Overview Email Marketing Software Options
For many a day 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 heart. Backed by a little 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 execute a deceptively straightforward idea. Simple email marketing. Many of the ideas were beyond the means of the fledgling business, but that did not 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 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 uses such novel ideas as customizable templates and software which adapted to consumer requirements. They also made sure from the beginning that anybody who needed help would have rapid access to outstanding customer care.
Benchmark Has continued to grow and advantagesper. Its current focus. Providing global email advertising services to small and midsize companies while continuing to honor a commitment to help children in need. This does not mean that Benchmark is a little-guys-only company, however; it has adhered to its core principle of adaptability and functions large organizations such as 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 origins. Benchmark still keeps good relationships with small, locally-based businesses. In reality, the organization offers a complete page of testimonials from users of this app. You can read more 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 nearly all its attributes come standard with each account — such as the free ones. Below are a few of Benchmark’s most noteworthy offerings.
· Hundreds of Industry-Specific, Themed Templates. Benchmark offers all users access to the library of over 400 templates. These are organized into 19 classes, some of which are tailored to particular industries like education, entertainment, and retail. There’s also a category for social media-specific templates.
· Video Emails. Possibly the best-known benefit of Benchmark is its support for video mails. The business describes 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 site or construct 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 option of paying for this service ($30/month) to boost their particular delivery stats. Read more about the advantages of dedicated servers here.
· Email Delivery Management. Benchmark’s email shipping management program is about getting customers’ mails into inboxes. The business is a member of the Email Sender and Provider Coalition and operates with ReturnPath, a leading email delivery and consulting service. The business also communicates with ISPs on its customers’ behalf. Email Marketing Software Options
· Mobile App. Benchmark’s mobile programs make it possible for customers with an Apple device to access several purposes on the street. They can access and include contacts, browse reportsand send videos via integration using a YouTube account, and even layout and send fast email blasts with one of 10 templates that are available. That is quite a little more than many other businesses offer in their mobile apps, which makes them considerably more operational.
· Photo Editing. If the pictures you plan to use on your email campaign aren’t perfectly sized or need some colour adjustment, you may use Benchmark’s integrated photo editor. This is a pretty handy feature if you do not have photoshop available.
· Code Editor. In case you’ve got the know-how to work magic with HTML, Benchmark provides this ultra-customization option with which you may construct your mails from scratch.
· Autoresponder. Every Benchmark customer has the ability to design up to eight custom autoresponder messages. These can be scheduled as a series or event lead-up, or designed as yearly messages such as anniversary or birthday emails.
· Sign-Up Types . The only way to become successful in email advertising is through growing your own list, and Benchmark actually promotes doing this through sign-up forms. The company 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. Because every email program differs and each internet browser includes a signature style, making sure that your emails look good across the board is important. You can use Inbox Checker to look at the way your email displays in Gmail using Explorer and Outlook 3. Using the entire app (which assesses everything from 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 can create newsletters from their sites automatically through the RSS-to-Email feature, which works with any blog which handles an RSS-feed. Users only have to set up a template and campaign within Benchmark once.
· API Integration. An API (Application Program Interface) enables different software programs to communicate with one another with no formal plug link. 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 allows them to perform three purposes. Manage contact lists, manage campaigns and effort sending, and assess data. The business describes this role in more detail here.
· 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 was a five-minute procedure for me. Upon logging in to my account (with the free plan) I was greeted by an appealing UI that gave me a clear path on the best way to create my first email campaign. Great start!
Email Campaign Creation
On its own dashboard, Benchmark provides users five main choices. Emails, Automations, Contacts, Surveys, and Reports. To create a new campaign, proceed into the Emails segment, then hit the large blue”Create New Mail” button in the upper right-hand corner. Email Marketing Software Options
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 go for more customization using the built-in code editor. If you’re 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 alternative.
I was motivated to enter a subject line for my Email and setup how much observation I desired on the message, in addition to if I wanted an automated tweet once the campaign went out. The following task was to select which contacts I wanted to get the campaign. With that, I was eventually able to begin constructing the email itself. If you want to, you can assemble your own email layouts using an extremely intuitive editor. On the other hand, you can modify one of Benchmark’s templates, that can be great, and better than I managed to do in my.
Sending the Email Campaign
If you are just Starting out, you can do as I did and manually enter contacts at a time. However, for people who already have a list, there are several ways to import it. You can upload a CSV, xls, or txt file right from your computer; import contacts directly from Salesforce.com, Hotmail, or Gmail accounts; or copy and paste huge lists of contacts to a text form. When you make your Benchmark lists, then they will appear on your dash, along with a Master Unsubscribe List.
