When picking an email marketing tool, it's crucial to find one that has an easy-to-use email editor, automation tools and detailed contact lists. Businesses should look for a system that makes it easy to create attractive emails and can send the right email to the right person at the right time. This means a system that has interactive tools and a free version so you can ensure it works for your business. You'll want to find a system that can not only handle your contact list, but can also segment your lists so you can create personalized customer emails.
To see all of our recommendations for email marketing services, visit our best picks page.
The best email marketing services offer a free plan or free trial, make it easy to create interactive emails, supply in-depth email analytics, and ensure that your emails land in inboxes rather than spam folders. They have contact management and segmentation tools, A/B split testing, ways to view your emails before you send, and the ability to create drip campaigns.
Benchmark is our choice for the best email marketing service for small business because it has every feature small businesses need to create successful email marketing campaigns. It also has affordable plans and excellent customer service. However, what really sets Benchmark apart from the crowd is its easy-to-use tools. From its drag-and-drop email editor to the automation tools, Benchmark makes it simple to create professional and personalized emails.
Some of Benchmark's more valuable features are detailed analytics on how each email campaign performs, A/B split testing to ensure you're sending the best emails, spam testing tools that ensure your emails get to inboxes, responsive designs and templates, list segmentation tools and autoresponders. It also has a mobile application for iPhone and Android that makes it easy to view emails, add contacts and see analytics on email campaigns.
Benchmark offers a variety of plans based on the number of subscribers a business has, and it has a free version you can test before committing to a paid service.
Competitive Pricing and Terms
Benchmark has a wide range of plans, so it can fit into the budget of any small business. The plans are based on the number of subscribers a business has. All plans include a simple drag-and-drop website editor, responsive templates, signup forms, basic drip campaigns, RSS email campaigns, email delivery management, Google Analytics tracking, list management and segmentation, list hygiene, reports, surveys and polls, unlimited video storage, and 10MB of free image gallery storage. All plans also offer multiple integrations, including ones with social media, e-commerce, email templates and contact lists.
Here is a breakdown of Benchmark's pricing and terms.
- With its free starter plan, you can send email campaigns to up to 2,000 subscribers and up to 14,000 emails per month. This free version comes with a lot of services. However, it's missing some key features, such as behavior-based email follow-up and list management automation, website engagement automation, automated customer journey templates, shopping cart abandonment automation, targeted emailing, master and sub-accounts, and A/B testing. You may start with the free plan and upgrade anytime you want.
- Paid packages start at $13.99 per month for 600 subscribers. Every paid plan comes with every feature, including Benchmark's automation tool (Marketing Automation Pro) and unlimited email sends.
- If you have 1,000 subscribers, the packages start at $21.99 per month. Prices start at $81.99 for 10,000 subscribers. For 2,500 subscribers, packages are $31.99.
- Benchmarks has plans for every size of business, including those with massive email lists. Its most expensive plan is $29,200 per month for 7.14 million subscribers.
You can get add-ons with any package. For instance, the list verification add-on ensures you have the highest-quality subscribers and deliverability. This feature is an extra $3 per month for every 1,000 subscribers.
For an extra $5 a month, you can upgrade from basic storage to unlimited storage for image hosting. You also have the option to add a dedicated IP, which gives you more control of your sending reputation and delivery into the inbox. This feature is another $28.95 per month.
To view how your email campaigns will look on any device on every browser, you can add inbox checkers for an extra $14 per month for 100 tests. Benchmark doesn't offer a free trial, but you can try out its free version before upgrading to a paid account.
Benchmark has a vast set of features and tools that anyone can use to create successful and attractive email campaigns.
A/B split testing: You can compare campaigns to determine which one performs the best. For instance, you can test two different subject lines and send the highest performer to the remaining subscribers. A/B testing is also available for delivery times; Benchmark will determine when your subscribers are most likely to open your email campaigns.
Email and newsletter templates: Benchmark has an extensive list of attractive and customizable templates for different industries, holidays and email types. Once you pick a template, it's simple to customize it with your brand's colors, photos and logo.
