Overview Email Marketing Course
For many a day 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 small programming group in India, the trio (comprising Benchmark Internet Group founder Curt Keller, his wife Denise, along with an SEO expert) discussed ideas for how to implement a deceptively simple idea. Simple email marketing. Many of the thoughts were beyond the means of the fledgling business, but that didn’t 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 staff personally sold them on the use of email advertising, while working hard to create a simple user interface which would be simple to operate. All the time, the company championed such innovative ideas as customizable templates and software which adapted to user requirements. They also made certain from the outset that anybody who needed help would have rapid access to outstanding customer care.
Benchmark Has continued to grow and advantagesper. Its current focus. Providing global email marketing solutions to small and midsize companies while continuing to honor a commitment to assist children in need. This doesn’t indicate that Benchmark is a little-guys-only service, 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 up of 73,000 users from throughout the planet, but the company hasn’t forgotten its origins. Benchmark still maintains good relationships with small, locally-based businesses. In fact, the organization offers a complete page of testimonials from users of this program. 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 industry, among the standout characteristics of the ESP is the simple fact that nearly all its features come standard with each accounts — such as the free ones. Below are some of Benchmark’s most notable offerings.
· Hundreds of Industry-Specific, Themed Templates. Benchmark provides all users access to its library of over 400 templates. These are organized into 19 classes, some of which are tailored to particular industries like education, entertainment, and retail. There’s also a class for societal media-specific templates.
· Video Emails. Perhaps the best-known advantage of Benchmark is its support for video mails. The company explains the advantages of this attribute here.
· Online Surveys. You’ll be able to create professional-looking online surveys using one of Benchmark’s 6 templates. Post your survey on your website or construct it 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 programs have the choice of paying for this service ($30/month) to increase their particular delivery stats. Read more about the advantages of dedicated servers .
· Email Delivery Direction . Benchmark’s email shipping management program is about getting clients’ emails into inboxes. The business is a member of the Email Sender and Provider Coalition and operates with ReturnPath, a leading email delivery and consulting support. The company also communicates with ISPs on its clients’ behalf. Email Marketing Course
· Mobile App. Benchmark’s mobile programs make it possible for customers having an Apple device to get several purposes on the road. They can get and include contacts, browse reportsand send videos through integration with a YouTube account, and even design and send quick email blasts with one of 10 available templates. That is quite a bit more than a number of other companies offer in their mobile apps, making them much more operational.
· Photo Editing. If the photos you plan to utilize on your email campaign aren’t perfectly sized or need some colour adjustment, you may use Benchmark’s integrated picture editor. This is a fairly handy feature if you don’t have photoshop available.
· Code Editor. If you’ve got the know-how to work magic with HTML, Benchmark provides this ultra-customization choice with which you may construct your mails from scratch.
· Autoresponder. Every Benchmark customer has the power to design around eight custom autoresponder messages. These can be scheduled as a string or event lead-up, or made as annual messages such as birthday or anniversary mails.
· Sign-Up Types . The only way to become successful in email advertising is by way of growing your list, and Benchmark actually promotes doing so via sign-up forms. The company bases its Free For Life account completely around website and Facebook sign-ups and provides an easy-to-use instrument to create custom templates for each medium.
· Inbox Checker. Because every email program differs and each internet browser includes a signature style, making sure your emails look good across the board is crucial. It is possible to use Inbox Checker to have a look at the way that your email screens in Gmail using Explorer and Outlook 3. Employing the full app (which assesses 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 blogs automatically through the RSS-to-Email feature, which works with any blog which handles an RSS-feed. Users only have to set up a template and campaign inside Benchmark once.
· API Integration. An API (Application Program Interface) allows different software programs to communicate with one another without a formal plug-in link. Benchmark’s API Integration feature permits users using XML-RPC, HTTP POST, or HTTP GET skills to retrieve 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, manage campaigns and effort sending, and assess statistics. The company explains this role in more detail .
· Advanced Metrics. Benchmark provides both Listing Segmentation and AB Split Testing.
· Multiple-Language Interface. Benchmark is offered in seven languages. Chinese, English, German, Japanese, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish.
