For many an evening in 2004, three people sat Around a single desk in a small medical office — an office that served as the group’s conference room, breakfast area, and thought heart. Backed by a little programming group in India, the trio (comprising Benchmark Internet Group founder Curt Keller, his wife Denise, along with an SEO pro ) discussed ideas for how to implement a deceptively simple concept. Simple email marketing. Many of the thoughts were beyond the means of the fledgling business, but that did not stop Keller from planning ahead.
The first Customers of Benchmark Email were small companies located in close 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 create a simple user interface that would be simple to operate. All the while, the business championed such novel ideas as customizable templates and applications which adapted to user requirements. They also made certain from the outset that anyone who needed help would have rapid access to excellent customer care.
Benchmark Has continued to rise and advantagesper. Its current focus. Providing global email marketing services to small and midsize businesses while continuing to honor a commitment to help kids in need. This does not mean that Benchmark is a little-guys-only company, however; it has adhered to its core principle of adaptability and serves big organizations like UNICEF and Kaiser-Permanente via its High Volume Business plans.
Today, Benchmark serves up of 73,000 users from across the planet, but the company hasn’t forgotten its origins. Benchmark still keeps good relationships with little, locally-based companies. In reality, the company supplies a complete page of testimonials from local users of this program. You may read more about Benchmark’s history and development here.
While the Majority of the attributes Benchmark supplies Are on par with the rest of the business, among the standout features of the ESP is the fact that most of its attributes come standard with each accounts — including the free ones. Below are some of Benchmark’s most notable offerings.
· Countless Industry-Specific, Themed Templates. Benchmark provides all customers 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 class for social media-specific templates.
· Video Emails. Perhaps the best-known advantage of Benchmark is its support for video emails. The company explains the advantages of this attribute here.
· Online Surveys. You can create professional-looking online surveys using among Benchmark’s 6 templates. Post your poll on your site or construct it into an email.
· Dedicated Email Server. All Benchmark’s High Volume plans come with a dedicated IP address to help increase deliverability rates. Users on other plans have the choice of paying for this service ($30/month) to boost their own delivery stats. Read more about the benefits of dedicated servers .
· Email Delivery Direction . Benchmark’s email delivery management program is about getting clients’ mails into inboxes. The company is a member of the Email Sender and Provider Coalition and works with ReturnPath, a leading email delivery and consulting support. The company also communicates with ISPs on its clients’ behalf. Mailing
· Mobile App. Benchmark’s mobile programs make it possible for customers with an Apple device to access several purposes on the street. They can get and include contacts, read reports, send videos through integration with a YouTube account, and even design and send fast email blasts with one of 10 available templates. This is quite a bit more than many other businesses offer in their mobile apps, making them much more functional.
· Photo Editing. If the pictures you plan to utilize in your email campaign are not perfectly sized or want some colour adjustment, you can use Benchmark’s integrated picture editor. This is a pretty handy feature if you do not have photoshop accessible.
· Code Editor. If you have the know-how to work magic with HTML, Benchmark offers this ultra-customization option with which you may construct your mails from scratch.
· Autoresponder. Every Benchmark customer has the power to style around eight custom autoresponder messages. These can be scheduled as a string or event lead-up, or made as annual messages such as birthday or anniversary mails.
· Sign-Up Forms. The only way to become prosperous in email advertising is through growing your own list, and Benchmark actually promotes doing this via 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 custom templates for each medium.
· Inbox Checker. Since every email program differs and every internet browser includes a signature fashion, making certain that your emails look good across the board is important. It is possible to use Inbox Checker to look at the way that your email screens in Gmail using Explorer and Outlook 3. Employing the full app (which assesses everything out of AOL to Yahoo, Explorer to Safari, mobile to PC) is a paid add-on service, available for $14 each 100 checks.
· RSS-to-Email. Regular bloggers can create newsletters from their sites mechanically through the RSS-to-Email feature, which works with any site which handles an RSS-feed. Users only need to establish a campaign and template inside Benchmark once.
