Overview Email Campaign Management
For many an evening in 2004, three people sat Around one desk in a small medical office — an office which served as the team’s conference room, lunch room, and idea hub. Backed by a small programming group in India, the trio (comprising Benchmark Internet Group founder Curt Keller, his wife Denise, along with an SEO expert) discussed ideas for how to execute a deceptively straightforward concept. Simple email marketing. Many of the thoughts were beyond the resources of the 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 marketing, while working hard to make a very simple user interface which would be easy to operate. All the time, the company uses such novel ideas as customizable templates and software which adapted to consumer needs. They also made certain from the beginning that anybody who needed help would have rapid access to excellent customer support.
Benchmark Has continued to rise and advantagesper. Its current focus. Providing worldwide email marketing solutions to small and medium-sized companies while continuing to honor a commitment to assist kids in need. This doesn’t mean that Benchmark is a little-guys-only service, however; it has stuck to its core principle of adaptability and functions large organizations such as UNICEF and Kaiser-Permanente via its High Volume Business plans.
Today, Benchmark serves upwards of 73,000 users from throughout the planet, but the company has not forgotten its origins. Benchmark still keeps good relationships with small, locally-based companies. In fact, the organization offers a full page of testimonials from users of this app. You can read more about Benchmark’s background and development here.
While most of the features Benchmark supplies Are on par with the rest of the industry, among the standout characteristics of this ESP is the fact that most of its features come standard with every single accounts — including the free ones. Here are a few of Benchmark’s most notable offerings.
· Countless Industry-Specific, Themed Templates. Benchmark offers all customers access to its library of over 400 templates. These are organized into 19 categories, some of which are tailored to specific industries such as education, entertainment, and retailstores. There is also a class for societal media-specific templates.
· Video Emails. Perhaps the best-known benefit of Benchmark is its support for video mails. The business describes the advantages of this feature here.
· Online Surveys. You can 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 programs come with a dedicated IP address to help increase deliverability rates. Users on other programs have the choice of paying for this service ($30/month) to boost their own delivery stats. Read more about the benefits of dedicated servers here.
· Email Delivery Management. Benchmark’s email shipping management program is about getting customers’ emails into inboxes. The business is a member of the Email Sender and Provider Coalition and operates with ReturnPath, a top email delivery and consulting service. The company also communicates with ISPs on its clients’ behalf. Email Campaign Management
· Mobile App. Benchmark’s mobile apps make it possible for customers with an Apple device to access several purposes on the street. They can get and add contacts, read reports, send videos through 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 a number of other businesses offer in their mobile programs, which makes them considerably more operational.
· Photo Editing. If the pictures you plan to utilize in your email campaign are not perfectly sized or need some color adjustment, you may use Benchmark’s integrated photo editor. This is a pretty handy feature if you do not have photoshop accessible.
· Code Editor. In case you’ve got the know-how to work magic with HTML, Benchmark provides this ultra-customization choice with which you may construct your emails from scratch.
· Autoresponder. Each Benchmark client has the power to design around eight custom autoresponder messages. These can be scheduled as a string or occasion lead-up, or made as annual messages such as anniversary or birthday emails.
· Sign-Up Forms. The only way to be prosperous in email marketing is by way of growing your own list, and Benchmark actually promotes doing this through sign-up forms. The company bases its Free For Life account entirely around site and Facebook sign-ups and supplies an easy-to-use tool to create customized templates for each medium.
· Inbox Checker. Since every email program is different and every web browser has a signature style, making sure your emails look good across the board is important. You can use Inbox Checker to have a look at the way your email screens in Gmail using Explorer and Outlook 3. Employing the full program (which checks everything out of AOL to Yahoo, Explorer to Safari, mobile to PC) is a paid add-on provider, available for $14 each 100 checks.
· RSS-to-Email. Regular bloggers may create newsletters out of their blogs mechanically through the RSS-to-Email attribute, which works with any blog which manages an RSS-feed. Users only have to set up a template and campaign inside Benchmark once.
· API Integration. An API (Application Program Interface) enables different software programs to communicate with one another without a formal plug connection. Benchmark’s API Integration feature permits users using XML-RPC, HTTP POST, or HTTP GET abilities to retrieve data from some other programs which use JSON, XML, XML-RPC, or PHP serialization strings. In a nutshell, this permits them to play three purposes. Manage contact lists, handle campaigns and effort sending, and check statistics. The business explains this role in more detail .
