Overview Email Marketing 2016
For many a day in 2004, three people sat Around a single desk in a small medical office — an office that functioned as the group’s conference room, lunch room, and thought heart. Backed by a little programming team in India, the trio (comprising Benchmark Internet Group founder Curt Keller, his wife Denise, along with an search engine optimization expert) discussed ideas on how best to implement a deceptively simple concept. Simple email marketing. Many of their thoughts were beyond the resources of this fledgling business, 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 create a very simple user interface that would be simple to operate. All the time, the company championed such novel ideas as customizable templates and applications which adapted to user needs. They also made certain from the outset that anyone who needed help would have quick access to excellent customer support.
Benchmark Has continued to grow and advantagesper. Its present focus. Providing global email advertising solutions to small and midsize businesses while continuing to honor a commitment to assist children in need. This does not mean that Benchmark is a little-guys-only company, however; it’s adhered to its core principle of adaptability and serves large organizations like UNICEF and Kaiser-Permanente via 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 maintains good relationships with little, locally-based businesses. In reality, the company offers a complete page of testimonials from local 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 industry, one of the standout features of this ESP is the simple fact that most of its features come standard with every single accounts — such as the free ones. Here are a few of Benchmark’s most notable offerings.
· Hundreds of Industry-Specific, Themed Templates. Benchmark provides all customers access to its library of over 400 templates. These are organized into 19 categories, some of which are tailored to particular industries such as education, entertainment, and retail. 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 benefits of this attribute here.
· Online Surveys. You’ll be able to create professional-looking online polls 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 plans have a dedicated IP address to help increase deliverability rates. Users on other plans have the option of paying for this service ($30/month) to boost their own delivery stats. Read more about the advantages of dedicated servers here.
· Email Delivery Direction . Benchmark’s email delivery 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 leading email delivery and consulting support. The business also communicates with ISPs on its customers’ behalf. Email Marketing 2016
· Mobile App. Benchmark’s mobile programs allow customers having an Apple device to get several functions on the street. They can get and include contacts, browse reportsand send videos via integration with a YouTube account, and even layout and send fast email blasts with one of 10 templates that are available. That is quite a bit more than many other companies offer on their mobile apps, making them much more functional.
· Photo Editing. If the pictures you plan to utilize in your email campaign aren’t perfectly sized or want some colour adjustment, you can use Benchmark’s integrated picture editor. This is a pretty handy feature if you do not have photoshop available.
· Code Editor. If you’ve got the know-how to work magic with HTML, Benchmark offers this ultra-customization option with which you may build your mails from scratch.
· Autoresponder. Each Benchmark customer has the ability to style up to eight custom autoresponder messages. These can be scheduled as a series or event lead-up, or made as annual messages such as anniversary or birthday emails.
· Sign-Up Types . The only way to become prosperous in email marketing is by way of growing your list, and Benchmark actually 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 custom templates for every medium.
· Inbox Checker. Since every email program differs and every web browser has a signature style, making certain that your emails look great across the board is crucial. You can use Inbox Checker to have a look at the way your email screens in Gmail using Explorer and Outlook 3. Using the entire app (which checks everything out of 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 out of their sites automatically through the RSS-to-Email feature, which works with any blog which handles an RSS-feed. Users simply have to establish a template and campaign 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 permits users using 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 brief, this permits them to perform three functions. Manage contact lists, handle campaigns and campaign sending, and assess data. The business describes this function 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
Enrolling in a Benchmark accounts is fairly straightforward. After entering your name, email, phone number, and company name, you need to validate 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 appealing UI that gave me a very clear path about the best way to make my very first email campaign. Good start!
Email Campaign Creation
On its dashboard, Benchmark provides users five main options. Emails, Automations, Contacts, Surveys, and Reports. To make a new effort, proceed into the Emails segment, then hit on the large blue”Create New Mail” button at the upper right-hand corner. Email Marketing 2016
From there, you have to 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 moved with the drag-and-drop alternative.
