Summary Targeted Email Marketing Services
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 idea hub. Backed by a little programming group in India, the trio (comprising Benchmark Internet Group founder Curt Keller, his wife Denise, and an search engine optimization expert) discussed ideas on how best to implement a deceptively simple concept. Simple email advertising. Many of their ideas were beyond the means of the fledgling company, but that didn’t stop Keller from planning ahead.
The first Customers of Benchmark Email 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 advertising, while working hard to create a very simple user interface that would be simple to operate. All the time, the company uses such novel ideas as customizable templates and software which adapted to consumer needs. They also made certain from the beginning that anybody who needed help would have rapid access to outstanding customer support.
Benchmark Has continued to rise and advantagesper. Its current focus. Providing global email marketing services to small and medium-sized businesses while continuing to honor a commitment to assist children in need. This doesn’t mean that Benchmark is a little-guys-only company, however; it has stuck to its core principle of adaptability and functions large organizations such as UNICEF and Kaiser-Permanente through its High Volume Business 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 organization offers a full page of testimonials from users of this app. You can read about Benchmark’s background and development here.
While most of the attributes Benchmark provides Are on par with the rest of the business, among the standout characteristics of the ESP is the simple fact that nearly all its features come standard with every single account — including the free ones. Here are a few of Benchmark’s most notable offerings.
· Countless Industry-Specific, Themed Templates. Benchmark provides all customers access to its library of over 400 templates. These are organized into 19 categories, some of which are tailored to particular industries like education, entertainment, and retailstores. There’s also a class for social media-specific templates.
· Video Emails. Perhaps the best-known advantage of Benchmark is its support for video mails. The company describes the advantages of this feature here.
· Online Surveys. You’ll be able to create professional-looking online polls using one of Benchmark’s 6 templates. Post your poll on your website or construct it directly into an email.
· Dedicated Email Server. All of Benchmark’s High Volume programs come with a dedicated IP address to help increase deliverability rates. Users on other plans have the choice of paying for this service ($30/month) to boost their own delivery stats. Read more about the advantages of dedicated servers .
· Email Delivery Management. Benchmark’s email shipping management program is about getting customers’ emails into inboxes. The company is a part of the Email Sender and Provider Coalition and operates with ReturnPath, a leading email delivery and consulting support. The company also communicates with ISPs on its customers’ behalf. Targeted Email Marketing Services
· Mobile App. Benchmark’s mobile programs make it possible for customers having an Apple device to get several purposes on the road. They can get and add contacts, read reports, send videos via integration using a YouTube account, and even design and send quick email blasts with one of 10 templates that are available. This is quite a little more than many other companies offer on their mobile apps, which makes them much more operational.
· Photo Editing. If the photos you plan to utilize in your email campaign aren’t perfectly sized or want 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’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 string or occasion lead-up, or designed as yearly messages such as anniversary or birthday emails.
· Sign-Up Forms. The only way to become prosperous in email advertising is through growing your own list, and Benchmark actually promotes doing this via sign-up forms. The business bases its Free For Life account entirely around site and Facebook sign-ups and supplies an easy-to-use instrument to create custom templates for each medium.
· Inbox Checker. Since every email program is different and each web browser has a signature style, making sure that your emails look good across the board is important. You can 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 from their sites automatically through the RSS-to-Email feature, which works with any blog which manages an RSS-feed. Users simply have to establish a template and campaign inside Benchmark once.
· API Integration. An API (Application Program Interface) allows different software programs to communicate with one another with no formal plug link. Benchmark’s API Integration feature permits users with XML-RPC, HTTP POST, or HTTP GET skills to retrieve data from other apps that use JSON, XML, XML-RPC, or PHP serialization strings. In a nutshell, this permits them to perform three purposes. Manage contact lists, manage campaigns and effort sending, and check statistics. The business describes this role in more detail here.
