Overview Simple Email Marketing
For many a day in 2004, three people sat Around one desk in a small medical office — an office which served as the group’s conference room, breakfast area, and thought heart. Backed by a small programming team in India, the trio (consisting of Benchmark Internet Group founder Curt Keller, his wife Denise, and an SEO pro ) discussed ideas on how best to execute a deceptively straightforward concept. Simple email marketing. Many of the thoughts were beyond the resources of the fledgling company, but that did not stop Keller from planning ahead.
The first Clients of Benchmark Email 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 make a simple user interface that would be easy to operate. All the while, the business championed such innovative ideas as customizable templates and applications which adapted to consumer needs. They also made certain from the beginning that anybody who needed help would have rapid access to excellent customer support.
Benchmark Has continued to rise and advantagesper. Its current focus. Providing worldwide email advertising services to small and medium-sized companies while continuing to honor a commitment to assist children in need. This does not indicate that Benchmark is a little-guys-only company, however; it’s stuck to its core principle of adaptability and functions big organizations such as UNICEF and Kaiser-Permanente through its High Volume Business plans.
Today, Benchmark serves up of 73,000 users from throughout the globe, however, the company hasn’t forgotten its origins. Benchmark still keeps good relationships with small, locally-based businesses. In fact, the company offers a full page of testimonials from users of this app. You may read more about Benchmark’s background and development here.
While the Majority of the attributes Benchmark provides Are on par with the rest of the industry, one of the standout features of the ESP is the simple fact that nearly all its attributes come standard with every single account — such as the free ones. Below are a few of Benchmark’s most noteworthy offerings.
· Countless Industry-Specific, Themed Templates. Benchmark offers all users access to its library of over 400 templates. These are organized into 19 categories, some of which are tailored to particular industries such as education, entertainment, and retailstores. There is also a category for societal media-specific templates.
· Video Emails. Perhaps the best-known benefit of Benchmark is its support for video mails. The business explains 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 website or construct it into an email.
· Dedicated Email Server. All Benchmark’s High Volume programs 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 particular delivery stats. Read more about the benefits of dedicated servers .
· Email Delivery Direction . Benchmark’s email delivery management program is about getting customers’ mails into inboxes. The business is a part of the Email Sender and Provider Coalition and operates with ReturnPath, a leading email delivery and delivery support. The business also communicates with ISPs on its clients’ behalf. Simple Email Marketing
· Mobile App. Benchmark’s mobile apps allow customers having an Apple device to access several purposes on the road. They can access and include contacts, browse reports, send videos via integration using a YouTube account, and even layout and send fast email blasts with one of 10 available templates. That is quite a bit more than a number of other companies offer on their mobile programs, which makes them much more functional.
· Photo Editing. If the pictures you intend to use on your email campaign are not perfectly sized or want some colour adjustment, you can use Benchmark’s integrated photo editor. This is a fairly handy feature if you do not have photoshop available.
· Code Editor. In case you’ve got the know-how to work magic with HTML, Benchmark provides this ultra-customization choice with which you can construct your mails from scratch.
· Autoresponder. Every Benchmark customer has the power to design up to eight custom autoresponder messages. These can be scheduled as a series or occasion lead-up, or designed as annual messages like birthday or anniversary emails.
· Sign-Up Types . The only way to become prosperous in email advertising is through growing your list, and Benchmark really promotes doing so via sign-up forms. The company bases its Free For Life account entirely around site and Facebook sign-ups and supplies an easy-to-use tool to create custom templates for each medium.
· Inbox Checker. Since every email program is different and every internet browser has a signature fashion, making sure your emails look good across the board is important. You can use Inbox Checker to look at the way that your email displays in Gmail using Explorer and Outlook 3. Employing the entire program (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 may create newsletters from their blogs automatically through the RSS-to-Email attribute, which works with any blog which handles an RSS-feed. Users simply need to set up a template and campaign inside Benchmark once.
· API Integration. An API (Application Program Interface) enables different software programs to communicate with one another without a formal plug connection. Benchmark’s API Integration feature permits users using 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 campaign sending, and check data. The company explains this role in more detail .
