Overview Mail Campaign Services
For many a day in 2004, three people sat Around one desk in a small medical office — an office which served as the team’s conference room, breakfast area, and thought heart. Backed by a small programming team in India, the trio (consisting of Benchmark Internet Group founder Curt Keller, his wife Denise, and an SEO pro ) discussed ideas for how to execute a deceptively simple concept. Simple email advertising. Many of the thoughts were beyond the means of the fledgling company, but that didn’t stop Keller from moving ahead.
The first Clients of Benchmark Email were small businesses located in near proximity to Benchmark’s one-room HQ in Long Beach, CA. Keller and his staff personally sold them on the usage of email marketing, while working hard to create a simple user interface that would be easy to operate. All the time, the company uses such novel ideas as customizable templates and software which adapted to user needs. They also made certain from the outset that anybody who needed help would have quick access to excellent customer care.
Benchmark Has continued to rise and advantagesper. Its current focus. Providing worldwide email marketing services to small and medium-sized companies while continuing to honor a commitment to help children in need. This does not indicate that Benchmark is a little-guys-only company, however; it’s adhered to its core principle of adaptability and serves large organizations like UNICEF and Kaiser-Permanente via its High Volume Business plans.
Today, Benchmark serves upwards of 73,000 users from across the planet, however, the company hasn’t forgotten its roots. Benchmark still keeps good relationships with small, locally-based businesses. In fact, the organization offers a complete page of testimonials from local users of this program. You can read more about Benchmark’s background and development here.
While most of the features Benchmark supplies Are on par with the rest of the business, among the standout characteristics of the ESP is the simple fact that nearly all its features come standard with each accounts — including the free ones. Here are a few of Benchmark’s most notable offerings.
· Countless Industry-Specific, Themed Templates. Benchmark provides all users access to its library of over 400 templates. These are organized into 19 categories, some of which are tailored to particular industries such as education, entertainment, and retailstores. There’s also a category for societal media-specific templates.
· Video Emails. Possibly 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 surveys using one of Benchmark’s 6 templates. Post your survey on your website or build it directly 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 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’ emails into inboxes. The company is a member of the Email Sender and Provider Coalition and works with ReturnPath, a leading email delivery and consulting service. The company also communicates with ISPs on its customers’ behalf. Mail Campaign Services
· Mobile App. Benchmark’s mobile apps allow customers with an Apple device to access several functions on the road. They can access and include contacts, browse reports, send videos through integration using a YouTube accounts, and even design and send quick email blasts with one of 10 available templates. That is quite a bit more than a number of other businesses offer on their mobile apps, which makes them considerably more functional.
· Photo Editing. If the pictures you plan to use in your email campaign aren’t perfectly sized or need some colour adjustment, you may use Benchmark’s integrated photo editor. This is a pretty handy feature if you don’t have photoshop accessible.
· Code Editor. In case you have the know-how to work magic with HTML, Benchmark offers this ultra-customization option with which you can construct 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 made as annual messages like anniversary or birthday emails.
· Sign-Up Types . The only way to be prosperous in email advertising is by way of growing your own list, and Benchmark really promotes doing this via sign-up forms. The company 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 each medium.
· Inbox Checker. Since every email program differs and every web browser includes a signature style, making sure that your emails look great across the board is crucial. It is possible to use Inbox Checker to have a look at the way your email displays 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 each 100 checks.
· RSS-to-Email. Regular bloggers can create newsletters from their sites automatically through the RSS-to-Email feature, which works with any site which handles an RSS-feed. Users simply need 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-in link. Benchmark’s API Integration feature permits users with XML-RPC, HTTP POST, or HTTP GET skills to retrieve data from some other programs which use JSON, XML, XML-RPC, or PHP serialization strings. In brief, this permits them to play three purposes. Manage contact lists, handle campaigns and effort sending, and check statistics. The business describes this function in more detail .
· Advanced Metrics. Benchmark offers 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
Signing up for a Benchmark account is fairly straightforward. After entering your name, email, phone number, and company name, you have to confirm your email address. This was a five-minute process for me. Upon logging into my new account (with the free program ) I was greeted by an appealing UI that gave me a clear path on the best way to make my first email campaign. Great beginning!
Email Campaign Creation
On its dashboard, Benchmark provides users five main choices. Emails, Automations, Contacts, Surveys, and Reports. To create a new effort, go to the Emails segment, then hit the large blue”Create New Mail” button in the upper right-hand corner. Mail Campaign Services
From there, you must decide If You Would like an RSS Or classic email message. It is possible to use Benchmark’s drag-and-drop editor, or move 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 option.
I was prompted to enter a subject line for my Email and setup how much observation I desired on the message, as well as if I wanted an automated tweet once the effort went out. The next task was to choose which contacts I wanted to receive the campaign. With that, I was eventually able to start constructing the email itself. If you want to, you can construct your own email layouts using a very intuitive editor. On the flip side, you can modify one of Benchmark’s templates, which are great, and much better than I managed to do in my.
