Overview Newsletter Service
For many an evening in 2004, three people sat Around one desk in a tiny medical office — an office which functioned as the group’s conference room, breakfast area, and thought hub. Backed by a little programming team in India, the trio (consisting of Benchmark Internet Group founder Curt Keller, his wife Denise, along with an SEO expert) discussed ideas on how best to execute a deceptively simple idea. Simple email marketing. Many of their ideas were beyond the resources of this fledgling company, but that did not stop Keller from moving ahead.
The first Clients of Benchmark Mail were small businesses located in close proximity to Benchmark’s one-room HQ in Long Beach, CA. Keller and his staff sold them on the usage of email marketing, while working hard to create a simple user interface which would be easy to operate. All the while, the company uses such novel ideas as customizable templates and software which adapted to consumer requirements. They also made sure from the beginning that anyone who needed help would have quick access to excellent customer care.
Benchmark Has continued to rise and advantagesper. Its present focus. Providing global email marketing solutions to small and midsize businesses while continuing to honor a commitment to help kids in need. This does not indicate that Benchmark is a little-guys-only service, however; it’s stuck to its core principle of adaptability and serves big organizations such as UNICEF and Kaiser-Permanente via its High Volume Business plans.
Today, Benchmark serves up of 73,000 users from across the planet, however, the company has not forgotten its origins. Benchmark still keeps good relationships with little, locally-based companies. In reality, the company supplies a full page of testimonials from users of this app. You can read more about Benchmark’s background and development here.
While most of the features Benchmark provides Are on par with the rest of the industry, one of the standout features of this ESP is the fact that most of its attributes 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 customers access to the library of over 400 templates. These are organized into 19 classes, some of which are tailored to specific industries such as education, entertainment, and retail. There is also a class for societal media-specific templates.
· Video Emails. Perhaps the best-known benefit of Benchmark is its support for video mails. The company describes 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 poll on your site or build it into an email.
· Dedicated Email Server. All Benchmark’s High Volume plans 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 particular delivery stats. Read more about the benefits of dedicated servers .
· Email Delivery Management. Benchmark’s email delivery management program is about getting customers’ mails into inboxes. The company is a part of the Email Sender and Provider Coalition and operates with ReturnPath, a leading email delivery and delivery service. The company also communicates with ISPs on its clients’ behalf. Newsletter Service
· Mobile App. Benchmark’s mobile programs allow customers having an Apple device to get several purposes on the road. They can access and include contacts, browse reports, send videos through integration with a YouTube account, and even layout and send quick email blasts with one of 10 templates that are available. That is quite a little more than a number of other companies offer on their mobile programs, making them considerably more functional.
· Photo Editing. If the pictures you plan to use in your email campaign are not perfectly sized or need some colour adjustment, you can use Benchmark’s integrated photo editor. This is a fairly 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 option with which you can build your emails from scratch.
· Autoresponder. Each Benchmark customer has the ability to design up to eight custom autoresponder messages. These can be scheduled as a series or occasion lead-up, or made as annual messages like anniversary or birthday mails.
· Sign-Up Forms. The only way to be successful in email marketing is through growing your list, and Benchmark really promotes doing this via sign-up forms. The business bases its Free For Life account completely around website and Facebook sign-ups and provides an easy-to-use tool to create customized templates for every medium.
· Inbox Checker. Because every email program is different and each web browser includes a signature style, making certain that your emails look good across the board is important. You can use Inbox Checker to have a look at the way that your email screens in Gmail using Explorer and Outlook 3. Employing the full app (which checks everything from AOL to Yahoo, Explorer to Safari, mobile to PC) is a paid add-on service, available for $14 per 100 checks.
· RSS-to-Email. Regular bloggers may create newsletters from their blogs automatically through the RSS-to-Email attribute, which works with any blog which manages an RSS-feed. Users only have to set up a template and campaign within Benchmark once.
· API Integration. An API (Application Program Interface) allows different software programs to communicate with one another without a formal plug link. Benchmark’s API Integration feature permits users with XML-RPC, HTTP POST, or HTTP GET abilities to recover data from some other programs that use JSON, XML, XML-RPC, or PHP serialization strings. In brief, this allows them to perform three purposes. Manage contact lists, manage campaigns and effort sending, and assess statistics. The business explains this function in more detail here.
· 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.
Ease Of Use
Signing up for a Benchmark account is pretty straightforward. After entering your name, email, contact 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 plan) I was greeted by an attractive UI that gave me a clear path on how best to create my very first email campaign. Great start!
Email Campaign Creation
On its dashboard, Benchmark offers users five main options. Emails, Automations, Contacts, Surveys, and Reports. To make a new campaign, go to the Emails segment, then hit the big blue”Create New Email” button at the upper right-hand corner. Newsletter Service
From there, you must decide if you want an RSS Or classic 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’re someone who codes their own email, then my hat is off to you, but I am not gifted that way, so I went with the drag-and-drop alternative.
