Overview Email Marketing Study
For many an evening in 2004, three people sat Around one desk in a tiny medical office — an office that served as the team’s conference room, lunch room, and thought heart. Backed by a small programming group in India, the trio (consisting of 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 ideas were beyond the means of this fledgling business, but that didn’t stop Keller from planning ahead.
The first Clients of Benchmark Email were small businesses located in near proximity to Benchmark’s one-room HQ in Long Beach, CA. Keller and his team personally sold them on the usage of email advertising, while working hard to make a simple user interface that would be easy to operate. All the while, the business uses such novel ideas as customizable templates and applications 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 rise and advantagesper. Its present focus. Providing worldwide email advertising solutions to small and medium-sized companies while continuing to honor a commitment to assist children in need. This doesn’t indicate that Benchmark is a little-guys-only company, however; it’s stuck to its core principle of adaptability and serves large organizations such as UNICEF and Kaiser-Permanente through its High Volume Business plans.
Today, Benchmark serves up of 73,000 users from throughout the globe, but the company hasn’t forgotten its roots. Benchmark still keeps good relationships with little, locally-based companies. In fact, the company supplies a full page of testimonials from local users of this 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, among the standout features of the ESP is the simple fact that most of its attributes come standard with every single account — including 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 its library of over 400 templates. These are organized into 19 categories, some of which are tailored to particular industries like education, entertainment, and retail. There is 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 explains the benefits of this feature here.
· Online Surveys. You can create professional-looking online polls using among 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 plans come with a dedicated IP address to help increase deliverability rates. Users on other plans have the option of paying for this service ($30/month) to increase their particular delivery stats. Read more about the benefits of dedicated servers .
· Email Delivery Management. Benchmark’s email shipping management program is about getting customers’ mails into inboxes. The company is a part of the Email Sender and Provider Coalition and operates with ReturnPath, a top email delivery and consulting service. The business also communicates with ISPs on its clients’ behalf. Email Marketing Study
· Mobile App. Benchmark’s mobile apps make it possible for customers having an Apple device to access several purposes on the road. They can access and add contacts, read reports, send videos through integration with a YouTube accounts, and even layout and send fast email blasts with one of 10 available templates. That is quite a bit more than a number of other companies offer in their mobile programs, which makes them considerably more operational.
· Photo Editing. If the photos you intend to use in your email campaign aren’t perfectly sized or want some color adjustment, you may use Benchmark’s integrated picture editor. This is a pretty handy feature if you don’t have photoshop available.
· Code Editor. If you have the know-how to work magic with HTML, Benchmark offers this ultra-customization option with which you may build your mails from scratch.
· Autoresponder. Each Benchmark client has the power to design up to eight custom autoresponder messages. These could be scheduled as a string or event lead-up, or made as annual messages like 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 really promotes doing this via sign-up forms. The company bases its Free For Life account completely around website and Facebook sign-ups and provides an easy-to-use instrument to create custom templates for each medium.
· Inbox Checker. Since every email program is different and each web browser includes a signature fashion, making certain your emails look good across the board is important. 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 full app (which checks everything from AOL to Yahoo, Explorer into Safari, mobile to PC) is a paid add-on service, available for $14 each 100 checks.
· RSS-to-Email. Regular bloggers can create newsletters from their blogs mechanically through the RSS-to-Email feature, which works with any blog which manages an RSS-feed. Users only need to establish a template and campaign within Benchmark once.
· API Integration. An API (Application Program Interface) allows different software programs to communicate with one another without a formal plug-in connection. Benchmark’s API Integration feature allows users with XML-RPC, HTTP POST, or HTTP GET abilities to retrieve data from some other apps that use JSON, XML, XML-RPC, or PHP serialization strings. In a nutshell, this allows them to play three functions. Manage contact lists, manage campaigns and effort sending, and assess statistics. The company describes this role in more detail here.
· Advanced Metrics. Benchmark offers 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 account 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 process for me. Upon logging into my new account (using the free program ) I was greeted by an attractive UI that gave me a clear path about the best way to make my very first email campaign. Good beginning!
Email Campaign Creation
On its own dashboard, Benchmark provides users five chief choices. Emails, Automations, Contacts, Surveys, and Reports. To create a new effort, go to the Emails segment, then hit the big blue”Create New Email” button in the upper right-hand corner. Email Marketing Study
From there, you must decide If You Would like an RSS Or traditional email message. You can use Benchmark’s drag-and-drop editor, or move for more customization with the built-in code editor. If you are 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 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 when I wanted an automatic tweet once the effort went out. The following task was to choose which contacts I wished to receive the campaign. With that, I was finally able to begin constructing the email . If you want to, you are able to construct your personal email designs using a very intuitive editor. On the flip side, you can alter one of Benchmark’s templates, which are great, and better than I managed to do on my own.
