Quick Benchmark Review
Someone asked me the other day if I was a penny-pincher? After some subconscious deliberation, I said no, especially considering the amount I spent on an egregious Postmates delivery last weekend. Trust me, it was bad.
But for all of us who squander without care, there are those stimulated by savings—you know the ones who actually pinch pennies from the concrete. If you identify as such, or if others have used terms like tightfisted, cheap, or downright Scroogelike to describe you, I’ve found the email marketing software you’ve been looking for.
This is Benchmark—an email marketing solution that helps deliver damn good emails on a dime-store budget.
For the eCommerce operations looking to sling emails that convert subscribers to customers, while saving some Benjamins, Benchmark sets the standard. Don’t know how to code? Forget it, their email templates make it easy to draft and send branded campaigns. And for those trying to do too many things at once—talking to you solopreneurs— their rugged automation and segmentation will keep you from spending hours on manual toil.
Benchmark’s pricing is about as simple as it gets. If you’re a fiend for free things, they’ve got a plan that costs you a fat $0 for unlimited subscribers and 250 emails/month—but, if I’m being honest, it’s missing some necessary components. Those willing to do more than the bare minimum, are looking at a rate of $28/mo for 2.5k subscribers and $45 for 5k. Anyone thumping over 10k inboxes will pay $70/month, which is comparatively cheap.
If you want to start flooding inboxes but the thought of email marketing triggers a sudden urge to hide your wallet, Benchmark is the software to loosen that greedy grip.
How Benchmark sets the standard for economical
I’m not going to sit here and call you a cheapskate because I’m sure if you’re reading this review, someone has already told you that. I’m actually going to congratulate you on making it this far. Many brands still don’t get the whole idea that email marketing makes serious bread.
But in order to make bread, you sometimes have to break some yourself.
Curt and Denise Keller noticed this and decided to take a shot at an industry neither of them knew about. In 2004, Benchmark launched with the mission to help businesses thrive with online sales and marketing solutions. Since then, they have amassed an army of 500,000+ users, supported by 100+ employees in 15 countries. And just to brag a little more, they offer everything in 9 different languages.
How many languages can you say “legit” in?
With a ridiculously-simple interface and custom automation driven by segments, Benchmark helps eCommerce mercenaries, creative moguls, and the everyday hustler, bring better messaging to their audiences.
Let me just answer the question that’s lingering like your over-curious grandmother.
What does Benchmark cost?
Benchmark has a stupid simple pricing model. Either it’s free or it’s not—that’s it. If you’re the person still giving exact change at the grocery store, starting with a free account will get you 250 emails a month to unlimited contacts.
But there’s a catch—each contact counts as an email. For example, if your list is 250 people and you want to send one email to all of them, boom, there goes your emails for the month. Let’s say your list is 25 people, then you can send them 10 emails a month. Off the cuff, it sounds like a great idea, but it lacks some serious practicality.
For those who claim they are “economical” not “cheap”, Benchmark offers a tailored price based on your contact list. Brands keeping it under 2.5k subscribers will pay roughly $32/mo for the complete collection of features. Anyone falling between that and 5k will hand over $45/mo, while the big gamers—those hitting 10k—are looking at a monthly charge of $70.
Here’s a quick comparison if you’re more into charts than words.
Before I drop some features on you, there are a few things that the other, more unmemorable, software reviews miss. Here at SaaS Mule, we miss nothing, so here’s the stuff the other guys don’t know:
- Benchmark allows you to do a “send-based” plan where you are charged a flat rate for a set number of emails per month. For you bigger and brawnier brands who still want to keep it cost-effective, this is a solid option.
- Benchmark charges users $5 extra a month if your image library exceeds 10Mb and an extra $3 if you want list verification. Just to compare, AWeber offers both of these capabilities without any extra charge.
- Benchmark has seen some trouble with deliverability. Lists that lack verification see higher bounce rates and lower conversions. So if you’re really a cheap bastard and unwilling to pay for verification, you might suffer the consequences.
Now, let’s get down to the sexy sh*t—you know, the whole reason you are here.
What features does Benchmark have under the hood?
- Email Designer: For the technically deficient, they’ve created a simple drag-and-drop editor that lets users create custom email templates. Then, A/B test the subject line and send off your riveting and responsive message to your subscribers.
- Landing Pages & Forms: Again, Benchmark really wants to make it easy for people to quickly create custom landing pages that drive subscribers. You can tie these pages to particular campaigns so that customers can move along in their journey with you.
- Automation: A major component of Benchmark’s feature suite is automation. Robust for what it costs, you can manage triggered emails and behavior-based follow-ups that drive revenue. But, it lacks some essential automation functions such as tagging and workflow logic.
- Segmentation & List Management: Automation relies heavily on segmentation—it’s the Kobe to Shaq, RIP Mamba. That’s why Benchmark lets you create unlimited segments based on a diverse amount of criteria that informs how automation will deliver your messaging.
- Tracking & Reporting: You want to see everything your customer does, right? This lets you track customer activity like clicks, opens, conversions, and more in real-time. Plus, the Inbox checker knows you sometimes forget, so it tests different browsers, devices, and software (iOS/Android) to make sure you don’t look stupid in front of your people.
- Integrations: Benchmark integrates with over 50 applications including Shopify, WooCommerce, and WordPress. If you’re complaining, stop; their Zapier integration lets you connect with 250+ web services too.
It’s wild seeing that many features for that kind of price.
I hate to break it to you but just because the shoe fits, doesn’t mean you should wear it. Here are the brands that should consider Benchmark as their new email marketing tool…
Who Benchmark is for.
The small to medium-sized brands that are hyper-budget friendly and need email marketing software with flexibility and customization. We get it, you want to look sexy, but aren’t willing to pay for it. This is your cut-rate marketing makeover.
The eCommerce businesses that have too many moving parts and need automation to start driving the daily marketing tasks. If your marketing assistant has let you down, or you’ve reduced your role as one, this solution fills the void without the need to pay employees benefits.
Who Benchmark is not for.
Sure this tool saves you money, but the email design and automation are weak if you’re scaling your efforts. Any brand looking for a solution with deep automation and segmentation features or omnichannel capabilities. Benchmark doesn’t play in this arena, but Hubspot and ActiveCampaign do.
If you’re a small to medium brand ready to fire off effective emails without exhausting your bank account, Benchmark might meet your standards.