Summary Email Marketing Software Leader
For many an evening in 2004, three people sat Around one desk in a tiny medical office — an office which functioned as the group’s conference room, lunch room, and thought 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 execute a deceptively straightforward idea. Simple email marketing. Many of their thoughts were beyond the resources of this fledgling company, but that did not stop Keller from moving ahead.
The first Clients of Benchmark Mail were small businesses 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 create a very simple user interface that would be simple to operate. All the while, the company championed such novel ideas as customizable templates and applications which adapted to user requirements. They also made sure from the beginning that anyone who needed help would have quick access to excellent customer support.
Benchmark Has continued to grow and advantagesper. Its present focus. Providing worldwide email marketing services to small and medium-sized companies while continuing to honor a commitment to help kids in need. This does not mean that Benchmark is a little-guys-only service, however; it has stuck 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 upwards of 73,000 users from across the globe, however, the company hasn’t forgotten its roots. Benchmark still maintains good relationships with little, locally-based businesses. In fact, the company offers a full page of testimonials from local users of the program. You can read more about Benchmark’s history and development here.
While the Majority of the attributes Benchmark provides Are on par with the rest of the industry, one of the standout characteristics of the ESP is the simple fact that most of its features come standard with each account — such as the free ones. Below are a few of Benchmark’s most notable offerings.
· Countless Industry-Specific, Themed Templates. Benchmark provides all customers 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 social media-specific templates.
· Video Emails. Perhaps the best-known benefit of Benchmark is its support for video mails. The company describes the advantages of this attribute here.
· Online Surveys. You can create professional-looking online surveys using among Benchmark’s 6 templates. Post your poll on your site or build it directly into an email.
· Dedicated Email Server. All Benchmark’s High Volume programs have 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 advantages of dedicated servers .
· 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 company also communicates with ISPs on its clients’ behalf. Email Marketing Software Leader
· Mobile App. Benchmark’s mobile apps make it possible for customers with an Apple device to get several purposes on the street. They can get and add contacts, read reports, send videos through integration using a YouTube accounts, and even layout and send fast email blasts with one of 10 available templates. This is quite a bit more than a number of other companies offer in their mobile programs, which makes them considerably more functional.
· Photo Editing. If the pictures you plan to use in your email campaign are not perfectly sized or need some color adjustment, you can use Benchmark’s integrated photo editor. This is a fairly handy feature if you do not have photoshop accessible.
· Code Editor. If you have the know-how to work magic with HTML, Benchmark offers this ultra-customization option with which you can construct your mails from scratch.
· Autoresponder. Each Benchmark client has the ability to style up to eight custom autoresponder messages. These can be scheduled as a string or event lead-up, or designed as annual messages such as anniversary or birthday emails.
· Sign-Up Forms. The only way to become successful in email advertising is by way of growing your own list, and Benchmark really 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 instrument to create custom templates for every medium.
· Inbox Checker. Since every email program is different and every internet browser has a signature fashion, making certain your emails look good across the board is crucial. You can use Inbox Checker to look at the way your email displays in Gmail using Explorer and Outlook 3. Employing the entire app (which checks everything from AOL to Yahoo, Explorer to 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 handles an RSS-feed. Users simply have 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 allows users with XML-RPC, HTTP POST, or HTTP GET skills to recover data from other programs that use JSON, XML, XML-RPC, or PHP serialization strings. In brief, this allows them to play three purposes. Manage contact lists, handle campaigns and campaign sending, and assess statistics. The company describes 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
Signing up for a Benchmark accounts is pretty straightforward. After entering your name, email, phone number, and business name, you have to validate your email address. This is a five-minute process for me. Upon logging in to my new account (with the free plan) I was greeted by an appealing UI that gave me a clear direction on how to create my first email campaign. Good beginning!
Email Campaign Creation
On its dashboard, Benchmark provides users five chief choices. Emails, Automations, Contacts, Surveys, and Reports. To make a new campaign, go to the Emails section, then hit the large blue”Create New Mail” button at the upper right-hand corner. Email Marketing Software Leader
From there, you have to decide if you want an RSS Or classic 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 personally gifted that way, so I went with the drag-and-drop option.
I was prompted 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 automatic tweet once the effort went out. The next task was to select 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 can assemble your own email designs using an extremely intuitive editor. On the other hand, you can alter one of Benchmark’s templates, which can be great, and much better than I managed to do on my own.
Preventing the Email Campaign
If you are just Starting out, you can certainly do as I did and manually input contacts at a time. However, for people who already have a listing, there are numerous 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 into a text type. When you create your Benchmark lists, they’ll appear on your dashboard, together with a Master Unsubscribe List.
The sending of this email is rather simple. Once you have finished all your tweaks, you may either save the email as a draft, send it immediately, or schedule a time and date for delivery. If you would like to check all is well before distributing your email on the planet, it is possible to send it to yourself to preview it as many as 10 times/day. I chose to schedule my email for shipping to see 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 ideal, it was probably within tolerance levels for many users. If you are among the more rare users who need on-the-minute email sending, you may need to appear elsewhere. More worryingly, my email didn’t go to my primary inbox but was automatically sorted in my”promotions” folder. Definitely not ideal.
