Overview Email Marketing Software Freeware
For many an evening in 2004, three people sat Around one desk in a small medical office — an office that functioned as the team’s conference room, lunch room, and idea heart. Backed by a little 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 concept. Simple email advertising. Many of the ideas were beyond the means of the fledgling company, but that did not stop Keller from planning ahead.
The first Customers of Benchmark Mail were small companies located in close proximity to Benchmark’s one-room HQ in Long Beach, CA. Keller and his staff sold them on the usage of email advertising, while working hard to make a very simple user interface which would be easy to operate. All the while, the business uses such innovative ideas as customizable templates and software which adapted to consumer requirements. They also made certain from the outset that anybody who needed help would have quick access to excellent customer care.
Benchmark Has continued to rise and advantagesper. Its current focus. Providing worldwide email marketing solutions to small and midsize businesses while continuing to honor a commitment to assist children in need. This does not mean that Benchmark is a little-guys-only service, however; it’s stuck to its core principle of adaptability and serves large organizations like UNICEF and Kaiser-Permanente via its High Volume Business plans.
Today, Benchmark serves up of 73,000 users from across the globe, but the company hasn’t forgotten its origins. Benchmark still maintains good relationships with small, locally-based businesses. In fact, the company supplies a complete 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 provides Are on par with the rest of the industry, among the standout characteristics of this ESP is the simple fact that nearly all its attributes come standard with each account — including the free ones. Below are a few of Benchmark’s most notable offerings.
· Hundreds of Industry-Specific, Themed Templates. Benchmark offers all customers access to the library of over 400 templates. These are organized into 19 categories, some of which are tailored to particular industries like education, entertainment, and retailstores. There’s also a class for societal media-specific templates.
· Video Emails. Perhaps the best-known advantage of Benchmark is its support for video mails. The company explains the advantages of this attribute here.
· Online Surveys. You’ll be able to create professional-looking online surveys using one of Benchmark’s 6 templates. Post your poll on your site or construct it into an email.
· Dedicated Email Server. All Benchmark’s High Volume programs 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 own delivery stats. Read more about the advantages of dedicated servers .
· Email Delivery Direction . Benchmark’s email delivery management program is about getting customers’ emails into inboxes. The business is a part 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 Freeware
· Mobile App. Benchmark’s mobile programs allow customers with an Apple device to get several functions on the street. They can get and add contacts, browse reportsand send videos via integration with a YouTube accounts, and even layout and send quick email blasts with one of 10 available templates. That is quite a bit more than a number of other companies offer on their mobile programs, making them considerably more functional.
· Photo Editing. If the pictures you intend to utilize in your email campaign are not perfectly sized or want some colour adjustment, you can use Benchmark’s integrated photo editor. This is a fairly handy feature if you do not 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 may construct your mails from scratch.
· Autoresponder. Every Benchmark customer has the power to design around eight custom autoresponder messages. These could be scheduled as a string or event lead-up, or designed as yearly messages like birthday or anniversary emails.
· Sign-Up Types . The only way to be successful in email advertising is through growing your list, and Benchmark actually promotes doing this via sign-up forms. The business bases its Free For Life account entirely around site and Facebook sign-ups and supplies an easy-to-use instrument to create custom templates for every medium.
· Inbox Checker. Because every email program differs and each internet browser includes a signature fashion, making certain your emails look good across the board is crucial. It is possible to use Inbox Checker to have a look at the way that your email screens in Gmail using Explorer and Outlook 3. Using the entire app (which checks everything out of AOL to Yahoo, Explorer into Safari, mobile to PC) is a paid add-on service, available for $14 per 100 checks.
· RSS-to-Email. Regular bloggers may create newsletters out of their blogs mechanically through the RSS-to-Email feature, which works with any blog which manages an RSS-feed. Users only need to set up a campaign and template inside Benchmark once.
· API Integration. An API (Application Program Interface) enables different software programs to communicate with one another with no formal plug-in link. Benchmark’s API Integration feature allows users using XML-RPC, HTTP POST, or HTTP GET skills to retrieve data from some other programs that use JSON, XML, XML-RPC, or PHP serialization strings. In a nutshell, this allows them to perform three purposes. Manage contact lists, handle campaigns and effort sending, and assess statistics. The business explains this role in more detail here.
