For many a day 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 idea hub. Backed by a small programming group in India, the trio (comprising Benchmark Internet Group founder Curt Keller, his wife Denise, along with an SEO expert) discussed ideas for how to execute a deceptively simple concept. Simple email marketing. Many of their ideas were beyond the resources of the fledgling company, but that did not stop Keller from planning ahead.
The first Customers of Benchmark Mail were small businesses located in near proximity to Benchmark’s one-room HQ in Long Beach, CA. Keller and his team sold them on the use of email marketing, while working hard to create a simple user interface which would be easy to operate. All the time, the business championed such novel ideas as customizable templates and software which adapted to user requirements. They also made sure from the outset that anyone who needed help would have rapid access to outstanding customer care.
Benchmark Has continued to grow and advantagesper. Its present focus. Providing global email advertising services to small and midsize companies while continuing to honor a commitment to help kids in need. This does not indicate that Benchmark is a little-guys-only company, however; it has stuck to its core principle of adaptability and functions large organizations such as UNICEF and Kaiser-Permanente via its High Volume Business plans.
Today, Benchmark serves upwards of 73,000 users from throughout the planet, however, the company hasn’t forgotten its origins. Benchmark still keeps good relationships with small, locally-based companies. In reality, the organization supplies a full page of testimonials from users of this program. You can read about Benchmark’s history and development here.
While most of the features Benchmark provides Are on par with the rest of the industry, one of the standout characteristics of this ESP is the simple fact that most of its attributes come standard with each account — including the free ones. Here are a few of Benchmark’s most noteworthy 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 like education, entertainment, and retailstores. There’s also a class for social media-specific templates.
· Video Emails. Possibly the best-known benefit of Benchmark is its support for video mails. The company explains the benefits of this feature here.
· Online Surveys. You can create professional-looking online surveys using among Benchmark’s 6 templates. Post your poll on your website or build it directly into an email.
· Dedicated Email Server. All of Benchmark’s High Volume programs come with a dedicated IP address to help increase deliverability prices. Users on other programs have the choice of paying for this service ($30/month) to increase their own delivery stats. Read more about the benefits of dedicated servers here.
· Email Delivery Direction . Benchmark’s email shipping management program is all about getting customers’ emails into inboxes. The business is a member of the Email Sender and Provider Coalition and operates with ReturnPath, a leading email delivery and delivery support. The business also communicates with ISPs on its clients’ behalf. Newsletter
· Mobile App. Benchmark’s mobile programs allow customers with an Apple device to get several functions on the road. They can get and include contacts, browse reports, send videos via integration with a YouTube account, and even design and send quick email blasts with one of 10 templates that are available. That is quite a bit more than many other companies offer in their mobile apps, which makes them much more operational.
· Photo Editing. If the photos you intend to utilize on your email campaign are not perfectly sized or want some colour adjustment, you may use Benchmark’s integrated picture editor. This is a fairly handy feature if you do not 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. Every Benchmark client has the ability to design around eight custom autoresponder messages. These could be scheduled as a series or occasion lead-up, or made as yearly messages such as anniversary or birthday emails.
· Sign-Up Forms. The only way to be successful in email marketing is through growing your own list, and Benchmark actually promotes doing this through sign-up forms. The business bases its Free For Life account entirely around website and Facebook sign-ups and supplies an easy-to-use tool to create customized templates for every medium.
· Inbox Checker. Because every email program is different and each internet browser has a signature style, making certain your emails look great across the board is crucial. You can use Inbox Checker to have a look at the way 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 may 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 within Benchmark once.
· API Integration. An API (Application Program Interface) enables different software programs to communicate with one another with no formal plug link. Benchmark’s API Integration feature permits users with XML-RPC, HTTP POST, or HTTP GET skills to recover data from other apps that use JSON, XML, XML-RPC, or PHP serialization strings. In a nutshell, this allows them to play three functions. Manage contact lists, manage campaigns and campaign sending, and check data. The business explains this role in more detail here.