I was motivated to enter a subject line for my Email and setup how much tracking I desired on the message, in addition to if I wanted an automatic tweet when the effort went out. The next task was to select which contacts I wished to receive the campaign. With that, I was finally able to begin building the email itself. If you would like to, you are able to assemble your personal email layouts using an extremely intuitive editor. On the flip side, you can alter one of Benchmark’s templates, that are great, and much better than I managed to do on my own.
Preventing the Email Campaign
If You’re just Starting out, you can do as I did and manually input contacts at a time. However, for those who already have a list, there are several ways to import it. You can upload a CSV, xls, or txt file right from your personal computer; import contacts directly from Salesforce.com, Hotmail, or Gmail accounts; or copy and paste huge lists of contacts into a text form. When you make your Benchmark lists, then they’ll show up on your dashboard, together with a Master Unsubscribe List.
The sending of the email is quite simple. Once you’ve completed all of your tweaks, you may save the email as a draft, send it immediately, or schedule a time and date for delivery. If you want to check everything is well before unleashing your email about the planet, you can send it to yourself to preview it as many as 10 times/day. I chose to schedule my email for shipping to see how timely the automated system would really be. I scheduled my email for 2.45 and obtained it at 2.50, therefore while the timing was not exactly perfect, it was likely present in tolerance levels for many users. If you’re one of the more rare users who demand on-the-minute email sending, then you might have to appear elsewhere. More worryingly, my email did not go to my main inbox but was automatically sorted into my”promotions” folder. Definitely not perfect.
Mail Campaign Reporting
The first thing I Discovered about Benchmark email reports was something I’d read in a few reviews. They’re really, really fast. I mean lightning fast. Opens register in the Benchmark system virtually instantaneously. I have worked with a lot of different apps where these reports require hours or even days to look.
Benchmark provides users with several key Pieces of information about each campaign. The arguably most important statistic, the available rate, appears in both pie chart and numerical type. Additionally, Benchmark provides users with stats for clicks, forwards, bounces, unsubscribes, and abuse. Each stat further breaks down to the specific email addresses associated with a given activity. Users can export this data for additional analysis by means of a csv or xls file. There is also a social networking area which reports shares via Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, in addition to a map which breaks down, by country, that opens your emails. Email Marketing 2016
Though all of the information is great and Necessary, it isn’t sufficient to sustain increased level marketers that need more information such as conversions, which links were clicked, and earnings analysis. Although Google Analytics provides a whole lot of this info with proper integration, there may come a time when serious entrepreneurs need more info than Benchmark provides. Whether or not a small company will reach that point changes, naturally, dependent on the business.
Particular Size Of Company
Benchmark made its 3-tiered pricing Structure with the objective of serving everybody from the smallest kitchen-table startup to large email marketers. On the other hand, the company’s main focus is on small to medium companies, particularly those just beginning in email marketing. This is especially reflected in the reality that clients subscribing to the moderate plans get unlimited mails, while larger plans have constraints.
Integrations and Add-Ons
Benchmark Offers approximately 20 plug-ins and integrations. If you do not see the integration you need, there is still hope. You’re able to 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 allows users to make and customize occasions, promote and market tickets, and track the success of the events through their Benchmark Email account. A variety of subscriptions are available, such as 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.
· Twitter — Benchmark Mail Lite is a WordPress plug-in which permits users to easily build an email viewer through their readers. The plug-in can automatically create email versions of blog articles and permits users to connect up to five Benchmark accounts.
· Highrise — Merges Highrise contacts using a Benchmark list. Read our overview of Highrisehere.
· Benchmark Power — This free plug-in lets you supply images for your Benchmark emails from places throughout the web. Benchmark Power captures images you locate and instantly uploads them to your Benchmark account for future usage.
· Flickr — Users with Flickr accounts can link Flickr for their own Benchmark image galleries.
