Summary Email Marketing Sites
For many an evening in 2004, three people sat Around a single desk in a tiny medical office — an office that served as the team’s conference room, lunch room, and thought hub. Backed by a small programming team in India, the trio (consisting of Benchmark Internet Group founder Curt Keller, his wife Denise, along with an search engine optimization pro ) discussed ideas for how to implement a deceptively simple concept. Simple email marketing. Many of the thoughts were beyond the means of the fledgling company, but that did not stop Keller from planning ahead.
The first Customers of Benchmark Email were small companies located in close proximity to Benchmark’s one-room HQ in Long Beach, CA. Keller and his team sold them on the use of email advertising, while working hard to make a very simple user interface that would be simple to operate. All the while, the company championed such innovative ideas as customizable templates and software which adapted to consumer needs. They also made certain from the outset that anybody who needed help would have rapid access to excellent customer care.
Benchmark Has continued to grow and advantagesper. Its present focus. Providing worldwide email advertising 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 company, however; it has adhered to its core principle of adaptability and serves large organizations like UNICEF and Kaiser-Permanente through its High Volume Business plans.
Today, Benchmark serves up of 73,000 users from across the planet, but the company has not forgotten its origins. Benchmark still keeps good relationships with little, locally-based businesses. In fact, the organization offers a complete page of testimonials from users of this app. You can read about Benchmark’s history and development here.
While the Majority of the attributes Benchmark provides Are on par with the rest of the industry, among the standout characteristics of this ESP is the simple fact that most of its features come standard with each account — such as the free ones. Here are a few of Benchmark’s most noteworthy offerings.
· Countless Industry-Specific, Themed Templates. Benchmark provides all customers access to the 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 category for societal media-specific templates.
· Video Emails. Perhaps the best-known benefit 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 surveys using among 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 programs come with a dedicated IP address to help increase deliverability rates. Users on other programs have the option of paying for this service ($30/month) to increase their particular delivery stats. Read more about the benefits of dedicated servers here.
· Email Delivery Management. Benchmark’s email delivery management program is about getting clients’ emails into inboxes. The business 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 clients’ behalf. Email Marketing Sites
· Mobile App. Benchmark’s mobile apps make it possible for customers with an Apple device to access several functions on the street. They can access and include contacts, browse reportsand send videos via integration with a YouTube accounts, and even layout and send quick email blasts with one of 10 available templates. That is quite a bit more than a number of other businesses offer in their mobile apps, which makes them considerably more functional.
· Photo Editing. If the photos you intend to use on your email campaign aren’t perfectly sized or want some colour adjustment, you can use Benchmark’s integrated picture editor. This is a pretty handy feature if you don’t have photoshop accessible.
· Code Editor. If you’ve got the know-how to work magic with HTML, Benchmark provides this ultra-customization choice with which you can build your mails from scratch.
· Autoresponder. Each Benchmark customer has the power to style up to eight custom autoresponder messages. These can be scheduled as a series or event lead-up, or designed as yearly messages like anniversary or birthday emails.
· Sign-Up Types . The only way to be successful in email advertising is by way of growing your list, and Benchmark really promotes doing so through sign-up forms. The company bases its Free For Life account entirely around website and Facebook sign-ups and provides an easy-to-use instrument to create customized templates for every medium.
· Inbox Checker. Because every email program differs and each internet browser has a signature style, making certain that your emails look great across the board is important. You can use Inbox Checker to have a look at the way your email screens in Gmail using Explorer and Outlook 3. Using the entire app (which assesses everything from AOL to Yahoo, Explorer into Safari, mobile to PC) is a paid add-on provider, available for $14 each 100 checks.
· RSS-to-Email. Regular bloggers can create newsletters from their sites mechanically through the RSS-to-Email attribute, which works with any blog which handles an RSS-feed. Users only need to establish a campaign and template inside Benchmark once.
