Tags: email marketing software

Support Update: Accidentally Uploading to the Sample Contact List

Support Update: Accidentally Uploading to the Sample Contact List

Beyond • June 27, 2011

Not too long ago I wrote a blog addressing the problem associated with uploading contacts into your Master Unsubscribe List and how involved the process is to remove those contacts when they have been added unintentionally. I suppose I should have included information regarding the “Sample Contact List,” as this seems to be an area of concern for clients as well. Recently I came across a client who had uploaded 20K addresses into the Sample Contact List. While it is not recommended for you to utilize this Sample Contact List as your actual list, the option is available for you to add addresses there if you’d like. If you decide to do this though, you may run into a problem much like this client had when he decided he wanted those 20K contacts removed from his account. For any user-created list within your Benchmark Email account you are given the option to delete that entire list. You will see a trash can icon on the right hand side of the list name. This provides a quick and easy way of maintaining the various lists you may have in your account. As you can see in the image, the bottom list does not have a trash can available. This row belongs to the Sample Contact List. The Sample Contact List is a list that is automatically added to every user of Benchmark Email and therefore you are not able to remove it. This means that if you add your contacts to this list, such as the previously mentioned client did, it will take some extra steps to remove those contacts later on. Removing Contacts from a Sample Contact List In order to remove those contacts from the list, click on Sample Contact List, which will open it up for you. You then have the option to either click on individual contacts to remove just a select few from the list or you can click on the box next to “Email Addresses” in the blue tool bar on top to select every contact showing on that page.If you decide to utilize this option and you happen to have several thousand contacts in the list, you will want to first increase the number of contacts displayed per page. You can do this by scrolling down to the bottom of the page. You will see a box that looks like this: The higher the number that you select, the longer it will take for the page to completely load. Please keep this in mind when utilizing this feature as it will take some time to go through each page of deletion if you have a large number of contacts added. Once you select the number of contacts to display per page, you will then scroll back up to select the box that will check off every contact displayed (up to 4,000 total). Once this is completed, scroll down the page until you see the “Delete” button at the bottom. You will need to do this until all contacts have been removed. You can see how time consuming this can be for you, especially if you have 15, 20 or 30 thousand contacts to remove. I can remember someone who once had over 100K contacts. That took a long while to complete. It is recommended to always create a new list when you are ready to begin using your Benchmark Email account. The Sample Contact List is meant as a demonstration of Benchmark Email features only and you will save yourself time in the long run to simply create new and unique lists for yourself and your needs.


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New Benchmark Email Feature: More Segment List Options

New Benchmark Email Feature: More Segment List Options

Beyond • June 23, 2011

Email best practices are very important to us. That’s why we’re constantly updating our blog with the latest and greatest tips and ideas for successful email marketing. One of the most important aspects of email sending is list segmentation. We stepped up our list segmentation game so you could too. Whereas before you could only have “AND” criteria, now you can differentiate with both “AND” and “OR” criteria. This allows you to hone your segments even further. This will help with your personalization efforts and your email marketing success as a whole. To access these new segments, log into your Benchmark Email account. Then go to the Lists tab and click on the Segments option. Then you will click on Create New Segment. Fill in a name for the segment, a description, and then select which list you would like to create the segment in. Hit Save & Continue when you are finished. The next step is to Add Rules / Criteria to the segments. Use the dropdown menu to choose what criteria you would like to add and click Create Criteria. Then you will be able to Manage Criteria. For example, say you wanted to segment based on the date a subscriber was added to your list. First you will choose the Date Added criteria and then whether you want the segment to be Before, On or After a specific date. Hit Save and Refresh Count when you are finished. These rules can be combined in any number of ways to help you hone in on your segments as much as you wish. Not all criteria may be available for every field or list. You can also add multiple rules for the same field, such as “email contains yahoo” or “email contains hotmail.” That way all your subscribers will be able to receive the best looking, most accurate emails for them.


