Summary How To Do Email Marketing
For many an evening in 2004, three people sat Around a single desk in a tiny medical office — an office which served as the group’s conference room, lunch room, and thought heart. Backed by a little programming team in India, the trio (consisting of Benchmark Internet Group founder Curt Keller, his wife Denise, along with an SEO pro ) discussed ideas for how to implement a deceptively simple idea. Simple email marketing. Many of the ideas were beyond the resources of the fledgling company, but that did not stop Keller from moving ahead.
The first Clients of Benchmark Email were small companies located in near proximity to Benchmark’s one-room HQ in Long Beach, CA. Keller and his staff sold them on the use of email marketing, while working hard to make a very simple user interface which would be easy to operate. All the time, the company championed such novel ideas as customizable templates and applications which adapted to consumer requirements. They also made sure from the outset that anyone who needed help would have rapid access to excellent customer care.
Benchmark Has continued to grow and advantagesper. Its present focus. Providing worldwide email marketing services to small and midsize businesses while continuing to honor a commitment to assist children in need. This doesn’t mean that Benchmark is a little-guys-only service, however; it’s adhered to its core principle of adaptability and functions big organizations such as UNICEF and Kaiser-Permanente through its High Volume Business plans.
Today, Benchmark serves upwards of 73,000 users from throughout the planet, however, the company hasn’t forgotten its origins. Benchmark still maintains good relationships with small, locally-based businesses. In reality, the organization supplies a complete page of testimonials from local users of this program. You may read more about Benchmark’s history and development here.
While most of the attributes Benchmark supplies Are on par with the rest of the industry, among the standout features of this ESP is the simple fact that most of its features come standard with each account — such as the free ones. Here are some 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 specific industries like education, entertainment, and retail. There is also a class for social media-specific templates.
· Video Emails. Possibly the best-known benefit of Benchmark is its support for video emails. The company describes the advantages of this attribute here.
· Online Surveys. You can create professional-looking online surveys using among Benchmark’s 6 templates. Post your poll on your website or build 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 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 Management. Benchmark’s email shipping management program is about getting customers’ mails into inboxes. The business is a part of the Email Sender and Provider Coalition and works with ReturnPath, a leading email delivery and delivery service. The company also communicates with ISPs on its clients’ behalf. How To Do Email Marketing
· Mobile App. Benchmark’s mobile apps allow customers with an Apple device to access several purposes on the street. They can get and include contacts, browse reportsand send videos via integration using a YouTube accounts, and even layout and send fast email blasts with one of 10 templates that are available. That is quite a little more than many other businesses offer on their mobile programs, which makes them much more functional.
· Photo Editing. If the pictures you intend to use on your email campaign are not perfectly sized or want some color adjustment, you can use Benchmark’s integrated photo editor. This is a pretty handy feature if you do not have photoshop accessible.
· Code Editor. In case you’ve got the know-how to work magic with HTML, Benchmark provides this ultra-customization choice with which you can build your mails from scratch.
· Autoresponder. Every Benchmark customer has the power to design around eight custom autoresponder messages. These could be scheduled as a series or occasion lead-up, or designed as yearly messages such as birthday or anniversary emails.
· Sign-Up Types . The only way to be successful in email marketing is by way of growing your own 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 tool to create customized templates for every medium.
· Inbox Checker. Because every email program is different and every web browser has a signature style, making certain your emails look great across the board is crucial. You can use Inbox Checker to look at the way that your email screens in Gmail using Explorer and Outlook 3. Employing the entire app (which assesses everything out of AOL to Yahoo, Explorer into Safari, mobile to PC) is a paid add-on provider, available for $14 per 100 checks.
· RSS-to-Email. Regular bloggers can create newsletters from their blogs mechanically through the RSS-to-Email attribute, which works with any site which handles an RSS-feed. Users only have to establish a template and campaign within 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 using XML-RPC, HTTP POST, or HTTP GET skills to recover data from other programs which use JSON, XML, XML-RPC, or PHP serialization strings. In brief, this allows them to perform three functions. Manage contact lists, manage campaigns and effort sending, and assess statistics. The company explains this role in more detail here.
