Overview User Friendly Email Marketing Software
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, breakfast area, and idea heart. Backed by a small programming team in India, the trio (comprising Benchmark Internet Group founder Curt Keller, his wife Denise, along with an SEO expert) discussed ideas for how to implement a deceptively straightforward idea. Simple email advertising. Many of their thoughts were beyond the resources of the fledgling business, but that did not stop Keller from planning ahead.
The first Customers of Benchmark Mail were small companies 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 which would be simple to operate. All the time, the business uses such innovative ideas as customizable templates and applications which adapted to user requirements. They also made sure from the beginning that anybody who needed help would have rapid access to excellent customer care.
Benchmark Has continued to grow and advantagesper. Its current focus. Providing global email advertising services to small and midsize businesses while continuing to honor a commitment to assist 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 serves large organizations such as UNICEF and Kaiser-Permanente through its High Volume Business plans.
Today, Benchmark serves up of 73,000 users from across the globe, however, the company has not forgotten its origins. Benchmark still keeps good relationships with little, locally-based companies. In fact, the organization offers a full page of testimonials from users of this program. You may read about Benchmark’s background and development here.
While the Majority of the attributes Benchmark provides Are on par with the rest of the industry, one of the standout features of this ESP is the simple fact that most of its attributes come standard with every single account — including the free ones. Below are a few of Benchmark’s most noteworthy offerings.
· Hundreds of Industry-Specific, Themed Templates. Benchmark provides all users access to its library of over 400 templates. These are organized into 19 classes, some of which are tailored to particular industries such as education, entertainment, and retailstores. There is also a category for societal media-specific templates.
· Video Emails. Perhaps the best-known benefit of Benchmark is its support for video emails. The company explains the benefits of this feature here.
· Online Surveys. You can create professional-looking online polls using one of Benchmark’s 6 templates. Post your poll on your site or build it into an email.
· Dedicated Email Server. All Benchmark’s High Volume plans come with a dedicated IP address to help increase deliverability prices. Users on other programs have the option of paying for this service ($30/month) to boost their own delivery stats. Read more about the benefits of dedicated servers .
· Email Delivery Management. Benchmark’s email delivery management program is about getting customers’ mails into inboxes. The company is a member of the Email Sender and Provider Coalition and operates with ReturnPath, a top email delivery and consulting service. The business also communicates with ISPs on its clients’ behalf. User Friendly Email Marketing Software
· Mobile App. Benchmark’s mobile apps allow customers having an Apple device to get several purposes on the street. They can get and add contacts, browse 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 businesses offer in their mobile programs, making them considerably more operational.
· Photo Editing. If the pictures you plan to use in your email campaign aren’t perfectly sized or need some colour adjustment, you may use Benchmark’s integrated photo editor. This is a pretty handy feature if you don’t have photoshop accessible.
· Code Editor. In case you have the know-how to work magic with HTML, Benchmark offers this ultra-customization choice with which you may build your mails from scratch.
· Autoresponder. Every Benchmark client has the ability to design around eight custom autoresponder messages. These can be scheduled as a string or event lead-up, or designed as yearly messages like birthday or anniversary mails.
· Sign-Up Types . The only way to be prosperous in email marketing is by way of growing your list, and Benchmark really promotes doing so via sign-up forms. The business bases its Free For Life account completely around website and Facebook sign-ups and provides an easy-to-use tool to create custom templates for each medium.
· Inbox Checker. Because every email program is different and every internet browser includes a signature fashion, making sure that your emails look good across the board is crucial. You can use Inbox Checker to have a look at the way that your email screens in Gmail using Explorer and Outlook 3. Using the entire app (which assesses everything from AOL to Yahoo, Explorer into Safari, mobile to PC) is a paid add-on service, available for $14 per 100 checks.
· RSS-to-Email. Regular bloggers can create newsletters out of their sites mechanically 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 within Benchmark once.
· API Integration. An API (Application Program Interface) allows different software programs to communicate with one another without a formal plug-in connection. Benchmark’s API Integration feature allows users using XML-RPC, HTTP POST, or HTTP GET abilities to retrieve data from other apps that use JSON, XML, XML-RPC, or PHP serialization strings. In a nutshell, this permits them to play three functions. Manage contact lists, manage campaigns and effort sending, and assess data. The business describes this function in more detail here.