I was prompted to enter a subject line for my Email and set up how much tracking I desired on the message, in addition to if I wanted an automatic tweet once the campaign went out. The next task was to choose which contacts I wanted to receive the campaign. With that, I was finally able to start constructing the email . If you want to, you can construct your personal email designs using an extremely 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 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 several ways to import it. You can upload a CSV, xls, or txt file right from your computer; import contacts directly from Salesforce.com, Hotmail, or Gmail accounts; or copy and paste huge lists of contacts into a text type. When you create your Benchmark lists, then they’ll appear on your dashboard, together with a Master Unsubscribe List.
The sending of this email is quite easy. When you have completed all your tweaks, you can save the email as a draft, send it instantly, or schedule a date and time for delivery. If you want to check all is well before unleashing your email about the world, it is possible to send it to yourself to preview it as many as 10 times/day. I chose to schedule my email for shipping to see how timely the automatic system would actually be. I advised my email for 2.45 and obtained it in 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 demand on-the-minute email sending, you might need to appear elsewhere. More worryingly, my email didn’t go to my main inbox but was mechanically sorted into my”promotions” folder. Definitely not ideal.
Mail Campaign Reporting
The first thing I Noticed about Benchmark email reports was something I would read in a few reviews. They are really, really fast. I mean lightning fast. Opens enroll in the Benchmark system virtually instantaneously. I’ve worked with several other programs where these reports require hours or even days to look.
Benchmark provides users with several key Bits of information about each effort. The arguably most important statistic, the available rate, seems in both pie chart 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 associated with 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 state, who opens your mails. Newsletter Service
Though all of the information is great and Necessary, it isn’t sufficient to sustain higher level marketers that want more information such as conversions, which hyperlinks were clicked, and revenue analysis. Although Google Analytics provides a whole lot of this info with proper integration, there may come a time when serious marketers need more information than Benchmark provides. Whether a small business will reach that point varies, of course, based on the company.
Particular Size Of Company
Benchmark designed its 3-tiered pricing Structure with the goal of serving everybody from the tiniest kitchen-table startup to big 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’re able to use the API or ask a 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 app permits users to make and customize occasions, promote and sell tickets, and monitor the success of their events through their Benchmark Email accounts. A number of programs are available, such as a free alternative.
· Salesforce.com — This integration allows users to import contacts directly into Benchmark and use Benchmark’s email system to keep Salesforce customers participated. Read our review of Salesforce here.
· Twitter — Benchmark Email Lite is a WordPress plug-in which permits users to quickly build an email viewer through their readers. The plugin can automatically produce email variations of blog articles and allows users to connect up to five Benchmark accounts.
· Highrise — Merges Highrise contacts using a Benchmark list. Read our overview of Highrisehere.
· Benchmark Power — This free plug-in allows you to supply pictures for your Benchmark mails from locations throughout the web. Benchmark Power captures images you find and immediately uploads them to a Benchmark account for future use.
· Flickr — Users with Flickr accounts may link Flickr for their own Benchmark image galleries.
· Shopify — You are able to link a Shopify accounts to Benchmark and mechanically add Shopify customers to Benchmark lists. You may even add subscribers to different lists based on which products they bought. Read our review of Shopify here.
· PayPal — Users may add any of their PayPal clients for their Benchmark email lists bylinking the accounts. Read our review of Paypal here.
· Easy List — Know more about this very simple list-making app and download it .
· WordPress — The ever-present blog and site builder offers an integration using Benchmark. Use it to send emails of your blog posts and also use the analytics to observe how your subscribers react to them. Learn more here.
· Zapier — Gain access to Zapier’s enormous integration library . Newsletter Service
Social Media Integrations
Since Of the integral connection between social networking and email advertising, it is important to check out the social networking features included 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 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 provides easy-to-create sign-up forms (see”Characteristics” above) for both sites and Facebook fan pages, so you can convert followers into subscribers.
· Social Links within Email — Once you link your Benchmark account with your Facebook, Twitter, and/or LinkedIn accounts, you can add buttons to every email which will direct your subscribers 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 regarding the collection of personal data from citizens of those countries. When clients provide credit card numbers to Benchmark, the company uses secure socket layer (SSL) security to encrypt the information. The entire platform is encrypted to ensure the security of all customers’ personal information.
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 activities. The business is fully in compliance with all the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. Benchmark additionally takes several measures to maintain its reputation as a spam-free provider, one of them membership from the Email Sender and Provider Coalition. The company employs the program SpamAssassin to filter messages delivered through its server.
To stop users from Unknowingly sending spam-like materials, Benchmark provides a spam test feature which looks for words commonly utilized in spam messages. It scores each email on a scale from 1 to 5; 5s are assigned to content that is very likely to be blocked. In the event of a top score, the program suggests”less spammy” choices. Individualized IP addresses also help large-volume senders decrease their spam amounts.
Client Service and Support
Benchmark Offers its users a great deal of support tools. Customer support is generally responsive, with minimal waiting times. The website provides good learning tools, but can be opaque occasionally. Crucial information is often buried and difficult to locate, particularly if you don’t know precisely what you’re searching for, particularly in regards to minute details about plans. For instance. The Free For Life plan comprises 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 will you 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. Newsletter Service
· 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 . Available 24 hours Monday — Friday and restricted hours on Saturday.
