Overview Email Marketing Software For Agencies
For many a day in 2004, three people sat Around a single desk in a tiny medical office — an office that served as the group’s conference room, lunch room, and idea 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 SEO pro ) discussed ideas for how to implement a deceptively straightforward concept. Simple email marketing. Many of the thoughts were beyond the resources of the fledgling company, but that didn’t stop Keller from moving 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 team personally sold them on the use of email marketing, while working hard to make a simple user interface which would be easy to operate. All the while, the business uses such novel ideas as customizable templates and software which adapted to user needs. They also made certain from the outset that anybody who needed help would have quick access to outstanding customer support.
Benchmark Has continued to grow and advantagesper. Its present focus. Providing worldwide email advertising solutions 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 company, however; it has adhered to its core principle of adaptability and serves big organizations like UNICEF and Kaiser-Permanente through its High Volume Enterprise plans.
Today, Benchmark serves upwards of 73,000 users from across the planet, but the company hasn’t forgotten its roots. Benchmark still maintains good relationships with little, locally-based companies. In reality, the company offers a complete page of testimonials from users of the program. You may read about Benchmark’s history and development here.
While the Majority of the features Benchmark supplies Are on par with the rest of the industry, one of the standout features of the ESP is the simple fact that most of its attributes come standard with every single account — including the free ones. Here are some of Benchmark’s most noteworthy offerings.
· Countless Industry-Specific, Themed Templates. Benchmark offers all customers access to its library of over 400 templates. These are organized into 19 categories, some of which are tailored to specific industries 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 explains the advantages of this attribute 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 site or build it into an email.
· Dedicated Email Server. All Benchmark’s High Volume plans 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 here.
· Email Delivery Direction . Benchmark’s email delivery management program is about getting clients’ emails into inboxes. The company is a member of the Email Sender and Provider Coalition and works with ReturnPath, a top email delivery and delivery service. The business also communicates with ISPs on its clients’ behalf. Email Marketing Software For Agencies
· Mobile App. Benchmark’s mobile apps allow customers with an Apple device to get several functions on the road. They can access and add contacts, browse reports, send videos through integration with a YouTube accounts, and even layout and send quick email blasts with one of 10 templates that are available. This is quite a little more than many other companies offer in their mobile programs, making them considerably more functional.
· Photo Editing. If the photos you plan to utilize on your email campaign aren’t perfectly sized or want some color adjustment, you can use Benchmark’s integrated picture editor. This is a fairly handy feature if you don’t have photoshop available.
· Code Editor. If you’ve got the know-how to work magic with HTML, Benchmark offers this ultra-customization choice with which you can build your mails from scratch.
· Autoresponder. Every Benchmark customer has the ability to design around eight custom autoresponder messages. These could be scheduled as a series or event lead-up, or designed as annual messages like birthday or anniversary emails.
· Sign-Up Forms. The only way to be prosperous in email marketing is by way of growing your own list, and Benchmark actually promotes doing so via sign-up forms. The business bases its Free For Life account completely around site and Facebook sign-ups and supplies an easy-to-use tool to create customized templates for every medium.
· Inbox Checker. Since every email program differs and every web browser includes a signature style, making sure that your emails look great across the board is important. It is possible to use Inbox Checker to have a look at the way that your email 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 service, available for $14 each 100 checks.
· RSS-to-Email. Regular bloggers can create newsletters out of their blogs mechanically through the RSS-to-Email attribute, which works with any blog which manages an RSS-feed. Users simply have 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 without a formal plug connection. Benchmark’s API Integration feature permits users using 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 brief, this permits them to perform three purposes. Manage contact lists, handle campaigns and campaign sending, and check statistics. The company describes 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.
Benefits Of Use
Enrolling in a Benchmark accounts is pretty straightforward. After entering your name, email, phone number, and business name, you need to confirm your email address. This was a five-minute procedure for me. Upon logging into my new account (with the free program ) I was greeted by an appealing UI that gave me a very clear direction about the best way best to make my first email campaign. Good start!
Email Campaign Creation
On its own dashboard, Benchmark provides users five main choices. Emails, Automations, Contacts, Surveys, and Reports. To make a new effort, go into the Emails section, then hit on the big blue”Create New Email” button in the upper right-hand corner. Email Marketing Software For Agencies
From there, you must decide If You Would like an RSS Or traditional email message. It is possible to use Benchmark’s drag-and-drop editor, or move for more customization with the built-in code editor. If you’re someone 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 option.
I was motivated to enter a subject line for my Email and set up how much tracking I wanted on the message, in addition to when I wanted an automated tweet when the effort went out. The following task was to select which contacts I wished to receive the campaign. With that, I was finally able to start constructing the email itself. If you want to, you can assemble your personal email layouts using an extremely intuitive editor. On the flip side, you can alter one of Benchmark’s templates, which are great, and much better than I was able to do on my own.
Preventing 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 list, there are several ways to import it. You can 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 to a text form. When you make your Benchmark lists, they’ll appear on your dash, along with a Master Unsubscribe List.