· Advanced Metrics. Benchmark provides both Listing Segmentation and AB Split Testing.
· Multiple-Language Interface. Benchmark is offered in seven languages. Chinese, English, German, Japanese, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish.
Ease Of Use
Signing up for a Benchmark account is fairly straightforward. After entering your name, email, contact number, and business name, you have to validate your email address. This is a five-minute procedure for me. Upon logging in to my new account (with the free program ) I was greeted by an attractive UI that gave me a very clear direction about how best to create my first email campaign. Great start!
Email Campaign Creation
On its dashboard, Benchmark offers users five chief choices. Emails, Automations, Contacts, Surveys, and Reports. To create a new effort, go into the Emails section, then hit the large blue”Create New Email” button at the upper right-hand corner. User Friendly Email Marketing Software
From there, you have to decide if you want an RSS Or traditional email message. You can use Benchmark’s drag-and-drop editor, or go for more customization using the built-in code editor. If you’re someone 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 alternative.
I had been prompted to enter a subject line for my Email and set up how much tracking I desired on the message, in addition to if I wanted an automatic tweet once the effort went out. The following task was to select which contacts I wanted to receive the campaign. With that, I was finally able to begin constructing the email . If you would like to, you can assemble your personal email layouts employing a very intuitive editor. On the other hand, you can alter one of Benchmark’s templates, which 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 certainly do as I did and manually enter contacts one at a time. However, for people who already have a listing, there are numerous ways to import it. You are able to upload a CSV, xls, or txt file directly from your personal computer; import contacts directly from Salesforce.com, Hotmail, or Gmail accounts; or copy and paste huge lists of contacts to a text type. When you create your Benchmark lists, they’ll show up on your dash, along with a Master Unsubscribe List.
The actual sending of this email is quite simple. When you have completed all of your tweaks, you can save the email as a draft, send it instantly, or schedule a time and date for delivery. If you would like to check everything is well before distributing your email about the world, you can send it to yourself to preview it as many as 10 times/day. I opted to schedule my email for shipping to view how timely the automated system would actually be. I scheduled my email for 2.45 and received it in 2.50, so while the timing wasn’t exactly perfect, it was probably present in tolerance levels for many users. If you are one of the more rare users who need on-the-minute email sending, you may need to look elsewhere. More worryingly, my email did not go to my main inbox but was mechanically sorted into my”promotions” folder. Definitely not perfect.
Email Campaign Reporting
First thing I Noticed about Benchmark email reports was something I would read in a few reviews. They are really, really fast. I mean lightning fast. Opens enroll in the Benchmark system virtually immediately. I have worked with several other apps where these reports take hours or even days to look.
Benchmark provides users with several key Pieces of information about each effort. The possibly most important statistic, the available speed, appears in both pie graph and numerical form. Additionally, Benchmark supplies users with stats for clicks, forwards, bounces, unsubscribes, and abuse. Every stat further breaks down to the specific email addresses associated with a given action. Users can export this data for further analysis by means of a csv or xls file. There is also a social media area which reports shares through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, in addition to a map which breaks down, by country, that opens your emails. User Friendly Email Marketing Software
Though all of this information Is Excellent and Necessary, it is not sufficient to sustain higher level marketers that need more info such as conversions, which hyperlinks were clicked, and earnings analysis. Though Google Analytics provides a whole lot of this info with proper integration, there may come a time when serious marketers need more info than Benchmark provides. Whether a small company will get to that point changes, naturally, based on the business.
Particular Size Of Company
Benchmark designed its 3-tiered pricing Structure with the goal of serving everyone from the smallest kitchen-table startup to big email marketers. On the other hand, the company’s main focus is on small to medium companies, especially those just starting out in email advertising. 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 need, there’s still hope. You’re able to 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 permits users to create and customize occasions, promote and market tickets, and monitor the success of their events via their Benchmark Email accounts. A number of subscriptions are available, such as a free option.
· Salesforce.com — This integration enables users to import contacts into Benchmark and utilize Benchmark’s email system to keep Salesforce customers engaged. Read our review of Salesforce here.
