Overview The Best Email Marketing Service
For many an evening in 2004, three people sat Around a single desk in a small medical office — an office which functioned as the team’s conference room, lunch room, and thought hub. Backed by a small programming group in India, the trio (consisting of Benchmark Internet Group founder Curt Keller, his wife Denise, along with an search engine optimization expert) discussed ideas on how best to implement a deceptively straightforward concept. Simple email advertising. Many of the ideas were beyond the means of the fledgling company, but that didn’t stop Keller from planning ahead.
The first Clients of Benchmark Email were small businesses located in near proximity to Benchmark’s one-room HQ in Long Beach, CA. Keller and his team personally sold them on the usage of email marketing, while working hard to create a simple user interface that would be easy to operate. All the while, the company uses such innovative ideas as customizable templates and applications which adapted to consumer requirements. They also made sure from the beginning that anyone who needed help would have rapid access to outstanding customer support.
Benchmark Has continued to grow and advantagesper. Its present focus. Providing worldwide email advertising services to small and midsize companies while continuing to honor a commitment to help kids in need. This does not indicate that Benchmark is a little-guys-only service, however; it has adhered to its core principle of adaptability and functions large organizations like UNICEF and Kaiser-Permanente via its High Volume Business plans.
Today, Benchmark serves up of 73,000 users from across the planet, however, the company has not forgotten its origins. Benchmark still keeps good relationships with small, locally-based businesses. In reality, the company supplies a complete page of testimonials from local users of this app. You may read about Benchmark’s background and development here.
While the Majority of the features Benchmark provides Are on par with the rest of the industry, among the standout features of the ESP is the fact that nearly all its features come standard with each account — such as the free ones. Below are a few of Benchmark’s most notable offerings.
· Hundreds of Industry-Specific, Themed Templates. Benchmark provides all customers access to the library of over 400 templates. These are organized into 19 classes, some of which are tailored to particular industries such as education, entertainment, and retail. There’s also a class for societal media-specific templates.
· Video Emails. Possibly the best-known advantage of Benchmark is its support for video emails. The company describes the advantages of this attribute 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 build it into an email.
· Dedicated Email Server. All Benchmark’s High Volume programs come with a dedicated IP address to help increase deliverability prices. Users on other programs 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 Management. Benchmark’s email delivery management program is all about getting customers’ emails into inboxes. The company is a member of the Email Sender and Provider Coalition and operates with ReturnPath, a leading email delivery and consulting service. The business also communicates with ISPs on its clients’ behalf. The Best Email Marketing Service
· Mobile App. Benchmark’s mobile programs allow customers having an Apple device to access several functions on the road. They can access and add contacts, read reportsand send videos via integration with a YouTube account, and even design and send quick email blasts with one of 10 templates that are available. That is quite a little more than many other companies offer in their mobile apps, making them much more functional.
· Photo Editing. If the pictures you intend to use in your email campaign aren’t perfectly sized or need some colour adjustment, you can use Benchmark’s integrated picture editor. This is a pretty handy feature if you don’t have photoshop accessible.
· Code Editor. If you’ve got the know-how to work magic with HTML, Benchmark offers this ultra-customization choice with which you can build your emails from scratch.
· Autoresponder. Every Benchmark customer has the power to design around eight custom autoresponder messages. These can be scheduled as a series or event lead-up, or designed as annual messages like anniversary or birthday mails.
· Sign-Up Forms. The only way to become prosperous in email advertising is by way of growing your own list, and Benchmark actually promotes doing this via sign-up forms. The company bases its Free For Life account entirely around site and Facebook sign-ups and provides an easy-to-use instrument to create custom templates for each medium.
· Inbox Checker. Because every email program is different and each internet browser includes a signature style, making certain that your emails look great across the board is crucial. 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 full program (which assesses everything from AOL to Yahoo, Explorer into Safari, mobile to PC) is a paid add-on provider, available for $14 per 100 checks.
· RSS-to-Email. Regular bloggers may create newsletters from their sites mechanically through the RSS-to-Email attribute, which works with any blog which handles an RSS-feed. Users only need to establish a template and campaign within Benchmark once.