· Advanced Metrics. Benchmark provides both List Segmentation and AB Split Testing.
· Multiple-Language Interface. Benchmark is offered in seven languages. Chinese, English, German, Japanese, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish.
Benefits Of Use
Signing up for a Benchmark accounts is pretty straightforward. After entering your name, email, phone number, and company name, you have to validate your email address. This was a five-minute process for me. Upon logging into my account (using the free program ) I was greeted by an appealing UI that gave me a very clear path on the best way best to create my first email campaign. Great start!
Email Campaign Creation
On its dashboard, Benchmark offers users five chief choices. Emails, Automations, Contacts, Surveys, and Reports. To create a new effort, go to the Emails section, then hit on the large blue”Create New Email” button at the top right-hand corner. Email Campaign Management
From there, you have to decide If You Would like an RSS Or traditional email message. It is possible to use Benchmark’s drag-and-drop editor, or move 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 gifted that way, so I went with the drag-and-drop alternative.
I had been motivated to enter a subject line for my Email and setup how much observation I desired on the message, as well as when I wanted an automatic tweet when the campaign went out. The following task was to choose which contacts I wanted to receive the campaign. With that, I was eventually able to begin building the email . If you want to, you are able to construct your own email designs using a very intuitive editor. On the flip side, you can modify one of Benchmark’s templates, that can be great, and much better than I was able to do in my.
Sending the Email Campaign
If you are 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 listing, there are numerous 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 large lists of contacts to a text form. When you create your Benchmark lists, they’ll show up on your dash, together with a Master Unsubscribe List.
The actual sending of this email is rather easy. When you’ve completed all your tweaks, you may save email as a draft, send it instantly, or schedule a time and date for delivery. If you want to check everything 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 shipping to view how timely the automated system would really be. I scheduled my email for 2.45 and obtained it at 2.50, so while the timing wasn’t exactly ideal, it was likely within tolerance levels for most users. If you are among the more rare users who demand on-the-minute email sending, then you might need to look elsewhere. More worryingly, my email didn’t go to my primary inbox but was mechanically sorted in my”promotions” folder. Definitely not perfect.
Email Campaign Reporting
First thing I Noticed about Benchmark email reports was something I would read about in a couple of reviews. They are really, really fast. I mean lightning fast. Opens register in the Benchmark system almost instantaneously. I’ve worked with a lot of different apps where these reports take hours or even days to look.
Benchmark provides users with several key Bits of information about every campaign. The possibly most important statistic, the available rate, seems in both pie graph and numerical form. Additionally, Benchmark provides users with stats for clicks, forwards, bounces, unsubscribes, and abuse. Each stat further breaks down to the specific email addresses related to a given activity. Users can export this information for additional analysis via a csv or xls file. There’s also a social networking place which reports shares via Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, in addition to a map which breaks down, by country, who opens your mails. Email Campaign Management
Though all of the information is great and Necessary, it is not enough to sustain higher level marketers who need more info such as conversions, which hyperlinks were clicked, and revenue analysis. Although Google Analytics provides a lot of that information with proper integration, there might come a time when serious entrepreneurs need more info than Benchmark provides. Whether a small business will reach that point changes, naturally, based on the business.
Specific Size Of Company
Benchmark designed its 3-tiered pricing Structure with the goal of serving everybody from the smallest kitchen-table startup to big email marketers. On the other hand, the company’s key focus is on small to medium companies, especially those just beginning in email marketing. This is especially reflected in the fact that clients subscribing to the medium plans get unlimited emails, while larger plans have constraints.
Integrations and Add-Ons
Benchmark Offers approximately 20 plug-ins and integrations. If you do not observe the integration you need, there’s still hope. You can 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 app permits users to make and customize occasions, promote and sell tickets, and monitor the success of their events via their Benchmark Email account. A number of subscriptions are available, including a free option.
· Salesforce.com — This integration allows users to import contacts directly into Benchmark and use Benchmark’s email system to keep Salesforce customers engaged. Read our review of Salesforce here.
· WordPress — Benchmark Mail Lite is a WordPress plug-in which permits users to quickly build an email audience through their readers. 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 list. Read our overview of Highrisehere.
