Overview Email Marketing Firms
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, breakfast area, and idea hub. 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 pro ) discussed ideas on how best to execute a deceptively simple concept. Simple email advertising. Many of the ideas were beyond the resources of the fledgling business, but that didn’t stop Keller from planning ahead.
The first Customers of Benchmark Email were small companies located in near proximity to Benchmark’s one-room HQ in Long Beach, CA. Keller and his staff 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 time, the business uses such novel ideas as customizable templates and applications which adapted to consumer requirements. They also made sure from the outset that anyone who needed help would have rapid access to excellent customer care.
Benchmark Has continued to rise and advantagesper. Its present focus. Providing worldwide email advertising services to small and medium-sized companies while continuing to honor a commitment to assist kids in need. This doesn’t mean that Benchmark is a little-guys-only service, however; it has adhered to its core principle of adaptability and functions big organizations such as UNICEF and Kaiser-Permanente through its High Volume Enterprise plans.
Today, Benchmark serves up of 73,000 users from across the planet, but the company has not forgotten its roots. Benchmark still keeps good relationships with small, locally-based companies. In reality, the organization supplies a complete page of testimonials from users of this program. You may read more about Benchmark’s history and development here.
While the Majority of the features Benchmark supplies Are on par with the rest of the business, one of the standout features of the ESP is the fact that nearly all its attributes come standard with each 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 users access to its library of over 400 templates. These are organized into 19 categories, some of which are tailored to particular industries like education, entertainment, and retail. 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 business describes the advantages of this feature here.
· Online Surveys. You’ll be able to create professional-looking online polls using one of Benchmark’s 6 templates. Post your poll on your website or construct it into an email.
· Dedicated Email Server. All Benchmark’s High Volume programs 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 increase their particular delivery stats. Read more about the advantages of dedicated servers .
· Email Delivery Management. Benchmark’s email shipping management program is all about getting customers’ emails into inboxes. The business is a member of the Email Sender and Provider Coalition and operates with ReturnPath, a top email delivery and consulting service. The business also communicates with ISPs on its clients’ behalf. Email Marketing Firms
· Mobile App. Benchmark’s mobile programs allow customers with an Apple device to access several functions on the street. They can get and add contacts, browse reports, send videos through integration using a YouTube accounts, and even design and send fast email blasts with one of 10 templates that are available. That is quite a bit more than a number of other businesses offer on their mobile apps, making them much more functional.
· Photo Editing. If the pictures you plan to use in your email campaign are not perfectly sized or want 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. In case you’ve got the know-how to work magic with HTML, Benchmark provides this ultra-customization choice with which you may build your emails from scratch.
· Autoresponder. Every Benchmark client has the ability to design around eight custom autoresponder messages. These could be scheduled as a string or event lead-up, or designed as annual messages like anniversary or birthday emails.
· Sign-Up Types . The only way to be successful in email marketing is through growing your own list, and Benchmark really promotes doing this via sign-up forms. The business bases its Free For Life account entirely around site and Facebook sign-ups and provides an easy-to-use instrument to create custom templates for every medium.
· Inbox Checker. Because every email program is different and every internet browser has a signature style, making sure that your emails look good across the board is crucial. You can use Inbox Checker to look at the way your email displays in Gmail using Explorer and Outlook 3. Employing the entire program (which assesses everything from AOL to Yahoo, Explorer into Safari, mobile to PC) is a paid add-on provider, available for $14 per 100 checks.
· RSS-to-Email. Regular bloggers may create newsletters from their sites mechanically through the RSS-to-Email feature, which works with any blog which handles an RSS-feed. Users only have to set up a campaign and template inside Benchmark once.
· API Integration. An API (Application Program Interface) enables different software programs to communicate with one another with no formal plug link. Benchmark’s API Integration feature permits users with 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 data. The business explains this role in more detail .
· Advanced Metrics. Benchmark offers both Listing 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
Enrolling in a Benchmark account is fairly straightforward. After entering your name, email, contact number, and company name, you have to validate your email address. This is a five-minute process for me. Upon logging into my account (using the free program ) I was greeted by an attractive UI that gave me a clear path on the best way to make my first email campaign. Great beginning!
Email Campaign Creation
On its own dashboard, Benchmark provides users five chief choices. Emails, Automations, Contacts, Surveys, and Reports. To create a new effort, proceed to the Emails section, then hit the big blue”Create New Email” button at the upper right-hand corner. Email Marketing Firms
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 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 alternative.
I was motivated to enter a subject line for my Email and set up how much observation I desired on the message, as well as when I wanted an automated tweet once the campaign went out. The following task was to select which contacts I wished to receive the campaign. With that, I was finally able to begin building the email . If you want to, you can assemble your own email designs employing a very intuitive editor. On the flip side, you can alter one of Benchmark’s templates, that are great, and better than I managed 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 several ways to import it. You can 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. Once you create your Benchmark lists, then they will appear on your dash, together with a Master Unsubscribe List.