· API Integration. An API (Application Program Interface) allows different software programs to communicate with one another without a formal plug connection. Benchmark’s API Integration feature allows users with XML-RPC, HTTP POST, or HTTP GET abilities to retrieve data from other apps that use JSON, XML, XML-RPC, or PHP serialization strings. In a nutshell, this allows them to perform three functions. Manage contact lists, handle campaigns and campaign sending, and check data. The business describes this role in more detail here.
· Advanced Metrics. Benchmark provides both Listing Segmentation and AB Split Testing.
· Multiple-Language Interface. Benchmark is available in seven languages. Chinese, English, German, Japanese, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish.
Benefits Of Use
Signing up for a Benchmark account is fairly straightforward. After entering your name, email, contact number, and business name, you have to confirm your email address. This is a five-minute process for me. Upon logging into my account (with the free program ) I was greeted by an attractive UI that gave me a clear direction about how to make my first email campaign. Great beginning!
Email Campaign Creation
On its own dashboard, Benchmark offers users five main options. Emails, Automations, Contacts, Surveys, and Reports. To create a new effort, proceed into the Emails section, then hit on the big blue”Create New Mail” button at the top right-hand corner. Email Marketing Sites
From there, you must decide If You Would like an RSS Or classic 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 gifted that way, so I went with the drag-and-drop option.
I had been prompted to enter a subject line for my Email and setup how much observation I wanted on the message, in addition to if I wanted an automatic tweet when the effort went out. The next task was to choose which contacts I wanted to get the campaign. With that, I was finally able to start building the email itself. If you want to, you are able to construct your own email designs employing an extremely intuitive editor. On the flip side, you can alter one of Benchmark’s templates, which can be great, and much better than I managed to do on my own.
Preventing the Email Campaign
If You’re just Starting out, you can do as I did and manually enter 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 computer; import contacts directly from Salesforce.com, Hotmail, or Gmail accounts; or copy and paste huge lists of contacts into a text form. When you create your Benchmark lists, they will appear on your dashboard, along with a Master Unsubscribe List.
The actual sending of this email is rather easy. Once you have finished all of your tweaks, you can 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 on the planet, it is possible to send it to yourself to preview it as many as 10 times/day. I chose to schedule my email for delivery to see 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 ideal, it was likely within tolerance levels for many users. If you’re among the more rare users who demand on-the-minute email sending, you might have to look elsewhere. More worryingly, my email didn’t go to my main inbox but was mechanically sorted into my”promotions” folder. Definitely not perfect.
Email Campaign Reporting
The first thing I Noticed about Benchmark email reports was something I would read about in a couple of reviews. They’re really, really fast. I mean lightning fast. Opens register from the Benchmark system almost immediately. I have worked with several other apps where these reports require hours or even days to look.
Benchmark provides users with several key Bits of information about every campaign. The arguably most important statistic, the open speed, seems in both pie graph and numerical form. Additionally, Benchmark provides users with stats such as clicks, forwards, bounces, unsubscribes, and misuse. Every 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 place which reports shares through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, in addition to a map which breaks down, by state, that opens your emails. Email Marketing Sites
Though all of the information is great and Necessary, it is not sufficient to sustain higher level marketers that need more info such as conversions, which links were clicked, and revenue analysis. Though Google Analytics provides a lot of that information with proper integration, there might come a time when serious entrepreneurs need more info than Benchmark provides. Whether or not a small company will get to that point changes, of course, dependent on the business.
Particular Size Of Business
Benchmark designed its 3-tiered pricing Structure with the goal of serving everyone from the smallest kitchen-table startup to big email marketers. On the other hand, the company’s key focus is on small to medium companies, especially those just starting out in email marketing. This is particularly 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 do not see the integration you want, there is still hope. You’re able to use the API or request a integration by sending an email to [email protected]
· Benchmark Events — Benchmark Occasions is event marketing applications designed to integrate fully with Benchmark Email. Launched in 2012, this app permits users to create and customize occasions, promote and sell tickets, and track the success of their events through their Benchmark Email account. A variety of subscriptions 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 keep Salesforce customers engaged. Read our overview of Salesforce here.
· Twitter — Benchmark Email Lite is a WordPress plugin which allows users to easily build an email audience via their subscribers. The plugin can automatically create email variations of blog articles and allows users to connect up to five Benchmark accounts.
