Benchmark Email is simple email marketing for SMB senders. They were founded in 2004, and since have grown to over 150.000 loyal users. So they have a lot going for it, but is it right for you?
For this Benchmark email review, I tested everything about the tool for this full review with all the features, pros & cons, and pricing. Here is the quick summary:
Benchmark Email’s most important features
Most marketers will use Benchmark email to send newsletters. But you can also automate triggered campaigns, build your email list, send welcome emails, and much more. What are the most important features of Benchmark email marketing software?
- Drag and drop editor: really easy to use. Intuitive block design and email previews
- Email templates: 200+ templates available. Smart categorization, including templates in multiple languages.
- Marketing Automation: Benchmark is great for automations to send emails and manage contacts. They offer a smart visual builder too.
- A/B Testing: Test your subject line, copy, CTAs, and send times to see what works best for your email campaigns.
- Landing page builder: As an added bonus there is a simple landing page builder. It has a lot of content options, not so many templates though.
- Integrations: Benchmark has 1500+ integrations to all the popular technologies.
- Customer support: Reach out to benchmark through phone, email, and live chat. They’re responsive and very helpful.
Benchmark Email Review
When you sign up for Benchmark’s free platform, they say you can send your first email in under 15 minutes. That is quite a promise! I don’t know about that speed, but it does feel super easy. When you open Benchmark for the first time, you are greeted by a getting started dashboard.
There are smart wizard prompts everywhere in Benchmark that help you with every step. You can get started right away and “start building” all the way up to start drafting your first email.
Benchmark Email Marketing: sending emails.
Now let’s begin with sending an email. Benchmark is a pure email marketing tool, with Benchmark you can create:
- RSS/blog emails
- Recurring emails
- Date-triggered emails
- and automated email campaigns.
Its email editor is simple and easy to use. To get a better feel for Benchmark yourself, just jump in and try the email editor.
When you create a new email, you select a template and jump right into the action. Benchmark has 221 free email templates so there is always a good one to start with. Select an email template by type, occasion, or industry.
You can quickly preview any email template in detail by hovering over it, handy. A nice surprise is the templates for specific tools like eBay, Etsy, and Surveymonkey. Once you connect any of them with Benchmark these email templates instantly become available.
If you didn’t want to use templates, you can also use the code editor and import any HTML design you made.
There are templates in many foreign languages like Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese, and Spanish. Well done Benchmark 👏.
Benchmark Email Editor
Now that we have the template/layout, we go directly into the email editor. The first thing you’ll notice is that you can edit all the text and images in place. So you see directly how your email will turn out as you edit it.
The drag and drop editor is the most common way of designing marketing emails. Benchmark does a smart thing with their email designer.
You can drag-and-drop pre-made blocks like ‘image card’, ‘image groups’, from the left side of the screen into your email. It will make the combo of elements for you, so you don’t need think about how to put these together.
The drag and drop editor works well and is a quicker, simpler way of designing an email. Especially for beginners, you can skip a few design steps and directly work on the content of your emails.
The email editor lets you edit and preview your whole email on one canvas. This way you can move or delete blocks right there. Handy is the duplicate block function. Instead of building a whole new block, just copy one you already made and update the text / images.
Spam check and send tests
One of my favorite features of the Benchmark email editor is the pre-send and spam checks to make sure your email gets delivered and looks good. They are in the little “test” roll-up menu at the bottom.
You can send test emails to up to five contacts to review your emails. A spam check gives your email a spam score and recommendations to decrease your email spammy-ness.
For instance when I tried to send a very ugly email: Benchmark pointed out how my colors were low contrast and may affect my spam rating.
Inbox Checker and previews
Email previews are available in desktop, mobile, and plain text. Inbox Checker will show you how your email campaign will look in different email clients.
Inbox Checker is powered by Litmus, one of the best tools to do render checking. The tests cost a bit extra, but super affordable at $14 for 100 tests. Or sign up here and you’ll get 100 inbox checkers for free. Plus a 15% discount on the annual plan and a free list verification for your list.
Benchmark Email Marketing Automation Tools
Now let’s get into marketing automation. Benchmark has two marketing automation tiers. Automation Lite is free for all plans. With it, you can do basic trigger-based emails.
Three types of triggers:
- List triggers, send an email when someone signs up
- Timed emails like birthday/anniversary emails
- Drip campaigns for follow-ups, membership renewals, or marketing campaigns
Timing is important in automations. Time the delivery of your email by adding delays and picking a day of the week or timezone specific, to make sure your email goes at the right time and day.