· Advanced Metrics. Benchmark offers both Listing 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
Signing up for a Benchmark accounts is fairly straightforward. After entering your name, email, phone number, and business name, you have to confirm your email address. This was a five-minute process for me. Upon logging in to my new account (using the free program ) I was greeted by an attractive UI that gave me a very clear path on how best to create my first email campaign. Good start!
Email Campaign Creation
On its own dashboard, Benchmark offers users five chief options. Emails, Automations, Contacts, Surveys, and Reports. To make a new effort, go into the Emails segment, then hit on the large blue”Create New Mail” button at the top right-hand corner. How To Do Email Marketing
From there, you must decide if you want an RSS Or classic email message. You can use Benchmark’s drag-and-drop editor, or move for more customization with the built-in code editor. If you’re someone who codes their own email, then my hat is off to you, but I am not personally gifted that way, so I went with the drag-and-drop option.
I was prompted 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 once the effort went out. The next task was to select which contacts I wanted to get the campaign. With that, I was finally able to start building the email . If you would like to, you are able to assemble your personal email designs employing a very intuitive editor. On the other hand, you can modify one of Benchmark’s templates, which can be great, and better than I managed 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 several ways to import it. You are able to upload a CSV, xls, or txt file right from the computer; import contacts directly from Salesforce.com, Hotmail, or Gmail accounts; or copy and paste huge lists of contacts to a text type. When you make your Benchmark lists, then they will appear on your dash, along with a Master Unsubscribe List.
The sending of the email is quite simple. Once you’ve completed all of your tweaks, you may 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 program my email for delivery to view how timely the automated system would actually be. I advised my email for 2.45 and received it at 2.50, so while the timing was not exactly perfect, it was likely within tolerance levels for many users. If you’re one of the more infrequent users who need on-the-minute email sending, 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.
Email Campaign Reporting
The first thing I Discovered about Benchmark email reports was something I’d read about in a few reviews. They are really, really fast. I mean lightning fast. Opens enroll in the Benchmark system virtually instantaneously. I have worked with several different apps where these reports take hours or even days to appear.
Benchmark provides users with several key Bits of data about each campaign. The arguably most important statistic, the open rate, appears in both pie chart and numerical type. Additionally, Benchmark supplies users with stats such as 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 data for further analysis by means of a csv or xls file. There’s also a social networking area which reports shares via Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, as well as a map which breaks down, by country, who opens your mails. How To Do Email Marketing
Though all of this information Is Excellent and Necessary, it is not enough to sustain higher level marketers that need more info such as conversions, which links were clicked, and earnings analysis. Although Google Analytics provides a lot of that information with proper integration, there may come a time when serious marketers need more information than Benchmark provides. Whether a small business will get to that point changes, naturally, dependent on the company.
Specific Size Of Company
Benchmark made its 3-tiered pricing Structure with the objective of serving everyone from the smallest kitchen-table startup to big email marketers. However, the company’s key focus is on small to medium companies, especially those just starting out in email advertising. This is especially reflected in the reality that clients subscribing to the medium plans get unlimited emails, 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 want, 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 Events is event marketing applications designed to integrate fully with Benchmark Email. Launched in 2012, this program permits users to create and customize occasions, promote and market tickets, and track the success of the events through their Benchmark Email account. A variety of programs are available, including a free option.
· Salesforce.com — This integration enables users to import contacts directly into Benchmark and utilize Benchmark’s email system to maintain Salesforce customers engaged. Read our review of Salesforce here.
· Twitter — Benchmark Mail Lite is a WordPress plugin which permits users to easily build an email viewer via their subscribers. The plugin can automatically produce email versions of blog posts and permits users to connect up to five Benchmark accounts.
