such as clicks, forwards, bounces, unsubscribes, and misuse. Every stat further breaks down to the exact email addresses related to a given activity. Users may export this data for additional analysis via a csv or xls file. There’s also a social networking place which reports shares through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, in addition to a map that breaks down, by country, that opens your mails. Effectiveness Of Email Marketing
Though all of this information Is Excellent and Necessary, it is not enough to sustain higher level marketers that need more info such as conversions, which links were clicked, and revenue analysis. Although Google Analytics provides a lot of this information with proper integration, there may come a time when serious entrepreneurs need more information than Benchmark provides. Whether a small company will get to that point varies, naturally, based on the business.
Specific Size Of Business
Benchmark designed its 3-tiered pricing Structure with the objective of serving everyone from the smallest kitchen-table startup to large email marketers. On the other hand, the organization’s main focus is on small to medium businesses, especially those just starting out in email marketing. This is particularly reflected in the fact that customers 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 don’t observe the integration you want, 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 Events is event marketing applications designed to integrate fully with Benchmark Email. Launched in 2012, this app allows users to create and customize events, promote and market 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 enables users to import contacts into Benchmark and utilize Benchmark’s email system to maintain Salesforce customers engaged. Read our review of Salesforce here.
· WordPress — Benchmark Email Lite is a WordPress plug-in which allows users to easily build an email audience via their subscribers. The plug-in can automatically produce email versions of blog posts and allows 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 allows you to supply pictures for your Benchmark mails from locations across the net. Benchmark Power captures images you locate and immediately uploads them to a Benchmark accounts for future use.
· Flickr — Users with Flickr accounts can link Flickr to their own Benchmark image galleries.
· Shopify — You are able to link a Shopify account to Benchmark and mechanically add Shopify clients 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 can add some of their PayPal clients to their own Benchmark email lists bylinking the accounts. Read our review of Paypal here.
· Easy List — Learn more about this very simple list-making app and download it here.
· WordPress — The ever-present site and site builder offers an integration with Benchmark. Use it to send mails of your blog articles and use the analytics to observe how your readers respond to them. Learn more here.
· Zapier — Gain access to Zapier’s enormous integration library . Effectiveness Of Email Marketing
Social Media Integrations
Because Of the integral link between social networking and email marketing, it is important to check out the social media features included in Benchmark.
· Social Media Templates — One segment of Benchmark’s enormous email template listing consists of social media-specific templates that directly promote your institution’s participation in social media forums like facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
· Facebook”Like” Button — Benchmark provides a very simple function which allows you to add a Facebook”Like” button into your emails.
· Facebook Sign-Up Form — Benchmark provides easy-to-create sign-up forms (see”Features” above) for both sites and Facebook enthusiast pages, so you can convert followers into readers.
· Social Links within Email — Once you connect your Benchmark account together with your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn accounts, you can add buttons to every email that will direct your readers to each of your social networking pages.
The Business also fully Complies with the U.S.-E.U. and U.S.-Swiss Safe Harbor Frameworks concerning the collection of personal data from citizens of those countries. When customers provide credit card amounts to Benchmark, the business utilizes secure socket layer (SSL) protection to encrypt the info. The entire system is encrypted to ensure the security of customers’ personal information.
Anti-Spam Policy and Protection
Like All legitimate ESPs, Benchmark takes spam seriously and outlines a clear zero-tolerance policy for any of the users hoping to engage in spam actions. The business is entirely in compliance with the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. Benchmark also takes several steps to maintain its reputation as a spam-free provider, one of them membership in the Email Sender and Provider Coalition. The business employs the program SpamAssassin to filter messages sent through its server.
To prevent users from Unknowingly sending spam-like materials, Benchmark provides a spam test feature which looks for words widely used in spam messages. It scores every 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 decrease their spam amounts.
Client Support and Service
Benchmark Offers its users a lot of support tools. Customer support is generally responsive, with minimal waiting times. The site offers good learning resources, but may be opaque occasionally. Crucial information is often buried and hard to locate, particularly if you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for, particularly when it comes to minute details about plans. For instance. The Free For Life plan includes Benchmark branding on each email, however you won’t see that mentioned on the Free For Life page, 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 in the FAQ, here.
Here are some of the resources Benchmark offers. Effectiveness Of Email Marketing
· Live Email and Support — Benchmark supplies live one-on-one aid through these means.
· Email Service. Contact Benchmark at [email protected] or through the company’s contact form . Available 24 hours Monday — Friday and restricted hours on Saturday.