· Benchmark Power — This free plug-in lets you supply images for your Benchmark emails from locations throughout the net. Benchmark Power captures images you find and immediately uploads them to your Benchmark account for future usage.
· Flickr — Users with Flickr accounts may link Flickr for their Benchmark image galleries.
· Shopify — You are able to link a Shopify accounts to Benchmark and mechanically add Shopify customers to Benchmark lists. You may even add contributors to various lists based on what they bought. Read our review of Shopify here.
· PayPal — Users can add any of their PayPal clients for 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 blog and website builder provides an integration with Benchmark. Use it to send mails of your blog articles and also 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 Campaign Management
Social Media Integrations
Since Of the integral connection between social media and email advertising, it is very important to check out the social networking features included in Benchmark.
· Social Media Templates — One segment of Benchmark’s massive email template listing consists of societal media-specific templates which directly promote your company’s involvement in social media forums such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
· Facebook”Like” Button — Benchmark offers a very simple function which permits you to bring a Facebook”Like” button to your own emails.
· Facebook Sign-Up Form — Benchmark provides easy-to-create sign-up forms (see”Characteristics” above) for both sites and Facebook fan pages, so you can convert followers into subscribers.
· Social Links within Mail — After you connect your Benchmark account with your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn accounts, you can add switches to every email which will direct your subscribers to each of your social networking pages.
The Business 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 countries. When customers provide credit card amounts to Benchmark, the company utilizes secure socket layer (SSL) protection to encrypt the info. The entire platform is encrypted to ensure the security of customers’ personal details.
Anti-Spam Policy and Protection
Like All legitimate ESPs, Benchmark takes spam seriously and outlines a clear zero-tolerance coverage for any of the users hoping to engage in spam activities. The business is fully in compliance with all the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. Benchmark additionally takes several measures to preserve its reputation as a spam-free provider, among them membership in the Email Sender and Provider Coalition. The company uses the app SpamAssassin to filter messages delivered through its server.
To prevent users from Unknowingly sending spam-like substances, Benchmark provides a spam check feature that looks for words widely utilized in spam messages. It scores each email on a scale from 1 to 5; 5s are assigned to content that is very likely to be blocked. In case of a high score, the program suggests”less spammy” alternatives. Individualized IP addresses also help large-volume senders reduce their spam amounts.
Customer Service and Support
Benchmark Offers its users a great deal of support resources. Customer support is usually responsive, with minimal waiting times. The site offers good learning tools, but may be opaque occasionally. Key information can be buried and difficult to find, especially if you don’t know precisely what you’re looking for, particularly when it comes to minute details about strategies. As an example. The Free For Life plan comprises Benchmark branding on every email, but you won’t find that mentioned on the Free For Life webpage, not even in the fine print. Nor are you going to see it mentioned when you sign up. The only place it is mentioned is in the FAQ, here.
Here are some of those resources Benchmark offers. Email Campaign Management
· Live Email and Support — Benchmark provides live one-on-one support through the following means.
· Email Support. Contact Benchmark at [email protected] or through the organization’s contact form . Accessible 24 hours Monday — Friday and limited hours on Saturday.
· Phone Support. You can reach Benchmark at 800-430-4095 (U.S.) or 001-562-252-3789 (all countries). Available weekdays from 6 am to 5 pm PT.
· Chat Support. Available nearly 24 hours per day Monday — Friday and limited hours on Saturday. Offered in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian.
· FAQ — Benchmark’s FAQ section is somewhat mislabeled as it’s closer to some QandA-format knowledge foundation than a normal FAQ. You will find more than 900 entries, sorted into 18 subjects ranging from”Getting Started” to”API.” Users can perform a keyword search of any topic (or sub-topic) or of 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. Some of the QandAs offer advice that’s wholly incorrect, so in some cases, you might want to contact assistance to hash things out.
· Video Tutorials and Webinars — Benchmark supplies about two dozen video tutorials that take users step by step through the features of this app. The business also offers a webinar known as”Benchmark Mail Crash Course.” You can view it live each Friday at 10.00 a.m. PST or watch the recorded version at any time. You can even request a special webinar on a number of other topics. Live webinars comprise the chance to ask questions throughout the demonstration.
