Overview Email Marketing Support
For many an evening in 2004, three people sat Around one desk in a tiny medical office — an office that 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 on how best to execute a deceptively straightforward concept. Simple email advertising. Many of the ideas were beyond the resources of this fledgling company, but that didn’t stop Keller from planning ahead.
The first Customers of Benchmark Email were small companies located in close proximity to Benchmark’s one-room HQ in Long Beach, CA. Keller and his staff sold them on the use of email advertising, while working hard to create a very simple user interface which would be simple to operate. All the time, the company uses such innovative ideas as customizable templates and software which adapted to user needs. They also made sure from the beginning that anybody who needed help would have quick access to excellent customer care.
Benchmark Has continued to grow and advantagesper. Its present focus. Providing worldwide email advertising services to small and medium-sized businesses 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 has 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 roots. Benchmark still keeps good relationships with little, locally-based companies. In reality, the company offers a complete page of testimonials from local users of the program. You can read more about Benchmark’s background and development here.
While most of the attributes Benchmark supplies Are on par with the rest of the business, among the standout features of this ESP is the fact that most of its features come standard with each accounts — including the free ones. Here are a few of Benchmark’s most noteworthy offerings.
· Hundreds of Industry-Specific, Themed Templates. Benchmark offers 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 is also a class 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 attribute here.
· Online Surveys. You can create professional-looking online surveys using among Benchmark’s 6 templates. Post your survey on your site or build it into an email.
· Dedicated Email Server. All of Benchmark’s High Volume plans have a dedicated IP address to help increase deliverability prices. Users on other plans have the option of paying for this service ($30/month) to boost their particular delivery stats. Read more about the benefits of dedicated servers .
· Email Delivery Direction . 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 support. The business also communicates with ISPs on its customers’ behalf. Email Marketing Support
· Mobile App. Benchmark’s mobile programs make it possible for customers having an Apple device to get several functions on the street. They can get and include contacts, browse reportsand send videos through integration using a YouTube accounts, and even design and send fast email blasts with one of 10 available templates. This is quite a little more than many other businesses offer in their mobile programs, which makes them considerably more operational.
· Photo Editing. If the pictures you plan to use on your email campaign aren’t perfectly sized or want some colour adjustment, you can use Benchmark’s integrated photo editor. This is a pretty handy feature if you don’t have photoshop accessible.
· Code Editor. In case you have the know-how to work magic with HTML, Benchmark provides this ultra-customization choice with which you can 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 series or event lead-up, or designed as yearly messages like anniversary or birthday mails.
· Sign-Up Types . The only way to be prosperous in email advertising is by way of growing your list, and Benchmark really promotes doing so through sign-up forms. The business bases its Free For Life account entirely around site and Facebook sign-ups and provides an easy-to-use instrument to create custom templates for every medium.
· Inbox Checker. Because every email program differs and every web browser has a signature fashion, making certain your emails look good across the board is crucial. It is possible to use Inbox Checker to look at the way that your email displays in Gmail using Explorer and Outlook 3. Using the full program (which assesses everything out of AOL to Yahoo, Explorer to Safari, mobile to PC) is a paid add-on service, available for $14 per 100 checks.
· RSS-to-Email. Regular bloggers can create newsletters out of their blogs automatically through the RSS-to-Email attribute, which works with any blog which manages an RSS-feed. Users only need to establish a campaign and template within Benchmark once.
· API Integration. An API (Application Program Interface) enables 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 skills to recover data from other programs which use JSON, XML, XML-RPC, or PHP serialization strings. In brief, this allows them to play three purposes. Manage contact lists, manage campaigns and campaign sending, and assess data. The business describes this function in more detail here.
· Advanced Metrics. Benchmark offers both Listing Segmentation and AB Split Testing.
· Multiple-Language Interface. Benchmark is available in seven languages. Chinese, English, German, Japanese, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish.
Ease Of Use
Enrolling in a Benchmark accounts is pretty straightforward. After entering your name, email, contact number, and company name, you need to validate your email address. This is a five-minute process for me. Upon logging into my new account (with the free plan) I was greeted by an appealing UI that gave me a very clear path about how best to make my first email campaign. Great beginning!
