Summary Targeted Email Advertising
For many an evening in 2004, three people sat Around a single desk in a small medical office — an office which functioned as the group’s conference room, breakfast area, and thought heart. Backed by a little programming group in India, the trio (consisting of Benchmark Internet Group founder Curt Keller, his wife Denise, and an SEO expert) discussed ideas for how to execute a deceptively straightforward idea. Simple email marketing. Many of the ideas were beyond the means of this fledgling business, but that didn’t stop Keller from moving ahead.
The first Customers of Benchmark Mail were small businesses located in close proximity to Benchmark’s one-room HQ in Long Beach, CA. Keller and his team personally sold them on the use of email marketing, while working hard to make a simple user interface which would be easy to operate. All the while, the business championed such innovative ideas as customizable templates and software which adapted to consumer needs. They also made certain from the outset that anybody who needed help would have quick access to excellent customer support.
Benchmark Has continued to grow and advantagesper. Its present focus. Providing global email advertising services to small and medium-sized companies while continuing to honor a commitment to help children in need. This does not mean that Benchmark is a little-guys-only company, however; it has adhered to its core principle of adaptability and functions large organizations such as UNICEF and Kaiser-Permanente via its High Volume Enterprise plans.
Today, Benchmark serves upwards of 73,000 users from across the globe, however, the company hasn’t forgotten its roots. Benchmark still keeps good relationships with little, locally-based businesses. In reality, the company supplies a complete page of testimonials from users of this app. You can read about Benchmark’s background and development here.
While the Majority of the features Benchmark supplies Are on par with the rest of the industry, one of the standout characteristics of this ESP is the fact that most of 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 provides all users 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 retail. There is also a category for social media-specific templates.
· Video Emails. Possibly the best-known advantage of Benchmark is its support for video mails. The company describes the benefits of this attribute 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 build it into an email.
· Dedicated Email Server. All of Benchmark’s High Volume programs have a dedicated IP address to help increase deliverability rates. Users on other programs have the choice of paying for this service ($30/month) to boost their own delivery stats. Read more about the advantages of dedicated servers .
· Email Delivery Management. Benchmark’s email shipping management program is all about getting clients’ emails into inboxes. The company is a part of the Email Sender and Provider Coalition and works with ReturnPath, a leading email delivery and delivery service. The business also communicates with ISPs on its customers’ behalf. Targeted Email Advertising
· Mobile App. Benchmark’s mobile apps allow customers having an Apple device to access several functions on the road. They can get and include contacts, browse reports, send videos through integration with a YouTube account, and even layout and send quick email blasts with one of 10 templates that are available. This 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 photos you intend to utilize in your email campaign aren’t perfectly sized or need some colour adjustment, you may use Benchmark’s integrated photo 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 provides this ultra-customization choice with which you can construct your mails from scratch.
· Autoresponder. Every Benchmark customer has the power to style around eight custom autoresponder messages. These can be scheduled as a string or event lead-up, or made as annual messages such as birthday or anniversary mails.
· 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 supplies an easy-to-use instrument to create customized templates for each medium.
· Inbox Checker. Because every email program differs and each web browser has a signature fashion, making sure your emails look great across the board is important. It is possible to use Inbox Checker to look at the way that your email screens in Gmail using Explorer and Outlook 3. Using the entire program (which assesses everything out of 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 out of their blogs automatically through the RSS-to-Email feature, which works with any blog which handles an RSS-feed. Users simply have to establish a campaign and template inside Benchmark once.
· API Integration. An API (Application Program Interface) allows different software programs to communicate with one another with no formal plug-in connection. Benchmark’s API Integration feature permits users using XML-RPC, HTTP POST, or HTTP GET abilities to recover data from other programs that use JSON, XML, XML-RPC, or PHP serialization strings. In brief, this allows them to play three purposes. Manage contact lists, manage campaigns and effort sending, and assess data. The company explains this role in more detail here.