The actual sending of this email is rather simple. Once you’ve completed all of your tweaks, you can save the email as a draft, send it instantly, or schedule a time and date for delivery. If you want to check everything 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 program my email for shipping to view how timely the automated system would really be. I scheduled my email for 2.45 and received it at 2.50, therefore while the timing wasn’t exactly perfect, it was likely present in tolerance levels for many users. If you are among the more infrequent users who need on-the-minute email sending, you might need to appear elsewhere. More worryingly, my email didn’t go to my main inbox but was automatically sorted into my”promotions” folder. Definitely not ideal.
Mail Campaign Reporting
First thing I Noticed 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 almost instantaneously. I’ve worked with a lot of other programs where these reports require hours or even days to appear.
Benchmark provides users with several key Bits of information about each campaign. The possibly most important statistic, the open speed, appears in both pie graph and numerical form. In addition, Benchmark provides users with stats such as clicks, forwards, bounces, unsubscribes, and abuse. Each stat further breaks down to the specific email addresses related to a given activity. Users can export this data for further analysis via a csv or xls file. There’s also a social media place which reports shares through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, in addition to a map which breaks down, by country, that opens your mails. Email Marketing Firms
Though all of the information is great and Necessary, it isn’t sufficient to sustain increased level marketers that want more info such as conversions, which links were clicked, and revenue analysis. Although Google Analytics provides a lot of this info with appropriate integration, there may come a time when serious entrepreneurs need more info than Benchmark provides. Whether a small business 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 everybody from the smallest kitchen-table startup to big email marketers. However, the company’s key focus is on small to medium businesses, especially those just starting out in email marketing. This is especially reflected in the fact that customers subscribing to the moderate plans get unlimited mails, while bigger plans have limitations.
Integrations and Add-Ons
Benchmark Offers approximately 20 plug-ins and integrations. If you don’t see the integration you need, there is still hope. You can 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 allows users to make and customize occasions, promote and sell tickets, and monitor the success of their events through their Benchmark Email account. A variety of programs are available, including a free alternative.
· Salesforce.com — This integration allows users to import contacts directly into Benchmark and utilize Benchmark’s email system to keep 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 through their subscribers. The plug-in can automatically create email variations 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 plugin lets you source pictures for your Benchmark emails from places across the net. Benchmark Power captures pictures you find and immediately uploads them to your Benchmark accounts for future usage.
· Flickr — Users with Flickr accounts may link Flickr for their Benchmark image galleries.
· Shopify — You can link a Shopify account to Benchmark and mechanically add Shopify clients to Benchmark lists. You can even add contributors to different lists based on what they bought. Read our overview of Shopify here.
· PayPal — Users can add some of the PayPal clients to their Benchmark email lists bylinking the accounts. Read our review of Paypal here.
· Easy List — Learn more about this very simple list-making program and download it here.
· WordPress — The ever-present blog and website builder provides an integration using Benchmark. Use it to send emails of your blog posts and use the analytics to observe how your readers react to them. Learn more here.
· Zapier — Gain access to Zapier’s enormous integration library . Email Marketing Firms
Social Media Integrations
Since Of the key connection between social media and email advertising, it is important to look at the social media features included in Benchmark.
· Social Media Templates — One segment of Benchmark’s enormous email template list consists of social media-specific templates that directly promote your company’s involvement in social media forums like facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
· Facebook”Like” Button — Benchmark provides a simple function which allows you to add a Facebook”Like” button into your emails.
· Facebook Sign-Up Form — Benchmark supplies easy-to-create sign-up forms (see”Characteristics” above) for both websites and Facebook fan pages, to help you convert followers into readers.
· Social Links within Email — Once you connect your Benchmark account with your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn account, you can add switches to every email which will direct your readers to each of your social networking pages.
The company also fully Complies with 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 info. The whole platform is encrypted to ensure the safety of all customers’ personal information.
Anti-Spam Policy and Protection
Like All legitimate ESPs, Benchmark takes junk seriously and summarizes a clear zero-tolerance coverage for any of their users trying to take part in spam activities. The business is entirely 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 supplier, one of them membership in the Email Sender and Provider Coalition. The business 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 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 top score, the program suggests”less spammy” alternatives. Individualized IP addresses also assist large-volume senders decrease their spam numbers.
Client Support and Service
Benchmark Offers its users a great deal of support tools. Customer service is usually responsive, with minimal waiting times. The site offers good learning tools, but can be opaque occasionally. Crucial information can be 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 plans. For instance. The Free For Life plan comprises Benchmark branding on every email, however you won’t see that mentioned on the Free For Life webpage, not even in the fine print. Nor will you see it said when you register. The only place it is mentioned is in the FAQ, here.
