Overview Open Source Email Marketing Software Tools
For many a day in 2004, three people sat Around a single desk in a small medical office — an office that functioned as the team’s conference room, breakfast area, and idea heart. Backed by a small programming group in India, the trio (comprising Benchmark Internet Group founder Curt Keller, his wife Denise, along with an search engine optimization pro ) discussed ideas on how best to implement a deceptively straightforward concept. Simple email marketing. Many of their thoughts were beyond the resources of the fledgling company, but that didn’t stop Keller from planning 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 advertising, while working hard to make a very simple user interface which would be easy to operate. All the time, the company championed such novel ideas as customizable templates and applications which adapted to consumer requirements. They also made certain from the outset that anybody who needed help would have rapid access to outstanding customer support.
Benchmark Has continued to grow and advantagesper. Its current focus. Providing global email marketing services 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 service, however; it’s adhered to its core principle of adaptability and serves big organizations like UNICEF and Kaiser-Permanente via its High Volume Enterprise plans.
Today, Benchmark serves up of 73,000 users from across the globe, however, the company hasn’t forgotten its origins. Benchmark still keeps good relationships with little, locally-based companies. In reality, the organization offers a full page of testimonials from users of this app. You may read about Benchmark’s background and development here.
While most of the features Benchmark supplies Are on par with the rest of the business, among the standout characteristics of this ESP is the fact that most of its attributes come standard with every single account — including the free ones. Below are a few of Benchmark’s most noteworthy offerings.
· Hundreds of Industry-Specific, Themed Templates. Benchmark provides all users access to its library of over 400 templates. These are organized into 19 classes, some of which are tailored to particular industries like education, entertainment, and retailstores. There’s also a class for societal media-specific templates.
· Video Emails. Possibly the best-known benefit of Benchmark is its support for video mails. The business describes the benefits of this feature here.
· Online Surveys. You’ll be able to create professional-looking online surveys using among Benchmark’s 6 templates. Post your survey on your site or build it directly into an email.
· Dedicated Email Server. All Benchmark’s High Volume plans have a dedicated IP address to help increase deliverability rates. Users on other plans have the choice of paying for this service ($30/month) to increase their own delivery stats. Read more about the advantages of dedicated servers .
· Email Delivery Direction . Benchmark’s email delivery management program is all about getting clients’ mails into inboxes. The business is a part of the Email Sender and Provider Coalition and works with ReturnPath, a leading email delivery and delivery service. The company also communicates with ISPs on its customers’ behalf. Open Source Email Marketing Software Tools
· Mobile App. Benchmark’s mobile programs allow customers having an Apple device to get several functions on the road. They can access and include contacts, read reports, send videos via integration with a YouTube account, and even design and send fast email blasts with one of 10 available templates. That is quite a little more than many other companies offer in their mobile programs, making them considerably more operational.
· Photo Editing. If the photos you intend to utilize in your email campaign are not perfectly sized or need some colour adjustment, you may use Benchmark’s integrated picture editor. This is a fairly handy feature if you do not have photoshop available.
· Code Editor. If you have the know-how to work magic with HTML, Benchmark offers this ultra-customization option with which you can construct your emails from scratch.
· Autoresponder. Every Benchmark client has the ability to style around eight custom autoresponder messages. These can be scheduled as a string or event lead-up, or made as annual messages like anniversary or birthday emails.
· Sign-Up Forms. The only way to be prosperous in email advertising is by way of growing your list, and Benchmark actually promotes doing so via sign-up forms. The company bases its Free For Life account completely around site and Facebook sign-ups and provides an easy-to-use tool to create customized templates for each medium.
· Inbox Checker. Because every email program differs and every web browser includes a signature fashion, making sure that your emails look great across the board is important. 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 full app (which assesses 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 can create newsletters out of their blogs mechanically through the RSS-to-Email attribute, which works with any site which manages an RSS-feed. Users simply need to set up a campaign and template inside Benchmark once.