· Advanced Metrics. Benchmark provides both List 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 accounts is fairly straightforward. After entering your name, email, phone number, and company name, you have to validate your email address. This is a five-minute process for me. Upon logging in to my account (with the free program ) I was greeted by an appealing UI that gave me a very clear path on how best to create my very 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 effort, proceed into the Emails segment, then hit on the large blue”Create New Email” button at the top right-hand corner. Targeted Email Advertising
From there, you have to 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 with 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 gifted that way, so I moved with the drag-and-drop option.
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 when I wanted an automatic tweet once the effort went out. The following task was to select which contacts I wanted to get the campaign. With that, I was eventually able to start constructing the email itself. If you would like to, you are able to assemble your own email designs using an extremely intuitive editor. On the flip side, you can alter one of Benchmark’s templates, that can be great, and better than I was able to do on my own.
Preventing the Email Campaign
If You’re just Starting out, you can do as I did and manually input contacts one at a time. However, for people who already have a listing, there are numerous ways to import it. You can upload a CSV, xls, or txt file directly from the personal computer; import contacts directly from Salesforce.com, Hotmail, or Gmail accounts; or copy and paste huge lists of contacts to a text form. When you make your Benchmark lists, then they will show up on your dashboard, along with a Master Unsubscribe List.
The actual sending of the email is rather easy. When you’ve completed all your tweaks, you can save email as a draft, send it instantly, or schedule a date and time for delivery. If you want to verify everything is well before distributing your email on the world, you can 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 automatic system would really be. I scheduled my email for 2.45 and obtained it in 2.50, therefore while the timing was not exactly perfect, it was likely within tolerance levels for most users. If you are one of the more infrequent users who need on-the-minute email sending, you may need to appear elsewhere. More worryingly, my email did not go to my primary inbox but was mechanically sorted in my”promotions” folder. Definitely not perfect.
Email Campaign Reporting
The first thing I Discovered about Benchmark email reports was something I’d read about in a couple of reviews. They’re really, really quickly. I mean lightning fast. Opens enroll in the Benchmark system almost instantaneously. I have worked with several other programs where these reports require hours or even days to appear.
Benchmark provides users with several key Pieces of information about each campaign. The possibly most important statistic, the available speed, appears in both pie graph and numerical type. In addition, Benchmark supplies users with stats for clicks, forwards, bounces, unsubscribes, and abuse. Each stat further breaks down to the specific email addresses related to a given action. Users can export this information for further analysis by means of a csv or xls file. There is also a social networking area which reports shares via Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, in addition to a map that breaks down, by state, who opens your emails. Targeted Email Advertising
Though all of the information Is Excellent and Necessary, it isn’t enough to sustain increased level marketers who need more information such as conversions, which hyperlinks were clicked, and earnings analysis. Although Google Analytics provides a lot of that information with proper integration, there may come a time when serious entrepreneurs need more info than Benchmark provides. Whether a small business will get to that point varies, of course, dependent on the business.
Particular Size Of Company
Benchmark made its 3-tiered pricing Structure with the objective of serving everybody from the smallest kitchen-table startup to large email marketers. On the other hand, the organization’s key focus is on small to medium companies, especially those just beginning in email marketing. This is particularly reflected in the reality that clients subscribing to the moderate plans get unlimited emails, while larger plans have constraints.
Integrations and Add-Ons
Benchmark Offers approximately 20 plug-ins and integrations. If you don’t see the integration you need, there is still hope. You can use the API or request a integration by sending an email to [email protected]
· Benchmark Occasions — Benchmark Occasions is event marketing software designed to integrate fully with Benchmark Email. Launched in 2012, this app allows users to make and customize occasions, promote and sell tickets, and track the success of the events through their Benchmark Email accounts. A number of programs are available, including a free option.
· Salesforce.com — This integration enables users to import contacts directly into Benchmark and utilize Benchmark’s email system to keep Salesforce customers engaged. Read our review of Salesforce here.
· Twitter — Benchmark Mail Lite is a WordPress plugin which allows users to quickly build an email audience via their readers. The plug-in can automatically produce email variations of blog articles and permits users to connect up to five Benchmark accounts.
