Overview Internet Benchmark
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, breakfast area, and idea hub. Backed by a little programming group in India, the trio (comprising Benchmark Internet Group founder Curt Keller, his wife Denise, along with an search engine optimization expert) discussed ideas for how to implement a deceptively simple idea. Simple email advertising. Many of their ideas were beyond the resources of this fledgling company, but that didn’t stop Keller from planning ahead.
The first Clients of Benchmark Mail were small businesses located in near proximity to Benchmark’s one-room HQ in Long Beach, CA. Keller and his staff sold them on the usage of email advertising, while working hard to create a very simple user interface that would be easy to operate. All the time, the business championed such innovative ideas as customizable templates and applications which adapted to consumer requirements. They also made sure from the beginning that anyone who needed help would have rapid access to outstanding customer care.
Benchmark Has continued to grow and advantagesper. Its current focus. Providing global email advertising services to small and medium-sized companies while continuing to honor a commitment to help kids 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 big organizations like UNICEF and Kaiser-Permanente through its High Volume Enterprise plans.
Today, Benchmark serves upwards of 73,000 users from across the globe, however, the company has not forgotten its roots. Benchmark still keeps good relationships with small, locally-based businesses. In fact, the organization offers a complete page of testimonials from users of the program. You may read more about Benchmark’s history and development here.
While most of the attributes Benchmark provides Are on par with the rest of the industry, among the standout characteristics of this ESP is the simple fact that nearly all its features come standard with every single accounts — such as the free ones. Here are a few of Benchmark’s most noteworthy offerings.
· Hundreds of 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 such as education, entertainment, and retailstores. There’s also a class for societal media-specific templates.
· Video Emails. Possibly the best-known advantage of Benchmark is its support for video mails. The business explains the benefits 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 directly into an email.
· Dedicated Email Server. All of Benchmark’s High Volume plans come with a dedicated IP address to help increase deliverability rates. 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 Management. Benchmark’s email shipping management program is all about getting customers’ mails into inboxes. The business is a member of the Email Sender and Provider Coalition and works with ReturnPath, a top email delivery and consulting service. The company also communicates with ISPs on its clients’ behalf. Internet Benchmark
· Mobile App. Benchmark’s mobile apps make it possible for customers with an Apple device to access several purposes on the road. They can get and include contacts, read reportsand send videos via integration with a YouTube account, and even design and send fast email blasts with one of 10 templates that are available. That is quite a bit more than many other businesses offer in their mobile programs, making them much more functional.
· Photo Editing. If the photos you plan to use in your email campaign are not perfectly sized or want some colour adjustment, you may use Benchmark’s integrated picture editor. This is a pretty handy feature if you do not have photoshop available.
· Code Editor. If you have the know-how to work magic with HTML, Benchmark provides this ultra-customization choice with which you may build your mails from scratch.
· Autoresponder. Every Benchmark client has the power to style up to eight custom autoresponder messages. These can be scheduled as a string or event lead-up, or designed as yearly messages such as anniversary or birthday emails.
· Sign-Up Forms. The only way to be successful in email marketing is through growing your own list, and Benchmark really promotes doing so through 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. Because every email program is different and every web browser has a signature style, making sure your emails look great across the board is important. You can use Inbox Checker to look at the way your email screens in Gmail using Explorer and Outlook 3. Employing the entire app (which checks 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 may create newsletters from their blogs mechanically through the RSS-to-Email attribute, which works with any blog which manages an RSS-feed. Users only need to set up a campaign and template within Benchmark once.
· API Integration. An API (Application Program Interface) allows different software programs to communicate with one another without a formal plug-in connection. Benchmark’s API Integration feature permits users with XML-RPC, HTTP POST, or HTTP GET abilities to recover data from some other apps that use JSON, XML, XML-RPC, or PHP serialization strings. In brief, this permits them to play three functions. Manage contact lists, manage campaigns and effort sending, and check data. The company describes this function in more detail here.
· 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
Enrolling in a Benchmark account is fairly straightforward. After entering your name, email, contact number, and company name, you have to confirm your email address. This is a five-minute procedure for me. Upon logging in to my account (using the free program ) I was greeted by an appealing UI that gave me a very clear path about the best way to make my first email campaign. Great beginning!
Email Campaign Creation
On its dashboard, Benchmark offers users five main choices. Emails, Automations, Contacts, Surveys, and Reports. To make a new campaign, proceed into the Emails section, then hit on the large blue”Create New Mail” button in the upper right-hand corner. Internet Benchmark
From there, you have to decide If You Would like an RSS Or classic email message. It is possible to use Benchmark’s drag-and-drop editor, or go for more customization with the built-in code editor. If you are 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 alternative.
I had been motivated to enter a subject line for my Email and set up how much observation I desired on the message, in addition to if I wanted an automated tweet when the effort went out. The following task was to select which contacts I wanted to receive the campaign. With that, I was eventually able to begin constructing the email . If you want to, you are able to construct your own email layouts using an extremely intuitive editor. On the flip side, you can modify one of Benchmark’s templates, that can be great, and much 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 enter contacts one at a time. However, for those who already have a list, there are numerous ways to import it. You can 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 large lists of contacts into a text form. When you create your Benchmark lists, then they’ll appear on your dash, along with a Master Unsubscribe List.