· Advanced Metrics. Benchmark offers 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
Enrolling in a Benchmark account is pretty straightforward. After entering your name, email, phone number, and business name, you need to confirm your email address. This is a five-minute procedure for me. Upon logging in to my new account (using the free plan) I was greeted by an attractive UI that gave me a very clear path on how to make my very first email campaign. Good beginning!
Email Campaign Creation
On its own dashboard, Benchmark provides users five chief options. Emails, Automations, Contacts, Surveys, and Reports. To make a new effort, go to the Emails segment, then hit the big blue”Create New Email” button in the upper right-hand corner. Newsletter
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 move 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 personally gifted that way, so I moved with the drag-and-drop option.
I had been motivated to enter a subject line for my Email and set up how much observation I wanted on the message, in addition to when I wanted an automatic tweet once the campaign went out. The next task was to select which contacts I wanted to receive the campaign. With that, I was finally able to begin constructing the email itself. If you would like to, you are able to assemble your personal email layouts employing a very intuitive editor. On the flip side, you can modify one of Benchmark’s templates, that are great, and 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 input contacts one at a time. However, for those who already have a list, there are several ways to import it. You can upload a CSV, xls, or txt file right from your personal computer; import contacts directly from Salesforce.com, Hotmail, or Gmail accounts; or copy and paste huge lists of contacts to a text type. Once you make your Benchmark lists, then they will appear on your dash, together with a Master Unsubscribe List.
The sending of the email is quite simple. When you have finished all your tweaks, you can save the email as a draft, send it immediately, or schedule a date and time for delivery. If you would like to verify all is well before distributing your email about the planet, it is possible to send it to your self to preview it as many as 10 times/day. I chose to program my email for delivery to see how timely the automated system would really be. I advised my email for 2.45 and received it in 2.50, so while the timing was not exactly ideal, it was probably present in tolerance levels for many users. If you’re among 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 main 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’re really, really fast. I mean lightning fast. Opens register from the Benchmark system almost immediately. I have worked with several different apps where these reports take hours or even days to look.
Benchmark provides users with several key Bits of data about every effort. The arguably most important statistic, the open rate, seems in both pie chart and numerical type. Additionally, Benchmark provides users with stats such as clicks, forwards, bounces, unsubscribes, and abuse. Every stat further breaks down to the specific email addresses associated with a given action. Users may export this data for further analysis by means of a csv or xls file. There’s also a social networking place which reports shares via Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, in addition to a map which breaks down, by country, that opens your mails. Newsletter
Though all of the information Is Excellent and Necessary, it is not enough to sustain higher level marketers who need more information such as conversions, which hyperlinks were clicked, and earnings analysis. Though Google Analytics provides a whole lot of that info with proper integration, there may come a time when serious entrepreneurs need more info than Benchmark provides. Whether a small company will get to that point varies, of course, based on the company.
Specific Size Of Business
Benchmark designed its 3-tiered pricing Structure with the objective of serving everybody 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 starting out in email marketing. This is particularly reflected in the reality that customers subscribing to the medium plans get unlimited mails, while larger plans have limitations.
Integrations and Add-Ons
Benchmark Offers approximately 20 plug-ins and integrations. If you do not observe the integration you want, there is 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 create and customize events, promote and market tickets, and track the success of their events through their Benchmark Email accounts. A number of programs are available, including a free option.
· Salesforce.com — This integration allows users to import contacts directly 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 plug-in which allows users to easily build an email viewer through their readers. The plugin can automatically produce 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 plug-in allows you to source pictures for your Benchmark mails from places across the net. Benchmark Power captures images you locate and immediately uploads them to your Benchmark account for future use.
· Flickr — Users with Flickr accounts can link Flickr for their Benchmark image galleries.
· Shopify — You can link a Shopify accounts to Benchmark and mechanically add Shopify clients to Benchmark lists. You can even add contributors to different lists based on what they purchased. Read our review of Shopify here.
· PayPal — Users may add any of the PayPal customers to their own Benchmark email lists bylinking the accounts. Read our overview of Paypal here.
