Overview Email Review
For many an evening in 2004, three people sat Around a single desk in a small medical office — an office which functioned as the group’s conference room, breakfast area, and idea hub. Backed by a small programming group in India, the trio (comprising Benchmark Internet Group founder Curt Keller, his wife Denise, and an search engine optimization expert) discussed ideas for how to implement a deceptively simple idea. Simple email advertising. Many of their thoughts were beyond the resources of the fledgling business, but that didn’t stop Keller from planning ahead.
The first Clients of Benchmark Mail were small companies located in near proximity to Benchmark’s one-room HQ in Long Beach, CA. Keller and his team sold them on the usage of email marketing, while working hard to create a very simple user interface that would be simple to operate. All the while, the business uses such novel ideas as customizable templates and applications which adapted to user requirements. They also made certain from the beginning that anyone who needed help would have rapid access to outstanding customer support.
Benchmark Has continued to grow and advantagesper. Its present focus. Providing worldwide email advertising solutions to small and midsize businesses while continuing to honor a commitment to help children in need. This does not indicate that Benchmark is a little-guys-only service, however; it’s adhered to its core principle of adaptability and serves big organizations like UNICEF and Kaiser-Permanente through its High Volume Business plans.
Today, Benchmark serves up of 73,000 users from across the globe, however, the company hasn’t forgotten its roots. Benchmark still keeps good relationships with small, locally-based businesses. In fact, the company supplies a complete page of testimonials from local users of the app. You may read more about Benchmark’s history and development here.
While most of the features Benchmark provides Are on par with the rest of the industry, among the standout features of this ESP is the fact that most of its features come standard with each account — including the free ones. Here are a few of Benchmark’s most notable offerings.
· Hundreds of Industry-Specific, Themed Templates. Benchmark provides all users access to its library of over 400 templates. These are organized into 19 classes, some of which are tailored to specific industries like education, entertainment, and retailstores. There’s also a class for social media-specific templates.
· Video Emails. Possibly the best-known benefit of Benchmark is its support for video emails. The company explains the benefits of this attribute here.
· Online Surveys. You’ll be able to 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 of Benchmark’s High Volume plans have a dedicated IP address to help increase deliverability prices. Users on other plans have the choice of paying for this service ($30/month) to boost their particular delivery stats. Read more about the benefits of dedicated servers here.
· Email Delivery Direction . Benchmark’s email delivery management program is about getting customers’ emails into inboxes. The company is a part of the Email Sender and Provider Coalition and works with ReturnPath, a leading email delivery and consulting service. The business also communicates with ISPs on its customers’ behalf. Email Review
· Mobile App. Benchmark’s mobile programs make it possible for customers with an Apple device to get several purposes on the street. They can get and include contacts, read reports, send videos through integration with 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 companies offer in their mobile apps, making them much more functional.
· Photo Editing. If the photos you intend to use on your email campaign are not perfectly sized or want some color adjustment, you may use Benchmark’s integrated picture editor. This is a fairly handy feature if you don’t have photoshop available.
· Code Editor. If you’ve got the know-how to work magic with HTML, Benchmark offers this ultra-customization choice with which you can construct your mails from scratch.
· Autoresponder. Each Benchmark customer has the power to design around eight custom autoresponder messages. These could be scheduled as a series or event lead-up, or made as yearly messages such as anniversary or birthday emails.
· Sign-Up Types . The only way to become successful in email advertising is through growing your own list, and Benchmark really 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 tool to create custom templates for every medium.
· Inbox Checker. Because every email program differs and each internet browser has a signature fashion, making sure 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 into Safari, mobile to PC) is a paid add-on service, available for $14 per 100 checks.
· RSS-to-Email. Regular bloggers may create newsletters from their sites automatically through the RSS-to-Email feature, which works with any site which handles an RSS-feed. Users only have to set up a template and campaign within Benchmark once.
