Overview Www Benchmark
For many a day in 2004, three people sat Around a single desk in a tiny medical office — an office that served as the team’s conference room, breakfast area, and thought hub. Backed by a little programming team in India, the trio (comprising Benchmark Internet Group founder Curt Keller, his wife Denise, and an search engine optimization expert) discussed ideas for how to execute a deceptively simple idea. Simple email advertising. Many of the thoughts were beyond the means of the fledgling business, but that didn’t stop Keller from moving ahead.
The first Customers of Benchmark Mail were small companies 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 very simple user interface which would be simple to operate. All the time, the business championed such novel ideas as customizable templates and software which adapted to user needs. They also made certain from the outset that anyone who needed help would have rapid access to excellent customer support.
Benchmark Has continued to grow and advantagesper. Its current focus. Providing global email marketing services to small and medium-sized companies while continuing to honor a commitment to help kids in need. This does not mean that Benchmark is a little-guys-only company, however; it has adhered to its core principle of adaptability and serves big organizations like UNICEF and Kaiser-Permanente through its High Volume Enterprise plans.
Today, Benchmark serves up of 73,000 users from across the planet, but the company hasn’t forgotten its roots. Benchmark still maintains good relationships with little, locally-based companies. In reality, the organization offers a full page of testimonials from local users of this program. You can read more about Benchmark’s history and development here.
While the Majority of the features 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 features come standard with every single account — including the free ones. Here are some 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 categories, some of which are tailored to particular industries such as education, entertainment, and retailstores. There’s also a category for social media-specific templates.
· Video Emails. Possibly the best-known advantage of Benchmark is its support for video mails. The business 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 survey on your website or construct it into an email.
· Dedicated Email Server. All Benchmark’s High Volume plans have a dedicated IP address to help increase deliverability prices. Users on other plans have the option of paying for this service ($30/month) to boost their particular delivery stats. Read more about the advantages of dedicated servers .
· Email Delivery Direction . Benchmark’s email delivery management program is all about getting clients’ mails into inboxes. The company is a part of the Email Sender and Provider Coalition and works with ReturnPath, a top email delivery and delivery support. The business also communicates with ISPs on its clients’ behalf. Www Benchmark
· Mobile App. Benchmark’s mobile programs allow customers having an Apple device to get several functions on the street. They can access and add contacts, read reports, send videos through integration with a YouTube account, and even layout and send fast email blasts with one of 10 available templates. This is quite a little more than many other businesses offer on their mobile programs, making them much more operational.
· Photo Editing. If the photos you intend to use in your email campaign are not perfectly sized or need some color adjustment, you may use Benchmark’s integrated picture editor. This is a pretty handy feature if you don’t have photoshop available.
· Code Editor. If you have the know-how to work magic with HTML, Benchmark provides this ultra-customization option with which you can build your emails 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 anniversary or birthday mails.
· Sign-Up Types . The only way to be successful in email marketing is through growing your own list, and Benchmark actually promotes doing this via sign-up forms. The company bases its Free For Life account entirely around website and Facebook sign-ups and provides an easy-to-use instrument to create customized templates for every medium.
· Inbox Checker. Since every email program differs and each web browser includes a signature style, making certain that your emails look good across the board is crucial. You can use Inbox Checker to have a look at the way your email screens in Gmail using Explorer and Outlook 3. Employing the full app (which checks everything out of AOL to Yahoo, Explorer into Safari, mobile to PC) is a paid add-on service, available for $14 each 100 checks.
· RSS-to-Email. Regular bloggers can create newsletters out of their sites mechanically through the RSS-to-Email attribute, which works with any site which handles an RSS-feed. Users simply need to set up a campaign and template inside 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 allows users with XML-RPC, HTTP POST, or HTTP GET skills to retrieve data from other programs which use JSON, XML, XML-RPC, or PHP serialization strings. In brief, this allows them to play three functions. Manage contact lists, handle campaigns and effort sending, and assess data. The company describes this function in more detail .
· Advanced Metrics. Benchmark provides both List 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 accounts is pretty straightforward. After entering your name, email, phone number, and company name, you need to validate your email address. This is a five-minute process for me. Upon logging into my account (using the free program ) I was greeted by an appealing UI that gave me a very clear path on the best way to make my very first email campaign. Good start!
Email Campaign Creation
On its own dashboard, Benchmark offers users five main choices. Emails, Automations, Contacts, Surveys, and Reports. To make a new effort, proceed into the Emails segment, then hit the large blue”Create New Email” button at the upper right-hand corner. Www Benchmark
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 with the built-in code editor. If you are somebody who codes their own email, then my hat is off to you, but I am not gifted that way, so I went with the drag-and-drop option.
I was prompted to enter a subject line for my Email and setup how much tracking I desired on the message, as well as when I wanted an automated tweet once the effort went out. The following task was to choose which contacts I wanted to get the campaign. With that, I was finally able to start constructing the email . If you want to, you are able to construct your own email designs using an extremely intuitive editor. On the flip side, you can alter one of Benchmark’s templates, which can be great, and better than I was able to do on my own.
