Overview Email Campaign
For many an evening in 2004, three people sat Around a single desk in a tiny medical office — an office which served as the team’s conference room, lunch room, and idea hub. Backed by a little programming group in India, the trio (comprising Benchmark Internet Group founder Curt Keller, his wife Denise, and an search engine optimization expert) discussed ideas on how best to execute a deceptively simple concept. Simple email marketing. Many of their ideas were beyond the means of this fledgling business, but that didn’t stop Keller from moving ahead.
The first Customers of Benchmark Mail were small businesses located in close proximity to Benchmark’s one-room HQ in Long Beach, CA. Keller and his team personally sold them on the usage of email marketing, while working hard to create a simple user interface which would be easy to operate. All the while, the business uses such novel ideas as customizable templates and applications which adapted to consumer needs. They also made sure from the outset that anybody who needed help would have quick access to outstanding customer care.
Benchmark Has continued to grow and advantagesper. Its present focus. Providing global email marketing solutions to small and midsize businesses while continuing to honor a commitment to help children 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 like UNICEF and Kaiser-Permanente through its High Volume Enterprise plans.
Today, Benchmark serves upwards of 73,000 users from throughout the planet, however, the company hasn’t forgotten its roots. Benchmark still keeps good relationships with little, locally-based businesses. In fact, the company offers a full page of testimonials from local users of this app. You may read about Benchmark’s background and development here.
While the Majority of the features Benchmark provides Are on par with the rest of the industry, one of the standout features of the ESP is the fact that most of its attributes come standard with every single accounts — such as the free ones. Here are some of Benchmark’s most notable offerings.
· Countless Industry-Specific, Themed Templates. Benchmark provides all users access to the library of over 400 templates. These are organized into 19 categories, some of which are tailored to specific industries like 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 polls using one of Benchmark’s 6 templates. Post your survey on your site or build it into an email.
· Dedicated Email Server. All Benchmark’s High Volume plans come with a dedicated IP address to help increase deliverability prices. 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 .
· Email Delivery Direction . Benchmark’s email shipping management program is about getting customers’ mails into inboxes. The company is a part of the Email Sender and Provider Coalition and works with ReturnPath, a top email delivery and delivery support. The business also communicates with ISPs on its clients’ behalf. Email Campaign
· Mobile App. Benchmark’s mobile apps make it possible for customers with an Apple device to get several functions on the street. They can get and include contacts, read reportsand send videos via integration with a YouTube accounts, and even design and send quick email blasts with one of 10 templates that are available. This is quite a bit more than many other companies offer in their mobile apps, which makes them considerably more operational.
· Photo Editing. If the pictures you intend to utilize in your email campaign are not perfectly sized or want some color adjustment, you can use Benchmark’s integrated picture editor. This is a pretty handy feature if you don’t have photoshop accessible.
· Code Editor. In case you have the know-how to work magic with HTML, Benchmark offers this ultra-customization option with which you can construct your emails from scratch.
· Autoresponder. Every Benchmark client has the power to style around eight custom autoresponder messages. These could be scheduled as a series or occasion lead-up, or designed as yearly messages such as anniversary or birthday mails.
· Sign-Up Types . The only way to become successful in email marketing is by way of growing your own list, and Benchmark actually promotes doing this through sign-up forms. The business bases its Free For Life account completely around website and Facebook sign-ups and provides an easy-to-use instrument to create customized templates for each medium.
· Inbox Checker. Since every email program differs and every internet browser has a signature style, making certain your emails look good across the board is important. It is possible to use Inbox Checker to have a look at the way that your email screens in Gmail using Explorer and Outlook 3. Employing the full program (which assesses everything out of AOL to Yahoo, Explorer into Safari, mobile to PC) is a paid add-on service, available for $14 per 100 checks.
· RSS-to-Email. Regular bloggers can create newsletters out of their blogs mechanically through the RSS-to-Email attribute, which works with any blog which handles an RSS-feed. Users simply have to set up a campaign and template within Benchmark once.
