Summary Email Marketing 2015
For many an evening in 2004, three people sat Around one desk in a tiny medical office — an office that functioned as the group’s conference room, lunch room, and thought heart. Backed by a little programming group in India, the trio (consisting of Benchmark Internet Group founder Curt Keller, his wife Denise, along with an search engine optimization expert) discussed ideas for how to execute a deceptively simple idea. Simple email advertising. Many of the ideas were beyond the means of this fledgling business, but that didn’t stop Keller from moving ahead.
The first Customers of Benchmark Email were small companies 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 advertising, while working hard to create a very simple user interface which would be simple to operate. All the time, the company championed such novel ideas as customizable templates and applications which adapted to user requirements. They also made sure from the beginning that anybody who needed help would have quick access to excellent customer support.
Benchmark Has continued to rise and advantagesper. Its current focus. Providing worldwide 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 stuck to its core principle of adaptability and serves large organizations such as UNICEF and Kaiser-Permanente via its High Volume Business plans.
Today, Benchmark serves up of 73,000 users from throughout the planet, however, the company has not forgotten its origins. Benchmark still keeps good relationships with little, locally-based businesses. In reality, the organization offers a complete page of testimonials from users of the app. You may read about Benchmark’s history and development here.
While the Majority of the features Benchmark supplies Are on par with the rest of the business, one of the standout features of the ESP is the simple fact that nearly all its attributes come standard with each account — such as the free ones. Here are some of Benchmark’s most noteworthy offerings.
· Hundreds of 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 particular industries like education, entertainment, and retailstores. There’s also a class for social media-specific templates.
· Video Emails. Perhaps the best-known benefit 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 poll on your site or construct 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 prices. Users on other programs 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 Direction . Benchmark’s email shipping management program is all about getting clients’ emails into inboxes. The company is a part of the Email Sender and Provider Coalition and operates with ReturnPath, a leading email delivery and consulting support. The business also communicates with ISPs on its customers’ behalf. Email Marketing 2015
· Mobile App. Benchmark’s mobile apps make it possible for customers with an Apple device to access several purposes on the road. They can get and add contacts, read reports, send videos via integration with a YouTube account, and even layout and send quick email blasts with one of 10 templates that are available. This is quite a bit more than many other businesses offer in their mobile programs, making them much more functional.
· Photo Editing. If the pictures you intend to use in your email campaign are not perfectly sized or need some colour adjustment, you may use Benchmark’s integrated photo editor. This is a pretty handy feature if you do not have photoshop available.
· Code Editor. In case you have the know-how to work magic with HTML, Benchmark offers this ultra-customization option with which you can build your emails from scratch.
· Autoresponder. Every Benchmark customer has the power to design up to eight custom autoresponder messages. These could be scheduled as a series or event lead-up, or made as yearly messages such as birthday or anniversary emails.
· Sign-Up Forms. The only way to become prosperous in email marketing is through 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 supplies an easy-to-use tool to create customized templates for every medium.
· Inbox Checker. Because every email program differs and each web browser includes a signature fashion, making sure your emails look good across the board is crucial. It is possible to use Inbox Checker to look at the way that your email screens in Gmail using Explorer and Outlook 3. Employing the full app (which checks everything out of AOL to Yahoo, Explorer into Safari, mobile to PC) is a paid add-on provider, 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 site which manages an RSS-feed. Users only have to set up a campaign and template inside Benchmark once.
· API Integration. An API (Application Program Interface) allows different software programs to communicate with one another with no formal plug connection. Benchmark’s API Integration feature allows users with XML-RPC, HTTP POST, or HTTP GET skills to recover data from some other apps that use JSON, XML, XML-RPC, or PHP serialization strings. In a nutshell, this allows them to play three purposes. Manage contact lists, handle campaigns and campaign sending, and assess statistics. The company describes this role in more detail here.
· Advanced Metrics. Benchmark provides both List Segmentation and AB Split Testing.
· Multiple-Language Interface. Benchmark is available in seven languages. Chinese, English, German, Japanese, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish.
Benefits Of Use
Enrolling in a Benchmark accounts is pretty straightforward. After entering your name, email, phone number, and company name, you need to confirm your email address. This is a five-minute process 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 on how to create my very first email campaign. Good beginning!
Email Campaign Creation
On its dashboard, Benchmark provides users five main options. Emails, Automations, Contacts, Surveys, and Reports. To create a new campaign, go to the Emails section, then hit the large blue”Create New Email” button in the upper right-hand corner. Email Marketing 2015
From there, you must decide If You Would like an RSS Or traditional email message. You can use Benchmark’s drag-and-drop editor, or go for more customization with 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 personally 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 set up how much observation I wanted on the message, in addition to if I wanted an automated tweet once the effort went out. The following task was to choose which contacts I wanted to receive the campaign. With that, I was eventually able to begin constructing the email . If you would like to, you can construct your personal 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 on my own.
