Summary Email Marketing Software Self Hosted
For many a day in 2004, three people sat Around one desk in a small medical office — an office which served as the team’s conference room, breakfast area, and thought heart. Backed by a small programming team in India, the trio (consisting of Benchmark Internet Group founder Curt Keller, his wife Denise, and an search engine optimization pro ) discussed ideas on how best to execute a deceptively simple idea. Simple email advertising. Many of their ideas were beyond the resources of the fledgling business, but that didn’t stop Keller from moving ahead.
The first Customers of Benchmark Email 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 make a 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 sure from the outset that anybody who needed help would have quick access to excellent customer care.
Benchmark Has continued to grow and advantagesper. Its current focus. Providing worldwide email advertising services to small and medium-sized companies while continuing to honor a commitment to assist kids in need. This doesn’t mean that Benchmark is a little-guys-only company, however; it’s stuck to its core principle of adaptability and functions large organizations like UNICEF and Kaiser-Permanente through its High Volume Business plans.
Today, Benchmark serves up of 73,000 users from throughout the planet, but the company hasn’t forgotten its origins. Benchmark still keeps good relationships with small, locally-based businesses. In fact, the company offers a complete page of testimonials from users of the program. You can read about Benchmark’s history and development here.
While the Majority of the features Benchmark provides Are on par with the rest of the business, one of the standout features of this ESP is the fact that nearly all its features come standard with every single account — such as the free ones. Below are some 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 categories, some of which are tailored to specific industries like education, entertainment, and retailstores. There is also a category for social media-specific templates.
· Video Emails. Possibly the best-known advantage of Benchmark is its support for video mails. The company describes the benefits of this feature here.
· Online Surveys. You can create professional-looking online surveys using one of Benchmark’s 6 templates. Post your survey 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 programs have the option of paying for this service ($30/month) to increase their own delivery stats. Read more about the advantages of dedicated servers here.
· Email Delivery Management. Benchmark’s email delivery management program is all about getting customers’ emails into inboxes. The company is a member of the Email Sender and Provider Coalition and operates with ReturnPath, a top email delivery and consulting support. The company also communicates with ISPs on its clients’ behalf. Email Marketing Software Self Hosted
· Mobile App. Benchmark’s mobile apps make it possible for customers with an Apple device to get several purposes on the street. They can access and add contacts, read reportsand send videos via integration using a YouTube accounts, and even layout and send fast email blasts with one of 10 templates that are available. That is quite a bit more than many other businesses offer in their mobile programs, which makes them much more operational.
· Photo Editing. If the photos you intend to use on your email campaign aren’t perfectly sized or want some color adjustment, you can use Benchmark’s integrated picture editor. This is a pretty handy feature if you do not have photoshop available.
· Code Editor. In case you have 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 client has the ability to style around eight custom autoresponder messages. These could be scheduled as a series or occasion lead-up, or made as yearly messages such as birthday or anniversary emails.
· Sign-Up Types . The only way to become prosperous in email marketing is by way of 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 customized templates for each medium.
· Inbox Checker. Since every email program differs and every internet browser includes a signature style, making certain that your emails look great across the board is crucial. It is possible to use Inbox Checker to look at the way your email screens in Gmail using Explorer and Outlook 3. Employing the full app (which assesses everything out of AOL to Yahoo, Explorer to Safari, mobile to PC) is a paid add-on provider, available for $14 per 100 checks.
· RSS-to-Email. Regular bloggers may create newsletters from their sites mechanically through the RSS-to-Email attribute, which works with any blog which manages an RSS-feed. Users simply need to set up a campaign and template within Benchmark once.
· API Integration. An API (Application Program Interface) enables different software programs to communicate with one another with no formal plug connection. Benchmark’s API Integration feature allows users with XML-RPC, HTTP POST, or HTTP GET abilities to retrieve data from some 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 effort sending, and check statistics. The company explains this role in more detail .
· Advanced Metrics. Benchmark offers both List 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 company name, you have to validate your email address. This was a five-minute process for me. Upon logging into my new account (with the free program ) I was greeted by an appealing UI that gave me a clear path about the best way best to create my first email campaign. Great beginning!
Email Campaign Creation
On its own dashboard, Benchmark provides users five main options. Emails, Automations, Contacts, Surveys, and Reports. To create a new campaign, proceed into the Emails segment, then hit the large blue”Create New Email” button in the upper right-hand corner. Email Marketing Software Self Hosted
From there, you have to decide If You Would like an RSS Or classic 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 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 alternative.
I was prompted to enter a subject line for my Email and setup how much observation I desired on the message, in addition to when I wanted an automatic tweet when the campaign went out. The following task was to choose which contacts I wished to receive the campaign. With that, I was finally able to start building the email . If you would like to, you are able to assemble your personal email designs employing an extremely intuitive editor. On the other hand, you can alter one of Benchmark’s templates, that are great, and better than I managed 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 one at a time. However, for those 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 the computer; import contacts directly from Salesforce.com, Hotmail, or Gmail accounts; or copy and paste huge lists of contacts into a text type. When you make your Benchmark lists, they’ll show up on your dashboard, together with a Master Unsubscribe List.