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How to Use Benchmark API Integration with Your Website or Software

Beyond • June 9, 2011

Short for Application Programming Interface, the API has proven to be extremely useful for bringing out the best in today’s software applications. An integration technology of sorts, it provides a convenient way for developers to incorporate third-party functionality into existing systems, with classic examples being the array of outside apps designed to function with Twitter. This technology can also be useful in the email marketing arena, and we here at Benchmark Email happen to believe our API integration is one of the most convenient and efficient of its kind. Push and Pull Our robust API is designed to allow users to easily integrate their database-driven applications with our system. The real beauty in this luxury is that it works both ways. For example, you can take the contact data from your website or CRM software and add it to the mailing list stored on your Benchmark Email account. Likewise, you can take your existing mailing lists and export them to the database residing on your system. The API makes it a convenient to connect email with your overall marketing efforts. Craft Super Focused Email Campaigns The Benchmark Email API can also be extremely useful in helping marketers develop targeted email campaigns. Let’s say you use your CRM program to capture a customer’s information during the sales process. If you are using the API, that information is automatically stored in our software, meaning it can be used to create personalized, highly targeted messages that the customer is more likely to respond to. The API also lets you create campaigns composed of content from your website and even deploy campaigns to your test accounts from a centralized interface without having to manually log in to our system. It doesn’t get any more convenient than that. Feed Our Reports to Your System You probably already know that one of the finer aspects of email marketing is its ability to be tracked, analyzed and measured for success. This luxury is enhanced even further through the Benchmark Email API. Our flexible interface allows you to pull a wealth of data from inside, including the performance reports produced by your campaign activity. Now you can easily take statistics such as opens, clicks and bounces and plug them into the database of your existing CRM software or analytics tool. Being able to integrate your data in this manner could work wonders in terms of making adjustments and plotting strategy for future campaigns. As you may have gathered, the biggest advantage to using the Benchmark Email API is convenience. Instead of doing everything by hand, it allows you to automate many of the seemingly simple processes that take up so much of your time. The API is available at no cost, so feel free to read through our documentation to learn more about how you can fully integrate with our award winning platform today.


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Support Update: What Is the Difference between Polls & Surveys?

Support Update: What Is the Difference between Polls & Surveys?

Beyond • June 9, 2011

The other day I received a question from a client that stumped me. She asked, “What is the difference between a poll and a survey?” On the surface they didn’t seem all that different to me but I couldn’t really say that to the client. That answer would have prompted her to ask why we offered both if they achieved the same results. I knew there had to be a reason why we offer both and so I made it my mission to figure it out. After some careful research, which was really just typing in questions like “What is the purpose of a poll?” into Google, I have it all figured out. Well, maybe not all...but I at least have a decent answer now in case I am asked that question again. I thought I would share this information with you because I am in a giving mood today. Both polls and surveys are helpful tools to obtain information from people who come across your business. Each one may be utilized to gauge opinions and receive feedback. Satisfied customers typically become loyal customers. They come back for additional products/services, recommend you to friends and put you above the competition. Finding out what it is that satisfies your customers can help your business succeed. But how do you decide which one to use and when? And what exactly are those differences I hinted at above? One of the main differences between our polls and surveys is the anonymity that a poll offers. Those who decide to take part in your poll are not required to provide their email address at the end. They simply fill in the answers to your question(s) without having to identify who they are. I decided to test out the poll in regards to my blogs so that I can show you how the results will look. Based on those nine responses, I can tell that 77% do take the time to read my blogs. That is some good news. I am very curious though as to who responded with “Michelle who?” But because the polls do not provide an option to identify yourself, I will never know. If I had decided to use the survey instead of the poll, I would have the email address of the respondent. I could then contact them with a personalized message introducing myself, explaining my blogs to them and hopefully developing a great “writer/reader” relationship. This same situation could be applied to you and your business. Surveys allow you to collect data from both potential and current subscribers that will help you build and maintain positive “business/customer” relationships. Of course, I couldn’t resist testing out the survey as well since my curiosity was piqued. Here is an example of the type of report you may see after launching a survey: Much of this is similar to the poll in the sense that you can see which percent responded in which way. However, since the survey does require that the respondent input his or her email address, you are given the option of seeing both overall results as well as individual results. Take a look at the way info is provided for one particular respondent: Knowing how this one particular person answered every question is helpful because it will allow you to become even more familiar with your subscribers to get as close as possible to their individual needs and wants when it comes to your business. You can even provide an open answer format for some of your questions, giving your subscribers the freedom to input whatever they want as a response. As pointed out above with the red arrow, this particular user was able to give their opinion on my next blog topic. This eliminates the guessing game for me when it comes to blog topics. The surveys and polls can be placed on your website or you can send them out in an email blast. I decided to place mine on my Facebook page, which is a great way of using social media sites in connection with your Benchmark Email account. Whether you choose to utilize the poll, the survey or mix and match the two, the benefits offered will help improve your relationship with your subscribers and your business.


