Overview Good Email Campaigns
For many an evening in 2004, three people sat Around one desk in a small medical office — an office that served as the group’s conference room, breakfast area, and idea hub. Backed by a small programming team in India, the trio (comprising Benchmark Internet Group founder Curt Keller, his wife Denise, along with an search engine optimization pro ) discussed ideas on how best to execute a deceptively straightforward idea. Simple email marketing. Many of the ideas were beyond the means of the fledgling business, but that didn’t stop Keller from moving ahead.
The first Customers of Benchmark Mail were small businesses located in close proximity to Benchmark’s one-room HQ in Long Beach, CA. Keller and his staff sold them on the usage of email marketing, while working hard to make a simple user interface that would be easy 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 outset that anyone who needed help would have quick access to excellent customer support.
Benchmark Has continued to rise and advantagesper. Its present focus. Providing worldwide email marketing solutions to small and midsize businesses while continuing to honor a commitment to assist children in need. This doesn’t indicate that Benchmark is a little-guys-only service, however; it’s stuck to its core principle of adaptability and serves large organizations such as UNICEF and Kaiser-Permanente via its High Volume Business plans.
Today, Benchmark serves up of 73,000 users from across the globe, but the company has not forgotten its roots. Benchmark still maintains good relationships with small, locally-based businesses. In reality, the company offers a complete page of testimonials from local users of the app. You may read more about Benchmark’s background and development here.
While most of the attributes Benchmark provides Are on par with the rest of the industry, among the standout features of the ESP is the simple fact that nearly all its features come standard with each account — such as the free ones. Below are a few of Benchmark’s most notable offerings.
· Countless Industry-Specific, Themed Templates. Benchmark offers all customers access to its library of over 400 templates. These are organized into 19 categories, some of which are tailored to particular industries such as education, entertainment, and retail. There is also a class for social media-specific templates.
· Video Emails. Perhaps the best-known advantage of Benchmark is its support for video mails. The business describes the benefits of this attribute 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 Benchmark’s High Volume plans come with a dedicated IP address to help increase deliverability prices. Users on other programs have the choice of paying for this service ($30/month) to boost their particular delivery stats. Read more about the benefits of dedicated servers here.
· Email Delivery Direction . Benchmark’s email shipping management program is all about getting customers’ emails into inboxes. The business is a member of the Email Sender and Provider Coalition and works with ReturnPath, a top email delivery and delivery service. The business also communicates with ISPs on its clients’ behalf. Good Email Campaigns
· Mobile App. Benchmark’s mobile apps make it possible for customers having an Apple device to get several functions on the road. They can get and include contacts, read reportsand send videos through integration with a YouTube accounts, and even layout 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 programs, which makes them much more functional.
· Photo Editing. If the pictures you plan to utilize on your email campaign aren’t perfectly sized or need some colour adjustment, you may use Benchmark’s integrated photo editor. This is a fairly handy feature if you don’t have photoshop accessible.
· Code Editor. If you’ve got the know-how to work magic with HTML, Benchmark offers this ultra-customization option with which you may construct your mails from scratch.
· Autoresponder. Every Benchmark client has the ability to design up to eight custom autoresponder messages. These could be scheduled as a string or event lead-up, or designed as annual messages like birthday or anniversary mails.
· Sign-Up Types . The only way to be prosperous in email marketing is by way of growing your own list, and Benchmark actually promotes doing so via sign-up forms. The company bases its Free For Life account entirely around website and Facebook sign-ups and supplies an easy-to-use instrument to create custom templates for each medium.
· Inbox Checker. Since every email program differs and each internet browser includes a signature style, 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. Using the entire app (which checks everything out of AOL to Yahoo, Explorer into 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 blogs mechanically through the RSS-to-Email attribute, which works with any site which manages an RSS-feed. Users simply need to establish a campaign and template inside Benchmark once.