· Highrise — Merges Highrise contacts using a Benchmark list. Read our overview of Highrisehere.
· Benchmark Power — This free plug-in lets you source pictures for your Benchmark mails from places throughout the net. Benchmark Power captures images you find and instantly uploads them to a Benchmark accounts for future usage.
· Flickr — Users with Flickr accounts can link Flickr for their Benchmark image galleries.
· Shopify — You can link a Shopify account to Benchmark and automatically add Shopify clients to Benchmark lists. You may even add subscribers to various lists based on which products they purchased. Read our review of Shopify here.
· PayPal — Users can add some of the PayPal customers for their Benchmark email lists bylinking the accounts. Read our overview of Paypal here.
· Easy List — Learn more about this very simple list-making program and download it here.
· WordPress — The ever-present blog and website builder offers an integration with Benchmark. Use it to send emails of your blog articles and also use the analytics to observe how your subscribers respond to them. Learn more here.
· Zapier — Gain entry to Zapier’s huge integration library . How To Do Email Marketing
Social Media Integrations
Since Of the integral connection between social networking and email advertising, it’s very important to check out the social media features included in Benchmark.
· Social Media Templates — One segment of Benchmark’s enormous email template list consists of societal media-specific templates that 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 bring a Facebook”Just Like” button into your emails.
· Facebook Sign-Up Form — Benchmark provides easy-to-create sign-up forms (see”Features” above) for both sites and Facebook fan pages, to help you convert followers into readers.
· Social Links within Email — After you connect your Benchmark account together with your Facebook, Twitter, and/or LinkedIn account, you can add switches to each email that will direct your readers to each of your social networking pages.
The Business also fully Complies with the U.S.-E.U. and U.S.-Swiss Safe Harbor Frameworks concerning the selection of personal data from citizens of those countries. When customers provide credit card amounts to Benchmark, the company utilizes secure socket layer (SSL) security to encrypt the information. The entire platform is encrypted to ensure the security of customers’ personal details.
Anti-Spam Policy and Protection
Like All valid ESPs, Benchmark takes junk seriously and outlines a clear zero-tolerance coverage for any of the users hoping to take part 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, one of them membership from the Email Sender and Provider Coalition. The business uses the app SpamAssassin to filter messages delivered through its host.
To stop users from Unknowingly sending spam-like substances, Benchmark supplies a spam test feature that looks for words widely utilized in spam messages. It scores every 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” choices. Individualized IP addresses also assist large-volume senders decrease their spam numbers.
Client Support and Service
Benchmark Offers its customers a great deal of support tools. Customer support is usually responsive, with minimal waiting times. The site provides good learning resources, but may be needlessly opaque occasionally. Crucial information can be buried and difficult to locate, particularly if you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for, especially when it comes to minute details about plans. For instance. That the Free For Life plan comprises Benchmark branding on every email, but you won’t see that mentioned on the Free For Life webpage, not even at the fine print. Nor will you 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. How To Do Email Marketing
· Live Support and Email — Benchmark supplies live one-on-one support through these means.
· Email Service. Contact Benchmark at [email protected] or via the organization’s contact form . Available 24 hours Monday — Friday and limited hours on Saturday.
· Telephone Support. You are able to reach Benchmark in 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 limited hours on Saturday. Offered in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian.
· FAQ — Benchmark’s FAQ section is somewhat mislabeled as it is closer to some QandA-format knowledge base than a typical FAQ. There are more than 900 entries, sorted into 18 topics ranging from”Getting Started” to”API.” Users may perform a key word search of any topic (or sub-topic) or of the FAQ as a whole. 1 caveat. With such a comprehensive knowledge base, it is pretty much inevitable that some entries are going to be out of date. Some of the QandAs offer information which is wholly inaccurate, so in some cases, you might need to contact support 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 app. The company also supplies a webinar known as”Benchmark Email Crash Course.” You may view it live each Friday at 10.00 a.m. PST or see the recorded version at any time. You might also ask for a special webinar on quite a few different topics. Live webinars include the chance to ask questions during the demonstration.
