Overview Newsletter Service Provider
For many a day in 2004, three people sat Around a single desk in a small medical office — an office that served as the team’s conference room, breakfast area, and idea heart. Backed by a little programming group in India, the trio (consisting of Benchmark Internet Group founder Curt Keller, his wife Denise, and an search engine optimization expert) discussed ideas on how best to execute a deceptively straightforward concept. Simple email marketing. 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 near proximity to Benchmark’s one-room HQ in Long Beach, CA. Keller and his team personally sold them on the usage of email marketing, while working hard to create a simple user interface that would be simple to operate. All the time, the business uses such novel ideas as customizable templates and applications which adapted to consumer requirements. They also made certain from the outset that anyone who needed help would have quick access to outstanding customer care.
Benchmark Has continued to rise and advantagesper. Its present focus. Providing worldwide email advertising services to small and midsize businesses while continuing to honor a commitment to assist children in need. This does not indicate that Benchmark is a little-guys-only service, however; it’s adhered to its core principle of adaptability and functions large organizations like 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 has not forgotten its origins. Benchmark still keeps good relationships with little, locally-based businesses. In reality, the organization offers a full page of testimonials from users of this 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, among the standout features of this ESP is the simple fact that nearly all its features come standard with each account — such as the free ones. Here are a few of Benchmark’s most notable offerings.
· Countless Industry-Specific, Themed Templates. Benchmark offers all users access to the library of over 400 templates. These are organized into 19 categories, some of which are tailored to specific industries like education, entertainment, and retailstores. There is also a category for societal media-specific templates.
· Video Emails. Perhaps the best-known advantage of Benchmark is its support for video emails. The company describes the benefits of this attribute here.
· Online Surveys. You can 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 plans have a dedicated IP address to help increase deliverability prices. Users on other plans have the choice of paying for this service ($30/month) to boost their particular delivery stats. Read more about the benefits of dedicated servers .
· Email Delivery Direction . Benchmark’s email shipping management program is about getting clients’ emails into inboxes. The company is a member 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 customers’ behalf. Newsletter Service Provider
· Mobile App. Benchmark’s mobile programs allow customers with an Apple device to get several purposes on the street. They can get and include contacts, browse reportsand send videos via integration using a YouTube accounts, and even layout and send quick email blasts with one of 10 available templates. This is quite a little more than many other companies offer on their mobile programs, which makes them considerably more functional.
· Photo Editing. If the photos you plan to use on your email campaign are not perfectly sized or need some colour adjustment, you may use Benchmark’s integrated photo editor. This is a pretty handy feature if you don’t have photoshop accessible.
· Code Editor. If you’ve got the know-how to work magic with HTML, Benchmark offers this ultra-customization option with which you may construct your mails from scratch.
· Autoresponder. Each Benchmark client has the ability to style up to eight custom autoresponder messages. These can be scheduled as a string or occasion lead-up, or designed as yearly messages like anniversary or birthday emails.
· Sign-Up Types . The only way to become prosperous in email advertising is by way of growing your list, and Benchmark really promotes doing so via 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 custom templates for every medium.
· Inbox Checker. Since every email program is different and every web browser includes a signature style, making certain that your emails look great across the board is crucial. It is possible to use Inbox Checker to have a look at the way your email screens in Gmail using Explorer and Outlook 3. Using the entire app (which assesses everything out of AOL to Yahoo, Explorer into Safari, mobile to PC) is a paid add-on provider, available for $14 each 100 checks.
· RSS-to-Email. Regular bloggers can create newsletters out of their sites mechanically through the RSS-to-Email attribute, which works with any blog which handles an RSS-feed. Users simply have to establish a template and campaign within Benchmark once.
· API Integration. An API (Application Program Interface) allows different software programs to communicate with one another with no formal plug link. Benchmark’s API Integration feature allows 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 brief, this allows them to play three purposes. Manage contact lists, manage campaigns and effort sending, and check statistics. The company describes this function in more detail .
· Advanced Metrics. Benchmark provides both Listing 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, phone number, and business name, you need to validate your email address. This was a five-minute process for me. Upon logging into my new account (with the free program ) I was greeted by an attractive UI that gave me a very clear direction about how best to make my very first email campaign. Great beginning!
Email Campaign Creation
On its dashboard, Benchmark offers users five chief choices. Emails, Automations, Contacts, Surveys, and Reports. To create a new campaign, proceed to the Emails section, then hit on the big blue”Create New Email” button in the top right-hand corner. Newsletter Service Provider
From there, you must decide If You Would like 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 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 option.
I had been prompted to enter a subject line for my Email and set up how much tracking I wanted on the message, in addition to when I wanted an automatic tweet once 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 can construct your personal email designs employing a very intuitive editor. On the flip side, you can modify one of Benchmark’s templates, which can be great, and better than I was able to do on my own.
Preventing the Email Campaign
If you are just Starting out, you can do as I did and manually input 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 your computer; import contacts directly from Salesforce.com, Hotmail, or Gmail accounts; or copy and paste huge lists of contacts to a text form. Once you make your Benchmark lists, then they’ll appear on your dash, along with a Master Unsubscribe List.
