Summary Email Marketing Wiki
For many a day in 2004, three people sat Around a single desk in a small medical office — an office which functioned as the team’s conference room, lunch room, and thought heart. Backed by a little programming group 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 simple idea. Simple email marketing. Many of the thoughts 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 companies located in near proximity to Benchmark’s one-room HQ in Long Beach, CA. Keller and his team personally sold them on the use of email advertising, while working hard to create a very simple user interface that would be simple to operate. All the time, the company uses such innovative ideas as customizable templates and applications which adapted to consumer requirements. They also made sure from the outset that anyone who needed help would have rapid access to excellent customer care.
Benchmark Has continued to rise and advantagesper. Its present focus. Providing worldwide email marketing services to small and midsize companies while continuing to honor a commitment to assist kids in need. This does not indicate that Benchmark is a little-guys-only company, however; it has adhered to its core principle of adaptability and serves large organizations like UNICEF and Kaiser-Permanente through its High Volume Enterprise plans.
Today, Benchmark serves upwards of 73,000 users from throughout the globe, however, the company has not forgotten its roots. Benchmark still keeps good relationships with little, locally-based companies. In fact, the organization supplies a complete page of testimonials from local users of the program. You may read about Benchmark’s background and development here.
While the Majority of the features Benchmark supplies Are on par with the rest of the business, one of the standout characteristics of this ESP is the fact that most of its features come standard with each account — such as the free ones. Below are some of Benchmark’s most noteworthy offerings.
· Countless Industry-Specific, Themed Templates. Benchmark provides all users access to the library of over 400 templates. These are organized into 19 categories, some of which are tailored to particular industries such as education, entertainment, and retailstores. There’s also a category for societal media-specific templates.
· Video Emails. Possibly the best-known advantage of Benchmark is its support for video emails. The business explains 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 build it into an email.
· Dedicated Email Server. All of Benchmark’s High Volume programs come with a dedicated IP address to help increase deliverability prices. Users on other programs have the choice 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 delivery management program is all about getting customers’ mails into inboxes. The company is a part of the Email Sender and Provider Coalition and operates with ReturnPath, a leading email delivery and consulting support. The company also communicates with ISPs on its clients’ behalf. Email Marketing Wiki
· Mobile App. Benchmark’s mobile programs allow customers having an Apple device to get several functions on the road. They can get and add contacts, read reports, send videos via integration with a YouTube account, and even layout and send quick email blasts with one of 10 available templates. This is quite a bit more than many other businesses offer in their mobile apps, making them much more operational.
· Photo Editing. If the pictures you plan to use in your email campaign are not perfectly sized or need some colour adjustment, you can use Benchmark’s integrated picture editor. This is a fairly 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 customer has the ability to design up to eight custom autoresponder messages. These could be scheduled as a string or occasion lead-up, or designed as annual messages like anniversary or birthday mails.
· Sign-Up Types . The only way to be prosperous in email marketing is through growing your list, and Benchmark really 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 each medium.
· Inbox Checker. Because every email program is different and every internet browser has a signature style, making certain your emails look great across the board is crucial. You can use Inbox Checker to look at the way that your email screens in Gmail using Explorer and Outlook 3. Employing the full app (which checks everything from AOL to Yahoo, Explorer into Safari, mobile to PC) is a paid add-on provider, available for $14 each 100 checks.
· RSS-to-Email. Regular bloggers can create newsletters out of their blogs automatically through the RSS-to-Email feature, which works with any site which handles an RSS-feed. Users simply have to establish a campaign and template inside Benchmark once.
· API Integration. An API (Application Program Interface) enables different software programs to communicate with one another without a formal plug-in link. Benchmark’s API Integration feature allows users with XML-RPC, HTTP POST, or HTTP GET skills to retrieve data from some other apps that use JSON, XML, XML-RPC, or PHP serialization strings. In a nutshell, this allows them to perform three purposes. Manage contact lists, manage campaigns and campaign sending, and assess statistics. The business describes this role in more detail .