· API Integration. An API (Application Program Interface) allows different software programs to communicate with one another without a formal plug-in link. Benchmark’s API Integration feature permits users using XML-RPC, HTTP POST, or HTTP GET skills to recover data from some other programs which use JSON, XML, XML-RPC, or PHP serialization strings. In a nutshell, this allows them to play three purposes. Manage contact lists, handle campaigns and effort sending, and check data. The company explains this function in more detail here.
· Advanced Metrics. Benchmark offers both Listing 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
Signing up for a Benchmark accounts is pretty straightforward. After entering your name, email, contact number, and business name, you have to confirm your email address. This was a five-minute procedure for me. Upon logging into my new account (using the free program ) I was greeted by an attractive UI that gave me a very clear path on the best way best to make my very first email campaign. Great start!
Email Campaign Creation
On its dashboard, Benchmark provides users five chief options. Emails, Automations, Contacts, Surveys, and Reports. To make a new effort, proceed to the Emails segment, then hit on the large blue”Create New Email” button in the upper right-hand corner. The Best Email Marketing Service
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 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 personally gifted that way, so I moved with the drag-and-drop alternative.
I had been motivated to enter a subject line for my Email and setup how much observation I wanted on the message, in addition to when I wanted an automatic tweet when the effort went out. The following task was to select which contacts I wished to get the campaign. With that, I was eventually able to begin constructing the email itself. If you want to, you can construct your personal email designs employing a very intuitive editor. On the other hand, you can modify one of Benchmark’s templates, that are great, and much better than I was able to do in my.
Preventing the Email Campaign
If You’re just Starting out, you can certainly do as I did and manually input contacts at a time. However, for people who already have a listing, there are several ways to import it. You can upload a CSV, xls, or txt file right from the personal 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 make your Benchmark lists, they will appear on your dashboard, together with a Master Unsubscribe List.
The sending of this email is rather simple. Once you’ve completed all your tweaks, you can save email as a draft, send it immediately, or schedule a date and time for delivery. If you would like to verify all is well before distributing your email on the world, it is possible to send it to yourself to preview it as many as 10 times/day. I opted to schedule my email for delivery to see how timely the automatic system would actually be. I scheduled my email for 2.45 and obtained it in 2.50, so while the timing was not exactly perfect, it was probably within tolerance levels for many users. If you are one of the more rare users who need on-the-minute email sending, then you may need to appear elsewhere. More worryingly, my email didn’t go to my primary inbox but was automatically sorted in my”promotions” folder. Definitely not perfect.
Email Campaign Reporting
First thing I Discovered about Benchmark email reports was something I would read about in a couple of reviews. They are really, really fast. I mean lightning fast. Opens register in the Benchmark system almost instantaneously. I’ve worked with several other apps where these reports take hours or even days to appear.
Benchmark provides users with several key Bits of information about each campaign. The possibly most important statistic, the open rate, appears in both pie chart and numerical type. In addition, Benchmark provides users with stats such as clicks, forward, bounces, unsubscribes, and misuse. Every 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’s also a social media area which reports shares via Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, in addition to a map which breaks down, by state, who opens your emails. The Best Email Marketing Service
Though all of the information is great and Necessary, it isn’t enough to sustain higher level marketers who need more info such as conversions, which hyperlinks were clicked, and revenue analysis. Though Google Analytics provides a whole lot of this info with appropriate integration, there may come a time when serious entrepreneurs need more information than Benchmark provides. Whether a small company will get to that point varies, naturally, dependent on the company.
Specific Size Of Company
Benchmark made its 3-tiered pricing Structure with the objective 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, especially those just starting out in email marketing. This is especially reflected in the fact that customers subscribing to the medium 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 want, there’s still hope. You’re able to use the API or ask an integration by sending an email to [email protected]
· Benchmark Events — Benchmark Events is event marketing applications designed to integrate fully with Benchmark Email. Launched in 2012, this program permits users to make and customize events, promote and market tickets, and track the success of their events through their Benchmark Email account. A number of programs are available, including a free option.