· 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 files also cover industry-specific troubles. Articles, similar to blogs, offer users guidance beyond that found in the FAQ section, but in shorter, more digestible chunks compared to the guides provide.
· Glossary of Email Marketing Requirements — This can be a particularly helpful tool for those new to email marketing who believe consumed by all of the jargon. Benchmark gives a glossarywith 50 of the most popular email advertising conditions from”above-the-fold” to”whitelists.”
· Website and Newsletter — For current info about email marketing trends, check out Benchmark’s monthly newsletter, as well as its exceptionally active blog. 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 latest newsletters on message boards in the Benchmark Community. This forum allows users to discuss 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 Includes a four-out-of-five star rating on G2 Crowd, with a slightly better showing on GetApp and Capterra. 4.5 stars each. How To Do Email Marketing
Some common points of compliments.
· Top Notch Support. This is maybe the most typical monitoring regarding Benchmark, and something I noticed for myself too. People today tend to find support prompt and helpful, and some say it is really the component that distinguishes Benchmark from its competitors. The business also receives praise for its blog posts and videos.
· Feature Selection Across All Aims . Some customers praise the addition of attributes like AB analyzing and surveys in most plans; many companies charge extra for such attributes or only include them into their pricier plans.
· Benefits of Use. Users tend to find Benchmark’s interface incredibly intuitive and user-friendly. The program gathers compliments from a wide range of demographics, from first-time ESP users to people who have tried many different programs before settling on Benchmark.
· Mobile Friendly Emails. Consumers were impressed with the mobile-friendly email design of Benchmark’s templates. Since an increasing number of 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 people who loathed Their own Benchmark experience. But, I was able to find a couple of complaints.
· Inconsistent Send-Times. Apparently some users experienced an issue with Benchmark where their mails were sent hours after they were scheduled. 1 customer theorized that the issue might arise from long lists of recipients. Not all customers of all Benchmark will have time-sensitive sending demands, but others will. If you need your mails to go out exactly whenever your schedule dictates, you might have to take into account this situation.
· Buggy Social Media Integrations. I watched several consumer testimonials that commented the social networking integrations in Benchmark aren’t up to par.
· “Spammy” Templates. Some users have been concerned that Benchmark’s templates can feel like spam mail, leading receivers to mark them as junk and not reading the contents. Since the entire 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 looking through the template list, therefore it may not be the most valid of complaints.
Benchmark Provides a huge number of pricing plans, such as a free plan and a huge scale of paid programs which may 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’ll be a little Benchmark logo at the bottom of every email you send out. Obviously, you may always choose to upgrade to a paid plan if you don’t need the Benchmark branding. The free program permits you to send up to 14000 mails to around 2000 subscribers and provides you access to all but not all of Benchmark’s features list. Notable absences into the features list for free accounts comprise email automation and sub-accounts (allowing many users to get one Benchmark account).
Paid Strategies. How To Do Email Marketing
Users with little contacts lists and restricted Monthly messages have the choice of paying to get their email advertising based on the amount of emails they send each month.
o Moderate Plans. 600-50,000 subscribers, $13.99-$254.99 per 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 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 good program. It is easy to use, Open to invention, and competitively priced. Its free options may just be the very best in the business for anybody who only wants to dip into email marketing (especially small, neighborhood businesses). For that matter, any Benchmark plan can work nicely for a little business which views email as a minor aspect of its marketing and does not have any desire to work beyond the principles just yet.
If you are a small or even medium-sized Company trying to find a simple email advertising program with a host of amazing features, Benchmark is an exceptional choice. Even though there might come a time when you launch the program, it supplies a lot for the money, offers excellent service, and the company appears to be sensitive to the requirements of its customers. You can not ask for much more.