Benchmark Editor’s Score: 92/100
|Customizations, add-ons and integrations||88|
|Ease of use||94|
Why Benchmark Is the Best Low-Cost Email Marketing Software
Benchmark combines accessibility with scalability to create an affordable, easy-to-use platform. The email software integrates with over 300 applications, including WordPress and Salesforce; lets you separate your contact lists by specific parameters; and offers a free starter plan that includes 250 emails per month.
Did you know? Benchmark’s mobile applications for both iPhone and Android make it easy to explore your email campaign analytics.
- Benchmark’s low price makes it a good fit for small to midsize businesses that are looking for affordable email marketing software.
- Benchmark provides a large variety of features to create attractive, unique email campaigns.
- You can reach Benchmark’s customer support team via several channels, and the representatives are responsive and courteous.
- Benchmark doesn’t offer a free trial of its paid plans.
- Sometimes, the emails sent from Benchmark can land in spam folders.
- The free version limits image storage to 10MB.
Of the email marketing software we reviewed, Benchmark is one of the easiest to use. We like that each contact management and automation tool provides easy-to-follow steps and that there are videos throughout the dashboard to ensure you know what you’re doing.
When we used Benchmark’s drag-and-drop editor, we were able to create an interactive and responsive email with custom pictures, colors and content in minutes. With more than 200 templates designed for specific industries and holidays, it’s easy to find a relevant option. Another tool that makes building emails a breeze is the image library. We like that you can add frequently used pictures, such as logos in an existing library, in seconds.
Additionally, Benchmark works with more than 300 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. With Facebook, you can put Benchmark’s email sign-up form on your business’s page to allow visitors to subscribe to your emails without leaving Facebook.
Benchmark has a vast set of features and tools that anyone can use to create successful and attractive email campaigns. Here’s what we liked about Benchmark:
|A/B split testing||Compare campaigns using A/B split testing.|
|Email and newsletter templates||Choose an email or newsletter template to customize logos, fonts and colors.|
|Email campaign analytics||View an email’s performance once you send it, including open and bounce rates.|
|Email designer||Utilize the drag-and-drop editor to create interactive emails.|
|Inbox checker||Preview how your emails will look on different devices.|
|List builder||Build and segment your contact lists to customize campaigns.|
|Marketing Automation Pro||Create automated email sequences without worrying about follow-up.|
|Mobile app||View your contacts and email analytics right in Benchmark’s app.|
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 Campaign Analytics
Once you send an email, you can immediately view a report that shows the total numbers of recipients, opens, clicks, bounces and unsubscribes. The report graphs the data in an easy-to-understand format. This dashboard shows your campaign’s link performance, the URLs clicked and a click map. You can also view open rates by location.
Benchmark offers features that make it simple for any marketer to create an eye-catching email. We liked that the drag-and-drop editor allows you to create emails from a layout or a template, so you can deliver a professional and attractive newsletter even if you lack graphic design experience. All you have to do is drag and drop feature blocks and images into place.
In our review, we used these tools to create automatic responses, surveys and polls, which 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 easily create successful email campaigns.
The code editor is for individuals who want to do their own coding. We found it easy to write our own HTML, as well as copy and paste from another source. With the plain-text editor, you can create text-only emails with no images or formatting. If you’re good at HTML, you can build your own email from scratch or edit a template’s HTML. The dual view shows the design of the email while you’re still editing it.
Before you send out your email, you can preview it in Firefox, Microsoft Edge and Chrome; Windows and macOS inboxes; and mobile devices.
Building your list of contacts is critical to successful email campaigns. To get users to subscribe, you can put Benchmark’s pop-up and embeddable email sign-up forms on your website, blog or social networks.
We found that the list management tool allows you to segment your audience and import and integrate your email contact lists. You can segment your lists by demographics, likes and dislikes, or geographic location to send the most appropriate content to each customer. You can add contacts to your list one at a time by copying and pasting in email addresses, or in bulk by importing XLS, CSV and TXT files.
Did you know? Benchmark lets you separate your contact lists by likes and dislikes to ensure you’re giving your customers content they’re more likely to open, thereby improving engagement.
We like that Benchmark integrates with a lot of third-party applications, which makes it easy to upload your existing lists from other services. When you input contacts, you can also enter a lot of information about each one – including their address, phone number and important dates, like their birthday – to build comprehensive customer profiles. This information is particularly handy for drip campaigns.
You can automatically send emails based on each contact’s information, like a birthday discount or other event-based email. You can also automate actions based on customers’ opens and clicks in email campaigns.
Marketing Automation Pro
Benchmark’s Marketing Automation Pro lets you send automated email series triggered by website and email engagement. With this tool, we found it easy to design a customer journey and not worry about sending follow-up emails.
