Summary Email Marketing Software For Startups
For many an evening in 2004, three people sat Around a single desk in a small medical office — an office that functioned as the team’s conference room, breakfast area, and idea heart. Backed by a small programming team in India, the trio (comprising Benchmark Internet Group founder Curt Keller, his wife Denise, and an SEO expert) discussed ideas for how to execute a deceptively simple idea. Simple email marketing. Many of their thoughts were beyond the resources of the fledgling company, but that didn’t stop Keller from moving ahead.
The first Clients of Benchmark Mail were small businesses 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 that would be simple to operate. All the while, the business uses such novel ideas as customizable templates and software which adapted to consumer needs. They also made sure from the beginning that anyone who needed help would have rapid access to excellent customer care.
Benchmark Has continued to rise and advantagesper. Its current focus. Providing global email marketing solutions to small and medium-sized businesses while continuing to honor a commitment to help kids in need. This doesn’t mean that Benchmark is a little-guys-only company, however; it’s 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 across the globe, however, the company has not forgotten its origins. Benchmark still keeps good relationships with little, locally-based businesses. In fact, the company offers a complete page of testimonials from local users of this program. You may read about Benchmark’s history and development here.
While most of the attributes Benchmark provides Are on par with the rest of the industry, among the standout characteristics of the ESP is the fact that nearly all its attributes come standard with every single account — including the free ones. Here are a few of Benchmark’s most notable offerings.
· Hundreds of Industry-Specific, Themed Templates. Benchmark offers all users access to its library of over 400 templates. These are organized into 19 classes, some of which are tailored to particular industries like education, entertainment, and retailstores. There’s also a category for societal media-specific templates.
· Video Emails. Perhaps the best-known advantage of Benchmark is its support for video mails. 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 construct it directly into an email.
· Dedicated Email Server. All Benchmark’s High Volume programs come with a dedicated IP address to help increase deliverability rates. Users on other plans have the choice of paying for this service ($30/month) to increase their own delivery stats. Read more about the benefits of dedicated servers .
· Email Delivery Management. Benchmark’s email shipping management program is 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 customers’ behalf. Email Marketing Software For Startups
· Mobile App. Benchmark’s mobile apps make it possible for customers having an Apple device to get several purposes on the street. They can get and add contacts, browse reports, send videos through integration with a YouTube account, and even design and send fast email blasts with one of 10 available templates. This is quite a bit more than a number of other companies offer on their mobile programs, making them considerably more operational.
· Photo Editing. If the photos you plan to utilize on your email campaign aren’t perfectly sized or want some colour adjustment, you can use Benchmark’s integrated picture editor. This is a fairly handy feature if you do not have photoshop accessible.
· Code Editor. In case you have the know-how to work magic with HTML, Benchmark offers this ultra-customization option 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 event lead-up, or designed as yearly messages such as anniversary or birthday mails.
· Sign-Up Types . The only way to become successful in email advertising is through growing your own list, and Benchmark really promotes doing so through sign-up forms. The business bases its Free For Life account entirely around website 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 fashion, making sure that your emails look good across the board is important. You can use Inbox Checker to have a look at the way your email displays in Gmail using Explorer and Outlook 3. Using the entire program (which assesses everything out of AOL to Yahoo, Explorer to 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 automatically through the RSS-to-Email attribute, which works with any site which manages an RSS-feed. Users only need to establish a template and campaign inside Benchmark once.
· API Integration. An API (Application Program Interface) enables different software programs to communicate with one another without a formal plug-in connection. Benchmark’s API Integration feature permits users with XML-RPC, HTTP POST, or HTTP GET abilities to retrieve data from other apps which use JSON, XML, XML-RPC, or PHP serialization strings. In brief, this permits them to play three purposes. Manage contact lists, manage campaigns and campaign sending, and check data. The company explains this function in more detail .
· Advanced Metrics. Benchmark provides both List Segmentation and AB Split Testing.