The sending of this email is rather simple. When you’ve 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 unleashing your email on the planet, you can send it to your self to preview it as many as 10 times/day. I chose to schedule my email for delivery to view how timely the automated system would really be. I scheduled my email for 2.45 and received it in 2.50, so while the timing wasn’t exactly perfect, it was probably within tolerance levels for most users. If you’re one of the more rare users who need on-the-minute email sending, you might need to look elsewhere. More worryingly, my email didn’t go to my main inbox but was mechanically sorted in my”promotions” folder. Definitely not ideal.
Mail Campaign Reporting
First thing I Discovered about Benchmark email reports was something I would read in a few reviews. They are really, really fast. I mean lightning fast. Opens register from the Benchmark system virtually instantaneously. I have worked with several different apps where these reports require hours or even days to look.
Benchmark provides users with several key Pieces of information about each effort. The arguably most important statistic, the open speed, appears in both pie chart and numerical type. In addition, Benchmark supplies users with stats such as clicks, forwards, bounces, unsubscribes, and misuse. Each stat further breaks down to the specific email addresses related to a given action. Users can export this data for further analysis by means of a csv or xls file. There is also a social networking place which reports shares via Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, as well as a map which breaks down, by country, that opens your mails. Newsletter Service Provider
Though all of this information Is Excellent and Necessary, it isn’t enough to sustain higher level marketers that need more information such as conversions, which links were clicked, and revenue analysis. Although Google Analytics provides a lot of this info with proper integration, there may come a time when serious marketers need more info than Benchmark provides. Whether or not a small company will reach that point changes, naturally, based on the business.
Particular Size Of Business
Benchmark designed its 3-tiered pricing Structure with the objective of serving everyone from the tiniest kitchen-table startup to large email marketers. On the other hand, the company’s main focus is on small to medium businesses, particularly those just starting out in email marketing. This is particularly reflected in the fact that customers subscribing to the moderate plans get unlimited emails, while larger plans have constraints.
Integrations and Add-Ons
Benchmark Offers roughly 20 plug-ins and integrations. If you don’t see the integration you need, there’s still hope. You can use the API or request a integration by sending an email to [email protected]
· Benchmark Occasions — Benchmark Occasions 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 market tickets, and track the success of the events through their Benchmark Email accounts. A variety of programs are available, including a free alternative.
· Salesforce.com — This integration enables users to import contacts into Benchmark and utilize Benchmark’s email system to keep Salesforce customers engaged. Read our overview of Salesforce here.
· Twitter — Benchmark Email Lite is a WordPress plug-in which allows users to quickly build an email audience through their readers. The plugin can automatically create email variations of blog articles and permits 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 lets you supply images for your Benchmark mails from locations throughout the net. Benchmark Power captures pictures you find and instantly uploads them to a Benchmark accounts for future use.
· Flickr — Users with Flickr accounts may link Flickr to 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 can even add contributors to different lists based on which products they purchased. Read our overview of Shopify here.
· PayPal — Users can add some of their PayPal customers to their own Benchmark email lists bylinking the account. Read our review of Paypal here.
· Easy List — Know more about this very simple list-making app and download it here.
· WordPress — The ever-present site and website builder offers an integration with Benchmark. Use it to send mails of your blog articles and also use the analytics to see how your readers respond to them. Learn more here.
· Zapier — Gain entry to Zapier’s huge integration library here. Newsletter Service Provider
Social Media Integrations
Since Of the key link between social networking and email advertising, it is important to check out the social networking features contained in Benchmark.
· Social Media Templates — One section of Benchmark’s enormous email template listing consists of societal media-specific templates which directly promote your institution’s participation in social media forums like facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
· Facebook”Like” Button — Benchmark offers a very simple function which allows you to bring 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 websites and Facebook enthusiast pages, to help you convert followers to readers.
· Social Links within Email — After you link your Benchmark account with your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn account, you can add buttons to each email that will direct your readers to each of your social networking pages.
The Business also fully Complies with the U.S.-E.U. and U.S.-Swiss Safe Harbor Frameworks regarding the collection of personal data from citizens of those countries. When customers provide credit card numbers to Benchmark, the business uses secure socket layer (SSL) protection to encrypt the info. The entire platform is encrypted to ensure the security of all customers’ personal information.
Anti-Spam Policy and Protection
Like All valid ESPs, Benchmark takes junk seriously and summarizes a clear zero-tolerance coverage for any of their users hoping to take part in spam actions. The business is entirely in compliance with all the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. Benchmark also takes several measures to maintain its reputation as a spam-free provider, one of them membership in the Email Sender and Provider Coalition. The company employs the app SpamAssassin to filter messages sent through its host.
To stop users from Unknowingly sending spam-like substances, Benchmark supplies a spam test feature that 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’s 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 numbers.
