Summary Email Campaign Platforms
For many an evening in 2004, three people sat Around one desk in a tiny medical office — an office which served as the group’s conference room, breakfast area, and idea heart. Backed by a little programming group in India, the trio (comprising Benchmark Internet Group founder Curt Keller, his wife Denise, along with an SEO pro ) discussed ideas for how to implement a deceptively straightforward idea. Simple email marketing. Many of their thoughts were beyond the resources of this fledgling business, but that didn’t stop Keller from planning ahead.
The first Customers of Benchmark Email were small businesses located in close proximity to Benchmark’s one-room HQ in Long Beach, CA. Keller and his staff sold them on the use of email advertising, while working hard to create a very simple user interface that would be easy to operate. All the time, the company uses such novel ideas as customizable templates and applications which adapted to consumer needs. They also made certain from the beginning that anybody who needed help would have rapid access to outstanding customer care.
Benchmark Has continued to rise and advantagesper. Its current focus. Providing worldwide email advertising services to small and midsize businesses while continuing to honor a commitment to help kids in need. This doesn’t indicate that Benchmark is a little-guys-only service, however; it’s stuck to its core principle of adaptability and functions large organizations like UNICEF and Kaiser-Permanente via its High Volume Business plans.
Today, Benchmark serves upwards of 73,000 users from across the planet, however, the company has not forgotten its origins. Benchmark still keeps good relationships with small, locally-based companies. In fact, the organization offers a complete page of testimonials from local users of this program. You may read about Benchmark’s history and development here.
While most of the attributes Benchmark provides Are on par with the rest of the industry, one of the standout characteristics of the ESP is the fact that nearly all its features come standard with each account — including the free ones. Below are a few of Benchmark’s most notable offerings.
· Hundreds of Industry-Specific, Themed Templates. Benchmark offers all customers access to the library of over 400 templates. These are organized into 19 categories, some of which are tailored to particular industries such as education, entertainment, and retailstores. There’s also a category for societal media-specific templates.
· Video Emails. Possibly the best-known advantage of Benchmark is its support for video mails. The company explains the advantages of this feature 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 into an email.
· Dedicated Email Server. All Benchmark’s High Volume programs come with a dedicated IP address to help increase deliverability prices. Users on other plans have the choice 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 clients’ emails into inboxes. The company is a member of the Email Sender and Provider Coalition and operates with ReturnPath, a leading email delivery and delivery service. The company also communicates with ISPs on its customers’ behalf. Email Campaign Platforms
· Mobile App. Benchmark’s mobile apps allow customers having an Apple device to access several functions on the road. They can get and include contacts, read reportsand send videos through integration using a YouTube accounts, and even layout and send quick email blasts with one of 10 available templates. This is quite a bit more than a number of other businesses offer on their mobile apps, which makes them considerably more functional.
· Photo Editing. If the photos you plan to use in your email campaign are not perfectly sized or want some colour 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 have the know-how to work magic with HTML, Benchmark offers this ultra-customization choice with which you may build your mails from scratch.
· Autoresponder. Every Benchmark customer has the power to design around eight custom autoresponder messages. These could be scheduled as a series or event lead-up, or made as annual messages like birthday or anniversary mails.
· Sign-Up Types . The only way to become successful in email advertising is through growing your own list, and Benchmark really promotes doing so through sign-up forms. The company bases its Free For Life account entirely around site and Facebook sign-ups and provides an easy-to-use tool to create customized templates for each medium.
· Inbox Checker. Since every email program is different and each web browser has a signature style, making sure your emails look good across the board is important. It is possible to use Inbox Checker to look at the way your email screens in Gmail using Explorer and Outlook 3. Using the entire app (which assesses everything from AOL to Yahoo, Explorer to Safari, mobile to PC) is a paid add-on service, available for $14 each 100 checks.
· RSS-to-Email. Regular bloggers can create newsletters from their blogs automatically through the RSS-to-Email attribute, which works with any blog which manages an RSS-feed. Users simply need 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-in connection. Benchmark’s API Integration feature permits users with XML-RPC, HTTP POST, or HTTP GET abilities to retrieve data from other programs that use JSON, XML, XML-RPC, or PHP serialization strings. In a nutshell, this permits them to perform three purposes. Manage contact lists, manage campaigns and campaign sending, and assess data. The company explains this role in more detail .
· Advanced Metrics. Benchmark offers 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 fairly straightforward. After entering your name, email, phone number, and company name, you have to confirm your email address. This was a five-minute procedure for me. Upon logging in to my new account (with the free plan) I was greeted by an attractive UI that gave me a very clear path about the best way best to create my very first email campaign. Good beginning!
Email Campaign Creation
On its own dashboard, Benchmark provides users five main options. Emails, Automations, Contacts, Surveys, and Reports. To make a new campaign, proceed into the Emails section, then hit the large blue”Create New Email” button at the top right-hand corner. Email Campaign Platforms
From there, you must decide if you want an RSS Or traditional 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 went with the drag-and-drop option.
