Overview Managed Email Marketing Services
For many an evening in 2004, three people sat Around a single desk in a tiny medical office — an office which functioned as the team’s conference room, breakfast area, and thought hub. Backed by a small programming team in India, the trio (consisting of Benchmark Internet Group founder Curt Keller, his wife Denise, along with an search engine optimization pro ) discussed ideas on how best to execute a deceptively straightforward idea. Simple email advertising. Many of the thoughts were beyond the resources of this fledgling business, but that didn’t stop Keller from moving 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 personally sold them on the usage of email marketing, while working hard to make a simple user interface that would be easy to operate. All the time, the business uses such innovative ideas as customizable templates and applications which adapted to user requirements. They also made sure from the outset that anyone who needed help would have rapid access to excellent customer care.
Benchmark Has continued to rise and advantagesper. Its present focus. Providing global email marketing services to small and midsize companies while continuing to honor a commitment to help kids in need. This doesn’t mean that Benchmark is a little-guys-only service, however; it has stuck to its core principle of adaptability and serves large organizations such as UNICEF and Kaiser-Permanente through its High Volume Enterprise plans.
Today, Benchmark serves upwards of 73,000 users from across the globe, but the company has not forgotten its origins. Benchmark still keeps good relationships with small, locally-based companies. In reality, the company offers a complete page of testimonials from local users of the app. You can read more about Benchmark’s history and development here.
While most of the features Benchmark provides Are on par with the rest of the business, one of the standout characteristics of this ESP is the simple fact that most of its features come standard with every single accounts — such as the free ones. Below are some of Benchmark’s most noteworthy offerings.
· Hundreds of Industry-Specific, Themed Templates. Benchmark provides all users access to its library of over 400 templates. These are organized into 19 classes, some of which are tailored to specific industries such as education, entertainment, and retailstores. There’s also a class for social media-specific templates.
· Video Emails. Possibly the best-known advantage of Benchmark is its support for video mails. The business describes the benefits of this feature here.
· Online Surveys. You’ll be able to create professional-looking online polls using one of Benchmark’s 6 templates. Post your poll on your website or construct it directly into an email.
· Dedicated Email Server. All Benchmark’s High Volume programs have a dedicated IP address to help increase deliverability rates. Users on other programs have the choice of paying for this service ($30/month) to boost their own delivery stats. Read more about the benefits of dedicated servers .
· Email Delivery Management. Benchmark’s email shipping management program is about getting clients’ mails into inboxes. The business is a member of the Email Sender and Provider Coalition and operates with ReturnPath, a top email delivery and delivery support. The company also communicates with ISPs on its customers’ behalf. Managed Email Marketing Services
· Mobile App. Benchmark’s mobile programs allow customers having an Apple device to get several functions on the road. They can access and add contacts, read reports, send videos through integration using a YouTube account, and even design and send quick email blasts with one of 10 available templates. That is quite a bit more than many other companies offer in their mobile programs, which makes them much more functional.
· Photo Editing. If the pictures you intend to utilize on your email campaign aren’t perfectly sized or need some color adjustment, you can use Benchmark’s integrated picture editor. This is a pretty handy feature if you don’t have photoshop accessible.
· Code Editor. If you have the know-how to work magic with HTML, Benchmark offers this ultra-customization choice with which you can construct your mails from scratch.
· Autoresponder. Each Benchmark customer has the ability to design up to eight custom autoresponder messages. These could be scheduled as a string or occasion lead-up, or designed as yearly messages such as birthday or anniversary emails.
· Sign-Up Forms. The only way to be successful in email advertising is through growing your list, and Benchmark actually promotes doing this via sign-up forms. The company bases its Free For Life account entirely around website and Facebook sign-ups and provides an easy-to-use tool to create customized templates for each medium.
· Inbox Checker. Because every email program differs and each internet browser has 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 that your email displays in Gmail using Explorer and Outlook 3. Employing the entire app (which assesses everything from AOL to Yahoo, Explorer into Safari, mobile to PC) is a paid add-on provider, available for $14 per 100 checks.