· Easy List — Learn more about this simple list-making app and download it .
· WordPress — The ever-present site and website builder provides an integration using Benchmark. Use it to send mails of your blog posts and use the analytics to observe how your readers react to them. Learn more here.
· Zapier — Gain access to Zapier’s huge integration library here. Newsletter
Social Media Integrations
Since Of the integral connection between social media and email advertising, it’s very important to look at the social media features included in Benchmark.
· Social Media Templates — One section of Benchmark’s enormous 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 provides a very simple function which permits you to add a Facebook”Just Like” button to your emails.
· Facebook Sign-Up Form — Benchmark provides easy-to-create sign-up forms (see”Features” above) for both sites and Facebook fan pages, to help you convert followers into readers.
· Social Links within Email — Once you link your Benchmark account with your Facebook, Twitter, and/or LinkedIn account, you can add buttons to each email which will direct your subscribers to each of your social media pages.
The Business also fully Complies with the U.S.-E.U. and U.S.-Swiss Safe Harbor Frameworks concerning the collection of personal data from citizens of these nations. When clients provide credit card numbers to Benchmark, the company utilizes secure socket layer (SSL) protection to encrypt the info. The whole platform is encrypted to ensure the safety of all customers’ personal details.
Anti-Spam Policy and Protection
Like All valid ESPs, Benchmark takes junk seriously and summarizes a clear zero-tolerance policy for any of the users hoping to take part in spam activities. The business is entirely in compliance with the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. Benchmark additionally takes several measures to preserve its reputation as a spam-free supplier, one of them membership in the Email Sender and Provider Coalition. The business uses the program SpamAssassin to filter messages delivered through its host.
To stop users from Unknowingly sending spam-like substances, Benchmark provides a spam test feature which looks for words commonly used in spam messages. It scores every email on a scale from 1 to 5; 5s are assigned to content that is very likely to be blocked. In case of a top score, the program suggests”less spammy” alternatives. Individualized IP addresses also assist large-volume senders decrease their spam amounts.
Client Support and Service
Benchmark Offers its customers a great deal of support tools. Customer service is generally responsive, with minimal waiting times. The website provides good learning tools, but may be opaque at times. Crucial information can be buried and difficult to find, especially if you don’t know precisely what you’re searching for, particularly in regards to minute particulars about plans. As an example. The Free For Life plan comprises Benchmark branding on every 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 is mentioned is at the FAQ, here.
Here are some of the resources Benchmark offers. Newsletter
· Live Email and Support — Benchmark supplies live one-on-one support through these means.
· Email Service. Contact Benchmark at [email protected] or via the company’s contact form here. Accessible 24 hours Monday — Friday and limited hours on Saturday.
· Telephone Support. You are able to reach Benchmark at 800-430-4095 (U.S.) or even 001-562-252-3789 (all states ). Available weekdays from 6 am to 5 pm PT.
· Chat Support. Accessible 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’s closer to some QandA-format knowledge base than a normal FAQ. You will find over 900 entries, sorted into 18 subjects ranging from”Getting Started” to”API.” Users can perform a key word search of any subject (or sub-topic) or from the 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 provide advice which is wholly incorrect, so in some cases, you might need to contact assistance to hash things out.
· Video Tutorials and Webinars — Benchmark supplies about two dozen video tutorials which take users step by step through the features of the program. The business also offers a webinar known as”Benchmark Email Crash Course.” You may view 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 quite a few other topics. Live webinars comprise the opportunity to ask questions throughout the presentation.
· Email Marketing Manuals and Articles — There are more in-depth details on email marketing generally, in addition to the Benchmark program especially, at the Manuals Section. These downloadable files also cover industry-specific issues. 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 Requirements — This can be a particularly helpful tool for all those brand new to email marketing who believe consumed by all the jargon. Benchmark gives a glossarywith 50 of the very popular email advertising conditions from”above-the-fold” into”whitelists.”