· API Integration. An API (Application Program Interface) enables different software programs to communicate with one another without a formal plug-in connection. Benchmark’s API Integration feature permits users using XML-RPC, HTTP POST, or HTTP GET skills to recover data from some other programs which use JSON, XML, XML-RPC, or PHP serialization strings. In brief, this permits them to play three functions. Manage contact lists, handle campaigns and effort sending, and check statistics. 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 offered in seven languages. Chinese, English, German, Japanese, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish.
Ease Of Use
Enrolling in a Benchmark accounts is fairly straightforward. After entering your name, email, contact number, and company name, you need to confirm your email address. This was a five-minute process for me. Upon logging into my account (with the free plan) I was greeted by an appealing UI that gave me a very clear direction about the best way to make my very first email campaign. Good beginning!
Email Campaign Creation
On its own 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 large blue”Create New Mail” button at the upper right-hand corner. Good Email Campaigns
From there, you must decide if you want an RSS Or traditional 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 are someone 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 set up how much observation I desired on the message, as well as when I wanted an automatic tweet when the campaign went out. The following task was to select which contacts I wanted to get the campaign. With that, I was finally able to begin building the email . If you would like to, you are able to construct your personal email layouts using an extremely intuitive editor. On the flip side, you can alter one of Benchmark’s templates, which are great, and much better than I managed to do in my.
Sending the Email Campaign
If You’re just Starting out, you can 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 directly from your 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 make your Benchmark lists, then they’ll show up on your dash, along with a Master Unsubscribe List.
The actual sending of the email is rather easy. Once you have finished all your tweaks, you may either save the email as a draft, send it immediately, or schedule a date and time for delivery. If you want to check all is well before unleashing your email on the planet, it is possible to 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 actually be. I advised my email for 2.45 and obtained it at 2.50, therefore while the timing wasn’t exactly perfect, it was probably within tolerance levels for many users. If you are among the more infrequent users who need on-the-minute email sending, then you may have to look elsewhere. More worryingly, my email didn’t go to my main inbox but was automatically sorted into my”promotions” folder. Definitely not perfect.
Mail Campaign Reporting
First thing I Discovered about Benchmark email reports was something I’d read in a few reviews. They are really, really fast. I mean lightning fast. Opens register in the Benchmark system almost instantaneously. I have worked with several different apps where these reports take hours or even days to look.
Benchmark provides users with several key Pieces of data about every campaign. The possibly most important statistic, the open speed, seems in both pie chart and numerical type. In addition, Benchmark provides users with stats for clicks, forwards, bounces, unsubscribes, and misuse. Each stat further breaks down to the exact email addresses related to 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 place which reports shares via Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, in addition to a map that breaks down, by country, that opens your emails. Good Email Campaigns
Though all of the information is great and Necessary, it isn’t sufficient to sustain increased level marketers who want more info such as conversions, which hyperlinks were clicked, and revenue analysis. Though Google Analytics provides a lot of this info with proper integration, there may come a time when serious marketers need more information than Benchmark provides. Whether or not a small company will get to that point varies, of course, based on the business.
Particular Size Of Company
Benchmark designed its 3-tiered pricing Structure with the goal of serving everyone from the tiniest kitchen-table startup to big email marketers. On the other hand, the organization’s key focus is on small to medium businesses, particularly those just beginning in email advertising. This is especially reflected in the reality that clients subscribing to the medium plans get unlimited emails, while larger 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’s still hope. You’re able to use the API or ask 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 permits users to make and customize events, promote and market tickets, and monitor the success of their events through their Benchmark Email account. A number of subscriptions are available, including a free option.
· Salesforce.com — This integration allows users to import contacts directly into Benchmark and use Benchmark’s email system to keep Salesforce customers engaged. Read our review of Salesforce here.
· WordPress — Benchmark Email Lite is a WordPress plugin which allows users to quickly build an email audience through their readers. 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 with a Benchmark list. Read our review of Highrisehere.
· Benchmark Power — This free plug-in lets you source images for your Benchmark emails from locations throughout 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 to their own Benchmark image galleries.