· 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.
Ease Of Use
Enrolling in a Benchmark account is pretty straightforward. After entering your name, email, contact number, and business name, you need to validate your email address. This was a five-minute procedure for me. Upon logging into my new account (with the free plan) I was greeted by an attractive UI that gave me a very clear path on how best to create my first email campaign. Good start!
Email Campaign Creation
On its dashboard, Benchmark offers users five chief choices. Emails, Automations, Contacts, Surveys, and Reports. To make a new campaign, go to the Emails section, then hit the big blue”Create New Email” button in the top right-hand corner. Email Marketing Wiki
From there, you have to decide If You Would like an RSS Or traditional email message. You can 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 gifted that way, so I went with the drag-and-drop option.
I had been prompted to enter a subject line for my Email and set up how much tracking I desired on the message, in addition to when I wanted an automated tweet once the effort went out. The next task was to select which contacts I wanted to receive the campaign. With that, I was finally able to begin constructing the email itself. If you would like to, you are able to assemble your own email designs employing an extremely intuitive editor. On the other hand, you can modify one of Benchmark’s templates, which 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 at a time. However, for people who already have a listing, there are numerous ways to import it. You are able to upload a CSV, xls, or txt file right from the personal computer; import contacts directly from Salesforce.com, Hotmail, or Gmail accounts; or copy and paste large lists of contacts into a text type. Once you create your Benchmark lists, they’ll show up on your dash, together with a Master Unsubscribe List.
The actual sending of this email is rather easy. When you have finished all of your tweaks, you can either save email as a draft, send it instantly, or schedule a time and date for delivery. If you want to check everything is well before unleashing your email about the planet, it is possible to send it to yourself to preview it as many as 10 times/day. I chose to program my email for delivery to view how timely the automatic system would actually be. I advised my email for 2.45 and obtained it at 2.50, therefore while the timing wasn’t exactly perfect, it was likely within tolerance levels for many users. If you’re among the more rare users who need on-the-minute email sending, then you may need to appear elsewhere. More worryingly, my email did not go to my main inbox but was mechanically sorted into my”promotions” folder. Definitely not ideal.
Email Campaign Reporting
First thing I Noticed 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 almost immediately. I have worked with a lot of different apps where these reports require hours or even days to appear.
Benchmark provides users with several key Bits of information about each effort. The arguably most important statistic, the open speed, appears in both pie graph and numerical form. Additionally, Benchmark supplies users with stats such as clicks, forward, bounces, unsubscribes, and abuse. Every stat further breaks down to the specific email addresses related to a given activity. Users may export this information for additional analysis via a csv or xls file. There’s also a social media area which reports shares via Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, in addition to a map which breaks down, by country, who opens your mails. Email Marketing Wiki
Though all of this information is great and Necessary, it isn’t sufficient to sustain increased level marketers who need more info such as conversions, which links were clicked, and revenue analysis. Though Google Analytics provides a whole lot of this information with appropriate integration, there may come a time when serious entrepreneurs need more info than Benchmark provides. Whether a small business will get to that point changes, of course, based on the business.
Specific Size Of Business
Benchmark made its 3-tiered pricing Structure with the objective of serving everyone from the smallest kitchen-table startup to large email marketers. On the other hand, the company’s key focus is on small to medium companies, particularly those just beginning in email advertising. This is especially reflected in the fact that clients subscribing to the medium 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 observe the integration you need, there is still hope. You’re able to use the API or request a 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 program permits users to make and customize events, promote and market tickets, and track the success of their events via their Benchmark Email account. A number of programs are available, including a free alternative.
· Salesforce.com — This integration allows users to import contacts directly into Benchmark and use Benchmark’s email system to maintain Salesforce customers engaged. Read our overview of Salesforce here.
· Twitter — Benchmark Email Lite is a WordPress plugin which permits users to quickly build an email viewer via their readers. 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 with a Benchmark listing. Read our overview of Highrisehere.
