Summary Email Marketing Software Features
For many an evening in 2004, three people sat Around one desk in a tiny medical office — an office that functioned as the group’s conference room, breakfast area, and idea hub. Backed by a small programming team in India, the trio (comprising Benchmark Internet Group founder Curt Keller, his wife Denise, and an search engine optimization pro ) discussed ideas for how to implement a deceptively simple idea. Simple email marketing. Many of the thoughts were beyond the resources of the fledgling company, but that did not stop Keller from planning ahead.
The first Customers of Benchmark Email were small businesses located in close proximity to Benchmark’s one-room HQ in Long Beach, CA. Keller and his staff personally sold them on the usage of email advertising, while working hard to create a simple user interface that would be easy to operate. All the while, the company championed such novel ideas as customizable templates and applications which adapted to user needs. They also made sure from the beginning that anybody who needed help would have quick access to excellent customer support.
Benchmark Has continued to grow and advantagesper. Its present focus. Providing worldwide email advertising services to small and midsize businesses while continuing to honor a commitment to assist children in need. This does not indicate that Benchmark is a little-guys-only service, however; it has stuck to its core principle of adaptability and serves large organizations like UNICEF and Kaiser-Permanente via its High Volume Enterprise plans.
Today, Benchmark serves upwards of 73,000 users from across the globe, but the company has not forgotten its origins. Benchmark still maintains good relationships with small, locally-based companies. In fact, the company offers a full page of testimonials from users of this app. You can read more about Benchmark’s background and development here.
While most 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 features come standard with each account — including the free ones. Below are some of Benchmark’s most noteworthy 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 particular industries like education, entertainment, and retail. There is also a category for societal media-specific templates.
· Video Emails. Possibly the best-known benefit of Benchmark is its support for video emails. The company explains the benefits of this feature here.
· Online Surveys. You can create professional-looking online surveys using among Benchmark’s 6 templates. Post your poll 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 prices. Users on other programs have the option of paying for this service ($30/month) to boost their own delivery stats. Read more about the benefits of dedicated servers here.
· Email Delivery Management. Benchmark’s email shipping management program is all about getting customers’ mails into inboxes. The company is a member of the Email Sender and Provider Coalition and works with ReturnPath, a top email delivery and consulting support. The business also communicates with ISPs on its clients’ behalf. Email Marketing Software Features
· Mobile App. Benchmark’s mobile apps allow customers with an Apple device to access several functions on the street. They can access and include contacts, browse reports, send videos through integration with a YouTube account, and even design and send fast email blasts with one of 10 templates that are available. That is quite a little more than a number of other companies offer in their mobile programs, making them considerably more operational.
· Photo Editing. If the pictures you intend to use in your email campaign aren’t perfectly sized or need some color adjustment, you may use Benchmark’s integrated photo editor. This is a fairly handy feature if you do not have photoshop available.
· Code Editor. If you have the know-how to work magic with HTML, Benchmark offers this ultra-customization choice with which you may build your emails from scratch.
· Autoresponder. Each Benchmark customer has the power to style around eight custom autoresponder messages. These could be scheduled as a series or occasion lead-up, or made as annual messages like anniversary or birthday emails.
· Sign-Up Types . The only way to be prosperous in email marketing is by way of growing your list, and Benchmark actually promotes doing so through sign-up forms. The company bases its Free For Life account completely around site and Facebook sign-ups and provides an easy-to-use instrument to create custom templates for each medium.
· Inbox Checker. Since every email program is different and each internet browser has a signature fashion, making sure that your emails look great 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. Using 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 each 100 checks.
· RSS-to-Email. Regular bloggers can create newsletters out of their blogs mechanically through the RSS-to-Email feature, which works with any site which manages an RSS-feed. Users simply need to set up a campaign and template inside Benchmark once.
· API Integration. An API (Application Program Interface) allows different software programs to communicate with one another with no formal plug-in link. Benchmark’s API Integration feature permits users with XML-RPC, HTTP POST, or HTTP GET skills to recover data from other apps which use JSON, XML, XML-RPC, or PHP serialization strings. In a nutshell, this allows them to perform three purposes. Manage contact lists, manage campaigns and campaign sending, and check statistics. 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 offered in seven languages. Chinese, English, German, Japanese, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish.