· API Integration. An API (Application Program Interface) allows different software programs to communicate with one another without a formal plug-in link. Benchmark’s API Integration feature permits users using XML-RPC, HTTP POST, or HTTP GET skills to recover data from some other programs that use JSON, XML, XML-RPC, or PHP serialization strings. In a nutshell, this allows them to perform three purposes. Manage contact lists, handle campaigns and effort sending, and assess data. The company explains this role in more detail .
· Advanced Metrics. Benchmark provides both List 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
Signing up for a Benchmark accounts is pretty straightforward. After entering your name, email, contact number, and business name, you need to validate your email address. This was a five-minute process for me. Upon logging in to my account (using the free plan) I was greeted by an attractive UI that gave me a very clear path on how to create my first email campaign. Great start!
Email Campaign Creation
On its own dashboard, Benchmark offers users five chief choices. Emails, Automations, Contacts, Surveys, and Reports. To create a new effort, proceed into the Emails segment, then hit the large blue”Create New Email” button in the top right-hand corner. Mailing
From there, you must decide if you want an RSS Or traditional email message. It is possible to use Benchmark’s drag-and-drop editor, or move 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 prompted to enter a subject line for my Email and set up how much observation I desired on the message, as well as if I wanted an automatic tweet when the effort went out. The following task was to choose which contacts I wanted to get the campaign. With that, I was eventually able to start building the email . If you would like to, you can construct your personal email layouts employing an extremely intuitive editor. On the other hand, you can alter one of Benchmark’s templates, which can be great, and much better than I was able to do in my.
Sending the Email Campaign
If you are just Starting out, you can certainly do as I did and manually enter contacts 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 directly 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, they will appear on your dash, along with a Master Unsubscribe List.
The sending of the email is rather simple. Once you have finished all your tweaks, you may save the email as a draft, send it immediately, or schedule a time and date for delivery. If you want to check everything is well before unleashing your email about the planet, it is possible to send it to your self to preview it as many as 10 times/day. I opted to program my email for delivery to see how timely the automatic system would actually be. I scheduled my email for 2.45 and obtained it at 2.50, therefore while the timing wasn’t exactly perfect, it was likely present in tolerance levels for many users. If you’re one of the more infrequent users who demand 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 in my”promotions” folder. Definitely not perfect.
Email Campaign Reporting
The first thing I Discovered about Benchmark email reports was something I would read about in a couple of reviews. They’re really, really fast. I mean lightning fast. Opens enroll from the Benchmark system virtually immediately. I’ve worked with a lot of other apps where these reports require hours or even days to appear.
Benchmark provides users with several key Bits of information about every campaign. The possibly most important statistic, the open rate, seems in both pie chart and numerical type. In addition, Benchmark provides users with stats for clicks, forwards, bounces, unsubscribes, and abuse. Each stat further breaks down to the specific 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, in addition to a map which breaks down, by country, who opens your mails. Mailing
Though all of this information Is Excellent and Necessary, it isn’t enough to sustain higher level marketers that want more information such as conversions, which links were clicked, and revenue analysis. Although Google Analytics provides a whole lot of that info with proper integration, there may come a time when serious marketers need more information than Benchmark provides. Whether a small company will get to that point changes, naturally, based on the business.
Particular Size Of Company
Benchmark made its 3-tiered pricing Structure with the goal of serving everybody from the smallest kitchen-table startup to big email marketers. On the other hand, the organization’s key focus is on small to medium businesses, particularly those just beginning in email marketing. This is especially reflected in the fact that customers subscribing to the moderate plans get unlimited mails, while bigger plans have limitations.
Integrations and Add-Ons
Benchmark Offers approximately 20 plug-ins and integrations. If you don’t observe the integration you need, there’s still hope. You can use the API or ask an 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 program permits users to make and customize events, promote and sell tickets, and track the success of their events via their Benchmark Email accounts. A variety of subscriptions are available, such as 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 overview of Salesforce here.
· WordPress — Benchmark Email Lite is a WordPress plug-in which allows users to quickly build an email audience via their readers. The plug-in 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 overview of Highrisehere.
