Overview Top Email Marketing Software Features
For many an evening in 2004, three people sat Around one desk in a small medical office — an office which served as the team’s conference room, breakfast area, and idea 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 SEO expert) discussed ideas on how best to implement a deceptively straightforward concept. Simple email marketing. Many of the ideas were beyond the resources of this fledgling company, but that did not stop Keller from moving 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 staff personally sold them on the use of email marketing, 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 user requirements. They also made certain from the beginning that anybody who needed help would have quick access to outstanding customer care.
Benchmark Has continued to rise and advantagesper. Its present focus. Providing worldwide email advertising solutions to small and midsize companies while continuing to honor a commitment to help children in need. This does not indicate that Benchmark is a little-guys-only service, however; it has stuck to its core principle of adaptability and serves large organizations like UNICEF and Kaiser-Permanente through its High Volume Business plans.
Today, Benchmark serves upwards of 73,000 users from throughout the planet, but the company has not forgotten its origins. Benchmark still maintains good relationships with small, locally-based businesses. In fact, the organization offers a full page of testimonials from users of the app. You may read more about Benchmark’s background and development here.
While the Majority of the attributes Benchmark provides Are on par with the rest of the business, one of the standout characteristics of this ESP is the simple fact that most of its attributes come standard with each accounts — such as the free ones. Here are some of Benchmark’s most notable offerings.
· Hundreds of Industry-Specific, Themed Templates. Benchmark offers all customers access to its library of over 400 templates. These are organized into 19 classes, some of which are tailored to particular industries such as education, entertainment, and retailstores. There is also a category for social media-specific templates.
· Video Emails. Perhaps the best-known benefit of Benchmark is its support for video mails. The company explains the benefits of this attribute 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 build it directly into an email.
· Dedicated Email Server. All 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 increase their own delivery stats. Read more about the benefits of dedicated servers .
· Email Delivery Direction . Benchmark’s email delivery management program is about getting clients’ emails into inboxes. The business is a member of the Email Sender and Provider Coalition and operates with ReturnPath, a leading email delivery and delivery service. The business also communicates with ISPs on its clients’ behalf. Top Email Marketing Software Features
· Mobile App. Benchmark’s mobile programs allow customers with an Apple device to get several functions on the street. They can access and add contacts, read reports, send videos through integration using a YouTube accounts, and even layout and send quick email blasts with one of 10 available templates. This is quite a bit more than a number of other businesses offer in their mobile programs, making them much more functional.
· Photo Editing. If the pictures you intend to use on your email campaign aren’t perfectly sized or need some color adjustment, you may use Benchmark’s integrated picture editor. This is a pretty handy feature if you do not have photoshop accessible.
· Code Editor. If you’ve got the know-how to work magic with HTML, Benchmark offers this ultra-customization option with which you can build your emails from scratch.
· Autoresponder. Every Benchmark customer has the ability to design around eight custom autoresponder messages. These could be scheduled as a series or occasion lead-up, or made as yearly messages like birthday or anniversary emails.
· Sign-Up Forms. The only way to become successful in email marketing is through growing your 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 tool to create custom templates for each medium.
· Inbox Checker. Because every email program differs and each web browser includes a signature style, making certain your emails look great across the board is important. It is possible to use Inbox Checker to look at the way your email displays in Gmail using Explorer and Outlook 3. Employing the full app (which checks 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 blogs mechanically through the RSS-to-Email attribute, which works with any site which handles an RSS-feed. Users only need to set up a campaign and template within 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 allows users using XML-RPC, HTTP POST, or HTTP GET abilities to retrieve data from other programs that use JSON, XML, XML-RPC, or PHP serialization strings. In brief, this permits them to play three functions. Manage contact lists, manage campaigns and effort sending, and assess data. The company describes this role in more detail here.
· Advanced Metrics. Benchmark offers both List Segmentation and AB Split Testing.
· Multiple-Language Interface. Benchmark is available in seven languages. Chinese, English, German, Japanese, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish.
Benefits Of Use
Enrolling in a Benchmark account is fairly 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 (with the free program ) I was greeted by an attractive UI that gave me a clear path about the best way to make my very first email campaign. Good start!
Email Campaign Creation
On its dashboard, Benchmark provides users five main choices. Emails, Automations, Contacts, Surveys, and Reports. To make a new campaign, proceed to the Emails segment, then hit on the large blue”Create New Mail” button at the upper right-hand corner. Top Email Marketing Software Features
From there, you have to decide if you want an RSS Or traditional email message. It is possible to 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 went with the drag-and-drop option.
I had been prompted to enter a subject line for my Email and set up how much tracking I desired on the message, as well as when I wanted an automated tweet when the campaign went out. The following task was to choose which contacts I wished to get the campaign. With that, I was eventually able to start building the email itself. If you want to, you are able to construct your own email layouts using an extremely intuitive editor. On the other hand, you can modify one of Benchmark’s templates, that can be great, and better than I managed to do on my own.
Preventing the Email Campaign
If you are just Starting out, you can 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 your 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 create your Benchmark lists, then they will appear on your dashboard, together with a Master Unsubscribe List.