· Shopify — You can link a Shopify accounts to Benchmark and mechanically add Shopify clients to Benchmark lists. You may even add contributors to different lists based on which products they bought. Read our overview of Shopify here.
· PayPal — Users may 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 app and download it .
· WordPress — The ever-present blog and website builder offers an integration with Benchmark. Use it to send mails 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 enormous integration library . Good Email Campaigns
Social Media Integrations
Because Of the key connection between social networking and email advertising, it is important to check out the social networking features contained in Benchmark.
· Social Media Templates — One segment of Benchmark’s massive email template list is made of social media-specific templates that directly promote your company’s participation in social media forums such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
· Facebook”Like” Button — Benchmark offers a simple function which permits you to add a Facebook”Just Like” button into your emails.
· Facebook Sign-Up Form — Benchmark supplies easy-to-create sign-up forms (see”Characteristics” above) for both sites and Facebook enthusiast pages, so you can convert followers into readers.
· Social Links within Mail — Once you link your Benchmark account together with your Facebook, Twitter, and/or LinkedIn accounts, you can add switches to every email which will direct your subscribers to each of your social networking pages.
The Business 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 those countries. When customers provide credit card numbers to Benchmark, the business uses secure socket layer (SSL) security to encrypt the info. The entire system is encrypted to ensure the safety of customers’ personal information.
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 engage in spam actions. The business is fully in compliance with the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. Benchmark additionally takes several steps to maintain its standing as a spam-free provider, among them membership in the Email Sender and Provider Coalition. The business employs the program SpamAssassin to filter messages sent through its host.
To prevent users from Unknowingly sending spam-like substances, Benchmark provides a spam check feature which looks for words widely used in spam messages. It scores each email on a scale from 1 to 5; 5s are assigned to content that is very 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 decrease their spam amounts.
Client Support and Service
Benchmark Offers its customers a great deal of support resources. Customer service is usually responsive, with minimal waiting times. The site offers good learning tools, but can be needlessly opaque occasionally. Key information is often buried and difficult to find, particularly if you don’t know precisely what you’re searching for, especially in regards to minute details about strategies. As an example. That the Free For Life plan includes Benchmark branding on every email, but you won’t see that mentioned on the Free For Life page, not even in the fine print. Nor are you going to see it mentioned when you register. The only place it’s mentioned is in the FAQ, here.
Here are some of those resources Benchmark offers. Good Email Campaigns
· Live Email and Support — Benchmark supplies live one-on-one aid through these means.
· Email Service. Contact Benchmark at [email protected] or via the organization’s contact form here. Available 24 hours Monday — Friday and limited hours on Saturday.
· Telephone Support. You are able to reach Benchmark at 800-430-4095 (U.S.) or even 001-562-252-3789 (all states ). Available weekdays from 6 am to 5 pm PT.
· Chat Support. Accessible nearly 24 hours per day Monday — Friday and restricted hours on Saturday. Founded in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian.
· FAQ — Benchmark’s FAQ section is somewhat mislabeled because it’s closer to some QandA-format knowledge foundation than a normal 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 topic (or sub-topic) or from the FAQ as a whole. 1 caveat. With such a comprehensive knowledge base, it is pretty much inevitable that some entries will be out of date. Some of the QandAs offer advice that’s wholly incorrect, so in some cases, you may 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 the program. The business also supplies a webinar known as”Benchmark Mail Crash Course.” You can view it live each Friday at 10.00 a.m. PST or watch the recorded version at any time. You can also ask for a particular webinar on quite a few different subjects. Live webinars comprise the opportunity to ask questions during the presentation.
· Email Marketing Manuals and Articles — You can find more in-depth information on email marketing generally, as well as the Benchmark program specifically, at the Manuals Section. These downloadable documents also cover industry-specific troubles. Articles, similar to blogs, offer users advice beyond that found in the FAQ section, but in shorter, more readable chunks than the guides provide.