Automation lite is a good way to get started with simple email marketing automation. If you’re looking for more control and options, I’d suggest using Benchmark Emails’ Automation Pro.
With Automation Pro, you can:
- Customize your subscriber’s experience based on their behavior on your site and emails.
- Target contacts from many lists or segments in one single automation.
- See how your customers are interacting and converting along their journey. Then make adjustments to improve.
Benchmark gives you a bunch of handy automation templates.
Automation Pro has 11 pre-made automation templates. Think abandoned cart campaigns to retargeting campaigns.
I picked the ‘Promote and Target Opens, Clicks and Website Engagement’ template.
Benchmark does a good job explaining what the automation templates do. They show what you can expect, how the automation works, what you’ll need, and a video to explain all the steps. I got it immediately, it just saves so much time.
Once you load your template, you land in the automation builder. It looks sleek, easy to understand and navigate.
This automation starts when a contact joins my list and immediately sends the first email. Then I added a delay and sort the contacts based on opens, clicks, and website visits. Depending on how they behave, I am adding them to different email lists.
The visual automation builder is delightful. With automations, you can trigger emails, add contacts to different lists, send SMS, and more. Other automation-focused email software, like ActiveCampaign, will let you go all out with dynamic emails and complex flows. Benchmark keeps it simple and to the point. But how do we get the people onto your list?
Lead Generation in Benchmark
There are several ways to generate leads and capture emails built right into Benchmark email. I consider these bonus features, as you may have email list building tools or a landing page builder already. Super-handy if you don’t have them yet.
Benchmark Email opt-in forms
Benchmark offers embedded forms, pop-ups, and third-party form integration.
The embedded form builder has a few options. You can change the title, image, and styling options. And add as many fields as you like / need.
The form sends a standard autoresponder, or you can automate triggered follow-up or nurture emails. Select the contact list as a trigger in an automation and add all the follow-up emails. Presto!
Designing a pop-up is similar, with some extra global settings. Control how your pop-up appears and grabs your visitors’ attention.
The form builder needs no explanation. One thing I’d suggest is Benchmark to add some more form templates. They’ve done a good job with email templates. If they can add some form templates, it would make their customer’s job that much easier. For now, if you want to use customized forms, you can always integrate with third-party apps to connect them.
Benchmark Landing Page Builder
As with their other features, Benchmark has kept the landing page builder easy to use. You start off by choosing one of three layouts, or one out of seven templates.
The landing page builder has a drag and drop editor. Give your design shape with different layouts and content blocks. Even with just a few templates, the editing experience is good compared to other landing page builders.
Add elements like:
- Navigation bars
- Social media widgets and more
Toggle between desktop and mobile views, to make sure your landing page looks perfect across devices.
Don’t forget to measure your landing page’s performance with tracking in Google Analytics, Tag Manager and Facebook Pixel.
Landing pages can be shown on your own domain. This way your landing pages look like they are a part of your own website.
I tried to import contact lists to Benchmark Email. The process is straightforward. When you upload a CSV, Benchmark asks you which fields you want to keep and import.
Benchmark checks all your contacts and points out if any email addresses are Invalid, Risky (high chance they will bounce) or Unresponsive.
This is a great way to keep your email list clean and engagement rates high.
Speaking of segmentation, you can create segments based on any data you have of your contacts. And you can create targeted lists based on interactions like opens and clicks.
The list view shows contacts’ email addresses, names, and the contact’s engagement ratings. You can search by all fields and criteria in the search bar.
With the list clean-up tool, you can add people to your suppression list. No need to send emails to contacts who’ve unsubscribed, bounced, or haven’t interacted with your emails for some time.
Reporting and Analytics
To measure and improve your email campaigns, you need to see the results. Benchmark shows you standard email stats on open rates, click rates, and unsubscribe rates.
A cool reporting feature is the geolocation graph. It breaks down opens by country.
If you want to see how each link in an email performs, there is an overview for that called link performance stats. Benchmark also gives you an hourly performance graph and an email heatmap.
If you want detailed stats you can integrate with tools like Google Analytics for a deeper performance review.
Other useful reports included in the Benchmark dashboard are:
- Automation reports
- A/B test reports
- Complain reports
- Survey and poll reports
For landing pages, you’ll get statistics on:
- And conversion rates
There is no direct view to get the sign-up numbers available. Those numbers are found by cross-checking the email list that they signed up for.