The sending of the email is rather easy. When you’ve completed all of your tweaks, you can save the email as a draft, send it immediately, or schedule a date and time for delivery. If you would like to verify all is well before unleashing your email about the planet, you can send it to your self to preview it as many as 10 times/day. I chose to program my email for delivery to see how timely the automatic system would actually be. I scheduled my email for 2.45 and obtained it at 2.50, so while the timing wasn’t exactly perfect, it was probably within tolerance levels for most users. If you are among the more rare users who need on-the-minute email sending, then you might have to look elsewhere. More worryingly, my email did not go to my primary inbox but was mechanically sorted into my”promotions” folder. Definitely not ideal.
Mail Campaign Reporting
The first thing I Discovered about Benchmark email reports was something I’d read in a couple of reviews. They are really, really fast. I mean lightning fast. Opens enroll from the Benchmark system almost immediately. I have worked with a lot of different 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 rate, seems in both pie graph and numerical type. In addition, Benchmark provides users with stats for clicks, forward, bounces, unsubscribes, and misuse. Every stat further breaks down to the specific email addresses related to a given action. Users may export this data for additional analysis by means of a csv or xls file. There is also a social media area which reports shares through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, as well as a map that breaks down, by state, who opens your emails. Email Marketing Software Options
Though all of this information Is Excellent and Necessary, it is not sufficient to sustain higher level marketers who want more info such as conversions, which hyperlinks were clicked, and earnings analysis. Although Google Analytics provides a whole lot of that information with appropriate integration, there may come a time when serious entrepreneurs need more information than Benchmark provides. Whether a small business will reach that point varies, naturally, dependent on the business.
Particular Size Of Business
Benchmark designed its 3-tiered pricing Structure with the objective of serving everybody from the smallest kitchen-table startup to big email marketers. However, the organization’s key focus is on small to medium businesses, particularly those just beginning in email marketing. This is particularly reflected in the fact that customers 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 need, there is still hope. You can use the API or request an integration by sending an email to [email protected]
· Benchmark Occasions — Benchmark Events is event marketing software designed to integrate fully with Benchmark Email. Launched in 2012, this app allows users to create and customize events, promote and sell tickets, and track the success of the events through their Benchmark Email accounts. A variety of programs are available, such as a free option.
· Salesforce.com — This integration enables users to import contacts directly into Benchmark and utilize Benchmark’s email system to keep Salesforce customers participated. Read our overview of Salesforce here.
· Twitter — Benchmark Email Lite is a WordPress plug-in which permits users to quickly build an email viewer through their subscribers. The plug-in can automatically create email versions of blog posts and allows users to connect up to five Benchmark accounts.
· Highrise — Merges Highrise contacts using a Benchmark listing. Read our review of Highrisehere.
· Benchmark Power — This free plug-in allows you to supply images for your Benchmark mails from locations throughout the web. Benchmark Power captures images you locate and instantly uploads them to a Benchmark accounts for future use.
· Flickr — Users with Flickr accounts can link Flickr for their own Benchmark image galleries.
· Shopify — You can link a Shopify accounts to Benchmark and mechanically add Shopify clients 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 can add any of the PayPal clients to their own Benchmark email lists bylinking the accounts. Read our review of Paypal here.
· Easy List — Learn 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 articles and use the analytics to observe how your readers react to them. Learn more here.
· Zapier — Gain access to Zapier’s huge integration library . Email Marketing Software Options
Social Media Integrations
Since Of the integral connection between social networking and email marketing, it’s important to look at the social networking features contained in Benchmark.
· Social Media Templates — One section of Benchmark’s massive email template listing is made of societal media-specific templates which directly promote your institution’s participation 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”Features” above) for both sites and Facebook fan pages, to help you convert followers into subscribers.
· Social Links within Email — Once you link your Benchmark account together with your Facebook, Twitter, and/or LinkedIn account, you can add switches to each email that will direct your subscribers 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 collection of personal data from citizens of those nations. When clients provide credit card numbers to Benchmark, the company uses secure socket layer (SSL) security to encrypt the information. The whole platform is encrypted to ensure the safety of all customers’ personal details.
Anti-Spam Policy and Protection
Like All legitimate ESPs, Benchmark takes junk seriously and summarizes a clear zero-tolerance policy for any of their users trying to engage in spam actions. The business is entirely in compliance with the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. Benchmark also takes several measures to preserve its reputation as a spam-free provider, among them membership in the Email Sender and Provider Coalition. The company uses the app SpamAssassin to filter messages delivered through its server.
To prevent users from Unknowingly sending spam-like materials, Benchmark provides a spam test 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 case of a top score, the program suggests”less spammy” choices. Individualized IP addresses also help large-volume senders reduce their spam numbers.
Client Service and Support
Benchmark Offers its users a great deal of support tools. Customer support is usually responsive, with minimal waiting times. The website offers good learning resources, but may be needlessly opaque occasionally. Key information can be buried and hard to find, especially in the event that you don’t know precisely what you’re looking for, especially in regards to minute details about strategies. For instance. That the Free For Life plan comprises 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 sign up. The only place it’s mentioned is at the FAQ, here.