Preventing 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 listing, there are numerous ways to import it. You can upload a CSV, xls, or txt file directly from the computer; import contacts directly from Salesforce.com, Hotmail, or Gmail accounts; or copy and paste huge lists of contacts to a text type. Once you create your Benchmark lists, then they will appear on your dashboard, along with a Master Unsubscribe List.
The actual sending of this email is rather easy. When you have finished all of your tweaks, you may either save the email as a draft, send it instantly, or schedule a time and date for delivery. If you want to verify everything is well before distributing your email about the world, you can send it to yourself 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 obtained it at 2.50, therefore while the timing was not exactly ideal, it was likely within tolerance levels for many users. If you are among the more rare users who demand 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.
Email Campaign Reporting
The first thing I Noticed about Benchmark email reports was something I would read in a few reviews. They’re really, really fast. I mean lightning fast. Opens enroll from the Benchmark system virtually immediately. I have worked with several different programs where these reports take hours or even days to appear.
Benchmark provides users with several key Bits of information about every campaign. The arguably most important statistic, the open rate, seems in both pie graph and numerical form. In addition, Benchmark supplies 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 action. Users may export this information for additional analysis via 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 country, who opens your emails. Email Marketing Study
Though all of this information Is Excellent and Necessary, it isn’t sufficient to sustain increased level marketers who need more information such as conversions, which hyperlinks were clicked, and revenue analysis. Although Google Analytics provides a lot of this information with proper integration, there may come a time when serious marketers need more information than Benchmark provides. Whether or not a small business will reach that point changes, naturally, dependent on the business.
Particular Size Of Company
Benchmark designed its 3-tiered pricing Structure with the goal of serving everybody from the smallest kitchen-table startup to big email marketers. On the other hand, the organization’s main focus is on small to medium businesses, particularly those just starting out in email advertising. This is particularly reflected in the reality that clients subscribing to the medium plans get unlimited mails, while larger plans have constraints.
Integrations and Add-Ons
Benchmark Offers roughly 20 plug-ins and integrations. If you do not 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 permits users to create and customize events, promote and sell tickets, and monitor the success of the events through their Benchmark Email accounts. A variety of subscriptions are available, including a free alternative.
· Salesforce.com — This integration enables users to import contacts 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 plugin which allows users to easily build an email audience through their readers. The plug-in can automatically produce email versions of blog posts and allows users to connect up to five Benchmark accounts.
· Highrise — Merges Highrise contacts with a Benchmark listing. Read our overview of Highrisehere.
· Benchmark Power — This free plug-in allows you to supply images for your Benchmark mails from locations throughout the web. Benchmark Power captures pictures you locate and instantly uploads them to a Benchmark accounts for future use.
· Flickr — Users with Flickr accounts may link Flickr for their own Benchmark image galleries.
· Shopify — You can link a Shopify account to Benchmark and automatically add Shopify clients to Benchmark lists. You can even add contributors to different lists based on which products they bought. Read our review of Shopify here.
· PayPal — Users may add some of the PayPal customers for their own Benchmark email lists bylinking the account. Read our overview of Paypal here.
· Easy List — Know more about this very simple list-making program and download it here.
· WordPress — The ever-present site and website builder offers an integration using Benchmark. Use it to send mails of your blog articles and use the analytics to see how your readers respond to them. Learn more here.
· Zapier — Gain entry to Zapier’s huge integration library here. Email Marketing Study
Social Media Integrations
Since Of the integral connection between social networking and email advertising, it’s important to check out the social networking features included in Benchmark.
· Social Media Templates — One segment of Benchmark’s massive email template list consists of social media-specific templates that directly promote your company’s participation in social media forums such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
· Facebook”Like” Button — Benchmark offers a very simple function which permits you to bring 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 enthusiast pages, so you can convert followers to readers.
· Social Links within Mail — After you connect your Benchmark account together with your Facebook, Twitter, and/or LinkedIn accounts, you can add switches to each email which will direct your subscribers to each of your social networking pages.
The company also fully Complies with all the U.S.-E.U. and U.S.-Swiss Safe Harbor Frameworks regarding the selection of personal data from citizens of these nations. When clients provide credit card amounts to Benchmark, the company uses secure socket layer (SSL) protection to encrypt the information. The entire platform is encrypted to ensure the security of customers’ personal information.
Anti-Spam Policy and Protection
Like All valid ESPs, Benchmark takes junk seriously and summarizes a clear zero-tolerance coverage for any of the users hoping to engage in spam activities. The business is fully in compliance with all the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. Benchmark additionally takes several steps to maintain its reputation as a spam-free provider, one of them membership in the Email Sender and Provider Coalition. The business employs the app SpamAssassin to filter messages delivered through its host.
To stop users from Unknowingly sending spam-like materials, Benchmark provides a spam check feature which looks for words commonly used in spam messages. It scores every 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 decrease their spam amounts.
