Summary Intouch Email Marketing
For many an evening in 2004, three people sat Around a single desk in a small medical office — an office that served as the team’s conference room, lunch room, and idea heart. Backed by a small programming team in India, the trio (consisting of Benchmark Internet Group founder Curt Keller, his wife Denise, along with an SEO expert) discussed ideas for how to implement a deceptively simple idea. Simple email marketing. Many of their thoughts were beyond the resources of this fledgling business, but that didn’t stop Keller from moving ahead.
The first Customers of Benchmark Mail were small companies located in near proximity to Benchmark’s one-room HQ in Long Beach, CA. Keller and his team sold them on the use of email advertising, while working hard to create a simple user interface that would be simple to operate. All the time, the business championed such novel ideas as customizable templates and software which adapted to user requirements. They also made certain from the beginning that anyone who needed help would have rapid access to outstanding customer care.
Benchmark Has continued to rise and advantagesper. Its current focus. Providing global email marketing services to small and midsize companies while continuing to honor a commitment to assist kids in need. This doesn’t mean that Benchmark is a little-guys-only company, however; it has adhered to its core principle of adaptability and serves big organizations such as UNICEF and Kaiser-Permanente via its High Volume Enterprise plans.
Today, Benchmark serves up of 73,000 users from throughout the globe, but the company hasn’t forgotten its roots. Benchmark still maintains good relationships with small, locally-based businesses. In reality, the company supplies a full page of testimonials from users of this 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 business, one of the standout characteristics of the ESP is the simple fact that nearly all its attributes come standard with every single accounts — such as the free ones. Below are a few of Benchmark’s most notable offerings.
· Hundreds of Industry-Specific, Themed Templates. Benchmark offers all customers access to the 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 category for social media-specific templates.
· Video Emails. Perhaps the best-known advantage of Benchmark is its support for video mails. The company describes the advantages of this feature here.
· Online Surveys. You’ll be able to create professional-looking online surveys using among Benchmark’s 6 templates. Post your survey 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 increase their particular delivery stats. Read more about the advantages of dedicated servers here.
· Email Delivery Management. Benchmark’s email shipping management program is all about getting customers’ mails into inboxes. The company is a part of the Email Sender and Provider Coalition and operates with ReturnPath, a top email delivery and delivery service. The business also communicates with ISPs on its customers’ behalf. Intouch Email Marketing
· Mobile App. Benchmark’s mobile apps make it possible for customers having an Apple device to get several purposes on the street. They can access and include contacts, read reports, send videos through integration with a YouTube accounts, and even layout and send fast email blasts with one of 10 templates that are available. This is quite a bit more than a number of other businesses offer in their mobile apps, making them much more functional.
· Photo Editing. If the photos you plan to use on your email campaign are not perfectly sized or want some colour adjustment, you may use Benchmark’s integrated picture editor. This is a fairly 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 choice with which you may construct your emails from scratch.
· Autoresponder. Each Benchmark customer has the ability to design around eight custom autoresponder messages. These can be scheduled as a string or occasion lead-up, or made as yearly messages like birthday or anniversary emails.
· Sign-Up Types . The only way to be prosperous in email advertising is through growing your list, and Benchmark really promotes doing this through sign-up forms. The business bases its Free For Life account completely around website and Facebook sign-ups and supplies an easy-to-use instrument to create custom templates for every medium.
· Inbox Checker. Because every email program differs and every web browser has a signature fashion, making certain your emails look good across the board is important. It is possible to use Inbox Checker to have a look at the way your email screens in Gmail using Explorer and Outlook 3. Employing the full program (which checks everything out of AOL to Yahoo, Explorer to 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 blogs mechanically through the RSS-to-Email attribute, which works with any site which handles an RSS-feed. Users simply have to set up a campaign and template inside Benchmark once.
· API Integration. An API (Application Program Interface) enables different software programs to communicate with one another with no formal plug connection. Benchmark’s API Integration feature permits users using XML-RPC, HTTP POST, or HTTP GET abilities to recover data from some other apps which use JSON, XML, XML-RPC, or PHP serialization strings. In brief, this allows them to play three functions. Manage contact lists, handle campaigns and effort sending, and check statistics. The business describes this function 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
Enrolling in a Benchmark accounts is pretty straightforward. After entering your name, email, contact number, and business name, you have to validate your email address. This was a five-minute procedure for me. Upon logging into my account (with the free plan) I was greeted by an attractive UI that gave me a very clear path about the best way to make my first email campaign. Good beginning!
Email Campaign Creation
On its dashboard, Benchmark offers users five chief choices. Emails, Automations, Contacts, Surveys, and Reports. To create a new campaign, proceed into the Emails segment, then hit on the large blue”Create New Mail” button in the top right-hand corner. Intouch Email Marketing
From there, you have to 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 using the built-in code editor. If you’re somebody 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 prompted to enter a subject line for my Email and setup how much tracking I desired on the message, as well as if I wanted an automatic tweet once the campaign went out. The next task was to select which contacts I wished to get the campaign. With that, I was eventually able to begin constructing the email . If you would like to, you can construct your own email layouts employing a very intuitive editor. On the other hand, you can alter one of Benchmark’s templates, that are great, and much better than I managed to do on my own.