· Salesforce.com — This integration enables users to import contacts into Benchmark and use Benchmark’s email system to keep Salesforce customers participated. Read our overview of Salesforce here.
· WordPress — Benchmark Email Lite is a WordPress plugin which allows users to quickly build an email viewer through their subscribers. 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 review of Highrisehere.
· Benchmark Power — This free plug-in allows you to supply pictures for your Benchmark mails from places across the net. Benchmark Power captures pictures you find and instantly uploads them to a Benchmark account for future use.
· Flickr — Users with Flickr accounts may link Flickr for their own Benchmark image galleries.
· Shopify — You can link a Shopify account to Benchmark and automatically add Shopify customers to Benchmark lists. You can even add subscribers to different lists based on which products they purchased. Read our overview of Shopify here.
· PayPal — Users may add any of their PayPal customers for their Benchmark email lists bylinking the accounts. Read our review of Paypal here.
· Easy List — Learn more about this simple list-making app and download it .
· WordPress — The ever-present site and website builder provides an integration using Benchmark. Use it to send mails of your blog posts and use the analytics to see how your readers respond to them. Learn more here.
· Zapier — Gain access to Zapier’s huge integration library here. The Best Email Marketing Service
Social Media Integrations
Since Of the key 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 societal media-specific templates that directly promote your institution’s involvement in social networking forums like facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
· Facebook”Like” Button — Benchmark provides a simple function which permits you to add a Facebook”Just Like” button to your emails.
· Facebook Sign-Up Form — Benchmark provides easy-to-create sign-up forms (see”Characteristics” above) for both websites and Facebook enthusiast pages, to help you convert followers to readers.
· Social Links within Mail — Once you link your Benchmark account with your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn account, you can add switches to each 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 concerning the collection of personal data from citizens of those countries. When customers provide credit card amounts to Benchmark, the company utilizes secure socket layer (SSL) protection to encrypt the info. The entire platform is encrypted to ensure the security of all customers’ personal information.
Anti-Spam Policy and Protection
Like All valid ESPs, Benchmark takes junk seriously and summarizes a clear zero-tolerance coverage for any of the users hoping to engage in spam actions. The business is entirely in compliance with all the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. Benchmark additionally takes several measures to preserve its reputation as a spam-free provider, one of them membership from the Email Sender and Provider Coalition. The business employs the app SpamAssassin to filter messages sent through its server.
To stop users from Unknowingly sending spam-like materials, Benchmark provides a spam test feature which looks for words commonly utilized in spam messages. It scores each email on a scale from 1 to 5; 5s are delegated 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 reduce their spam amounts.
Customer Support and Service
Benchmark Offers its users a lot of support resources. Customer support is generally responsive, with minimal waiting times. The website provides good learning tools, but may be needlessly opaque occasionally. Crucial information can be buried and difficult to find, particularly in the event that you don’t know precisely what you’re looking for, particularly when it comes to minute particulars 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 page, not even in the fine print. Nor are you going to see it said when you register. The only place it is mentioned is at the FAQ, here.
Here are some of those resources Benchmark offers. The Best Email Marketing Service
· Live Support and Email — Benchmark provides live one-on-one aid through the following means.
· Email Support. Contact Benchmark at [email protected] or through the company’s contact form . Accessible 24 hours Monday — Friday and restricted hours on Saturday.
· Phone Support. You can reach Benchmark at 800-430-4095 (U.S.) or 001-562-252-3789 (all states ). Available weekdays from 6 am to 5 pm PT.
· Chat Support. Accessible nearly 24 hours per day Monday — Friday and restricted hours on Saturday. Founded in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian.
· FAQ — Benchmark’s FAQ section is somewhat mislabeled because it is closer to a QandA-format knowledge base than a typical FAQ. You will find more than 900 entries, sorted into 18 topics ranging from”Getting Started” to”API.” Users may 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’s pretty much inevitable that some entries will be out of date. A few of the QandAs provide advice that’s wholly inaccurate, so in some cases, you may 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 company 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 moment. You might also ask for a special webinar on a number of different topics. Live webinars include the chance to ask questions throughout the presentation.