Sending the Email Campaign
If You’re just Starting out, you can certainly do as I did and manually input contacts one at a time. However, for people who already have a list, there are numerous ways to import it. You can upload a CSV, xls, or txt file directly from the personal computer; import contacts directly from Salesforce.com, Hotmail, or Gmail accounts; or copy and paste huge lists of contacts into a text type. Once you make your Benchmark lists, they will appear on your dash, along with a Master Unsubscribe List.
The sending of this email is quite easy. When you have finished all of your tweaks, you can save email as a draft, send it instantly, or schedule a time and date for delivery. If you want to verify all is well before unleashing your email on the planet, you can send it to your self to preview it as many as 10 times/day. I chose to program my email for shipping to see how timely the automated system would really be. I scheduled my email for 2.45 and received it in 2.50, therefore while the timing wasn’t exactly ideal, it was probably present in tolerance levels for most users. If you are one of the more infrequent users who demand on-the-minute email sending, then you may have to appear elsewhere. More worryingly, my email did not go to my main inbox but was automatically sorted into my”promotions” folder. Definitely not perfect.
Mail Campaign Reporting
The first thing I Noticed about Benchmark email reports was something I would read in a couple of reviews. They are really, really quickly. I mean lightning fast. Opens register from the Benchmark system almost instantaneously. I’ve worked with a lot of different programs where these reports take hours or even days to appear.
Benchmark provides users with several key Pieces of data about each campaign. The arguably most important statistic, the open speed, seems in both pie graph and numerical form. Additionally, Benchmark supplies users with stats such as clicks, forwards, bounces, unsubscribes, and abuse. Each stat further breaks down to the exact email addresses associated with a given action. Users can export this information for additional analysis via 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 which breaks down, by country, that opens your emails. Www Benchmark
Though all of the information is great and Necessary, it isn’t enough to sustain higher level marketers that need more information such as conversions, which links were clicked, and earnings analysis. Although Google Analytics provides a lot of this info with proper integration, there might come a time when serious entrepreneurs need more info than Benchmark provides. Whether or not a small company will get to that point varies, naturally, based on the business.
Particular Size Of Company
Benchmark designed 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 organization’s main focus is on small to medium businesses, especially those just starting out in email marketing. This is especially reflected in the reality that clients subscribing to the moderate plans get unlimited emails, while bigger 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’s still hope. You’re able to use the API or ask a 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 app permits users to make and customize events, promote and sell tickets, and track the success of their events through their Benchmark Email account. A variety of subscriptions are available, such as a free alternative.
· Salesforce.com — This integration allows 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 plug-in which permits users to quickly build an email viewer via their subscribers. The plugin can automatically produce email variations of blog posts 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 plug-in allows you to supply pictures for your Benchmark mails from places throughout the net. Benchmark Power captures images you locate and immediately uploads them to your Benchmark account for future usage.
· Flickr — Users with Flickr accounts can link Flickr to their 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 various lists based on what they purchased. Read our overview of Shopify here.
· PayPal — Users can add any of their PayPal clients to their Benchmark email lists bylinking the account. Read our overview of Paypal here.
· Easy List — Know more about this simple list-making program and download it here.
· WordPress — The ever-present site and website builder offers an integration with Benchmark. Use it to send emails of your blog posts and use the analytics to observe how your subscribers react to them. Learn more here.
· Zapier — Gain access to Zapier’s enormous integration library here. Www Benchmark
Social Media Integrations
Since Of the integral connection between social networking and email marketing, it’s very important to check out the social media features included in Benchmark.
· Social Media Templates — One section of Benchmark’s massive email template list is made of social media-specific templates which directly promote your company’s participation in social networking forums like facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
· Facebook”Like” Button — Benchmark provides a simple function which allows you to add a Facebook”Just Like” button into your own emails.
· Facebook Sign-Up Form — Benchmark provides easy-to-create sign-up forms (see”Features” above) for both websites and Facebook enthusiast pages, to help you convert followers into subscribers.
· Social Links within Email — After you link your Benchmark account together with your Facebook, Twitter, and/or LinkedIn account, 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 the U.S.-E.U. and U.S.-Swiss Safe Harbor Frameworks concerning the selection of personal data from citizens of those nations. When customers provide credit card numbers to Benchmark, the company utilizes secure socket layer (SSL) security to encrypt the info. The entire system is encrypted to ensure the security of 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 the users hoping to engage in spam activities. The business is fully in compliance with all 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 delivered through its host.