· 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 accounts is fairly straightforward. After entering your name, email, phone number, and business name, you have to validate your email address. This is a five-minute procedure for me. Upon logging in to my account (with the free program ) I was greeted by an appealing UI that gave me a clear path on how to create my first email campaign. Good beginning!
Email Campaign Creation
On its own dashboard, Benchmark offers users five main options. Emails, Automations, Contacts, Surveys, and Reports. To create a new campaign, proceed to the Emails section, then hit on the large blue”Create New Mail” button in the top right-hand corner. Targeted Email Marketing Services
From there, you must decide if you want an RSS Or traditional email message. It is possible to 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 motivated to enter a subject line for my Email and setup how much observation I desired on the message, as well as if I wanted an automated tweet when the effort went out. The next task was to choose which contacts I wanted to get the campaign. With that, I was finally able to start constructing the email itself. If you want to, you can assemble your own email designs employing a very intuitive editor. On the flip side, you can modify one of Benchmark’s templates, that can be great, and much better than I was able to do in my.
Sending the Email Campaign
If You’re just Starting out, you can do as I did and manually input contacts at a time. However, for people 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. Once you create your Benchmark lists, then they’ll show up on your dash, together with a Master Unsubscribe List.
The actual sending of the email is quite simple. Once you’ve finished all of your tweaks, you can either save email as a draft, send it immediately, or schedule a date and time for delivery. If you want to check everything is well before unleashing your email about the world, it is possible to send it to yourself to preview it as many as 10 times/day. I opted to program my email for delivery to view 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 was not exactly ideal, it was probably within tolerance levels for many users. If you’re among the more rare users who need on-the-minute email sending, then you might need to look elsewhere. More worryingly, my email did not go to my main inbox but was mechanically sorted in my”promotions” folder. Definitely not perfect.
Mail Campaign Reporting
The first thing I Noticed about Benchmark email reports was something I’d read in a few reviews. They are really, really quickly. I mean lightning fast. Opens enroll from the Benchmark system virtually instantaneously. I have worked with a lot of different apps where these reports require hours or even days to appear.
Benchmark provides users with several key Pieces of data about every campaign. The arguably most important statistic, the open rate, appears in both pie graph and numerical form. Additionally, Benchmark supplies users with stats for clicks, forward, bounces, unsubscribes, and misuse. Every stat further breaks down to the exact email addresses related to a given action. Users can export this data for further analysis via a csv or xls file. There’s also a social networking place which reports shares through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, as well as a map that breaks down, by country, who opens your mails. Targeted Email Marketing Services
Though all of the information Is Excellent and Necessary, it is not enough to sustain increased level marketers who want more information such as conversions, which hyperlinks were clicked, and earnings analysis. Although Google Analytics provides a whole lot of that info with appropriate 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 company.
Specific Size Of Company
Benchmark designed its 3-tiered pricing Structure with the goal of serving everyone from the tiniest kitchen-table startup to big email marketers. However, the company’s main focus is on small to medium businesses, particularly those just beginning in email advertising. This is particularly reflected in the fact that clients subscribing to the moderate plans get unlimited emails, while bigger plans have limitations.
Integrations and Add-Ons
Benchmark Offers roughly 20 plug-ins and integrations. If you do not observe the integration you need, there is still hope. You can use the API or ask an integration by sending an email to [email protected]
· Benchmark Events — Benchmark Occasions 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 sell tickets, and track the success of their events via their Benchmark Email account. A variety of subscriptions are available, such as a free alternative.
· Salesforce.com — This integration allows users to import contacts directly into Benchmark and utilize Benchmark’s email system to maintain Salesforce customers engaged. Read our overview of Salesforce here.
· Twitter — Benchmark Mail Lite is a WordPress plugin which allows users to easily build an email viewer through their subscribers. The plugin can automatically create email versions of blog posts and permits users to connect up to five Benchmark accounts.
· Highrise — Merges Highrise contacts with a Benchmark list. Read our review of Highrisehere.
· Benchmark Power — This free plug-in lets you supply pictures for your Benchmark emails from locations across the web. Benchmark Power captures pictures you locate and instantly uploads them to your Benchmark accounts for future use.