Ease Of Use
Enrolling in a Benchmark account is fairly straightforward. After entering your name, email, phone number, and company name, you need to validate your email address. This was a five-minute process for me. Upon logging into my account (with the free plan) I was greeted by an attractive UI that gave me a very clear direction on the best way to make my first email campaign. Great start!
Email Campaign Creation
On its own dashboard, Benchmark provides users five chief options. Emails, Automations, Contacts, Surveys, and Reports. To make a new campaign, go to the Emails segment, then hit on the big blue”Create New Mail” button at the top right-hand corner. Email Marketing Course
From there, you have to decide If You Would like an RSS Or traditional email message. You can use Benchmark’s drag-and-drop editor, or move for more customization using 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 moved with the drag-and-drop option.
I was prompted to enter a subject line for my Email and set up how much observation I desired on the message, in addition to when I wanted an automated tweet once the campaign went out. The next task was to select which contacts I wanted to receive the campaign. With that, I was finally able to start building the email . If you want to, you can assemble your personal email layouts using a very intuitive editor. On the flip side, you can alter one of Benchmark’s templates, that are great, and 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 one at a time. However, for people who already have a list, there are numerous ways to import it. You are able to upload a CSV, xls, or txt file directly from your personal computer; import contacts directly from Salesforce.com, Hotmail, or Gmail accounts; or copy and paste large lists of contacts into a text type. When you create your Benchmark lists, then they’ll appear on your dash, along with a Master Unsubscribe List.
The actual sending of the email is rather simple. When you’ve finished all of your tweaks, you may either 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 distributing your email about the world, you can send it to yourself to preview it as many as 10 times/day. I opted to schedule my email for shipping to view how timely the automated system would actually be. I advised my email for 2.45 and obtained it in 2.50, so while the timing wasn’t exactly ideal, it was probably within tolerance levels for many users. If you’re among the more infrequent users who need on-the-minute email sending, then you may need to look elsewhere. More worryingly, my email did not go to my primary inbox but was automatically sorted into 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 few reviews. They are really, really quickly. I mean lightning fast. Opens register from the Benchmark system virtually instantaneously. I have worked with several different programs where these reports require hours or even days to look.
Benchmark provides users with several key Bits of data about each campaign. The possibly most important statistic, the open speed, appears in both pie chart and numerical form. In addition, Benchmark supplies users with stats such as clicks, forwards, bounces, unsubscribes, and abuse. Every stat further breaks down to the exact email addresses associated with a given activity. Users may export this information for additional analysis via a csv or xls file. There is also a social networking area which reports shares through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, in addition to a map which breaks down, by state, that opens your emails. Email Marketing Course
Though all of the information is great and Necessary, it is not enough to sustain increased level marketers that want more info such as conversions, which links were clicked, and revenue analysis. Although Google Analytics provides a whole lot of that information with appropriate integration, there may come a time when serious marketers need more info than Benchmark provides. Whether a small company will reach that point varies, naturally, dependent on the business.
Specific Size Of Business
Benchmark designed its 3-tiered pricing Structure with the objective of serving everyone from the tiniest kitchen-table startup to big email marketers. However, the organization’s main focus is on small to medium businesses, particularly those just starting out in email advertising. This is especially reflected in the fact that clients subscribing to the medium plans get unlimited emails, while larger plans have constraints.
Integrations and Add-Ons
Benchmark Offers roughly 20 plug-ins and integrations. If you don’t see the integration you want, there’s still hope. You’re able to use the API or ask an integration by sending an email to [email protected]
· Benchmark Events — Benchmark Events 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 market tickets, and track the success of the events via their Benchmark Email accounts. A number of subscriptions are available, including a free option.
· Salesforce.com — This integration enables users to import contacts into Benchmark and use Benchmark’s email system to maintain Salesforce customers engaged. Read our overview of Salesforce here.
· WordPress — Benchmark Mail Lite is a WordPress plug-in which allows users to easily build an email viewer via their readers. The plugin can automatically create email versions of blog posts and allows users to connect up to five Benchmark accounts.
