Summary Email Marketing Software Comparisons
For many an evening in 2004, three people sat Around one desk in a tiny medical office — an office which served as the team’s conference room, lunch room, and idea hub. Backed by a little programming team in India, the trio (consisting of Benchmark Internet Group founder Curt Keller, his wife Denise, and an search engine optimization expert) discussed ideas on how best to implement a deceptively straightforward concept. Simple email marketing. Many of their ideas were beyond the resources of this fledgling business, but that did not stop Keller from planning ahead.
The first Customers of Benchmark Mail were small companies 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 marketing, while working hard to create a simple user interface which would be simple to operate. All the while, the business championed such novel ideas as customizable templates and applications which adapted to user requirements. They also made sure from the beginning that anybody who needed help would have quick access to outstanding customer care.
Benchmark Has continued to grow and advantagesper. Its current focus. Providing global email marketing services to small and medium-sized businesses while continuing to honor a commitment to help children in need. This does not indicate 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 via its High Volume Enterprise plans.
Today, Benchmark serves up of 73,000 users from throughout the planet, but the company hasn’t forgotten its roots. Benchmark still maintains good relationships with small, locally-based companies. In reality, the organization offers a full page of testimonials from local users of the program. You can read more about Benchmark’s history and development here.
While most of the features Benchmark provides Are on par with the rest of the industry, one of the standout characteristics of this ESP is the fact that most of its attributes come standard with every single account — such as the free ones. Here are a few of Benchmark’s most notable offerings.
· Countless Industry-Specific, Themed Templates. Benchmark offers all users access to the library of over 400 templates. These are organized into 19 classes, some of which are tailored to specific industries like education, entertainment, and retail. There’s 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 describes the benefits 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 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 prices. Users on other programs have the choice of paying for this service ($30/month) to boost 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 clients’ emails into inboxes. The business is a part of the Email Sender and Provider Coalition and works with ReturnPath, a leading email delivery and delivery support. The company also communicates with ISPs on its customers’ behalf. Email Marketing Software Comparisons
· Mobile App. Benchmark’s mobile programs allow customers having an Apple device to get several purposes on the street. They can access and add contacts, browse reportsand send videos via integration with 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 many other businesses offer on their mobile apps, which makes them considerably more functional.
· Photo Editing. If the pictures you intend to utilize on your email campaign aren’t perfectly sized or want some colour adjustment, you may use Benchmark’s integrated picture editor. This is a fairly handy feature if you do not have photoshop accessible.
· Code Editor. In case you’ve got the know-how to work magic with HTML, Benchmark provides this ultra-customization option with which you may build your mails from scratch.
· Autoresponder. Each Benchmark customer has the power to style around eight custom autoresponder messages. These can be scheduled as a series or event lead-up, or made as annual messages like birthday or anniversary emails.
· Sign-Up Types . The only way to be prosperous in email marketing is by way of growing your own list, and Benchmark really promotes doing this via sign-up forms. The business bases its Free For Life account entirely around website and Facebook sign-ups and provides an easy-to-use instrument to create customized templates for each medium.
· Inbox Checker. Because every email program differs and each web browser includes a signature style, making certain that your emails look good across the board is important. You can use Inbox Checker to look at the way that your email displays in Gmail using Explorer and Outlook 3. Employing the full app (which checks everything from AOL to Yahoo, Explorer to Safari, mobile to PC) is a paid add-on provider, available for $14 per 100 checks.
· RSS-to-Email. Regular bloggers may create newsletters out of their sites mechanically through the RSS-to-Email attribute, which works with any site which manages an RSS-feed. Users simply need 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 with no formal plug connection. Benchmark’s API Integration feature allows users with XML-RPC, HTTP POST, or HTTP GET skills to recover data from some other apps which use JSON, XML, XML-RPC, or PHP serialization strings. In brief, this permits them to play three purposes. Manage contact lists, handle campaigns and effort sending, and assess data. The company describes this function 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.