· Email Marketing Manuals and Articles — You can find more in-depth details on email marketing in general, in addition to the Benchmark program specifically, in the Manuals Section. These downloadable files also cover industry-specific issues. Articles, similar to blogs, offer users guidance beyond that found in the FAQ section, but in shorter, more digestible chunks compared to the guides provide.
· Glossary of Email Marketing Requirements — This can be a particularly helpful tool for those new to email marketing who believe consumed by all of the jargon. Benchmark provides a glossarywith 50 of the most popular email marketing terms from”above-the-fold” into”whitelists.”
· Website and Newsletter — For current information about email advertising trends, check out Benchmark’s monthly newsletter, as well as its extremely active blog. All subscribers automatically gain access to present newsletters, and Benchmark also offers an archive of newsletter posts from November 2007-October 2012.
· Benchmark Community — Benchmark users may post their newest newsletters on message boards at the Benchmark Community. This forum allows users to discuss newsletter production strategies, vote for their favourite newsletters, and gain inspiration from additional Benchmark users.
Web-Based Or Locally-Installed
Benchmark is completely web-based and does not Require any installation on your PC.
Favorable Reviews and Testimonials
Benchmark Includes 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 Management
Some common points of compliments.
· Top Notch Service . This is maybe the most common monitoring regarding Benchmark, and something I discovered for myself too. People today are inclined to find support prompt and beneficial, and a few say it’s actually the element that distinguishes Benchmark from its competitors. The business also receives praise for its website articles and videos.
· Characteristic Selection Across All Aims . Some users praise the addition of features like AB analyzing and surveys from most programs; many firms charge extra for these attributes or just include them in their pricier programs.
· Benefits of Use. Users have a tendency to find Benchmark’s interface extremely intuitive and user-friendly. The program gathers compliments from a wide assortment of demographics, from first-time ESP users to those who have attempted many different programs before settling on Benchmark.
· Mobile Friendly Emails. Users 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 can be an increasingly important factor to consider.
Negative Reviews and Complaints
I was not able to find many Men and Women who disliked Their Benchmark experience. However, I managed to discover a few complaints.
· Inconsistent Send-Times. Apparently a few users experienced an issue with Benchmark in which their emails were sent hours when they were scheduled. One customer theorized the issue might arise from lengthy lists of recipients. Not all customers of Benchmark will have time-sensitive shipping demands, but other people will. If you need your emails to go out precisely whenever your program dictates, you might need to consider this situation.
· Buggy Social Media Integrations. I saw several user reviews that commented the social media integrations in Benchmark are not up to par.
· “Spammy” Templates. Some users have been worried that Benchmark’s templates can feel like spam mail, leading receivers to mark them as junk rather than studying the contents. Since the entire point of an ESP is to stop this from occurring, this might be a problem. On the other hand, I never felt this way whilst searching through the template list, therefore it may not be the most legitimate of complaints.
Benchmark Offers a huge number of pricing plans, including 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 charge Cards, that is always refreshing. The only catch. There’ll be a little Benchmark logo at the bottom of every email you send out. Obviously, you can always choose to upgrade to a paid plan in case you don’t want the Benchmark branding. The free plan allows you to send up to 14000 mails to up to 2000 subscribers and provides you access to all but not all of Benchmark’s features record. Notable absences to the attributes list for free accounts include email automation and sub-accounts (enabling many users to access one Benchmark accounts ).
Paid Strategies. Email Campaign Management
Users with little contacts lists and limited Monthly messages have the choice of paying for their email marketing based on the amount of mails 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 per month
o Extra Large Strategies. 125,000-1,000,000 subscribers, $659.99-$4,273.99 a month
o Massive Plans. 1,070,000-7,140,000 subscribers, $4,500-$29,200 per month
Benchmark accepts all Major credit cards and also allows you to pay through PayPal. They also offer you a 25% discount for nonprofits and educators.
Benchmark is a good program. It’s Simple to Use, Open to invention, and competitively priced. Its free options may very well be the very best in the company for anybody who only wants to dip into email advertising (especially small, local companies ). For that matter, any Benchmark plan can work nicely for a small business which perspectives email as a little element of its advertising and does not have any desire to operate past the basics just yet.
If you are a little or even medium-sized Company looking for a simple email marketing program with a host of great features, Benchmark is an excellent option. Though there may come a time when you launch the program, it supplies a lot for the money, offers excellent support, and the business appears to be sensitive to the requirements of its users. You can not ask for more.