Customer Service and Support
Benchmark Offers its users a great deal of support resources. Customer support is generally responsive, with minimal waiting times. The website provides good learning resources, but may be opaque occasionally. Key information is often buried and difficult to locate, especially if you don’t know precisely what you’re looking for, particularly in regards to minute details about plans. For instance. That the Free For Life plan comprises Benchmark branding on every email, however you won’t find that mentioned on the Free For Life page, not even in the fine print. Nor are you going to see it said when you register. The only place it is mentioned is in the FAQ, here.
Here are some of the resources Benchmark offers. Newsletter Service Provider
· Live Email and Support — 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 . Available 24 hours Monday — Friday and restricted hours on Saturday.
· Phone Support. You are able to reach Benchmark at 800-430-4095 (U.S.) or 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. Offered in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian.
· FAQ — Benchmark’s FAQ section is somewhat mislabeled as it’s closer to some QandA-format knowledge foundation than a normal FAQ. There are over 900 entries, sorted into 18 topics ranging from”Getting Started” to”API.” Users may perform a key word search of any subject (or sub-topic) or of the FAQ as a whole. One caveat. With such a comprehensive knowledge base, it is pretty much inevitable that some entries will be out of date. A few of the QandAs provide advice which is wholly inaccurate, so in some cases, you might want to contact assistance to hash things out.
· Video Tutorials and Webinars — Benchmark supplies about two dozen video tutorials which take users step by step through the features of this program. 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 moment. You might even ask for a special webinar on a number of different subjects. Live webinars include the chance to ask questions throughout the demonstration.
· 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 issues. Articles, very similar to sites, offer users advice beyond that found in the FAQ section, but in shorter, more digestible chunks compared to the guides provide.
· Glossary of Email Marketing Terms — This is a particularly valuable tool for those new to email marketing who feel absorbed by all of the jargon. Benchmark gives a glossarywith 50 of the very popular email marketing terms 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 exceptionally active blog. All subscribers automatically gain access to present 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 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 computer.
Positive Reviews and Testimonials
Benchmark Includes a four-out-of-five star score on G2 Crowd, with a slightly better showing on GetApp and Capterra. 4.5 stars each. Newsletter Service Provider
Some common points of compliments.
· Top Notch Support. This is maybe the most typical monitoring concerning Benchmark, and something I noticed for myself as well. People are inclined to find support prompt and beneficial, and a few say it is actually the element that distinguishes Benchmark from its rivals. The business also receives praise for its blog posts and videos.
· Feature Selection Across All Plans. Some customers praise the inclusion of attributes including AB testing and surveys from most plans; many companies charge extra for these attributes or only include them in their pricier plans.
· Ease of Use. Users have a tendency to locate Benchmark’s interface extremely intuitive and user-friendly. The program gathers compliments from a wide assortment of demographics, from first-time ESP consumers to those who have attempted many different programs before settling on Benchmark.
· Mobile Friendly Emails. Users were impressed with the mobile-friendly email design of Benchmark’s templates. Since an increasing number of people access their email from mobile devices, this is an increasingly important aspect to take into account.
Negative Reviews and Complaints
I was not able to find many Men and Women who disliked Their own Benchmark experience. However, I was able to discover a few complaints.
· Inconsistent Send-Times. Apparently a few users experienced a problem with Benchmark where their emails were sent hours after they were scheduled. One customer theorized that the issue might arise from long lists of recipients. Not all customers of Benchmark will have time-sensitive shipping demands, but others will. If you want your mails to go out precisely when your schedule dictates, you might need to take into account this situation.
· Buggy Social Media Integrations. I saw several user reviews 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, causing receivers to mark them as junk rather than reading the contents. Since the entire purpose of an ESP would be to stop this from occurring, this might be an issue. On the flip side, I never felt this way while looking through the template list, so it may not be the most valid of complaints.
Benchmark Provides a enormous variety of pricing strategies, such as a free plan and a massive array of paid programs that may service anywhere between 600 and 7,140,000 subscribers.
Benchmark’s free plans do not require credit Cards, that is always refreshing. The only catch. There will be a little Benchmark logo at the bottom of each email you send out. Of course, you can always opt to upgrade to a paid program in case you don’t want the Benchmark branding. The free program permits you to send up to 14000 emails to up to 2000 subscribers and gives you access to all but not all Benchmark’s features record. Notable absences into the attributes list for free account comprise email automation and sub-accounts (enabling many users to get one Benchmark account).
Paid Plans. Newsletter Service Provider
Users with small contacts lists and limited Monthly messages have the choice of paying for their email marketing based on the number of mails that they send each month.
o Medium 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 Plans. 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% reduction for nonprofits and educators.
Benchmark is a solid program. It is Simple to Use, Open to invention, and competitively priced. Its free options might very well be the very best in the business for anybody who just wants to dive into email marketing (particularly small, local companies ). For that matter, any Benchmark strategy can work nicely for a little business which views email as a minor element of its advertising and has no desire to work beyond the basics just yet.
If you are a small or even medium-sized Business looking for a simple email marketing program using a host of amazing features, Benchmark is an exceptional choice. Though there might come a time when you launch the program, it supplies a lot for the price, offers excellent support, and the business seems to be sensitive to the needs of its users. You can’t ask for more.