· RSS-to-Email. Regular bloggers can create newsletters from their sites automatically through the RSS-to-Email attribute, which works with any blog which handles an RSS-feed. Users simply need to set up a template and campaign inside Benchmark once.
· API Integration. An API (Application Program Interface) enables different software programs to communicate with one another with no formal plug-in connection. Benchmark’s API Integration feature permits users with XML-RPC, HTTP POST, or HTTP GET skills to recover data from some other apps which use JSON, XML, XML-RPC, or PHP serialization strings. In a nutshell, this permits them to perform three functions. Manage contact lists, handle campaigns and effort sending, and assess data. The company explains this role in more detail here.
· Advanced Metrics. Benchmark provides both Listing Segmentation and AB Split Testing.
· Multiple-Language Interface. Benchmark is offered 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, phone number, and company name, you have to confirm your email address. This is a five-minute procedure for me. Upon logging in to my account (with the free plan) I was greeted by an appealing UI that gave me a very clear direction about how to create 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 make a new campaign, proceed into the Emails segment, then hit on the big blue”Create New Email” button at the upper right-hand corner. Managed Email Marketing Services
From there, you have to decide if you want an RSS Or classic email message. You can use Benchmark’s drag-and-drop editor, or go for more customization with 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 gifted that way, so I moved with the drag-and-drop option.
I was prompted 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 when the effort went out. The next task was to choose which contacts I wished to get the campaign. With that, I was finally able to begin building the email itself. If you would like to, you are able to assemble your own email designs employing a very intuitive editor. On the other hand, you can modify one of Benchmark’s templates, which can be great, and much better than I was able to do on my own.
Preventing the Email Campaign
If you are just Starting out, you can certainly do as I did and manually enter contacts one at a time. However, for those who already have a 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 huge lists of contacts into a text form. When you create your Benchmark lists, then they’ll appear on your dashboard, along with a Master Unsubscribe List.
The sending of the email is rather easy. When you’ve completed all your tweaks, you may save email as a draft, send it instantly, or schedule a time and date for delivery. If you want to verify all is well before distributing your email about the world, it is possible to send it to yourself to preview it as many as 10 times/day. I opted to schedule my email for shipping to view how timely the automated system would actually be. I scheduled my email for 2.45 and received it in 2.50, therefore while the timing was not exactly ideal, it was likely within tolerance levels for many users. If you’re one of the more rare users who need on-the-minute email sending, then you may have 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
First thing I Discovered about Benchmark email reports was something I’d read about in a couple of reviews. They’re really, really quickly. I mean lightning fast. Opens enroll from the Benchmark system virtually immediately. I’ve worked with a lot of other programs where these reports take hours or even days to appear.
Benchmark provides users with several key Bits of information about each campaign. The arguably most important statistic, the available rate, appears in both pie chart and numerical type. In addition, Benchmark supplies users with stats for clicks, forwards, bounces, unsubscribes, and abuse. Every stat further breaks down to the specific email addresses related to a given activity. Users can export this data for additional analysis via a csv or xls file. There’s also a social networking area which reports shares via Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, in addition to a map which breaks down, by state, that opens your mails. Managed Email Marketing Services
Though all of this information is great and Necessary, it isn’t sufficient to sustain increased level marketers who want more info 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 or not a small business will get to that point changes, naturally, dependent on the business.
Specific Size Of Business
Benchmark made 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 key focus is on small to medium companies, particularly those just beginning in email marketing. This is particularly reflected in the reality that clients subscribing to the medium plans get unlimited mails, while larger plans have limitations.
Integrations and Add-Ons
Benchmark Offers roughly 20 plug-ins and integrations. If you do not 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 software designed to integrate fully with Benchmark Email. Launched in 2012, this program permits users to create and customize occasions, promote and sell tickets, and monitor the success of their events via their Benchmark Email account. A variety of programs are available, including a free option.
· Salesforce.com — This integration enables users to import contacts into Benchmark and use Benchmark’s email system to maintain Salesforce customers engaged. Read our review of Salesforce here.