· API Integration. An API (Application Program Interface) allows different software programs to communicate with one another without a formal plug-in connection. Benchmark’s API Integration feature allows users using XML-RPC, HTTP POST, or HTTP GET abilities to recover data from other programs that use JSON, XML, XML-RPC, or PHP serialization strings. In a nutshell, this permits them to perform three purposes. Manage contact lists, handle campaigns and campaign sending, and assess statistics. The company describes this function 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
Enrolling in a Benchmark accounts is fairly straightforward. After entering your name, email, contact number, and business name, you need to validate your email address. This is a five-minute procedure for me. Upon logging in to my account (using the free program ) I was greeted by an appealing UI that gave me a clear direction about the best way to make my first email campaign. Good beginning!
Email Campaign Creation
On its own dashboard, Benchmark provides users five main options. Emails, Automations, Contacts, Surveys, and Reports. To make a new campaign, go into the Emails segment, then hit on the big blue”Create New Email” button in the upper right-hand corner. Email Review
From there, you must decide if you want an RSS Or classic email message. You can use Benchmark’s drag-and-drop editor, or move 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 personally gifted that way, so I went with the drag-and-drop option.
I was motivated to enter a subject line for my Email and set up how much observation I wanted on the message, as well as if I wanted an automated tweet once the effort went out. The next task was to choose which contacts I wished to receive the campaign. With that, I was eventually able to start building the email . If you want to, you are able to assemble your personal email layouts using an extremely intuitive editor. On the other hand, you can modify one of Benchmark’s templates, which can be great, and much 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 enter contacts at a time. However, for those who already have a listing, there are numerous ways to import it. You are able to upload a CSV, xls, or txt file directly from your computer; import contacts directly from Salesforce.com, Hotmail, or Gmail accounts; or copy and paste large lists of contacts to a text type. When you create 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 can save email as a draft, send it instantly, or schedule a date and time for delivery. If you would like to check all is well before unleashing your email about 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 view how timely the automated system would really be. I scheduled my email for 2.45 and received it at 2.50, so while the timing wasn’t exactly perfect, it was likely within tolerance levels for most users. If you are among the more infrequent users who demand on-the-minute email sending, then you may have to appear elsewhere. More worryingly, my email did not go to my main inbox but was automatically sorted in my”promotions” folder. Definitely not ideal.
Email Campaign Reporting
First thing I Discovered about Benchmark email reports was something I’d read in a couple of reviews. They’re really, really fast. I mean lightning fast. Opens register in the Benchmark system almost instantaneously. I’ve worked with a lot of other apps where these reports require hours or even days to appear.
Benchmark provides users with several key Pieces of information about each effort. The possibly most important statistic, the open speed, appears in both pie chart and numerical form. Additionally, Benchmark supplies users with stats for clicks, forward, bounces, unsubscribes, and misuse. Each stat further breaks down to the exact email addresses associated with a given action. Users may export this information for additional analysis via a csv or xls file. There’s also a social networking place which reports shares through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, as well as a map that breaks down, by state, who opens your mails. Email Review
Though all of the information Is Excellent and Necessary, it is not sufficient to sustain higher level marketers who need more information such as conversions, which hyperlinks were clicked, and revenue analysis. Though Google Analytics provides a whole lot of this info with appropriate integration, there may come a time when serious marketers need more information than Benchmark provides. Whether a small company will reach that point varies, of course, dependent on the company.
Particular Size Of Business
Benchmark designed its 3-tiered pricing Structure with the goal of serving everybody from the smallest kitchen-table startup to large email marketers. On the other hand, the organization’s main focus is on small to medium businesses, particularly those just beginning in email advertising. This is especially reflected in the fact that clients subscribing to the moderate plans get unlimited mails, while bigger plans have limitations.
Integrations and Add-Ons
Benchmark Offers approximately 20 plug-ins and integrations. If you do not observe the integration you want, there is still hope. You can 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 allows users to make and customize events, promote and market tickets, and monitor the success of their events through their Benchmark Email accounts. A number of programs are available, such as a free option.
· Salesforce.com — This integration enables 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 allows users to easily build an email viewer through their subscribers. The plug-in can automatically produce email versions of blog posts 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 plugin lets you source images for your Benchmark emails from locations across the web. Benchmark Power captures images you find and immediately uploads them to your Benchmark account for future usage.