The actual sending of this email is quite simple. Once you have finished all of your tweaks, you can either save the email as a draft, send it immediately, or schedule a date and time for delivery. If you want to verify everything is well before distributing your email about the planet, you can 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 automated system would actually be. I advised my email for 2.45 and received it at 2.50, therefore while the timing wasn’t exactly ideal, it was likely within tolerance levels for many users. If you’re one of the more infrequent users who need on-the-minute email sending, you might have to look elsewhere. More worryingly, my email did not go to my main inbox but was automatically sorted in my”promotions” folder. Definitely not ideal.
Mail Campaign Reporting
First thing I Noticed about Benchmark email reports was something I would read in a couple of reviews. They’re really, really fast. I mean lightning fast. Opens enroll from the Benchmark system almost instantaneously. I’ve worked with a lot of other 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 available speed, appears in both pie graph and numerical form. Additionally, Benchmark provides users with stats for clicks, forwards, bounces, unsubscribes, and abuse. Each stat further breaks down to the specific email addresses associated with a given activity. Users can export this data for additional analysis by means of a csv or xls file. There’s also a social networking place which reports shares via Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, in addition to a map that breaks down, by state, who opens your emails. Top Email Marketing Software Features
Though all of the information is great and Necessary, it isn’t enough to sustain increased level marketers that want more info such as conversions, which links were clicked, and revenue analysis. Though Google Analytics provides a lot of this info with proper integration, there may come a time when serious entrepreneurs need more info than Benchmark provides. Whether a small company will get to that point varies, of course, based on the company.
Specific Size Of Business
Benchmark designed its 3-tiered pricing Structure with the goal of serving everybody from the smallest kitchen-table startup to large email marketers. However, the organization’s key focus is on small to medium companies, especially those just starting out in email marketing. This is especially reflected in the fact that clients subscribing to the medium plans get unlimited mails, while larger plans have constraints.
Integrations and Add-Ons
Benchmark Offers roughly 20 plug-ins and integrations. If you don’t observe the integration you want, there’s still hope. You can use the API or request an integration by sending an email to [email protected]
· Benchmark Occasions — Benchmark Events is event marketing applications designed to integrate fully with Benchmark Email. Launched in 2012, this program allows users to create and customize occasions, promote and market tickets, and monitor the success of the events via their Benchmark Email accounts. A variety of programs are available, such as a free alternative.
· Salesforce.com — This integration enables users to import contacts into Benchmark and use Benchmark’s email system to keep Salesforce customers participated. Read our review of Salesforce here.
· Twitter — Benchmark Mail Lite is a WordPress plugin which permits users to easily build an email viewer via 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 listing. Read our review of Highrisehere.
· Benchmark Power — This free plugin allows you to source images for your Benchmark mails 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 are able to link a Shopify accounts to Benchmark and mechanically 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 some of their PayPal clients to their Benchmark email lists bylinking the account. Read our review of Paypal here.
· Easy List — Learn more about this very 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 subscribers respond to them. Learn more here.
· Zapier — Gain access to Zapier’s huge integration library here. Top Email Marketing Software Features
Social Media Integrations
Since Of the integral connection between social networking and email advertising, it is very important to look at the social media features contained in Benchmark.
· Social Media Templates — One segment of Benchmark’s enormous email template listing is made of social media-specific templates that directly promote your company’s involvement in social networking forums such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
· Facebook”Like” Button — Benchmark provides a simple function which permits you to bring a Facebook”Like” button to your emails.
· Facebook Sign-Up Form — Benchmark provides easy-to-create sign-up forms (see”Features” above) for both websites and Facebook fan pages, so you can convert followers into subscribers.
· Social Links within Email — Once you link your Benchmark account together with your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn accounts, you can add switches to each email which 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 countries. When customers provide credit card amounts to Benchmark, the business utilizes secure socket layer (SSL) protection to encrypt the info. The whole platform is encrypted to ensure the safety of customers’ personal details.
Anti-Spam Policy and Protection
Like All valid ESPs, Benchmark takes spam seriously and summarizes a clear zero-tolerance coverage for any of their users trying to engage in spam activities. The company is entirely in compliance with the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. Benchmark additionally takes several steps to maintain its standing as a spam-free provider, among them membership in the Email Sender and Provider Coalition. The business employs the app SpamAssassin to filter messages delivered through its host.
To prevent users from Unknowingly sending spam-like substances, Benchmark provides a spam test feature which looks for words widely utilized in spam messages. It scores each email on a scale from 1 to 5; 5s are delegated to content that is very likely to be blocked. In the event of a top score, the program suggests”less spammy” alternatives. Individualized IP addresses also help large-volume senders decrease their spam numbers.
Customer Support and Service
Benchmark Offers its customers a lot of support resources. Customer service is generally responsive, with minimal waiting times. The website provides good learning resources, but may be needlessly opaque occasionally. Key information is often buried and hard to locate, particularly if you don’t know exactly what you’re searching for, particularly in regards to minute details about strategies. For instance. The Free For Life plan includes Benchmark branding on every email, however 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 mentioned when you sign up. The only place it is mentioned is in the FAQ, here.
