Overview Email Advertising Marketing
For many an evening in 2004, three people sat Around one desk in a small medical office — an office that functioned as the team’s conference room, breakfast area, and thought heart. Backed by a small programming team in India, the trio (consisting of Benchmark Internet Group founder Curt Keller, his wife Denise, and an search engine optimization pro ) discussed ideas on how best to implement a deceptively simple concept. Simple email advertising. Many of their ideas were beyond the means of this fledgling company, but that didn’t stop Keller from moving ahead.
The first Clients of Benchmark Mail were small companies located in close proximity to Benchmark’s one-room HQ in Long Beach, CA. Keller and his team sold them on the use of email marketing, 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 user needs. They also made sure from the beginning that anyone who needed help would have quick access to excellent customer care.
Benchmark Has continued to grow and advantagesper. Its present focus. Providing global email marketing services to small and medium-sized businesses while continuing to honor a commitment to assist kids in need. This does not 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 via its High Volume Enterprise plans.
Today, Benchmark serves upwards of 73,000 users from throughout the globe, but the company hasn’t forgotten its origins. Benchmark still maintains good relationships with little, locally-based companies. In reality, the organization supplies a full page of testimonials from local users of this 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 characteristics of this ESP is the simple fact that most of its features come standard with every single accounts — such as the free ones. Below are a few of Benchmark’s most notable offerings.
· Hundreds of Industry-Specific, Themed Templates. Benchmark offers all users access to the library of over 400 templates. These are organized into 19 classes, some of which are tailored to particular industries such as education, entertainment, and retailstores. There is 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’ll be able to create professional-looking online surveys using among Benchmark’s 6 templates. Post your survey on your website or build it directly into an email.
· Dedicated Email Server. All of Benchmark’s High Volume plans come with a dedicated IP address to help increase deliverability rates. Users on other plans 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 Direction . Benchmark’s email delivery management program is about getting customers’ emails into inboxes. The business is a member of the Email Sender and Provider Coalition and works with ReturnPath, a leading email delivery and delivery service. The business also communicates with ISPs on its customers’ behalf. Email Advertising Marketing
· Mobile App. Benchmark’s mobile apps allow customers with an Apple device to access several purposes on the street. They can access and include contacts, read reports, send videos through integration using a YouTube accounts, and even layout and send quick email blasts with one of 10 available templates. That is quite a bit more than many other businesses offer on their mobile programs, making them much more operational.
· Photo Editing. If the pictures you intend to utilize on your email campaign aren’t perfectly sized or need some color adjustment, you can use Benchmark’s integrated picture editor. This is a fairly handy feature if you do not have photoshop available.
· Code Editor. If you’ve got the know-how to work magic with HTML, Benchmark offers this ultra-customization choice with which you may build your emails from scratch.
· Autoresponder. Every Benchmark customer has the ability to design up to eight custom autoresponder messages. These could be scheduled as a series or occasion lead-up, or designed as annual messages like birthday or anniversary emails.
· Sign-Up Forms. The only way to become successful in email advertising is by way of growing your list, and Benchmark actually promotes doing this through sign-up forms. The company bases its Free For Life account completely 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 each web browser includes a signature fashion, making sure that your emails look good across the board is crucial. You can use Inbox Checker to look at the way your email displays in Gmail using Explorer and Outlook 3. Employing the entire app (which assesses everything from 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 mechanically through the RSS-to-Email attribute, which works with any blog which handles an RSS-feed. Users simply need to set up a campaign and template inside Benchmark once.
· API Integration. An API (Application Program Interface) enables different software programs to communicate with one another without a formal plug-in connection. Benchmark’s API Integration feature allows users using 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 brief, this allows them to perform three purposes. Manage contact lists, handle campaigns and effort sending, and check statistics. The business describes this function in more detail here.
· Advanced Metrics. Benchmark provides both Listing 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, contact number, and business 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 program ) I was greeted by an appealing UI that gave me a very clear direction about the best way best to make my very first email campaign. Great beginning!
Email Campaign Creation
On its own dashboard, Benchmark offers users five main choices. Emails, Automations, Contacts, Surveys, and Reports. To create a new campaign, go into the Emails segment, then hit the big blue”Create New Mail” button at the upper right-hand corner. Email Advertising Marketing
From there, you must decide if you want an RSS Or classic email message. You can use Benchmark’s drag-and-drop editor, or go for more customization using the built-in code editor. If you are someone who codes their own email, then my hat is off to you, but I am not personally gifted that way, so I moved with the drag-and-drop 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 wanted to get the campaign. With that, I was eventually able to start building the email . If you would like to, you are able to construct your personal email layouts 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 managed to do on my own.
Sending the Email Campaign
If You’re just Starting out, you can certainly do as I did and manually enter contacts one 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 right from your personal computer; import contacts directly from Salesforce.com, Hotmail, or Gmail accounts; or copy and paste large lists of contacts into a text type. Once you create your Benchmark lists, then they’ll show up on your dash, together with a Master Unsubscribe List.
