Overview Successful Email Marketing
For many a day in 2004, three people sat Around one desk in a small medical office — an office that functioned as the team’s conference room, lunch room, and thought hub. Backed by a little programming team in India, the trio (consisting of Benchmark Internet Group founder Curt Keller, his wife Denise, along with an search engine optimization pro ) discussed ideas for how to implement a deceptively straightforward idea. Simple email marketing. Many of their ideas were beyond the means of the fledgling company, but that did not stop Keller from planning ahead.
The first Customers of Benchmark Email were small companies located in close proximity to Benchmark’s one-room HQ in Long Beach, CA. Keller and his staff sold them on the use of email advertising, while working hard to create a simple user interface that would be simple to operate. All the while, the business championed such novel ideas as customizable templates and software which adapted to consumer requirements. They also made certain from the outset that anybody who needed help would have rapid access to excellent customer care.
Benchmark Has continued to rise and advantagesper. Its present focus. Providing worldwide email marketing services to small and medium-sized companies while continuing to honor a commitment to help 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 serves big organizations such as UNICEF and Kaiser-Permanente through its High Volume Enterprise plans.
Today, Benchmark serves upwards of 73,000 users from across the globe, but the company has not forgotten its origins. Benchmark still keeps good relationships with small, locally-based companies. In fact, the company supplies a full page of testimonials from local users of this app. You can read about Benchmark’s history and development here.
While the Majority of the features Benchmark supplies Are on par with the rest of the industry, one of the standout features of this ESP is the fact that nearly all its attributes come standard with each account — including the free ones. Below are some of Benchmark’s most notable offerings.
· Countless 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 retail. There’s also a category for societal media-specific templates.
· Video Emails. Possibly the best-known advantage of Benchmark is its support for video mails. The company explains the advantages of this feature here.
· Online Surveys. You can create professional-looking online surveys using among Benchmark’s 6 templates. Post your poll on your website or build it into an email.
· Dedicated Email Server. All of Benchmark’s High Volume plans come with a dedicated IP address to help increase deliverability rates. 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 here.
· Email Delivery Direction . Benchmark’s email shipping management program is about getting customers’ mails into inboxes. The business is a part of the Email Sender and Provider Coalition and works with ReturnPath, a leading email delivery and consulting service. The company also communicates with ISPs on its clients’ behalf. Successful Email Marketing
· Mobile App. Benchmark’s mobile programs allow customers having an Apple device to access several functions on the street. They can access and add contacts, read reports, send videos via integration using a YouTube accounts, and even layout and send fast email blasts with one of 10 available templates. This is quite a bit more than many other businesses offer in their mobile apps, making them much more operational.
· Photo Editing. If the pictures you intend to use in your email campaign are not perfectly sized or want some color adjustment, you may use Benchmark’s integrated photo editor. This is a pretty handy feature if you do not have photoshop available.
· Code Editor. In case you have the know-how to work magic with HTML, Benchmark offers this ultra-customization option with which you may build your mails from scratch.
· Autoresponder. Each Benchmark client has the ability to design around eight custom autoresponder messages. These could be scheduled as a series or event lead-up, or made as yearly messages like birthday or anniversary mails.
· Sign-Up Forms. The only way to be successful in email advertising is through growing your list, and Benchmark actually promotes doing so through sign-up forms. The business 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. Since every email program differs and each internet browser includes a signature fashion, making certain that your emails look good across the board is important. It is possible to use Inbox Checker to look at the way your email screens 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 may create newsletters out of their blogs mechanically through the RSS-to-Email feature, which works with any site which handles an RSS-feed. Users simply have to establish 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 link. Benchmark’s API Integration feature allows users using XML-RPC, HTTP POST, or HTTP GET skills to retrieve data from some other programs which use JSON, XML, XML-RPC, or PHP serialization strings. In a nutshell, this permits them to play three functions. Manage contact lists, handle campaigns and campaign sending, and check statistics. The business explains this function in more detail .
· Advanced Metrics. Benchmark offers 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 business name, you have to confirm your email address. This is a five-minute procedure for me. Upon logging in to my account (using the free program ) I was greeted by an appealing UI that gave me a very clear path on the best way best to create my first email campaign. Great beginning!
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 to the Emails section, then hit the large blue”Create New Email” button at the top right-hand corner. Successful Email Marketing
From there, you have to decide if you want 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 somebody who codes their own email, then my hat is off to you, but I am not 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 wanted on the message, in addition to if I wanted an automatic tweet once the effort went out. The next task was to choose which contacts I wanted to receive the campaign. With that, I was eventually able to begin building the email . If you would like to, you can construct your own email designs employing a very intuitive editor. On the other hand, you can modify one of Benchmark’s templates, which can be great, and much better than I was able to do on my own.
Preventing the Email Campaign
If you are just Starting out, you can certainly do as I did and manually enter contacts at a time. However, for those who already have a list, there are numerous 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 huge lists of contacts to a text type. When you make your Benchmark lists, then they will appear on your dash, together with a Master Unsubscribe List.