Email Campaign Creation
On its dashboard, Benchmark offers users five main options. Emails, Automations, Contacts, Surveys, and Reports. To make a new effort, go to the Emails section, then hit on the big blue”Create New Email” button at the top right-hand corner. Email Marketing Support
From there, you must decide If You Would like an RSS Or classic email message. You can use Benchmark’s drag-and-drop editor, or go for more customization with the built-in code editor. If you’re someone who codes their own email, then my hat is off to you, but I am not gifted that way, so I went with the drag-and-drop alternative.
I was motivated to enter a subject line for my Email and setup how much observation I desired on the message, as well as when I wanted an automatic tweet once the effort went out. The next task was to choose which contacts I wanted to get the campaign. With that, I was finally able to start constructing the email . If you would like to, you are able to assemble your personal email designs using a very intuitive editor. On the other hand, you can alter 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 input contacts at a time. However, for those who already have a list, there are several ways to import it. You are able to upload a CSV, xls, or txt file right from your personal 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, then they will show up on your dash, together with a Master Unsubscribe List.
The actual sending of the email is rather simple. Once you’ve completed 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 want to verify everything is well before distributing your email on the world, 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 automated system would actually be. I advised my email for 2.45 and received it at 2.50, therefore while the timing wasn’t exactly ideal, it was probably within tolerance levels for most users. If you’re among the more rare users who demand on-the-minute email sending, then you may have to look elsewhere. More worryingly, my email didn’t go to my main inbox but was mechanically sorted into my”promotions” folder. Definitely not perfect.
Mail Campaign Reporting
First thing I Discovered about Benchmark email reports was something I would read in a couple of reviews. They’re really, really fast. I mean lightning fast. Opens register in the Benchmark system virtually instantaneously. I have worked with several other programs where these reports require hours or even days to appear.
Benchmark provides users with several key Bits of information about each effort. The possibly most important statistic, the available speed, seems in both pie graph and numerical type. In addition, Benchmark supplies users with stats for clicks, forward, bounces, unsubscribes, and abuse. Every stat further breaks down to the exact email addresses related to a given activity. Users can export this information for further 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 which breaks down, by country, who opens your mails. Email Marketing Support
Though all of this information is great and Necessary, it is not sufficient to sustain higher level marketers who want more information such as conversions, which hyperlinks were clicked, and revenue analysis. Though Google Analytics provides a lot of this information with proper integration, there may come a time when serious entrepreneurs need more information than Benchmark provides. Whether a small company will get to that point varies, naturally, dependent on the business.
Specific Size Of Company
Benchmark made its 3-tiered pricing Structure with the goal of serving everyone from the smallest kitchen-table startup to big email marketers. However, the company’s main focus is on small to medium businesses, especially those just starting out in email marketing. This is particularly reflected in the fact that clients subscribing to the medium plans get unlimited mails, while larger plans have limitations.
Integrations and Add-Ons
Benchmark Offers approximately 20 plug-ins and integrations. If you do not see the integration you need, there is still hope. You’re able to use the API or ask an integration by sending an email to [email protected]
· Benchmark Events — Benchmark Occasions is event marketing software designed to integrate fully with Benchmark Email. Launched in 2012, this app permits users to make and customize occasions, promote and market tickets, and track the success of the events through their Benchmark Email account. A number of programs are available, including a free option.
· Salesforce.com — This integration enables users to import contacts into Benchmark and utilize Benchmark’s email system to maintain Salesforce customers participated. Read our overview of Salesforce here.
· WordPress — Benchmark Email Lite is a WordPress plug-in which permits users to easily build an email viewer via their subscribers. The plug-in can automatically produce email versions of blog articles 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 plugin allows you to source images for your Benchmark emails from places throughout the web. Benchmark Power captures pictures you locate and instantly uploads them to your Benchmark account for future usage.
· Flickr — Users with Flickr accounts can link Flickr to their Benchmark image galleries.
