Overview Email Marketing Features
For many a day in 2004, three people sat Around one desk in a small medical office — an office which served 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 SEO expert) discussed ideas on how best to execute a deceptively simple idea. Simple email advertising. Many of their thoughts were beyond the means of this fledgling business, but that didn’t stop Keller from planning ahead.
The first Clients of Benchmark Email were small businesses located in near proximity to Benchmark’s one-room HQ in Long Beach, CA. Keller and his team sold them on the use of email marketing, while working hard to create a very simple user interface which would be easy to operate. All the time, the company uses such novel ideas as customizable templates and software which adapted to consumer requirements. They also made certain from the outset that anyone who needed help would have rapid access to outstanding customer care.
Benchmark Has continued to grow and advantagesper. Its present focus. Providing worldwide email advertising services to small and medium-sized companies while continuing to honor a commitment to help children in need. This doesn’t mean that Benchmark is a little-guys-only company, however; it has adhered to its core principle of adaptability and functions large organizations like UNICEF and Kaiser-Permanente via its High Volume Enterprise plans.
Today, Benchmark serves up of 73,000 users from across the planet, however, the company hasn’t forgotten its origins. Benchmark still keeps good relationships with little, locally-based companies. In fact, the company offers a complete page of testimonials from local users of this program. You may read more about Benchmark’s history and development here.
While most of the attributes Benchmark supplies Are on par with the rest of the industry, one of the standout characteristics of the ESP is the fact that most of its attributes come standard with every single account — including the free ones. Below are some of Benchmark’s most noteworthy offerings.
· Countless Industry-Specific, Themed Templates. Benchmark offers all customers access to its library of over 400 templates. These are organized into 19 categories, some of which are tailored to specific industries such as education, entertainment, and retailstores. There is also a class for social media-specific templates.
· Video Emails. Perhaps the best-known advantage of Benchmark is its support for video emails. The company describes the advantages 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 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 plans have the choice of paying for this service ($30/month) to boost their particular delivery stats. Read more about the benefits of dedicated servers .
· Email Delivery Direction . Benchmark’s email delivery management program is about getting customers’ mails into inboxes. The business is a member of the Email Sender and Provider Coalition and works with ReturnPath, a leading email delivery and delivery service. The business also communicates with ISPs on its customers’ behalf. Email Marketing Features
· Mobile App. Benchmark’s mobile programs allow customers with an Apple device to access several functions on the road. They can access and include contacts, read 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 a number of 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 color adjustment, you may use Benchmark’s integrated photo editor. This is a fairly handy feature if you don’t have photoshop available.
· Code Editor. In case you’ve got the know-how to work magic with HTML, Benchmark provides this ultra-customization option with which you can construct your mails from scratch.
· Autoresponder. Each Benchmark client has the ability to style up to eight custom autoresponder messages. These can be scheduled as a series or occasion lead-up, or designed as yearly messages such as anniversary or birthday mails.
· Sign-Up Types . The only way to become prosperous in email advertising is through growing your own list, and Benchmark really promotes doing so through sign-up forms. The business bases its Free For Life account completely around site and Facebook sign-ups and provides an easy-to-use tool to create custom templates for each medium.
· Inbox Checker. Because every email program is different and every internet browser has a signature style, making certain that your emails look great across the board is important. 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 entire program (which checks everything out of AOL to Yahoo, Explorer to 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 sites mechanically through the RSS-to-Email attribute, which works with any site which manages an RSS-feed. Users only have to establish a template and campaign within Benchmark once.
· API Integration. An API (Application Program Interface) allows different software programs to communicate with one another with no formal plug link. Benchmark’s API Integration feature allows users with XML-RPC, HTTP POST, or HTTP GET skills to retrieve data from other programs that use JSON, XML, XML-RPC, or PHP serialization strings. In a nutshell, this permits them to play three purposes. Manage contact lists, handle campaigns and campaign sending, and check data. The company describes this function in more detail .
· Advanced Metrics. Benchmark offers both Listing 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, contact number, and business name, you need to confirm your email address. This is a five-minute process for me. Upon logging in to my account (with the free plan) I was greeted by an attractive UI that gave me a very clear direction on the best way best to create my first email campaign. Good beginning!
Email Campaign Creation
On its own dashboard, Benchmark provides users five chief choices. Emails, Automations, Contacts, Surveys, and Reports. To make a new campaign, proceed to the Emails segment, then hit the large blue”Create New Email” button at the upper right-hand corner. Email Marketing Features
From there, you must decide If You Would like an RSS Or traditional 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 are 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, as well as when I wanted an automatic tweet once the effort went out. The following task was to choose which contacts I wished to get the campaign. With that, I was eventually able to begin building the email itself. If you want to, you can assemble your personal email designs using a very intuitive editor. On the flip side, you can modify one of Benchmark’s templates, which are great, and better than I was able to do in my.