Ease Of Use
Signing up for a Benchmark accounts is pretty straightforward. After entering your name, email, contact number, and company name, you need to confirm your email address. This was 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 very clear path about how best to make my very first email campaign. Great start!
Email Campaign Creation
On its dashboard, Benchmark offers users five chief options. Emails, Automations, Contacts, Surveys, and Reports. To make a new effort, proceed to the Emails segment, then hit the big blue”Create New Mail” button in the upper right-hand corner. Email Marketing Software Features
From there, you must decide if you want an RSS Or traditional email message. It is possible to use Benchmark’s drag-and-drop editor, or move for more customization with the built-in code editor. If you are someone 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 was motivated to enter a subject line for my Email and set up how much tracking I wanted on the message, as well as if I wanted an automated tweet once the campaign went out. The following task was to choose which contacts I wanted to get the campaign. With that, I was finally able to begin constructing the email itself. If you would like to, you can construct your personal email designs using an extremely intuitive editor. On the other hand, you can modify one of Benchmark’s templates, which can be great, and better than I managed to do on my own.
Sending the Email Campaign
If you are just Starting out, you can do as I did and manually enter contacts at a time. However, for those who already have a listing, there are several ways to import it. You are able to upload a CSV, xls, or txt file directly from the personal computer; import contacts directly from Salesforce.com, Hotmail, or Gmail accounts; or copy and paste large lists of contacts into a text form. Once you create your Benchmark lists, then they will show up on your dashboard, together with a Master Unsubscribe List.
The sending of this email is rather simple. When you’ve finished all of your tweaks, you may either save email as a draft, send it instantly, or schedule a time and date for delivery. If you want to verify all is well before distributing your email on the world, you can send it to yourself to preview it as many as 10 times/day. I opted to program my email for delivery to view how timely the automatic system would actually be. I scheduled my email for 2.45 and received it at 2.50, so while the timing wasn’t exactly perfect, it was likely present in tolerance levels for most users. If you are one of the more infrequent users who need on-the-minute email sending, you may 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.
Mail Campaign Reporting
The first thing I Discovered about Benchmark email reports was something I’d read about in a few reviews. They’re really, really quickly. I mean lightning fast. Opens register from the Benchmark system almost immediately. I have worked with a lot of other programs where these reports take hours or even days to look.
Benchmark provides users with several key Pieces of data about every effort. The arguably most important statistic, the open rate, appears in both pie graph and numerical type. In addition, Benchmark supplies users with stats for clicks, forwards, bounces, unsubscribes, and misuse. Each stat further breaks down to the specific email addresses related to a given action. Users may export this data for additional analysis via a csv or xls file. There is also a social networking place which reports shares via Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, in addition to a map that breaks down, by country, that opens your mails. Email Marketing Software Features
Though all of the information is great and Necessary, it isn’t sufficient to sustain higher level marketers who need more information such as conversions, which links were clicked, and revenue analysis. Though Google Analytics provides a lot of this information with proper integration, there might come a time when serious entrepreneurs need more information than Benchmark provides. Whether a small business will get to that point changes, of course, based on the business.
Particular Size Of Company
Benchmark made its 3-tiered pricing Structure with the goal of serving everyone from the tiniest kitchen-table startup to big email marketers. On the other hand, the organization’s main focus is on small to medium companies, especially those just beginning in email marketing. This is especially reflected in the reality that customers subscribing to the medium plans get unlimited mails, while larger plans have constraints.
Integrations and Add-Ons
Benchmark Offers roughly 20 plug-ins and integrations. If you don’t see the integration you want, there’s still hope. You can 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 make and customize events, promote and market tickets, and track the success of their events through their Benchmark Email account. A variety of subscriptions are available, including a free alternative.
· Salesforce.com — This integration enables users to import contacts into Benchmark and use Benchmark’s email system to maintain Salesforce customers engaged. Read our review of Salesforce here.