· Flickr — Users with Flickr accounts may link Flickr to their own Benchmark image galleries.
· Shopify — You can link a Shopify accounts to Benchmark and automatically add Shopify customers to Benchmark lists. You can even add contributors to various lists based on which products they bought. Read our review of Shopify here.
· PayPal — Users can add any of the PayPal clients to their own Benchmark email lists bylinking the accounts. Read our review of Paypal here.
· Easy List — Know more about this very simple list-making program and download it .
· WordPress — The ever-present blog and site builder provides an integration with Benchmark. Use it to send emails of your blog posts and use the analytics to observe how your subscribers respond to them. Learn more here.
· Zapier — Gain access to Zapier’s enormous integration library . Targeted Email Marketing Services
Social Media Integrations
Since Of the integral link between social media and email marketing, it is important to check out the social networking features contained in Benchmark.
· Social Media Templates — One segment of Benchmark’s massive email template listing is made of societal media-specific templates which directly promote your company’s participation in social networking forums such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
· Facebook”Like” Button — Benchmark provides a very simple function which allows you to bring a Facebook”Like” button to your emails.
· Facebook Sign-Up Form — Benchmark supplies easy-to-create sign-up forms (see”Characteristics” above) for both websites and Facebook fan pages, so you can convert followers into subscribers.
· Social Links within Mail — Once you connect your Benchmark account with your Facebook, Twitter, and/or LinkedIn accounts, you can add buttons to every email which will direct your subscribers to each of your social media pages.
The company 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 these nations. When customers provide credit card numbers to Benchmark, the business utilizes secure socket layer (SSL) security to encrypt the info. The whole platform is encrypted to ensure the safety of all customers’ personal details.
Anti-Spam Policy and Protection
Like All valid ESPs, Benchmark takes junk seriously and outlines a clear zero-tolerance policy for any of their users trying to take part in spam actions. The business is fully in compliance with the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. Benchmark also takes several steps to maintain its reputation as a spam-free supplier, one of them membership in the Email Sender and Provider Coalition. The business employs the app SpamAssassin to filter messages delivered through its host.
To stop users from Unknowingly sending spam-like materials, Benchmark supplies a spam check feature that looks for words widely utilized in spam messages. It scores every email on a scale from 1 to 5; 5s are assigned 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 amounts.
Client Support and Service
Benchmark Offers its customers a great deal of support resources. Customer service is generally responsive, with minimal waiting times. The site offers good learning resources, but may be needlessly opaque occasionally. Key information is often buried and difficult to find, especially in the event that you don’t know precisely what you’re searching for, especially when it comes to minute details about strategies. As an example. That the Free For Life plan comprises Benchmark branding on every email, but you won’t find 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 those resources Benchmark offers. Targeted Email Marketing Services
· Live Email and Support — Benchmark supplies live one-on-one aid through these means.
· Email Support. Contact Benchmark at [email protected] or via the company’s contact form here. Accessible 24 hours Monday — Friday and limited hours on Saturday.
· Telephone Support. You are able to 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 daily Monday — Friday and limited hours on Saturday. Offered in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian.
· FAQ — Benchmark’s FAQ section is somewhat mislabeled because it’s closer to a QandA-format knowledge foundation than a typical FAQ. You will find more than 900 entries, sorted into 18 topics ranging from”Getting Started” to”API.” Users can execute a key word search of any subject (or sub-topic) or from the FAQ as a whole. 1 caveat. With such a comprehensive knowledge base, it is pretty much inevitable that some entries will be out of date. A few of the QandAs provide information which is wholly incorrect, so in some cases, you might want to contact support 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 this app. The company also supplies a webinar known as”Benchmark Email Crash Course.” You may see it live each Friday at 10.00 a.m. PST or watch the recorded version at any moment. You can even ask for a particular webinar on a number of different topics. Live webinars include the opportunity to ask questions throughout the demonstration.