· Multiple-Language Interface. Benchmark is offered in seven languages. Chinese, English, German, Japanese, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish.
Benefits Of Use
Enrolling in a Benchmark account is pretty straightforward. After entering your name, email, phone number, and company name, you need to validate your email address. This is a five-minute procedure for me. Upon logging into my account (with the free plan) I was greeted by an attractive UI that gave me a clear path about how best to make my very first email campaign. Good start!
Email Campaign Creation
On its own dashboard, Benchmark offers users five chief choices. Emails, Automations, Contacts, Surveys, and Reports. To create a new campaign, go into the Emails section, then hit on the large blue”Create New Email” button in the top right-hand corner. Email Marketing Software For Startups
From there, you have to 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 using the built-in code editor. If you are somebody who codes their own email, then my hat is off to you, but I am not 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 observation I desired on the message, in addition to if I wanted an automatic tweet once the campaign went out. The following task was to choose which contacts I wanted to receive the campaign. With that, I was eventually able to start constructing the email itself. If you want to, you are able to construct your personal email designs employing a very intuitive editor. On the other hand, you can alter one of Benchmark’s templates, that can be great, and better than I was able to do on my own.
Sending the Email Campaign
If You’re just Starting out, you can certainly do as I did and manually input contacts at a time. However, for people who already have a list, there are numerous ways to import it. You are able to upload a CSV, xls, or txt file right from your personal computer; import contacts directly from Salesforce.com, Hotmail, or Gmail accounts; or copy and paste large lists of contacts into a text form. Once you make your Benchmark lists, they will show up on your dashboard, together with a Master Unsubscribe List.
The sending of the email is rather simple. When you’ve finished all your tweaks, you may 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 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 see how timely the automated system would really be. I advised my email for 2.45 and obtained it in 2.50, so while the timing wasn’t exactly ideal, it was probably within tolerance levels for many users. If you’re among the more infrequent users who need on-the-minute email sending, then you might have to appear elsewhere. More worryingly, my email didn’t go to my primary inbox but was automatically sorted in my”promotions” folder. Definitely not perfect.
Mail Campaign Reporting
First thing I Discovered about Benchmark email reports was something I would read in a couple of reviews. They’re really, really quickly. I mean lightning fast. Opens enroll from the Benchmark system virtually immediately. I have worked with several different apps where these reports take hours or even days to appear.
Benchmark provides users with several key Pieces of information about every campaign. The possibly most important statistic, the available rate, appears in both pie chart and numerical form. In addition, Benchmark supplies users with stats such as clicks, forward, bounces, unsubscribes, and abuse. Every stat further breaks down to the exact email addresses associated with a given action. Users may export this data for additional analysis via a csv or xls file. There is also a social networking area which reports shares via Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, in addition to a map which breaks down, by state, who opens your mails. Email Marketing Software For Startups
Though all of this information Is Excellent and Necessary, it is not enough to sustain increased level marketers who want more info such as conversions, which hyperlinks were clicked, and revenue analysis. Although Google Analytics provides a whole lot of that information with proper integration, there may come a time when serious marketers need more information than Benchmark provides. Whether a small company will reach that point varies, of course, dependent on the business.
Particular Size Of Company
Benchmark designed its 3-tiered pricing Structure with the objective 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 companies, particularly those just starting out in email advertising. This is particularly reflected in the reality that clients subscribing to the medium plans get unlimited mails, while bigger 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’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 occasions, promote and market tickets, and track the success of the events through their Benchmark Email account. A variety of subscriptions are available, including a free alternative.
· Salesforce.com — This integration allows users to import contacts directly into Benchmark and utilize Benchmark’s email system to keep Salesforce customers engaged. Read our overview of Salesforce here.
· WordPress — Benchmark Mail Lite is a WordPress plug-in which allows users to easily build an email audience through their readers. The plugin can automatically produce email variations of blog posts 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 plugin allows you to source pictures 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 use.
· Flickr — Users with Flickr accounts may link Flickr for their own Benchmark image galleries.
