Overview Online Newsletter Service
For many a day in 2004, three people sat Around one desk in a tiny medical office — an office that served as the team’s conference room, lunch room, and thought hub. Backed by a small programming group in India, the trio (consisting of Benchmark Internet Group founder Curt Keller, his wife Denise, and an search engine optimization pro ) discussed ideas for how to implement a deceptively straightforward concept. Simple email advertising. Many of their thoughts were beyond the means of this fledgling business, but that didn’t stop Keller from moving ahead.
The first Clients of Benchmark Email were small companies located in near proximity to Benchmark’s one-room HQ in Long Beach, CA. Keller and his staff sold them on the use of email marketing, while working hard to make a simple user interface which would be simple to operate. All the while, the company championed such innovative ideas as customizable templates and applications which adapted to consumer needs. They also made sure from the beginning that anybody who needed help would have rapid access to outstanding customer care.
Benchmark Has continued to grow and advantagesper. Its present focus. Providing global email marketing solutions to small and medium-sized businesses while continuing to honor a commitment to help kids in need. This doesn’t indicate that Benchmark is a little-guys-only company, however; it’s stuck to its core principle of adaptability and serves big organizations such as UNICEF and Kaiser-Permanente through its High Volume Enterprise plans.
Today, Benchmark serves up of 73,000 users from throughout the planet, but the company hasn’t forgotten its roots. Benchmark still keeps good relationships with little, locally-based companies. In fact, the company offers a full page of testimonials from users of the app. You may read more about Benchmark’s history and development here.
While the Majority of the attributes Benchmark supplies Are on par with the rest of the business, among the standout characteristics of the ESP is the simple fact that nearly all its attributes come standard with every single accounts — such as the free ones. Below are a few of Benchmark’s most notable offerings.
· Countless Industry-Specific, Themed Templates. Benchmark provides all customers access to the library of over 400 templates. These are organized into 19 classes, some of which are tailored to specific industries like education, entertainment, and retailstores. There’s also a class for societal media-specific templates.
· Video Emails. Perhaps the best-known advantage of Benchmark is its support for video mails. The business describes the advantages of this feature here.
· Online Surveys. You’ll be able to create professional-looking online polls using among Benchmark’s 6 templates. Post your survey on your site or construct 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 plans have the choice of paying for this service ($30/month) to boost their own delivery stats. Read more about the advantages of dedicated servers here.
· Email Delivery Management. Benchmark’s email delivery management program is all about getting clients’ emails into inboxes. The business is a part of the Email Sender and Provider Coalition and works with ReturnPath, a top email delivery and delivery service. The business also communicates with ISPs on its clients’ behalf. Online Newsletter Service
· Mobile App. Benchmark’s mobile apps allow customers with an Apple device to get several functions on the street. They can get and add contacts, browse reports, send videos via integration with a YouTube accounts, and even layout and send fast email blasts with one of 10 available templates. That is quite a bit more than many other companies offer in their mobile programs, making them much more functional.
· Photo Editing. If the pictures you intend to utilize on your email campaign are not perfectly sized or want some colour adjustment, you may use Benchmark’s integrated photo editor. This is a pretty handy feature if you don’t have photoshop available.
· Code Editor. In case you’ve got the know-how to work magic with HTML, Benchmark provides this ultra-customization option with which you may construct your mails from scratch.
· Autoresponder. Each Benchmark client has the power to style up to eight custom autoresponder messages. These can be scheduled as a string or event lead-up, or made as yearly messages such as birthday or anniversary mails.
· Sign-Up Forms. The only way to become successful in email marketing 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. Since every email program differs and each internet browser has a signature style, making sure your emails look good across the board is crucial. It is possible to use Inbox Checker to look at the way your email displays in Gmail using Explorer and Outlook 3. Employing the entire program (which assesses everything out of AOL to Yahoo, Explorer into Safari, mobile to PC) is a paid add-on service, available for $14 each 100 checks.
· RSS-to-Email. Regular bloggers can create newsletters from their sites automatically through the RSS-to-Email attribute, which works with any site which handles an RSS-feed. Users only have to set up a campaign and template 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 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 permits them to play three purposes. Manage contact lists, handle campaigns and effort sending, and assess data. The business explains this role in more detail here.
· 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.
Ease Of Use
Enrolling in a Benchmark accounts is fairly straightforward. After entering your name, email, phone number, and business name, you need to validate your email address. This is a five-minute procedure for me. Upon logging in to my new account (with the free program ) I was greeted by an appealing UI that gave me a very clear direction about how best to make my first email campaign. Good start!
Email Campaign Creation
On its own dashboard, Benchmark offers users five chief options. Emails, Automations, Contacts, Surveys, and Reports. To create a new campaign, go into the Emails segment, then hit the big blue”Create New Email” button at the top right-hand corner. Online Newsletter Service
From there, you must decide If You Would like an RSS Or traditional email message. You can use Benchmark’s drag-and-drop editor, or go for more customization using 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 personally gifted that way, so I moved with the drag-and-drop alternative.