· Shopify — You are able to link a Shopify accounts to Benchmark and automatically add Shopify clients to Benchmark lists. You can even add subscribers to different lists based on which products they bought. Read our overview of Shopify here.
· PayPal — Users can add some of the PayPal clients for their own Benchmark email lists bylinking the accounts. Read our overview of Paypal here.
· Easy List — Learn more about this simple list-making program and download it .
· WordPress — The ever-present site and site builder offers an integration with Benchmark. Use it to send emails of your blog posts and use the analytics to see how your subscribers react to them. Learn more here.
· Zapier — Gain entry to Zapier’s huge integration library here. Email Marketing Support
Social Media Integrations
Because Of the integral connection between social networking and email advertising, it is very important to check out the social media features contained in Benchmark.
· Social Media Templates — One segment of Benchmark’s massive email template list consists of social media-specific templates which directly promote your company’s involvement in social media forums like facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
· Facebook”Like” Button — Benchmark offers a simple function which permits you to add a Facebook”Like” button to your own emails.
· Facebook Sign-Up Form — Benchmark supplies easy-to-create sign-up forms (see”Characteristics” above) for both websites and Facebook enthusiast pages, so you can convert followers to readers.
· Social Links within Email — Once you connect your Benchmark account with your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn accounts, you can add switches to every email which will direct your readers 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 concerning the selection of personal data from citizens of those countries. When customers provide credit card numbers to Benchmark, the business uses secure socket layer (SSL) protection to encrypt the information. The entire platform is encrypted to ensure the security of all customers’ personal details.
Anti-Spam Policy and Protection
Like All valid ESPs, Benchmark takes junk seriously and outlines a clear zero-tolerance policy for any of the users trying to take part in spam actions. The company is entirely in compliance with the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. Benchmark also takes several measures to preserve its standing as a spam-free provider, one of them membership in the Email Sender and Provider Coalition. The business employs the program 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 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 high score, the program suggests”less spammy” choices. Individualized IP addresses also help large-volume senders decrease their spam numbers.
Customer Support and Service
Benchmark Offers its customers a great deal of support tools. Customer support is generally responsive, with minimal waiting times. The site offers good learning resources, but may be opaque at times. Crucial information is often 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 details about strategies. As an example. The Free For Life plan includes 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 sign up. The only place it is mentioned is in the FAQ, here.
Here are some of those resources Benchmark offers. Email Marketing Support
· Live Support and Email — Benchmark provides live one-on-one aid through these means.
· Email Service. Contact Benchmark at [email protected] or via the organization’s contact form . Accessible 24 hours Monday — Friday and restricted hours on Saturday.
· Telephone Support. You can reach Benchmark in 800-430-4095 (U.S.) or even 001-562-252-3789 (all countries). Available weekdays from 6 am to 5 pm PT.
· Chat Support. Accessible nearly 24 hours per day Monday — Friday and restricted hours on Saturday. Offered in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian.
· FAQ — Benchmark’s FAQ section is somewhat mislabeled because it is closer to some QandA-format knowledge foundation than a normal FAQ. There are over 900 entries, sorted into 18 topics ranging from”Getting Started” to”API.” Users may perform a key word search of any topic (or sub-topic) or from their FAQ as a whole. 1 caveat. With such an extensive knowledge base, it’s pretty much inevitable that some entries are going to be out of date. Some of the QandAs provide advice which is wholly incorrect, so in some cases, you may want to contact support to hash things out.
· Video Tutorials and Webinars — Benchmark provides 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 Email Crash Course.” You may view it live each Friday at 10.00 a.m. PST or see the recorded version at any moment. You can even ask for a particular webinar on quite a few other topics. Live webinars include the opportunity to ask questions throughout the demonstration.
· Email Marketing Manuals and Articles — You can find more in-depth information on email marketing in general, in addition to the Benchmark program specifically, at the Manuals Section. These downloadable files also cover industry-specific troubles. Articles, similar to sites, offer users advice beyond that found in the FAQ section, but in shorter, more digestible chunks compared to the manuals provide.