· Email Marketing Manuals and Articles — You can find more in-depth details on email marketing generally, as well as the Benchmark program especially, at the Manuals Section. These downloadable files also cover industry-specific troubles. Articles, similar to sites, offer users guidance beyond that found in the FAQ section, but in shorter, more digestible chunks compared to the manuals provide.
· Glossary of Email Marketing Requirements — This is a particularly valuable tool for those new to email marketing who feel consumed by all of the jargon. Benchmark gives a glossarywith 50 of the very popular email advertising conditions from”above-the-fold” to”whitelists.”
· Website and Newsletter — For current info about email advertising trends, check out Benchmark’s monthly newsletter, in addition to its exceptionally active site. All subscribers automatically obtain access to present newsletters, and Benchmark also offers an archive of newsletter articles from November 2007-October 2012.
· Benchmark Community — Benchmark users may post their newest newsletters on message boards at the Benchmark Community. This forum allows users to discuss newsletter production 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 score on G2 Crowd, with a slightly better showing on GetApp and Capterra. 4.5 stars each. Targeted Email Marketing Services
Some common points of compliments.
· Top Notch Support. This is maybe the most common observation regarding Benchmark, and something I discovered for myself too. People today are inclined to find support prompt and helpful, and a few say it’s actually the element 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 inclusion of features including AB testing and surveys in most plans; many firms charge extra for such attributes or just include them in their pricier programs.
· Ease of Use. Users tend to find Benchmark’s interface extremely user-friendly and intuitive. The program gathers praise from a broad range of demographics, from first time ESP consumers to people who have tried many different programs before settling 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 is an increasingly important aspect to take into account.
Negative Reviews and Complaints
I was not able to find many people who loathed Their Benchmark experience. However, I was able to find a couple of complaints.
· Inconsistent Send-Times. Apparently a few users experienced a problem with Benchmark where their emails were sent hours when they were first scheduled. One customer theorized that the issue might arise in long lists of recipients. Not all customers of all Benchmark will have time-sensitive shipping demands, but others will. Should you want your mails to go out precisely whenever your program dictates, you may need 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 were worried that Benchmark’s templates can feel like spam email, causing receivers to mark them as spam rather than reading the contents. Since the whole point of an ESP is to stop this from happening, this might be a problem. On the other hand, I never felt this way whilst looking through the template list, therefore it may not be the most legitimate of complaints.
Benchmark Provides a enormous number of pricing strategies, including a totally free plan and a massive scale of paid programs which can service anywhere between 600 and 7,140,000 subscribers.
Benchmark’s free programs do not require charge Cards, that is always refreshing. The only catch. There’ll be a small Benchmark emblem in the bottom of every email you send out. Of course, you may always choose to upgrade to a paid program if you don’t want the Benchmark branding. The free plan permits you to send up to 14000 emails to around 2000 subscribers and gives you access to most but not all Benchmark’s features list. Notable absences into the features list for free account include email automation and sub-accounts (enabling multiple users to access one Benchmark account).
Paid Strategies. Targeted Email Marketing Services
Users with small contacts lists and restricted Monthly messages have the option of paying to get their email marketing depending on the amount of mails that they send every month.
o Medium Plans. 600-50,000 subscribers, $13.99-$254.99 a month
o Large Plans. 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 Massive Plans. 1,070,000-7,140,000 subscribers, $4,500-$29,200 per month
Benchmark accepts all Major credit cards and also allows you to pay through PayPal. They also offer you a 25% reduction for nonprofits and educators.
Benchmark is a solid program. It is 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 marketing (particularly small, local companies ). For that matter, any Benchmark plan can work well for a small business which views email as a minor element of its marketing and has no desire to work past the basics just yet.
If you are a little or even medium-sized Business looking for a simple email advertising program with a multitude of great features, Benchmark is an excellent option. Though there may come a time when you outgrow the program, it provides a lot for the price, offers exceptional support, and the business appears to be sensitive to the needs of its customers. You can’t ask for more.