For many an evening 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 small programming team in India, the trio (consisting of Benchmark Internet Group founder Curt Keller, his wife Denise, and an search engine optimization pro ) discussed ideas on how best to implement a deceptively simple concept. Simple email advertising. Many of their ideas were beyond the means of the fledgling company, but that didn’t stop Keller from planning ahead.
The first Clients of Benchmark Mail were small businesses located in close 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 simple user interface which 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 beginning that anybody who needed help would have rapid access to outstanding customer care.
Benchmark Has continued to grow and advantagesper. Its current focus. Providing worldwide email marketing services to small and midsize businesses 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’s adhered to its core principle of adaptability and serves big organizations such as 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 hasn’t forgotten its origins. Benchmark still keeps good relationships with small, locally-based companies. In fact, the company supplies a complete page of testimonials from users of the app. You may read more about Benchmark’s background and development here.
While most of the features Benchmark supplies Are on par with the rest of the industry, among the standout characteristics of this ESP is the simple fact that most of its features come standard with every single 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 its library of over 400 templates. These are organized into 19 classes, some of which are tailored to specific industries like education, entertainment, and retail. There is also a category for societal media-specific templates.
· Video Emails. Perhaps the best-known benefit of Benchmark is its support for video emails. The company describes the benefits of this feature here.
· Online Surveys. You’ll be able to create professional-looking online polls using one of Benchmark’s 6 templates. Post your poll on your website or construct it into an email.
· Dedicated Email Server. All of Benchmark’s High Volume programs have a dedicated IP address to help increase deliverability prices. Users on other programs have the choice of paying for this service ($30/month) to increase their own delivery stats. Read more about the advantages of dedicated servers .
· Email Delivery Management. Benchmark’s email shipping management program is all about getting clients’ emails into inboxes. The business is a part of the Email Sender and Provider Coalition and operates with ReturnPath, a top email delivery and delivery support. The business also communicates with ISPs on its clients’ behalf. Emaillite
· Mobile App. Benchmark’s mobile apps allow customers having an Apple device to get several functions on the road. They can access and include contacts, read reportsand send videos via integration using a YouTube accounts, and even design and send quick email blasts with one of 10 available templates. This is quite a bit more than many other businesses offer on their mobile apps, making them much more operational.
· Photo Editing. If the pictures you intend to use in your email campaign are not perfectly sized or want some color adjustment, you may use Benchmark’s integrated photo editor. This is a pretty handy feature if you don’t have photoshop available.
· Code Editor. In case you’ve got the know-how to work magic with HTML, Benchmark offers this ultra-customization choice with which you can construct your emails from scratch.
· Autoresponder. Each Benchmark customer has the power to style around eight custom autoresponder messages. These could be scheduled as a string or event lead-up, or designed as yearly messages such as birthday or anniversary emails.
· Sign-Up Types . The only way to become successful in email marketing is through growing your list, and Benchmark actually promotes doing this 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 customized templates for every medium.
· Inbox Checker. Since every email program differs and every internet browser includes a signature fashion, making sure your emails look good across the board is crucial. You can use Inbox Checker to look at the way your email displays in Gmail using Explorer and Outlook 3. Employing the full app (which assesses everything out of AOL to Yahoo, Explorer to Safari, mobile to PC) is a paid add-on service, available for $14 each 100 checks.
· RSS-to-Email. Regular bloggers may create newsletters out of their sites automatically through the RSS-to-Email attribute, which works with any site which handles an RSS-feed. Users only need to set up a campaign and template within Benchmark once.
· API Integration. An API (Application Program Interface) enables different software programs to communicate with one another with no formal plug connection. Benchmark’s API Integration feature permits users using XML-RPC, HTTP POST, or HTTP GET abilities to retrieve data from other apps that use JSON, XML, XML-RPC, or PHP serialization strings. In a nutshell, this permits them to play three purposes. Manage contact lists, manage campaigns and effort sending, and assess data. The company describes this role in more detail here.
· Advanced Metrics. Benchmark provides both List Segmentation and AB Split Testing.
· Multiple-Language Interface. Benchmark is available 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, phone number, and company name, you need to validate 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 appealing UI that gave me a clear path about how best to make my first email campaign. Great start!
Email Campaign Creation
On its dashboard, Benchmark offers users five chief choices. Emails, Automations, Contacts, Surveys, and Reports. To create a new effort, go into the Emails section, then hit the large blue”Create New Email” button in the top right-hand corner. Emaillite
From there, you must decide If You Would like an RSS Or traditional email message. It is possible to use Benchmark’s drag-and-drop editor, or move for more customization with the built-in code editor. If you are somebody who codes their own email, then my hat is off to you, but I am not gifted that way, so I moved with the drag-and-drop alternative.
I had been prompted to enter a subject line for my Email and set up how much tracking I wanted on the message, as well as when I wanted an automatic tweet when the effort went out. The following task was to select which contacts I wanted to get the campaign. With that, I was eventually able to begin building the email . If you want to, you can construct your personal email designs employing a very intuitive editor. On the flip side, you can alter one of Benchmark’s templates, that can be great, and better than I was able to do in my.