· API Integration. An API (Application Program Interface) enables different software programs to communicate with one another with no formal plug-in connection. Benchmark’s API Integration feature allows users using XML-RPC, HTTP POST, or HTTP GET abilities to recover data from other programs which 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 campaign 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.
Ease Of Use
Signing up for a Benchmark account is pretty straightforward. After entering your name, email, phone number, and company name, you have to confirm your email address. This was a five-minute process for me. Upon logging in to my new account (using the free program ) I was greeted by an appealing UI that gave me a very clear path on how best to make my very first email campaign. Great start!
Email Campaign Creation
On its own dashboard, Benchmark provides users five main options. Emails, Automations, Contacts, Surveys, and Reports. To create a new campaign, go to the Emails segment, then hit on the large blue”Create New Mail” button in the upper right-hand corner. Open Source Email Marketing Software Tools
From there, you have to 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 using the built-in code editor. If you are 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 had been motivated to enter a subject line for my Email and set up how much tracking I wanted on the message, in addition to if I wanted an automated tweet once the effort went out. The following task was to choose which contacts I wanted to get the campaign. With that, I was finally able to begin building the email itself. If you would like to, you can assemble your personal email layouts using an extremely intuitive editor. On the other hand, you can alter one of Benchmark’s templates, that are 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 one 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 directly from the 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 create your Benchmark lists, they’ll appear on your dashboard, along with a Master Unsubscribe List.
The sending of the email is rather simple. When you have finished all of your tweaks, you may save email as a draft, send it immediately, or schedule a date and time for delivery. If you want to verify everything is well before unleashing your email about the planet, 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 view how timely the automatic system would really be. I scheduled my email for 2.45 and received it at 2.50, therefore while the timing was not exactly ideal, it was probably within tolerance levels for most users. If you are one of the more infrequent users who need on-the-minute email sending, then you might have to look elsewhere. More worryingly, my email didn’t go to my primary inbox but was mechanically sorted in my”promotions” folder. Definitely not ideal.
Mail Campaign Reporting
The first thing I Discovered about Benchmark email reports was something I would read in a couple of reviews. They’re really, really fast. I mean lightning fast. Opens enroll in the Benchmark system almost instantaneously. I have worked with a lot of other apps where these reports take hours or even days to look.
Benchmark provides users with several key Pieces of information about each effort. The possibly most important statistic, the available rate, seems in both pie graph and numerical form. Additionally, Benchmark provides users with stats for clicks, forwards, bounces, unsubscribes, and abuse. Every stat further breaks down to the specific email addresses related to a given activity. Users may export this data for further analysis via a csv or xls file. There’s also a social media area which reports shares through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, as well as a map that breaks down, by country, who opens your emails. Open Source Email Marketing Software Tools
Though all of the information is great and Necessary, it is not enough to sustain higher level marketers that want more info such as conversions, which links were clicked, and earnings analysis. Though Google Analytics provides a lot of this info with appropriate integration, there may come a time when serious entrepreneurs need more info than Benchmark provides. Whether or not a small business will reach that point varies, naturally, based on the business.
Specific Size Of Company
Benchmark made its 3-tiered pricing Structure with the goal of serving everybody from the smallest kitchen-table startup to large email marketers. However, the organization’s key focus is on small to medium businesses, particularly those just beginning in email advertising. This is particularly reflected in the fact that clients 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 don’t see the integration you want, there is still hope. You can use the API or ask an integration by sending an email to [email protected]
· Benchmark Occasions — Benchmark Events is event marketing applications designed to integrate fully with Benchmark Email. Launched in 2012, this program permits users to make and customize occasions, promote and market tickets, and track the success of their events via their Benchmark Email accounts. A variety of subscriptions are available, including a free alternative.
· Salesforce.com — This integration allows users to import contacts directly into Benchmark and use Benchmark’s email system to maintain Salesforce customers participated. Read our overview of Salesforce here.
