Summary Email Sites
For many an evening in 2004, three people sat Around a single desk in a small medical office — an office that served as the group’s conference room, breakfast area, and idea heart. Backed by a small programming team in India, the trio (comprising Benchmark Internet Group founder Curt Keller, his wife Denise, and an SEO pro ) discussed ideas on how best to execute a deceptively simple idea. Simple email advertising. Many of their ideas were beyond the resources of this fledgling company, but that didn’t stop Keller from moving ahead.
The first Customers of Benchmark Mail were small companies located in close proximity to Benchmark’s one-room HQ in Long Beach, CA. Keller and his team personally sold them on the usage of email marketing, while working hard to make a very simple user interface that would be simple to operate. All the while, the company championed such innovative ideas as customizable templates and software which adapted to consumer needs. They also made certain from the outset that anybody who needed help would have quick access to outstanding customer care.
Benchmark Has continued to rise and advantagesper. Its present focus. Providing worldwide email advertising services to small and midsize companies while continuing to honor a commitment to assist children in need. This doesn’t mean that Benchmark is a little-guys-only company, however; it’s stuck to its core principle of adaptability and 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, however, the company hasn’t forgotten its origins. Benchmark still keeps good relationships with little, locally-based companies. In fact, the company supplies a full page of testimonials from local users of the program. You may read about Benchmark’s background and development here.
While most of the attributes Benchmark supplies Are on par with the rest of the industry, among the standout features of the ESP is the fact that most of its attributes come standard with each account — such as the free ones. Here are a few 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 classes, some of which are tailored to particular industries like education, entertainment, and retailstores. There is also a category for social media-specific templates.
· Video Emails. Perhaps the best-known advantage of Benchmark is its support for video mails. The company explains the advantages of this attribute here.
· Online Surveys. You can create professional-looking online surveys using one of Benchmark’s 6 templates. Post your survey on your website or construct it into an email.
· Dedicated Email Server. All Benchmark’s High Volume plans come with a dedicated IP address to help increase deliverability prices. Users on other plans have the option of paying for this service ($30/month) to increase their own delivery stats. Read more about the benefits of dedicated servers .
· Email Delivery Direction . Benchmark’s email delivery management program is all about getting clients’ emails into inboxes. The company is a member of the Email Sender and Provider Coalition and works with ReturnPath, a leading email delivery and consulting support. The company also communicates with ISPs on its clients’ behalf. Email Sites
· Mobile App. Benchmark’s mobile apps make it possible for customers having an Apple device to access several functions on the street. They can get and include contacts, read reportsand send videos through integration with a YouTube account, and even design and send fast email blasts with one of 10 templates that are available. This is quite a little more than a number of other businesses offer on their mobile programs, making them much more functional.
· Photo Editing. If the pictures you plan to utilize on your email campaign are not perfectly sized or want some colour adjustment, you can 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 option with which you can construct your mails from scratch.
· Autoresponder. Every Benchmark customer has the ability to style around eight custom autoresponder messages. These could be scheduled as a series or event lead-up, or designed as yearly messages like birthday or anniversary emails.
· Sign-Up Forms. The only way to become successful in email marketing is through growing your own list, and Benchmark really promotes doing so 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 tool to create customized templates for every medium.
· Inbox Checker. Since every email program differs and every web browser includes a signature fashion, making sure your emails look good across the board is important. It is possible to use Inbox Checker to look at the way that your email displays in Gmail using Explorer and Outlook 3. Employing the entire app (which assesses 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 from their blogs automatically through the RSS-to-Email attribute, which works with any site which handles an RSS-feed. Users simply have to set up a campaign and template within Benchmark once.
· API Integration. An API (Application Program Interface) allows different software programs to communicate with one another without a formal plug-in link. Benchmark’s API Integration feature permits users using XML-RPC, HTTP POST, or HTTP GET abilities to recover data from other programs which use JSON, XML, XML-RPC, or PHP serialization strings. In brief, this permits them to perform three purposes. Manage contact lists, manage campaigns and campaign sending, and check statistics. The company explains this role in more detail .
· Advanced Metrics. Benchmark provides both Listing 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 accounts is pretty straightforward. After entering your name, email, contact number, and business name, you need to confirm your email address. This is a five-minute process for me. Upon logging in to my new account (with the free program ) I was greeted by an attractive UI that gave me a clear path about how best to create my first email campaign. Good beginning!
Email Campaign Creation
On its dashboard, Benchmark offers users five main choices. Emails, Automations, Contacts, Surveys, and Reports. To make a new campaign, proceed to the Emails section, then hit the big blue”Create New Mail” button in the upper right-hand corner. Email Sites
From there, you must decide If You Would like an RSS Or classic email message. It is possible to use Benchmark’s drag-and-drop editor, or go for more customization with the built-in code editor. If you’re somebody who codes their own email, then my hat is off to you, but I am not personally gifted that way, so I moved with the drag-and-drop alternative.