· Flickr — Users with Flickr accounts can link Flickr for their Benchmark image galleries.
· Shopify — You can link a Shopify accounts to Benchmark and automatically add Shopify clients to Benchmark lists. You can even add contributors to various lists based on what they bought. Read our overview of Shopify here.
· PayPal — Users can add any of their PayPal customers for their Benchmark email lists bylinking the accounts. Read our review of Paypal here.
· Easy List — Know more about this simple list-making program and download it .
· WordPress — The ever-present blog and website builder provides an integration using Benchmark. Use it to send emails of your blog articles and also 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 Review
Social Media Integrations
Because Of the key link between social media and email marketing, it’s important to check out the social media features included in Benchmark.
· Social Media Templates — One section of Benchmark’s massive email template list consists of social media-specific templates that directly promote your institution’s involvement in social media forums such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
· Facebook”Like” Button — Benchmark provides a simple function which permits you to bring a Facebook”Like” button into your own emails.
· Facebook Sign-Up Form — Benchmark supplies easy-to-create sign-up forms (see”Features” above) for both websites and Facebook fan pages, to help you convert followers to subscribers.
· Social Links within Mail — Once you link your Benchmark account with your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn accounts, you can add buttons to every email which will direct your subscribers to each of your social networking pages.
The company also fully Complies with the U.S.-E.U. and U.S.-Swiss Safe Harbor Frameworks regarding the selection of personal data from citizens of these nations. When customers provide credit card numbers to Benchmark, the company uses secure socket layer (SSL) security to encrypt the info. The entire platform is encrypted to ensure the safety of customers’ personal details.
Anti-Spam Policy and Protection
Like All valid 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 entirely in compliance with the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. Benchmark additionally takes several steps to maintain its reputation as a spam-free provider, among them membership from the Email Sender and Provider Coalition. The business uses the program SpamAssassin to filter messages sent through its server.
To prevent users from Unknowingly sending spam-like substances, Benchmark provides a spam check feature that 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 likely to be blocked. In the event of a top score, the program suggests”less spammy” choices. Individualized IP addresses also assist large-volume senders decrease their spam numbers.
Client Support and Service
Benchmark Offers its customers a great deal of support resources. Customer support is generally responsive, with minimal waiting times. The site offers good learning resources, but may be opaque occasionally. Crucial information can be buried and difficult to find, especially if you don’t know precisely what you’re searching for, particularly in regards to minute particulars about strategies. For instance. The Free For Life plan includes Benchmark branding on each email, however 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 sign up. The only place it is mentioned is at the FAQ, here.
Here are some of those resources Benchmark offers. Email Review
· Live Email and Support — Benchmark provides live one-on-one support through these means.
· Email Support. Contact Benchmark at [email protected] or via the organization’s contact form . Accessible 24 hours Monday — Friday and limited hours on Saturday.
· Phone Support. You are able to reach Benchmark in 800-430-4095 (U.S.) or 001-562-252-3789 (all states ). Available weekdays from 6 am to 5 pm PT.
· Chat Support. Available nearly 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 as it’s closer to a QandA-format knowledge foundation than a typical FAQ. There are over 900 entries, sorted into 18 subjects ranging from”Getting Started” to”API.” Users may perform a keyword search of any topic (or sub-topic) or of their FAQ as a whole. One caveat. With such an extensive knowledge base, it’s 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 might want to contact support to hash things out.
· Video Tutorials and Webinars — Benchmark supplies about two dozen video tutorials that take users step by step through the features of this app. The company also supplies a webinar called”Benchmark Email Crash Course.” You may view it live each Friday at 10.00 a.m. PST or watch the recorded version at any moment. You can also ask for a special webinar on quite a few different topics. Live webinars comprise the chance to ask questions throughout the demonstration.