· Glossary of Email Marketing Terms — This is a particularly helpful tool for those new to email marketing who believe consumed by all of the jargon. Benchmark provides a glossarywith 50 of the very popular email advertising terms from”above-the-fold” into”whitelists.”
· Website and Newsletter — For current info regarding email advertising trends, check out Benchmark’s monthly newsletter, as well as its exceptionally active site. All subscribers automatically obtain 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 latest newsletters on message boards at the Benchmark Community. This forum allows users to talk about newsletter creation approaches, 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 Reviews
Benchmark Has a four-out-of-five star score on G2 Crowd, with a slightly better showing on GetApp and Capterra. 4.5 stars each. Email Marketing Support
Some common points of compliments.
· Top Notch Service . This is maybe the most common observation regarding Benchmark, and some thing I noticed for myself as well. People are inclined to find support prompt and helpful, and a few say it is actually the element that distinguishes Benchmark from its competitors. The business also receives praise for its website posts and videos.
· Characteristic Selection Across All Aims . Some users praise the addition of features including AB testing and surveys from all plans; many companies charge extra for these features or only include them in their pricier programs.
· Ease of Use. Users tend to find Benchmark’s interface extremely user-friendly and intuitive. The program gathers compliments from a wide assortment of demographics, from first time ESP users to those who have tried 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 an increasing number of people access their email from mobile devices, this is an increasingly important factor 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 couple of complaints.
· Inconsistent Send-Times. Apparently some users experienced an issue with Benchmark where their emails were sent hours after they were first scheduled. One customer theorized that the issue might arise in long lists of recipients. Not all customers of Benchmark will possess time-sensitive sending needs, but other people will. Should you want your emails to go out precisely when your program dictates, you may need to take into account this situation.
· Buggy Social Media Integrations. I watched several consumer reviews that remarked the social networking integrations in Benchmark are not up to par.
· “Spammy” Templates. Some users were worried that Benchmark’s templates can feel like spam mail, causing recipients to mark them as spam and not studying the contents. Since the entire point of an ESP is to prevent this from happening, this might be a problem. On the other hand, I never felt this way while looking through the template list, so it may not be the most legitimate of complaints.
Benchmark Offers a huge number of pricing strategies, such as a free plan and a huge scale of paid plans that may service anywhere between 600 and 7,140,000 subscribers.
Benchmark’s free programs do not require credit Cards, that is always refreshing. The only catch. There will be a little Benchmark emblem in the bottom of each email you send out. Obviously, you may always choose to upgrade to a paid program if you don’t want the Benchmark branding. The free plan allows you to send up to 14000 mails to up to 2000 subscribers and gives you access to all but not all Benchmark’s features list. Notable absences to the features list for free account comprise email automation and sub-accounts (enabling multiple users to get one Benchmark account).
Paid Strategies. Email Marketing Support
Users with little contacts lists and restricted Monthly messages have the option of paying for their email marketing based on the number of mails that they send every month.
o Moderate Plans. 600-50,000 subscribers, $13.99-$254.99 a month
o Large Plans. 55,000-100,000 subscribers, $285.99-$494.99 a month
o Extra Large Plans. 125,000-1,000,000 subscribers, $659.99-$4,273.99 per month
o Enormous Plans. 1,070,000-7,140,000 subscribers, $4,500-$29,200 per month
Benchmark accepts all Major charge cards and also lets you pay through PayPal. They also offer a 25% reduction for nonprofits and teachers.
Benchmark is a solid program. It is easy to use, Open to innovation, and competitively priced. Its free options might very well be the best in the company for anyone who only wants to dip into email marketing (especially small, neighborhood companies ). For that matter, any Benchmark strategy can work well for a little business which views email as a minor element of its marketing and has no desire to operate past the principles just yet.
If you are a small or maybe medium-sized Company looking for a simple email marketing program using a multitude of great features, Benchmark is an excellent option. Even though there might come a time when you launch the program, it supplies a great deal for the price, provides excellent service, and the company appears to be sensitive to the requirements of its customers. You can’t ask for more.