Summary Email Marketing Automation
For many a day in 2004, three people sat Around one desk in a tiny medical office — an office which functioned 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, and an SEO pro ) discussed ideas on how best to implement a deceptively simple concept. Simple email advertising. Many of their ideas were beyond the resources of the fledgling company, but that did not stop Keller from planning 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 advertising, while working hard to make a very simple user interface that would be easy to operate. All the while, the business uses such novel ideas as customizable templates and software which adapted to user needs. They also made sure from the outset that anyone who needed help would have quick access to outstanding customer care.
Benchmark Has continued to rise and advantagesper. Its current focus. Providing global email marketing services to small and midsize businesses while continuing to honor a commitment to assist kids 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 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 globe, but the company has not forgotten its origins. Benchmark still maintains good relationships with little, locally-based businesses. In reality, the organization supplies a full page of testimonials from users of this app. You may read about Benchmark’s history and development here.
While most of the features Benchmark provides Are on par with the rest of the business, one of the standout characteristics of this ESP is the simple 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.
· Hundreds of Industry-Specific, Themed Templates. Benchmark offers all users 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 social media-specific templates.
· Video Emails. Possibly the best-known advantage of Benchmark is its support for video emails. The business explains the benefits of this feature here.
· Online Surveys. You can create professional-looking online polls using one of 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 plans come with a dedicated IP address to help increase deliverability rates. Users on other plans have the choice of paying for this service ($30/month) to increase their own delivery stats. Read more about the benefits of dedicated servers here.
· Email Delivery Management. Benchmark’s email shipping management program is all about getting customers’ emails into inboxes. The company is a part of the Email Sender and Provider Coalition and operates with ReturnPath, a top email delivery and consulting support. The business also communicates with ISPs on its customers’ behalf. Email Marketing Automation
· Mobile App. Benchmark’s mobile apps allow customers with an Apple device to access several purposes on the road. They can get and add contacts, read reportsand send videos through integration using a YouTube accounts, and even layout and send fast email blasts with one of 10 available templates. This is quite a little more than a number of other businesses offer in their mobile apps, which makes them much more functional.
· Photo Editing. If the photos you plan to utilize in your email campaign are not perfectly sized or need some color adjustment, you can use Benchmark’s integrated photo editor. This is a fairly 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. Each Benchmark client has the ability to design around eight custom autoresponder messages. These could be scheduled as a string or event lead-up, or made as yearly messages like anniversary or birthday mails.
· Sign-Up Types . The only way to become prosperous in email marketing is through growing your list, and Benchmark actually promotes doing this via sign-up forms. The business bases its Free For Life account entirely around website 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 internet browser has a signature fashion, making certain that your emails look good across the board is crucial. It is possible to use Inbox Checker to have a look at the way your email displays in Gmail using Explorer and Outlook 3. Employing the entire app (which checks everything from AOL to Yahoo, Explorer into Safari, mobile to PC) is a paid add-on service, available for $14 per 100 checks.
· RSS-to-Email. Regular bloggers may create newsletters from their blogs mechanically through the RSS-to-Email feature, which works with any site which handles an RSS-feed. Users simply need 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-in link. Benchmark’s API Integration feature allows users using XML-RPC, HTTP POST, or HTTP GET abilities to recover data from other programs which use JSON, XML, XML-RPC, or PHP serialization strings. In a nutshell, this allows them to play three functions. Manage contact lists, manage campaigns and effort sending, and check data. The company describes this function 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.
Ease Of Use
Signing up for a Benchmark account is fairly straightforward. After entering your name, email, phone number, and business name, you have to confirm your email address. This is a five-minute process for me. Upon logging in to my account (using the free program ) I was greeted by an appealing UI that gave me a clear direction about how to create my very first email campaign. Great beginning!
Email Campaign Creation
On its own dashboard, Benchmark provides users five chief options. Emails, Automations, Contacts, Surveys, and Reports. To create a new campaign, go to the Emails section, then hit on the big blue”Create New Mail” button at the top right-hand corner. Email Marketing Automation
From there, you have to decide if you want an RSS Or classic email message. It is possible to use Benchmark’s drag-and-drop editor, or go for more customization using the built-in code editor. If you’re someone 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 set up how much observation I wanted on the message, in addition to when I wanted an automatic tweet when the effort went out. The next task was to select which contacts I wanted to receive the campaign. With that, I was finally able to start constructing the email . If you want to, you can assemble your personal email designs using a very intuitive editor. On the flip side, you can alter one of Benchmark’s templates, which are great, and much better than I was able to do in my.
Sending the Email Campaign
If You’re just Starting out, you can 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 are able to upload a CSV, xls, or txt file right from the computer; import contacts directly from Salesforce.com, Hotmail, or Gmail accounts; or copy and paste large lists of contacts into a text form. Once you create your Benchmark lists, they’ll appear on your dash, along with a Master Unsubscribe List.