Here are some of the resources Benchmark offers. Top Email Marketing Software Features
· Live Support and Email — Benchmark provides live one-on-one aid through these means.
· Email Support. Contact Benchmark at [email protected] or through the company’s contact form . 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 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. Offered in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian.
· FAQ — Benchmark’s FAQ section is somewhat mislabeled as it is closer to some 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 keyword search of any subject (or sub-topic) or from 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. Some of the QandAs provide information that’s wholly inaccurate, so in some cases, you may want 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 program. The company also supplies a webinar called”Benchmark Mail Crash Course.” You can view it live each Friday at 10.00 a.m. PST or see the recorded version at any moment. You can even request a particular webinar on a number of other 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 in general, as well as the Benchmark program specifically, 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 manuals provide.
· Glossary of Email Marketing Requirements — This can be a particularly helpful tool for all those new to email marketing who feel absorbed by all of the jargon. Benchmark provides a glossarywith 50 of the very popular email advertising terms from”above-the-fold” to”whitelists.”
· Blog and Newsletter — For current info regarding email advertising trends, check out Benchmark’s monthly newsletter, as well as its extremely active blog. All subscribers automatically obtain access to present newsletters, and Benchmark also offers an archive of newsletter posts from November 2007-October 2012.
· Benchmark Community — Benchmark users may post their latest newsletters on message boards at the Benchmark Community. This forum allows users to talk about 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 setup on your computer.
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. Top Email Marketing Software Features
Some common points of praise.
· Top Notch Service . This is maybe the most typical monitoring concerning Benchmark, and something I noticed for myself too. People today tend to find support prompt and beneficial, and some say it’s actually the element that distinguishes Benchmark from its competitors. The business also receives praise for its blog posts and videos.
· Characteristic Selection Across All Aims . Some users praise the addition of features like AB testing and surveys from all programs; many companies charge extra for these attributes or only include them into their pricier plans.
· Ease of Use. Users have a tendency to find Benchmark’s interface incredibly user-friendly and intuitive. The program gathers compliments from a wide assortment of demographics, from first-time ESP users to people who have attempted many different programs before settling Benchmark.
· Mobile Friendly Emails. Consumers were impressed with the mobile-friendly email layout of Benchmark’s templates. Since more and more people access their email from mobile devices, this can be an increasingly significant factor to take into account.
Negative Reviews and Complaints
I was Unable to find many people who disliked Their own Benchmark experience. But, I was able to find a couple of complaints.
· Inconsistent Send-Times. Apparently some users experienced a problem with Benchmark in which their mails were sent hours after they were scheduled. 1 customer theorized the issue might arise in long lists of recipients. Not all clients of Benchmark will have time-sensitive shipping demands, but others will. If you need your mails to go out precisely whenever your schedule dictates, you might need to take into account this situation.
· Buggy Social Media Integrations. I watched several consumer reviews that commented the social media integrations in Benchmark aren’t up to par.
· “Spammy” Templates. Some users have been concerned that Benchmark’s templates may feel like spam email, leading receivers to mark them as junk rather than reading the contents. Since the whole point of an ESP is to stop this from happening, this might be an issue. On the other hand, I never felt this way while looking through the template list, so it may not be the most valid of complaints.
Benchmark Offers a huge variety of pricing plans, including a totally free plan and a massive array of paid programs that may service anywhere between 600 and 7,140,000 subscribers.
Benchmark’s free plans do not require credit Cards, that is always refreshing. The only catch. There will be a small Benchmark logo in the bottom of each email you send out. Obviously, you may always opt to upgrade to a paid program in case 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 all but not all of Benchmark’s features record. Notable absences to the features list for free account include email automation and sub-accounts (allowing many users to get one Benchmark accounts ).
Paid Plans. Top Email Marketing Software Features
Users with small contacts lists and limited Monthly messages have the choice of paying for their email advertising depending on the number of emails they send each month.
o Moderate Plans. 600-50,000 subscribers, $13.99-$254.99 per month
o Large Strategies. 55,000-100,000 subscribers, $285.99-$494.99 a month
o Extra Large Strategies. 125,000-1,000,000 subscribers, $659.99-$4,273.99 per month
o Massive Plans. 1,070,000-7,140,000 subscribers, $4,500-$29,200 a month
Benchmark accepts all Major credit cards and also allows you to pay through PayPal. They also offer you a 25% discount for nonprofits and teachers.
Benchmark is a good program. It is Simple to Use, Open to invention, and competitively priced. Its free options may just be the best in the company for anybody who just wants to dip into email marketing (particularly small, neighborhood businesses). For that matter, any Benchmark strategy can work well for a small business which views email as a little element of its marketing and has no desire to operate beyond the principles just yet.
If you are a little or maybe medium-sized Company trying to find a easy email marketing program with a host of great features, Benchmark is an excellent option. Though there may come a time when you outgrow the app, it provides a lot for the money, provides excellent service, and the business appears to be sensitive to the needs of its customers. You can’t ask for more.