· WordPress — Benchmark Mail Lite is a WordPress plug-in which allows users to quickly build an email audience via their readers. The plug-in can automatically produce email versions of blog posts and allows users to connect up to five Benchmark accounts.
· Highrise — Merges Highrise contacts with a Benchmark list. Read our overview of Highrisehere.
· Benchmark Power — This free plugin lets you source images for your Benchmark mails from locations throughout the web. Benchmark Power captures pictures you locate and immediately uploads them to your Benchmark account for future usage.
· Flickr — Users with Flickr accounts may link Flickr for their Benchmark image galleries.
· Shopify — You are able to link a Shopify account to Benchmark and mechanically add Shopify clients to Benchmark lists. You may even add contributors to different lists based on which products they purchased. Read our review of Shopify here.
· PayPal — Users can add any of their PayPal clients for 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 here.
· WordPress — The ever-present blog and website builder provides an integration with Benchmark. Use it to send emails of your blog posts and also use the analytics to see how your subscribers respond to them. Learn more here.
· Zapier — Gain access to Zapier’s huge integration library here. Open Source Email Marketing Software Tools
Social Media Integrations
Since Of the key link between social media and email marketing, it’s important to check out the social media features included in Benchmark.
· Social Media Templates — One segment of Benchmark’s enormous email template list is made of social media-specific templates that directly promote your company’s participation in social media forums such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
· Facebook”Like” Button — Benchmark provides a very simple function which allows you to add a Facebook”Just Like” button into your emails.
· Facebook Sign-Up Form — Benchmark supplies easy-to-create sign-up forms (see”Features” above) for both websites and Facebook fan pages, to help you convert followers to subscribers.
· Social Links within Email — After you link your Benchmark account with your Facebook, Twitter, and/or LinkedIn account, you can add switches to each email that will direct your subscribers 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 business utilizes secure socket layer (SSL) protection to encrypt the information. The whole system is encrypted to ensure the safety of all customers’ personal details.
Anti-Spam Policy and Protection
Like All legitimate ESPs, Benchmark takes spam seriously and summarizes a clear zero-tolerance policy for any of their users trying to engage in spam activities. The company is fully in compliance with all the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. Benchmark additionally takes several steps to preserve its reputation as a spam-free supplier, one of them membership from 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 materials, Benchmark provides a spam test feature that looks for words commonly used in spam messages. It scores each email on a scale from 1 to 5; 5s are assigned to content that’s likely to be blocked. In case of a high score, the program suggests”less spammy” choices. Individualized IP addresses also assist large-volume senders decrease their spam amounts.
Customer Service and Support
Benchmark Offers its users a great deal of support resources. Customer support is usually responsive, with minimal waiting times. The site offers good learning resources, but can be needlessly opaque occasionally. Key information can be buried and difficult to locate, particularly if you don’t know exactly what you’re searching for, especially when it comes to minute particulars about plans. For instance. That the Free For Life plan includes Benchmark branding on every email, but you won’t find that mentioned on the Free For Life webpage, not even at the fine print. Nor will you see it said when you register. The only place it’s mentioned is in the FAQ, here.
Here are some of those resources Benchmark offers. Open Source Email Marketing Software Tools
· Live Support and Email — Benchmark provides live one-on-one aid through these means.
· Email Support. Contact Benchmark at [email protected] or via the organization’s contact form . Accessible 24 hours Monday — Friday and restricted hours on Saturday.
· Phone Support. You can 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 per day 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. There are more than 900 entries, sorted into 18 topics ranging from”Getting Started” to”API.” Users may perform a key word search of any topic (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. Some of the QandAs provide advice which is wholly incorrect, so in some cases, you may want to contact assistance to hash things out.