Here are some of those resources Benchmark offers. Email Marketing Software Options
· Live Support and Email — Benchmark provides live one-on-one aid through these means.
· Email Support. Contact Benchmark at [email protected] or through the organization’s contact form here. Available 24 hours Monday — Friday and limited hours on Saturday.
· Telephone Support. You can reach Benchmark at 800-430-4095 (U.S.) or 001-562-252-3789 (all countries). Available weekdays from 6 am to 5 pm PT.
· Chat Support. Available nearly 24 hours daily Monday — Friday and limited hours on Saturday. Offered in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian.
· FAQ — Benchmark’s FAQ section is somewhat mislabeled as it is closer to a QandA-format knowledge base than a typical FAQ. There are more than 900 entries, sorted into 18 subjects ranging from”Getting Started” to”API.” Users may execute a keyword search of any subject (or sub-topic) or 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 provide information 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 movie tutorials that take users step by step through the features of the app. The company also offers a webinar known as”Benchmark Mail Crash Course.” You can see it live each Friday at 10.00 a.m. PST or watch the recorded version at any moment. You can also request a special webinar on a number of other topics. Live webinars comprise the opportunity to ask questions during the presentation.
· Email Marketing Manuals and Articles — There are more in-depth details on email marketing generally, in addition to the Benchmark program especially, in the Manuals Section. These downloadable files also cover industry-specific troubles. Articles, very similar to blogs, offer users guidance beyond that found in the FAQ section, but in shorter, more readable chunks compared to the guides provide.
· Glossary of Email Marketing Terms — This is a particularly helpful tool for all those brand new to email marketing who believe absorbed by all of the jargon. Benchmark gives a glossarywith 50 of the most popular email marketing conditions from”above-the-fold” into”whitelists.”
· Blog and Newsletter — For current information about email advertising trends, check out Benchmark’s monthly newsletter, in addition to its exceptionally active site. All subscribers automatically gain access to present newsletters, and Benchmark also provides an archive of newsletter posts 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 discuss 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.
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 Options
Some common points of praise.
· Top Notch Service . This is perhaps the most typical monitoring concerning Benchmark, and something I noticed for myself as well. People today are inclined to find support prompt and helpful, and some say it is actually the component that distinguishes Benchmark from its competitors. The business also receives praise for its website posts and videos.
· Feature Selection Across All Plans. Some users praise the inclusion of features including AB analyzing and surveys from all plans; many companies charge extra for such features or only include them into their pricier plans.
· Benefits of Use. Users tend to find Benchmark’s interface extremely intuitive and user-friendly. The program gathers compliments from a broad assortment of demographics, from first time ESP users to those who have attempted a variety of programs before settling Benchmark.
· Mobile Friendly Emails. Users were impressed with all 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 important aspect to consider.
Negative Reviews and Complaints
I was not able to find many people who disliked Their own Benchmark experience. But, I managed to find a few complaints.
· Inconsistent Send-Times. Apparently a few users experienced an issue with Benchmark in which their mails were sent hours when they were scheduled. 1 customer theorized that the issue might arise in lengthy lists of recipients. Not all customers of Benchmark will have time-sensitive shipping needs, but others will. If you want your mails to go out precisely whenever your schedule dictates, you might have to consider this issue.
· Buggy Social Media Integrations. I saw several user reviews that commented the social networking integrations in Benchmark are not up to par.
· “Spammy” Templates. Some users were concerned that Benchmark’s templates can feel like spam mail, causing recipients to mark them as junk rather than studying the contents. Since the whole purpose of an ESP would be to prevent this from happening, this might be an issue. On the flip side, I never felt this way whilst 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 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 charge Cards, which is always refreshing. The only catch. There will be a small Benchmark emblem in 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 want the Benchmark branding. The free program allows you to send up to 14000 emails to up to 2000 subscribers and gives you access to most but not all Benchmark’s features record. Notable absences to the features list for free account comprise email automation and sub-accounts (allowing many users to get one Benchmark account).
Paid Strategies. Email Marketing Software Options
Users with little contacts lists and limited Monthly messages have the choice of paying for their email advertising based on the amount of emails that they send every month.
o Medium 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 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 allows you to pay through PayPal. They also offer a 25% discount for nonprofits and teachers.
Benchmark is a good program. It is easy to use, Open to invention, and competitively priced. Its free alternatives might just be the very best in the business for anybody who only wants to dip into email marketing (particularly small, local companies ). For that matter, any Benchmark strategy can work well for a little business which views email as a little element of its advertising and does not have any desire to work past the basics just yet.
If you are a small or even medium-sized Business looking for a simple email advertising program using a multitude of amazing features, Benchmark is an excellent option. Even though there may come a time when you outgrow the app, it supplies a lot for the money, offers excellent service, and the business appears to be sensitive to the requirements of its customers. You can not ask for more.