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 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 personal computer; import contacts directly from Salesforce.com, Hotmail, or Gmail accounts; or copy and paste large lists of contacts to a text type. Once you create your Benchmark lists, then they’ll appear on your dashboard, 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 date and time for delivery. If you would like to check all is well before unleashing your email about the planet, you can send it to yourself to preview it as many as 10 times/day. I chose to schedule my email for delivery to see how timely the automated system would actually be. I advised my email for 2.45 and obtained it at 2.50, so while the timing wasn’t exactly ideal, it was probably within tolerance levels for most users. If you’re one of the more infrequent users who need on-the-minute email sending, you might 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 Discovered about Benchmark email reports was something I would read in a few reviews. They are really, really quickly. I mean lightning fast. Opens enroll in the Benchmark system almost instantaneously. I’ve worked with a lot of different apps where these reports require 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, appears in both pie graph and numerical form. In addition, Benchmark provides users with stats such as clicks, forwards, bounces, unsubscribes, and misuse. Each stat further breaks down to the exact email addresses related to a given activity. Users may export this information for additional analysis by means of a csv or xls file. There is also a social media area which reports shares through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, as well as a map that breaks down, by country, who opens your emails. Mail Campaign Services
Though all of this information Is Excellent and Necessary, it isn’t sufficient to sustain higher level marketers who need more information such as conversions, which hyperlinks were clicked, and revenue analysis. Though Google Analytics provides a lot of that info with proper integration, there might come a time when serious marketers need more info than Benchmark provides. Whether a small company will reach that point varies, of course, based on the business.
Specific Size Of Company
Benchmark made its 3-tiered pricing Structure with the goal of serving everyone from the smallest kitchen-table startup to large email marketers. However, the company’s key focus is on small to medium businesses, especially those just beginning in email advertising. This is especially reflected in the reality that clients subscribing to the medium plans get unlimited mails, while larger plans have constraints.
Integrations and Add-Ons
Benchmark Offers roughly 20 plug-ins and integrations. If you do not observe the integration you want, there is 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 applications designed to integrate fully with Benchmark Email. Launched in 2012, this app allows users to create and customize occasions, promote and market tickets, and monitor the success of their events through their Benchmark Email accounts. A number of programs are available, including a free alternative.
· Salesforce.com — This integration enables users to import contacts into Benchmark and utilize Benchmark’s email system to keep Salesforce customers participated. Read our review of Salesforce here.
· WordPress — Benchmark Mail Lite is a WordPress plugin which permits users to quickly build an email audience via their readers. The plugin can automatically create email versions of blog posts and allows users to connect up to five Benchmark accounts.
· Highrise — Merges Highrise contacts using a Benchmark listing. Read our review of Highrisehere.
· Benchmark Power — This free plugin lets you source images for your Benchmark emails from locations throughout the web. Benchmark Power captures images you find and instantly uploads them to your Benchmark account for future usage.
· Flickr — Users with Flickr accounts can link Flickr to their Benchmark image galleries.
· Shopify — You can link a Shopify accounts to Benchmark and automatically add Shopify customers to Benchmark lists. You can even add subscribers to various lists based on which products they purchased. Read our review of Shopify here.
· PayPal — Users may add any of their PayPal clients for their own Benchmark email lists bylinking the accounts. Read our review of Paypal here.
· Easy List — Know more about this simple list-making app and download it .
· WordPress — The ever-present blog and site builder provides an integration with Benchmark. Use it to send emails of your blog articles and use the analytics to observe how your subscribers respond to them. Learn more here.
· Zapier — Gain access to Zapier’s enormous integration library . Mail Campaign Services
Social Media Integrations
Because Of the key connection between social networking and email advertising, it is important to look at the social media features included in Benchmark.
· Social Media Templates — One section of Benchmark’s massive email template listing is made of social media-specific templates that directly promote your company’s participation in social networking forums like facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
· Facebook”Like” Button — Benchmark provides a simple function which permits you to add a Facebook”Just Like” button to your own emails.
· Facebook Sign-Up Form — Benchmark provides easy-to-create sign-up forms (see”Characteristics” above) for both websites and Facebook fan pages, so you can convert followers into readers.
· Social Links within Email — Once you link your Benchmark account together with your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn accounts, you can add buttons to every email which will direct your subscribers 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 regarding the selection of personal data from citizens of these countries. When clients provide credit card amounts to Benchmark, the company utilizes secure socket layer (SSL) security to encrypt the information. The whole system is encrypted to ensure the safety of customers’ personal details.
Anti-Spam Policy and Protection
Like All legitimate ESPs, Benchmark takes spam seriously and summarizes a clear zero-tolerance coverage for any of their users trying to take part in spam actions. The company is fully in compliance with the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. Benchmark also takes several measures to preserve its standing as a spam-free provider, among them membership in the Email Sender and Provider Coalition. The company employs the app SpamAssassin to filter messages sent through its server.
To prevent users from Unknowingly sending spam-like materials, Benchmark provides a spam test feature which looks for words commonly used in spam messages. It scores each email on a scale from 1 to 5; 5s are assigned to content that’s very likely to be blocked. In the event of a high score, the program suggests”less spammy” alternatives. Individualized IP addresses also help large-volume senders decrease their spam amounts.
