Summary John Walton Benchmark At Southwind Email
For many a day in 2004, three people sat Around one desk in a tiny medical office — an office which served as the team’s conference room, breakfast area, and thought hub. Backed by a little programming group in India, the trio (consisting of Benchmark Internet Group founder Curt Keller, his wife Denise, along with an SEO pro ) discussed ideas on how best to implement a deceptively straightforward idea. Simple email marketing. Many of their thoughts were beyond the resources of the fledgling business, but that did not stop Keller from moving ahead.
The first Customers 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 advertising, while working hard to make a very simple user interface that would be simple to operate. All the time, the business championed such innovative ideas as customizable templates and software which adapted to user needs. They also made sure from the outset that anybody who needed help would have quick access to excellent customer care.
Benchmark Has continued to rise and advantagesper. Its present focus. Providing global email advertising services to small and midsize businesses while continuing to honor a commitment to assist kids 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 serves big organizations such as UNICEF and Kaiser-Permanente via its High Volume Enterprise plans.
Today, Benchmark serves upwards of 73,000 users from across the globe, however, the company hasn’t forgotten its roots. Benchmark still keeps good relationships with small, locally-based companies. In reality, the company supplies a full page of testimonials from local users of the program. You can read 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 characteristics of this ESP is the fact that nearly all its attributes come standard with each account — including the free ones. Below are a few of Benchmark’s most noteworthy offerings.
· Hundreds of Industry-Specific, Themed Templates. Benchmark provides all users access to the library of over 400 templates. These are organized into 19 classes, some of which are tailored to specific industries like education, entertainment, and retail. There’s also a category for social media-specific templates.
· Video Emails. Perhaps the best-known benefit of Benchmark is its support for video mails. The business explains the benefits of this feature here.
· Online Surveys. You’ll be able to create professional-looking online polls using among Benchmark’s 6 templates. Post your survey on your site or build it into an email.
· Dedicated Email Server. All Benchmark’s High Volume plans have a dedicated IP address to help increase deliverability prices. Users on other plans have the choice of paying for this service ($30/month) to boost their own delivery stats. Read more about the advantages of dedicated servers here.
· Email Delivery Management. Benchmark’s email delivery management program is about getting clients’ mails 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 company also communicates with ISPs on its customers’ behalf. John Walton Benchmark At Southwind Email
· Mobile App. Benchmark’s mobile programs make it possible for customers having an Apple device to access several functions on the street. They can access and include contacts, read reportsand send videos through integration with a YouTube account, and even layout and send fast email blasts with one of 10 templates that are available. That is quite a bit more than a number of other companies offer in their mobile programs, which makes them considerably more operational.
· Photo Editing. If the photos you intend to use on your email campaign are not perfectly sized or want some colour adjustment, you can use Benchmark’s integrated picture editor. This is a fairly handy feature if you do not have photoshop accessible.
· Code Editor. If you have the know-how to work magic with HTML, Benchmark provides this ultra-customization option with which you can build your mails from scratch.
· Autoresponder. Each Benchmark client has the ability to style around eight custom autoresponder messages. These could be scheduled as a series or occasion lead-up, or designed as yearly messages like birthday or anniversary mails.
· Sign-Up Types . The only way to become prosperous in email advertising is through growing your list, and Benchmark really promotes doing so via 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 customized templates for each medium.
· Inbox Checker. Because every email program is different and each web browser includes a signature style, making sure your emails look great across the board is important. It is possible to use Inbox Checker to have a look at the way that your email displays in Gmail using Explorer and Outlook 3. Employing the entire program (which assesses everything out of AOL to Yahoo, Explorer into Safari, mobile to PC) is a paid add-on provider, available for $14 each 100 checks.