Sending the Email Campaign
If You’re just Starting out, you can certainly do as I did and manually input contacts at a time. However, for people who already have a listing, there are several ways to import it. You are able to upload a CSV, xls, or txt file directly from the computer; import contacts directly from Salesforce.com, Hotmail, or Gmail accounts; or copy and paste huge lists of contacts to a text type. When you make your Benchmark lists, they’ll show up on your dash, along with a Master Unsubscribe List.
The actual sending of the email is quite simple. Once you’ve completed all your tweaks, you can either save the email as a draft, send it immediately, or schedule a date and time for delivery. If you would like to verify everything is well before unleashing your email about the world, you can send it to your self to preview it as many as 10 times/day. I chose to schedule my email for shipping to view how timely the automatic system would really be. I scheduled my email for 2.45 and received it in 2.50, so while the timing wasn’t exactly perfect, it was likely present in tolerance levels for most users. If you’re one of the more infrequent users who need on-the-minute email sending, you may have to appear elsewhere. More worryingly, my email did not go to my main inbox but was mechanically sorted in my”promotions” folder. Definitely not perfect.
Mail Campaign Reporting
First thing I Discovered about Benchmark email reports was something I’d read in a few reviews. They’re really, really quickly. I mean lightning fast. Opens register from the Benchmark system virtually immediately. I have worked with a lot of other apps where these reports require hours or even days to appear.
Benchmark provides users with several key Pieces of information about each campaign. The possibly most important statistic, the open speed, seems in both pie graph and numerical type. Additionally, Benchmark provides users with stats for clicks, forwards, bounces, unsubscribes, and misuse. Every stat further breaks down to the exact email addresses associated with a given action. Users may export this information for additional analysis by means of a csv or xls file. There’s also a social media area which reports shares through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, in addition to a map which breaks down, by country, that opens your emails. Email Marketing 2015
Though all of this information Is Excellent and Necessary, it isn’t sufficient to sustain increased level marketers who need more information such as conversions, which hyperlinks were clicked, and earnings analysis. Though Google Analytics provides a whole lot of that info with appropriate integration, there might come a time when serious marketers need more information than Benchmark provides. Whether or not a small company will get to that point changes, of course, dependent on the company.
Particular Size Of Company
Benchmark designed its 3-tiered pricing Structure with the objective of serving everyone 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, particularly those just beginning in email advertising. This is especially reflected in the reality that customers subscribing to the moderate plans get unlimited emails, while bigger plans have constraints.
Integrations and Add-Ons
Benchmark Offers roughly 20 plug-ins and integrations. If you do not observe the integration you want, there’s still hope. You can use the API or request an integration by sending an email to [email protected]
· Benchmark Occasions — Benchmark Occasions is event marketing software designed to integrate fully with Benchmark Email. Launched in 2012, this program permits users to create and customize events, promote and sell tickets, and monitor the success of their events through their Benchmark Email account. A variety of subscriptions are available, such as a free alternative.
· Salesforce.com — This integration allows users to import contacts directly into Benchmark and use Benchmark’s email system to maintain Salesforce customers participated. Read our review of Salesforce here.
· Twitter — Benchmark Email Lite is a WordPress plug-in which allows users to quickly build an email viewer via their subscribers. The plug-in can automatically produce email versions of blog articles 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 plug-in lets you source pictures for your Benchmark emails from places throughout the web. Benchmark Power captures pictures you locate and instantly uploads them to a Benchmark account for future usage.
· Flickr — Users with Flickr accounts can link Flickr for their Benchmark image galleries.
· Shopify — You can link a Shopify accounts to Benchmark and mechanically add Shopify customers to Benchmark lists. You may even add subscribers to different lists based on what they purchased. Read our review of Shopify here.
· PayPal — Users can add any of their PayPal customers for their own Benchmark email lists bylinking the account. Read our overview of Paypal here.
· Easy List — Know more about this very simple list-making app and download it here.
· WordPress — The ever-present site and website builder offers an integration using Benchmark. Use it to send mails of your blog articles and also use the analytics to observe how your subscribers react to them. Learn more here.
· Zapier — Gain access to Zapier’s enormous integration library . Email Marketing 2015
Social Media Integrations
Because Of the integral connection between social networking and email marketing, it is very important to look at the social media features contained in Benchmark.
· Social Media Templates — One section of Benchmark’s massive email template listing consists of societal media-specific templates that directly promote your company’s participation in social networking forums such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
· Facebook”Like” Button — Benchmark provides a simple function which permits you to bring a Facebook”Just Like” button into your emails.
· Facebook Sign-Up Form — Benchmark provides 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 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 media 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 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 safety of all customers’ personal information.
Anti-Spam Policy and Protection
Like All valid ESPs, Benchmark takes junk 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 steps to maintain its reputation as a spam-free provider, among them membership in the Email Sender and Provider Coalition. The company employs the program SpamAssassin to filter messages sent through its server.
To stop users from Unknowingly sending spam-like materials, Benchmark supplies a spam test feature which looks for words commonly 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.