I had been motivated to enter a subject line for my Email and setup how much tracking I wanted on the message, in addition to if I wanted an automated tweet when the effort went out. The next 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 would like to, you can assemble your own email designs employing a very 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 are just Starting out, you can certainly do as I did and manually enter contacts at a time. However, for those who already have a list, there are numerous ways to import it. You are able to upload a CSV, xls, or txt file right from your computer; import contacts directly from Salesforce.com, Hotmail, or Gmail accounts; or copy and paste huge lists of contacts into a text type. Once you create your Benchmark lists, they’ll show up on your dash, along with a Master Unsubscribe List.
The actual sending of the email is quite simple. Once you’ve finished all your tweaks, you may save email as a draft, send it instantly, or schedule a date and time for delivery. If you would like to verify everything is well before unleashing your email about the planet, you can send it to your self to preview it as many as 10 times/day. I opted to program my email for shipping to see how timely the automated system would actually be. I scheduled my email for 2.45 and obtained it at 2.50, therefore while the timing wasn’t exactly perfect, it was likely present in tolerance levels for many users. If you’re one of the more infrequent users who need on-the-minute email sending, you may have to appear elsewhere. More worryingly, my email did not go to my primary inbox but was automatically sorted into my”promotions” folder. Definitely not ideal.
Mail Campaign Reporting
The first thing I Noticed about Benchmark email reports was something I’d read about in a few reviews. They are really, really quickly. I mean lightning fast. Opens enroll in the Benchmark system almost instantaneously. I’ve worked with a lot of different apps where these reports take hours or even days to appear.
Benchmark provides users with several key Bits of data about every campaign. The arguably most important statistic, the open rate, seems in both pie graph and numerical form. Additionally, Benchmark supplies users with stats for clicks, forwards, bounces, unsubscribes, and abuse. Each stat further breaks down to the exact email addresses associated with a given activity. Users may export this information for further analysis by means of a csv or xls file. There is also a social networking area which reports shares through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, as well as a map that breaks down, by state, that opens your emails. Email Sites
Though all of this information Is Excellent and Necessary, it isn’t enough to sustain higher level marketers that need more information such as conversions, which links were clicked, and revenue analysis. Though Google Analytics provides a whole lot of that info with appropriate integration, there may come a time when serious entrepreneurs need more information than Benchmark provides. Whether or not a small business will get to that point varies, naturally, dependent on the business.
Specific 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 company’s main focus is on small to medium businesses, especially those just starting out in email marketing. This is particularly reflected in the reality that customers subscribing to the medium plans get unlimited mails, while bigger plans have constraints.
Integrations and Add-Ons
Benchmark Offers roughly 20 plug-ins and integrations. If you don’t observe the integration you need, there’s 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 program permits users to create and customize events, promote and market tickets, and monitor the success of the events via their Benchmark Email accounts. A number of subscriptions are available, including a free option.
· Salesforce.com — This integration enables users to import contacts directly into Benchmark and use Benchmark’s email system to keep Salesforce customers engaged. Read our overview of Salesforce here.
· WordPress — Benchmark Mail Lite is a WordPress plug-in which permits users to easily build an email audience via their readers. The plug-in can automatically produce email variations of blog posts and permits users to connect up to five Benchmark accounts.
· Highrise — Merges Highrise contacts with a Benchmark listing. Read our review of Highrisehere.
· Benchmark Power — This free plugin lets you source images for your Benchmark emails from places throughout the web. Benchmark Power captures images you locate and instantly uploads them to a Benchmark account for future usage.
· Flickr — Users with Flickr accounts may link Flickr to their Benchmark image galleries.
· Shopify — You can link a Shopify accounts to Benchmark and mechanically add Shopify customers to Benchmark lists. You may even add subscribers to different lists based on what they bought. Read our review of Shopify here.
· PayPal — Users may add some of their PayPal clients for their own Benchmark email lists bylinking the accounts. Read our review of Paypal here.
· Easy List — Learn more about this simple list-making app and download it here.
· WordPress — The ever-present blog and site builder provides an integration with Benchmark. Use it to send emails of your blog posts and use the analytics to observe how your subscribers react to them. Learn more here.
· Zapier — Gain access to Zapier’s enormous integration library here. Email Sites
Social Media Integrations
Because Of the integral link 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 enormous email template list consists of social media-specific templates which directly promote your company’s involvement in social networking forums such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
· Facebook”Like” Button — Benchmark offers a simple function which allows you to bring a Facebook”Like” button into your emails.
· Facebook Sign-Up Form — Benchmark supplies easy-to-create sign-up forms (see”Features” above) for both websites and Facebook enthusiast pages, to help you convert followers to subscribers.
· Social Links within Email — Once you link your Benchmark account together with your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn account, you can add buttons to each email that 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 concerning the collection of personal data from citizens of these nations. When customers provide credit card amounts to Benchmark, the company uses secure socket layer (SSL) security to encrypt the info. The entire system is encrypted to ensure the security of customers’ personal details.
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 company is entirely in compliance with all the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. Benchmark also takes several measures to preserve its reputation as a spam-free provider, one of them membership from the Email Sender and Provider Coalition. The company uses the program SpamAssassin to filter messages delivered through its host.