The sending of this email is quite easy. When you’ve completed all your tweaks, you can either save the 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 your self to preview it as many as 10 times/day. I chose to schedule my email for delivery to see how timely the automated system would really be. I advised my email for 2.45 and received it at 2.50, so while the timing wasn’t exactly perfect, it was probably present in tolerance levels for most users. If you’re one of the more infrequent users who demand on-the-minute email sending, then you may have to look elsewhere. More worryingly, my email did not go to my main inbox but was automatically sorted in my”promotions” folder. Definitely not ideal.
Email Campaign Reporting
The first thing I Noticed about Benchmark email reports was something I’d read about in a couple of reviews. They’re really, really fast. I mean lightning fast. Opens register in the Benchmark system virtually instantaneously. I have worked with several different apps where these reports require hours or even days to appear.
Benchmark provides users with several key Pieces of data about each campaign. The possibly most important statistic, the available speed, appears in both pie chart and numerical form. In addition, Benchmark supplies users with stats for clicks, forward, bounces, unsubscribes, and misuse. Every stat further breaks down to the exact email addresses associated with a given action. Users can export this information for further analysis via a csv or xls file. There is also a social networking place which reports shares via Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, as well as a map that breaks down, by state, that opens your emails. Email Advertising Marketing
Though all of this information Is Excellent and Necessary, it isn’t sufficient to sustain higher level marketers that want more info such as conversions, which hyperlinks were clicked, and revenue analysis. Though Google Analytics provides a lot of this info with proper integration, there might come a time when serious entrepreneurs need more information than Benchmark provides. Whether or not a small business will reach that point changes, of course, based on the company.
Specific Size Of Business
Benchmark designed its 3-tiered pricing Structure with the objective of serving everyone from the tiniest kitchen-table startup to large email marketers. On the other hand, the company’s main focus is on small to medium companies, especially those just starting out in email advertising. This is particularly reflected in the fact that clients subscribing to the medium plans get unlimited emails, while larger plans have limitations.
Integrations and Add-Ons
Benchmark Offers roughly 20 plug-ins and integrations. If you do not see the integration you want, there’s still hope. You’re able to use the API or request a 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 permits users to make and customize events, promote and sell tickets, and monitor the success of their events through their Benchmark Email accounts. A variety of programs are available, such as a free option.
· Salesforce.com — This integration enables users to import contacts directly into Benchmark and utilize Benchmark’s email system to maintain Salesforce customers participated. Read our overview of Salesforce here.
· Twitter — Benchmark Mail Lite is a WordPress plugin which permits users to easily build an email audience via their subscribers. The plugin can automatically produce email variations 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 plugin lets you supply pictures for your Benchmark mails from locations throughout the net. Benchmark Power captures pictures you locate and immediately uploads them to your Benchmark account for future usage.
· Flickr — Users with Flickr accounts can link Flickr for their Benchmark image galleries.
· Shopify — You are able to link a Shopify account 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 overview of Shopify here.
· PayPal — Users may add some of their PayPal customers for their Benchmark email lists bylinking the account. Read our overview of Paypal here.
· Easy List — Learn more about this very simple list-making app and download it .
· WordPress — The ever-present site and website builder provides an integration using Benchmark. Use it to send emails of your blog articles and use the analytics to observe how your readers react to them. Learn more here.
· Zapier — Gain entry to Zapier’s enormous integration library here. Email Advertising Marketing
Social Media Integrations
Because Of the key link between social media and email advertising, it’s very important to look at the social networking features included in Benchmark.
· Social Media Templates — One section of Benchmark’s massive email template listing consists of social media-specific templates that directly promote your company’s involvement in social media forums such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
· Facebook”Like” Button — Benchmark offers a simple function which allows you to add a Facebook”Just Like” button to your own emails.
· Facebook Sign-Up Form — Benchmark supplies easy-to-create sign-up forms (see”Characteristics” above) for both sites and Facebook fan pages, to help you convert followers into readers.
· Social Links within Mail — Once you link your Benchmark account with your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn accounts, you can add buttons to each email that will direct your readers to each of your social media pages.
The Business 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 those countries. When clients provide credit card numbers to Benchmark, the company uses secure socket layer (SSL) security to encrypt the info. The whole system is encrypted to ensure the security of all customers’ personal information.
Anti-Spam Policy and Protection
Like All legitimate ESPs, Benchmark takes spam seriously and outlines a clear zero-tolerance coverage for any of the users trying 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 preserve its standing as a spam-free provider, among them membership in the Email Sender and Provider Coalition. The company employs the app SpamAssassin to filter messages delivered through its server.
To stop users from Unknowingly sending spam-like substances, Benchmark supplies a spam test feature that looks for words widely utilized in spam messages. It scores every email on a scale from 1 to 5; 5s are delegated to content that is very likely to be blocked. In case of a top score, the program suggests”less spammy” alternatives. Individualized IP addresses also assist large-volume senders reduce their spam amounts.
Customer Support and Service
Benchmark Offers its users a lot of support tools. Customer service is usually responsive, with minimal waiting times. The website provides good learning resources, but can be opaque occasionally. Key information is often buried and difficult to locate, particularly in the event that you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for, especially in regards to minute particulars about strategies. 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 webpage, not even at the fine print. Nor will you see it said when you register. The only place it is mentioned is at the FAQ, here.