· Benchmark Power — This free plugin allows you to source pictures for your Benchmark mails from locations 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 for their own Benchmark image galleries.
· Shopify — You are able to link a Shopify accounts to Benchmark and automatically add Shopify customers to Benchmark lists. You can even add subscribers to different lists based on which products they bought. Read our review of Shopify here.
· PayPal — Users may add some of their PayPal customers for their Benchmark email lists bylinking the account. Read our review of Paypal here.
· Easy List — Learn more about this simple list-making app and download it here.
· 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 see how your subscribers react to them. Learn more here.
· Zapier — Gain access to Zapier’s huge integration library . Email Marketing Wiki
Social Media Integrations
Since Of the integral connection between social media and email advertising, it is important to check out the social networking features included in Benchmark.
· Social Media Templates — One section of Benchmark’s massive email template listing consists of social media-specific templates which directly promote your company’s participation in social media forums like facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
· Facebook”Like” Button — Benchmark offers a very simple function which allows you to bring 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 sites and Facebook enthusiast pages, so you can convert followers into subscribers.
· Social Links within Mail — Once you connect your Benchmark account with your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn accounts, you can add switches to every email which will direct your subscribers to each of your social media pages.
The company also fully Complies with the U.S.-E.U. and U.S.-Swiss Safe Harbor Frameworks regarding the collection of personal data from citizens of those countries. When customers provide credit card numbers to Benchmark, the business utilizes secure socket layer (SSL) protection to encrypt the information. The entire platform is encrypted to ensure the security of customers’ personal details.
Anti-Spam Policy and Protection
Like All legitimate ESPs, Benchmark takes junk seriously and outlines a clear zero-tolerance policy for any of their users hoping to engage in spam activities. The business is entirely in compliance with all the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. Benchmark additionally takes several measures to maintain its standing as a spam-free supplier, one of them membership from the Email Sender and Provider Coalition. The company 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 that looks for words widely utilized in spam messages. It scores each email on a scale from 1 to 5; 5s are assigned to content that is likely to be blocked. In the event of a high score, the program suggests”less spammy” choices. Individualized IP addresses also help large-volume senders reduce their spam numbers.
Customer Support and Service
Benchmark Offers its customers a lot of support resources. Customer service is usually responsive, with minimal waiting times. The site provides good learning tools, but may be needlessly opaque at times. Key information is often buried and difficult to locate, particularly if you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for, particularly in regards to minute details about plans. As an example. That the Free For Life plan includes Benchmark branding on every email, but you won’t see that mentioned on the Free For Life page, not even at the fine print. Nor will you see it said when you register. The only place it is mentioned is at the FAQ, here.
Here are some of the resources Benchmark offers. Email Marketing Wiki
· Live Email and Support — Benchmark supplies live one-on-one aid through the following means.
· Email Support. 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 at 800-430-4095 (U.S.) or 001-562-252-3789 (all states ). Available weekdays from 6 am to 5 pm PT.
· Chat Support. Accessible almost 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 because it is closer to some QandA-format knowledge base than a typical FAQ. There are over 900 entries, sorted into 18 topics ranging from”Getting Started” to”API.” Users can execute a keyword search of any topic (or sub-topic) or of their FAQ as a whole. One caveat. With such a comprehensive knowledge base, it is pretty much inevitable that some entries will be out of date. Some of the QandAs offer information which is wholly inaccurate, so in some cases, you may need to contact support to hash things out.
· Video Tutorials and Webinars — Benchmark provides about two dozen video tutorials that take users step by step through the features of the program. The business also offers a webinar called”Benchmark Mail Crash Course.” You may see it live each Friday at 10.00 a.m. PST or watch the recorded version at any moment. You might even request a special webinar on quite a few different subjects. Live webinars include the chance 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 issues. Articles, very similar to blogs, offer users advice beyond that found in the FAQ section, but in shorter, more digestible chunks than the manuals provide.