· Advanced Metrics. Benchmark provides both List Segmentation and AB Split Testing.
· Multiple-Language Interface. Benchmark is offered in seven languages. Chinese, English, German, Japanese, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish.
Benefits Of Use
Enrolling in a Benchmark accounts is pretty straightforward. After entering your name, email, phone number, and business name, you need to confirm your email address. This is a five-minute process for me. Upon logging into my new account (with the free plan) I was greeted by an attractive UI that gave me a very clear path about how to create my first email campaign. Good start!
Email Campaign Creation
On its dashboard, Benchmark provides users five chief choices. Emails, Automations, Contacts, Surveys, and Reports. To create a new campaign, proceed into the Emails section, then hit on the large blue”Create New Email” button in the upper right-hand corner. Simple Email Marketing
From there, you must decide if you want an RSS Or classic email message. You can use Benchmark’s drag-and-drop editor, or move for more customization using the built-in code editor. If you are somebody who codes their own email, then my hat is off to you, but I am not personally gifted that way, so I moved with the drag-and-drop option.
I was prompted to enter a subject line for my Email and setup how much observation I desired on the message, in addition to when I wanted an automatic tweet when the effort went out. The next task was to select which contacts I wanted to receive the campaign. With that, I was finally able to start building the email itself. If you want to, you are able to assemble your personal email designs employing a very intuitive editor. On the flip side, you can modify one of Benchmark’s templates, which are great, and better than I was able to do on my own.
Preventing 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 are able to upload a CSV, xls, or txt file right from the computer; import contacts directly from Salesforce.com, Hotmail, or Gmail accounts; or copy and paste large lists of contacts to a text form. Once you create your Benchmark lists, then they’ll appear on your dashboard, together with a Master Unsubscribe List.
The sending of the email is rather easy. Once you’ve completed all of 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 verify all is well before unleashing your email about the planet, it is possible to send it to your self to preview it as many as 10 times/day. I opted to schedule my email for shipping to see how timely the automated system would really be. I scheduled my email for 2.45 and received it in 2.50, therefore while the timing wasn’t exactly perfect, it was likely present in tolerance levels for most users. If you’re one of the more infrequent users who need on-the-minute email sending, you may need to look elsewhere. More worryingly, my email did not go to my main inbox but was automatically sorted into 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 few reviews. They’re really, really quickly. I mean lightning fast. Opens enroll in the Benchmark system almost instantaneously. I have worked with several different programs where these reports take hours or even days to appear.
Benchmark provides users with several key Bits of data about every campaign. The possibly most important statistic, the available speed, seems in both pie graph and numerical form. Additionally, Benchmark supplies users with stats for clicks, forward, bounces, unsubscribes, and abuse. Every stat further breaks down to the specific email addresses associated with a given activity. Users may export this data for further analysis via a csv or xls file. There’s also a social media place which reports shares via Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, in addition to a map which breaks down, by country, who opens your mails. Simple Email Marketing
Though all of this information is great and Necessary, it isn’t enough to sustain increased level marketers that need more info such as conversions, which hyperlinks were clicked, and revenue analysis. Although Google Analytics provides a whole lot of that information with appropriate integration, there might come a time when serious marketers need more information than Benchmark provides. Whether a small business will get to that point changes, of course, dependent on the business.
Particular Size Of Business
Benchmark designed its 3-tiered pricing Structure with the goal of serving everyone from the smallest kitchen-table startup to big email marketers. However, the organization’s main focus is on small to medium companies, particularly those just starting out in email advertising. This is particularly reflected in the fact that customers subscribing to the medium plans get unlimited mails, while larger plans have constraints.
Integrations and Add-Ons
Benchmark Offers approximately 20 plug-ins and integrations. If you don’t observe the integration you want, there is 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 software designed to integrate fully with Benchmark Email. Launched in 2012, this program allows users to make and customize events, promote and market tickets, and monitor the success of their events through their Benchmark Email account. A variety of subscriptions are available, including a free option.
· Salesforce.com — This integration allows 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 plugin which permits users to quickly build an email audience via their subscribers. The plugin can automatically produce email versions 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 plugin allows you to source images for your Benchmark mails from locations across the net. Benchmark Power captures images you find and immediately uploads them to your Benchmark account for future usage.