Here are some of the resources Benchmark offers. Email Advertising Marketing
· Live Email and Support — 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 . Accessible 24 hours Monday — Friday and restricted hours on Saturday.
· Telephone Support. You are able to reach Benchmark in 800-430-4095 (U.S.) or 001-562-252-3789 (all states ). Available weekdays from 6 am to 5 pm PT.
· Chat Support. Available nearly 24 hours per day Monday — Friday and limited hours on Saturday. Founded in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian.
· FAQ — Benchmark’s FAQ section is somewhat mislabeled because it is closer to a QandA-format knowledge base than a typical FAQ. There are over 900 entries, sorted into 18 topics ranging from”Getting Started” to”API.” Users can perform a keyword search of any subject (or sub-topic) or from their FAQ as a whole. 1 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 that’s wholly incorrect, so in some cases, you may want 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 company also offers a webinar called”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 can also request a particular webinar on quite a few different subjects. 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 generally, as well as the Benchmark program especially, at the Manuals Section. These downloadable documents also cover industry-specific issues. Articles, similar to blogs, offer users advice beyond that found in the FAQ section, but in shorter, more readable chunks than the manuals 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 provides a glossarywith 50 of the very popular email marketing terms from”above-the-fold” into”whitelists.”
· Blog and Newsletter — For current information about email marketing trends, check out Benchmark’s monthly newsletter, in addition to its exceptionally active site. All readers 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 in the Benchmark Community. This forum allows users to discuss newsletter production strategies, vote for their favorite newsletters, and gain inspiration from additional Benchmark users.
Web-Based Or Locally-Installed
Benchmark is completely web-based and doesn’t Require any installation on your computer.
Positive Reviews and Reviews
Benchmark Has a four-out-of-five star rating on G2 Crowd, using a slightly better showing on GetApp and Capterra. 4.5 stars each. Email Advertising Marketing
Some common points of praise.
· Top Notch Support. This is perhaps the most typical observation concerning Benchmark, and something I noticed for myself as well. People are inclined to find support prompt and helpful, and some say it is actually the element that distinguishes Benchmark from its competitors. The business also receives praise for its website posts and videos.
· Feature Selection Across All Aims . Some users praise the addition of attributes like AB testing and surveys from all plans; many companies charge extra for such attributes or only include them into their pricier plans.
· Ease of Use. Users tend to locate Benchmark’s interface extremely user-friendly and intuitive. The program gathers compliments from a broad assortment of demographics, from first time ESP users to those who have tried a variety of programs before settling on Benchmark.
· Mobile Friendly Emails. Consumers were impressed with the mobile-friendly email layout of Benchmark’s templates. Since more and more 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 Benchmark experience. However, I was able to discover a few complaints.
· Inconsistent Send-Times. Apparently some users experienced a problem with Benchmark in which their emails were sent hours when they were first scheduled. One customer theorized the issue might arise in long lists of recipients. Not all customers of Benchmark will possess time-sensitive shipping needs, but other people will. If you need your mails to go out exactly when your program dictates, you might need to take into account this situation.
· Buggy Social Media Integrations. I watched several consumer testimonials that remarked the social networking integrations in Benchmark aren’t up to par.
· “Spammy” Templates. Some users have been concerned that Benchmark’s templates can feel like spam email, causing receivers to mark them as junk rather than reading the contents. Since the entire purpose of an ESP is to stop this from happening, this might be an issue. On the other hand, I never felt this way while searching through the template list, therefore it might not be the most valid of complaints.
Benchmark Provides a enormous variety of pricing strategies, such as a free plan and a huge array of paid programs that 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 catch. There will be a small Benchmark emblem at the bottom of each email you send out. Of course, you can always opt to upgrade to a paid program if you don’t need the Benchmark branding. The free program allows you to send up to 14000 emails to around 2000 subscribers and gives you access to most but not all of Benchmark’s features record. Notable absences into the attributes list for free accounts include email automation and sub-accounts (allowing many users to get one Benchmark accounts ).
Paid Strategies. Email Advertising Marketing
Users with little contacts lists and restricted Monthly messages have the choice of paying to get their email marketing depending on the number of emails that they send every month.
o Moderate Plans. 600-50,000 subscribers, $13.99-$254.99 a month
o Large Plans. 55,000-100,000 subscribers, $285.99-$494.99 a month
o Extra Large Plans. 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 lets you pay through PayPal. They also offer you a 25% reduction for nonprofits and teachers.
Benchmark is a good program. It’s easy to use, Open to invention, and competitively priced. Its free alternatives might just be the very best in the company for anyone who only wants to dive into email advertising (particularly small, local businesses). For that matter, any Benchmark strategy can work nicely for a little company which views email as a little element of its marketing and does not have any desire to work past the principles just yet.
If you are a little or maybe medium-sized Company looking for a simple email marketing program with a multitude of great features, Benchmark is an exceptional option. Even though there might come a time when you outgrow the program, it provides a lot for the money, offers exceptional service, and the business seems to be sensitive to the requirements of its users. You can’t ask for more.