· Blog and Newsletter — For current information about email marketing trends, check out Benchmark’s monthly newsletter, in addition to its extremely active blog. All subscribers automatically gain access to current newsletters, and Benchmark also provides an archive of newsletter articles from November 2007-October 2012.
· Benchmark Community — Benchmark users can post their latest newsletters on message boards at the Benchmark Community. This forum allows users to discuss newsletter creation strategies, vote for their favorite newsletters, and gain inspiration from other Benchmark users.
Web-Based Or Locally-Installed
Benchmark is completely web-based and does not Require any installation on your PC.
Positive Reviews and Testimonials
Benchmark Has a four-out-of-five star rating on G2 Crowd, using a slightly better showing on GetApp and Capterra. 4.5 stars each. Newsletter
Some common points of compliments.
· Top Notch Service . This is maybe the most typical monitoring concerning Benchmark, and something I noticed for myself too. People tend to find support prompt and helpful, and a few say it is really the element that distinguishes Benchmark from its competitors. The business also receives praise for its blog articles and videos.
· Feature Selection Across All Aims . Some users praise the inclusion of attributes like AB testing and surveys in all plans; many companies charge extra for these attributes or only include them into their pricier plans.
· Benefits of Use. Users have a tendency to locate Benchmark’s interface extremely user-friendly and intuitive. The program gathers praise from a broad assortment of demographics, from first time ESP consumers 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 more and more 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 own Benchmark experience. But, I managed to find a couple of complaints.
· Inconsistent Send-Times. Apparently some users experienced a problem with Benchmark in which their emails were sent hours after they were first scheduled. 1 customer theorized the issue might arise in long lists of recipients. Not all customers of Benchmark will possess time-sensitive shipping needs, but other people will. If you need your mails to go out precisely whenever your schedule dictates, you might have to take into account this situation.
· Buggy Social Media Integrations. I watched several consumer testimonials that commented the social media integrations in Benchmark are not up to par.
· “Spammy” Templates. Some users were concerned that Benchmark’s templates may feel like spam mail, causing receivers to mark them as spam and not reading the contents. Since the entire point of an ESP is to stop this from happening, this may be a problem. On the flip side, I never felt this way whilst looking through the template list, so it might not be the most valid of complaints.
Benchmark Offers a enormous variety of pricing plans, including a totally free plan and a massive scale of paid plans which can service anywhere between 600 and 7,140,000 subscribers.
Benchmark’s free plans do not require charge Cards, that is always refreshing. The only grab. There will be a little Benchmark logo at the bottom of every email you send out. Obviously, you may always choose to upgrade to a paid program in case you don’t need the Benchmark branding. The free plan permits you to send up to 14000 mails to around 2000 subscribers and gives you access to most but not all Benchmark’s features list. Notable absences to the features list for free accounts include email automation and sub-accounts (enabling multiple users to access one Benchmark accounts ).
Paid Strategies. Newsletter
Users with little contacts lists and limited Monthly messages have the choice of paying to get their email advertising depending on the amount of mails that they send every month.
o Medium Plans. 600-50,000 subscribers, $13.99-$254.99 a month
o Large Strategies. 55,000-100,000 subscribers, $285.99-$494.99 a month
o Extra Large Strategies. 125,000-1,000,000 subscribers, $659.99-$4,273.99 per month
o Massive Plans. 1,070,000-7,140,000 subscribers, $4,500-$29,200 per month
Benchmark accepts all Major credit cards and also allows you to pay through PayPal. They also offer a 25% discount for nonprofits and teachers.
Benchmark is a good program. It’s Simple to Use, Open to innovation, and competitively priced. Its free alternatives might just be the best in the business for anybody who just wants to dip into email marketing (especially small, local businesses). For that matter, any Benchmark strategy can work well for a small company which views email as a little element of its marketing and has no desire to work beyond the basics just yet.
If you are a little or even medium-sized Business looking for a easy email advertising program with a host of great features, Benchmark is an excellent choice. Though there may come a time when you launch the app, it supplies a great deal for the price, provides excellent support, and the company seems to be sensitive to the requirements of its customers. You can not ask for much more.