· Flickr — Users with Flickr accounts can link Flickr for their Benchmark image galleries.
· Shopify — You are able to link a Shopify accounts to Benchmark and automatically add Shopify clients to Benchmark lists. You can even add subscribers to different lists based on what they purchased. Read our overview of Shopify here.
· PayPal — Users may add some of their PayPal clients for their Benchmark email lists bylinking the account. Read our overview of Paypal here.
· Easy List — Know more about this simple list-making program and download it .
· WordPress — The ever-present site and site builder provides an integration with Benchmark. Use it to send mails of your blog articles and use the analytics to observe how your subscribers react to them. Learn more here.
· Zapier — Gain entry to Zapier’s enormous integration library here. Simple Email Marketing
Social Media Integrations
Since Of the key link between social media and email marketing, it’s very important to check out the social media features included 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 such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
· Facebook”Like” Button — Benchmark provides a simple function which allows you to bring a Facebook”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, to help you convert followers to readers.
· Social Links within Email — Once you link your Benchmark account together with your Facebook, Twitter, and/or LinkedIn account, you can add buttons to every email which 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 these nations. When clients provide credit card numbers to Benchmark, the business utilizes secure socket layer (SSL) security to encrypt the info. The entire platform is encrypted to ensure the security of all customers’ personal details.
Anti-Spam Policy and Protection
Like All valid ESPs, Benchmark takes junk seriously and summarizes a clear zero-tolerance policy for any of their users hoping to take part in spam activities. The company is entirely in compliance with 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 in the Email Sender and Provider Coalition. The company uses the app SpamAssassin to filter messages sent through its host.
To prevent users from Unknowingly sending spam-like substances, Benchmark provides a spam test feature which 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’s very likely to be blocked. In the event of a high score, the program suggests”less spammy” alternatives. Individualized IP addresses also assist large-volume senders reduce their spam numbers.
Customer Service and Support
Benchmark Offers its users a great deal of support tools. Customer service is generally responsive, with minimal waiting times. The website offers good learning tools, but can be opaque occasionally. Key information can be buried and hard to locate, especially if you don’t know precisely what you’re looking for, particularly in regards to minute details about strategies. For instance. That the Free For Life plan includes Benchmark branding on every email, but you won’t see that mentioned on the Free For Life webpage, not even in the fine print. Nor will you see it said when you sign up. The only place it is mentioned is in the FAQ, here.
Here are some of the resources Benchmark offers. Simple Email Marketing
· Live Email and Support — Benchmark supplies live one-on-one support through the following means.
· Email Support. Contact Benchmark at [email protected] or via the organization’s contact form here. Available 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 countries). Available weekdays from 6 am to 5 pm PT.
· Chat Support. Available nearly 24 hours daily Monday — Friday and limited hours on Saturday. Offered in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian.
· FAQ — Benchmark’s FAQ section is somewhat mislabeled as it’s closer to a QandA-format knowledge base than a typical FAQ. There are more than 900 entries, sorted into 18 subjects ranging from”Getting Started” to”API.” Users can perform a keyword search of any topic (or sub-topic) or of the FAQ as a whole. 1 caveat. With such a comprehensive knowledge base, it is pretty much inevitable that some entries are going to be out of date. A few of the QandAs offer information that’s wholly inaccurate, so in some cases, you might need to contact support 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 app. The business also offers a webinar called”Benchmark Mail Crash Course.” You can see it live each Friday at 10.00 a.m. PST or see the recorded version at any time. You can also request a particular webinar on quite a few different subjects. Live webinars comprise the opportunity to ask questions during the demonstration.
· Email Marketing Manuals and Articles — There are more in-depth details on email marketing generally, in addition to the Benchmark program specifically, at the Manuals Section. These downloadable files also cover industry-specific troubles. Articles, very similar to blogs, 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 valuable tool for all those new to email marketing who feel absorbed by all the jargon. Benchmark provides a glossarywith 50 of the most popular email marketing conditions from”above-the-fold” into”whitelists.”