· Video Tutorials and Webinars — Benchmark provides about two dozen movie tutorials that take users step by step through the features of this app. The business also offers a webinar known as”Benchmark Mail Crash Course.” You may view it live each Friday at 10.00 a.m. PST or watch the recorded version at any moment. You can also ask for a particular 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 information on email marketing generally, in addition to the Benchmark program specifically, in 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 digestible chunks than the guides provide.
· Glossary of Email Marketing Requirements — This can be a particularly helpful tool for those brand new to email marketing who believe consumed by all of the jargon. Benchmark gives a glossarywith 50 of the very popular email marketing terms from”above-the-fold” to”whitelists.”
· Blog and Newsletter — For current info regarding email advertising trends, check out Benchmark’s monthly newsletter, in addition to its exceptionally active site. All subscribers automatically gain access to current newsletters, and Benchmark also offers an archive of newsletter posts from November 2007-October 2012.
· Benchmark Community — Benchmark users can post their latest 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 entirely web-based and doesn’t Require any setup on your PC.
Favorable Reviews and Testimonials
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. Open Source Email Marketing Software Tools
Some common points of praise.
· Top Notch Support. This is maybe the most common monitoring concerning Benchmark, and some thing I discovered for myself as well. People today are inclined to find support prompt and beneficial, and some say it is really the element that distinguishes Benchmark from its rivals. The business also receives praise for its website articles and videos.
· Feature Selection Across All Plans. Some users praise the addition of attributes like AB analyzing and surveys from all programs; many companies charge extra for these features or just 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 those who have tried many different programs before settling on Benchmark.
· Mobile Friendly Emails. Users were impressed with the mobile-friendly email layout of Benchmark’s templates. Since an increasing number of people access their email from mobile devices, this can be an increasingly significant factor to consider.
Negative Reviews and Complaints
I was not able to find many people who disliked Their Benchmark experience. But, I was able to find a few complaints.
· Inconsistent Send-Times. Apparently a few users experienced an issue with Benchmark where their emails were sent hours after they were first scheduled. 1 customer theorized that the issue might arise from long lists of recipients. Not all clients of Benchmark will possess time-sensitive shipping needs, but other people will. If you need your emails to go out precisely whenever your schedule dictates, you might have to consider this situation.
· Buggy Social Media Integrations. I watched several consumer reviews that remarked the social media integrations in Benchmark aren’t up to par.
· “Spammy” Templates. Some users were concerned that Benchmark’s templates may feel like spam mail, causing receivers to mark them as junk and not reading the contents. Since the entire point of an ESP is 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 might not be the most legitimate of complaints.
Benchmark Provides a huge number of pricing strategies, such as a free plan and a massive scale of paid plans which may service anywhere between 600 and 7,140,000 subscribers.
Benchmark’s free programs do not require charge Cards, which is always refreshing. The only grab. There’ll be a small Benchmark logo in the bottom of every 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 allows you to send up to 14000 mails to up to 2000 subscribers and gives you access to all but not all of Benchmark’s features list. Notable absences to the features list for free accounts comprise email automation and sub-accounts (enabling multiple users to access one Benchmark accounts ).
Paid Strategies. Open Source Email Marketing Software Tools
Users with little contacts lists and limited Monthly messages have the choice of paying to get their email marketing depending on the number of mails 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 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 per month
Benchmark accepts all Major charge cards and also lets you pay through PayPal. They also offer you a 25% reduction for nonprofits and teachers.
Benchmark is a solid program. It’s easy to use, Open to innovation, and competitively priced. Its free alternatives might just be the very best in the business for anyone who just wants to dip into email advertising (especially small, neighborhood businesses). For that matter, any Benchmark plan can work nicely for a small company which perspectives email as a minor aspect of its marketing and does not have any desire to operate past the principles just yet.
If you are a small or maybe medium-sized Company looking for a simple email marketing program using a host of amazing features, Benchmark is an excellent option. Even though there might come a time when you outgrow the app, it supplies a great deal for the money, offers exceptional service, and the company appears to be sensitive to the needs of its users. You can’t ask for much more.