Client Service and Support
Benchmark Offers its users a great deal of support resources. Customer support is usually responsive, with minimal waiting times. The website provides good learning tools, but can be needlessly opaque occasionally. Key information can be buried and hard to find, particularly in the event that you don’t know precisely what you’re searching for, especially when it comes to minute particulars about plans. As an example. The Free For Life plan comprises Benchmark branding on every email, but you won’t find that mentioned on the Free For Life page, not even in the fine print. Nor are you going to see it mentioned when you register. The only place it’s mentioned is at the FAQ, here.
Here are some of those resources Benchmark offers. Email Marketing Study
· Live Email and Support — Benchmark supplies live one-on-one support through these means.
· Email Support. Contact Benchmark at [email protected] or through the organization’s contact form . Accessible 24 hours Monday — Friday and restricted hours on Saturday.
· Telephone Support. You are able to reach Benchmark in 800-430-4095 (U.S.) or even 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. Founded in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian.
· FAQ — Benchmark’s FAQ section is somewhat mislabeled as it’s closer to some QandA-format knowledge foundation 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 topic (or sub-topic) or of their FAQ as a whole. One caveat. With such an extensive knowledge base, it is pretty much inevitable that some entries are going to be out of date. A few of the QandAs provide advice which is wholly inaccurate, so in some cases, you might want to contact assistance to hash things out.
· Video Tutorials and Webinars — Benchmark supplies about two dozen movie tutorials that take users step by step through the features of the app. The company also supplies a webinar known as”Benchmark Email Crash Course.” You may view it live each Friday at 10.00 a.m. PST or see the recorded version at any time. You can also ask for a particular webinar on quite a few other topics. Live webinars include the opportunity to ask questions during the demonstration.
· Email Marketing Manuals and Articles — There are more in-depth information on email marketing generally, as well as the Benchmark program especially, in 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 is a particularly valuable tool for all those brand new to email marketing who feel absorbed by all the jargon. Benchmark provides a glossarywith 50 of the most popular email advertising conditions from”above-the-fold” into”whitelists.”
· Website and Newsletter — For current information about email advertising trends, check out Benchmark’s monthly newsletter, as well as its exceptionally active blog. All readers automatically obtain access to current 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 discuss 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 doesn’t Require any setup on your computer.
Favorable Reviews and Reviews
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 Study
Some common points of praise.
· Top Notch Service . This is maybe the most typical monitoring concerning Benchmark, and some thing I discovered for myself as well. People today tend to find support prompt and helpful, and a few say it is actually the component that distinguishes Benchmark from its rivals. The business also receives praise for its blog posts and videos.
· Characteristic Selection Across All Plans. Some users praise the addition of attributes including AB testing and surveys from most programs; many firms charge extra for such attributes or only include them in their pricier programs.
· Benefits of Use. Users tend to find Benchmark’s interface incredibly intuitive and user-friendly. The program gathers compliments from a wide assortment of demographics, from first-time ESP consumers to those who have tried many different programs before settling on 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 is an increasingly important factor to consider.
Negative Reviews and Complaints
I was not able to find many people who loathed Their Benchmark experience. However, I was able to find a couple of complaints.
· Inconsistent Send-Times. Apparently a few users experienced an issue with Benchmark in which their mails were sent hours when they were 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 other people will. Should you need your mails to go out exactly when your schedule dictates, you might need to take into account 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 may feel like spam mail, causing recipients to mark them as spam and not reading the contents. Since the entire purpose of an ESP would be to stop this from occurring, this might be an issue. On the flip side, I never felt this way while looking through the template list, so it may not be the most legitimate of complaints.
Benchmark Provides a huge number of pricing plans, including a free plan and a massive scale of paid programs that can service anywhere between 600 and 7,140,000 subscribers.
Benchmark’s free programs do not require credit Cards, which is always refreshing. The only grab. There will be a small Benchmark logo at the bottom of every email you send out. Of course, you may always choose to upgrade to a paid program in case you don’t need the Benchmark branding. The free program allows you to send up to 14000 mails to around 2000 subscribers and gives you access to most but not all Benchmark’s features list. Notable absences to the attributes list for free account include email automation and sub-accounts (enabling many users to get one Benchmark account).
Paid Strategies. Email Marketing Study
Users with little contacts lists and limited Monthly messages have the option of paying for their email marketing based on the number of emails they send each month.
o Medium Plans. 600-50,000 subscribers, $13.99-$254.99 per month
o Large Strategies. 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 a month
o Massive 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% reduction for nonprofits and teachers.
Benchmark is a solid program. It’s easy to use, Open to invention, and competitively priced. Its free options might very well be the very best in the business for anyone who only wants to dip into email advertising (particularly small, local businesses). For that matter, any Benchmark strategy can work nicely for a little business which views email as a minor aspect of its marketing and has no desire to operate beyond the basics just yet.
If you are a small or even medium-sized Company trying to find a easy email advertising program using a host of amazing features, Benchmark is an excellent choice. Though there might come a time when you launch the app, it provides a lot for the price, offers exceptional support, and the business appears to be sensitive to the needs of its customers. You can’t ask for more.