· Highrise — Merges Highrise contacts using a Benchmark listing. Read our overview of Highrisehere.
· Benchmark Power — This free plug-in lets you source images for your Benchmark emails from places throughout the net. Benchmark Power captures pictures you find and immediately uploads them to your Benchmark accounts 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 account to Benchmark and mechanically add Shopify customers to Benchmark lists. You may even add contributors to different lists based on which products they purchased. Read our overview of Shopify here.
· PayPal — Users may add some of their PayPal customers for their Benchmark email lists bylinking the accounts. Read our review of Paypal here.
· Easy List — Learn more about this very simple list-making program and download it here.
· WordPress — The ever-present blog and website builder offers an integration using Benchmark. Use it to send mails of your blog articles and use the analytics to see how your readers respond to them. Learn more here.
· Zapier — Gain entry to Zapier’s enormous integration library here. Targeted Email Advertising
Social Media Integrations
Since Of the key link between social media and email advertising, it’s important to check out the social networking features contained in Benchmark.
· Social Media Templates — One segment of Benchmark’s enormous email template listing consists of societal media-specific templates which directly promote your company’s involvement in social networking forums like facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
· Facebook”Like” Button — Benchmark offers 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”Features” above) for both websites and Facebook enthusiast pages, to help you convert followers to subscribers.
· Social Links within Email — After you connect your Benchmark account together with your Facebook, Twitter, and/or LinkedIn accounts, you can add switches to each email which will direct your subscribers to each of your social networking pages.
The Business also fully Complies with all the U.S.-E.U. and U.S.-Swiss Safe Harbor Frameworks regarding the selection of personal data from citizens of those nations. When customers provide credit card numbers to Benchmark, the business utilizes secure socket layer (SSL) protection to encrypt the information. The entire platform is encrypted to ensure the safety of all customers’ personal information.
Anti-Spam Policy and Protection
Like All legitimate ESPs, Benchmark takes junk seriously and outlines a clear zero-tolerance policy for any of their users trying to engage in spam actions. The business is fully in compliance with all the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. Benchmark also takes several steps to maintain its reputation as a spam-free supplier, among them membership in the Email Sender and Provider Coalition. The company employs the app SpamAssassin to filter messages sent through its host.
To prevent users from Unknowingly sending spam-like materials, Benchmark supplies a spam check feature that looks for words widely utilized in spam messages. It scores each email on a scale from 1 to 5; 5s are assigned to content that is likely to be blocked. In case of a high score, the program suggests”less spammy” alternatives. Individualized IP addresses also help large-volume senders decrease their spam numbers.
Client Service and Support
Benchmark Offers its users a lot of support resources. Customer support is generally responsive, with minimal waiting times. The site provides good learning resources, but may be opaque at times. Crucial information can be buried and difficult to find, particularly in the event that you don’t know precisely what you’re looking for, especially in regards to minute details about strategies. 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 webpage, not even at the fine print. Nor will you see it said when you register. The only place it is mentioned is in the FAQ, here.
Here are some of the resources Benchmark offers. Targeted Email Advertising
· Live Email and Support — Benchmark provides live one-on-one aid through the following means.
· Email Service. Contact Benchmark at [email protected] or via the organization’s contact form here. Accessible 24 hours Monday — Friday and restricted hours on Saturday.
· Phone Support. You can reach Benchmark in 800-430-4095 (U.S.) or 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 restricted 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 foundation than a typical FAQ. You will find more than 900 entries, sorted into 18 topics 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. 1 caveat. With such an extensive knowledge base, it is pretty much inevitable that some entries are going to be out of date. Some of the QandAs provide information that’s wholly inaccurate, so in some cases, you may need to contact assistance to hash things out.
· Video Tutorials and Webinars — Benchmark provides about two dozen video tutorials that take users step by step through the features of the app. The company also offers a webinar known as”Benchmark Mail Crash Course.” You can see it live each Friday at 10.00 a.m. PST or see the recorded version at any moment. You can even ask for a particular webinar on a number of different topics. Live webinars comprise the opportunity to ask questions throughout the presentation.