· Highrise — Merges Highrise contacts with a Benchmark listing. Read our review of Highrisehere.
· Benchmark Power — This free plugin allows you to supply images for your Benchmark mails from locations throughout the net. Benchmark Power captures pictures you find and instantly uploads them to a Benchmark account for future usage.
· Flickr — Users with Flickr accounts may link Flickr for their own Benchmark image galleries.
· Shopify — You are able to link a Shopify account to Benchmark and mechanically add Shopify clients to Benchmark lists. You may even add subscribers to different lists based on what they bought. Read our review of Shopify here.
· PayPal — Users can add any of the PayPal customers to their Benchmark email lists bylinking the accounts. Read our overview of Paypal here.
· Easy List — Know more about this simple list-making app and download it here.
· WordPress — The ever-present blog and website builder provides an integration with Benchmark. Use it to send mails of your blog articles and also use the analytics to observe how your subscribers respond to them. Learn more here.
· Zapier — Gain entry to Zapier’s huge integration library here. Email Marketing Course
Social Media Integrations
Because Of the integral connection between social media and email marketing, it’s important to look at the social networking features included in Benchmark.
· Social Media Templates — One segment of Benchmark’s enormous email template list is made of societal media-specific templates that directly promote your institution’s participation in social networking forums like facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
· Facebook”Like” Button — Benchmark offers a very simple function which permits you to bring a Facebook”Just Like” button to your emails.
· Facebook Sign-Up Form — Benchmark provides easy-to-create sign-up forms (see”Characteristics” above) for both sites and Facebook enthusiast pages, to help you convert followers to readers.
· Social Links within Mail — After you connect your Benchmark account with your Facebook, Twitter, and/or LinkedIn account, you can add switches 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 regarding the collection of personal data from citizens of those countries. When customers provide credit card amounts to Benchmark, the business utilizes secure socket layer (SSL) protection to encrypt the information. The whole system is encrypted to ensure the security 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 the users hoping 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 steps to maintain its standing as a spam-free provider, one of them membership in the Email Sender and Provider Coalition. The business employs the program SpamAssassin to filter messages sent through its server.
To prevent users from Unknowingly sending spam-like substances, 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 delegated to content that’s very likely to be blocked. In the event of a high score, the program suggests”less spammy” alternatives. Individualized IP addresses also help large-volume senders decrease their spam amounts.
Client Service and Support
Benchmark Offers its users a great deal of support tools. Customer service is generally responsive, with minimal waiting times. The site provides good learning tools, but can be needlessly opaque at times. Crucial information is often buried and hard to locate, especially in the event that you don’t know exactly what you’re searching for, particularly in regards to minute details about strategies. As an example. That the Free For Life plan includes Benchmark branding on every email, however you won’t see that mentioned on the Free For Life webpage, not even at the fine print. Nor will you see it mentioned when you register. The only place it’s mentioned is in the FAQ, here.
Here are some of those resources Benchmark offers. Email Marketing Course
· Live Support and Email — Benchmark provides live one-on-one support through these means.
· Email Service. Contact Benchmark at [email protected] or via the company’s contact form here. Accessible 24 hours Monday — Friday and restricted hours on Saturday.
· Telephone Support. You can 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 daily 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 a QandA-format knowledge foundation than a typical FAQ. You will find more than 900 entries, sorted into 18 topics ranging from”Getting Started” to”API.” Users may perform a key word search of any topic (or sub-topic) or of the FAQ as a whole. One caveat. With such a comprehensive knowledge base, it’s pretty much inevitable that some entries are going to be out of date. A few of the QandAs provide advice that’s wholly incorrect, so in some cases, you may 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 the app. The company also offers a webinar known as”Benchmark Email Crash Course.” You can view it live each Friday at 10.00 a.m. PST or watch the recorded version at any time. You can even request a particular webinar on quite a few different subjects. 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 generally, in addition to the Benchmark program especially, at the Manuals Section. These downloadable files also cover industry-specific troubles. Articles, very similar to sites, offer users guidance beyond that found in the FAQ section, but in shorter, more digestible chunks than the manuals provide.