The actual sending of this email is rather simple. When you have completed all your tweaks, you may save email as a draft, send it immediately, or schedule a date and time for delivery. If you would like to check all 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 opted to schedule my email for delivery to view how timely the automated system would actually be. I advised my email for 2.45 and obtained it at 2.50, so while the timing was not exactly perfect, it was probably within tolerance levels for most users. If you’re among the more infrequent users who need on-the-minute email sending, you might have to appear elsewhere. More worryingly, my email didn’t go to my main inbox but was automatically sorted in my”promotions” folder. Definitely not ideal.
Mail Campaign Reporting
First thing I Discovered about Benchmark email reports was something I’d read about in a couple of reviews. They’re really, really fast. I mean lightning fast. Opens enroll in the Benchmark system virtually instantaneously. I have worked with several other programs where these reports take hours or even days to look.
Benchmark provides users with several key Pieces of information about each campaign. The arguably most important statistic, the open rate, appears in both pie chart and numerical type. In addition, Benchmark provides users with stats for clicks, forwards, bounces, unsubscribes, and misuse. Each stat further breaks down to the specific email addresses associated with a given activity. Users can export this data for additional analysis via a csv or xls file. There is also a social media area which reports shares via Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, in addition to a map that breaks down, by country, who opens your emails. Email Marketing Automation
Though all of the information is great and Necessary, it is not enough to sustain higher level marketers who want more info such as conversions, which hyperlinks were clicked, and earnings analysis. Though Google Analytics provides a lot of that info with appropriate integration, there may come a time when serious entrepreneurs need more info than Benchmark provides. Whether a small company will reach that point varies, naturally, based on the business.
Particular Size Of Company
Benchmark designed its 3-tiered pricing Structure with the goal of serving everyone from the tiniest kitchen-table startup to large email marketers. However, the company’s main focus is on small to medium businesses, especially those just starting out in email marketing. This is particularly reflected in the fact that clients subscribing to the moderate plans get unlimited emails, while bigger plans have limitations.
Integrations and Add-Ons
Benchmark Offers roughly 20 plug-ins and integrations. If you don’t see the integration you want, there’s still hope. You can use the API or ask a 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 program allows users to create and customize events, promote and market tickets, and track 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 allows users to import contacts into Benchmark and use Benchmark’s email system to keep Salesforce customers participated. Read our overview of Salesforce here.
· Twitter — Benchmark Mail Lite is a WordPress plug-in which allows users to quickly build an email audience via their subscribers. The plug-in can automatically create email variations of blog articles and allows users to connect up to five Benchmark accounts.
· Highrise — Merges Highrise contacts using a Benchmark listing. Read our review of Highrisehere.
· Benchmark Power — This free plug-in allows you to source pictures for your Benchmark mails from places across the net. Benchmark Power captures images you locate and immediately uploads them to your Benchmark accounts for future use.
· 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 automatically add Shopify customers to Benchmark lists. You can even add contributors to various lists based on what they purchased. Read our overview of Shopify here.
· PayPal — Users may add some of the PayPal customers for their own Benchmark email lists bylinking the account. Read our review of Paypal here.
· Easy List — Learn more about this very simple list-making app and download it .
· WordPress — The ever-present blog 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 entry to Zapier’s enormous integration library here. Email Marketing Automation
Social Media Integrations
Because Of the key link between social networking and email advertising, it’s important to check out the social networking features included in Benchmark.
· Social Media Templates — One segment of Benchmark’s massive email template list consists of societal media-specific templates which directly promote your institution’s involvement in social media forums such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
· Facebook”Like” Button — Benchmark offers 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 enthusiast pages, so you can convert followers to subscribers.
· Social Links within Mail — After you link your Benchmark account together with your Facebook, Twitter, and/or LinkedIn accounts, you can add buttons to each email that will direct your readers 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 amounts to Benchmark, the company utilizes secure socket layer (SSL) security to encrypt the information. The whole platform is encrypted to ensure the security of customers’ personal details.
Anti-Spam Policy and Protection
Like All valid ESPs, Benchmark takes spam seriously and summarizes a clear zero-tolerance coverage for any of the users trying to engage in spam actions. The business is fully in compliance with the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. Benchmark also takes several steps to maintain its reputation as a spam-free provider, among them membership from 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 materials, Benchmark supplies a spam check feature which looks for words widely used in spam messages. It scores every email on a scale from 1 to 5; 5s are assigned to content that is very likely to be blocked. In the event of a high score, the program suggests”less spammy” choices. Individualized IP addresses also help large-volume senders decrease their spam amounts.
Client Support and Service
Benchmark Offers its customers a great deal of support resources. Customer support is usually responsive, with minimal waiting times. The site provides good learning resources, but may be opaque at times. Key information is often buried and hard to find, particularly in the event that you don’t know precisely what you’re looking for, especially in regards to minute details about strategies. For instance. The Free For Life plan includes Benchmark branding on each email, but you won’t see that mentioned on the Free For Life webpage, not even at the fine print. Nor are you going to see it said when you register. The only place it is mentioned is in the FAQ, here.