· Shopify — You are able to link a Shopify accounts to Benchmark and mechanically add Shopify clients to Benchmark lists. You may even add subscribers to different lists based on which products they bought. Read our overview of Shopify here.
· PayPal — Users may add any of their PayPal clients to their Benchmark email lists bylinking the account. Read our overview of Paypal here.
· Easy List — Know more about this very simple list-making program and download it .
· WordPress — The ever-present site and website builder provides an integration using Benchmark. Use it to send mails of your blog articles and also use the analytics to observe how your readers respond to them. Learn more here.
· Zapier — Gain entry to Zapier’s enormous integration library . Email Marketing Software For Startups
Social Media Integrations
Because Of the key connection between social networking and email advertising, it is very important to check out the social networking features contained in Benchmark.
· Social Media Templates — One segment of Benchmark’s enormous email template list consists of societal media-specific templates that directly promote your institution’s participation in social networking forums such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
· Facebook”Like” Button — Benchmark offers a very simple function which allows you to bring a Facebook”Like” button to your emails.
· Facebook Sign-Up Form — Benchmark supplies easy-to-create sign-up forms (see”Features” above) for both sites and Facebook fan pages, to help you convert followers to readers.
· Social Links within Email — Once you link your Benchmark account together with your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn account, you can add buttons to each email which will direct your subscribers to each of your social networking pages.
The company also fully Complies with all the U.S.-E.U. and U.S.-Swiss Safe Harbor Frameworks regarding the selection of personal data from citizens of these nations. When customers provide credit card amounts to Benchmark, the company uses secure socket layer (SSL) security to encrypt the info. The entire platform is encrypted to ensure the safety of customers’ personal information.
Anti-Spam Policy and Protection
Like All valid ESPs, Benchmark takes spam seriously and outlines a clear zero-tolerance coverage for any of the users trying to engage in spam actions. The company is entirely in compliance with the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. Benchmark also takes several measures to maintain its reputation as a spam-free provider, among them membership in the Email Sender and Provider Coalition. The business uses the app SpamAssassin to filter messages sent through its host.
To prevent users from Unknowingly sending spam-like substances, Benchmark provides a spam check feature which looks for words commonly used in spam messages. It scores each email on a scale from 1 to 5; 5s are assigned to content that’s very 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 numbers.
Customer Support and Service
Benchmark Offers its users a great deal of support tools. Customer support is usually responsive, with minimal waiting times. The site provides good learning tools, but can be opaque at times. Crucial information is often buried and difficult to locate, particularly in the event that you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for, particularly when it comes to minute particulars about strategies. For instance. That the Free For Life plan includes Benchmark branding on each email, but you won’t find that mentioned on the Free For Life page, not even in the fine print. Nor are you going to see it said 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 For Startups
· Live Support and Email — Benchmark provides live one-on-one aid through these 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.
· Phone Support. You are able to 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. 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 is closer to some QandA-format knowledge foundation than a normal FAQ. There are more than 900 entries, sorted into 18 topics ranging from”Getting Started” to”API.” Users may execute a key word search of any topic (or sub-topic) or from their FAQ as a whole. 1 caveat. With such an extensive knowledge base, it is pretty much inevitable that some entries are going to be out of date. A few of the QandAs offer advice that’s wholly incorrect, so in some cases, you might want to contact assistance to hash things out.
· Video Tutorials and Webinars — Benchmark supplies about two dozen movie tutorials that take users step by step through the features of the app. The company also supplies a webinar called”Benchmark Email Crash Course.” You can see it live each Friday at 10.00 a.m. PST or see the recorded version at any moment. You might even request a particular webinar on quite a few other subjects. Live webinars comprise the chance to ask questions during the presentation.
· Email Marketing Manuals and Articles — You can find more in-depth information on email marketing generally, in addition to the Benchmark program specifically, in the Manuals Section. These downloadable documents also cover industry-specific issues. Articles, similar to sites, offer users advice beyond that found in the FAQ section, but in shorter, more readable chunks compared to the guides provide.
