Summary Free Email Marketing Software Tools
For many a day in 2004, three people sat Around one desk in a small medical office — an office which functioned as the group’s conference room, lunch room, and thought heart. Backed by a small programming group in India, the trio (comprising Benchmark Internet Group founder Curt Keller, his wife Denise, along with an SEO expert) discussed ideas on how best to execute a deceptively simple concept. Simple email advertising. Many of their thoughts were beyond the means of this fledgling business, but that didn’t stop Keller from planning ahead.
The first Customers of Benchmark Mail were small businesses located in near proximity to Benchmark’s one-room HQ in Long Beach, CA. Keller and his staff personally sold them on the use of email advertising, while working hard to create a simple user interface which would be easy to operate. All the time, the business uses such innovative ideas as customizable templates and applications which adapted to user needs. They also made sure from the beginning that anybody who needed help would have rapid access to excellent customer care.
Benchmark Has continued to rise and advantagesper. Its present focus. Providing worldwide email advertising solutions to small and midsize companies while continuing to honor a commitment to assist kids in need. This doesn’t indicate that Benchmark is a little-guys-only company, however; it has stuck to its core principle of adaptability and serves large organizations like UNICEF and Kaiser-Permanente through its High Volume Business plans.
Today, Benchmark serves upwards of 73,000 users from across the globe, but the company hasn’t forgotten its origins. Benchmark still keeps good relationships with little, locally-based companies. In reality, the organization offers a complete page of testimonials from local users of the program. You may read more about Benchmark’s background and development here.
While the Majority of the features Benchmark provides Are on par with the rest of the business, among the standout features of the ESP is the simple fact that most of its features come standard with every single account — including the free ones. Here are a few of Benchmark’s most notable offerings.
· Countless Industry-Specific, Themed Templates. Benchmark provides all customers access to its library of over 400 templates. These are organized into 19 classes, some of which are tailored to particular industries such as 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 emails. The business describes the benefits of this attribute here.
· Online Surveys. You can create professional-looking online polls using one of Benchmark’s 6 templates. Post your poll on your website or construct it directly 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 here.
· Email Delivery Direction . Benchmark’s email delivery management program is all about getting customers’ mails into inboxes. The company is a member of the Email Sender and Provider Coalition and operates with ReturnPath, a top email delivery and consulting support. The company also communicates with ISPs on its clients’ behalf. Free Email Marketing Software Tools
· Mobile App. Benchmark’s mobile programs allow customers having an Apple device to get several functions on the road. They can access and include contacts, read reports, send videos through integration using a YouTube accounts, and even design and send quick email blasts with one of 10 available templates. That is quite a bit more than many other companies offer in their mobile programs, making them considerably more operational.
· Photo Editing. If the pictures you plan to utilize on your email campaign aren’t perfectly sized or need some colour adjustment, you can use Benchmark’s integrated photo editor. This is a pretty handy feature if you don’t have photoshop accessible.
· Code Editor. In case you’ve got the know-how to work magic with HTML, Benchmark provides this ultra-customization option with which you can construct your emails from scratch.
· Autoresponder. Every Benchmark customer has the power to design up to eight custom autoresponder messages. These could be scheduled as a series or event lead-up, or designed as yearly messages like anniversary or birthday mails.
· Sign-Up Forms. The only way to become successful in email marketing is by way of growing your list, and Benchmark actually promotes doing so via sign-up forms. The business bases its Free For Life account completely 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 has a signature fashion, making sure that your emails look good across the board is important. You can use Inbox Checker to look at the way your email displays in Gmail using Explorer and Outlook 3. Using 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 mechanically through the RSS-to-Email feature, which works with any blog which manages an RSS-feed. Users only have to set up a template and campaign inside Benchmark once.
· API Integration. An API (Application Program Interface) enables different software programs to communicate with one another with no formal plug link. Benchmark’s API Integration feature allows users with XML-RPC, HTTP POST, or HTTP GET skills to retrieve data from other apps which use JSON, XML, XML-RPC, or PHP serialization strings. In brief, this allows them to play three functions. Manage contact lists, manage campaigns and campaign sending, and check statistics. The business explains this role in more detail .
· Advanced Metrics. Benchmark provides both Listing 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
Signing up for a Benchmark account is pretty straightforward. After entering your name, email, contact number, and company 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 make my first email campaign. Good beginning!
Email Campaign Creation
On its dashboard, Benchmark provides users five main choices. Emails, Automations, Contacts, Surveys, and Reports. To make a new campaign, proceed to the Emails segment, then hit the large blue”Create New Email” button in the upper right-hand corner. Free Email Marketing Software Tools
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 using the built-in code editor. If you are someone who codes their own email, then my hat is off to you, but I am not gifted that way, so I went with the drag-and-drop alternative.
I had been motivated to enter a subject line for my Email and setup how much tracking I desired on the message, in addition to if I wanted an automatic tweet once the effort went out. The following task was to choose which contacts I wished to receive the campaign. With that, I was eventually able to start constructing the email itself. If you would like to, you can construct your own email designs using an extremely intuitive editor. On the flip side, you can alter one of Benchmark’s templates, that can be great, and much better than I was able to do on my own.