· Shopify — You are able to link a Shopify accounts to Benchmark and mechanically add Shopify customers to Benchmark lists. You can even add contributors to different lists based on which products they bought. Read our overview of Shopify here.
· PayPal — Users may add any of the PayPal clients to their Benchmark email lists bylinking the accounts. Read our review of Paypal here.
· Easy List — Know more about this simple list-making program and download it .
· WordPress — The ever-present site and website builder offers an integration using Benchmark. Use it to send mails of your blog articles and use the analytics to observe how your readers react to them. Learn more here.
· Zapier — Gain entry to Zapier’s enormous integration library . Email Marketing 2016
Social Media Integrations
Since Of the integral connection between social media and email advertising, it’s very important to look at the social networking features contained in Benchmark.
· Social Media Templates — One section of Benchmark’s massive email template list consists of societal media-specific templates which directly promote your institution’s participation in social networking forums like facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
· Facebook”Like” Button — Benchmark provides a simple function which permits you to add a Facebook”Like” button into 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, to help you 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 buttons to each email which will direct your readers 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 concerning the selection of personal data from citizens of those nations. When clients provide credit card numbers to Benchmark, the company uses secure socket layer (SSL) protection to encrypt the information. The whole platform is encrypted to ensure the safety of customers’ personal information.
Anti-Spam Policy and Protection
Like All valid ESPs, Benchmark takes spam seriously and summarizes a clear zero-tolerance coverage for any of their users hoping to take part in spam activities. The company is entirely in compliance with the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. Benchmark additionally takes several measures to preserve its reputation as a spam-free provider, one of them membership in the Email Sender and Provider Coalition. The company employs the program SpamAssassin to filter messages sent through its host.
To prevent users from Unknowingly sending spam-like substances, Benchmark supplies a spam test feature that looks for words commonly utilized in spam messages. It scores every email on a scale from 1 to 5; 5s are delegated to content that’s very likely to be blocked. In case of a high score, the program suggests”less spammy” choices. Individualized IP addresses also assist large-volume senders reduce their spam amounts.
Client Service and Support
Benchmark Offers its users a lot of support tools. Customer service is usually responsive, with minimal waiting times. The site provides good learning tools, but may be opaque at times. Crucial information can be buried and difficult to find, especially if you don’t know exactly what you’re searching for, particularly in regards to minute particulars about strategies. As an example. That the Free For Life plan includes Benchmark branding on every email, however you won’t find that mentioned on the Free For Life webpage, not even at the fine print. Nor will you see it mentioned when you sign up. The only place it’s mentioned is in the FAQ, here.
Here are some of the resources Benchmark offers. Email Marketing 2016
· Live Support and Email — Benchmark provides live one-on-one aid through the following means.
· Email Support. Contact Benchmark at [email protected] or through the company’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 even 001-562-252-3789 (all states ). Available weekdays from 6 am to 5 pm PT.
· Chat Support. Available almost 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 because it’s closer to some QandA-format knowledge base than a normal FAQ. There are more than 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 of 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. Some of the QandAs provide information which is wholly incorrect, so in some cases, you may want to contact support 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 the program. The business also supplies a webinar known as”Benchmark Email Crash Course.” You may view it live each Friday at 10.00 a.m. PST or see the recorded version at any moment. You might even request a special webinar on a number of other topics. Live webinars include the opportunity to ask questions throughout the presentation.
· Email Marketing Manuals and Articles — You can find more in-depth details on email marketing in general, as well as the Benchmark program specifically, in the Manuals Section. These downloadable documents also cover industry-specific issues. Articles, similar to sites, offer users guidance beyond that found in the FAQ section, but in shorter, more digestible chunks compared to the manuals provide.
· Glossary of Email Marketing Requirements — This can be a particularly helpful tool for all those new to email marketing who believe consumed by all the jargon. Benchmark gives a glossarywith 50 of the most popular email advertising terms from”above-the-fold” into”whitelists.”