· Glossary of Email Marketing Terms — This can be a particularly valuable tool for all those new to email marketing who feel consumed by all of the jargon. Benchmark provides a glossarywith 50 of the most popular email marketing terms from”above-the-fold” into”whitelists.”
· Website and Newsletter — For current info regarding email marketing trends, check out Benchmark’s monthly newsletter, in addition to its exceptionally active blog. All readers automatically gain access to present newsletters, and Benchmark also provides an archive of newsletter posts from November 2007-October 2012.
· Benchmark Community — Benchmark users may post their newest newsletters on message boards in the Benchmark Community. This forum allows users to talk about newsletter production strategies, vote for their favourite newsletters, and gain inspiration from additional Benchmark users.
Web-Based Or Locally-Installed
Benchmark is completely web-based and doesn’t Require any setup on your PC.
Positive Reviews and Reviews
Benchmark Has a four-out-of-five star score on G2 Crowd, using a slightly better showing on GetApp and Capterra. 4.5 stars each. Email Marketing Software For Startups
Some common points of praise.
· Top Notch Service . This is perhaps the most common observation regarding Benchmark, and something I discovered for myself too. People today are inclined to find support prompt and helpful, and some say it is actually the element that distinguishes Benchmark from its competitors. The company also receives praise for its blog articles and videos.
· Feature Selection Across All Plans. Some customers praise the addition of features including AB testing and surveys in most plans; many companies charge extra for these features or just include them in their pricier plans.
· Ease of Use. Users tend to find Benchmark’s interface extremely intuitive and user-friendly. The program gathers compliments from a wide range of demographics, from first time ESP consumers to people who have tried many different programs before settling on Benchmark.
· Mobile Friendly Emails. Users were impressed with the mobile-friendly email design of Benchmark’s templates. Since more and more people access their email from mobile devices, this can be an increasingly significant factor to take into account.
Negative Reviews and Complaints
I was not able to find many people who disliked Their Benchmark experience. But, I was able to discover a few complaints.
· Inconsistent Send-Times. Apparently some users experienced an issue with Benchmark in which their emails were sent hours when they were scheduled. 1 customer theorized the issue might arise from lengthy lists of recipients. Not all customers of all Benchmark will possess time-sensitive sending needs, but others will. If you need your emails to go out exactly whenever your program dictates, you might need to consider this situation.
· Buggy Social Media Integrations. I watched several consumer reviews that remarked the social media integrations in Benchmark are not up to par.
· “Spammy” Templates. Some users were worried that Benchmark’s templates may feel like spam email, causing receivers to mark them as spam and not reading the contents. Since the entire purpose of an ESP would be to stop this from occurring, this may be a problem. On the flip side, I never felt this way while looking through the template list, therefore it might not be the most valid of complaints.
Benchmark Offers a huge number of pricing plans, such as a totally free plan and a huge scale of paid programs that 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 grab. There will be a small Benchmark emblem at the bottom of every email you send out. Of course, you can always choose to upgrade to a paid program in case you don’t need the Benchmark branding. The free plan permits you to send up to 14000 emails to up to 2000 subscribers and gives you access to all but not all Benchmark’s features record. Notable absences to the attributes list for free account include email automation and sub-accounts (enabling many users to access one Benchmark accounts ).
Paid Plans. Email Marketing Software For Startups
Users with small contacts lists and limited Monthly messages have the choice of paying to get their email marketing based on the amount of mails they send each 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 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 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 business for anyone who just wants to dive into email advertising (especially small, neighborhood companies ). For that matter, any Benchmark strategy can work well for a small business which perspectives email as a minor element of its advertising and has no desire to operate past the basics just yet.
If you are a little or even medium-sized Business trying to find a simple email marketing program with a host of amazing features, Benchmark is an exceptional choice. Though there may come a time when you launch the program, it provides a great deal for the money, provides excellent service, and the company seems to be sensitive to the requirements of its users. You can not ask for more.