Preventing the Email Campaign
If you are just Starting out, you can do as I did and manually enter 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 your personal computer; import contacts directly from Salesforce.com, Hotmail, or Gmail accounts; or copy and paste huge lists of contacts into a text form. When you create your Benchmark lists, they’ll appear on your dash, along with a Master Unsubscribe List.
The sending of this email is rather easy. When you’ve finished all of your tweaks, you can save the email as a draft, send it immediately, or schedule a date and time for delivery. If you would like to verify all 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 schedule my email for shipping to view how timely the automatic system would really be. I scheduled my email for 2.45 and received it in 2.50, so while the timing was not exactly ideal, it was probably within tolerance levels for most users. If you are among the more rare users who need on-the-minute email sending, you might need to look elsewhere. More worryingly, my email didn’t go to my primary inbox but was automatically sorted in my”promotions” folder. Definitely not perfect.
Email Campaign Reporting
First thing I Discovered about Benchmark email reports was something I’d read about in a few reviews. They’re really, really quickly. I mean lightning fast. Opens register in the Benchmark system virtually immediately. I’ve worked with a lot of different programs where these reports take hours or even days to look.
Benchmark provides users with several key Bits of information about each campaign. The possibly most important statistic, the available rate, seems in both pie graph and numerical form. In addition, Benchmark supplies users with stats for clicks, forward, bounces, unsubscribes, and abuse. Every stat further breaks down to the exact email addresses related to a given action. Users can export this data for additional analysis by means of a csv or xls file. There is 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. Free Email Marketing Software Tools
Though all of this information Is Excellent and Necessary, it isn’t enough to sustain increased level marketers who want more info such as conversions, which links were clicked, and revenue analysis. Although Google Analytics provides a lot of that info with appropriate integration, there may come a time when serious entrepreneurs need more information than Benchmark provides. Whether a small company will reach that point changes, of course, based on the company.
Particular Size Of Company
Benchmark designed its 3-tiered pricing Structure with the objective of serving everyone from the smallest kitchen-table startup to large email marketers. However, the organization’s key focus is on small to medium businesses, particularly those just starting out in email advertising. This is particularly 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 don’t observe the integration you need, there is still hope. You can use the API or request a 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 allows users to create and customize occasions, promote and sell tickets, and track the success of their events via their Benchmark Email accounts. A number of programs are available, such as a free alternative.
· Salesforce.com — This integration allows users to import contacts into Benchmark and use Benchmark’s email system to keep Salesforce customers participated. Read our overview of Salesforce here.
· Twitter — Benchmark Mail Lite is a WordPress plugin which permits users to quickly build an email audience via their subscribers. The plug-in can automatically create email variations of blog posts and permits users to connect up to five Benchmark accounts.
· Highrise — Merges Highrise contacts using a Benchmark listing. Read our review of Highrisehere.
· Benchmark Power — This free plugin lets you supply images for your Benchmark mails from places across the web. Benchmark Power captures pictures you locate and instantly uploads them to your Benchmark accounts for future use.
· Flickr — Users with Flickr accounts can link Flickr to their own 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 various lists based on what they purchased. Read our overview of Shopify here.
· PayPal — Users can add some of their PayPal clients for their own Benchmark email lists bylinking the accounts. Read our review of Paypal here.
· Easy List — Know more about this very simple list-making program 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 also use the analytics to see how your readers respond to them. Learn more here.
· Zapier — Gain entry to Zapier’s huge integration library . Free Email Marketing Software Tools
Social Media Integrations
Because Of the key connection between social networking and email advertising, it’s important to check out the social networking features included in Benchmark.
· Social Media Templates — One section of Benchmark’s enormous email template listing is made of societal media-specific templates which directly promote your company’s participation in social networking forums like facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
· Facebook”Like” Button — Benchmark offers a simple function which allows you to add a Facebook”Like” button into your own emails.
· Facebook Sign-Up Form — Benchmark supplies easy-to-create sign-up forms (see”Characteristics” above) for both websites and Facebook enthusiast pages, so you can convert followers to subscribers.
· Social Links within Mail — Once you link your Benchmark account with your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn accounts, you can add switches to each email that will direct your readers 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 concerning 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) protection to encrypt the info. The entire platform is encrypted to ensure the security of all customers’ personal information.
Anti-Spam Policy and Protection
Like All valid ESPs, Benchmark takes spam seriously and outlines a clear zero-tolerance policy for any of their 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 preserve its standing 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 server.
To prevent users from Unknowingly sending spam-like materials, Benchmark supplies a spam check feature which looks for words commonly used in spam messages. It scores each email on a scale from 1 to 5; 5s are 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.