I was motivated to enter a subject line for my Email and set up how much observation I desired on the message, as well as if I wanted an automatic tweet when the campaign went out. The following task was to select which contacts I wanted to receive the campaign. With that, I was eventually able to start constructing the email . If you would like to, you are able to assemble your own email designs employing an extremely intuitive editor. On the other hand, you can alter one of Benchmark’s templates, which are great, and better than I was able to do in my.
Preventing the Email Campaign
If You’re just Starting out, you can certainly do as I did and manually enter contacts at a time. However, for those who already have a list, 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 huge lists of contacts into a text type. When you create your Benchmark lists, they’ll appear on your dashboard, along with a Master Unsubscribe List.
The actual sending of the email is quite simple. Once you’ve finished all your tweaks, you can save email as a draft, send it instantly, or schedule a date and time for delivery. If you would like to verify 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 opted to program my email for shipping to view how timely the automated system would really be. I advised my email for 2.45 and obtained it at 2.50, so while the timing wasn’t exactly ideal, it was likely present in tolerance levels for many users. If you are one of the more infrequent users who need on-the-minute email sending, then you might have to look elsewhere. More worryingly, my email didn’t go to my main inbox but was automatically sorted into my”promotions” folder. Definitely not perfect.
Email Campaign Reporting
The first thing I Discovered about Benchmark email reports was something I would read in a few reviews. They’re really, really quickly. I mean lightning fast. Opens register in the Benchmark system virtually instantaneously. I have worked with a lot of other programs where these reports require hours or even days to appear.
Benchmark provides users with several key Bits of information about every effort. The arguably most important statistic, the open speed, appears 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 action. Users can export this data for further analysis via a csv or xls file. There is also a social networking place which reports shares via Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, in addition to a map that breaks down, by country, that opens your mails. Email Campaign Platforms
Though all of the information Is Excellent and Necessary, it is not sufficient to sustain higher level marketers who need more info such as conversions, which links were clicked, and earnings analysis. Though Google Analytics provides a whole lot of that information with proper integration, there may come a time when serious entrepreneurs need more information than Benchmark provides. Whether or not a small business will get to that point changes, naturally, dependent on the business.
Specific Size Of Company
Benchmark made 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 organization’s main focus is on small to medium businesses, especially those just starting out in email marketing. This is especially reflected in the fact that clients subscribing to the medium plans get unlimited mails, while larger plans have limitations.
Integrations and Add-Ons
Benchmark Offers approximately 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 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 allows users to create and customize occasions, promote and sell tickets, and monitor the success of the events via their Benchmark Email account. A number of subscriptions are available, such as a free alternative.
· Salesforce.com — This integration enables users to import contacts directly into Benchmark and use Benchmark’s email system to keep Salesforce customers participated. Read our review of Salesforce here.
· WordPress — Benchmark Mail Lite is a WordPress plug-in which permits users to quickly build an email viewer through their subscribers. The plug-in 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 overview of Highrisehere.
· Benchmark Power — This free plugin allows you to source images for your Benchmark mails from locations throughout the web. Benchmark Power captures images you locate and instantly uploads them to a Benchmark account for future use.
· Flickr — Users with Flickr accounts can link Flickr to their own Benchmark image galleries.
· Shopify — You can link a Shopify accounts to Benchmark and automatically add Shopify customers to Benchmark lists. You may even add subscribers to different lists based on which products they purchased. Read our review of Shopify here.
· PayPal — Users can add any of the PayPal customers to their own Benchmark email lists bylinking the account. 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 offers an integration with Benchmark. Use it to send mails of your blog posts and also use the analytics to see how your readers react to them. Learn more here.
· Zapier — Gain access to Zapier’s enormous integration library . Email Campaign Platforms
Social Media Integrations
Since Of the key connection between social media and email advertising, it’s very important to check out the social media features included in Benchmark.
· Social Media Templates — One section of Benchmark’s massive email template list is made of social media-specific templates which directly promote your institution’s involvement in social networking forums like facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
· Facebook”Like” Button — Benchmark provides a simple function which permits you to bring a Facebook”Like” button to your emails.
· Facebook Sign-Up Form — Benchmark provides easy-to-create sign-up forms (see”Characteristics” above) for both websites and Facebook fan pages, so you can convert followers to readers.
· Social Links within Email — After you connect your Benchmark account together with your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn account, you can add switches to each email which will direct your readers to each of your social media pages.
The Business also fully Complies with the U.S.-E.U. and U.S.-Swiss Safe Harbor Frameworks concerning the selection of personal data from citizens of those nations. When clients provide credit card amounts to Benchmark, the company uses secure socket layer (SSL) security to encrypt the information. The entire system is encrypted to ensure the security of all customers’ personal details.
Anti-Spam Policy and Protection
Like All valid ESPs, Benchmark takes spam seriously and outlines a clear zero-tolerance policy for any of the users trying to take part in spam activities. The business is fully in compliance with all the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. Benchmark also takes several measures to preserve its reputation as a spam-free provider, one of them membership from the Email Sender and Provider Coalition. The business uses the program SpamAssassin to filter messages sent through its server.