· Telephone Support. You can reach Benchmark at 800-430-4095 (U.S.) or even 001-562-252-3789 (all countries). Available weekdays from 6 am to 5 pm PT.
· Chat Support. Accessible almost 24 hours per day Monday — Friday and restricted hours on Saturday. Founded in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian.
· FAQ — Benchmark’s FAQ section is somewhat mislabeled as it is closer to a QandA-format knowledge foundation than a normal FAQ. There are more than 900 entries, sorted into 18 topics ranging from”Getting Started” to”API.” Users can execute a key word search of any topic (or sub-topic) or of their FAQ as a whole. One caveat. With such an extensive knowledge base, it’s pretty much inevitable that some entries are going to be out of date. A few of the QandAs offer advice which is wholly incorrect, so in some cases, you may need to contact assistance to hash things out.
· Video Tutorials and Webinars — Benchmark provides about two dozen video tutorials that take users step by step through the features of this app. The business also offers a webinar known as”Benchmark Email Crash Course.” You can see it live each Friday at 10.00 a.m. PST or see the recorded version at any time. You might even request a special webinar on a number of different topics. Live webinars comprise the opportunity to ask questions throughout the demonstration.
· Email Marketing Manuals and Articles — You can find more in-depth details on email marketing in general, in addition to the Benchmark program especially, in the Manuals Section. These downloadable documents also cover industry-specific issues. Articles, similar to blogs, offer users advice beyond that found in the FAQ section, but in shorter, more readable chunks than the manuals provide.
· Glossary of Email Marketing Requirements — This is a particularly valuable tool for those brand new to email marketing who feel absorbed by all the jargon. Benchmark gives a glossarywith 50 of the most popular email advertising conditions from”above-the-fold” into”whitelists.”
· Blog and Newsletter — For current information about email advertising trends, check out Benchmark’s monthly newsletter, in addition to its extremely active blog. All readers 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 newest newsletters on message boards in the Benchmark Community. This forum allows users to discuss newsletter creation approaches, vote for their favorite newsletters, and gain inspiration from 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, with a slightly better showing on GetApp and Capterra. 4.5 stars each. Newsletter Service
Some common points of praise.
· Top Notch Service . This is perhaps the most common monitoring concerning Benchmark, and something I noticed for myself as well. People are inclined to find support prompt and beneficial, and some say it’s really the component that distinguishes Benchmark from its rivals. The business also receives praise for its blog posts and videos.
· Feature Selection Across All Aims . Some customers praise the inclusion of attributes like AB testing and surveys from all plans; many firms charge extra for these features or just include them in their pricier programs.
· Benefits of Use. Users tend to locate Benchmark’s interface extremely intuitive and user-friendly. The program gathers compliments from a broad assortment of demographics, from first time ESP consumers to those who have attempted a variety of programs before settling Benchmark.
· Mobile Friendly Emails. Users were impressed with all 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 Unable to find many Men and Women who loathed Their own Benchmark experience. However, I managed to find a couple of complaints.
· Inconsistent Send-Times. Apparently a few users experienced an issue with Benchmark in which their mails were sent hours after they were scheduled. 1 customer theorized the issue might arise in lengthy lists of recipients. Not all clients of all Benchmark will possess time-sensitive sending needs, but other people will. If you need your emails to go out exactly whenever your schedule dictates, you may have to take into account 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 can feel like spam mail, leading receivers to mark them as spam and not reading the contents. Since the whole purpose of an ESP is to stop this from happening, this may be an issue. On the flip side, I never felt this way whilst searching through the template list, therefore it might not be the most valid of complaints.
Benchmark Offers a huge variety of pricing plans, such as a totally free plan and a massive array of paid plans which may service anywhere between 600 and 7,140,000 subscribers.
Benchmark’s free programs do not require credit Cards, which is always refreshing. The only catch. There will be a small Benchmark emblem at the bottom of every email you send out. Obviously, you can always choose to upgrade to a paid program if you don’t want the Benchmark branding. The free program permits you to send up to 14000 mails to around 2000 subscribers and gives you access to most but not all of Benchmark’s features list. Notable absences to the attributes list for free account include email automation and sub-accounts (allowing many users to get one Benchmark account).
Paid Strategies. Newsletter Service
Users with little contacts lists and limited Monthly messages have the choice of paying for their email advertising based on the amount of mails they send each month.
o Moderate 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 Strategies. 125,000-1,000,000 subscribers, $659.99-$4,273.99 a month
o Enormous 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 teachers.
Benchmark is a solid program. It’s Simple to Use, Open to invention, and competitively priced. Its free options might just be the very best in the company for anyone who just wants to dive into email advertising (especially small, neighborhood businesses). For that matter, any Benchmark plan can work nicely for a little company which perspectives email as a little element of its advertising and does not have any desire to work past the principles just yet.
If you are a small or even medium-sized Business trying to find a easy email marketing program with a host of great features, Benchmark is an exceptional option. Though there might come a time when you outgrow the program, it provides a great deal for the money, provides excellent support, and the business seems to be sensitive to the requirements of its users. You can’t ask for much more.