· Highrise — Merges Highrise contacts with a Benchmark listing. Read our overview of Highrisehere.
· Benchmark Power — This free plug-in allows you to supply pictures for your Benchmark mails from locations across the net. Benchmark Power captures pictures you locate and immediately uploads them to a Benchmark account for future use.
· Flickr — Users with Flickr accounts can link Flickr for their Benchmark image galleries.
· Shopify — You are able to link a Shopify account to Benchmark and automatically add Shopify clients to Benchmark lists. You may even add contributors to different lists based on what they bought. Read our review of Shopify here.
· PayPal — Users can add any of the PayPal customers for their own 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 using Benchmark. Use it to send mails of your blog articles and also use the analytics to see how your readers respond to them. Learn more here.
· Zapier — Gain access to Zapier’s enormous integration library . Email Marketing Sites
Social Media Integrations
Because Of the key link between social media and email advertising, it is important to look at the social media features included in Benchmark.
· Social Media Templates — One section of Benchmark’s massive email template list is made of societal media-specific templates that directly promote your company’s participation in social networking forums like facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
· Facebook”Like” Button — Benchmark provides a very simple function which permits you to add a Facebook”Just Like” button to your own emails.
· Facebook Sign-Up Form — Benchmark supplies easy-to-create sign-up forms (see”Features” above) for both websites and Facebook enthusiast pages, so you can convert followers into subscribers.
· Social Links within Email — After you connect your Benchmark account with your Facebook, Twitter, and/or LinkedIn account, you can add buttons to every email which will direct your subscribers to each of your social networking pages.
The Business also fully Complies with the U.S.-E.U. and U.S.-Swiss Safe Harbor Frameworks concerning the collection of personal data from citizens of these nations. When clients provide credit card amounts to Benchmark, the company uses secure socket layer (SSL) protection to encrypt the information. The entire 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 outlines a clear zero-tolerance policy for any of their users hoping to take part in spam activities. The business is entirely in compliance with all the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. Benchmark additionally takes several measures to preserve its standing as a spam-free supplier, among them membership from the Email Sender and Provider Coalition. The company uses the app SpamAssassin to filter messages delivered through its host.
To prevent users from Unknowingly sending spam-like materials, Benchmark provides a spam test feature that 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’s very likely to be blocked. In case of a top score, the program suggests”less spammy” choices. Individualized IP addresses also assist large-volume senders reduce their spam numbers.
Customer Support and Service
Benchmark Offers its users a lot of support resources. Customer support is usually responsive, with minimal waiting times. The site provides good learning tools, but can be needlessly opaque occasionally. Key information can be buried and difficult to locate, particularly in the event that you don’t know exactly what you’re searching for, especially in regards to minute details about plans. For instance. The Free For Life plan comprises Benchmark branding on each email, but you won’t find that mentioned on the Free For Life webpage, not even in the fine print. Nor will you see it mentioned when you sign up. The only place it is mentioned is at the FAQ, here.
Here are some of the resources Benchmark offers. Email Marketing Sites
· Live Email and Support — Benchmark provides live one-on-one aid through these means.
· Email Service. Contact Benchmark at [email protected] or through the company’s contact form . Available 24 hours Monday — Friday and restricted hours on Saturday.
· Phone Support. You are able to reach Benchmark in 800-430-4095 (U.S.) or even 001-562-252-3789 (all states ). Available weekdays from 6 am to 5 pm PT.
· Chat Support. Accessible nearly 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 some 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 key word search of any subject (or sub-topic) or of their FAQ as a whole. 1 caveat. With such a comprehensive knowledge base, it is pretty much inevitable that some entries will be out of date. A few of the QandAs offer advice which is wholly incorrect, so in some cases, you may need to contact assistance 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 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 time. You can even request a special webinar on quite a few other topics. Live webinars comprise the opportunity to ask questions during the presentation.