Mail Campaign Reporting
First thing I Noticed about Benchmark email reports was something I’d read in a few reviews. They are really, really fast. I mean lightning fast. Opens enroll from the Benchmark system almost instantaneously. I have worked with a lot of different apps where these reports take hours or even days to appear.
Benchmark provides users with several key Bits of information about each effort. The arguably most important statistic, the available speed, seems in both pie chart and numerical form. Additionally, Benchmark supplies users with stats such as clicks, forward, bounces, unsubscribes, and misuse. Every stat further breaks down to the exact email addresses associated with a given action. Users may export this data for further analysis by means of a csv or xls file. There is also a social media place which reports shares through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, in addition to a map that breaks down, by state, who opens your mails. Email Marketing Software Leader
Though all of this information Is Excellent and Necessary, it is not enough to sustain increased level marketers who want more information such as conversions, which links were clicked, and revenue analysis. Though Google Analytics provides a whole lot of this information with appropriate integration, there may come a time when serious entrepreneurs need more info than Benchmark provides. Whether or not a small business will get to that point varies, of course, dependent on the company.
Particular Size Of Company
Benchmark made its 3-tiered pricing Structure with the objective of serving everyone from the smallest kitchen-table startup to large email marketers. However, the organization’s key focus is on small to medium companies, particularly those just starting out in email advertising. This is particularly reflected in the fact that clients subscribing to the moderate 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 ask 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 allows users to create and customize events, promote and market tickets, and monitor the success of the events via their Benchmark Email account. A variety of programs are available, such as a free option.
· Salesforce.com — This integration enables users to import contacts into Benchmark and use Benchmark’s email system to maintain Salesforce customers participated. Read our overview of Salesforce here.
· WordPress — Benchmark Mail Lite is a WordPress plugin which permits users to quickly build an email viewer via their subscribers. The plugin 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 list. Read our overview of Highrisehere.
· Benchmark Power — This free plugin allows you to source images for your Benchmark mails from locations across the web. Benchmark Power captures pictures you find and immediately uploads them to your Benchmark account for future use.
· Flickr — Users with Flickr accounts can link Flickr for their own Benchmark image galleries.
· Shopify — You can link a Shopify account to Benchmark and mechanically add Shopify customers to Benchmark lists. You may even add contributors to various lists based on which products they purchased. Read our overview of Shopify here.
· PayPal — Users may add some of their PayPal clients for their own Benchmark email lists bylinking the account. Read our overview of Paypal here.
· Easy List — Know more about this simple list-making app and download it .
· WordPress — The ever-present site and site builder offers an integration using Benchmark. Use it to send mails of your blog posts and also use the analytics to see how your subscribers respond to them. Learn more here.
· Zapier — Gain entry to Zapier’s huge integration library here. Email Marketing Software Leader
Social Media Integrations
Because Of the key connection between social networking and email advertising, it is important to check out the social media features contained in Benchmark.
· Social Media Templates — One section of Benchmark’s enormous email template list is made of social media-specific templates that directly promote your company’s involvement in social media forums such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
· Facebook”Like” Button — Benchmark offers a very simple function which allows you to add a Facebook”Just Like” button into your emails.
· Facebook Sign-Up Form — Benchmark provides easy-to-create sign-up forms (see”Characteristics” above) for both sites and Facebook fan pages, so you can convert followers into readers.
· Social Links within Email — After you connect your Benchmark account with your Facebook, Twitter, and/or LinkedIn account, you can add switches to every email which will direct your readers to each of your social media pages.
The company also fully Complies with the U.S.-E.U. and U.S.-Swiss Safe Harbor Frameworks regarding the collection of personal data from citizens of those nations. When clients provide credit card amounts to Benchmark, the company utilizes secure socket layer (SSL) protection to encrypt the information. The entire system is encrypted to ensure the safety of all 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 their users trying to engage in spam actions. The company is entirely in compliance with the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. Benchmark additionally takes several measures to preserve its reputation as a spam-free supplier, one of them membership in the Email Sender and Provider Coalition. The business employs the app SpamAssassin to filter messages sent through its server.
To prevent users from Unknowingly sending spam-like substances, Benchmark provides a spam test feature which looks for words widely utilized in spam messages. It scores each email on a scale from 1 to 5; 5s are delegated to content that is very likely to be blocked. In case of a top score, the program suggests”less spammy” alternatives. Individualized IP addresses also assist large-volume senders decrease their spam amounts.
Client Service and Support
Benchmark Offers its users a great deal of support resources. Customer service is usually responsive, with minimal waiting times. The site provides good learning resources, but can be needlessly opaque at times. Key information can be buried and difficult to find, particularly if you don’t know exactly what you’re searching for, especially when it comes to minute particulars about strategies. For instance. 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 will you see it mentioned when you sign up. The only place it’s mentioned is in the FAQ, here.