· Twitter — Benchmark Email Lite is a WordPress plug-in which allows users to easily build an email viewer through their subscribers. The plug-in can automatically produce email versions of blog articles and allows users to connect up to five Benchmark accounts.
· Highrise — Merges Highrise contacts using a Benchmark list. Read our review of Highrisehere.
· Benchmark Power — This free plugin allows you to source images for your Benchmark emails from places across the web. Benchmark Power captures images you find and instantly uploads them to a Benchmark accounts for future usage.
· Flickr — Users with Flickr accounts can link Flickr to their Benchmark image galleries.
· Shopify — You are able to link a Shopify accounts to Benchmark and automatically add Shopify clients to Benchmark lists. You may even add subscribers to various lists based on which products they bought. Read our review of Shopify here.
· PayPal — Users can add any of their PayPal clients to their Benchmark email lists bylinking the accounts. Read our overview of Paypal here.
· Easy List — Learn more about this simple list-making app and download it here.
· WordPress — The ever-present site and site builder provides an integration using Benchmark. Use it to send emails of your blog articles and also use the analytics to see how your subscribers react to them. Learn more here.
· Zapier — Gain entry to Zapier’s enormous integration library . User Friendly Email Marketing Software
Social Media Integrations
Since Of the integral link between social networking and email marketing, it is important to check out the social networking features included in Benchmark.
· Social Media Templates — One section of Benchmark’s massive email template listing is made of social media-specific templates which directly promote your institution’s involvement in social networking forums such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
· Facebook”Like” Button — Benchmark provides a simple function which permits you to add a Facebook”Just Like” button to your own 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 to readers.
· Social Links within Email — Once you connect your Benchmark account with your Facebook, Twitter, and/or LinkedIn account, you can add buttons to each email that will direct your subscribers to each of your social networking pages.
The company also fully Complies with 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 numbers to Benchmark, the company uses secure socket layer (SSL) protection to encrypt the information. The entire system is encrypted to ensure the security of all customers’ personal details.
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 activities. The company 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 provider, among them membership in the Email Sender and Provider Coalition. The business uses the app SpamAssassin to filter messages sent through its host.
To prevent users from Unknowingly sending spam-like substances, Benchmark provides a spam check feature that looks for words commonly utilized in spam messages. It scores every email on a scale from 1 to 5; 5s are assigned to content that is very likely to be blocked. In case of a high score, the program suggests”less spammy” choices. Individualized IP addresses also assist large-volume senders decrease their spam amounts.
Customer Support and Service
Benchmark Offers its users a great deal of support tools. Customer service is usually responsive, with minimal waiting times. The website provides good learning resources, but can be opaque at times. Key information can be buried and difficult to locate, especially if you don’t know precisely what you’re searching for, particularly 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 page, not even at the fine print. Nor are you going to see it mentioned when you register. The only place it is mentioned is at the FAQ, here.
Here are some of the resources Benchmark offers. User Friendly Email Marketing Software
· Live Support and Email — Benchmark supplies live one-on-one aid through the following means.
· Email Service. Contact Benchmark at [email protected] or through the company’s contact form . Available 24 hours Monday — Friday and limited hours on Saturday.
· Phone Support. You are able to reach Benchmark at 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. Founded in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian.
· FAQ — Benchmark’s FAQ section is somewhat mislabeled as it is closer to a QandA-format knowledge base than a normal FAQ. You will find over 900 entries, sorted into 18 subjects ranging from”Getting Started” to”API.” Users may perform a key word search of any subject (or sub-topic) or of their FAQ as a whole. One caveat. With such an extensive knowledge base, it’s pretty much inevitable that some entries will be out of date. Some of the QandAs provide advice which is 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 movie tutorials that take users step by step through the features of this program. The business also supplies a webinar known as”Benchmark Mail Crash Course.” You can view it live each Friday at 10.00 a.m. PST or see the recorded version at any time. You might also request a special webinar on quite a few other subjects. Live webinars include the opportunity to ask questions during the demonstration.
· Email Marketing Manuals and Articles — You can find more in-depth details on email marketing in general, in addition to the Benchmark program specifically, in the Manuals Section. These downloadable files also cover industry-specific issues. Articles, very similar to sites, offer users advice beyond that found in the FAQ section, but in shorter, more readable chunks than the guides provide.