The actual sending of the email is rather simple. Once you’ve finished all your tweaks, you may either save email as a draft, send it instantly, or schedule a time and date for delivery. If you want to verify everything is well before distributing your email on the world, it is possible to send it to your self to preview it as many as 10 times/day. I chose to schedule my email for shipping to see how timely the automatic system would really be. I advised my email for 2.45 and received it in 2.50, therefore while the timing was not exactly perfect, it was likely within tolerance levels for many users. If you’re one of the more rare users who need on-the-minute email sending, then you may need to look elsewhere. More worryingly, my email didn’t go to my primary 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 in a couple of reviews. They are really, really quickly. I mean lightning fast. Opens register in the Benchmark system virtually instantaneously. I’ve worked with several different programs where these reports require hours or even days to appear.
Benchmark provides users with several key Pieces of data about every effort. The possibly most important statistic, the open speed, seems in both pie graph and numerical type. In addition, Benchmark supplies users with stats for clicks, forwards, bounces, unsubscribes, and abuse. Each stat further breaks down to the exact email addresses associated with a given activity. Users can export this data for further analysis via a csv or xls file. There’s also a social media area which reports shares via Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, as well as a map which breaks down, by country, who opens your emails. Internet Benchmark
Though all of the information Is Excellent and Necessary, it isn’t sufficient to sustain increased level marketers that 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 might come a time when serious marketers need more info than Benchmark provides. Whether or not a small company will reach that point varies, naturally, dependent on the company.
Particular Size Of Company
Benchmark made 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 companies, especially those just starting out in email advertising. This is particularly 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 roughly 20 plug-ins and integrations. If you do not see the integration you want, there’s still hope. You can use the API or request a 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 program allows users to create and customize events, promote and sell tickets, and monitor the success of their events through their Benchmark Email accounts. A number of programs are available, such as a free option.
· Salesforce.com — This integration enables users to import contacts into Benchmark and utilize Benchmark’s email system to keep Salesforce customers engaged. Read our overview of Salesforce here.
· Twitter — Benchmark Mail Lite is a WordPress plugin which allows users to easily build an email audience through their subscribers. The plugin can automatically create email versions of blog articles and allows users to connect up to five Benchmark accounts.
· Highrise — Merges Highrise contacts using a Benchmark listing. Read our overview of Highrisehere.
· Benchmark Power — This free plugin allows you to source images for your Benchmark emails from places across the net. Benchmark Power captures pictures you find and instantly uploads them to a 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 can even add subscribers to different lists based on which products they purchased. Read our review of Shopify here.
· PayPal — Users may add some of their PayPal customers for their Benchmark email lists bylinking the accounts. Read our overview of Paypal here.
· Easy List — Know more about this very simple list-making program and download it .
· WordPress — The ever-present blog and site builder provides an integration using Benchmark. Use it to send mails of your blog articles and also use the analytics to see how your subscribers react to them. Learn more here.
· Zapier — Gain entry to Zapier’s enormous integration library . Internet Benchmark
Social Media Integrations
Since Of the key connection between social networking and email advertising, it is important to look at the social networking features included in Benchmark.
· Social Media Templates — One segment of Benchmark’s massive email template listing consists of societal media-specific templates that directly promote your institution’s involvement in social networking forums like facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
· Facebook”Like” Button — Benchmark provides a very simple function which permits you to add a Facebook”Like” button into your emails.
· Facebook Sign-Up Form — Benchmark supplies easy-to-create sign-up forms (see”Characteristics” above) for both websites and Facebook enthusiast pages, to help you convert followers into subscribers.
· Social Links within Email — Once you connect your Benchmark account with your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn accounts, you can add buttons to every email which will direct your subscribers to each of your social media pages.
The company also fully Complies with all the U.S.-E.U. and U.S.-Swiss Safe Harbor Frameworks concerning the selection of personal data from citizens of these countries. When clients provide credit card numbers to Benchmark, the company uses secure socket layer (SSL) security to encrypt the info. The whole platform is encrypted to ensure the safety of all customers’ personal details.
Anti-Spam Policy and Protection
Like All legitimate ESPs, Benchmark takes junk seriously and summarizes a clear zero-tolerance policy for any of their users hoping to take part in spam activities. The business is entirely in compliance with all the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. Benchmark also takes several steps to preserve its reputation as a spam-free supplier, among them membership in the Email Sender and Provider Coalition. The business employs the program SpamAssassin to filter messages sent through its host.
To stop users from Unknowingly sending spam-like materials, Benchmark provides a spam check 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 very likely to be blocked. In case of a high score, the program suggests”less spammy” choices. Individualized IP addresses also assist large-volume senders reduce their spam numbers.
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 resources, but may be needlessly opaque at times. Key information can be buried and hard to locate, particularly in the event that you don’t know exactly what you’re searching for, particularly in regards to minute details about strategies. For instance. That the Free For Life plan includes Benchmark branding on each email, but you won’t see that mentioned on the Free For Life page, not even at the fine print. Nor will you see it said when you sign up. The only place it’s mentioned is in the FAQ, here.