· Glossary of Email Marketing Requirements — This is a particularly valuable tool for those new to email marketing who believe consumed by all the jargon. Benchmark gives a glossarywith 50 of the very popular email marketing conditions from”above-the-fold” to”whitelists.”
· Website and Newsletter — For current information regarding email marketing trends, check out Benchmark’s monthly newsletter, as well as its extremely active site. All readers automatically gain 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 latest newsletters on message boards in the Benchmark Community. This forum allows users to discuss newsletter creation approaches, vote for their favourite newsletters, and gain inspiration from other Benchmark users.
Web-Based Or Locally-Installed
Benchmark is completely web-based and doesn’t Require any installation on your computer.
Positive Reviews and Testimonials
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 Course
Some common points of praise.
· Top Notch Service . This is maybe the most common monitoring regarding Benchmark, and something I noticed for myself as well. People today are inclined to find support prompt and helpful, and some say it is really the component that distinguishes Benchmark from its rivals. The business also receives praise for its blog posts and videos.
· Feature Selection Across All Plans. Some users praise the inclusion of attributes like AB analyzing and surveys from most plans; many firms charge extra for these features or just include them into their pricier plans.
· Ease of Use. Users have a tendency to locate Benchmark’s interface extremely intuitive and user-friendly. The program gathers compliments from a broad range of demographics, from first-time ESP users to those who have attempted a variety of programs before settling 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 can be an increasingly important factor to consider.
Negative Reviews and Complaints
I was not able to find many people who loathed Their own Benchmark experience. However, I was able to discover a couple of complaints.
· Inconsistent Send-Times. Apparently some users experienced an issue with Benchmark where their mails were sent hours after they were scheduled. One customer theorized that the issue might arise from lengthy lists of recipients. Not all customers of Benchmark will have time-sensitive shipping demands, but others will. Should you want your mails to go out precisely when your schedule dictates, you may have to consider this situation.
· Buggy Social Media Integrations. I saw several user testimonials that remarked the social media integrations in Benchmark are not up to par.
· “Spammy” Templates. Some users were worried that Benchmark’s templates can feel like spam mail, causing receivers to mark them as junk and not reading the contents. Since the entire point 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, so it may not be the most valid of complaints.
Benchmark Provides a huge variety of pricing strategies, including a totally free plan and a massive array of paid programs that can service anywhere between 600 and 7,140,000 subscribers.
Benchmark’s free plans do not require charge Cards, which is always refreshing. The only grab. There will be a small Benchmark emblem in the bottom of every email you send out. Obviously, you may always choose to upgrade to a paid plan in case you don’t want the Benchmark branding. The free program permits you to send up to 14000 mails to up to 2000 subscribers and provides you access to all but not all of Benchmark’s features record. Notable absences into the attributes list for free accounts comprise email automation and sub-accounts (allowing many users to get one Benchmark accounts ).
Paid Plans. Email Marketing Course
Users with little contacts lists and limited Monthly messages have the option of paying to get their email marketing depending on the number of mails that they send every month.
o Medium Plans. 600-50,000 subscribers, $13.99-$254.99 a month
o Large Strategies. 55,000-100,000 subscribers, $285.99-$494.99 per month
o Extra Large Strategies. 125,000-1,000,000 subscribers, $659.99-$4,273.99 a month
o Massive Plans. 1,070,000-7,140,000 subscribers, $4,500-$29,200 per month
Benchmark accepts all Major credit cards and also allows you to pay through PayPal. They also offer you a 25% discount for nonprofits and teachers.
Benchmark is a solid program. It’s Simple to Use, Open to invention, and competitively priced. Its free options may very well be the best in the business for anybody who only wants to dive into email advertising (especially small, neighborhood companies ). For that matter, any Benchmark plan can work well for a little business which views email as a little aspect of its advertising and has no desire to operate beyond the principles just yet.
If you are a small or maybe medium-sized Company looking for a simple email marketing program with a host of great features, Benchmark is an exceptional choice. Though there may come a time when you outgrow the program, it provides a great deal for the price, provides excellent support, and the business appears to be sensitive to the needs of its customers. You can’t ask for more.