· Advanced Metrics. Benchmark provides both Listing Segmentation and AB Split Testing.
· Multiple-Language Interface. Benchmark is available in seven languages. Chinese, English, German, Japanese, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish.
Ease Of Use
Signing up for a Benchmark account is pretty straightforward. After entering your name, email, phone number, and business name, you have to confirm your email address. This is a five-minute process for me. Upon logging into my new account (with the free plan) I was greeted by an appealing UI that gave me a very clear direction on the best way to create my first email campaign. Great beginning!
Email Campaign Creation
On its own dashboard, Benchmark provides users five chief choices. Emails, Automations, Contacts, Surveys, and Reports. To make a new effort, proceed into the Emails section, then hit the big blue”Create New Mail” button at the upper right-hand corner. Email Marketing Software Freeware
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 go 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 gifted that way, so I went with the drag-and-drop option.
I was motivated to enter a subject line for my Email and set up how much observation I wanted on the message, as well as when I wanted an automated tweet once the campaign went out. The following task was to choose which contacts I wished to receive the campaign. With that, I was eventually able to start constructing the email itself. If you would like to, you can assemble your own email layouts employing an extremely intuitive editor. On the other hand, you can modify one of Benchmark’s templates, which are great, and better than I was able to do on my own.
Preventing the Email Campaign
If You’re just Starting out, you can do as I did and manually enter contacts at a time. However, for people who already have a listing, there are numerous ways to import it. You are able to upload a CSV, xls, or txt file right from the personal computer; import contacts directly from Salesforce.com, Hotmail, or Gmail accounts; or copy and paste huge lists of contacts into a text form. Once you create your Benchmark lists, they’ll show up on your dashboard, together with a Master Unsubscribe List.
The sending of this email is quite easy. When you have completed all your tweaks, you can either save the email as a draft, send it immediately, or schedule a date and time for delivery. If you want to check all is well before unleashing your email on the world, you can send it to your self to preview it as many as 10 times/day. I chose to schedule my email for shipping to view how timely the automatic system would really be. I scheduled my email for 2.45 and obtained it in 2.50, so while the timing was not exactly ideal, it was likely present in tolerance levels for most users. If you’re one of the more rare users who need on-the-minute email sending, you might have to appear elsewhere. More worryingly, my email didn’t go to my primary inbox but was automatically sorted into my”promotions” folder. Definitely not ideal.
Mail Campaign Reporting
The first thing I Noticed about Benchmark email reports was something I would read in a few reviews. They’re really, really quickly. I mean lightning fast. Opens enroll in the Benchmark system almost instantaneously. I have worked with several other programs where these reports require hours or even days to appear.
Benchmark provides users with several key Pieces of data about every effort. The possibly most important statistic, the open rate, appears in both pie graph and numerical type. Additionally, Benchmark provides users with stats such as clicks, forwards, bounces, unsubscribes, and misuse. Every stat further breaks down to the specific email addresses related to a given activity. Users can export this information for additional analysis via a csv or xls file. There’s also a social media area which reports shares through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, as well as a map that breaks down, by country, who opens your mails. Email Marketing Software Freeware
Though all of this information is great and Necessary, it is not enough to sustain increased level marketers that need more info such as conversions, which hyperlinks were clicked, and earnings analysis. Although Google Analytics provides a lot of this info with proper integration, there might come a time when serious entrepreneurs need more info than Benchmark provides. Whether a small business will get to that point changes, of course, dependent on the business.
Specific Size Of Business
Benchmark designed its 3-tiered pricing Structure with the objective of serving everybody from the smallest kitchen-table startup to large email marketers. On the other hand, the company’s key focus is on small to medium businesses, especially those just starting out in email marketing. This is particularly reflected in the fact that customers 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 don’t see the integration you need, there is still hope. You can use the API or ask a integration by sending an email to [email protected]
· Benchmark Occasions — Benchmark Occasions is event marketing software designed to integrate fully with Benchmark Email. Launched in 2012, this app permits users to create and customize events, promote and market tickets, and monitor the success of their events through their Benchmark Email account. A number of programs are available, such as a free option.