To stop users from Unknowingly sending spam-like substances, Benchmark provides a spam check feature which looks for words commonly utilized in spam messages. It scores each email on a scale from 1 to 5; 5s are delegated to content that’s very likely to be blocked. In the event of a high score, the program suggests”less spammy” alternatives. Individualized IP addresses also assist large-volume senders reduce their spam numbers.
Client Service and Support
Benchmark Offers its customers a lot of support resources. Customer service is generally responsive, with minimal waiting times. The website provides good learning tools, but may be needlessly opaque occasionally. Crucial information is often buried and difficult to locate, particularly if you don’t know exactly what you’re searching for, especially when it comes to minute particulars about plans. As an example. 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 are you going to see it mentioned when you sign up. The only place it’s mentioned is at the FAQ, here.
Here are some of the resources Benchmark offers. Email Sites
· Live Support and Email — Benchmark provides live one-on-one aid through the following means.
· Email Service. Contact Benchmark at [email protected] or via the company’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 countries). Available weekdays from 6 am to 5 pm PT.
· Chat Support. Available almost 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 as it is closer to a QandA-format knowledge base than a typical FAQ. You will find over 900 entries, sorted into 18 topics ranging from”Getting Started” to”API.” Users may execute a key word search of any subject (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 provide information which is wholly incorrect, 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 the app. The business also supplies a webinar known as”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 a number of other subjects. Live webinars include the chance to ask questions throughout the demonstration.
· Email Marketing Manuals and Articles — There are more in-depth information on email marketing generally, as well as the Benchmark program specifically, in the Manuals Section. These downloadable documents also cover industry-specific troubles. Articles, very similar to blogs, offer users guidance beyond that found in the FAQ section, but in shorter, more readable chunks compared to the manuals provide.
· Glossary of Email Marketing Requirements — This is a particularly helpful tool for all those brand 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.”
· Blog and Newsletter — For current information regarding email marketing trends, check out Benchmark’s monthly newsletter, as well as its extremely active blog. All subscribers automatically obtain access to present newsletters, and Benchmark also offers an archive of newsletter articles from November 2007-October 2012.
· Benchmark Community — Benchmark users can post their newest newsletters on message boards at the Benchmark Community. This forum allows users to discuss 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 installation on your PC.
Favorable Reviews and Testimonials
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 Sites
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 are inclined to find support prompt and beneficial, and some say it’s really the component that distinguishes Benchmark from its competitors. The business also receives praise for its website posts and videos.
· Feature Selection Across All Plans. Some users praise the inclusion of features like AB testing and surveys from all programs; many companies charge extra for these features or only include them into their pricier programs.
· Benefits of Use. Users tend to locate Benchmark’s interface incredibly user-friendly and intuitive. The program gathers compliments from a wide range of demographics, from first time ESP users to people who have attempted a variety of programs before settling on Benchmark.
· Mobile Friendly Emails. Consumers were impressed with all the mobile-friendly email layout of Benchmark’s templates. Since an increasing number of people access their email from mobile devices, this is an increasingly important aspect to consider.
Negative Reviews and Complaints
I was Unable to find many Men and Women who disliked Their Benchmark experience. But, I was able to find a few complaints.
· Inconsistent Send-Times. Apparently a few users experienced an issue 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 possess time-sensitive shipping demands, but other people will. Should you need your emails to go out exactly whenever your schedule dictates, you might have to consider this situation.
· 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 email, causing recipients to mark them as spam and not reading the contents. Since the entire point of an ESP would be to prevent this from occurring, this may be an issue. On the other hand, I never felt this way while looking through the template list, therefore it might not be the most valid of complaints.
Benchmark Provides a huge number of pricing plans, such as a totally free plan and a massive array of paid programs that can service anywhere between 600 and 7,140,000 subscribers.
Benchmark’s free plans do not require charge Cards, that is always refreshing. The only catch. There’ll be a small Benchmark emblem in the bottom of each email you send out. Obviously, you can 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 emails to up to 2000 subscribers and gives you access to most but not all of Benchmark’s features list. Notable absences to the features list for free accounts comprise email automation and sub-accounts (enabling multiple users to get one Benchmark accounts ).
Paid Strategies. Email Sites
Users with little contacts lists and restricted Monthly messages have the choice of paying to get their email marketing depending on the number of emails 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 per month
o Extra Large Strategies. 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 a month
Benchmark accepts all Major credit cards and also lets you pay through PayPal. They also offer you a 25% discount for nonprofits and educators.
Benchmark is a solid program. It’s easy to use, Open to invention, and competitively priced. Its free options might just be the very best in the company for anybody who just wants to dip into email advertising (especially small, neighborhood companies ). For that matter, any Benchmark strategy can work nicely for a small business which views email as a minor aspect of its marketing and has no desire to operate beyond the principles just yet.
If you are a little or even medium-sized Business looking for a simple email marketing program using a host of amazing features, Benchmark is an exceptional option. Even though there might come a time when you launch the app, it supplies a lot for the money, offers excellent support, and the business appears to be sensitive to the requirements of its users. You can’t ask for more.