· Email Marketing Manuals and Articles — You can find more in-depth information on email marketing generally, as well as the Benchmark program specifically, in the Manuals Section. These downloadable documents also cover industry-specific troubles. Articles, very similar to sites, offer users guidance beyond that found in the FAQ section, but in shorter, more digestible chunks than the guides provide.
· Glossary of Email Marketing Requirements — This can be a particularly valuable tool for all those new to email marketing who feel absorbed by all of the jargon. Benchmark provides a glossarywith 50 of the most popular email advertising terms from”above-the-fold” to”whitelists.”
· Blog 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 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 creation strategies, vote for their favorite newsletters, and gain inspiration from additional Benchmark users.
Web-Based Or Locally-Installed
Benchmark is entirely web-based and does not Require any installation on your computer.
Favorable Reviews and Testimonials
Benchmark Includes a four-out-of-five star score on G2 Crowd, using a slightly better showing on GetApp and Capterra. 4.5 stars each. The Best Email Marketing Service
Some common points of compliments.
· Top Notch Support. This is maybe the most typical monitoring concerning Benchmark, and something I discovered for myself as well. People today are inclined to find support prompt and helpful, and a few say it’s really the element that distinguishes Benchmark from its rivals. The company also receives praise for its website articles and videos.
· Characteristic Selection Across All Plans. Some users praise the inclusion of attributes like AB analyzing and surveys in all programs; many companies charge extra for such features or just include them into their pricier programs.
· Ease of Use. Users have a tendency to find Benchmark’s interface extremely intuitive and user-friendly. The program gathers praise from a wide 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 layout 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 Men and Women who disliked Their Benchmark experience. But, I was able to discover a couple of complaints.
· Inconsistent Send-Times. Apparently some users experienced an issue with Benchmark where their emails were sent hours when they were scheduled. One customer theorized the issue might arise in lengthy lists of recipients. Not all customers of Benchmark will possess time-sensitive shipping demands, but other people will. Should you need your emails to go out precisely when your schedule dictates, you might need to take into account this issue.
· Buggy Social Media Integrations. I saw several user testimonials that remarked the social networking integrations in Benchmark aren’t up to par.
· “Spammy” Templates. Some users were concerned that Benchmark’s templates may feel like spam email, causing receivers to mark them as junk and not studying the contents. Since the whole point of an ESP is to prevent 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 may not be the most legitimate of complaints.
Benchmark Offers a huge variety of pricing plans, such as a totally free plan and a massive array of paid programs which may service anywhere between 600 and 7,140,000 subscribers.
Benchmark’s free programs do not require credit Cards, that is always refreshing. The only grab. There will be a small Benchmark logo at the bottom of every email you send out. Of course, you may always opt to upgrade to a paid plan if you don’t want the Benchmark branding. The free plan allows you to send up to 14000 emails to up to 2000 subscribers and gives you access to all but not all Benchmark’s features record. Notable absences into the attributes list for free accounts comprise email automation and sub-accounts (allowing multiple users to get one Benchmark account).
Paid Strategies. The Best Email Marketing Service
Users with small contacts lists and limited Monthly messages have the choice of paying for their email marketing depending on the amount of emails 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 Plans. 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 charge cards and also allows you to pay through PayPal. They also offer you a 25% discount for nonprofits and educators.
Benchmark is a good program. It is easy to use, Open to invention, and competitively priced. Its free alternatives may just be the very best in the company for anybody who just wants to dip into email marketing (especially small, neighborhood businesses). For that matter, any Benchmark strategy can work well for a little company which perspectives email as a minor aspect of its marketing and has no desire to work past the principles just yet.
If you are a small or even medium-sized Company looking for a easy email advertising program using a multitude of amazing features, Benchmark is an excellent choice. Even though there might come a time when you outgrow the app, it provides a lot for the price, provides exceptional service, and the business appears to be sensitive to the needs of its users. You can not ask for much more.