Customer Service and Support
Benchmark Offers its users a lot of support tools. Customer service is generally responsive, with minimal waiting times. The site provides good learning tools, but may be needlessly opaque at times. Key information is often buried and hard to locate, especially if you don’t know precisely what you’re searching for, particularly when it comes to minute details about strategies. For instance. That the Free For Life plan comprises Benchmark branding on every email, however you won’t see that mentioned on the Free For Life page, not even in the fine print. Nor are you going to see it said when you register. The only place it’s mentioned is in the FAQ, here.
Here are some of those resources Benchmark offers. Free Email Marketing Software Tools
· Live Support and Email — Benchmark supplies live one-on-one support through these means.
· Email Service. Contact Benchmark at [email protected] or through the organization’s contact form here. Accessible 24 hours Monday — Friday and limited hours on Saturday.
· Phone Support. You can 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 almost 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 because it’s closer to a QandA-format knowledge base than a normal FAQ. You will find more than 900 entries, sorted into 18 subjects ranging from”Getting Started” to”API.” Users can perform a key word search of any topic (or sub-topic) or from their FAQ as a whole. One caveat. With such a comprehensive knowledge base, it’s pretty much inevitable that some entries will be out of date. Some of the QandAs offer information that’s wholly inaccurate, so in some cases, you might need to contact support to hash things out.
· Video Tutorials and Webinars — Benchmark provides about two dozen movie tutorials that take users step by step through the features of this program. The business also offers a webinar called”Benchmark Mail Crash Course.” You can view it live each Friday at 10.00 a.m. PST or see the recorded version at any time. You might also request a particular webinar on quite a few different topics. Live webinars comprise the opportunity to ask questions throughout the presentation.
· Email Marketing Manuals and Articles — There are more in-depth information on email marketing in general, in addition to the Benchmark program especially, 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 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 feel absorbed by all of 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 information regarding email advertising trends, check out Benchmark’s monthly newsletter, as well as its extremely active site. All readers automatically gain 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 latest newsletters on message boards at the Benchmark Community. This forum allows users to talk about newsletter creation strategies, vote for their favorite 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 computer.
Favorable Reviews and Testimonials
Benchmark Has a four-out-of-five star rating on G2 Crowd, using a slightly better showing on GetApp and Capterra. 4.5 stars each. Free Email Marketing Software Tools
Some common points of praise.
· Top Notch Service . This is maybe the most common monitoring regarding Benchmark, and some thing I discovered for myself too. People tend to find support prompt and beneficial, and some say it’s actually the element that distinguishes Benchmark from its rivals. The company also receives praise for its blog articles and videos.
· Feature Selection Across All Plans. Some customers praise the inclusion of attributes including AB analyzing and surveys in most programs; many companies charge extra for such attributes or only include them into their pricier plans.
· 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 those who have attempted many different programs before settling Benchmark.
· Mobile Friendly Emails. Users 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 can be an increasingly important aspect to consider.
Negative Reviews and Complaints
I was not able to find many Men and Women who disliked Their own Benchmark experience. However, 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 first scheduled. 1 customer theorized that the issue might arise in long lists of recipients. Not all clients of Benchmark will possess time-sensitive sending demands, but other people will. Should you want your emails to go out exactly when your program dictates, you may have to consider this situation.
· Buggy Social Media Integrations. I saw several user reviews that remarked the social networking 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 recipients to mark them as spam rather than reading the contents. Since the whole purpose of an ESP would be to stop this from happening, this may be a problem. On the other hand, I never felt this way while searching through the template list, therefore it might not be the most valid of complaints.
Benchmark Provides a huge variety of pricing strategies, such as a totally free plan and a massive array of paid plans that can service anywhere between 600 and 7,140,000 subscribers.
Benchmark’s free plans do not require credit Cards, which is always refreshing. The only catch. There will be a little Benchmark emblem in the bottom of every email you send out. Obviously, you can always choose to upgrade to a paid program if you don’t need the Benchmark branding. The free program permits you to send up to 14000 mails to up to 2000 subscribers and gives you access to all but not all Benchmark’s features record. Notable absences into the features list for free accounts comprise email automation and sub-accounts (enabling multiple users to get one Benchmark accounts ).
Paid Plans. Free Email Marketing Software Tools
Users with small contacts lists and restricted Monthly messages have the option of paying to get their email advertising depending on the number of emails they send each month.
o Medium Plans. 600-50,000 subscribers, $13.99-$254.99 per 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 Enormous Plans. 1,070,000-7,140,000 subscribers, $4,500-$29,200 a month
Benchmark accepts all Major charge cards and also lets you pay through PayPal. They also offer a 25% reduction for nonprofits and educators.
Benchmark is a solid program. It’s easy to use, Open to innovation, and competitively priced. Its free alternatives might just be the very best in the company for anybody who just wants to dip into email marketing (especially small, neighborhood companies ). For that matter, any Benchmark strategy can work well for a little company which views email as a minor aspect of its marketing and has no desire to work beyond the basics just yet.
If you are a small or maybe medium-sized Business trying to find a simple email advertising program using a host of amazing features, Benchmark is an exceptional option. Even though there may come a time when you outgrow the app, it supplies a lot for the money, offers excellent support, and the company appears to be sensitive to the requirements of its customers. You can not ask for much more.