Here are some of the resources Benchmark offers. Internet Benchmark
· Live Email and Support — Benchmark provides live one-on-one support through these means.
· Email Support. Contact Benchmark at [email protected] or through the company’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 countries). Available weekdays from 6 am to 5 pm PT.
· Chat Support. Available almost 24 hours daily Monday — Friday and limited 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 base than a typical FAQ. There are 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. One caveat. With such an extensive knowledge base, it is pretty much inevitable that some entries will be out of date. A few of the QandAs offer information that’s wholly inaccurate, so in some cases, you may want to contact support to hash things out.
· Video Tutorials and Webinars — Benchmark provides about two dozen video tutorials that 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 view it live each Friday at 10.00 a.m. PST or watch the recorded version at any time. You might even request a special webinar on quite a few different subjects. Live webinars include the chance to ask questions during the demonstration.
· Email Marketing Manuals and Articles — There are more in-depth information on email marketing generally, as well as the Benchmark program especially, in the Manuals Section. These downloadable files also cover industry-specific issues. Articles, similar to sites, offer users guidance beyond that found in the FAQ section, but in shorter, more readable chunks compared to the manuals provide.
· Glossary of Email Marketing Terms — This can be a particularly valuable tool for all those new to email marketing who believe consumed by all of the jargon. Benchmark provides a glossarywith 50 of the most popular email advertising conditions from”above-the-fold” into”whitelists.”
· Blog and Newsletter — For current info about email marketing trends, check out Benchmark’s monthly newsletter, in addition to its exceptionally active site. All subscribers automatically obtain 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 in the Benchmark Community. This forum allows users to talk about newsletter creation approaches, vote for their favourite newsletters, and gain inspiration from additional Benchmark users.
Web-Based Or Locally-Installed
Benchmark is completely web-based and does not Require any installation on your PC.
Favorable Reviews and Reviews
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. Internet Benchmark
Some common points of praise.
· Top Notch Support. This is perhaps the most typical observation regarding Benchmark, and something I noticed for myself as well. People tend to find support prompt and beneficial, and a few say it is really the component that distinguishes Benchmark from its competitors. The company also receives praise for its blog articles and videos.
· Characteristic Selection Across All Plans. Some users praise the inclusion of features like AB testing and surveys in all programs; many companies charge extra for these features or only include them into their pricier programs.
· Ease of Use. Users have a tendency to find Benchmark’s interface extremely user-friendly and intuitive. The program gathers praise from a broad range of demographics, from first time ESP consumers to people 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 an increasing number of people access their email from mobile devices, this can be an increasingly important factor to consider.
Negative Reviews and Complaints
I was Unable to find many Men and Women who loathed Their 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 first scheduled. One customer theorized that the issue might arise from long lists of recipients. Not all clients of all Benchmark will possess time-sensitive sending demands, but other people will. Should you want your mails to go out exactly whenever your schedule dictates, you may need to consider this issue.
· Buggy Social Media Integrations. I saw several user testimonials that remarked the social networking integrations in Benchmark aren’t up to par.
· “Spammy” Templates. Some users were concerned that Benchmark’s templates can feel like spam email, leading receivers to mark them as spam rather than studying the contents. Since the whole purpose of an ESP is to stop this from happening, this may be a problem. On the flip side, I never felt this way whilst searching through the template list, therefore it might not be the most valid of complaints.
Benchmark Provides a enormous number of pricing plans, such as a free plan and a massive scale of paid programs that may service anywhere between 600 and 7,140,000 subscribers.
Benchmark’s free plans do not require credit Cards, that is always refreshing. The only grab. There’ll be a little Benchmark emblem at the bottom of each email you send out. Obviously, you can always choose to upgrade to a paid plan in case you don’t need the Benchmark branding. The free program 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 attributes list for free accounts comprise email automation and sub-accounts (allowing multiple users to get one Benchmark accounts ).
Paid Strategies. Internet Benchmark
Users with small contacts lists and restricted Monthly messages have the choice of paying for their email marketing depending on the number of emails that they send every month.
o Moderate Plans. 600-50,000 subscribers, $13.99-$254.99 a month
o Large Plans. 55,000-100,000 subscribers, $285.99-$494.99 per month
o Extra Large 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 a month
Benchmark accepts all Major charge cards and also lets you pay through PayPal. They also offer a 25% discount for nonprofits and teachers.
Benchmark is a good program. It’s easy to use, Open to innovation, and competitively priced. Its free alternatives might just be the best in the business for anyone who just wants to dip into email advertising (especially small, local businesses). For that matter, any Benchmark plan can work nicely for a small business which views email as a little element of its marketing and does not have any desire to work beyond the basics just yet.
If you are a small or maybe medium-sized Company looking for a simple email advertising program using a multitude of amazing features, Benchmark is an exceptional option. Even though there may come a time when you outgrow the app, it provides a great deal for the money, provides exceptional service, and the business seems to be sensitive to the requirements of its customers. You can not ask for more.