To prevent users from Unknowingly sending spam-like substances, Benchmark supplies a spam test feature that looks for words commonly used in spam messages. It scores every email on a scale from 1 to 5; 5s are delegated to content that’s very likely to be blocked. In case of a high 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 users a lot of support resources. Customer support is usually responsive, with minimal waiting times. The website offers good learning resources, but can be opaque occasionally. Crucial information can be buried and hard to find, particularly if you don’t know precisely what you’re looking for, particularly in regards to minute particulars about strategies. As an example. The Free For Life plan comprises Benchmark branding on every email, however you won’t find that mentioned on the Free For Life page, not even in the fine print. Nor will you 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. Www Benchmark
· 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 . Available 24 hours Monday — Friday and limited hours on Saturday.
· Phone 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. Available almost 24 hours daily Monday — Friday and restricted hours on Saturday. Offered in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian.
· FAQ — Benchmark’s FAQ section is somewhat mislabeled as it’s 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 can perform a key word search of any subject (or sub-topic) or from their FAQ as a whole. One caveat. With such an extensive knowledge base, it’s pretty much inevitable that some entries are going to be out of date. A few of the QandAs provide information which is wholly incorrect, 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 the program. The business also offers a webinar known as”Benchmark Email Crash Course.” You can see it live each Friday at 10.00 a.m. PST or see the recorded version at any time. You can also ask for a special webinar on quite a few different topics. Live webinars include the opportunity to ask questions throughout the presentation.
· Email Marketing Manuals and Articles — There are more in-depth details on email marketing in general, as well as the Benchmark program especially, in the Manuals Section. These downloadable files also cover industry-specific issues. Articles, 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 is a particularly helpful tool for all those new to email marketing who believe consumed by all the jargon. Benchmark gives a glossarywith 50 of the most popular email marketing conditions from”above-the-fold” to”whitelists.”
· Website and Newsletter — For current info about email marketing trends, check out Benchmark’s monthly newsletter, in addition to its extremely active blog. All readers automatically obtain 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 production strategies, vote for their favorite newsletters, and gain inspiration from other Benchmark users.
Web-Based Or Locally-Installed
Benchmark is entirely web-based and does not Require any setup on your computer.
Favorable Reviews and Reviews
Benchmark Has a four-out-of-five star score on G2 Crowd, using a slightly better showing on GetApp and Capterra. 4.5 stars each. Www Benchmark
Some common points of compliments.
· Top Notch Service . 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 is really the component that distinguishes Benchmark from its competitors. The business also receives praise for its blog posts and videos.
· Feature Selection Across All Plans. Some customers praise the addition of features including AB testing and surveys from most programs; many firms charge extra for such features or just include them in their pricier plans.
· Benefits of Use. Users tend to locate Benchmark’s interface incredibly user-friendly and intuitive. The program gathers praise from a broad assortment of demographics, from first time ESP consumers to those who have tried many different programs before settling on Benchmark.
· Mobile Friendly Emails. Users were impressed with all the mobile-friendly email design of Benchmark’s templates. Since an increasing number of people access their email from mobile devices, this is an increasingly significant factor to consider.
Negative Reviews and Complaints
I was not able to find many Men and Women who disliked Their own Benchmark experience. However, I managed to discover a couple of complaints.
· Inconsistent Send-Times. Apparently some users experienced an issue with Benchmark in which their mails were sent hours after they were first scheduled. One customer theorized the issue might arise from long lists of recipients. Not all customers of Benchmark will have time-sensitive sending demands, but other people will. If you need your emails to go out precisely whenever your schedule dictates, you might have to take into account this situation.
· Buggy Social Media Integrations. I watched several consumer reviews that commented the social networking integrations in Benchmark aren’t up to par.
· “Spammy” Templates. Some users have been concerned that Benchmark’s templates may feel like spam mail, leading recipients to mark them as junk and not studying the contents. Since the entire purpose of an ESP would be to stop this from happening, this might be an issue. 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 huge number of pricing plans, such as a free plan and a huge array of paid programs that can service anywhere between 600 and 7,140,000 subscribers.
Benchmark’s free plans do not require credit Cards, which is always refreshing. The only grab. There will be a little Benchmark logo in the bottom of each email you send out. Of course, you can always choose to upgrade to a paid program if you don’t need the Benchmark branding. The free program permits you to send up to 14000 emails to up to 2000 subscribers and provides you access to most but not all of Benchmark’s features record. Notable absences into the attributes list for free account include email automation and sub-accounts (enabling many users to access one Benchmark accounts ).
Paid Plans. Www Benchmark
Users with small contacts lists and restricted Monthly messages have the option of paying to get their email marketing depending on the amount 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 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 a 25% discount for nonprofits and educators.
Benchmark is a good program. It is easy to use, Open to innovation, and competitively priced. Its free options may very well be the very best in the business for anybody who just wants to dip into email marketing (particularly small, local companies ). For that matter, any Benchmark strategy can work well for a little business which perspectives email as a little aspect of its marketing and does not have any desire to operate past the basics just yet.
If you are a small or even medium-sized Business looking for a simple email marketing program using a multitude of amazing features, Benchmark is an excellent choice. Though there may come a time when you outgrow the program, it provides a lot for the price, provides excellent service, and the business seems to be sensitive to the requirements of its users. You can not ask for much more.