· Salesforce.com — This integration enables users to import contacts into Benchmark and utilize Benchmark’s email system to maintain Salesforce customers participated. Read our review of Salesforce here.
· Twitter — Benchmark Email Lite is a WordPress plug-in which allows users to easily build an email audience through their readers. 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 with a Benchmark listing. Read our overview of Highrisehere.
· Benchmark Power — This free plug-in lets you source images for your Benchmark mails from locations across the net. Benchmark Power captures pictures you find and instantly uploads them to a Benchmark accounts for future use.
· Flickr — Users with Flickr accounts may link Flickr to their Benchmark image galleries.
· Shopify — You are able to link a Shopify accounts to Benchmark and mechanically add Shopify customers to Benchmark lists. You may even add subscribers to different lists based on which products they purchased. Read our review of Shopify here.
· PayPal — Users can add some of the PayPal customers to 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 here.
· WordPress — The ever-present site and site builder provides an integration using Benchmark. Use it to send mails of your blog posts and use the analytics to see how your readers respond to them. Learn more here.
· Zapier — Gain access to Zapier’s huge integration library here. Email Marketing Software Freeware
Social Media Integrations
Because Of the integral link between social networking and email advertising, it’s important to look at the social networking features included in Benchmark.
· Social Media Templates — One segment of Benchmark’s massive email template list is made of social media-specific templates which directly promote your institution’s involvement in social networking forums such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
· Facebook”Like” Button — Benchmark offers a simple function which permits you to add a Facebook”Like” button to your emails.
· Facebook Sign-Up Form — Benchmark supplies easy-to-create sign-up forms (see”Characteristics” above) for both websites and Facebook enthusiast pages, so you can convert followers into readers.
· Social Links within Email — After you connect your Benchmark account together with your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn accounts, you can add switches to each email that will direct your readers 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 concerning the collection of personal data from citizens of these nations. When clients provide credit card numbers to Benchmark, the company utilizes secure socket layer (SSL) protection 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 junk seriously and summarizes a clear zero-tolerance policy for any of the users hoping to take part in spam activities. The business is entirely in compliance with the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. Benchmark additionally takes several measures to preserve its standing as a spam-free supplier, one of them membership from the Email Sender and Provider Coalition. The business employs the program SpamAssassin to filter messages delivered through its host.
To stop users from Unknowingly sending spam-like substances, Benchmark provides a spam check feature that looks for words widely used in spam messages. It scores each email on a scale from 1 to 5; 5s are assigned to content that is very likely to be blocked. In case of a top score, the program suggests”less spammy” choices. Individualized IP addresses also help large-volume senders decrease their spam amounts.
Client 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 can be opaque at times. Key information is often buried and hard to locate, particularly in the event that you don’t know precisely what you’re searching for, particularly when it comes to minute details about plans. 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 in the fine print. Nor will you 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 Freeware
· Live Support and Email — Benchmark supplies live one-on-one aid through the following means.
· Email Service. Contact Benchmark at [email protected] or via 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 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 as it is closer to some QandA-format knowledge base than a normal FAQ. There are over 900 entries, sorted into 18 subjects ranging from”Getting Started” to”API.” Users may execute a key word search of any topic (or sub-topic) or from the 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. Some of the QandAs offer advice that’s wholly inaccurate, so in some cases, you may need to contact support 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 business also supplies a webinar called”Benchmark Email Crash Course.” You can view it live each Friday at 10.00 a.m. PST or see the recorded version at any time. You can even ask for a special webinar on a number of different subjects. Live webinars include the opportunity to ask questions during 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 especially, at the Manuals Section. These downloadable files also cover industry-specific troubles. Articles, very similar to blogs, offer users advice beyond that found in the FAQ section, but in shorter, more digestible chunks than the guides provide.