· Glossary of Email Marketing Terms — This can be a particularly helpful tool for all those brand new to email marketing who believe consumed by all the jargon. Benchmark provides a glossarywith 50 of the most popular email marketing conditions 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 exceptionally active blog. All subscribers automatically gain access to present newsletters, and Benchmark also provides an archive of newsletter articles from November 2007-October 2012.
· Benchmark Community — Benchmark users may post their latest newsletters on message boards at the Benchmark Community. This forum allows users to talk about newsletter creation approaches, vote for their favorite newsletters, and gain inspiration from additional Benchmark users.
Web-Based Or Locally-Installed
Benchmark is completely web-based and does not Require any setup on your computer.
Positive Reviews and Reviews
Benchmark Includes a four-out-of-five star rating on G2 Crowd, with a slightly better showing on GetApp and Capterra. 4.5 stars each. Good Email Campaigns
Some common points of compliments.
· Top Notch Service . This is perhaps the most common monitoring concerning Benchmark, and something I noticed for myself as well. People today tend to find support prompt and beneficial, and a few say it is really the element that distinguishes Benchmark from its competitors. The business also receives praise for its website posts and videos.
· Characteristic Selection Across All Plans. Some users praise the addition of features like AB analyzing and surveys in most programs; many companies charge extra for such features or only include them into their pricier plans.
· Ease of Use. Users have a tendency to find Benchmark’s interface incredibly intuitive and user-friendly. The program gathers compliments from a broad range of demographics, from first time ESP consumers to those who have attempted a variety of programs before settling on 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 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 find a few complaints.
· Inconsistent Send-Times. Apparently a few users experienced a problem with Benchmark in which their mails were sent hours when they were first scheduled. 1 customer theorized the issue might arise in lengthy lists of recipients. Not all clients of Benchmark will possess time-sensitive shipping needs, but other people will. If you need your emails to go out exactly when your program dictates, you may have to take into account this issue.
· Buggy Social Media Integrations. I watched several consumer testimonials that commented the social media integrations in Benchmark aren’t up to par.
· “Spammy” Templates. Some users have been concerned that Benchmark’s templates can feel like spam email, causing recipients to mark them as junk and not reading the contents. Since the whole point of an ESP would be to stop this from happening, this may be a problem. On the other hand, I never felt this way whilst looking through the template list, therefore it may not be the most legitimate of complaints.
Benchmark Offers a enormous variety of pricing plans, including a free plan and a massive array of paid programs that may service anywhere between 600 and 7,140,000 subscribers.
Benchmark’s free programs do not require credit Cards, which is always refreshing. The only grab. There’ll be a small Benchmark logo at the bottom of each email you send out. Of course, you can always choose to upgrade to a paid program if you don’t want the Benchmark branding. The free plan 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 include email automation and sub-accounts (enabling many users to access one Benchmark accounts ).
Paid Strategies. Good Email Campaigns
Users with little contacts lists and restricted Monthly messages have the option of paying to get their email marketing depending on the number of mails 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 Plans. 125,000-1,000,000 subscribers, $659.99-$4,273.99 per month
o Massive Plans. 1,070,000-7,140,000 subscribers, $4,500-$29,200 per month
Benchmark accepts all Major credit cards and also allows you to pay through PayPal. They also offer a 25% reduction for nonprofits and teachers.
Benchmark is a solid program. It is easy to use, Open to invention, and competitively priced. Its free alternatives may very well be the best in the business for anybody who just wants to dip into email advertising (especially small, local businesses). For that matter, any Benchmark strategy can work nicely for a little business which perspectives email as a minor aspect of its marketing and has no desire to work beyond the principles just yet.
If you are a small or maybe medium-sized Company trying to find a simple email marketing program with a host of amazing features, Benchmark is an excellent option. Even though there might come a time when you outgrow the program, it provides a lot for the price, provides excellent service, and the company seems to be sensitive to the needs of its customers. You can not ask for more.