· Twitter — Benchmark Mail Lite is a WordPress plug-in which allows users to easily build an email viewer via their subscribers. The plug-in can automatically create email versions of blog posts and permits users to connect up to five Benchmark accounts.
· Highrise — Merges Highrise contacts using a Benchmark listing. Read our overview of Highrisehere.
· Benchmark Power — This free plug-in lets you source pictures for your Benchmark mails from places across the net. Benchmark Power captures images you find and immediately uploads them to a Benchmark account for future usage.
· Flickr — Users with Flickr accounts can link Flickr for their own Benchmark image galleries.
· Shopify — You can link a Shopify accounts to Benchmark and automatically add Shopify customers to Benchmark lists. You can even add contributors to different lists based on which products they purchased. Read our overview of Shopify here.
· PayPal — Users may add some of their PayPal clients for 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 .
· WordPress — The ever-present blog and site builder provides an integration using Benchmark. Use it to send emails of your blog articles 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 Software Features
Social Media Integrations
Because Of the key connection between social media and email marketing, it’s very important to check out the social networking features contained 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 involvement in social networking forums such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
· Facebook”Like” Button — Benchmark provides a very simple function which permits you to bring a Facebook”Just Like” button to your emails.
· Facebook Sign-Up Form — Benchmark supplies easy-to-create sign-up forms (see”Characteristics” above) for both sites and Facebook fan pages, so you can convert followers to readers.
· Social Links within Mail — Once you link your Benchmark account with your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn accounts, you can add buttons to each email that will direct your subscribers to each of your social media pages.
The Business also fully Complies with the U.S.-E.U. and U.S.-Swiss Safe Harbor Frameworks regarding the selection of personal data from citizens of those countries. When clients provide credit card amounts to Benchmark, the company uses secure socket layer (SSL) protection to encrypt the info. The entire system is encrypted to ensure the security of customers’ personal information.
Anti-Spam Policy and Protection
Like All valid ESPs, Benchmark takes junk seriously and outlines a clear zero-tolerance coverage for any of their users trying to engage in spam actions. The company is fully in compliance with all the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. Benchmark additionally takes several steps to preserve its reputation as a spam-free provider, among them membership from the Email Sender and Provider Coalition. The company employs the program SpamAssassin to filter messages sent through its host.
To prevent users from Unknowingly sending spam-like materials, Benchmark provides a spam check feature which looks for words widely 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 high score, the program suggests”less spammy” alternatives. Individualized IP addresses also help large-volume senders decrease their spam numbers.
Customer Service and Support
Benchmark Offers its customers a lot of support resources. Customer service is usually responsive, with minimal waiting times. The website offers good learning resources, but may be needlessly opaque at times. Crucial information is often buried and hard to find, particularly in the event that you don’t know precisely what you’re searching for, particularly in regards to minute details about strategies. For instance. That the Free For Life plan includes Benchmark branding on every email, however you won’t see that mentioned on the Free For Life page, not even at the fine print. Nor will you see it mentioned when you register. The only place it is mentioned is in the FAQ, here.
Here are some of those resources Benchmark offers. Email Marketing Software Features
· Live Support and Email — Benchmark supplies live one-on-one aid through the following means.
· Email Support. Contact Benchmark at [email protected] or through the company’s contact form . Available 24 hours Monday — Friday and limited hours on Saturday.
· Telephone Support. You can reach Benchmark at 800-430-4095 (U.S.) or 001-562-252-3789 (all states ). Available weekdays from 6 am to 5 pm PT.
· Chat Support. Available nearly 24 hours per day 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. There are more than 900 entries, sorted into 18 subjects ranging from”Getting Started” to”API.” Users may execute a keyword search of any subject (or sub-topic) or of the FAQ as a whole. 1 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 information which is wholly incorrect, so in some cases, you might want to contact support to hash things out.
· Video Tutorials and Webinars — Benchmark provides about two dozen video tutorials which take users step by step through the features of this app. The business also offers 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 can also ask for a special webinar on quite a few other subjects. Live webinars comprise the opportunity to ask questions throughout the presentation.