· Email Marketing Manuals and Articles — There are more in-depth information on email marketing in general, in addition to the Benchmark program especially, in the Manuals Section. These downloadable documents also cover industry-specific issues. Articles, very similar to sites, 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 Terms — This is a particularly helpful tool for all those brand new to email marketing who believe absorbed 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 advertising trends, check out Benchmark’s monthly newsletter, as well as its extremely active site. All subscribers automatically gain access to current newsletters, and Benchmark also offers an archive of newsletter articles from November 2007-October 2012.
· Benchmark Community — Benchmark users can post their latest newsletters on message boards at the Benchmark Community. This forum allows users to talk about newsletter production approaches, vote for their favourite newsletters, and gain inspiration from other Benchmark users.
Web-Based Or Locally-Installed
Benchmark is entirely web-based and does not Require any setup on your PC.
Positive Reviews and Reviews
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 Sites
Some common points of praise.
· Top Notch Support. This is maybe the most typical monitoring concerning Benchmark, and something I discovered for myself too. People are inclined to find support prompt and beneficial, and some say it is really the element that distinguishes Benchmark from its rivals. The business also receives praise for its website articles and videos.
· Feature Selection Across All Plans. Some users praise the addition of attributes like AB analyzing and surveys from all programs; many firms charge extra for such features or only include them in their pricier programs.
· Benefits of Use. Users tend to locate Benchmark’s interface incredibly user-friendly and intuitive. The program gathers praise from a broad range of demographics, from first time ESP users to people who have attempted a variety of programs before settling Benchmark.
· Mobile Friendly Emails. Consumers were impressed with all 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 important factor to take into account.
Negative Reviews and Complaints
I was Unable to find many people who disliked Their own Benchmark experience. However, I managed to discover a few complaints.
· Inconsistent Send-Times. Apparently some users experienced a problem with Benchmark in which their mails were sent hours when they were scheduled. 1 customer theorized the issue might arise in long lists of recipients. Not all clients of all Benchmark will have time-sensitive shipping demands, but other people will. Should you want your emails to go out exactly when your schedule dictates, you may have to take into account this situation.
· Buggy Social Media Integrations. I saw several user testimonials that commented the social media integrations in Benchmark are not up to par.
· “Spammy” Templates. Some users have been concerned that Benchmark’s templates may feel like spam mail, leading recipients to mark them as junk rather than studying the contents. Since the whole point of an ESP is to stop this from occurring, this may be a problem. On the flip side, I never felt this way whilst looking through the template list, so it may not be the most valid of complaints.
Benchmark Provides a huge variety of pricing strategies, including a free plan and a massive array of paid plans which can service anywhere between 600 and 7,140,000 subscribers.
Benchmark’s free plans do not require credit Cards, which is always refreshing. The only catch. There’ll be a little Benchmark emblem in the bottom of every email you send out. Obviously, you may 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 up to 2000 subscribers and provides you access to most but not all of Benchmark’s features list. Notable absences into the features list for free accounts include email automation and sub-accounts (enabling many users to get one Benchmark accounts ).
Paid Plans. Email Marketing Sites
Users with small contacts lists and limited Monthly messages have the option of paying to get their email marketing depending on the number of mails they send every 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 a month
o Extra Large Plans. 125,000-1,000,000 subscribers, $659.99-$4,273.99 a month
o Massive Plans. 1,070,000-7,140,000 subscribers, $4,500-$29,200 a month
Benchmark accepts all Major credit cards and also allows you to pay through PayPal. They also offer you a 25% reduction for nonprofits and educators.
Benchmark is a good program. It’s easy to use, Open to invention, and competitively priced. Its free alternatives may just be the very best in the company for anybody who only wants to dive into email marketing (especially small, local businesses). For that matter, any Benchmark strategy can work well for a little company which perspectives email as a minor aspect of its marketing and does not have any desire to work beyond the principles just yet.
If you are a small or maybe medium-sized Business trying to find a simple email marketing program with a host of amazing features, Benchmark is an excellent option. Though there may come a time when you outgrow the program, it provides a lot for the price, offers excellent support, and the business appears to be sensitive to the needs of its customers. You can’t ask for much more.