· Email Marketing Manuals and Articles — There are more in-depth information on email marketing in general, as well as the Benchmark program especially, at the Manuals Section. These downloadable files also cover industry-specific troubles. Articles, very similar to blogs, offer users advice beyond that found in the FAQ section, but in shorter, more readable 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 believe absorbed by all of the jargon. Benchmark gives a glossarywith 50 of the most popular email advertising terms from”above-the-fold” to”whitelists.”
· Blog and Newsletter — For current information about email advertising trends, check out Benchmark’s monthly newsletter, as well as its extremely active site. All subscribers automatically gain access to current 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 in the Benchmark Community. This forum allows users to discuss newsletter production 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.
Positive Reviews and Testimonials
Benchmark Has a four-out-of-five star score on G2 Crowd, with a slightly better showing on GetApp and Capterra. 4.5 stars each. Targeted Email Advertising
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 tend to find support prompt and helpful, and some say it’s really the component that distinguishes Benchmark from its rivals. The business also receives praise for its website posts and videos.
· Characteristic Selection Across All Plans. Some customers praise the addition of features like AB analyzing and surveys from most programs; many firms charge extra for such features or just include them in their pricier programs.
· Ease of Use. Users have a tendency to find Benchmark’s interface incredibly user-friendly and intuitive. The program gathers praise from a broad range of demographics, from first-time ESP users to those who have attempted a variety of programs before settling on Benchmark.
· Mobile Friendly Emails. Consumers were impressed with the mobile-friendly email design of Benchmark’s templates. Since an increasing number of people access their email from mobile devices, this is an increasingly important aspect to take into account.
Negative Reviews and Complaints
I was not able to find many Men and Women who loathed Their own Benchmark experience. However, I was able 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 first scheduled. 1 customer theorized that the issue might arise from long lists of recipients. Not all customers of Benchmark will possess time-sensitive shipping demands, but others will. If you need your emails to go out exactly when your program dictates, you might have to take into account this issue.
· Buggy Social Media Integrations. I saw several user testimonials that commented the social media integrations in Benchmark aren’t up to par.
· “Spammy” Templates. Some users have been worried that Benchmark’s templates may feel like spam mail, causing recipients to mark them as junk and not studying the contents. Since the entire point of an ESP is to stop this from happening, this might be an issue. On the other hand, I never felt this way whilst searching through the template list, so it might not be the most legitimate of complaints.
Benchmark Offers a huge variety of pricing plans, including a totally free plan and a huge array of paid plans that can 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 will be a small Benchmark emblem in the bottom of each email you send out. Obviously, you can always opt to upgrade to a paid program if you don’t want the Benchmark branding. The free program allows you to send up to 14000 emails to up to 2000 subscribers and gives you access to most but not all Benchmark’s features list. Notable absences into the features list for free accounts include email automation and sub-accounts (enabling many users to get one Benchmark accounts ).
Paid Plans. Targeted Email Advertising
Users with small contacts lists and limited Monthly messages have the choice of paying to get their email advertising depending on the number of mails they send every month.
o Moderate 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 Plans. 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 per month
Benchmark accepts all Major charge cards and also allows you to pay through PayPal. They also offer a 25% reduction for nonprofits and teachers.
Benchmark is a good program. It’s Simple to Use, Open to invention, and competitively priced. Its free alternatives might just be the very best in the business for anyone who just wants to dive into email advertising (particularly small, local companies ). For that matter, any Benchmark plan can work nicely for a little business which perspectives email as a minor element of its advertising and does not have any desire to work past the basics just yet.
If you are a small or maybe medium-sized Business trying to find a simple email advertising program with a multitude of amazing features, Benchmark is an exceptional option. Though there might come a time when you outgrow the program, it supplies a great deal for the price, provides exceptional support, and the business appears to be sensitive to the needs of its users. You can not ask for more.