· RSS-to-Email. Regular bloggers may create newsletters out of their blogs automatically through the RSS-to-Email attribute, which works with any site which manages 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 without a formal plug link. Benchmark’s API Integration feature allows users with XML-RPC, HTTP POST, or HTTP GET skills to retrieve data from other apps which use JSON, XML, XML-RPC, or PHP serialization strings. In a nutshell, this permits them to play three purposes. Manage contact lists, handle campaigns and effort sending, and assess statistics. The business 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 business name, you need to validate your email address. This is a five-minute procedure for me. Upon logging into my account (with the free program ) I was greeted by an attractive UI that gave me a clear path about how to create my very first email campaign. Good start!
Email Campaign Creation
On its dashboard, Benchmark offers users five chief choices. Emails, Automations, Contacts, Surveys, and Reports. To make a new campaign, go to the Emails section, then hit the big blue”Create New Email” button in the upper right-hand corner. John Walton Benchmark At Southwind Email
From there, you must decide If You Would like an RSS Or traditional email message. You can use Benchmark’s drag-and-drop editor, or move for more customization using 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 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 when I wanted an automated tweet once the effort went out. The next task was to choose which contacts I wished to receive the campaign. With that, I was eventually able to begin building the email itself. If you would like to, you can assemble your personal email layouts employing a very intuitive editor. On the flip side, 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’re just Starting out, you can do as I did and manually enter contacts one at a time. However, for those who already have a listing, there are numerous ways to import it. You can 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 type. When you create your Benchmark lists, they will show up on your dashboard, together with a Master Unsubscribe List.
The sending of this email is quite simple. Once you’ve completed 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 verify all is well before distributing 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 schedule my email for shipping to see how timely the automated system would really be. I scheduled my email for 2.45 and obtained it at 2.50, therefore while the timing wasn’t exactly perfect, it was probably present in tolerance levels for many users. If you are one of the more infrequent users who demand on-the-minute email sending, you might have to look elsewhere. More worryingly, my email did not go to my primary inbox but was mechanically sorted into my”promotions” folder. Definitely not perfect.
Mail Campaign Reporting
The first thing I Noticed about Benchmark email reports was something I would read in a couple of reviews. They are really, really fast. I mean lightning fast. Opens enroll from the Benchmark system virtually instantaneously. I have worked with a lot of 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 available rate, seems in both pie graph and numerical type. In addition, Benchmark supplies users with stats such as clicks, forward, bounces, unsubscribes, and abuse. Each stat further breaks down to the exact email addresses associated with a given action. Users can export this data for further analysis by means of a csv or xls file. There is also a social networking area which reports shares through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, as well as a map that breaks down, by state, who opens your mails. John Walton Benchmark At Southwind Email
Though all of this information is great and Necessary, it is not sufficient to sustain increased level marketers that need more info such as conversions, which links were clicked, and earnings analysis. Though Google Analytics provides a whole lot of that info with appropriate integration, there may come a time when serious marketers need more info than Benchmark provides. Whether a small business will get to that point varies, naturally, dependent on the company.
Particular Size Of Business
Benchmark designed its 3-tiered pricing Structure with the objective of serving everyone from the tiniest kitchen-table startup to big email marketers. On the other hand, the company’s main focus is on small to medium companies, particularly those just starting out in email marketing. This is particularly reflected in the reality that customers subscribing to the moderate plans get unlimited emails, while larger plans have constraints.
Integrations and Add-Ons
Benchmark Offers approximately 20 plug-ins and integrations. If you do not observe the integration you need, there’s still hope. You’re able to use the API or request an 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 allows users to make and customize events, promote and sell tickets, and monitor the success of their events via their Benchmark Email account. A number of programs are available, including a free alternative.
· Salesforce.com — This integration enables users to import contacts directly into Benchmark and use Benchmark’s email system to keep Salesforce customers participated. Read our review of Salesforce here.
· Twitter — Benchmark Mail Lite is a WordPress plug-in which permits users to easily build an email viewer via their subscribers. The plugin can automatically produce email variations of blog posts and allows 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 across the net. Benchmark Power captures pictures you find and immediately uploads them to your Benchmark accounts for future use.