· API Integration. An API (Application Program Interface) enables different software programs to communicate with one another with no formal plug connection. Benchmark’s API Integration feature permits users with XML-RPC, HTTP POST, or HTTP GET abilities to recover data from some other programs that use JSON, XML, XML-RPC, or PHP serialization strings. In brief, this allows them to play three functions. Manage contact lists, handle campaigns and campaign sending, and check statistics. The company describes this function in more detail here.
· Advanced Metrics. Benchmark offers both Listing 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 fairly straightforward. After entering your name, email, contact number, and business name, you need to validate your email address. This is a five-minute procedure for me. Upon logging into my new account (using the free plan) I was greeted by an attractive UI that gave me a clear direction about the best way to make my first email campaign. Good beginning!
Email Campaign Creation
On its dashboard, Benchmark offers users five chief options. Emails, Automations, Contacts, Surveys, and Reports. To make a new effort, go into the Emails segment, then hit on the large blue”Create New Email” button in the upper right-hand corner. Email Campaign
From there, you must decide If You Would like an RSS Or classic email message. It is possible to use Benchmark’s drag-and-drop editor, or move for more customization using the built-in code editor. If you’re somebody who codes their own email, then my hat is off to you, but I am not gifted that way, so I moved with the drag-and-drop alternative.
I had been prompted to enter a subject line for my Email and setup how much observation I desired on the message, in addition to when I wanted an automatic tweet once the campaign went out. The following task was to choose which contacts I wished to receive the campaign. With that, I was eventually able to begin constructing the email itself. If you want to, you are able to construct your personal email layouts using a very intuitive editor. On the other hand, you can alter one of Benchmark’s templates, that can be great, and much better than I managed to do on my own.
Preventing 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 those 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 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 create your Benchmark lists, they’ll show up on your dashboard, together with a Master Unsubscribe List.
The sending of the email is quite easy. When you have finished all your tweaks, you may either save email as a draft, send it instantly, or schedule a time and date for delivery. If you want to check all is well before distributing your email about the planet, you can send it to your self to preview it as many as 10 times/day. I chose to program my email for delivery to view how timely the automatic system would really be. I scheduled my email for 2.45 and received it in 2.50, therefore while the timing was not exactly ideal, it was likely present in tolerance levels for many users. If you’re among the more infrequent users who demand on-the-minute email sending, you might need to appear elsewhere. More worryingly, my email did not go to my main inbox but was mechanically sorted in my”promotions” folder. Definitely not ideal.
Email Campaign Reporting
The first thing I Discovered about Benchmark email reports was something I’d read in a couple of reviews. They are really, really quickly. I mean lightning fast. Opens enroll in the Benchmark system almost instantaneously. I have worked with several other apps where these reports require hours or even days to appear.
Benchmark provides users with several key Bits of data about every campaign. The arguably most important statistic, the available speed, seems in both pie chart and numerical form. In addition, Benchmark supplies users with stats such as clicks, forward, bounces, unsubscribes, and abuse. 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 is also a social media area which reports shares via Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, in addition to a map which breaks down, by state, that opens your mails. Email Campaign
Though all of the information Is Excellent and Necessary, it is not enough to sustain increased level marketers who want 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 might come a time when serious marketers need more info than Benchmark provides. Whether or not a small company will get to that point varies, of course, based on the business.
Particular Size Of Company
Benchmark made its 3-tiered pricing Structure with the goal of serving everyone from the tiniest kitchen-table startup to big email marketers. However, the company’s key focus is on small to medium companies, particularly those just starting out in email advertising. This is particularly reflected in the reality that clients subscribing to the medium plans get unlimited mails, while bigger 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 can use the API or ask an integration by sending an email to [email protected]
· Benchmark Events — Benchmark Occasions is event marketing software designed to integrate fully with Benchmark Email. Launched in 2012, this app permits users to make and customize events, promote and sell tickets, and track the success of their events via their Benchmark Email accounts. A variety 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 keep Salesforce customers engaged. Read our review of Salesforce here.
· Twitter — Benchmark Mail Lite is a WordPress plugin which allows users to quickly build an email audience through their readers. The plug-in can automatically create email variations of blog posts and permits users to connect up to five Benchmark accounts.