I had been prompted to enter a subject line for my Email and setup how much tracking I desired on the message, as well as when I wanted an automated tweet when the campaign went out. The next task was to select which contacts I wanted to get the campaign. With that, I was finally able to begin constructing the email itself. If you would like to, you are able to construct your own email layouts using an extremely 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.
Sending 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 several ways to import it. You are able to 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 large lists of contacts to a text type. When you make your Benchmark lists, they’ll appear on your dashboard, along with a Master Unsubscribe List.
The sending of the email is quite simple. When you’ve completed all your tweaks, you can either save email as a draft, send it instantly, or schedule a time and date for delivery. If you would like to verify everything is well before distributing your email on the world, you can send it to yourself to preview it as many as 10 times/day. I chose to schedule my email for shipping to view how timely the automatic system would actually be. I scheduled my email for 2.45 and received it at 2.50, so while the timing was not exactly perfect, 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 may have to appear elsewhere. More worryingly, my email did not go to my main inbox but was automatically sorted into my”promotions” folder. Definitely not perfect.
Mail Campaign Reporting
First thing I Discovered about Benchmark email reports was something I would read about in a few reviews. They’re really, really fast. I mean lightning fast. Opens register from the Benchmark system virtually immediately. I have worked with a lot of different programs where these reports require hours or even days to look.
Benchmark provides users with several key Pieces of information about every effort. The arguably most important statistic, the available speed, seems in both pie chart and numerical form. In addition, Benchmark supplies users with stats for clicks, forward, bounces, unsubscribes, and misuse. Every stat further breaks down to the specific email addresses associated with a given activity. Users may export this data for additional 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 that breaks down, by country, who opens your emails. Online Newsletter Service
Though all of this information is great and Necessary, it is not enough to sustain higher level marketers that want more information such as conversions, which links were clicked, and earnings analysis. Although Google Analytics provides a whole lot of that information with proper integration, there might come a time when serious marketers need more info than Benchmark provides. Whether a small company will reach that point changes, of course, dependent on the company.
Particular Size Of Company
Benchmark made its 3-tiered pricing Structure with the objective of serving everyone from the tiniest kitchen-table startup to big email marketers. However, the company’s main focus is on small to medium businesses, especially those just starting out in email advertising. This is particularly reflected in the reality that customers subscribing to the medium plans get unlimited emails, while bigger plans have limitations.
Integrations and Add-Ons
Benchmark Offers approximately 20 plug-ins and integrations. If you don’t see the integration you want, there’s still hope. You can 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 app allows users to create and customize occasions, promote and market tickets, and monitor the success of their events via 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 Mail Lite is a WordPress plug-in which allows users to easily build an email viewer through their readers. The plugin can automatically create email variations of blog posts and permits users to connect up to five Benchmark accounts.
· Highrise — Merges Highrise contacts with a Benchmark listing. Read our review of Highrisehere.
· Benchmark Power — This free plug-in allows you to source pictures for your Benchmark emails from places throughout the net. Benchmark Power captures pictures you find and immediately uploads them to your Benchmark account for future use.
· Flickr — Users with Flickr accounts can link Flickr to their own Benchmark image galleries.
· Shopify — You are able to link a Shopify accounts to Benchmark and mechanically add Shopify clients to Benchmark lists. You can even add subscribers to different lists based on which products they purchased. Read our review of Shopify here.
· PayPal — Users can add some of the PayPal customers to their own Benchmark email lists bylinking the account. Read our overview of Paypal here.
· Easy List — Know 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 emails of your blog posts and use the analytics to see how your subscribers react to them. Learn more here.
· Zapier — Gain access to Zapier’s enormous integration library here. Online Newsletter Service
Social Media Integrations
Since Of the integral link between social media and email advertising, it is very important to check out the social networking features contained in Benchmark.
· Social Media Templates — One segment of Benchmark’s massive email template listing consists of social media-specific templates that directly promote your company’s involvement in social media forums like facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
· Facebook”Like” Button — Benchmark provides a simple function which permits you to add a Facebook”Like” button into your 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 to readers.
· Social Links within Email — After you link your Benchmark account with your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn accounts, you can add switches to every email that will direct your readers to each of your social networking pages.
The company also fully Complies with all 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) protection to encrypt the information. The entire system is encrypted to ensure the security of 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 trying to engage in spam actions. The business is fully in compliance with the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. Benchmark also takes several steps to preserve its reputation as a spam-free provider, among them membership in the Email Sender and Provider Coalition. The business uses the app SpamAssassin to filter messages sent through its host.
To prevent users from Unknowingly sending spam-like substances, Benchmark provides a spam check feature that looks for words commonly used in spam messages. It scores each email on a scale from 1 to 5; 5s are delegated to content that is very likely to be blocked. In the event of a top score, the program suggests”less spammy” alternatives. Individualized IP addresses also help large-volume senders reduce their spam numbers.
Customer Support and Service
Benchmark Offers its customers a lot of support resources. Customer support is usually responsive, with minimal waiting times. The site provides good learning resources, but may be opaque occasionally. Crucial information can be buried and difficult to find, particularly if you don’t know exactly 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, however you won’t find that mentioned on the Free For Life page, not even at the fine print. Nor will you see it said when you register. The only place it is mentioned is at the FAQ, here.