· Benchmark Power — This free plug-in allows you to supply images for your Benchmark emails from places throughout the net. Benchmark Power captures pictures you locate and instantly uploads them to your 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 account to Benchmark and mechanically add Shopify customers to Benchmark lists. You can even add subscribers to various lists based on what they bought. Read our review of Shopify here.
· PayPal — Users can add some of their PayPal clients to their Benchmark email lists bylinking the account. Read our overview of Paypal here.
· Easy List — Learn more about this very simple list-making program and download it here.
· WordPress — The ever-present site and website builder provides an integration using Benchmark. Use it to send mails of your blog posts and also use the analytics to see how your readers react to them. Learn more here.
· Zapier — Gain entry to Zapier’s enormous integration library here. Mailing
Social Media Integrations
Since Of the key link between social media and email advertising, it is important to check out the social networking features included in Benchmark.
· Social Media Templates — One segment of Benchmark’s enormous email template list is made of social media-specific templates which directly promote your institution’s involvement in social media forums like facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
· Facebook”Like” Button — Benchmark provides a simple function which allows you to add a Facebook”Just Like” button to your emails.
· Facebook Sign-Up Form — Benchmark supplies 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 Mail — After you connect your Benchmark account together with your Facebook, Twitter, and/or LinkedIn accounts, you can add switches to each email which will direct your subscribers to each of your social media pages.
The company also fully Complies with the U.S.-E.U. and U.S.-Swiss Safe Harbor Frameworks regarding the collection of personal data from citizens of these nations. When customers provide credit card amounts to Benchmark, the business utilizes secure socket layer (SSL) security to encrypt the info. The whole system is encrypted to ensure the safety of customers’ personal details.
Anti-Spam Policy and Protection
Like All valid ESPs, Benchmark takes spam seriously and summarizes a clear zero-tolerance policy for any of the users trying to engage in spam activities. The business is fully in compliance with all the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. Benchmark additionally takes several measures to preserve its reputation as a spam-free provider, among them membership in the Email Sender and Provider Coalition. The business employs the program SpamAssassin to filter messages sent through its server.
To stop users from Unknowingly sending spam-like materials, Benchmark supplies a spam test feature that looks for words widely utilized in spam messages. It scores each email on a scale from 1 to 5; 5s are delegated to content that’s 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 decrease their spam numbers.
Customer Support and Service
Benchmark Offers its customers a lot of support tools. Customer service is generally responsive, with minimal waiting times. The site provides good learning tools, but can be opaque at times. Crucial information is often buried and hard to locate, especially in the event that you don’t know precisely what you’re looking for, especially when it comes to minute details about strategies. For instance. The Free For Life plan comprises 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 will you see it said when you register. The only place it’s mentioned is in the FAQ, here.
Here are some of the resources Benchmark offers. Mailing
· Live Email and Support — Benchmark supplies live one-on-one support through the following means.
· Email Support. Contact Benchmark at [email protected] or via the company’s contact form here. Available 24 hours Monday — Friday and limited hours on Saturday.
· Telephone Support. You can reach Benchmark in 800-430-4095 (U.S.) or 001-562-252-3789 (all states ). Available weekdays from 6 am to 5 pm PT.
· Chat Support. Available nearly 24 hours daily Monday — Friday and limited hours on Saturday. Offered in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian.
· FAQ — Benchmark’s FAQ section is somewhat mislabeled as it is closer to a QandA-format knowledge base than a typical FAQ. You will find over 900 entries, sorted into 18 topics ranging from”Getting Started” to”API.” Users may perform a key word search of any topic (or sub-topic) or from their FAQ as a whole. 1 caveat. With such a comprehensive knowledge base, it’s pretty much inevitable that some entries will be out of date. Some of the QandAs offer information which is wholly incorrect, so in some cases, you may want to contact support to hash things out.
· Video Tutorials and Webinars — Benchmark supplies about two dozen movie tutorials that take users step by step through the features of the app. The company also offers a webinar known as”Benchmark Email Crash Course.” You can see it live each Friday at 10.00 a.m. PST or watch the recorded version at any time. You can also request a particular webinar on a number of different subjects. Live webinars include the chance to ask questions during the presentation.