The sending of this email is quite simple. Once you have completed all your tweaks, you may either save the email as a draft, send it instantly, or schedule a time and date for delivery. If you would like to check all is well before unleashing your email about the planet, it is possible to send it to your self to preview it as many as 10 times/day. I opted to schedule my email for delivery to see how timely the automatic system would really be. I advised my email for 2.45 and received it in 2.50, therefore while the timing was not exactly ideal, it was probably present in tolerance levels for most users. If you are among the more infrequent users who demand on-the-minute email sending, then you might have to look elsewhere. More worryingly, my email didn’t go to my primary inbox but was mechanically sorted in my”promotions” folder. Definitely not ideal.
Email Campaign Reporting
First thing I Discovered about Benchmark email reports was something I would read in a few reviews. They’re really, really quickly. I mean lightning fast. Opens register from the Benchmark system virtually immediately. I have worked with several other apps where these reports require hours or even days to appear.
Benchmark provides users with several key Bits of data about every effort. The possibly most important statistic, the available rate, seems in both pie chart and numerical type. 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 activity. Users may export this information for additional analysis via a csv or xls file. There’s also a social media place which reports shares via Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, in addition to a map that breaks down, by country, who opens your mails. Email Marketing Software Self Hosted
Though all of this information is great and Necessary, it isn’t enough to sustain increased level marketers who need more information such as conversions, which links were clicked, and revenue analysis. Though Google Analytics provides a lot of that information with appropriate integration, there may come a time when serious entrepreneurs need more info than Benchmark provides. Whether a small business will reach that point changes, naturally, based on the company.
Specific Size Of Business
Benchmark designed its 3-tiered pricing Structure with the goal of serving everybody from the tiniest kitchen-table startup to big email marketers. However, the company’s key focus is on small to medium businesses, particularly those just beginning in email advertising. This is particularly reflected in the fact that clients subscribing to the moderate plans get unlimited emails, 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 want, there is still hope. You’re able to use the API or request an integration by sending an email to [email protected]
· Benchmark Occasions — Benchmark Events 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 track the success of their events via their Benchmark Email accounts. A number of subscriptions are available, including a free alternative.
· Salesforce.com — This integration allows users to import contacts into Benchmark and utilize Benchmark’s email system to maintain Salesforce customers engaged. Read our overview of Salesforce here.
· WordPress — Benchmark Mail Lite is a WordPress plug-in which permits users to quickly build an email audience via their readers. The plugin can automatically produce email versions of blog articles 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 plug-in lets you supply pictures for your Benchmark emails from places throughout the net. Benchmark Power captures pictures you find and immediately uploads them to your Benchmark accounts for future use.
· Flickr — Users with Flickr accounts can link Flickr for their own Benchmark image galleries.
· Shopify — You are able to link a Shopify account to Benchmark and automatically add Shopify clients to Benchmark lists. You can even add contributors to various lists based on what they purchased. Read our review of Shopify here.
· PayPal — Users may add any of their PayPal clients to their Benchmark email lists bylinking the accounts. Read our review of Paypal here.
· Easy List — Learn more about this very simple list-making program and download it .
· WordPress — The ever-present site and website builder offers an integration with Benchmark. Use it to send emails of your blog posts and also use the analytics to observe how your subscribers respond to them. Learn more here.
· Zapier — Gain access to Zapier’s enormous integration library . Email Marketing Software Self Hosted
Social Media Integrations
Because Of the integral connection between social media and email marketing, it’s important to look at the social media features contained in Benchmark.
· Social Media Templates — One section of Benchmark’s enormous email template listing is made of social media-specific templates that directly promote your company’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 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 websites and Facebook enthusiast pages, to help you convert followers into readers.
· Social Links within Email — After you link your Benchmark account together with your Facebook, Twitter, and/or LinkedIn accounts, you can add buttons to every email which 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 customers provide credit card numbers to Benchmark, the business utilizes secure socket layer (SSL) security to encrypt the information. The entire system is encrypted to ensure the safety of all customers’ personal details.
Anti-Spam Policy and Protection
Like All legitimate ESPs, Benchmark takes spam seriously and outlines a clear zero-tolerance coverage for any of the users trying to take part in spam activities. The company is fully in compliance with the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. Benchmark also takes several steps to maintain its standing as a spam-free supplier, among them membership from the Email Sender and Provider Coalition. The company uses the app SpamAssassin to filter messages sent through its host.
To stop users from Unknowingly sending spam-like materials, Benchmark supplies a spam check feature which 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 the event of a high score, the program suggests”less spammy” alternatives. Individualized IP addresses also assist large-volume senders decrease their spam numbers.
Customer Service and Support
Benchmark Offers its users a lot of support tools. Customer support is generally responsive, with minimal waiting times. The site offers good learning tools, but can be opaque at times. Crucial information can be buried and difficult to locate, particularly if you don’t know exactly what you’re searching for, especially when it comes to minute particulars about strategies. As an example. That the Free For Life plan includes Benchmark branding on every email, however you won’t find that mentioned on the Free For Life webpage, not even in the fine print. Nor are you going to see it mentioned when you sign up. The only place it is mentioned is at the FAQ, here.