Here are some of the resources Benchmark offers. Online Newsletter Service
· Live Email and Support — Benchmark provides live one-on-one support through the following means.
· Email Service. Contact Benchmark at [email protected] or through the organization’s contact form here. Accessible 24 hours Monday — Friday and restricted hours on Saturday.
· Telephone Support. You can reach Benchmark in 800-430-4095 (U.S.) or 001-562-252-3789 (all states ). Available weekdays from 6 am to 5 pm PT.
· Chat Support. Accessible nearly 24 hours daily Monday — Friday and restricted hours on Saturday. Offered in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian.
· FAQ — Benchmark’s FAQ section is somewhat mislabeled because it’s closer to a QandA-format knowledge base than a typical FAQ. There are more than 900 entries, sorted into 18 topics ranging from”Getting Started” to”API.” Users may execute a keyword search of any topic (or sub-topic) or from 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 offer information that’s wholly inaccurate, so in some cases, you might want to contact support to hash things out.
· Video Tutorials and Webinars — Benchmark provides about two dozen movie tutorials which take users step by step through the features of this program. The business also supplies a webinar known as”Benchmark Mail Crash Course.” You can view it live each Friday at 10.00 a.m. PST or watch the recorded version at any time. You might even request a special webinar on a number of different subjects. Live webinars include the opportunity to ask questions during 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, at the Manuals Section. These downloadable documents also cover industry-specific issues. Articles, very similar to sites, offer users guidance 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 all those brand new to email marketing who believe absorbed by all of the jargon. Benchmark gives a glossarywith 50 of the very popular email marketing conditions from”above-the-fold” to”whitelists.”
· Website and Newsletter — For current info about email marketing 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 articles from November 2007-October 2012.
· Benchmark Community — Benchmark users may post their latest newsletters on message boards in the Benchmark Community. This forum allows users to talk about newsletter creation approaches, vote for their favourite 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 Reviews
Benchmark Has a four-out-of-five star rating on G2 Crowd, with a slightly better showing on GetApp and Capterra. 4.5 stars each. Online Newsletter Service
Some common points of compliments.
· Top Notch Service . This is maybe the most common observation regarding Benchmark, and something I discovered for myself too. People today tend to find support prompt and beneficial, and a few say it’s really the component that distinguishes Benchmark from its rivals. The company also receives praise for its blog posts and videos.
· Characteristic Selection Across All Aims . Some customers praise the addition of attributes like AB testing and surveys from most programs; many firms charge extra for these features or only include them in their pricier plans.
· Ease 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 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 is an increasingly significant aspect to take into account.
Negative Reviews and Complaints
I was Unable to find many Men and Women who disliked Their Benchmark experience. However, I managed to discover a few complaints.
· Inconsistent Send-Times. Apparently some users experienced an issue with Benchmark in which their emails were sent hours when they were scheduled. One customer theorized that the issue might arise from lengthy lists of recipients. Not all clients of all Benchmark will have time-sensitive sending needs, but other people will. If you need your emails to go out precisely whenever your program dictates, you may need to take into account this situation.
· Buggy Social Media Integrations. I watched several consumer reviews that remarked the social networking integrations in Benchmark are not up to par.
· “Spammy” Templates. Some users have been worried that Benchmark’s templates may feel like spam email, causing recipients to mark them as junk and not studying the contents. Since the whole purpose of an ESP would be to prevent this from occurring, this might be an issue. On the flip side, I never felt this way whilst searching through the template list, so it might not be the most legitimate of complaints.
Benchmark Provides a huge variety of pricing plans, including a free plan and a huge scale of paid plans which may service anywhere between 600 and 7,140,000 subscribers.
Benchmark’s free plans do not require charge Cards, which is always refreshing. The only grab. There’ll be a small Benchmark logo in the bottom of each email you send out. Of course, you may always opt to upgrade to a paid plan if you don’t need the Benchmark branding. The free program permits you to send up to 14000 emails to up to 2000 subscribers and gives you access to most but not all of Benchmark’s features record. Notable absences to the features list for free account include email automation and sub-accounts (enabling multiple users to get one Benchmark account).
Paid Strategies. Online Newsletter Service
Users with small contacts lists and limited Monthly messages have the choice of paying for 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 per month
o Large Strategies. 55,000-100,000 subscribers, $285.99-$494.99 a month
o Extra Large Plans. 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 charge 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 is Simple to Use, Open to innovation, and competitively priced. Its free alternatives may just be the best in the business for anybody who only wants to dip into email advertising (particularly small, neighborhood businesses). For that matter, any Benchmark plan can work nicely for a small company which perspectives email as a little element of its marketing and has no desire to operate beyond the basics just yet.
If you are a small or maybe medium-sized Business looking for a simple email advertising program with a multitude of amazing features, Benchmark is an exceptional choice. Though there may come a time when you launch the app, it supplies a lot for the money, provides excellent service, and the business seems to be sensitive to the requirements of its users. You can not ask for more.