Here are some of those resources Benchmark offers. Email Marketing Firms
· Live Support and Email — Benchmark provides live one-on-one support through these means.
· Email Service. Contact Benchmark at [email protected] or via the organization’s contact form . Accessible 24 hours Monday — Friday and limited hours on Saturday.
· Telephone Support. You are able to 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 almost 24 hours daily Monday — Friday and limited hours on Saturday. Founded 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 may perform a key word search of any subject (or sub-topic) or of the FAQ as a whole. One caveat. With such an extensive knowledge base, it’s pretty much inevitable that some entries are going to be out of date. A few of the QandAs offer advice which is wholly incorrect, so in some cases, you 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 app. The business 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 might also request a particular webinar on quite a few other subjects. Live webinars include the chance to ask questions throughout the presentation.
· Email Marketing Manuals and Articles — There are more in-depth information on email marketing generally, in addition to the Benchmark program specifically, in the Manuals Section. These downloadable files also cover industry-specific issues. Articles, similar to blogs, offer users guidance beyond that found in the FAQ section, but in shorter, more digestible chunks compared to the guides provide.
· Glossary of Email Marketing Terms — This is a particularly valuable tool for those new to email marketing who believe absorbed by all the jargon. Benchmark gives a glossarywith 50 of the very popular email advertising conditions from”above-the-fold” into”whitelists.”
· Website and Newsletter — For current info about email advertising trends, check out Benchmark’s monthly newsletter, in addition to its extremely active blog. All readers automatically gain access to present 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 talk about newsletter production strategies, vote for their favourite newsletters, and gain inspiration from additional Benchmark users.
Web-Based Or Locally-Installed
Benchmark is entirely web-based and doesn’t Require any setup on your PC.
Positive Reviews and Reviews
Benchmark Has 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 Firms
Some common points of compliments.
· Top Notch Support. This is maybe the most common monitoring regarding Benchmark, and some thing I noticed for myself too. People tend to find support prompt and helpful, and some say it is really 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 inclusion of features including AB analyzing and surveys in most plans; many firms charge extra for such features or only include them into their pricier plans.
· Benefits of Use. Users tend to find Benchmark’s interface extremely user-friendly and intuitive. The program gathers praise from a wide assortment of demographics, from first-time ESP consumers to people who have attempted many different programs before settling Benchmark.
· Mobile Friendly Emails. Consumers were impressed with the mobile-friendly email layout of Benchmark’s templates. Since more and more people access their email from mobile devices, this is an increasingly important factor to consider.
Negative Reviews and Complaints
I was Unable to find many people who loathed Their own Benchmark experience. However, I managed to discover a few complaints.
· Inconsistent Send-Times. Apparently some users experienced an issue with Benchmark in which their emails were sent hours when they were first scheduled. 1 customer theorized the issue might arise from lengthy lists of recipients. Not all customers of all Benchmark will possess time-sensitive sending needs, but other people will. If you need your emails to go out exactly whenever your program dictates, you might need to take into account this situation.
· Buggy Social Media Integrations. I watched several consumer reviews that remarked the social networking integrations in Benchmark are not up to par.
· “Spammy” Templates. Some users have been worried that Benchmark’s templates can feel like spam mail, leading receivers to mark them as junk and not studying the contents. Since the whole point of an ESP would be to prevent this from occurring, this might be an issue. On the other hand, I never felt this way while looking through the template list, therefore it might not be the most valid of complaints.
Benchmark Provides a huge variety of pricing plans, including a totally free plan and a huge scale of paid plans which can 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 logo at the bottom of every email you send out. Obviously, you can always choose to upgrade to a paid program in case you don’t want the Benchmark branding. The free program permits 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 to the features list for free account comprise email automation and sub-accounts (enabling many users to access one Benchmark account).
Paid Strategies. Email Marketing Firms
Users with small contacts lists and limited Monthly messages have the option of paying to get their email marketing depending on the amount of emails that they send every month.
o Medium Plans. 600-50,000 subscribers, $13.99-$254.99 per 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 per month
o Enormous Plans. 1,070,000-7,140,000 subscribers, $4,500-$29,200 a month
Benchmark accepts all Major credit cards and also lets you pay through PayPal. They also offer a 25% reduction for nonprofits and educators.
Benchmark is a solid program. It’s Simple to Use, Open to invention, and competitively priced. Its free alternatives might very well be the very best in the company for anybody who just wants to dip into email marketing (particularly small, neighborhood companies ). For that matter, any Benchmark strategy can work nicely for a small company which perspectives email as a little element of its marketing 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 outgrow the program, it provides a great deal for the price, offers exceptional service, and the business appears to be sensitive to the needs of its users. You can’t ask for much more.