· Twitter — Benchmark Mail Lite is a WordPress plug-in which allows users to easily build an email audience through their readers. The plug-in can automatically produce email versions 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 supply images for your Benchmark emails from places across the web. Benchmark Power captures pictures you locate and instantly uploads them to a Benchmark account for future use.
· Flickr — Users with Flickr accounts may link Flickr for their Benchmark image galleries.
· Shopify — You are able to link a Shopify account to Benchmark and automatically add Shopify clients to Benchmark lists. You may even add contributors to different lists based on which products they bought. Read our review of Shopify here.
· PayPal — Users can add some of their PayPal customers to their own Benchmark email lists bylinking the account. Read our overview of Paypal here.
· Easy List — Know more about this very simple list-making app and download it here.
· WordPress — The ever-present blog and site builder provides an integration with Benchmark. Use it to send mails of your blog articles and use the analytics to see how your readers respond to them. Learn more here.
· Zapier — Gain entry to Zapier’s enormous integration library here. Managed Email Marketing Services
Social Media Integrations
Because Of the key connection between social media and email marketing, it’s important to check out the social networking features contained in Benchmark.
· Social Media Templates — One segment of Benchmark’s massive email template list is made of social media-specific templates that directly promote your institution’s participation in social networking forums such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
· Facebook”Like” Button — Benchmark offers a simple function which allows you to bring a Facebook”Like” button into your own emails.
· Facebook Sign-Up Form — Benchmark provides easy-to-create sign-up forms (see”Characteristics” above) for both sites and Facebook fan pages, to help you convert followers into readers.
· Social Links within Mail — Once you link your Benchmark account with your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn accounts, you can add switches to every email which 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 those countries. When clients provide credit card amounts to Benchmark, the company utilizes secure socket layer (SSL) security to encrypt the information. The entire platform is encrypted to ensure the safety of customers’ personal details.
Anti-Spam Policy and Protection
Like All valid ESPs, Benchmark takes spam seriously and outlines a clear zero-tolerance coverage for any of the users trying to engage in spam activities. The business is entirely in compliance with the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. Benchmark also takes several steps to maintain its reputation as a spam-free supplier, one of them membership in the Email Sender and Provider Coalition. The company uses the program SpamAssassin to filter messages sent through its host.
To stop users from Unknowingly sending spam-like materials, Benchmark supplies a spam check feature that looks for words widely used in spam messages. It scores every email on a scale from 1 to 5; 5s are delegated to content that’s likely to be blocked. In case of a high score, the program suggests”less spammy” choices. Individualized IP addresses also help large-volume senders decrease their spam amounts.
Client Support and Service
Benchmark Offers its customers a lot of support tools. Customer service is usually responsive, with minimal waiting times. The site provides good learning tools, but may be opaque at times. Crucial information is often buried and difficult to find, particularly if you don’t know precisely what you’re searching for, especially in regards to minute particulars about plans. For instance. That the Free For Life plan comprises Benchmark branding on each email, however you won’t find that mentioned on the Free For Life webpage, not even in the fine print. Nor will you see it said when you sign up. The only place it’s mentioned is at the FAQ, here.
Here are some of the resources Benchmark offers. Managed Email Marketing Services
· Live Support and Email — Benchmark supplies live one-on-one aid through the following means.
· Email Support. Contact Benchmark at [email protected] or through the organization’s contact form here. Accessible 24 hours Monday — Friday and restricted hours on Saturday.
· Phone Support. You can reach Benchmark at 800-430-4095 (U.S.) or 001-562-252-3789 (all states ). Available weekdays from 6 am to 5 pm PT.
· Chat Support. Available almost 24 hours daily Monday — Friday and restricted hours on Saturday. Founded in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian.
· FAQ — Benchmark’s FAQ section is somewhat mislabeled because it’s closer to some QandA-format knowledge base than a typical FAQ. There are more than 900 entries, sorted into 18 subjects ranging from”Getting Started” to”API.” Users can execute a key word search of any topic (or sub-topic) or from 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 inaccurate, so in some cases, you might 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 may see it live each Friday at 10.00 a.m. PST or see the recorded version at any time. You might also request a special webinar on a number of different topics. Live webinars include the chance to ask questions throughout the presentation.