· Email Marketing Manuals and Articles — You can find more in-depth information on email marketing generally, as well as the Benchmark program especially, at the Manuals Section. These downloadable documents also cover industry-specific issues. 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 Requirements — This can be a particularly valuable tool for those new to email marketing who believe consumed by all of the jargon. Benchmark gives a glossarywith 50 of the very popular email advertising terms from”above-the-fold” into”whitelists.”
· Blog and Newsletter — For current info about email advertising trends, check out Benchmark’s monthly newsletter, in addition to its extremely active site. All subscribers automatically gain access to current newsletters, and Benchmark also provides 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 talk about newsletter creation strategies, vote for their favourite newsletters, and gain inspiration from additional Benchmark users.
Web-Based Or Locally-Installed
Benchmark is entirely web-based and doesn’t Require any setup on your computer.
Positive Reviews and Reviews
Benchmark Includes a four-out-of-five star score on G2 Crowd, with a slightly better showing on GetApp and Capterra. 4.5 stars each. Email Review
Some common points of praise.
· Top Notch Service . This is perhaps the most common monitoring concerning Benchmark, and some thing I noticed for myself as well. People tend to find support prompt and beneficial, and a few say it’s really the element that distinguishes Benchmark from its competitors. The business also receives praise for its blog posts and videos.
· Characteristic Selection Across All Aims . Some users praise the inclusion of attributes including AB testing and surveys in most programs; many companies charge extra for these attributes or only include them into their pricier programs.
· Benefits of Use. Users tend to find Benchmark’s interface extremely user-friendly and intuitive. The program gathers compliments from a broad range of demographics, from first time ESP users to those who have attempted many different programs before settling on Benchmark.
· Mobile Friendly Emails. Consumers were impressed with the mobile-friendly email design of Benchmark’s templates. Since more and more people access their email from mobile devices, this can be an increasingly significant aspect to consider.
Negative Reviews and Complaints
I was Unable to find many Men and Women who disliked Their own Benchmark experience. However, I managed to discover a few complaints.
· Inconsistent Send-Times. Apparently some users experienced a problem with Benchmark where their emails were sent hours after they were first scheduled. One customer theorized the issue might arise in lengthy lists of recipients. Not all customers of Benchmark will have time-sensitive sending demands, but others will. If you want your emails to go out exactly whenever your program dictates, you may have to consider this issue.
· 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 can feel like spam email, causing receivers to mark them as spam rather than reading the contents. Since the entire purpose of an ESP would be to stop this from occurring, this might be a problem. On the flip side, I never felt this way whilst searching through the template list, so it may not be the most valid of complaints.
Benchmark Offers a huge variety of pricing strategies, including a totally free plan and a massive scale of paid plans which can service anywhere between 600 and 7,140,000 subscribers.
Benchmark’s free plans do not require charge Cards, which is always refreshing. The only grab. There’ll 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 plan if you don’t want the Benchmark branding. The free program permits you to send up to 14000 mails to around 2000 subscribers and gives you access to all but not all of Benchmark’s features record. Notable absences to the features list for free accounts comprise email automation and sub-accounts (allowing multiple users to access one Benchmark accounts ).
Paid Plans. Email Review
Users with small contacts lists and restricted Monthly messages have the option of paying for their email advertising based on the amount of emails they send every month.
o Moderate 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 per month
o Enormous Plans. 1,070,000-7,140,000 subscribers, $4,500-$29,200 a month
Benchmark accepts all Major credit cards and also lets you pay through PayPal. They also offer you a 25% reduction for nonprofits and educators.
Benchmark is a solid program. It’s Simple to Use, Open to innovation, and competitively priced. Its free alternatives might just be the very best in the company for anyone who only wants to dive into email marketing (especially small, local businesses). For that matter, any Benchmark strategy can work well for a small company which perspectives email as a little aspect of its advertising and does not have any desire to operate beyond the principles just yet.
If you are a little or even medium-sized Company trying to find a simple email marketing program with a multitude of amazing features, Benchmark is an exceptional option. Though there might come a time when you outgrow the app, it provides a lot for the price, offers exceptional service, and the company appears to be sensitive to the requirements of its customers. You can’t ask for much more.