Here are some of the resources Benchmark offers. Email Marketing Software Leader
· Live Email and Support — Benchmark supplies live one-on-one support through these 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 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. Available nearly 24 hours daily Monday — Friday and restricted hours on Saturday. Offered in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian.
· FAQ — Benchmark’s FAQ section is somewhat mislabeled because it is closer to a QandA-format knowledge foundation than a normal FAQ. There are more than 900 entries, sorted into 18 subjects ranging from”Getting Started” to”API.” Users may perform a key word search of any topic (or sub-topic) or of the FAQ as a whole. 1 caveat. With such a comprehensive knowledge base, it’s pretty much inevitable that some entries are going to be out of date. A few of the QandAs provide advice that’s wholly incorrect, so in some cases, you might need to contact support to hash things out.
· Video Tutorials and Webinars — Benchmark supplies about two dozen video tutorials which take users step by step through the features of this program. The business also supplies a webinar known as”Benchmark Email Crash Course.” You can see 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 quite a few other subjects. Live webinars comprise 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 documents also cover industry-specific troubles. Articles, similar to blogs, offer users guidance beyond that found in the FAQ section, but in shorter, more digestible chunks than the manuals provide.
· Glossary of Email Marketing Requirements — This is a particularly valuable tool for all those new to email marketing who feel absorbed by all of the jargon. Benchmark gives a glossarywith 50 of the very popular email marketing terms from”above-the-fold” into”whitelists.”
· Blog and Newsletter — For current information regarding email advertising trends, check out Benchmark’s monthly newsletter, in addition to its exceptionally active site. All subscribers automatically obtain access to current newsletters, and Benchmark also offers an archive of newsletter articles 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 discuss newsletter creation approaches, 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 installation on your computer.
Positive Reviews and Testimonials
Benchmark Includes a four-out-of-five star rating on G2 Crowd, with a slightly better showing on GetApp and Capterra. 4.5 stars each. Email Marketing Software Leader
Some common points of compliments.
· Top Notch Support. This is maybe the most typical monitoring concerning Benchmark, and some thing I discovered for myself too. People are inclined to find support prompt and beneficial, and a few say it’s actually the component that distinguishes Benchmark from its rivals. The company also receives praise for its website posts and videos.
· Characteristic Selection Across All Plans. Some customers praise the inclusion of features including AB analyzing and surveys from all programs; many companies charge extra for such features or only include them in their pricier plans.
· Ease of Use. Users have a tendency to locate Benchmark’s interface extremely intuitive and user-friendly. The program gathers compliments from a broad range of demographics, from first time ESP consumers to those who have attempted a variety of programs before settling on Benchmark.
· Mobile Friendly Emails. Consumers were impressed with all the mobile-friendly email design of Benchmark’s templates. Since an increasing number of people access their email from mobile devices, this is an increasingly significant aspect to take into account.
Negative Reviews and Complaints
I was Unable to find many people who disliked Their Benchmark experience. However, I managed to discover a couple of complaints.
· Inconsistent Send-Times. Apparently a few users experienced an issue with Benchmark where their mails were sent hours after they were first scheduled. One customer theorized the issue might arise in long lists of recipients. Not all clients of all Benchmark will possess time-sensitive shipping needs, but other people will. Should you want your emails to go out precisely whenever your program dictates, you might have to take into account this issue.
· Buggy Social Media Integrations. I watched several consumer reviews that remarked the social networking integrations in Benchmark aren’t up to par.
· “Spammy” Templates. Some users have been worried that Benchmark’s templates can feel like spam mail, leading recipients to mark them as spam and not reading the contents. Since the entire point of an ESP would be to stop this from happening, this may be a problem. On the flip side, I never felt this way whilst searching through the template list, so it might not be the most valid of complaints.
Benchmark Offers a huge variety of pricing strategies, including a free plan and a huge array of paid plans which can service anywhere between 600 and 7,140,000 subscribers.
Benchmark’s free plans do not require credit Cards, which is always refreshing. The only grab. 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 want the Benchmark branding. The free plan allows you to send up to 14000 emails to around 2000 subscribers and provides you access to all but not all of Benchmark’s features list. Notable absences into the attributes list for free account include email automation and sub-accounts (enabling multiple users to get one Benchmark account).
Paid Strategies. Email Marketing Software Leader
Users with small contacts lists and restricted Monthly messages have the choice of paying to get their email marketing depending on the number of mails that they send each month.
o Moderate 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 a month
Benchmark accepts all Major charge cards and also allows you to pay through PayPal. They also offer you a 25% reduction for nonprofits and educators.
Benchmark is a good program. It’s easy to use, Open to invention, and competitively priced. Its free alternatives may just be the best in the business for anybody who just wants to dip into email marketing (especially small, neighborhood companies ). For that matter, any Benchmark strategy can work well for a small company which perspectives email as a little aspect of its marketing and does not have any desire to work past the principles just yet.
If you are a small or maybe medium-sized Company trying to find a easy email marketing program with a multitude of amazing features, Benchmark is an excellent choice. Though there might come a time when you launch the program, it supplies a lot for the price, offers excellent service, and the company appears to be sensitive to the requirements of its users. You can not ask for much more.