To stop users from Unknowingly sending spam-like substances, Benchmark provides a spam check feature that looks for words widely utilized in spam messages. It scores every email on a scale from 1 to 5; 5s are assigned to content that’s likely to be blocked. In the event of a high score, the program suggests”less spammy” choices. Individualized IP addresses also assist large-volume senders reduce their spam amounts.
Customer Service and Support
Benchmark Offers its customers a great deal of support tools. Customer service is generally responsive, with minimal waiting times. The website offers good learning resources, but may be needlessly opaque at times. Key information is often buried and difficult to locate, especially if you don’t know precisely what you’re searching for, particularly in regards to minute details about plans. As an example. That the Free For Life plan includes Benchmark branding on each email, however 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 said when you register. The only place it’s mentioned is in the FAQ, here.
Here are some of those resources Benchmark offers. Email Campaign Platforms
· Live Support and Email — Benchmark supplies live one-on-one aid through the following means.
· Email Support. Contact Benchmark at [email protected] or via the organization’s contact form here. Available 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 countries). Available weekdays from 6 am to 5 pm PT.
· Chat Support. Available nearly 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 because it’s closer to some QandA-format knowledge foundation than a typical FAQ. There are over 900 entries, sorted into 18 subjects ranging from”Getting Started” to”API.” Users can execute a key word search of any topic (or sub-topic) or from the FAQ as a whole. 1 caveat. With such a comprehensive knowledge base, it’s pretty much inevitable that some entries will be out of date. Some of the QandAs offer 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 movie tutorials which take users step by step through the features of this program. The company also supplies a webinar called”Benchmark Email Crash Course.” You can view it live each Friday at 10.00 a.m. PST or see the recorded version at any time. You might even ask for a special webinar on a number of other topics. 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 in general, in addition to 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 compared to the guides provide.
· Glossary of Email Marketing Terms — This can be a particularly valuable tool for all those new to email marketing who believe absorbed by all of the jargon. Benchmark provides a glossarywith 50 of the very popular email advertising conditions from”above-the-fold” into”whitelists.”
· Website and Newsletter — For current information about email advertising trends, check out Benchmark’s monthly newsletter, in addition to its extremely active blog. All readers 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 newest newsletters on message boards in the Benchmark Community. This forum allows users to discuss newsletter creation strategies, vote for their favourite newsletters, and gain inspiration from other Benchmark users.
Web-Based Or Locally-Installed
Benchmark is entirely web-based and doesn’t Require any setup on your computer.
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. Email Campaign Platforms
Some common points of compliments.
· Top Notch Service . This is maybe the most typical observation concerning Benchmark, and some thing I noticed for myself as well. People today are inclined to find support prompt and helpful, and some say it’s actually the component that distinguishes Benchmark from its rivals. The business also receives praise for its website articles and videos.
· Characteristic Selection Across All Plans. Some customers praise the inclusion of features like AB testing and surveys in most programs; many firms charge extra for these attributes or only include them into their pricier programs.
· Benefits of Use. Users have a tendency to locate Benchmark’s interface extremely intuitive and user-friendly. The program gathers praise from a wide assortment of demographics, from first-time ESP consumers to people who have attempted a variety of programs before settling on Benchmark.
· Mobile Friendly Emails. Consumers were impressed with all the mobile-friendly email layout of Benchmark’s templates. Since more and more people access their email from mobile devices, this is an increasingly important factor to take into account.
Negative Reviews and Complaints
I was Unable to find many Men and Women who loathed Their own Benchmark experience. However, I was able to discover a few complaints.
· Inconsistent Send-Times. Apparently some users experienced a problem with Benchmark where their emails were sent hours when they were first scheduled. One customer theorized that the issue might arise from long lists of recipients. Not all clients of all Benchmark will possess time-sensitive sending demands, but other people will. Should you need your emails to go out exactly whenever your schedule dictates, you may need to take into account this situation.
· Buggy Social Media Integrations. I watched several consumer reviews that commented the social media integrations in Benchmark aren’t up to par.
· “Spammy” Templates. Some users were worried that Benchmark’s templates may feel like spam email, leading receivers to mark them as spam rather than reading the contents. Since the whole point of an ESP would be to stop this from happening, this might be a problem. On the other hand, I never felt this way while looking through the template list, so it might not be the most valid of complaints.
Benchmark Offers a enormous variety 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, which is always refreshing. The only catch. 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 in case you don’t want the Benchmark branding. The free plan allows you to send up to 14000 mails to around 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 (allowing multiple users to access one Benchmark account).
Paid Plans. Email Campaign Platforms
Users with small contacts lists and limited Monthly messages have the option of paying to get their email advertising based 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 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 per month
Benchmark accepts all Major charge 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 is Simple to Use, Open to innovation, and competitively priced. Its free options may just be the very best in the company 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 little company which perspectives email as a minor aspect of its marketing and has no desire to work beyond the principles just yet.
If you are a small or even medium-sized Business trying to find a simple email marketing program with a host of amazing features, Benchmark is an excellent option. Though there might come a time when you outgrow the app, it supplies a lot for the price, provides exceptional service, and the company seems to be sensitive to the needs of its users. You can’t ask for more.