Overview Which Email Marketing Software Is Best
For many an evening in 2004, three people sat Around one desk in a small medical office — an office which functioned as the group’s conference room, breakfast area, and thought heart. Backed by a little programming group in India, the trio (consisting of Benchmark Internet Group founder Curt Keller, his wife Denise, and an search engine optimization expert) discussed ideas on how best to implement a deceptively simple concept. Simple email advertising. Many of the thoughts were beyond the means of this fledgling business, but that did not 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 make a simple user interface that would be simple to operate. All the while, the business uses such novel ideas as customizable templates and software which adapted to consumer requirements. They also made sure from the beginning that anybody who needed help would have rapid access to outstanding customer support.
Benchmark Has continued to grow 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 does not indicate that Benchmark is a little-guys-only company, however; it has stuck to its core principle of adaptability and serves big organizations such as UNICEF and Kaiser-Permanente through its High Volume Enterprise plans.
Today, Benchmark serves upwards of 73,000 users from throughout the planet, but the company hasn’t forgotten its roots. Benchmark still keeps good relationships with small, locally-based businesses. In reality, the organization supplies a complete page of testimonials from users of this program. You can read more about Benchmark’s background and development here.
While most of the attributes Benchmark supplies Are on par with the rest of the business, one of the standout features of this ESP is the simple fact that nearly all its attributes come standard with each account — including the free ones. Here are a few of Benchmark’s most noteworthy offerings.
· Hundreds of Industry-Specific, Themed Templates. Benchmark offers all customers access to its library of over 400 templates. These are organized into 19 categories, some of which are tailored to specific industries such as education, entertainment, and retailstores. There is 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 benefits of this feature here.
· Online Surveys. You can create professional-looking online surveys using one of Benchmark’s 6 templates. Post your survey on your site or construct it into an email.
· Dedicated Email Server. All of Benchmark’s High Volume plans have 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 here.
· Email Delivery Management. Benchmark’s email delivery management program is all about getting customers’ mails into inboxes. The company is a part of the Email Sender and Provider Coalition and works with ReturnPath, a leading email delivery and delivery support. The company also communicates with ISPs on its customers’ behalf. Which Email Marketing Software Is Best
· Mobile App. Benchmark’s mobile apps make it possible for customers having an Apple device to access several purposes on the road. They can get and include 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. That is quite a bit more than a number of other businesses offer on their mobile apps, which makes them considerably more operational.
· Photo Editing. If the photos you intend to utilize on your email campaign are not perfectly sized or want some colour adjustment, you can use Benchmark’s integrated photo editor. This is a pretty handy feature if you do not have photoshop available.
· Code Editor. In case you have the know-how to work magic with HTML, Benchmark provides this ultra-customization option with which you can construct your mails from scratch.
· Autoresponder. Each Benchmark client has the power to style around eight custom autoresponder messages. These can be scheduled as a series or event lead-up, or made as yearly messages like birthday or anniversary emails.
· Sign-Up Types . The only way to be successful in email marketing is by way of growing your own list, and Benchmark really promotes doing this through sign-up forms. The business bases its Free For Life account completely around site and Facebook sign-ups and supplies an easy-to-use tool to create customized templates for each medium.
· Inbox Checker. Since every email program differs and every internet browser includes a signature style, making sure your emails look good across the board is important. You can use Inbox Checker to look at the way that your email screens in Gmail using Explorer and Outlook 3. Employing the full program (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 may create newsletters out of their sites mechanically through the RSS-to-Email attribute, which works with any blog which handles an RSS-feed. Users simply have to set up a campaign and template inside Benchmark once.
· API Integration. An API (Application Program Interface) enables different software programs to communicate with one another without a formal plug-in link. Benchmark’s API Integration feature permits users with XML-RPC, HTTP POST, or HTTP GET abilities to retrieve data from some other apps which use JSON, XML, XML-RPC, or PHP serialization strings. In brief, this permits them to perform three functions. Manage contact lists, manage campaigns and effort sending, and check data. The business explains this function in more detail here.
· Advanced Metrics. Benchmark offers both List 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
Enrolling in a Benchmark accounts is pretty straightforward. After entering your name, email, contact number, and business name, you have to validate your email address. This was a five-minute procedure for me. Upon logging in to my new account (with the free program ) I was greeted by an appealing UI that gave me a very clear direction on how best to make my very first email campaign. Great beginning!
Email Campaign Creation
On its own dashboard, Benchmark provides users five main choices. Emails, Automations, Contacts, Surveys, and Reports. To create a new effort, proceed to the Emails section, then hit the large blue”Create New Email” button at the upper right-hand corner. Which Email Marketing Software Is Best
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 move 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 personally gifted that way, so I moved with the drag-and-drop alternative.