The way these KPIs and stats are presented makes it easy to interpret and act on data. You can export most data into CSV or XLS files for custom data handling.
Benchmark does well compared to other email service providers when it comes to integrations. It offers 1500+ services. These include popular integrations like Google, Facebook, Zapier, Shopify, WordPress, Paypal, Zendesk, and more.
If you want other applications to access your API key, you’ll find it in your Account > Settings > Integrations>API Key. If there is somehow an integration that isn’t available, reach out to Benchmark and they’ll help you make the connection.
Benchmark Customer Support
Benchmark’s customer support is responsive and friendly. They have phone support for the UK, US, and an international hotline.
Even with a free plan, Benchmark encourages you to get in touch with them for setup. Reach out through email, live chat, or a call. Support is available 24/7.
There is a library of ebooks, webinars, and videos on different topics available.
Looking at sites like G2 and Trustpilot, user reviews are positive and they like the support they are getting,
Benchmark Email pricing and plans
Benchmark has Free, Pro, and Enterprise plans. Start for free today and upgrade to paid when you feel ready. The Pro plan starts from $15 USD and goes up as your contacts increase.
Only thing that’s different from other email providers is that you pay $5 for extra image storage. Or seen the other way around, you get a $5 discount if you want to host all your images on your own server.
The enterprise plan starts if you have more than 125,000 contacts. If you have more than 2 million contacts you can get a quote on custom pricing.
Benchmark Email Discount
If you’re looking for a sweet deal with Benchmark Email, we’ve got you covered. Sign up for free today and get a 15% discount with the annual plan. Also, you’ll get free list verification for your list, plus 100 inbox checkers powered by Litmus for free. Sign up today for Benchmark Email.
Benchmark Email Pros and Cons
What we like the most
- Benchmark has a free plan with unlimited contacts
- 1500+ integrations to choose from and the option to create your own integrations
- Large collection of templates for emails for any industry
- Super easy to create email campaigns
- Strong list cleaning options
What can be improved
- Extra media storage is a paid option.
- We’d love to see more templates for the pop-up forms.
Benchmark Email verdict: Is it the right newsletter service for you?
We promised to review Benchmark as a tool for budding businesses and agencies. It’s an excellent tool to start out with, providing flexible templates and no-fuzz dashboards. Here’s how we score Benchmark Email:
Ease of Use: 5 / 5
Value for Money: 4 / 5
Email editor and templates: 4.5 / 5
Functionalities: 4 / 5
Email Automation: 4 / 5
Customer service: 4.8 / 5
Total score 4.4 / 5
Benchmark Email gets the highest scores for the user interface, templates, and customer support. Overall it is a great tool to send simple email newsletters. Beginners will find it easy to start and use.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Is Benchmark Email free?
How much does Benchmark Email cost?
Does Benchmark Email include autoresponders?
Is Benchmark Email a good service?
What support options does Benchmark Email include?
Does Benchmark offer any discounts to nonprofits?
What kind of training content does Benchmark have?
Does Benchmark Email accept affiliate links?
Benchmark Email Alternatives
We’ve included some competitors in this Benchmark Email review. If you’re looking for similar email marketing services or just want a ‘benchmark’ for Benchmark Email, here are the best alternatives.
SendinBlue has a great free plan and even on paid plans, it is one of the cheapest email software you can find. The email editor lives up to expectations, it is fun to click a newsletter together.
MailerLite is a simple, effective, email newsletter software that does the job. They have an excellent free plan. And even on paid plans, it is cheaper than competitors like Mailchimp and Constant Contact.
It’s easy to manage contact lists and it comes with a free plan. Its advanced features include A/B testing and a basic website builder. It’s easy to create a responsive email and you can switch to a plain text editor for simpler emails.
GetResponse is one of the most well known email marketing platforms out there. Like Benchmark, you can get started with a free plan right away. It’s easy to create email campaigns and signup forms.
They offer a stronger automation feature set compared to Benchmark. Create targeted campaigns and measure campaign performance. The free plan doesn’t offer unlimited subscribers but all the features are available for use.
ActiveCampaign has some of the best automation features on the market. They don’t offer services like inbox checkers as Benchmark does. Their strong suits are drip campaigns, advanced segmentation, and premium support. But that comes with a higher price tag.
ActiveCampaign provides a complete email marketing experience with unlimited emails for paid plans. Sign up for a free account and import your contact lists and start sending emails.