Preventing the Email Campaign
If you are just Starting out, you can certainly do as I did and manually input contacts one at a time. However, for those who already have a listing, there are several ways to import it. You can 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 huge lists of contacts to a text form. Once you make your Benchmark lists, then they will show up on your dash, along with a Master Unsubscribe List.
The sending of this email is quite simple. Once you have completed all of your tweaks, you can either save the email as a draft, send it instantly, or schedule a time and date for delivery. If you would like to verify everything is well before unleashing your email on the planet, you can send it to your self to preview it as many as 10 times/day. I chose to schedule my email for delivery to view how timely the automatic system would really be. I advised my email for 2.45 and received it in 2.50, so while the timing wasn’t exactly perfect, it was likely within tolerance levels for most users. If you’re among the more infrequent users who need on-the-minute email sending, then you might need to appear 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
The first thing I Noticed about Benchmark email reports was something I’d read about in a couple of reviews. They are really, really quickly. I mean lightning fast. Opens enroll from the Benchmark system almost immediately. I’ve worked with several different programs where these reports take hours or even days to appear.
Benchmark provides users with several key Pieces of data about every campaign. The possibly most important statistic, the available speed, seems in both pie graph and numerical form. Additionally, Benchmark provides users with stats for clicks, forward, bounces, unsubscribes, and misuse. Every stat further breaks down to the specific email addresses associated with a given activity. Users may export this information for further analysis by means of 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 state, who opens your mails. Emaillite
Though all of the information Is Excellent and Necessary, it is not sufficient to sustain increased level marketers that need more info such as conversions, which links were clicked, and revenue analysis. Though Google Analytics provides a whole lot of that information with proper integration, there may come a time when serious entrepreneurs need more info than Benchmark provides. Whether a small business will reach that point changes, naturally, dependent on the company.
Specific Size Of Business
Benchmark designed its 3-tiered pricing Structure with the objective of serving everybody from the tiniest kitchen-table startup to big email marketers. However, the company’s key focus is on small to medium businesses, particularly those just beginning in email advertising. This is especially reflected in the fact that customers 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 see 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 Events is event marketing software designed to integrate fully with Benchmark Email. Launched in 2012, this app permits users to create and customize occasions, promote and market tickets, and monitor the success of the events through their Benchmark Email account. A variety of programs are available, including a free option.
· Salesforce.com — This integration allows users to import contacts into Benchmark and utilize Benchmark’s email system to maintain Salesforce customers participated. Read our overview of Salesforce here.
· Twitter — Benchmark Mail Lite is a WordPress plug-in which allows users to quickly build an email viewer through their readers. The plugin can automatically create email variations 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 lets you source pictures for your Benchmark emails from places across the net. Benchmark Power captures images you find and immediately uploads them to a Benchmark accounts for future usage.
· Flickr — Users with Flickr accounts may 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 contributors to different lists based on what they purchased. Read our review of Shopify here.
· PayPal — Users can add some of their PayPal clients to 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 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 respond to them. Learn more here.
· Zapier — Gain access to Zapier’s enormous integration library . Emaillite
Social Media Integrations
Because Of the key link between social media and email marketing, it is important to check out the social networking features contained in Benchmark.
· Social Media Templates — One segment of Benchmark’s massive email template listing 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”Just Like” button to your own emails.
· Facebook Sign-Up Form — Benchmark provides easy-to-create sign-up forms (see”Features” above) for both websites and Facebook fan pages, to help you convert followers into subscribers.
· Social Links within Email — After you link your Benchmark account with your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn account, you can add switches 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 regarding the collection of personal data from citizens of these nations. When clients provide credit card numbers to Benchmark, the business uses secure socket layer (SSL) security to encrypt the information. The entire system is encrypted to ensure the security of all customers’ personal details.
Anti-Spam Policy and Protection
Like All legitimate ESPs, Benchmark takes spam seriously and outlines a clear zero-tolerance coverage for any of the users hoping to take part in spam actions. The company is fully in compliance with all the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. Benchmark also takes several steps to maintain its reputation as a spam-free supplier, one of them membership from the Email Sender and Provider Coalition. The company employs the app SpamAssassin to filter messages sent through its host.
To stop users from Unknowingly sending spam-like substances, Benchmark provides a spam test 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 top score, the program suggests”less spammy” alternatives. Individualized IP addresses also assist large-volume senders reduce their spam amounts.
Customer Support and Service
Benchmark Offers its users a lot of support resources. Customer support is generally responsive, with minimal waiting times. The site offers good learning tools, but may be needlessly opaque at times. Key information can be buried and difficult to locate, particularly if you don’t know precisely what you’re looking for, especially when it comes to minute particulars about strategies. For instance. That the Free For Life plan comprises Benchmark branding on each email, however you won’t find that mentioned on the Free For Life page, not even in the fine print. Nor are you going to see it mentioned when you register. The only place it is mentioned is in the FAQ, here.