· Glossary of Email Marketing Requirements — This can be a particularly helpful tool for those new to email marketing who believe absorbed by all the jargon. Benchmark gives a glossarywith 50 of the very popular email marketing conditions from”above-the-fold” into”whitelists.”
· Website and Newsletter — For current information about email advertising trends, check out Benchmark’s monthly newsletter, in addition to its exceptionally active blog. All subscribers automatically obtain access to current newsletters, and Benchmark also offers an archive of newsletter posts from November 2007-October 2012.
· Benchmark Community — Benchmark users may post their latest newsletters on message boards at the Benchmark Community. This forum allows users to talk about newsletter production strategies, vote for their favourite newsletters, and gain inspiration from other 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 Includes 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 Wiki
Some common points of praise.
· Top Notch Support. This is maybe the most common monitoring regarding Benchmark, and some thing I discovered for myself as well. People today are inclined to find support prompt and beneficial, and a few say it’s actually the component that distinguishes Benchmark from its competitors. The company also receives praise for its website posts and videos.
· Feature Selection Across All Aims . Some customers praise the inclusion of attributes including AB testing and surveys in most plans; many firms charge extra for such attributes or just include them into their pricier programs.
· Benefits of Use. Users tend to locate Benchmark’s interface extremely intuitive and user-friendly. The program gathers compliments from a broad assortment of demographics, from first-time ESP users to people who have attempted a variety of programs before settling on 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 significant aspect to consider.
Negative Reviews and Complaints
I was Unable to find many Men and Women who loathed Their Benchmark experience. But, I was able to find a couple of complaints.
· Inconsistent Send-Times. Apparently a few users experienced a problem with Benchmark where their mails were sent hours when they were scheduled. 1 customer theorized that the issue might arise from long lists of recipients. Not all clients of all Benchmark will possess time-sensitive sending needs, but other people will. If you want your mails to go out exactly whenever your program dictates, you might need to consider this situation.
· Buggy Social Media Integrations. I saw several user testimonials that commented the social media integrations in Benchmark aren’t up to par.
· “Spammy” Templates. Some users have been worried that Benchmark’s templates may feel like spam email, leading receivers 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 might be a problem. On the other hand, I never felt this way while searching through the template list, therefore it may not be the most legitimate of complaints.
Benchmark Provides a huge variety of pricing strategies, such as a free plan and a huge array of paid programs which may service anywhere between 600 and 7,140,000 subscribers.
Benchmark’s free programs do not require charge Cards, that is always refreshing. The only grab. There will be a small Benchmark logo at the bottom of every email you send out. Obviously, you can always choose to upgrade to a paid plan in case you don’t need the Benchmark branding. The free program allows you to send up to 14000 mails to up to 2000 subscribers and provides you access to most but not all of Benchmark’s features record. Notable absences into the attributes list for free account include email automation and sub-accounts (enabling multiple users to access one Benchmark accounts ).
Paid Strategies. Email Marketing Wiki
Users with little contacts lists and limited Monthly messages have the option of paying to get their email advertising based 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 a month
o Extra Large Strategies. 125,000-1,000,000 subscribers, $659.99-$4,273.99 per month
o Massive Plans. 1,070,000-7,140,000 subscribers, $4,500-$29,200 per month
Benchmark accepts all Major credit 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 is easy to use, Open to innovation, and competitively priced. Its free options may very well be the best in the company for anyone who just wants to dip into email marketing (especially small, local businesses). For that matter, any Benchmark plan can work well for a small company which perspectives email as a little aspect of its marketing and does not have any desire to work past the basics just yet.
If you are a little or even medium-sized Business trying to find a simple email marketing program with a multitude of great features, Benchmark is an excellent choice. Even though there may come a time when you outgrow the program, it provides a great deal for the price, offers excellent service, and the company appears to be sensitive to the needs of its customers. You can’t ask for more.