· Glossary of Email Marketing Terms — This can be a particularly valuable tool for those brand new to email marketing who feel absorbed by all of the jargon. Benchmark provides a glossarywith 50 of the very popular email marketing terms from”above-the-fold” to”whitelists.”
· Website and Newsletter — For current information regarding email advertising trends, check out Benchmark’s monthly newsletter, as well as its extremely active site. All readers automatically obtain access to present 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 approaches, vote for their favorite newsletters, and gain inspiration from other Benchmark users.
Web-Based Or Locally-Installed
Benchmark is completely web-based and does not Require any installation on your computer.
Positive Reviews and Reviews
Benchmark Has a four-out-of-five star rating on G2 Crowd, with a slightly better showing on GetApp and Capterra. 4.5 stars each. User Friendly Email Marketing Software
Some common points of compliments.
· Top Notch Support. This is maybe the most common monitoring concerning Benchmark, and some thing I noticed for myself as well. People today tend to find support prompt and beneficial, and a few say it’s really the element that distinguishes Benchmark from its rivals. The company also receives praise for its blog posts and videos.
· Feature Selection Across All Plans. Some customers praise the inclusion of attributes including AB analyzing and surveys from all programs; many companies charge extra for such attributes or only include them in their pricier programs.
· Ease of Use. Users have a tendency to find Benchmark’s interface incredibly intuitive and user-friendly. The program gathers compliments from a wide range of demographics, from first time ESP users to those who have tried a variety of programs before settling Benchmark.
· Mobile Friendly Emails. Users were impressed with all the mobile-friendly email design of Benchmark’s templates. Since more and more people access their email from mobile devices, this is an increasingly 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 few complaints.
· Inconsistent Send-Times. Apparently some users experienced an issue with Benchmark where their emails were sent hours when they were first scheduled. One customer theorized that the issue might arise from long lists of recipients. Not all clients of all Benchmark will possess time-sensitive sending demands, but other people will. If you need your mails to go out precisely whenever your schedule dictates, you might have to take into account this issue.
· Buggy Social Media Integrations. I watched several consumer reviews that remarked the social networking integrations in Benchmark aren’t up to par.
· “Spammy” Templates. Some users have been concerned that Benchmark’s templates can feel like spam mail, leading receivers to mark them as junk rather than reading the contents. Since the entire point of an ESP is to prevent this from occurring, this might be a problem. On the flip side, I never felt this way whilst searching through the template list, therefore it might not be the most valid of complaints.
Benchmark Offers a enormous variety of pricing strategies, including a free plan and a massive scale of paid plans which can service anywhere between 600 and 7,140,000 subscribers.
Benchmark’s free plans do not require charge Cards, which is always refreshing. The only catch. There will be a small Benchmark emblem in the bottom of each email you send out. Of course, you may always choose to upgrade to a paid program in case you don’t want the Benchmark branding. The free program permits you to send up to 14000 mails to up to 2000 subscribers and provides you access to all but not all Benchmark’s features record. Notable absences into the attributes list for free accounts include email automation and sub-accounts (enabling many users to get one Benchmark accounts ).
Paid Plans. User Friendly Email Marketing Software
Users with small contacts lists and limited Monthly messages have the choice of paying for their email advertising depending on the amount of emails that they send every month.
o Medium Plans. 600-50,000 subscribers, $13.99-$254.99 per month
o Large Plans. 55,000-100,000 subscribers, $285.99-$494.99 per month
o Extra Large Plans. 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 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’s Simple to Use, Open to invention, and competitively priced. Its free options may just be the best in the company for anyone who only wants to dip into email marketing (especially small, local businesses). For that matter, any Benchmark plan can work nicely for a little business which perspectives email as a minor element of its marketing and does not have any desire to operate past the basics just yet.
If you are a little or even medium-sized Company trying to find a easy email marketing program using a host of great features, Benchmark is an excellent option. Though there might come a time when you launch the app, it provides a great deal for the price, offers exceptional support, and the company appears to be sensitive to the requirements of its users. You can not ask for much more.