· Highrise — Merges Highrise contacts with a Benchmark list. Read our overview of Highrisehere.
· Benchmark Power — This free plugin allows you to supply images for your Benchmark mails from locations across the net. Benchmark Power captures pictures you find and immediately uploads them to your Benchmark account for future use.
· Flickr — Users with Flickr accounts may link Flickr to their own Benchmark image galleries.
· Shopify — You are able to link a Shopify account to Benchmark and automatically add Shopify customers to Benchmark lists. You may even add contributors to various lists based on which products they bought. Read our overview of Shopify here.
· PayPal — Users can add any of their PayPal clients to their own Benchmark email lists bylinking the accounts. Read our review of Paypal here.
· Easy List — Know more about this very simple list-making program and download it here.
· WordPress — The ever-present site and site builder provides an integration with Benchmark. Use it to send mails of your blog posts and use the analytics to see how your readers respond to them. Learn more here.
· Zapier — Gain entry to Zapier’s enormous integration library here. Email Campaign
Social Media Integrations
Since Of the integral link between social networking and email marketing, it is very important to look at the social media features included in Benchmark.
· Social Media Templates — One section of Benchmark’s enormous email template list is made of societal media-specific templates that directly promote your company’s participation in social networking forums like facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
· Facebook”Like” Button — Benchmark offers a very simple function which permits you to add a Facebook”Just Like” button into your emails.
· Facebook Sign-Up Form — Benchmark supplies easy-to-create sign-up forms (see”Features” above) for both sites and Facebook enthusiast pages, so you can convert followers to readers.
· Social Links within Email — After you connect your Benchmark account with your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn accounts, you can add buttons to every email that 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 regarding the collection of personal data from citizens of these nations. When clients provide credit card amounts to Benchmark, the business utilizes secure socket layer (SSL) protection to encrypt the information. The whole system is encrypted to ensure the security of customers’ personal details.
Anti-Spam Policy and Protection
Like All legitimate ESPs, Benchmark takes junk seriously and summarizes a clear zero-tolerance policy for any of their users hoping to take part in spam activities. The company is entirely in compliance with all the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. Benchmark also takes several steps to maintain its standing as a spam-free provider, one of them membership in the Email Sender and Provider Coalition. The company employs the app SpamAssassin to filter messages delivered through its server.
To prevent users from Unknowingly sending spam-like substances, Benchmark supplies a spam test feature which 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” choices. Individualized IP addresses also assist large-volume senders reduce their spam amounts.
Client Support and Service
Benchmark Offers its customers a great deal of support tools. Customer service is generally responsive, with minimal waiting times. The site offers good learning tools, but can be opaque at times. Key information can be buried and difficult to locate, particularly in the event that you don’t know exactly what you’re searching for, especially when it comes to minute details about plans. For instance. That the Free For Life plan includes Benchmark branding on every email, however you won’t find that mentioned on the Free For Life page, not even at 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 those resources Benchmark offers. Email Campaign
· Live Email and Support — Benchmark supplies live one-on-one support through these means.
· Email Service. Contact Benchmark at [email protected] or through the company’s contact form here. Accessible 24 hours Monday — Friday and restricted hours on Saturday.
· Phone Support. You can reach Benchmark at 800-430-4095 (U.S.) or 001-562-252-3789 (all states ). Available weekdays from 6 am to 5 pm PT.
· Chat Support. Accessible almost 24 hours per day Monday — Friday and restricted hours on Saturday. Founded 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 typical FAQ. You will find more than 900 entries, sorted into 18 subjects ranging from”Getting Started” to”API.” Users can perform a key word search of any topic (or sub-topic) or from their FAQ as a whole. One caveat. With such a comprehensive knowledge base, it’s pretty much inevitable that some entries will be out of date. A few of the QandAs offer information that’s wholly inaccurate, so in some cases, you might want to contact assistance to hash things out.