Preventing the Email Campaign
If You’re just Starting out, you can do as I did and manually input contacts one 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 the 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 make your Benchmark lists, then they’ll appear on your dash, together with a Master Unsubscribe List.
The sending of the email is rather easy. When you’ve finished all of your tweaks, you can save email as a draft, send it immediately, or schedule a time and date for delivery. If you want to check all is well before unleashing your email on the planet, you can send it to yourself to preview it as many as 10 times/day. I opted to schedule my email for delivery to view how timely the automatic system would really be. I advised my email for 2.45 and obtained it in 2.50, so while the timing was not exactly ideal, it was probably present in tolerance levels for most users. If you’re 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 primary inbox but was automatically sorted in my”promotions” folder. Definitely not perfect.
Email Campaign Reporting
First thing I Noticed about Benchmark email reports was something I’d read about in a few reviews. They’re really, really fast. I mean lightning fast. Opens register in the Benchmark system virtually immediately. I have worked with several different programs where these reports take hours or even days to appear.
Benchmark provides users with several key Bits of information about every effort. The possibly most important statistic, the open rate, seems in both pie chart and numerical form. Additionally, Benchmark provides users with stats such as clicks, forwards, bounces, unsubscribes, and abuse. Every stat further breaks down to the specific email addresses associated with a given activity. Users can export this data for further analysis via a csv or xls file. There is also a social networking area which reports shares via Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, as well as a map that breaks down, by country, who opens your mails. Intouch Email Marketing
Though all of this information Is Excellent and Necessary, it is not sufficient to sustain higher level marketers that need more information such as conversions, which links were clicked, and earnings analysis. Although Google Analytics provides a lot of that info with proper integration, there may come a time when serious marketers need more information than Benchmark provides. Whether or not a small business will reach that point changes, naturally, based on the business.
Particular Size Of Business
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, especially those just starting out in email advertising. This is particularly reflected in the fact that customers 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 see the integration you need, there is still hope. You’re able to use the API or ask a integration by sending an email to [email protected]
· Benchmark Occasions — Benchmark Events is event marketing applications designed to integrate fully with Benchmark Email. Launched in 2012, this app allows users to make and customize events, promote and market tickets, and track the success of their events through their Benchmark Email accounts. A variety of programs are available, including a free option.
· Salesforce.com — This integration allows users to import contacts into Benchmark and use Benchmark’s email system to keep Salesforce customers engaged. Read our review of Salesforce here.
· WordPress — Benchmark Mail Lite is a WordPress plugin which permits users to quickly build an email viewer through their readers. The plug-in can automatically produce email variations 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 supply images for your Benchmark mails from places across the net. Benchmark Power captures images you locate and immediately uploads them to your Benchmark accounts for future use.
· Flickr — Users with Flickr accounts may link Flickr for their own Benchmark image galleries.
· Shopify — You are able to link a Shopify account to Benchmark and mechanically add Shopify customers 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 can add some of their PayPal clients for their own Benchmark email lists bylinking the account. Read our overview 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 emails of your blog posts and use the analytics to observe how your subscribers respond to them. Learn more here.
· Zapier — Gain access to Zapier’s enormous integration library . Intouch Email Marketing
Social Media Integrations
Since Of the key link between social media and email marketing, it is important to look at the social networking features contained in Benchmark.
· Social Media Templates — One section of Benchmark’s enormous email template listing consists of societal media-specific templates that directly promote your institution’s involvement in social networking forums such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
· Facebook”Like” Button — Benchmark provides a simple function which allows you to add a Facebook”Just Like” button into your own emails.
· Facebook Sign-Up Form — Benchmark supplies easy-to-create sign-up forms (see”Characteristics” above) for both sites and Facebook fan pages, so you can convert followers into readers.
· Social Links within Email — After you link your Benchmark account together with your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn account, you can add buttons to every 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 countries. When clients provide credit card numbers to Benchmark, the company utilizes secure socket layer (SSL) protection to encrypt the information. The entire platform is encrypted to ensure the safety of customers’ personal information.
Anti-Spam Policy and Protection
Like All legitimate ESPs, Benchmark takes junk seriously and outlines a clear zero-tolerance policy for any of their users trying 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 measures to preserve its reputation as a spam-free supplier, among them membership from the Email Sender and Provider Coalition. The company uses the program SpamAssassin to filter messages delivered through its host.
To prevent users from Unknowingly sending spam-like materials, Benchmark provides a spam check feature that looks for words commonly used 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 the event of a top score, the program suggests”less spammy” alternatives. Individualized IP addresses also help large-volume senders decrease their spam amounts.
Customer Service and Support
Benchmark Offers its customers a lot of support resources. Customer support is generally responsive, with minimal waiting times. The site provides good learning tools, but can be opaque at times. Crucial information can be buried and hard to find, particularly in the event that you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for, particularly in regards to minute particulars about plans. For instance. That the Free For Life plan includes Benchmark branding on each email, but you won’t find that mentioned on the Free For Life webpage, not even at the fine print. Nor are you going to see it mentioned when you register. The only place it’s mentioned is at the FAQ, here.