Ease Of Use
Enrolling in a Benchmark accounts is fairly straightforward. After entering your name, email, contact number, and business 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 appealing UI that gave me a clear path on the best way to create my first email campaign. Great beginning!
Email Campaign Creation
On its dashboard, Benchmark offers users five main choices. Emails, Automations, Contacts, Surveys, and Reports. To make a new campaign, proceed into the Emails section, then hit on the large blue”Create New Email” button in the upper right-hand corner. Email Marketing Software Comparisons
From there, you must decide if you want 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 personally gifted that way, so I went with the drag-and-drop alternative.
I had been prompted to enter a subject line for my Email and set up how much observation I desired on the message, in addition to if I wanted an automatic tweet when the campaign went out. The following task was to select which contacts I wanted to receive the campaign. With that, I was eventually able to begin constructing the email itself. If you want to, you are able to construct your personal email designs using a very intuitive editor. On the flip side, you can alter one of Benchmark’s templates, which can be great, and much better than I was able to do on my own.
Preventing the Email Campaign
If You’re just Starting out, you can certainly do as I did and manually input contacts one 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 large lists of contacts to a text form. Once you make your Benchmark lists, then they’ll show up on your dash, along with a Master Unsubscribe List.
The actual sending of the email is rather simple. When you have finished all your tweaks, you may 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 on 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 delivery to see how timely the automatic system would really be. I advised my email for 2.45 and obtained it in 2.50, therefore while the timing wasn’t exactly ideal, it was likely present in tolerance levels for many users. If you’re one of the more rare users who need on-the-minute email sending, you may have to appear elsewhere. More worryingly, my email did not go to my primary inbox but was automatically sorted into my”promotions” folder. Definitely not perfect.
Mail Campaign Reporting
The first thing I Discovered about Benchmark email reports was something I would read about in a few reviews. They are really, really fast. I mean lightning fast. Opens register in the Benchmark system almost immediately. I have worked with several other apps where these reports require hours or even days to appear.
Benchmark provides users with several key Bits of data about every campaign. The arguably most important statistic, the available speed, appears in both pie chart and numerical type. In addition, Benchmark supplies users with stats for clicks, forwards, bounces, unsubscribes, and misuse. Each stat further breaks down to the exact email addresses related to a given activity. Users can export this information for further analysis by means of a csv or xls file. There’s also a social networking area which reports shares via Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, in addition to a map that breaks down, by state, who opens your mails. Email Marketing Software Comparisons
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. Though Google Analytics provides a whole lot of this information with proper integration, there may come a time when serious entrepreneurs need more information than Benchmark provides. Whether a small company will get to that point varies, naturally, dependent on the company.
Particular Size Of Company
Benchmark made 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 organization’s main focus is on small to medium businesses, particularly those just starting out in email marketing. This is particularly reflected in the fact that customers subscribing to the medium plans get unlimited emails, while bigger plans have constraints.
Integrations and Add-Ons
Benchmark Offers approximately 20 plug-ins and integrations. If you don’t observe 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 Events is event marketing software designed to integrate fully with Benchmark Email. Launched in 2012, this app permits users to create and customize occasions, promote and market tickets, and monitor the success of the events via their Benchmark Email account. A variety of programs are available, such as a free option.
· Salesforce.com — This integration enables users to import contacts directly into Benchmark and use Benchmark’s email system to maintain Salesforce customers participated. Read our overview of Salesforce here.
· WordPress — Benchmark Email Lite is a WordPress plug-in which allows users to easily build an email viewer via their subscribers. The plug-in can automatically produce email variations of blog posts and allows users to connect up to five Benchmark accounts.
· Highrise — Merges Highrise contacts using a Benchmark list. Read our review of Highrisehere.
· Benchmark Power — This free plug-in lets you source images for your Benchmark mails from places across the net. Benchmark Power captures images you locate and immediately uploads them to a Benchmark accounts for future usage.
· Flickr — Users with Flickr accounts can link Flickr to their Benchmark image galleries.