The actual sending of the email is rather easy. Once you have completed all of your tweaks, you can save the email as a draft, send it immediately, or schedule a time and date for delivery. If you want to check all is well before unleashing your email on the world, it is possible to send it to your self to preview it as many as 10 times/day. I chose to program my email for shipping to view how timely the automated system would really be. I advised my email for 2.45 and obtained it at 2.50, therefore while the timing was not exactly ideal, it was likely within tolerance levels for most users. If you are among the more infrequent users who need on-the-minute email sending, then you might need to appear elsewhere. More worryingly, my email didn’t go to my primary inbox but was mechanically sorted in my”promotions” folder. Definitely not perfect.
Mail Campaign Reporting
The first thing I Noticed about Benchmark email reports was something I would read about in a couple of reviews. They are really, really fast. I mean lightning fast. Opens register in the Benchmark system virtually immediately. I’ve worked with several other programs where these reports take hours or even days to look.
Benchmark provides users with several key Bits of data about every effort. The arguably most important statistic, the open speed, appears in both pie chart and numerical type. Additionally, Benchmark supplies users with stats such as clicks, forwards, bounces, unsubscribes, and abuse. Every stat further breaks down to the exact email addresses associated with a given activity. Users can export this information for additional analysis via a csv or xls file. There is also a social media place which reports shares via Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, in addition to a map which breaks down, by country, who opens your mails. Email Marketing Software For Agencies
Though all of this information Is Excellent and Necessary, it is not enough to sustain increased level marketers that want more information such as conversions, which links were clicked, and revenue analysis. Although Google Analytics provides a whole lot of that info with appropriate integration, there may come a time when serious entrepreneurs need more information than Benchmark provides. Whether or not a small company will reach that point varies, of course, based on the company.
Particular Size Of Company
Benchmark made its 3-tiered pricing Structure with the goal of serving everybody from the smallest kitchen-table startup to large email marketers. However, the company’s key focus is on small to medium businesses, especially those just beginning in email advertising. This is especially reflected in the fact that clients subscribing to the moderate plans get unlimited mails, while bigger plans have constraints.
Integrations and Add-Ons
Benchmark Offers approximately 20 plug-ins and integrations. If you don’t see the integration you want, 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 app allows users to create and customize occasions, promote and sell tickets, and track the success of the events via their Benchmark Email account. A number of subscriptions 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 keep Salesforce customers engaged. Read our review of Salesforce here.
· Twitter — Benchmark Email Lite is a WordPress plug-in which permits users to quickly build an email audience through their readers. The plug-in 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 list. Read our review of Highrisehere.
· Benchmark Power — This free plugin allows you to source images 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 usage.
· Flickr — Users with Flickr accounts can link Flickr to their Benchmark image galleries.
· Shopify — You are able to link a Shopify accounts to Benchmark and automatically add Shopify clients to Benchmark lists. You may even add subscribers to various lists based on what they purchased. Read our review of Shopify here.
· PayPal — Users can add any of the PayPal clients to their Benchmark email lists bylinking the account. Read our overview of Paypal here.
· Easy List — Learn more about this very simple list-making app and download it .
· WordPress — The ever-present blog and site builder offers an integration with Benchmark. Use it to send emails of your blog posts and also use the analytics to observe how your readers respond to them. Learn more here.
· Zapier — Gain access to Zapier’s huge integration library . Email Marketing Software For Agencies
Social Media Integrations
Since Of the key connection between social networking and email marketing, it is important to check out the social media features contained in Benchmark.
· Social Media Templates — One section of Benchmark’s massive email template list consists of societal media-specific templates which directly promote your institution’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 into 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 readers.
· Social Links within Email — Once you connect your Benchmark account with your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn accounts, you can add switches to every email which will direct your readers 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 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 information. The whole system 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 their users trying to take part in spam actions. The business is fully in compliance with the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. Benchmark additionally takes several steps to preserve its standing as a spam-free supplier, among them membership from the Email Sender and Provider Coalition. The company employs the program SpamAssassin to filter messages sent through its server.
To stop users from Unknowingly sending spam-like materials, Benchmark provides a spam test feature which looks for words widely used in spam messages. It scores each email on a scale from 1 to 5; 5s are delegated to content that is likely to be blocked. In the event of a top score, the program suggests”less spammy” choices. Individualized IP addresses also assist large-volume senders reduce their spam amounts.
Client Service and Support
Benchmark Offers its users a lot of support tools. Customer service is generally responsive, with minimal waiting times. The website provides good learning resources, but may be opaque occasionally. Key information can be buried and hard to locate, particularly in the event that you don’t know exactly what you’re searching for, especially when it comes to minute particulars about plans. For instance. That the Free For Life plan includes Benchmark branding on every email, however you won’t find that mentioned on the Free For Life webpage, not even in the fine print. Nor are you going to see it said when you register. The only place it is mentioned is in the FAQ, here.