The sending of the email is rather simple. Once you have finished all your tweaks, you may either save email as a draft, send it instantly, or schedule a time and date for delivery. If you want to verify everything is well before distributing your email on the world, it is possible to send it to your self to preview it as many as 10 times/day. I chose to schedule my email for shipping to view how timely the automated system would really be. I scheduled my email for 2.45 and received it at 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, then you might have to appear elsewhere. More worryingly, my email did not go to my primary inbox but was automatically sorted into my”promotions” folder. Definitely not ideal.
Email Campaign Reporting
First thing I Noticed about Benchmark email reports was something I would read about in a few reviews. They’re really, really quickly. I mean lightning fast. Opens enroll in the Benchmark system almost instantaneously. I’ve worked with several different programs where these reports require hours or even days to appear.
Benchmark provides users with several key Bits of data about each effort. The possibly most important statistic, the available rate, appears in both pie chart and numerical form. In addition, Benchmark supplies users with stats such as clicks, forward, bounces, unsubscribes, and abuse. Each stat further breaks down to the specific email addresses related to 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 area which reports shares through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, as well as a map that breaks down, by state, that opens your mails. Successful Email Marketing
Though all of the information Is Excellent and Necessary, it is not enough to sustain higher level marketers that need more information such as conversions, which hyperlinks were clicked, and earnings analysis. Though Google Analytics provides a whole lot of this info 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, naturally, based on the company.
Particular Size Of Company
Benchmark designed its 3-tiered pricing Structure with the objective of serving everybody from the smallest kitchen-table startup to big 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 especially reflected in the reality that clients subscribing to the moderate plans get unlimited emails, while larger plans have limitations.
Integrations and Add-Ons
Benchmark Offers roughly 20 plug-ins and integrations. If you do not see the integration you need, there is still hope. You can use the API or ask a integration by sending an email to [email protected]
· Benchmark Occasions — Benchmark Events is event marketing software designed to integrate fully with Benchmark Email. Launched in 2012, this app permits users to make and customize events, promote and market tickets, and track the success of their events through their Benchmark Email account. A variety of subscriptions are available, including a free option.
· Salesforce.com — This integration enables users to import contacts directly into Benchmark and use Benchmark’s email system to keep Salesforce customers engaged. Read our overview of Salesforce here.
· WordPress — Benchmark Mail Lite is a WordPress plug-in which allows users to easily build an email audience through their readers. The plug-in 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 review of Highrisehere.
· Benchmark Power — This free plug-in allows you to supply images for your Benchmark emails from places across the net. Benchmark Power captures images you find and immediately uploads them to a Benchmark accounts for future use.
· Flickr — Users with Flickr accounts can link Flickr for their own Benchmark image galleries.
· Shopify — You can link a Shopify accounts to Benchmark and automatically add Shopify clients to Benchmark lists. You can even add contributors to different lists based on what they purchased. Read our overview of Shopify here.
· PayPal — Users can add any of the PayPal clients for their Benchmark email lists bylinking the account. Read our review of Paypal here.
· Easy List — Know more about this very simple list-making program and download it here.
· WordPress — The ever-present site and website builder offers an integration with Benchmark. Use it to send emails of your blog articles and also use the analytics to observe how your subscribers respond to them. Learn more here.
· Zapier — Gain access to Zapier’s huge integration library here. Successful Email Marketing
Social Media Integrations
Since Of the integral link between social networking and email advertising, it’s important to look at the social media features contained in Benchmark.
· Social Media Templates — One section of Benchmark’s enormous email template list is made of social media-specific templates that directly promote your company’s participation in social networking forums like facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
· Facebook”Like” Button — Benchmark offers a very simple function which permits you to add a Facebook”Like” button into your own emails.
· Facebook Sign-Up Form — Benchmark provides easy-to-create sign-up forms (see”Characteristics” above) for both sites and Facebook enthusiast pages, so you can convert followers into readers.
· Social Links within Mail — After you link your Benchmark account with your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn account, you can add buttons to every email that will direct your readers to each of your social media 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 these nations. When customers provide credit card numbers to Benchmark, the company uses secure socket layer (SSL) security to encrypt the info. The entire system is encrypted to ensure the safety of customers’ personal details.
Anti-Spam Policy and Protection
Like All legitimate ESPs, Benchmark takes spam seriously and outlines a clear zero-tolerance policy for any of their users hoping to engage in spam activities. The company 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 supplier, one of them membership from the Email Sender and Provider Coalition. The company employs the program SpamAssassin to filter messages delivered through its server.
To prevent users from Unknowingly sending spam-like materials, Benchmark supplies a spam check feature which looks for words commonly utilized in spam messages. It scores every email on a scale from 1 to 5; 5s are assigned to content that is very likely to be blocked. In case of a high score, the program suggests”less spammy” alternatives. Individualized IP addresses also assist large-volume senders reduce their spam amounts.