I was motivated to enter a subject line for my Email and setup how much tracking I wanted on the message, as well as if I wanted an automated tweet when the campaign went out. The next task was to select which contacts I wished to get the campaign. With that, I was finally able to start constructing the email . If you want to, you are able to assemble your personal email layouts using a very intuitive editor. On the flip side, you can modify one of Benchmark’s templates, which can be great, and much better than I managed to do on my own.
Sending the Email Campaign
If you are just Starting out, you can certainly do as I did and manually enter 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 large lists of contacts into a text form. Once you create your Benchmark lists, they’ll appear on your dash, together with a Master Unsubscribe List.
The sending of this email is quite simple. Once you’ve finished all of your tweaks, you can either save the email as a draft, send it immediately, or schedule a time and date for delivery. If you would like to verify all 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 chose to schedule my email for shipping to view how timely the automatic system would really be. I scheduled my email for 2.45 and received it in 2.50, so while the timing was not exactly perfect, it was probably present in tolerance levels for most users. If you are among the more rare users who demand on-the-minute email sending, you might have to look elsewhere. More worryingly, my email did not go to my primary inbox but was mechanically sorted into my”promotions” folder. Definitely not ideal.
Email Campaign Reporting
First thing I Noticed about Benchmark email reports was something I’d read about in a few reviews. They’re really, really fast. I mean lightning fast. Opens register from the Benchmark system almost immediately. 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 Bits of data about each effort. The arguably most important statistic, the available speed, seems in both pie graph and numerical type. Additionally, Benchmark supplies users with stats such as clicks, forward, bounces, unsubscribes, and abuse. Every stat further breaks down to the exact email addresses associated with a given activity. Users may export this information for additional 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 state, that opens your mails. Which Email Marketing Software Is Best
Though all of this information Is Excellent and Necessary, it isn’t enough to sustain increased level marketers who want 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 varies, of course, dependent on the business.
Specific Size Of Company
Benchmark made its 3-tiered pricing Structure with the objective of serving everyone from the tiniest kitchen-table startup to large email marketers. On the other hand, the company’s key focus is on small to medium companies, particularly those just starting out in email marketing. This is particularly reflected in the reality that customers subscribing to the moderate plans get unlimited mails, while larger plans have constraints.
Integrations and Add-Ons
Benchmark Offers approximately 20 plug-ins and integrations. If you do not see the integration you want, there is still hope. You can use the API or ask a integration by sending an email to [email protected]
· Benchmark Events — Benchmark Occasions is event marketing software designed to integrate fully with Benchmark Email. Launched in 2012, this app allows users to make and customize occasions, promote and sell tickets, and monitor the success of their events through their Benchmark Email account. A number of programs 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 maintain Salesforce customers participated. Read our overview of Salesforce here.
· WordPress — Benchmark Mail Lite is a WordPress plugin which permits users to quickly build an email viewer through their readers. The plug-in can automatically produce email versions of blog posts and permits 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 lets you source pictures for your Benchmark mails from places throughout the net. Benchmark Power captures pictures you find and immediately uploads them to your Benchmark account 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 what they purchased. Read our review of Shopify here.
· PayPal — Users can add any of the PayPal clients for their own Benchmark email lists bylinking the account. Read our review of Paypal here.
· Easy List — Know more about this simple list-making program and download it here.
· WordPress — The ever-present blog and site builder offers an integration using Benchmark. Use it to send emails of your blog articles and use the analytics to see how your readers respond to them. Learn more here.
· Zapier — Gain entry to Zapier’s enormous integration library here. Which Email Marketing Software Is Best
Social Media Integrations
Since Of the integral connection between social networking and email advertising, it is very important to check out the social media features contained in Benchmark.
· Social Media Templates — One segment of Benchmark’s massive email template listing consists of societal media-specific templates that directly promote your company’s involvement in social media forums such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
· Facebook”Like” Button — Benchmark offers a simple function which permits you to bring a Facebook”Like” button into your emails.
· Facebook Sign-Up Form — Benchmark provides easy-to-create sign-up forms (see”Features” above) for both sites and Facebook fan pages, to help you convert followers to readers.
· Social Links within Mail — Once you connect your Benchmark account together with your Facebook, Twitter, and/or LinkedIn accounts, you can add switches to each email which will direct your subscribers to each of your social media 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 these countries. When customers provide credit card amounts to Benchmark, the company uses secure socket layer (SSL) protection to encrypt the info. The entire system is encrypted to ensure the safety of customers’ personal information.
Anti-Spam Policy and Protection
Like All valid ESPs, Benchmark takes junk seriously and outlines a clear zero-tolerance coverage for any of their users hoping to take part in spam activities. The business is fully in compliance with the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. Benchmark also takes several measures to maintain its reputation as a spam-free supplier, among them membership in the Email Sender and Provider Coalition. The company employs the app SpamAssassin to filter messages delivered through its host.
To prevent users from Unknowingly sending spam-like substances, Benchmark supplies a spam check feature that 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 very likely to be blocked. In case of a high score, the program suggests”less spammy” choices. Individualized IP addresses also help large-volume senders decrease their spam amounts.