Here are some of those resources Benchmark offers. Email Marketing Software Self Hosted
· 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 . Accessible 24 hours Monday — Friday and restricted hours on Saturday.
· Telephone Support. You are able to 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 limited 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 base than a normal FAQ. You will find more than 900 entries, sorted into 18 topics ranging from”Getting Started” to”API.” Users can execute a key word search of any subject (or sub-topic) or from the FAQ as a whole. One caveat. With such an extensive knowledge base, it’s pretty much inevitable that some entries are going to be out of date. A few of the QandAs provide information that’s wholly incorrect, so in some cases, you might want to contact support to hash things out.
· Video Tutorials and Webinars — Benchmark provides about two dozen video tutorials which take users step by step through the features of this app. The company also offers a webinar known as”Benchmark Email Crash Course.” You can view it live each Friday at 10.00 a.m. PST or watch the recorded version at any time. You might even request a special webinar on quite a few different topics. Live webinars include the chance to ask questions during the presentation.
· Email Marketing Manuals and Articles — There are more in-depth details on email marketing generally, as well as the Benchmark program especially, at the Manuals Section. These downloadable files also cover industry-specific issues. Articles, similar to blogs, offer users advice beyond that found in the FAQ section, but in shorter, more readable chunks than the manuals provide.
· Glossary of Email Marketing Requirements — This can be a particularly valuable tool for all those new to email marketing who believe consumed by all of the jargon. Benchmark provides a glossarywith 50 of the most popular email advertising conditions from”above-the-fold” to”whitelists.”
· Blog and Newsletter — For current information about email marketing trends, check out Benchmark’s monthly newsletter, as well as its extremely active blog. All readers automatically gain access to present 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 production approaches, vote for their favourite 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 PC.
Favorable Reviews and Testimonials
Benchmark Has 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 Self Hosted
Some common points of compliments.
· Top Notch Support. This is perhaps the most common observation regarding Benchmark, and something I noticed for myself as well. People today are inclined to find support prompt and helpful, and a few say it’s actually the element that distinguishes Benchmark from its competitors. The company also receives praise for its blog articles and videos.
· Feature Selection Across All Aims . Some customers praise the addition of features including AB testing and surveys from most plans; many firms charge extra for such features or only include them into their pricier programs.
· Ease of Use. Users have a tendency to locate Benchmark’s interface incredibly user-friendly and intuitive. The program gathers compliments from a wide assortment of demographics, from first time ESP users to people who have tried a variety of programs before settling Benchmark.
· Mobile Friendly Emails. Consumers were impressed with all the mobile-friendly email layout of Benchmark’s templates. Since more and more people access their email from mobile devices, this is an increasingly important aspect to take into account.
Negative Reviews and Complaints
I was Unable to find many people who disliked Their Benchmark experience. But, I managed to discover a few complaints.
· Inconsistent Send-Times. Apparently a few users experienced an issue with Benchmark in which their emails were sent hours when they were first scheduled. One customer theorized the issue might arise in long lists of recipients. Not all clients of Benchmark will possess time-sensitive sending needs, but others will. Should you want your emails to go out exactly whenever your schedule dictates, you might need to consider this situation.
· Buggy Social Media Integrations. I watched several consumer testimonials that remarked the social networking integrations in Benchmark aren’t up to par.
· “Spammy” Templates. Some users have been worried that Benchmark’s templates may feel like spam email, causing recipients to mark them as junk rather than reading the contents. Since the entire point of an ESP would be to prevent this from happening, this may be a problem. On the flip side, I never felt this way while looking through the template list, so it might not be the most legitimate of complaints.
Benchmark Offers a enormous variety of pricing strategies, such as a free plan and a huge array of paid plans that may service anywhere between 600 and 7,140,000 subscribers.
Benchmark’s free plans do not require credit Cards, which is always refreshing. The only catch. There will be a small Benchmark logo at the bottom of every 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 program allows you to send up to 14000 mails to around 2000 subscribers and gives you access to all but not all Benchmark’s features list. Notable absences to the attributes list for free accounts include email automation and sub-accounts (enabling many users to access one Benchmark accounts ).
Paid Strategies. Email Marketing Software Self Hosted
Users with small contacts lists and limited Monthly messages have the choice of paying to get their email marketing depending on the amount of mails 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 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 per 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 solid program. It is easy to use, Open to invention, and competitively priced. Its free options may very well be the very best in the company for anybody who only wants to dip into email marketing (particularly small, local businesses). For that matter, any Benchmark plan can work well for a small company which perspectives email as a minor element of its marketing and does not have any desire to operate beyond the principles just yet.
If you are a small or maybe medium-sized Business looking for a simple email marketing program using a host of great features, Benchmark is an excellent option. Though there may come a time when you outgrow the program, it provides a great deal for the price, provides exceptional service, and the company seems to be sensitive to the requirements of its users. You can not ask for more.