Client Service and Support
Benchmark Offers its users a great deal of support tools. Customer service is usually responsive, with minimal waiting times. The website provides good learning resources, but may be needlessly opaque occasionally. Crucial information can be buried and hard to locate, particularly if you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for, particularly when it comes to minute details about strategies. As an example. 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 are you going to see it said when you register. The only place it’s mentioned is at the FAQ, here.
Here are some of the resources Benchmark offers. Successful Email Marketing
· Live Support and Email — Benchmark provides live one-on-one support through the following means.
· Email Support. Contact Benchmark at [email protected] or through the organization’s contact form . Available 24 hours Monday — Friday and limited hours on Saturday.
· Telephone Support. You can reach Benchmark in 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 per day Monday — Friday and restricted hours on Saturday. Founded in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian.
· FAQ — Benchmark’s FAQ section is somewhat mislabeled because it’s closer to some QandA-format knowledge base than a typical FAQ. There are over 900 entries, sorted into 18 subjects ranging from”Getting Started” to”API.” Users may execute a keyword search of any subject (or sub-topic) or from their FAQ as a whole. One caveat. With such a comprehensive knowledge base, it’s pretty much inevitable that some entries are going to be out of date. Some 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 movie tutorials which take users step by step through the features of the app. The business also supplies a webinar known as”Benchmark Email Crash Course.” You can view it live each Friday at 10.00 a.m. PST or watch the recorded version at any moment. You might even request a particular webinar on a number of other subjects. Live webinars include the opportunity to ask questions throughout the demonstration.
· Email Marketing Manuals and Articles — There are more in-depth details on email marketing generally, in addition to the Benchmark program especially, at the Manuals Section. These downloadable documents also cover industry-specific troubles. Articles, similar to blogs, offer users advice beyond that found in the FAQ section, but in shorter, more readable chunks compared to the manuals provide.
· Glossary of Email Marketing Terms — This can be a particularly helpful tool for all those new to email marketing who feel absorbed by all 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 info regarding email advertising trends, check out Benchmark’s monthly newsletter, as well as its exceptionally active site. All readers automatically gain access to present newsletters, and Benchmark also provides an archive of newsletter posts 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 discuss newsletter creation strategies, vote for their favourite newsletters, and gain inspiration from additional Benchmark users.
Web-Based Or Locally-Installed
Benchmark is entirely web-based and doesn’t Require any setup on your PC.
Favorable 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. Successful Email Marketing
Some common points of praise.
· Top Notch Service . This is perhaps the most common observation concerning Benchmark, and some thing I noticed for myself as well. People tend to find support prompt and helpful, and some say it’s actually the element that distinguishes Benchmark from its rivals. The business also receives praise for its website articles and videos.
· Characteristic Selection Across All Aims . Some users praise the addition of features like AB testing and surveys from all plans; many companies charge extra for such attributes or just include them into their pricier plans.
· Ease of Use. Users tend to find Benchmark’s interface incredibly user-friendly and intuitive. The program gathers praise from a broad assortment of demographics, from first-time ESP consumers to those who have tried a variety of programs before settling Benchmark.
· Mobile Friendly Emails. Consumers 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 factor to consider.
Negative Reviews and Complaints
I was not able to find many people who loathed Their own Benchmark experience. However, I managed to find a few complaints.
· Inconsistent Send-Times. Apparently some users experienced a problem with Benchmark in which their mails were sent hours after they were scheduled. One customer theorized that the issue might arise in lengthy lists of recipients. Not all clients of all Benchmark will possess time-sensitive shipping demands, but others will. If you want your mails to go out exactly whenever your program dictates, you might have to consider this issue.
· Buggy Social Media Integrations. I watched several consumer reviews that remarked the social media integrations in Benchmark are not up to par.
· “Spammy” Templates. Some users have been worried that Benchmark’s templates can feel like spam mail, causing receivers to mark them as junk rather than studying the contents. Since the entire purpose of an ESP would be to stop this from occurring, this may be an issue. On the flip side, I never felt this way while searching through the template list, therefore it might not be the most valid of complaints.
Benchmark Offers a huge number of pricing plans, including a free plan and a huge array of paid programs 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 little Benchmark emblem at the bottom of every email you send out. Obviously, you may always choose to upgrade to a paid program in case you don’t want the Benchmark branding. The free plan 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 record. Notable absences to the attributes list for free account comprise email automation and sub-accounts (allowing multiple users to access one Benchmark accounts ).
Paid Strategies. Successful Email Marketing
Users with small contacts lists and restricted Monthly messages have the choice of paying for 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 per month
o Extra Large Strategies. 125,000-1,000,000 subscribers, $659.99-$4,273.99 per 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 teachers.
Benchmark is a solid program. It is Simple to Use, Open to innovation, and competitively priced. Its free alternatives may very well be the very best in the business for anybody who just wants to dive into email marketing (particularly small, neighborhood businesses). For that matter, any Benchmark plan can work nicely for a little business which views email as a minor aspect of its advertising and has no desire to work past the basics just yet.
If you are a little or even medium-sized Business looking for a easy email advertising program using a host of great features, Benchmark is an exceptional choice. Though there might come a time when you outgrow the program, it provides a lot 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.