Client Support and Service
Benchmark Offers its customers a lot of support resources. Customer support is usually responsive, with minimal waiting times. The website offers good learning tools, but can be needlessly opaque at times. Key information can be buried and difficult to find, especially if you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for, especially when it comes to minute details about strategies. As an example. The Free For Life plan includes Benchmark branding on every email, but you won’t see that mentioned on the Free For Life page, not even in the fine print. Nor are you going to see it said when you sign up. The only place it’s mentioned is in the FAQ, here.
Here are some of the resources Benchmark offers. Mail Campaign Services
· Live Support and Email — Benchmark provides live one-on-one support through these means.
· Email Service. Contact Benchmark at [email protected] or via 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 countries). Available weekdays from 6 am to 5 pm PT.
· Chat Support. Accessible almost 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 because it is closer to some QandA-format knowledge foundation than a normal FAQ. You will find more than 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 from their FAQ as a whole. 1 caveat. With such an extensive knowledge base, it’s pretty much inevitable that some entries are going to be out of date. Some of the QandAs provide information that’s wholly incorrect, so in some cases, you might want 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 Email Crash Course.” You can view it live each Friday at 10.00 a.m. PST or watch the recorded version at any moment. You might also ask for a special webinar on quite a few different topics. Live webinars include the chance to ask questions during the presentation.
· Email Marketing Manuals and Articles — You can find more in-depth information on email marketing in general, in addition to the Benchmark program especially, in the Manuals Section. These downloadable documents 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 than the manuals provide.
· Glossary of Email Marketing Terms — This can be a particularly helpful tool for those brand new to email marketing who feel absorbed by all of the jargon. Benchmark gives a glossarywith 50 of the very popular email advertising conditions from”above-the-fold” into”whitelists.”
· Website and Newsletter — For current info regarding email marketing trends, check out Benchmark’s monthly newsletter, as well as its exceptionally active site. 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 at the Benchmark Community. This forum allows users to talk about newsletter creation approaches, vote for their favorite newsletters, and gain inspiration from other Benchmark users.
Web-Based Or Locally-Installed
Benchmark is entirely web-based and doesn’t Require any setup on your PC.
Favorable Reviews and Testimonials
Benchmark Includes a four-out-of-five star rating on G2 Crowd, using a slightly better showing on GetApp and Capterra. 4.5 stars each. Mail Campaign Services
Some common points of praise.
· Top Notch Support. This is perhaps the most typical observation concerning Benchmark, and something I noticed for myself as well. People are inclined to find support prompt and beneficial, and a few say it is actually the component that distinguishes Benchmark from its competitors. The business also receives praise for its blog articles and videos.
· Characteristic Selection Across All Aims . Some customers praise the inclusion of features like AB analyzing and surveys from most plans; many firms charge extra for such features or only include them in their pricier plans.
· Ease of Use. Users have a tendency to locate Benchmark’s interface incredibly intuitive and user-friendly. The program gathers compliments from a wide assortment of demographics, from first time ESP users to people who have tried 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 is an increasingly important aspect to take into account.
Negative Reviews and Complaints
I was not able to find many Men and Women who loathed Their Benchmark experience. However, I managed to discover a few complaints.
· Inconsistent Send-Times. Apparently some users experienced a problem with Benchmark where their mails were sent hours after they were scheduled. One customer theorized the issue might arise in long lists of recipients. Not all customers of all Benchmark will possess time-sensitive shipping demands, but other people will. Should you need your mails to go out exactly when your schedule dictates, you may need to consider this situation.
· Buggy Social Media Integrations. I watched several consumer testimonials that remarked the social networking integrations in Benchmark aren’t up to par.
· “Spammy” Templates. Some users were concerned that Benchmark’s templates may feel like spam email, causing receivers to mark them as junk rather than reading 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 while looking through the template list, so it might not be the most legitimate of complaints.
Benchmark Provides a enormous number of pricing strategies, including a free plan and a massive scale of paid programs that can service anywhere between 600 and 7,140,000 subscribers.
Benchmark’s free plans do not require charge 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 may always choose to upgrade to a paid program if you don’t need the Benchmark branding. The free program permits you to send up to 14000 emails to up to 2000 subscribers and provides you access to all but not all Benchmark’s features list. Notable absences to the features list for free account include email automation and sub-accounts (allowing many users to access one Benchmark account).
Paid Plans. Mail Campaign Services
Users with little contacts lists and limited Monthly messages have the choice of paying to get their email marketing based on the amount of mails they send every month.
o Medium 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 a 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 allows you to 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 options might just be the very best in the company for anybody who just wants to dive into email advertising (particularly small, local businesses). For that matter, any Benchmark strategy can work well for a little company which views email as a minor aspect of its advertising and does not have any desire to work past the principles just yet.
If you are a little or maybe medium-sized Company trying to find a simple email advertising program with a host of amazing features, Benchmark is an exceptional option. Though there may come a time when you launch the program, it provides a great deal for the price, provides exceptional support, and the company appears to be sensitive to the requirements of its users. You can not ask for more.