· Shopify — You are able to link a Shopify account to Benchmark and automatically add Shopify customers to Benchmark lists. You can even add contributors to different lists based on which products they bought. Read our overview of Shopify here.
· PayPal — Users can add any of their PayPal customers for their Benchmark email lists bylinking the accounts. Read our review of Paypal here.
· Easy List — Learn more about this simple list-making program and download it .
· WordPress — The ever-present blog and site builder offers 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 access to Zapier’s enormous integration library here. Email Marketing Software Comparisons
Social Media Integrations
Because Of the key connection between social networking and email marketing, it’s important to look at the social networking features included in Benchmark.
· Social Media Templates — One section of Benchmark’s enormous email template listing consists of societal media-specific templates which directly promote your company’s participation in social networking forums such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
· Facebook”Like” Button — Benchmark offers a simple function which allows you to bring a Facebook”Just Like” button to your own emails.
· Facebook Sign-Up Form — Benchmark supplies easy-to-create sign-up forms (see”Characteristics” above) for both sites and Facebook fan pages, to help you convert followers into readers.
· Social Links within Email — After you connect your Benchmark account together with your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn account, you can add switches to every email that will direct your subscribers to each of your social media pages.
The company also fully Complies with all the U.S.-E.U. and U.S.-Swiss Safe Harbor Frameworks concerning the collection of personal data from citizens of these countries. When clients provide credit card numbers to Benchmark, the business uses secure socket layer (SSL) protection to encrypt the info. The entire platform is encrypted to ensure the safety of all customers’ personal information.
Anti-Spam Policy and Protection
Like All legitimate ESPs, Benchmark takes spam seriously and summarizes a clear zero-tolerance policy for any of the users trying to take part in spam activities. The company 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 from the Email Sender and Provider Coalition. The business employs the app SpamAssassin to filter messages sent through its host.
To prevent users from Unknowingly sending spam-like materials, Benchmark supplies a spam check feature which looks for words widely 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 case of a top score, the program suggests”less spammy” alternatives. Individualized IP addresses also assist large-volume senders decrease their spam amounts.
Customer Service and Support
Benchmark Offers its customers a lot of support tools. Customer support is usually responsive, with minimal waiting times. The website provides good learning tools, but may be needlessly opaque occasionally. Crucial information is often buried and difficult to locate, particularly if you don’t know precisely what you’re looking for, especially in regards to minute particulars about plans. As an example. That the Free For Life plan includes Benchmark branding on each email, however you won’t find that mentioned on the Free For Life webpage, not even at the fine print. Nor are you going to see it mentioned when you register. The only place it’s mentioned is in the FAQ, here.
Here are some of the resources Benchmark offers. Email Marketing Software Comparisons
· Live Support and Email — Benchmark supplies live one-on-one aid through these means.
· Email Support. Contact Benchmark at [email protected] or through the company’s contact form here. Accessible 24 hours Monday — Friday and restricted hours on Saturday.
· Telephone 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 per day 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 base than a normal FAQ. There are more than 900 entries, sorted into 18 topics ranging from”Getting Started” to”API.” Users can execute 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 are going to be out of date. A few of the QandAs offer information which is wholly incorrect, so in some cases, you might need to contact assistance to hash things out.
· Video Tutorials and Webinars — Benchmark provides about two dozen video tutorials that take users step by step through the features of this app. The company also supplies a webinar called”Benchmark Mail Crash Course.” You may view it live each Friday at 10.00 a.m. PST or watch the recorded version at any moment. You might even ask for a special webinar on a number of different subjects. Live webinars include the chance to ask questions throughout the demonstration.
· Email Marketing Manuals and Articles — You can find more in-depth details on email marketing in general, as well as the Benchmark program specifically, in the Manuals Section. These downloadable files also cover industry-specific issues. Articles, similar to sites, offer users guidance beyond that found in the FAQ section, but in shorter, more readable chunks compared to the guides provide.