Here are some of the resources Benchmark offers. Email Marketing Software For Agencies
· Live Support and Email — Benchmark supplies live one-on-one aid through the following means.
· Email Support. Contact Benchmark at [email protected] or via the company’s contact form . Accessible 24 hours Monday — Friday and limited hours on Saturday.
· Phone Support. You can reach Benchmark at 800-430-4095 (U.S.) or 001-562-252-3789 (all countries). Available weekdays from 6 am to 5 pm PT.
· Chat Support. Accessible almost 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’s closer to some QandA-format knowledge base than a typical 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 topic (or sub-topic) or of their FAQ as a whole. One caveat. With such a comprehensive knowledge base, it’s pretty much inevitable that some entries will be out of date. Some of the QandAs offer advice that’s 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 this app. The business also supplies a webinar known as”Benchmark Mail Crash Course.” You may view it live each Friday at 10.00 a.m. PST or see the recorded version at any moment. You might even ask for a particular 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 information on email marketing generally, in addition to the Benchmark program especially, 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 digestible chunks than the guides provide.
· Glossary of Email Marketing Terms — This can be a particularly helpful tool for all those new to email marketing who believe absorbed by all of the jargon. Benchmark gives a glossarywith 50 of the most popular email advertising conditions from”above-the-fold” into”whitelists.”
· Blog 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 obtain access to current newsletters, and Benchmark also offers an archive of newsletter posts 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 strategies, vote for their favorite newsletters, and gain inspiration from other Benchmark users.
Web-Based Or Locally-Installed
Benchmark is completely web-based and does not Require any setup on your PC.
Positive Reviews and Testimonials
Benchmark Has 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 For Agencies
Some common points of compliments.
· Top Notch Service . This is perhaps the most typical monitoring regarding Benchmark, and something I discovered for myself too. People tend to find support prompt and beneficial, and some say it is actually 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 customers praise the inclusion of attributes including AB analyzing and surveys from all programs; many firms charge extra for such features or just include them in their pricier programs.
· Benefits of Use. Users have a tendency to find Benchmark’s interface incredibly intuitive and user-friendly. The program gathers compliments from a broad assortment of demographics, from first-time ESP consumers to people who have attempted a variety of programs before settling Benchmark.
· Mobile Friendly Emails. Consumers were impressed with all the mobile-friendly email layout of Benchmark’s templates. Since an increasing number of people access their email from mobile devices, this is an increasingly significant factor to consider.
Negative Reviews and Complaints
I was Unable to find many Men and Women who disliked Their own Benchmark experience. However, I was able to find a few complaints.
· Inconsistent Send-Times. Apparently some users experienced an issue with Benchmark where their emails were sent hours after they were first scheduled. One customer theorized the issue might arise in lengthy lists of recipients. Not all customers of Benchmark will possess time-sensitive sending demands, but other people will. Should you need your emails to go out exactly when your program dictates, you may need to take into account this issue.
· Buggy Social Media Integrations. I watched several consumer testimonials that commented the social networking 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 entire purpose of an ESP is to stop this from happening, this might be an issue. On the flip side, I never felt this way while searching through the template list, therefore it may not be the most valid of complaints.
Benchmark Offers a huge variety of pricing strategies, such as a totally free plan and a huge scale of paid programs which can service anywhere between 600 and 7,140,000 subscribers.
Benchmark’s free plans do not require charge Cards, that is always refreshing. The only catch. There’ll be a little Benchmark logo in 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 allows you to send up to 14000 emails to up to 2000 subscribers and gives you access to all but not all of Benchmark’s features list. Notable absences to the features list for free account comprise email automation and sub-accounts (allowing many users to access one Benchmark account).
Paid Strategies. Email Marketing Software For Agencies
Users with small contacts lists and limited Monthly messages have the option of paying to get their email marketing based on the number of emails they send each month.
o Medium Plans. 600-50,000 subscribers, $13.99-$254.99 per month
o Large Strategies. 55,000-100,000 subscribers, $285.99-$494.99 per month
o Extra Large Plans. 125,000-1,000,000 subscribers, $659.99-$4,273.99 a month
o Enormous Plans. 1,070,000-7,140,000 subscribers, $4,500-$29,200 per month
Benchmark accepts all Major charge cards and also lets you pay through PayPal. They also offer you a 25% discount for nonprofits and educators.
Benchmark is a good program. It’s Simple to Use, Open to invention, and competitively priced. Its free alternatives may just be the best in the company for anybody who only wants to dip into email marketing (particularly small, local companies ). For that matter, any Benchmark strategy can work nicely for a little company which perspectives email as a minor element of its advertising and does not have any desire to work past the principles just yet.
If you are a little or even medium-sized Business trying to find a simple email advertising program using a host of great features, Benchmark is an exceptional option. Though there might come a time when you outgrow the program, it provides a lot for the price, provides excellent service, and the business seems to be sensitive to the needs of its users. You can’t ask for more.