Email designer: Benchmark offers different features that make creating an email easy for any marketer. The drag-and-drop editor allows you to easily create emails from a layout or template, so you can deliver a professional and attractive newsletter even if you have limited graphic design experience. All you have to do is drag and drop feature blocks and images into place. The tools for creating autoresponses, surveys and polls are also very user-friendly. Each takes you through the process step by step. You can edit your images by adding effects, stickers or a message over your photo. Even if you're new to mass-email software, you can create successful email campaigns.
The code editor is for individuals who want to do their own coding. You can write your own HTML or copy and paste from another source. With the plain text editor, you also have the option to create text-only emails with no images or formatting options. If you're good at HTML, you can build your own email from scratch or edit the HTML of a template. You can use the dual view to see the design of the email while you're still editing it.
Inbox checker: Before you send out your email, you can preview it in Firefox, Internet Explorer and Chrome. Along with web-based previews and Window and Mac OS inboxes, you can see how it will appear on mobile devices.
Integrations: Benchmark works with more than 300 other applications, including WordPress, Facebook, Google, Shopify, Slack, Etsy and Salesforce. With the WordPress plugin, you can build an email list directly on your WordPress website and send email versions of your blog posts. On Facebook, you can put Benchmark's email signup form on your page to allow visitors to subscribe to your emails without leaving Facebook.
List builder: Along with attractive emails and effective drip campaigns, list building is critical to successful email campaigns. You can put Benchmark's popup and embeddable signup forms on your website, blog or social networks.
The list management tool allows you to segment, import and integrate your contact lists. You can segment your lists by demographics, customer likes and dislikes to send the most appropriate content to each customer.
You can add contacts one by one, by copying and pasting in email addresses, or by importing XLS, CSV and TXT files. Benchmark integrates with a lot of applications, which can make it easy to upload your existing lists with other services. When you add contacts, you can also add in a lot of information about them, including their address, phone number and important dates, building an entire profile on each client. This information is handy when you're planning drip campaigns.
With contact list automation, you can automatically send emails based on each contact's information, like a birthday discount or other event-based email. Automation is also available based on customers' opens and clicks in email campaigns.
Marketing Automation Pro: Benchmark's Marketing Automation Pro gives you the ability to send out automated email series that are triggered by website and email engagement. With this tool, you can easily design a customer journey and not worry about sending follow-up emails. Welcome emails can be sent as soon as a contact subscribes, and a personalized follow-up email will send at the perfect time.
This is how Marketing Automation Pro works: You pick a trigger, such as when a customer subscribes and is added to the contact list. Then Benchmark sends the email you chose – in this case, a welcome email. Afterward, it will follow up at the optimal time, usually a couple days later.
Benchmark's tools allow you to create multiple automated journeys for your customers. You can use one of its marketing automation templates or create your own. Featured templates include welcoming new subscribers, promote and target opens, promote and target clicks, and feedback requests.
Email campaign analytics: Once you send your email, you can immediately view the report, which shows the total recipients, opens, clicks, bounces and unsubscribes. The report also features graphs, so it's easy to understand the data. This dashboard shows the link performance, displaying the URLs clicked and a click map. You can also view opens by geolocation.
Benchmark's Ease of Use
Out of all the email marketing software tools we reviewed, Benchmark is one of the easiest to use. All of its tools walk you through each step. If you're unsure how to use any of Benchmark's tools, don't fret. It has support tools to help you along the way, such as live chat, a blog, a monthly newsletter and videos describing how to use each feature. It also has a phone line and email available for customer service.
When we used Benchmark's drag-and-drop email editor, we were able to create an interactive and responsive email with custom pictures, colors and content in a matter of minutes. With more than 200 templates designed for specific industries and holidays, it's easy to find a relevant template. Another tool that makes building emails a breeze is the image library. You can add frequently used pictures such as logos in your library in a matter of seconds.
Like its email editor, Benchmark's contact management and automation tools are very simple to use. Each tool provides easy-to-follow steps, and there are videos throughout the dashboard to ensure you know what you're doing.
The only problem we had was that our emails sometimes landed in spam folders. However, we sent emails from a personal Gmail account, which is less credible than an email sent with a company or business domain. When you select a personal email as the From address, Benchmark will warn you that using a personal or general ISP email address like Gmail, Yahoo or Outlook hurts delivery rates.
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