· Email Marketing Manuals and Articles — You can find more in-depth details 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, very similar to sites, offer users advice beyond that found in the FAQ section, but in shorter, more readable chunks compared to the guides provide.
· Glossary of Email Marketing Requirements — This can be a particularly helpful tool for those brand new to email marketing who feel absorbed by all the jargon. Benchmark gives a glossarywith 50 of the very popular email marketing conditions from”above-the-fold” to”whitelists.”
· Blog and Newsletter — For current info about email marketing trends, check out Benchmark’s monthly newsletter, as well as its exceptionally active site. All subscribers automatically gain access to present newsletters, and Benchmark also offers an archive of newsletter posts from November 2007-October 2012.
· Benchmark Community — Benchmark users may post their latest 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 installation on your PC.
Favorable Reviews and Testimonials
Benchmark Includes a four-out-of-five star rating on G2 Crowd, with a slightly better showing on GetApp and Capterra. 4.5 stars each. Managed Email Marketing Services
Some common points of compliments.
· Top Notch Service . This is maybe the most common observation regarding Benchmark, and something I noticed for myself too. People are inclined to find support prompt and beneficial, and a few say it’s actually the element that distinguishes Benchmark from its rivals. The company also receives praise for its blog articles and videos.
· Characteristic Selection Across All Aims . Some customers praise the addition of features including AB testing and surveys in most plans; many companies charge extra for such attributes or only include them in their pricier plans.
· Ease of Use. Users tend to find Benchmark’s interface extremely user-friendly and intuitive. The program gathers compliments from a broad range of demographics, from first-time ESP users to people 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 factor to consider.
Negative Reviews and Complaints
I was Unable to find many people who disliked Their own Benchmark experience. But, I managed to discover a couple of complaints.
· Inconsistent Send-Times. Apparently a few users experienced a problem with Benchmark where their mails were sent hours when they were first scheduled. 1 customer theorized that the issue might arise in lengthy 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 precisely when your program dictates, you might have to consider this issue.
· Buggy Social Media Integrations. I saw several user testimonials that commented the social networking 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 recipients to mark them as spam rather than studying the contents. Since the whole point of an ESP is to stop this from occurring, this may be a problem. On the other hand, I never felt this way whilst looking through the template list, so it may not be the most valid of complaints.
Benchmark Offers a enormous variety of pricing plans, such as a free plan and a huge array of paid programs which may service anywhere between 600 and 7,140,000 subscribers.
Benchmark’s free programs do not require charge Cards, that is always refreshing. The only grab. There will be a little Benchmark logo in the bottom of each email you send out. Obviously, you can always choose to upgrade to a paid plan in case you don’t need the Benchmark branding. The free plan allows you to send up to 14000 mails to around 2000 subscribers and gives you access to all but not all of Benchmark’s features list. Notable absences to the attributes list for free accounts include email automation and sub-accounts (allowing multiple users to access one Benchmark accounts ).
Paid Plans. Managed Email Marketing Services
Users with small contacts lists and limited Monthly messages have the option of paying to get their email marketing depending on the number of emails they send every month.
o Medium 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 a month
o Massive Plans. 1,070,000-7,140,000 subscribers, $4,500-$29,200 a month
Benchmark accepts all Major credit cards and also allows you to pay through PayPal. They also offer a 25% discount for nonprofits and educators.
Benchmark is a good program. It is Simple to Use, Open to invention, and competitively priced. Its free options may very well be the very best in the business for anyone who just wants to dive into email advertising (particularly small, local companies ). For that matter, any Benchmark plan can work well for a little company which perspectives email as a minor aspect of its advertising and does not have any desire to work beyond the basics just yet.
If you are a small or maybe medium-sized Business trying to find a easy email marketing program with a multitude of amazing features, Benchmark is an excellent choice. Even though there may come a time when you launch the app, it provides a great deal for the money, offers excellent support, and the company seems to be sensitive to the requirements of its customers. You can not ask for much more.