· Flickr — Users with Flickr accounts can link Flickr for their own Benchmark image galleries.
· Shopify — You are able to link a Shopify account to Benchmark and mechanically add Shopify clients to Benchmark lists. You may even add subscribers to various lists based on which products they purchased. Read our overview of Shopify here.
· PayPal — Users may add any of the PayPal clients for their own Benchmark email lists bylinking the account. Read our overview of Paypal here.
· Easy List — Learn 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 use the analytics to see how your subscribers react to them. Learn more here.
· Zapier — Gain entry to Zapier’s enormous integration library . John Walton Benchmark At Southwind Email
Social Media Integrations
Since Of the integral link between social media and email advertising, it’s very important to check out the social media features contained in Benchmark.
· Social Media Templates — One segment of Benchmark’s massive email template listing consists of societal media-specific templates which directly promote your institution’s participation in social media forums like facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
· Facebook”Like” Button — Benchmark offers a very simple function which permits you to add a Facebook”Like” button to your own emails.
· Facebook Sign-Up Form — Benchmark provides easy-to-create sign-up forms (see”Characteristics” above) for both sites and Facebook enthusiast pages, to help you convert followers to subscribers.
· Social Links within Email — Once you connect your Benchmark account together with your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn account, you can add buttons to every email that 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 selection of personal data from citizens of these countries. When clients provide credit card amounts to Benchmark, the business uses secure socket layer (SSL) security to encrypt the information. The whole system is encrypted to ensure the security of customers’ personal information.
Anti-Spam Policy and Protection
Like All legitimate ESPs, Benchmark takes spam seriously and outlines a clear zero-tolerance policy for any of their users hoping to engage in spam actions. The company is fully in compliance with the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. Benchmark additionally takes several measures to maintain its standing as a spam-free supplier, among them membership in the Email Sender and Provider Coalition. The company uses the app SpamAssassin to filter messages sent through its server.
To stop users from Unknowingly sending spam-like substances, 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’s likely to be blocked. In the event of a high score, the program suggests”less spammy” choices. Individualized IP addresses also assist large-volume senders decrease their spam numbers.
Customer Service and Support
Benchmark Offers its customers a lot of support resources. Customer service is generally responsive, with minimal waiting times. The website provides good learning resources, but may be needlessly opaque occasionally. Key information can be buried and hard to find, particularly if you don’t know precisely what you’re searching for, especially in regards to minute particulars about strategies. As an example. That the Free For Life plan comprises Benchmark branding on each email, however you won’t see that mentioned on the Free For Life page, not even at the fine print. Nor are you going to see it mentioned when you sign up. The only place it’s mentioned is at the FAQ, here.
Here are some of those resources Benchmark offers. John Walton Benchmark At Southwind Email
· Live Email and Support — Benchmark supplies live one-on-one support through these means.
· Email Service. Contact Benchmark at [email protected] or through the company’s contact form here. Accessible 24 hours Monday — Friday and restricted hours on Saturday.
· Phone Support. You can 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 almost 24 hours per day Monday — Friday and limited hours on Saturday. Offered in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian.
· FAQ — Benchmark’s FAQ section is somewhat mislabeled because it’s closer to a QandA-format knowledge foundation than a normal FAQ. You will find over 900 entries, sorted into 18 topics ranging from”Getting Started” to”API.” Users can perform a key word search of any subject (or sub-topic) or of their FAQ as a whole. One caveat. With such a comprehensive knowledge base, it’s pretty much inevitable that some entries are going to be out of date. A few of the QandAs offer advice which is wholly incorrect, so in some cases, you may want to contact assistance to hash things out.