· Blog and Newsletter — For current information regarding email marketing trends, check out Benchmark’s monthly newsletter, in addition to its extremely active site. 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 latest newsletters on message boards at the Benchmark Community. This forum allows users to talk about newsletter creation strategies, vote for their favourite newsletters, and gain inspiration from other Benchmark users.
Web-Based Or Locally-Installed
Benchmark is completely web-based and doesn’t Require any installation on your PC.
Favorable Reviews and Testimonials
Benchmark Includes a four-out-of-five star rating on G2 Crowd, using a slightly better showing on GetApp and Capterra. 4.5 stars each. Simple Email Marketing
Some common points of compliments.
· Top Notch Service . This is maybe the most common monitoring regarding Benchmark, and something I noticed for myself too. People tend to find support prompt and helpful, and a few say it’s actually the component that distinguishes Benchmark from its rivals. The company also receives praise for its website articles and videos.
· Feature Selection Across All Aims . Some users praise the inclusion of attributes like AB testing and surveys from most plans; many companies charge extra for these attributes or just include them into their pricier programs.
· Ease of Use. Users have a tendency to locate Benchmark’s interface incredibly user-friendly and intuitive. The program gathers compliments from a broad range of demographics, from first time ESP users to those who have tried many different programs before settling on Benchmark.
· Mobile Friendly Emails. Users were impressed with all the mobile-friendly email design of Benchmark’s templates. Since an increasing number of people access their email from mobile devices, this can be an increasingly important factor 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 some users experienced a problem with Benchmark where their mails were sent hours after they were first scheduled. 1 customer theorized the issue might arise from lengthy lists of recipients. Not all customers of all Benchmark will have time-sensitive sending needs, but others will. If you need your emails to go out precisely when your schedule dictates, you may need to take into account this situation.
· Buggy Social Media Integrations. I saw several user reviews that remarked the social networking integrations in Benchmark aren’t up to par.
· “Spammy” Templates. Some users have been concerned that Benchmark’s templates may feel like spam mail, causing recipients to mark them as junk rather than reading the contents. Since the entire point of an ESP is to stop this from occurring, this may be an issue. On the flip side, I never felt this way whilst searching through the template list, so it may not be the most valid of complaints.
Benchmark Offers a huge variety of pricing plans, including a totally free plan and a huge array of paid plans which can service anywhere between 600 and 7,140,000 subscribers.
Benchmark’s free programs do not require credit Cards, that is always refreshing. The only catch. There’ll be a small Benchmark logo at the bottom of every email you send out. Of course, you can always choose to upgrade to a paid plan in case you don’t want the Benchmark branding. The free plan permits you to send up to 14000 mails to up to 2000 subscribers and gives you access to most but not all of Benchmark’s features record. Notable absences to the attributes list for free account comprise email automation and sub-accounts (enabling multiple users to get one Benchmark account).
Paid Plans. Simple Email Marketing
Users with small contacts lists and restricted Monthly messages have the choice of paying to get their email marketing based on the amount of mails that they send each month.
o Medium Plans. 600-50,000 subscribers, $13.99-$254.99 a month
o Large Strategies. 55,000-100,000 subscribers, $285.99-$494.99 a month
o Extra Large Strategies. 125,000-1,000,000 subscribers, $659.99-$4,273.99 per month
o Massive Plans. 1,070,000-7,140,000 subscribers, $4,500-$29,200 a month
Benchmark accepts all Major credit cards and also lets you pay through PayPal. They also offer a 25% discount for nonprofits and educators.
Benchmark is a good program. It is easy to use, Open to innovation, and competitively priced. Its free options may just be the very best in the business for anyone who just wants to dip into email marketing (particularly small, neighborhood businesses). For that matter, any Benchmark strategy can work nicely for a little business which perspectives email as a minor aspect of its advertising and does not have any desire to operate past the principles just yet.
If you are a small or even medium-sized Business trying to find a simple email advertising program with a host of amazing features, Benchmark is an excellent choice. Though there may come a time when you outgrow the app, it provides a great deal for the money, offers excellent support, and the business seems to be sensitive to the needs of its customers. You can’t ask for much more.