· Video Tutorials and Webinars — Benchmark supplies about two dozen movie tutorials that take users step by step through the features of this app. The company also offers a webinar called”Benchmark Mail Crash Course.” You may view it live each Friday at 10.00 a.m. PST or see the recorded version at any moment. You can also request a particular webinar on quite a few different subjects. Live webinars comprise the chance to ask questions during the presentation.
· Email Marketing Manuals and Articles — There are more in-depth details on email marketing in general, as well as the Benchmark program specifically, at the Manuals Section. These downloadable files also cover industry-specific troubles. Articles, similar to sites, offer users advice beyond that found in the FAQ section, but in shorter, more readable chunks than the guides provide.
· Glossary of Email Marketing Terms — This is a particularly helpful tool for all those brand new to email marketing who believe absorbed by all the jargon. Benchmark provides a glossarywith 50 of the most popular email marketing terms from”above-the-fold” into”whitelists.”
· Blog and Newsletter — For current information about email advertising trends, check out Benchmark’s monthly newsletter, as well as its extremely active site. All subscribers automatically gain 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 at the Benchmark Community. This forum allows users to discuss newsletter creation approaches, vote for their favorite newsletters, and gain inspiration from other Benchmark users.
Web-Based Or Locally-Installed
Benchmark is entirely web-based and does not 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 Campaign
Some common points of praise.
· Top Notch Support. This is perhaps the most common monitoring regarding Benchmark, and something I noticed for myself as well. People today are inclined to find support prompt and beneficial, and a few say it’s actually the component that distinguishes Benchmark from its rivals. The company also receives praise for its website articles and videos.
· Feature Selection Across All Aims . Some users praise the addition of features like AB testing and surveys in all programs; many companies charge extra for these attributes or only include them into their pricier plans.
· Benefits of Use. Users have a tendency to find Benchmark’s interface incredibly intuitive and user-friendly. The program gathers compliments from a wide assortment of demographics, from first-time ESP users to those who have tried a variety of programs before settling 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 can be an increasingly significant factor to consider.
Negative Reviews and Complaints
I was not able to find many Men and Women who loathed Their own Benchmark experience. But, I managed to find a few complaints.
· Inconsistent Send-Times. Apparently a few users experienced a problem with Benchmark in which their mails were sent hours when they were first scheduled. One customer theorized the issue might arise in lengthy lists of recipients. Not all customers of all Benchmark will have time-sensitive shipping demands, but others will. Should you want your mails to go out precisely when your program dictates, you might have to take into account this situation.
· Buggy Social Media Integrations. I saw several user reviews that commented the social networking integrations in Benchmark are not up to par.
· “Spammy” Templates. Some users were concerned that Benchmark’s templates may feel like spam email, leading recipients to mark them as junk and not studying the contents. Since the whole point of an ESP would be to stop this from occurring, this might be a problem. On the flip side, I never felt this way while searching through the template list, therefore it may not be the most valid of complaints.
Benchmark Offers a huge number of pricing plans, such as a free plan and a massive scale of paid programs that may service anywhere between 600 and 7,140,000 subscribers.
Benchmark’s free plans do not require charge Cards, which is always refreshing. The only grab. There will be a small Benchmark emblem in 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 plan allows you to send up to 14000 emails to around 2000 subscribers and provides you access to all but not all of Benchmark’s features list. Notable absences into the attributes list for free account comprise email automation and sub-accounts (allowing multiple users to access one Benchmark account).
Paid Strategies. Email Campaign
Users with small contacts lists and restricted Monthly messages have the option of paying for their email marketing depending on the number of emails that they send every month.
o Medium 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 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 charge 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 easy to use, Open to invention, and competitively priced. Its free options might very well be the very best in the business for anybody who only wants to dip into email marketing (particularly small, neighborhood companies ). For that matter, any Benchmark plan can work well for a small company which perspectives email as a little aspect of its advertising and has no desire to work beyond the principles just yet.
If you are a little or maybe medium-sized Business trying to find a easy email marketing program with a multitude of amazing features, Benchmark is an excellent option. Even though there might come a time when you outgrow the program, it provides a great deal for the money, provides exceptional support, and the company seems to be sensitive to the needs of its users. You can’t ask for more.