· Blog and Newsletter — For current information regarding email advertising trends, check out Benchmark’s monthly newsletter, in addition to its extremely active blog. All readers automatically obtain access to current newsletters, and Benchmark also offers an archive of newsletter posts from November 2007-October 2012.
· Benchmark Community — Benchmark users can post their latest 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 other Benchmark users.
Web-Based Or Locally-Installed
Benchmark is entirely web-based and does not Require any installation on your PC.
Positive Reviews and Reviews
Benchmark Includes a four-out-of-five star score on G2 Crowd, using a slightly better showing on GetApp and Capterra. 4.5 stars each. Email Marketing 2016
Some common points of praise.
· Top Notch Support. This is perhaps the most common observation regarding Benchmark, and some thing I discovered for myself too. People today are inclined to find support prompt and beneficial, and a few say it is really the element that distinguishes Benchmark from its competitors. The company also receives praise for its blog posts and videos.
· Characteristic Selection Across All Aims . Some users praise the addition of attributes including AB testing and surveys from all programs; many firms charge extra for these features or just include them into their pricier plans.
· Benefits of Use. Users tend to locate Benchmark’s interface incredibly user-friendly and intuitive. The program gathers compliments from a broad range of demographics, from first-time ESP consumers to those who have tried a variety of programs before settling on Benchmark.
· Mobile Friendly Emails. Consumers were impressed with 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 aspect to take into account.
Negative Reviews and Complaints
I was Unable to find many people who loathed Their Benchmark experience. However, I was able to find a few complaints.
· Inconsistent Send-Times. Apparently a few users experienced an issue with Benchmark where their emails were sent hours when they were first scheduled. One customer theorized that the issue might arise in lengthy lists of recipients. Not all customers of all Benchmark will possess time-sensitive sending demands, but other people will. Should you want your mails to go out precisely whenever your schedule dictates, you might need to take into account this issue.
· Buggy Social Media Integrations. I saw several user testimonials that commented the social media integrations in Benchmark are not up to par.
· “Spammy” Templates. Some users were worried that Benchmark’s templates may feel like spam mail, causing receivers to mark them as junk rather than reading the contents. Since the whole point of an ESP would be to stop this from occurring, this may be a problem. On the other hand, I never felt this way whilst looking through the template list, so it might not be the most valid of complaints.
Benchmark Provides a enormous number of pricing plans, including a totally free plan and a massive array of paid plans which can service anywhere between 600 and 7,140,000 subscribers.
Benchmark’s free programs do not require credit Cards, which is always refreshing. The only grab. There will be a little Benchmark logo in the bottom of every email you send out. Of course, you can always opt to upgrade to a paid plan if you don’t want the Benchmark branding. The free program permits you to send up to 14000 emails to up to 2000 subscribers and gives you access to all but not all Benchmark’s features list. Notable absences to the attributes list for free accounts comprise email automation and sub-accounts (enabling many users to get one Benchmark accounts ).
Paid Plans. Email Marketing 2016
Users with small contacts lists and limited Monthly messages have the choice of paying for their email marketing based on the amount of mails that 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 Plans. 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 allows you to pay through PayPal. They also offer a 25% discount for nonprofits and educators.
Benchmark is a good program. It’s Simple to Use, Open to innovation, and competitively priced. Its free alternatives may very well be the very best in the company for anyone who just wants to dip into email marketing (especially small, local businesses). For that matter, any Benchmark strategy can work nicely for a little company which views email as a minor element of its marketing and has no desire to operate past the basics just yet.
If you are a little or even medium-sized Company looking for a easy email marketing program using a host of amazing features, Benchmark is an excellent option. Though there might come a time when you launch the program, it supplies a great deal for the price, provides exceptional service, and the company appears to be sensitive to the requirements of its users. You can not ask for more.