Sending the Email Campaign
If you are 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 numerous ways to import it. You can 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 huge lists of contacts to a text form. When you make your Benchmark lists, then they will appear on your dash, along with a Master Unsubscribe List.
The actual sending of this email is quite easy. When you have finished all of your tweaks, you may save email as a draft, send it instantly, or schedule a time and date for delivery. If you want to check all is well before unleashing your email about the planet, it is possible to send it to yourself to preview it as many as 10 times/day. I opted to schedule my email for shipping to see how timely the automated system would really be. I advised 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 many users. If you are one of the more rare users who need on-the-minute email sending, then you may need to appear 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
The first thing I Noticed about Benchmark email reports was something I would read in a couple of reviews. They are really, really quickly. I mean lightning fast. Opens register in the Benchmark system almost immediately. I’ve worked with a lot of other apps where these reports take hours or even days to look.
Benchmark provides users with several key Bits of data about each campaign. The possibly most important statistic, the available rate, appears in both pie chart and numerical type. In addition, Benchmark provides users with stats for clicks, forwards, bounces, unsubscribes, and abuse. Every stat further breaks down to the specific email addresses related to a given action. Users can export this information for additional analysis via a csv or xls file. There’s also a social networking place which reports shares through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, in addition to a map which breaks down, by state, who opens your emails. Email Marketing Features
Though all of the information is great and Necessary, it isn’t sufficient to sustain higher level marketers who need more info such as conversions, which links were clicked, and earnings analysis. Though Google Analytics provides a lot of that information with appropriate integration, there may come a time when serious marketers need more info than Benchmark provides. Whether or not a small business will get to that point varies, of course, based on the business.
Particular Size Of Company
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 company’s main focus is on small to medium companies, particularly those just starting out in email advertising. This is particularly reflected in the reality that customers subscribing to the medium plans get unlimited mails, while bigger plans have constraints.
Integrations and Add-Ons
Benchmark Offers approximately 20 plug-ins and integrations. If you don’t see the integration you need, there’s still hope. You can use the API or request an integration by sending an email to [email protected]
· Benchmark Occasions — Benchmark Events is event marketing applications designed to integrate fully with Benchmark Email. Launched in 2012, this program permits users to make and customize occasions, promote and sell tickets, and monitor the success of the events via their Benchmark Email accounts. A variety of programs are available, including a free option.
· Salesforce.com — This integration enables users to import contacts directly into Benchmark and utilize Benchmark’s email system to maintain Salesforce customers participated. Read our review of Salesforce here.
· WordPress — Benchmark Mail Lite is a WordPress plugin which permits users to quickly build an email viewer via their readers. The plug-in can automatically produce email variations of blog articles and permits 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 plugin lets you source images for your Benchmark emails from locations across the web. 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 to their Benchmark image galleries.
· Shopify — You can link a Shopify accounts to Benchmark and mechanically add Shopify clients to Benchmark lists. You can even add subscribers to different lists based on what they bought. Read our review of Shopify here.
· PayPal — Users can add some of the PayPal customers for their Benchmark email lists bylinking the account. Read our overview of Paypal here.
· Easy List — Know more about this simple list-making program and download it here.
· WordPress — The ever-present blog and website builder offers an integration with Benchmark. Use it to send mails of your blog posts 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 . Email Marketing Features
Social Media Integrations
Since Of the key connection between social networking and email marketing, it is important to look at the social networking features included in Benchmark.
· Social Media Templates — One segment of Benchmark’s enormous email template list consists of social 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 very simple function which allows you to bring a Facebook”Just Like” button into your own emails.
· Facebook Sign-Up Form — Benchmark provides easy-to-create sign-up forms (see”Features” above) for both sites and Facebook fan pages, to help you convert followers to readers.
· Social Links within Mail — Once you connect your Benchmark account together with your Facebook, Twitter, and/or LinkedIn accounts, you can add buttons to every email which will direct your readers to each of your social media pages.
The Business also fully Complies with all the U.S.-E.U. and U.S.-Swiss Safe Harbor Frameworks regarding the selection of personal data from citizens of these countries. When customers provide credit card amounts to Benchmark, the company uses secure socket layer (SSL) security to encrypt the information. 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 spam seriously and outlines a clear zero-tolerance coverage for any of the users trying to take part in spam activities. The business is fully in compliance with all the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. Benchmark also takes several measures to preserve its standing as a spam-free supplier, among them membership in the Email Sender and Provider Coalition. The business employs the app SpamAssassin to filter messages sent through its host.
To stop users from Unknowingly sending spam-like substances, Benchmark supplies a spam test feature which looks for words widely utilized in spam messages. It scores each 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 top score, the program suggests”less spammy” alternatives. Individualized IP addresses also assist large-volume senders reduce their spam amounts.