· Telephone Support. You are able to reach Benchmark at 800-430-4095 (U.S.) or even 001-562-252-3789 (all countries). Available weekdays from 6 am to 5 pm PT.
· Chat Support. Accessible almost 24 hours per day Monday — Friday and restricted hours on Saturday. Offered in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian.
· FAQ — Benchmark’s FAQ section is somewhat mislabeled because it’s closer to a QandA-format knowledge foundation than a typical FAQ. There are over 900 entries, sorted into 18 topics ranging from”Getting Started” to”API.” Users can execute a keyword search of any topic (or sub-topic) or from their FAQ as a whole. One caveat. With such an extensive knowledge base, it is 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 need to contact support 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 this program. The company also supplies a webinar known as”Benchmark Mail Crash Course.” You can see it live each Friday at 10.00 a.m. PST or watch the recorded version at any time. You can even ask for a special webinar on quite a few other subjects. Live webinars include the opportunity to ask questions during the demonstration.
· Email Marketing Manuals and Articles — You can find more in-depth details on email marketing generally, as well as the Benchmark program specifically, in the Manuals Section. These downloadable documents also cover industry-specific troubles. Articles, very similar to blogs, 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 is a particularly valuable tool for those 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” to”whitelists.”
· Blog and Newsletter — For current info regarding email marketing trends, check out Benchmark’s monthly newsletter, in addition to its exceptionally active blog. All subscribers automatically obtain access to current newsletters, and Benchmark also offers an archive of newsletter posts 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 favorite 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.
Favorable Reviews and Reviews
Benchmark Has a four-out-of-five star score on G2 Crowd, with a slightly better showing on GetApp and Capterra. 4.5 stars each. Effectiveness Of Email Marketing
Some common points of praise.
· Top Notch Support. This is perhaps the most typical observation regarding Benchmark, and some thing I noticed for myself too. People tend to find support prompt and beneficial, and some say it’s really the component that distinguishes Benchmark from its competitors. The business also receives praise for its blog articles and videos.
· Characteristic Selection Across All Plans. Some users praise the inclusion of attributes like AB testing and surveys in most plans; many firms charge extra for these features or just include them in 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 broad range of demographics, from first time ESP users to people who have attempted a variety of programs before settling on Benchmark.
· Mobile Friendly Emails. Users 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 Benchmark experience. However, I managed to find a couple of complaints.
· Inconsistent Send-Times. Apparently some users experienced an issue with Benchmark where their mails were sent hours when they were first scheduled. One customer theorized the issue might arise from lengthy lists of recipients. Not all clients of Benchmark will possess time-sensitive sending needs, but other people will. If you need your emails to go out precisely when your schedule dictates, you might need to consider this situation.
· Buggy Social Media Integrations. I saw several user testimonials that remarked 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 email, causing recipients to mark them as junk and not reading the contents. Since the whole point of an ESP would be to prevent this from occurring, this may be an issue. On the flip side, I never felt this way while searching through the template list, so it may not be the most valid of complaints.
Benchmark Provides a enormous number of pricing strategies, such as a totally free plan and a huge array 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’ll be a small Benchmark logo at the bottom of each 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 up to 2000 subscribers and provides you access to all but not all Benchmark’s features list. Notable absences into the features list for free account include email automation and sub-accounts (enabling many users to get one Benchmark account).
Paid Strategies. Effectiveness Of Email Marketing
Users with small contacts lists and limited Monthly messages have the choice of paying for their email marketing based on the number of mails they send every month.
o Medium Plans. 600-50,000 subscribers, $13.99-$254.99 a month
o Large Plans. 55,000-100,000 subscribers, $285.99-$494.99 a month
o Extra Large Strategies. 125,000-1,000,000 subscribers, $659.99-$4,273.99 per month
o Massive Plans. 1,070,000-7,140,000 subscribers, $4,500-$29,200 a month
Benchmark accepts all Major charge cards and also allows you to pay through PayPal. They also offer a 25% discount for nonprofits and teachers.
Benchmark is a solid program. It’s 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 (particularly small, local companies ). For that matter, any Benchmark strategy can work nicely for a small company which views email as a little aspect of its marketing and does not have any desire to operate past the basics just yet.
If you are a little or even medium-sized Business trying to find a simple email advertising program using a host of great features, Benchmark is an excellent choice. Even though there might come a time when you launch the app, it provides a lot for the price, provides exceptional service, and the business seems to be sensitive to the requirements of its users. You can not ask for more.