· Glossary of Email Marketing Requirements — This can be a particularly valuable tool for those brand new to email marketing who feel consumed by all the jargon. Benchmark provides a glossarywith 50 of the very popular email marketing conditions from”above-the-fold” to”whitelists.”
· Blog and Newsletter — For current information regarding email marketing trends, check out Benchmark’s monthly newsletter, in addition to its extremely active blog. All subscribers automatically gain access to present newsletters, and Benchmark also provides an archive of newsletter articles 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 favorite newsletters, and gain inspiration from additional Benchmark users.
Web-Based Or Locally-Installed
Benchmark is completely web-based and does not Require any setup on your computer.
Favorable Reviews and Testimonials
Benchmark Has a four-out-of-five star rating on G2 Crowd, using a slightly better showing on GetApp and Capterra. 4.5 stars each. Email Marketing Software Freeware
Some common points of compliments.
· Top Notch Service . This is maybe the most common observation regarding Benchmark, and some thing I discovered for myself too. People today are inclined to find support prompt and helpful, and a few say it’s actually the component that distinguishes Benchmark from its rivals. The business also receives praise for its website articles and videos.
· Feature Selection Across All Aims . Some users praise the inclusion of features like AB testing and surveys in most plans; many firms charge extra for such attributes or only include them in their pricier plans.
· Ease of Use. Users have a tendency to find Benchmark’s interface incredibly user-friendly and intuitive. The program gathers praise from a broad range of demographics, from first time ESP consumers to those who have tried many different programs before settling on Benchmark.
· Mobile Friendly Emails. Consumers were impressed with 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 factor to consider.
Negative Reviews and Complaints
I was Unable to find many Men and Women who loathed Their Benchmark experience. However, I was able to discover a couple of complaints.
· Inconsistent Send-Times. Apparently a few users experienced an issue with Benchmark in which their emails were sent hours after they were first scheduled. One customer theorized that the issue might arise in long lists of recipients. Not all customers of Benchmark will possess time-sensitive sending needs, but others will. If you want your emails to go out precisely when your program dictates, you may need to consider this issue.
· Buggy Social Media Integrations. I watched several consumer testimonials that remarked the social networking integrations in Benchmark are not up to par.
· “Spammy” Templates. Some users were worried that Benchmark’s templates can feel like spam mail, leading recipients to mark them as spam rather than reading the contents. Since the entire point of an ESP is 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 legitimate of complaints.
Benchmark Offers a enormous number of pricing strategies, such as a totally free plan and a massive array of paid programs which may service anywhere between 600 and 7,140,000 subscribers.
Benchmark’s free programs do not require charge Cards, that is always refreshing. The only grab. There’ll be a small Benchmark emblem in the bottom of each email you send out. Of course, you may always choose to upgrade to a paid plan if you don’t need the Benchmark branding. The free plan permits you to send up to 14000 mails to around 2000 subscribers and gives you access to most but not all of Benchmark’s features list. Notable absences into the attributes list for free account comprise email automation and sub-accounts (allowing multiple users to access one Benchmark accounts ).
Paid Strategies. Email Marketing Software Freeware
Users with little contacts lists and limited Monthly messages have the option of paying for 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 per month
o Large Plans. 55,000-100,000 subscribers, $285.99-$494.99 a month
o Extra Large Plans. 125,000-1,000,000 subscribers, $659.99-$4,273.99 per month
o Massive Plans. 1,070,000-7,140,000 subscribers, $4,500-$29,200 per month
Benchmark accepts all Major credit cards and also lets you pay through PayPal. They also offer you 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 just be the best in the company for anybody who just wants to dip into email advertising (especially small, neighborhood companies ). For that matter, any Benchmark plan can work nicely for a small business which perspectives email as a little aspect of its marketing and does not have any desire to operate past the basics just yet.
If you are a little or maybe medium-sized Company looking for a easy email advertising program with a multitude of great features, Benchmark is an exceptional option. Even though there might come a time when you launch the program, it supplies a lot for the price, provides exceptional support, and the business appears to be sensitive to the requirements of its customers. You can’t ask for much more.