Customer Service and Support
Benchmark Offers its users a great deal of support tools. Customer service is usually responsive, with minimal waiting times. The website offers good learning tools, but may be needlessly opaque occasionally. Key information can be buried and hard to find, particularly if you don’t know precisely what you’re searching for, particularly when it comes to minute particulars about plans. For instance. That the Free For Life plan comprises Benchmark branding on every email, but you won’t see 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 is mentioned is in the FAQ, here.
Here are some of those resources Benchmark offers. Email Marketing Features
· Live Support and Email — Benchmark supplies live one-on-one support through the following means.
· Email Service. Contact Benchmark at [email protected] or via the company’s contact form . Accessible 24 hours Monday — Friday and restricted hours on Saturday.
· Phone Support. You can reach Benchmark at 800-430-4095 (U.S.) or even 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 restricted hours on Saturday. Offered in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian.
· FAQ — Benchmark’s FAQ section is somewhat mislabeled because it is closer to a QandA-format knowledge foundation than a normal FAQ. You will find over 900 entries, sorted into 18 topics ranging from”Getting Started” to”API.” Users can perform a key word search of any subject (or sub-topic) or from the FAQ as a whole. 1 caveat. With such a comprehensive knowledge base, it’s pretty much inevitable that some entries will be out of date. A few of the QandAs offer information which is wholly inaccurate, so in some cases, you may need 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 Mail Crash Course.” You can view it live each Friday at 10.00 a.m. PST or watch the recorded version at any time. You might even ask for a special webinar on a number of other subjects. Live webinars include the chance to ask questions during the presentation.
· Email Marketing Manuals and Articles — You can find more in-depth information on email marketing generally, as well as the Benchmark program specifically, at the Manuals Section. These downloadable documents also cover industry-specific troubles. Articles, similar to blogs, 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 feel absorbed by all of the jargon. Benchmark gives a glossarywith 50 of the very popular email marketing terms from”above-the-fold” to”whitelists.”
· Website 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 gain access to present newsletters, and Benchmark also offers 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 creation approaches, vote for their favorite newsletters, and gain inspiration from other Benchmark users.
Web-Based Or Locally-Installed
Benchmark is entirely web-based and doesn’t Require any setup on your PC.
Favorable Reviews and Testimonials
Benchmark Has a four-out-of-five star rating on G2 Crowd, using a slightly better showing on GetApp and Capterra. 4.5 stars each. Email Marketing Features
Some common points of praise.
· Top Notch Support. This is perhaps the most typical monitoring concerning Benchmark, and some thing I discovered for myself as well. People today are inclined to find support prompt and helpful, and some say it’s actually the element that distinguishes Benchmark from its competitors. The business also receives praise for its blog posts and videos.
· Feature Selection Across All Plans. Some customers praise the addition of attributes like AB analyzing and surveys in all programs; many firms charge extra for such attributes or just 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 wide range of demographics, from first-time ESP consumers to people who have attempted a variety of programs before settling on Benchmark.
· Mobile Friendly Emails. Users 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 take into account.
Negative Reviews and Complaints
I was not able to find many people who loathed Their own Benchmark experience. But, I managed to find a few complaints.
· Inconsistent Send-Times. Apparently some users experienced an issue with Benchmark where their emails were sent hours after they were scheduled. One 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 other people will. If you need your emails to go out exactly whenever your schedule dictates, you may have to consider this situation.
· Buggy Social Media Integrations. I saw several user reviews that remarked 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, leading recipients to mark them as spam and not reading the contents. Since the whole purpose of an ESP would be to prevent 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 may not be the most legitimate of complaints.
Benchmark Offers a huge number of pricing plans, including a free plan and a massive scale of paid plans which may service anywhere between 600 and 7,140,000 subscribers.
Benchmark’s free plans do not require credit Cards, that is always refreshing. The only catch. There’ll be a little Benchmark emblem in the bottom of each email you send out. Of course, you can always opt to upgrade to a paid program in case you don’t want the Benchmark branding. The free program allows you to send up to 14000 emails 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 (enabling multiple users to get one Benchmark account).
Paid Plans. Email Marketing Features
Users with little contacts lists and restricted Monthly messages have the choice of paying to get their email advertising based on the number of mails they send each month.
o Moderate 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 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 a 25% discount for nonprofits and educators.
Benchmark is a good program. It is Simple to Use, Open to invention, and competitively priced. Its free alternatives might just be the very best in the company for anyone who just wants to dip into email advertising (particularly small, local companies ). For that matter, any Benchmark plan can work well for a small business which views email as a minor aspect of its advertising and does not have any desire to operate past the basics just yet.
If you are a small or even medium-sized Business trying to find a simple email advertising program using a host of amazing features, Benchmark is an exceptional option. Though there might come a time when you launch the program, it supplies a lot for the money, offers exceptional service, and the company seems to be sensitive to the requirements of its customers. You can’t ask for more.