Here are some of the resources Benchmark offers. Intouch Email Marketing
· Live Support and Email — Benchmark provides live one-on-one aid through these means.
· Email Service. Contact Benchmark at [email protected] or through the organization’s contact form here. Accessible 24 hours Monday — Friday and restricted hours on Saturday.
· Telephone Support. You are able to reach Benchmark in 800-430-4095 (U.S.) or even 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 restricted hours on Saturday. Founded in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian.
· FAQ — Benchmark’s FAQ section is somewhat mislabeled as it’s closer to some QandA-format knowledge base than a typical FAQ. You will find over 900 entries, sorted into 18 subjects ranging from”Getting Started” to”API.” Users may perform a keyword search of any subject (or sub-topic) or from the FAQ as a whole. One caveat. With such a comprehensive knowledge base, it is pretty much inevitable that some entries will be out of date. A few of the QandAs provide advice which is wholly incorrect, so in some cases, you might need to contact assistance to hash things out.
· Video Tutorials and Webinars — Benchmark supplies about two dozen video tutorials which take users step by step through the features of the app. The business also supplies a webinar called”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 can even request 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, in the Manuals Section. These downloadable documents also cover industry-specific issues. Articles, very similar to sites, offer users advice beyond that found in the FAQ section, but in shorter, more readable chunks than the manuals provide.
· Glossary of Email Marketing Requirements — This can be a particularly valuable tool for those new to email marketing who feel consumed by all the jargon. Benchmark provides a glossarywith 50 of the very popular email advertising conditions from”above-the-fold” to”whitelists.”
· Blog and Newsletter — For current info about email advertising trends, check out Benchmark’s monthly newsletter, in addition to its extremely active blog. All subscribers automatically gain access to current newsletters, and Benchmark also provides an archive of newsletter articles from November 2007-October 2012.
· Benchmark Community — Benchmark users may post their newest 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 entirely web-based and does not Require any setup on your PC.
Positive Reviews and Testimonials
Benchmark Has a four-out-of-five star rating on G2 Crowd, with a slightly better showing on GetApp and Capterra. 4.5 stars each. Intouch Email Marketing
Some common points of praise.
· Top Notch Service . This is perhaps the most typical observation regarding Benchmark, and something I discovered for myself as well. People tend to find support prompt and beneficial, and a few say it’s actually the component that distinguishes Benchmark from its competitors. The company also receives praise for its website posts and videos.
· Characteristic Selection Across All Aims . Some users praise the addition of attributes like AB analyzing and surveys from all programs; many companies charge extra for these attributes or just include them in their pricier plans.
· Benefits of Use. Users have a tendency to locate Benchmark’s interface extremely intuitive and user-friendly. The program gathers praise from a broad assortment of demographics, from first time ESP consumers to people who have tried many different programs before settling Benchmark.
· Mobile Friendly Emails. Consumers 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 is an increasingly significant aspect to consider.
Negative Reviews and Complaints
I was not able to find many Men and Women who loathed Their Benchmark experience. But, I was able to find a couple of complaints.
· Inconsistent Send-Times. Apparently a few users experienced an issue with Benchmark in which their mails were sent hours after they were scheduled. 1 customer theorized that the issue might arise in lengthy lists of recipients. Not all clients of all Benchmark will have time-sensitive sending needs, but others will. Should you need your emails to go out precisely when your program dictates, you may have to consider this issue.
· Buggy Social Media Integrations. I watched several consumer reviews that remarked the social media integrations in Benchmark are not up to par.
· “Spammy” Templates. Some users have been concerned that Benchmark’s templates may feel like spam mail, leading receivers to mark them as junk rather than reading the contents. Since the whole purpose of an ESP would be to stop this from happening, this might 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 Offers a huge number of pricing plans, including a totally free plan and a huge 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’ll be a small Benchmark emblem in the bottom of each email you send out. Of course, you can always opt 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 up to 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 include email automation and sub-accounts (enabling multiple users to access one Benchmark accounts ).
Paid Strategies. Intouch Email Marketing
Users with little contacts lists and restricted Monthly messages have the option of paying to get their email advertising based on the number of emails they send each month.
o Moderate Plans. 600-50,000 subscribers, $13.99-$254.99 per month
o Large Strategies. 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% reduction for nonprofits and educators.
Benchmark is a good program. It is Simple to Use, Open to innovation, and competitively priced. Its free alternatives might very well be the best in the business for anybody who only wants to dive into email advertising (especially small, local companies ). For that matter, any Benchmark strategy can work well for a little business which views email as a minor aspect of its marketing and does not have any desire to operate past the basics just yet.
If you are a small or even medium-sized Company looking for a simple email marketing program using a host of great features, Benchmark is an excellent choice. Though there may come a time when you outgrow the program, it provides a lot for the money, offers exceptional support, and the business appears to be sensitive to the needs of its customers. You can not ask for much more.