· Glossary of Email Marketing Terms — This is a particularly helpful tool for those new to email marketing who believe absorbed by all of the jargon. Benchmark provides a glossarywith 50 of the most popular email marketing conditions from”above-the-fold” into”whitelists.”
· Website and Newsletter — For current information about email marketing trends, check out Benchmark’s monthly newsletter, in addition to its extremely active site. All readers automatically obtain access to present newsletters, and Benchmark also provides an archive of newsletter posts from November 2007-October 2012.
· Benchmark Community — Benchmark users can post their newest newsletters on message boards in the Benchmark Community. This forum allows users to talk about newsletter creation 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 installation on your computer.
Favorable Reviews and Reviews
Benchmark Includes a four-out-of-five star score on G2 Crowd, using a slightly better showing on GetApp and Capterra. 4.5 stars each. Email Marketing Software Comparisons
Some common points of praise.
· Top Notch Support. This is maybe the most common monitoring regarding Benchmark, and some thing I noticed for myself too. People today are inclined to find support prompt and beneficial, and some say it’s really the element that distinguishes Benchmark from its competitors. The business also receives praise for its website posts and videos.
· Feature Selection Across All Aims . Some users praise the inclusion of attributes like AB testing and surveys from most programs; many companies charge extra for such attributes or just include them in their pricier programs.
· Benefits of Use. Users have a tendency to locate Benchmark’s interface incredibly user-friendly and intuitive. The program gathers praise from a wide assortment of demographics, from first time ESP consumers to people who have tried a variety of programs before settling on Benchmark.
· Mobile Friendly Emails. Users were impressed with the mobile-friendly email design of Benchmark’s templates. Since an increasing number of people access their email from mobile devices, this can be an increasingly important factor to take into account.
Negative Reviews and Complaints
I was not able to find many Men and Women who loathed Their own Benchmark experience. However, I managed to discover a few complaints.
· Inconsistent Send-Times. Apparently a few users experienced a problem with Benchmark where their emails were sent hours when they were first scheduled. One customer theorized the issue might arise in lengthy lists of recipients. Not all customers of all Benchmark will possess time-sensitive shipping needs, but other people will. Should you want your mails to go out precisely when your program dictates, you might have to take into account this situation.
· Buggy Social Media Integrations. I saw several user testimonials that remarked the social media integrations in Benchmark aren’t up to par.
· “Spammy” Templates. Some users have been worried that Benchmark’s templates may feel like spam email, causing recipients to mark them as junk and not reading the contents. Since the whole purpose of an ESP would be to stop this from occurring, this might be a problem. On the other hand, I never felt this way while looking through the template list, therefore it may not be the most legitimate of complaints.
Benchmark Provides a enormous number of pricing plans, including a totally free plan and a huge scale of paid plans 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 catch. There will be a little Benchmark logo at the bottom of each email you send out. Of course, you can always opt to upgrade to a paid plan in case you don’t want the Benchmark branding. The free program allows you to send up to 14000 emails to around 2000 subscribers and gives you access to most but not all Benchmark’s features list. Notable absences to the attributes list for free accounts include email automation and sub-accounts (enabling multiple users to access one Benchmark account).
Paid Plans. Email Marketing Software Comparisons
Users with little contacts lists and restricted Monthly messages have the option of paying to get their email advertising depending on the amount of emails that 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 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 per month
Benchmark accepts all Major credit cards and also allows you to pay through PayPal. They also offer a 25% reduction for nonprofits and teachers.
Benchmark is a good program. It is Simple to Use, Open to innovation, and competitively priced. Its free options may very well be the very best in the business for anyone who just wants to dive into email marketing (particularly small, neighborhood companies ). For that matter, any Benchmark strategy can work well for a little business which perspectives email as a minor element of its marketing and has no desire to operate beyond the principles just yet.
If you are a little or maybe medium-sized Company trying to find a easy email advertising program with a multitude of amazing features, Benchmark is an excellent choice. Even 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 seems to be sensitive to the requirements of its customers. You can’t ask for more.