Marketing Automation Pro works by allowing you to pick a trigger, such as when a customer subscribes and is added to your contact list. Then, Benchmark sends the email you choose – in this case, a welcome email – and then follows up at the optimal time, usually a couple of days later.
We created multiple automated journeys for our hypothetical customers using Benchmark. We liked that we could use one of its marketing automation templates or create our own. Featured templates include welcome messages for new subscribers, promotions that target follow-ups based on opens or clicks, and feedback requests.
Benchmark has a mobile application for iPhone and Android that makes it easy to view your emails, add contacts and see analytics on your email campaigns.
A standout benefit of Benchmark is the selection of service plans, which are based on the number of subscribers your business has. All plans include a simple drag-and-drop email editor, responsive templates, sign-up 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 existing contact lists. For another email marketing service that has a wide range of integrations, check out our review of ActiveCampaign.
Here is a breakdown of Benchmark’s pricing and terms:
With the free starter plan, you can send email campaigns to an unlimited number of subscribers and up to 250 emails per month. This free version includes a lot of services, but it’s missing some key features, such as behavior-based email follow-up and list management automation, website engagement automation, automated customer journey templates, automated responses to shopping cart abandonment, targeted emailing, master accounts and subaccounts, and A/B testing. You can start with the free plan and upgrade anytime.
Paid packages start at $13 per month for 500 subscribers. Every paid plan includes every feature, including Benchmark’s automation tool (Marketing Automation Pro), unlimited email sends and an upgrade to 10GB of photo storage.
Packages start at $20 per month for 1,000 to 2,499 subscribers, $30 per month for 2,500 subscribers to 9,999 subscribers and $76 per month for 10,000 or more subscribers. Benchmark has plans for businesses of all sizes, including those with massive contact lists. If you have more than 200,000 contacts, you can talk to a sales representative about pricing.
Add-ons are available with any plan. 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 per month, you can upgrade from basic storage to unlimited storage for image hosting. You also have the option, for $28.95 per month, to add a dedicated IP, which gives you more control over your sending reputation and delivery to inboxes.
To see 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 the free version before upgrading to a paid account.
Signing up for Benchmark is simple. First, you sign up for a free account by entering your name, company name, phone number and email address. Once you’ve logged on, you can create a free email campaign with limited features. The interactive user interface guides you through the step-by-step process of creating an email campaign and choosing the workflow that best suits your business, so the setup is easy even for users with little email marketing experience.
Did you know? You can start building your campaigns immediately after signing up on Benchmark’s website.
You can reach Benchmark representatives by phone, live chat and email. We were pleased with Benchmark’s customer support; the representatives we contacted via live chat were prompt and courteous and answered all of our questions. The company also has a blog, a monthly newsletter and videos describing how to use each feature.
One problem we had with Benchmark was that our emails sometimes landed in spam folders. However, we sent emails from a personal Gmail account, which is less credible than emails sent from a company or business domain. When you select a personal email as the “from” address, Benchmark warns you that using a personal or general ISP email address (like Gmail, Yahoo or Outlook) hurts delivery rates.
Additionally, Benchmark only provides 10MB of image storage in its free version. Users that need more than that will have to upgrade to the company’s paid plan. However, all paid subscriptions receive 10GB of image storage, which is more than enough for most email marketing teams.
To identify the best email marketing services, we compiled a list of popular platforms and carefully examined each service’s online reputation. We also spent several weeks researching each email marketing service by investigating its offerings, watching tutorials and how-to videos, testing the software (when possible) and reading user reviews. We also evaluated each service’s pricing structure and customer support by posing as a business owner to contact each of our finalists. When selecting our pick for the best low-cost email marketing service, we considered the features included in the software’s free plan compared with the paid versions, as well as the features you get for an affordable price.
What Is Email Marketing?
Email marketing is a highly effective direct marketing strategy that allows businesses to send targeted emails, communicate directly with customers and improve brand engagement. The top email marketing platforms allow you to create visually engaging emails, build and segment robust contact lists and track subscriber behavior to see which campaigns are the most effective.
Is Benchmark’s email marketing software free?
Benchmark offers a free starter plan that allows users to immediately upload an email contact list and send up to 250 emails a month.
How much does email marketing with Benchmark cost?
Benchmark’s paid email marketing plans are priced according to the number of contacts, so the cost depends on your business’s needs. For example, the Pro plan for businesses with up to 500 contacts costs $13 per month (paid annually), whereas the same plan for 25,000 contacts costs $144 a month.
What is Benchmark’s customer support like?
Benchmark offers customer support via phone, live chat and email. Other resources include a blog, a monthly newsletter and how-to videos.
We recommend Benchmark for …
- Small to midsize businesses that are looking for a low-cost email marketing service.
- Businesses that want an intuitive user interface.
- Businesses that need automation management for multiple campaigns.
We don’t recommend Benchmark for …
- Businesses that need large amounts of image storage in the free plan.
- Businesses that require highly customized email templates.