Here are some of the resources Benchmark offers. Email Marketing Automation
· Live Email and Support — Benchmark provides live one-on-one aid through these means.
· Email Service. Contact Benchmark at [email protected] or via the organization’s contact form here. Accessible 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. Accessible 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 base than a normal FAQ. There are over 900 entries, sorted into 18 topics 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 a comprehensive knowledge base, it’s pretty much inevitable that some entries will be out of date. Some of the QandAs provide information that’s wholly inaccurate, so in some cases, you might need to contact support to hash things out.
· Video Tutorials and Webinars — Benchmark provides about two dozen movie tutorials that take users step by step through the features of this program. The business also offers a webinar known as”Benchmark Email Crash Course.” You can see it live each Friday at 10.00 a.m. PST or watch the recorded version at any moment. You can even ask for a particular webinar on quite a few other topics. Live webinars comprise the opportunity to ask questions during the demonstration.
· Email Marketing Manuals and Articles — You can find more in-depth information on email marketing in general, as well as the Benchmark program specifically, at the Manuals Section. These downloadable files also cover industry-specific issues. Articles, similar to blogs, offer users advice 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 valuable tool for all those brand new to email marketing who feel absorbed by all the jargon. Benchmark gives a glossarywith 50 of the very popular email marketing conditions from”above-the-fold” to”whitelists.”
· Blog and Newsletter — For current info regarding email marketing trends, check out Benchmark’s monthly newsletter, as well as its exceptionally active site. All readers automatically obtain access to current 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 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 doesn’t Require any installation on your computer.
Favorable 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 Automation
Some common points of praise.
· Top Notch Service . This is perhaps the most common observation concerning Benchmark, and some thing I noticed for myself as well. People today are inclined to find support prompt and beneficial, and some say it is actually the element that distinguishes Benchmark from its rivals. The business also receives praise for its website posts and videos.
· Feature Selection Across All Aims . Some users praise the addition of features like AB testing and surveys in most plans; many companies charge extra for these attributes or just include them into their pricier programs.
· Ease of Use. Users tend to find Benchmark’s interface extremely user-friendly and intuitive. The program gathers praise from a broad range of demographics, from first-time ESP users to those who have tried a variety of programs before settling Benchmark.
· Mobile Friendly Emails. Users were impressed with the mobile-friendly email design of Benchmark’s templates. Since an increasing number of people access their email from mobile devices, this is an increasingly significant aspect to take into account.
Negative Reviews and Complaints
I was Unable to find many Men and Women who loathed Their Benchmark experience. However, I was able to find a few complaints.
· Inconsistent Send-Times. Apparently a few users experienced a problem with Benchmark in which their emails were sent hours after they were scheduled. 1 customer theorized the issue might arise in lengthy lists of recipients. Not all customers of all Benchmark will have time-sensitive shipping needs, but others will. Should you want your mails to go out precisely whenever your schedule dictates, you might have to take into account this situation.
· Buggy Social Media Integrations. I watched several consumer reviews that remarked the social networking integrations in Benchmark aren’t up to par.
· “Spammy” Templates. Some users have been worried that Benchmark’s templates can feel like spam mail, leading recipients to mark them as spam and not reading the contents. Since the whole purpose of an ESP is to prevent this from occurring, this may be a problem. On the other hand, I never felt this way whilst searching through the template list, therefore it might not be the most valid of complaints.
Benchmark Provides a huge number of pricing plans, such as a free plan and a huge scale of paid programs that can service anywhere between 600 and 7,140,000 subscribers.
Benchmark’s free programs do not require charge Cards, which is always refreshing. The only catch. There will be a little Benchmark emblem in the bottom of each email you send out. Obviously, you can always opt to upgrade to a paid plan if 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 most but not all of Benchmark’s features record. Notable absences into the attributes list for free account comprise email automation and sub-accounts (enabling multiple users to access one Benchmark account).
Paid Plans. Email Marketing Automation
Users with little contacts lists and limited Monthly messages have the option of paying to get their email marketing depending on the amount of mails they send every month.
o Medium 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 Plans. 125,000-1,000,000 subscribers, $659.99-$4,273.99 a month
o Enormous Plans. 1,070,000-7,140,000 subscribers, $4,500-$29,200 per month
Benchmark accepts all Major charge cards and also allows you to pay through PayPal. They also offer you a 25% discount for nonprofits and educators.
Benchmark is a good program. It is easy to use, Open to innovation, and competitively priced. Its free alternatives might very well be the best in the company for anyone who only wants to dip into email advertising (especially small, local businesses). For that matter, any Benchmark strategy can work nicely for a small company which perspectives email as a minor element of its marketing and does not have any desire to work past the principles just yet.
If you are a small or maybe medium-sized Business trying to find a easy email marketing program using a multitude of great features, Benchmark is an excellent choice. Though there might come a time when you outgrow the program, it provides a lot for the money, provides exceptional service, and the company seems to be sensitive to the requirements of its customers. You can’t ask for much more.