· Email Marketing Manuals and Articles — There are more in-depth details on email marketing generally, as well as the Benchmark program specifically, in the Manuals Section. These downloadable documents also cover industry-specific issues. Articles, very similar to blogs, 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 Requirements — This is a particularly helpful tool for those new to email marketing who believe consumed by all the jargon. Benchmark provides a glossarywith 50 of the very popular email advertising terms from”above-the-fold” to”whitelists.”
· Website and Newsletter — For current info about email marketing trends, check out Benchmark’s monthly newsletter, as well as its exceptionally active site. All subscribers automatically gain access to present newsletters, and Benchmark also offers an archive of newsletter articles from November 2007-October 2012.
· Benchmark Community — Benchmark users may post their latest newsletters on message boards at the Benchmark Community. This forum allows users to talk about newsletter creation strategies, 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 installation on your computer.
Favorable 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 Software Features
Some common points of compliments.
· Top Notch Service . This is perhaps the most common monitoring regarding Benchmark, and something I discovered for myself as well. People today tend to find support prompt and beneficial, and a few say it is actually the element that distinguishes Benchmark from its rivals. The business also receives praise for its website posts and videos.
· Characteristic Selection Across All Aims . Some customers praise the addition of attributes including AB testing and surveys in all programs; many firms charge extra for such attributes or just include them in their pricier plans.
· Ease of Use. Users tend to locate Benchmark’s interface extremely user-friendly and intuitive. The program gathers compliments from a broad range of demographics, from first-time ESP users to those who have attempted many different programs before settling on Benchmark.
· Mobile Friendly Emails. Users were impressed with all the mobile-friendly email layout of Benchmark’s templates. Since more and more people access their email from mobile devices, this can be an increasingly significant aspect to consider.
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 mails were sent hours after they were first scheduled. One customer theorized the issue might arise from long lists of recipients. Not all clients of all Benchmark will have time-sensitive sending demands, but other people will. If you want your mails to go out exactly whenever your schedule dictates, you may need to take into account this situation.
· Buggy Social Media Integrations. I saw several user testimonials that commented the social media integrations in Benchmark aren’t up to par.
· “Spammy” Templates. Some users were worried that Benchmark’s templates can feel like spam email, causing receivers to mark them as spam rather than studying the contents. Since the entire point of an ESP is to stop this from occurring, this may be an issue. 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 enormous number of pricing strategies, including a totally free plan and a huge array of paid plans which can service anywhere between 600 and 7,140,000 subscribers.
Benchmark’s free programs do not require credit 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 choose to upgrade to a paid plan in case you don’t need the Benchmark branding. The free plan permits you to send up to 14000 mails to up to 2000 subscribers and gives you access to most but not all of Benchmark’s features list. Notable absences to the features list for free accounts comprise email automation and sub-accounts (enabling multiple users to access one Benchmark account).
Paid Strategies. Email Marketing Software Features
Users with little contacts lists and restricted Monthly messages have the choice of paying for their email advertising based on the number of mails that they send each month.
o Medium Plans. 600-50,000 subscribers, $13.99-$254.99 a month
o Large Plans. 55,000-100,000 subscribers, $285.99-$494.99 per month
o Extra Large Strategies. 125,000-1,000,000 subscribers, $659.99-$4,273.99 a month
o 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 teachers.
Benchmark is a solid program. It’s Simple to Use, Open to innovation, and competitively priced. Its free options might very well be the best in the company for anybody who only wants to dip into email marketing (especially small, local companies ). For that matter, any Benchmark plan can work well for a small business which views email as a little aspect of its marketing and does not have any desire to operate beyond the basics just yet.
If you are a small or even medium-sized Business trying to find a easy email marketing program with a multitude of amazing features, Benchmark is an exceptional choice. Even though there may come a time when you outgrow the program, it provides a great deal for the money, offers excellent service, and the business appears to be sensitive to the needs of its users. You can not ask for more.