Here are some of those resources Benchmark offers. Emaillite
· Live Email and Support — Benchmark supplies 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 restricted hours on Saturday.
· Telephone Support. You can reach Benchmark at 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 daily Monday — Friday and restricted hours on Saturday. Founded in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian.
· FAQ — Benchmark’s FAQ section is somewhat mislabeled as it’s closer to a QandA-format knowledge foundation than a typical FAQ. There are more than 900 entries, sorted into 18 subjects ranging from”Getting Started” to”API.” Users can perform a keyword search of any subject (or sub-topic) or of the FAQ as a whole. One caveat. With such an extensive knowledge base, it is pretty much inevitable that some entries will be out of date. Some of the QandAs offer advice that’s wholly incorrect, so in some cases, you may want to contact assistance to hash things out.
· Video Tutorials and Webinars — Benchmark supplies about two dozen movie tutorials which take users step by step through the features of this program. 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 see the recorded version at any time. You can also request a special webinar on quite a few other topics. Live webinars comprise the opportunity to ask questions during the demonstration.
· Email Marketing Manuals and Articles — You can find more in-depth details on email marketing generally, as well as the Benchmark program specifically, at the Manuals Section. These downloadable documents also cover industry-specific troubles. Articles, very similar to blogs, offer users advice beyond that found in the FAQ section, but in shorter, more digestible chunks compared to the guides provide.
· Glossary of Email Marketing Terms — This can be a particularly helpful tool for all those new to email marketing who believe absorbed by all the jargon. Benchmark provides a glossarywith 50 of the very popular email marketing terms from”above-the-fold” to”whitelists.”
· Website 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 obtain access to current newsletters, and Benchmark also provides an archive of newsletter articles from November 2007-October 2012.
· Benchmark Community — Benchmark users can post their newest newsletters on message boards in the Benchmark Community. This forum allows users to discuss newsletter production approaches, vote for their favourite newsletters, and gain inspiration from other Benchmark users.
Web-Based Or Locally-Installed
Benchmark is entirely web-based and doesn’t Require any installation on your PC.
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. Emaillite
Some common points of compliments.
· Top Notch Support. This is perhaps the most typical observation concerning Benchmark, and some thing I discovered for myself as well. People tend to find support prompt and beneficial, and a few say it’s actually the element that distinguishes Benchmark from its rivals. The business also receives praise for its blog articles and videos.
· Feature Selection Across All Plans. Some users praise the inclusion of features like AB analyzing and surveys from most plans; many companies charge extra for such attributes or just include them into their pricier plans.
· Benefits of Use. Users have a tendency to locate Benchmark’s interface extremely user-friendly and intuitive. The program gathers praise from a wide range of demographics, from first time ESP users to people who have tried many different programs before settling Benchmark.
· Mobile Friendly Emails. Users 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 factor to take into account.
Negative Reviews and Complaints
I was not able to find many Men and Women who disliked Their own Benchmark experience. But, I managed to discover a couple of complaints.
· Inconsistent Send-Times. Apparently a few users experienced an issue with Benchmark where their emails were sent hours after they were scheduled. 1 customer theorized the issue might arise from long lists of recipients. Not all customers of all Benchmark will possess time-sensitive sending demands, but other people will. Should you want your emails to go out exactly whenever your schedule dictates, you may have to consider this issue.
· Buggy Social Media Integrations. I watched several consumer reviews that commented the social media integrations in Benchmark are not up to par.
· “Spammy” Templates. Some users have been worried that Benchmark’s templates can feel like spam mail, causing recipients to mark them as junk rather than studying the contents. Since the whole point of an ESP is to stop this from happening, this may be an issue. On the other hand, I never felt this way whilst looking through the template list, therefore it may not be the most valid of complaints.
Benchmark Offers a huge variety of pricing plans, such as a totally free plan and a huge scale of paid programs that can 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 small Benchmark emblem at the bottom of every email you send out. Of course, you can always opt to upgrade to a paid program in case you don’t want the Benchmark branding. The free plan allows you to send up to 14000 mails to around 2000 subscribers and provides you access to most but not all Benchmark’s features list. Notable absences to the attributes list for free accounts comprise email automation and sub-accounts (enabling many users to access one Benchmark accounts ).
Paid Plans. Emaillite
Users with small contacts lists and limited Monthly messages have the choice of paying for their email advertising depending on the amount of mails that 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 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 credit cards and also lets you pay through PayPal. They also offer you a 25% reduction for nonprofits and teachers.
Benchmark is a solid program. It’s Simple to Use, Open to invention, and competitively priced. Its free options might very well be the best in the company for anybody who only wants to dip into email marketing (especially small, local businesses). For that matter, any Benchmark plan can work nicely for a little company which views email as a minor element of its marketing and does not have any desire to operate beyond the principles just yet.
If you are a small or maybe medium-sized Company looking for a easy email marketing program with a multitude of amazing 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 money, provides excellent support, and the business seems to be sensitive to the needs of its users. You can not ask for more.