· Video Tutorials and Webinars — Benchmark provides about two dozen video tutorials which take users step by step through the features of this program. The company also offers a webinar known as”Benchmark Mail Crash Course.” You can see it live each Friday at 10.00 a.m. PST or see the recorded version at any moment. You might also request a particular webinar on a number of different topics. Live webinars comprise the opportunity to ask questions throughout the demonstration.
· Email Marketing Manuals and Articles — There are more in-depth information on email marketing in general, in addition to the Benchmark program especially, at the Manuals Section. These downloadable files also cover industry-specific issues. Articles, very similar to blogs, offer users advice beyond that found in the FAQ section, but in shorter, more digestible chunks compared to the guides provide.
· Glossary of Email Marketing Requirements — This is a particularly helpful tool for all those brand new to email marketing who believe absorbed by all the jargon. Benchmark provides a glossarywith 50 of the very popular email advertising conditions from”above-the-fold” into”whitelists.”
· Blog and Newsletter — For current info about email advertising trends, check out Benchmark’s monthly newsletter, as well as its extremely active blog. All subscribers automatically obtain access to present newsletters, and Benchmark also offers 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 discuss 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 doesn’t Require any installation on your computer.
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. John Walton Benchmark At Southwind Email
Some common points of praise.
· Top Notch Service . This is perhaps the most typical observation concerning Benchmark, and some thing I discovered for myself too. People today are inclined to find support prompt and helpful, and a few say it is really the element that distinguishes Benchmark from its rivals. The company also receives praise for its website articles and videos.
· Feature Selection Across All Plans. Some users praise the addition of features like AB analyzing and surveys from most plans; many companies charge extra for these attributes or only include them into their pricier plans.
· Benefits of Use. Users tend to locate Benchmark’s interface incredibly user-friendly and intuitive. The program gathers praise from a broad assortment of demographics, from first-time ESP consumers to those who have attempted a variety of programs before settling Benchmark.
· Mobile Friendly Emails. Consumers were impressed with the mobile-friendly email layout of Benchmark’s templates. Since an increasing number of people access their email from mobile devices, this can be an increasingly important aspect to consider.
Negative Reviews and Complaints
I was not able to find many Men and Women who disliked Their Benchmark experience. But, I managed 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 when they were first scheduled. One customer theorized that the issue might arise from long lists of recipients. Not all customers of Benchmark will possess time-sensitive shipping demands, but other people will. Should you need your mails to go out precisely when your schedule dictates, you might need to consider this situation.
· Buggy Social Media Integrations. I watched several consumer reviews that commented the social media integrations in Benchmark aren’t up to par.
· “Spammy” Templates. Some users were worried that Benchmark’s templates may feel like spam mail, leading receivers to mark them as spam rather than studying the contents. Since the whole purpose of an ESP is to prevent 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 valid of complaints.
Benchmark Provides a huge number of pricing strategies, such as a totally 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 charge Cards, which is always refreshing. The only grab. There’ll be a little Benchmark emblem in the bottom of every 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 plan allows you to send up to 14000 emails to around 2000 subscribers and gives you access to all but not all Benchmark’s features list. Notable absences into the attributes list for free account comprise email automation and sub-accounts (allowing multiple users to get one Benchmark account).
Paid Strategies. John Walton Benchmark At Southwind Email
Users with little contacts lists and restricted Monthly messages have the choice of paying to get their email marketing depending on the amount of mails that 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 charge cards and also lets you pay through PayPal. They also offer you a 25% reduction for nonprofits and teachers.
Benchmark is a solid program. It is easy to use, Open to innovation, and competitively priced. Its free options might very well be the best in the company for anybody who just wants to dive into email advertising (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 advertising and has no desire to work beyond the principles just yet.
If you are a small or even medium-sized Business trying to find a easy email advertising program with a host of amazing features, Benchmark is an excellent option. Even though there may come a time when you outgrow the app, it supplies a great deal for the money, provides excellent service, and the company appears to be sensitive to the needs of its customers. You can not ask for more.