Customer Service and Support
Benchmark Offers its customers a great deal of support tools. Customer support is generally responsive, with minimal waiting times. The site provides good learning resources, but can be opaque at times. Key information can be buried and hard to locate, particularly if you don’t know exactly what you’re searching for, especially when it comes to minute details about strategies. As an example. That the Free For Life plan includes Benchmark branding on each email, but you won’t find that mentioned on the Free For Life webpage, not even in the fine print. Nor will you see it mentioned when you sign up. The only place it’s mentioned is at the FAQ, here.
Here are some of the resources Benchmark offers. Which Email Marketing Software Is Best
· Live Support and Email — Benchmark provides live one-on-one support 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.
· Telephone 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. Available 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 because it is closer to some QandA-format knowledge foundation than a typical FAQ. There are more than 900 entries, sorted into 18 subjects ranging from”Getting Started” to”API.” Users can execute a key word search of any subject (or sub-topic) or of their 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 information which is wholly incorrect, so in some cases, you might need to contact assistance to hash things out.
· Video Tutorials and Webinars — Benchmark provides about two dozen video tutorials which take users step by step through the features of the app. The company also supplies 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 time. You might even ask for a special webinar on a number of other subjects. Live webinars include the opportunity to ask questions during the presentation.
· Email Marketing Manuals and Articles — There are more in-depth details on email marketing generally, in addition to the Benchmark program specifically, in the Manuals Section. These downloadable files also cover industry-specific troubles. Articles, similar to blogs, offer users advice 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 believe absorbed by all the jargon. Benchmark gives a glossarywith 50 of the most popular email marketing terms from”above-the-fold” to”whitelists.”
· Website and Newsletter — For current information about email advertising trends, check out Benchmark’s monthly newsletter, in addition to its exceptionally active site. All subscribers automatically gain access to present newsletters, and Benchmark also provides an archive of newsletter articles from November 2007-October 2012.
· Benchmark Community — Benchmark users can post their newest newsletters on message boards at 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 completely web-based and doesn’t Require any setup on your PC.
Favorable Reviews and Testimonials
Benchmark Has a four-out-of-five star rating on G2 Crowd, using a slightly better showing on GetApp and Capterra. 4.5 stars each. Which Email Marketing Software Is Best
Some common points of compliments.
· Top Notch Service . This is perhaps the most typical observation concerning Benchmark, and something I discovered for myself too. People tend to find support prompt and helpful, and some say it’s really the component that distinguishes Benchmark from its rivals. The company also receives praise for its blog articles and videos.
· Feature Selection Across All Plans. Some users praise the addition of attributes including AB testing and surveys in all plans; many companies charge extra for these attributes or only include them into their pricier programs.
· Benefits of Use. Users tend to locate Benchmark’s interface extremely user-friendly and intuitive. The program gathers compliments from a wide range of demographics, from first time ESP users to people who have tried a variety of 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 not able to find many people who loathed Their Benchmark experience. However, I managed to discover a couple of complaints.
· Inconsistent Send-Times. Apparently some users experienced a problem with Benchmark where their emails were sent hours after 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 needs, but other people will. If you want your emails to go out precisely whenever your schedule dictates, you may have to take into account this issue.
· Buggy Social Media Integrations. I watched several consumer testimonials that remarked the social networking integrations in Benchmark are not up to par.
· “Spammy” Templates. Some users were worried that Benchmark’s templates may feel like spam mail, leading recipients to mark them as junk and not reading the contents. Since the whole purpose of an ESP would be to prevent this from happening, this may be a problem. On the other hand, I never felt this way whilst searching through the template list, therefore it might not be the most valid of complaints.
Benchmark Offers a huge number of pricing strategies, including a totally free plan and a massive array of paid programs that 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 grab. There will be a small Benchmark logo at the bottom of each email you send out. Obviously, you can always opt to upgrade to a paid program in case you don’t want the Benchmark branding. The free plan allows you to send up to 14000 mails 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 multiple users to get one Benchmark account).
Paid Strategies. Which Email Marketing Software Is Best
Users with small contacts lists and limited Monthly messages have the option of paying for their email marketing based on the number of mails that they send every month.
o Moderate Plans. 600-50,000 subscribers, $13.99-$254.99 per 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 per 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 a 25% reduction for nonprofits and teachers.
Benchmark is a solid program. It is easy to use, Open to innovation, and competitively priced. Its free alternatives may very well be the very best in the company for anybody who just wants to dip into email marketing (especially small, local businesses). For that matter, any Benchmark plan can work nicely for a small business which views email as a minor element of its advertising and has no desire to work past the basics just yet.
If you are a small or even medium-sized Company trying to find a easy email advertising program using a host of amazing features, Benchmark is an excellent option. Even though there might come a time when you outgrow the app, it provides a lot for the money, provides excellent support, and the business seems to be sensitive to the requirements of its customers. You can not ask for more.