Client Support and Service
Benchmark Offers its users a great deal of support resources. Customer support is usually responsive, with minimal waiting times. The website offers good learning resources, but may be opaque occasionally. Crucial information is often buried and hard to find, particularly in the event that you don’t know precisely what you’re searching for, especially in regards to minute particulars about plans. For instance. 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 sign up. The only place it’s mentioned is in the FAQ, here.
Here are some of those resources Benchmark offers. Email Marketing 2015
· Live Support and Email — Benchmark provides live one-on-one support 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 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. 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’s closer to a QandA-format knowledge foundation than a normal FAQ. There are over 900 entries, sorted into 18 topics ranging from”Getting Started” to”API.” Users can execute a keyword search of any topic (or sub-topic) or from their FAQ as a whole. One caveat. With such an extensive knowledge base, it is pretty much inevitable that some entries are going to be out of date. A few of the QandAs offer advice which is wholly incorrect, so in some cases, you might want to contact support to hash things out.
· Video Tutorials and Webinars — Benchmark provides about two dozen video tutorials that take users step by step through the features of the program. The business also supplies a webinar called”Benchmark Mail Crash Course.” You can view it live each Friday at 10.00 a.m. PST or see the recorded version at any moment. You can also ask for a particular webinar on a number of different topics. Live webinars include the opportunity 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 troubles. Articles, similar to sites, 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 Terms — This can be a particularly valuable tool for all those brand new to email marketing who feel absorbed by all of the jargon. Benchmark provides a glossarywith 50 of the most popular email marketing conditions from”above-the-fold” into”whitelists.”
· Blog and Newsletter — For current info regarding email advertising trends, check out Benchmark’s monthly newsletter, in addition to its exceptionally active blog. All readers automatically obtain access to present newsletters, and Benchmark also provides an archive of newsletter posts from November 2007-October 2012.
· Benchmark Community — Benchmark users can post their newest newsletters on message boards at the Benchmark Community. This forum allows users to discuss newsletter production approaches, vote for their favourite newsletters, and gain inspiration from other Benchmark users.
Web-Based Or Locally-Installed
Benchmark is entirely web-based and does not Require any setup on your PC.
Favorable Reviews and Reviews
Benchmark Includes a four-out-of-five star score on G2 Crowd, with a slightly better showing on GetApp and Capterra. 4.5 stars each. Email Marketing 2015
Some common points of praise.
· Top Notch Service . This is perhaps the most common monitoring regarding Benchmark, and some thing I discovered for myself too. People tend to find support prompt and beneficial, and a few say it’s really the element that distinguishes Benchmark from its rivals. The business also receives praise for its blog posts and videos.
· Feature Selection Across All Aims . Some users praise the addition of attributes including AB testing and surveys from all plans; many firms charge extra for such features or only include them in their pricier plans.
· Benefits of Use. Users have a tendency to locate Benchmark’s interface incredibly user-friendly and intuitive. The program gathers praise from a broad assortment of demographics, from first-time ESP users to those who have attempted a variety of programs before settling on Benchmark.
· Mobile Friendly Emails. Consumers were impressed with all the mobile-friendly email design 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 people who disliked Their own Benchmark experience. But, 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. 1 customer theorized that the issue might arise from long lists of recipients. Not all clients of all Benchmark will have time-sensitive sending needs, but others will. If you need your mails to go out precisely whenever your schedule dictates, you may need to consider this issue.
· Buggy Social Media Integrations. I saw several user testimonials that remarked the social media integrations in Benchmark aren’t up to par.
· “Spammy” Templates. Some users were concerned that Benchmark’s templates may feel like spam mail, leading receivers to mark them as spam rather than studying the contents. Since the entire purpose of an ESP is to prevent 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 might not be the most valid of complaints.
Benchmark Provides a huge number of pricing strategies, such as a totally free plan and a massive array of paid programs that may service anywhere between 600 and 7,140,000 subscribers.
Benchmark’s free programs do not require credit Cards, that is always refreshing. The only grab. There’ll be a little Benchmark logo at the bottom of each email you send out. Obviously, you can always opt to upgrade to a paid plan if you don’t need the Benchmark branding. The free program permits you to send up to 14000 mails to around 2000 subscribers and gives you access to most but not all of Benchmark’s features record. Notable absences to the attributes list for free account comprise email automation and sub-accounts (allowing many users to get one Benchmark account).
Paid Plans. Email Marketing 2015
Users with small contacts lists and restricted Monthly messages have the choice of paying to get their email marketing depending on the number of emails they send each 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 a month
o Massive Plans. 1,070,000-7,140,000 subscribers, $4,500-$29,200 a month
Benchmark accepts all Major charge cards and also lets you 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 alternatives may just be the best in the business for anybody who only wants to dive into email advertising (particularly small, local businesses). For that matter, any Benchmark strategy can work nicely for a little business which views email as a minor aspect of its marketing and has no desire to work past the basics just yet.
If you are a little or even medium-sized Business trying to find a simple email advertising program with a host of amazing features, Benchmark is an excellent choice. Even though there may come a time when you outgrow the program, it provides a great deal for the price, provides excellent service, and the business seems to be sensitive to the needs of its users. You can not ask for more.