· Email Marketing Manuals and Articles — There are more in-depth information on email marketing in general, as well as the Benchmark program specifically, at the Manuals Section. These downloadable files also cover industry-specific troubles. Articles, similar to blogs, offer users advice 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 valuable tool for those brand new to email marketing who believe consumed by all of the jargon. Benchmark gives a glossarywith 50 of the most popular email marketing terms from”above-the-fold” to”whitelists.”
· Website and Newsletter — For current information regarding email marketing trends, check out Benchmark’s monthly newsletter, as well as its extremely active site. All subscribers automatically gain access to current newsletters, and Benchmark also provides an archive of newsletter posts from November 2007-October 2012.
· Benchmark Community — Benchmark users can post their newest newsletters on message boards in the Benchmark Community. This forum allows users to discuss newsletter production approaches, vote for their favourite newsletters, and gain inspiration from additional Benchmark users.
Web-Based Or Locally-Installed
Benchmark is entirely web-based and doesn’t Require any setup on your PC.
Positive Reviews and Reviews
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. Mailing
Some common points of compliments.
· Top Notch Service . This is maybe the most typical monitoring regarding Benchmark, and something I noticed for myself as well. People today tend to find support prompt and helpful, and a few say it is actually the component that distinguishes Benchmark from its rivals. The business also receives praise for its website articles and videos.
· Characteristic Selection Across All Plans. Some users praise the inclusion of features like AB testing and surveys in all plans; many companies charge extra for these attributes or just include them in their pricier programs.
· Ease of Use. Users tend to locate Benchmark’s interface incredibly intuitive and user-friendly. The program gathers compliments from a broad range of demographics, from first-time ESP users to people who have attempted many different programs before settling 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 aspect to take into account.
Negative Reviews and Complaints
I was not able to find many people who disliked Their own Benchmark experience. But, I was able to discover a few 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. 1 customer theorized the issue might arise from lengthy lists of recipients. Not all clients of all Benchmark will possess time-sensitive shipping needs, but others will. Should you want your emails to go out precisely when your program dictates, you might have to take into account this situation.
· Buggy Social Media Integrations. I saw several user reviews that remarked the social networking integrations in Benchmark are not up to par.
· “Spammy” Templates. Some users have been worried that Benchmark’s templates can feel like spam mail, leading recipients to mark them as spam rather than studying the contents. Since the whole point of an ESP would be to stop this from occurring, this might be a problem. On the other hand, I never felt this way whilst searching through the template list, so it may not be the most legitimate of complaints.
Benchmark Provides a huge number of pricing strategies, such as a free plan and a massive array of paid plans which can service anywhere between 600 and 7,140,000 subscribers.
Benchmark’s free programs do not require credit Cards, that is always refreshing. The only catch. There will be a small Benchmark logo at the bottom of every email you send out. Of course, you may always opt to upgrade to a paid plan if you don’t want the Benchmark branding. The free plan permits you to send up to 14000 emails to up to 2000 subscribers and provides you access to most but not all of Benchmark’s features list. Notable absences into the attributes list for free accounts comprise email automation and sub-accounts (enabling multiple users to access one Benchmark accounts ).
Paid Strategies. Mailing
Users with small contacts lists and limited Monthly messages have the choice of paying for their email advertising based 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 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 a month
Benchmark accepts all Major charge cards and also allows you to pay through PayPal. They also offer you a 25% discount for nonprofits and educators.
Benchmark is a good program. It is easy to use, Open to innovation, and competitively priced. Its free options may very well be the best in the business for anybody who only wants to dip into email advertising (especially small, neighborhood companies ). For that matter, any Benchmark plan can work well for a small business which perspectives email as a little aspect of its advertising and does not have any desire to operate beyond the principles just yet.
If you are a little or even medium-sized Company looking for a easy email advertising program using a host of amazing features, Benchmark is an exceptional choice. Even though there might come a time when you outgrow the app, it provides a lot for the price, offers excellent service, and the company appears to be sensitive to the needs of its users. You can not ask for more.