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New Feature: 6 New Benchmark Email Video Tutorials!

Beyond • June 3, 2011

Benchmark Email is happy to present 6 new email marketing video tutorials that will broaden users’ understanding of both email marketing and Benchmark’s award-winning email software. Each video is under 3 minutes and unravels the mysteries behind... Signup Forms Autoresponders Additional Elements Real-Time Reports Social Media Integrations and our Free for Life Email Program! Special thanks go out to our video guru and web representative Sunny Gault. Now what are you waiting for? Click the link above and check out Benchmark’s comprehensive email marketing features now!


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Support Update: View Your Subscribers’ Activity with Email History

Support Update: View Your Subscribers’ Activity with Email History

Beyond • May 4, 2011

This past weekend was a big holiday event for many people. Gift-wrap, bows and ribbon filled my house as I sorted through the gifts I had purchased for various relatives and friends. I realized in the middle of it all that I had given more to those who I had spent the most time with in the last six months or so. My relationship with those friends and family members had been strengthened by the amount of interaction we had and I wanted to show my appreciation to them for being a part of my life. Many businesses take the same approach when it comes to their customers. Awesome coupons and discounts are usually given to those who are actively involved with the business. With that in mind, are you aware that you can view how active a subscriber has been in the last 90 days with your email blasts? Our system will tell you which email campaigns were sent to them, how many they opened and whether they clicked on any links or forwarded the email to others. This information can be useful to you when gauging which contacts you may want to reward for loyalty. This can also be used to clear out subscribers who have lost interest in the emails you send. In order to see the Email History of a subscriber in the last 90 days, simply click on the email address of the subscriber from within any list. Then click on the link from the right side of your screen that says, “View Email History.” You will be directed to a screen that looks like this: If I were evaluating this subscriber, I would be able to see that she has opened all three of the emails I sent her in the last 90 days but did not click on any links I might have included. I may want to encourage more interaction by using more efficient call-to-action phrases in my next campaign and see if that makes any difference. Be sure to check out your subscribers’ email history the next time you have a promotion or are just curious to see who is actively involved with your campaigns. Remember, it can be nice to show and receive appreciation for good customer loyalty, and will help to maintain a strong contact list.


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Support Update: How to Reuse Email Campaigns Effectively

Support Update: How to Reuse Email Campaigns Effectively

Beyond • May 4, 2011

As a full time student, the last couple of weeks before finals are the most stressful. I have multiple essays due in addition to studying for exams. Sometimes I wish I could simply reuse some of my previous essays. It would make life so much easier if I had a couple of go-to pieces that I could submit for every other class. Unfortunately, that isn’t really an option for me. While it wouldn’t really be plagiarizing, professors tend to frown on that sort of behavior. I have to start from scratch for each essay and write it as if that were the first time I had ever thought of that idea. Luckily, the same is not true for email marketing. Many of our clients are in a line of business that would allow them to use the same campaigns multiple times without ever having to make an adjustment to it. The exception would be changing the date on the newsletter if you have included a date and also possibly changing the subject line to entice your subscribers to open it. If you are one of the lucky clients who are able to take advantage of reusing your campaigns, here is a tip for you to ensure the smoothest possible experience. When you are building the campaign that you will use multiple times, you will want to first save it as a draft in Step 5 of the email builder. You can now make copies of this “draft” campaign each time you need to send it out to your subscribers. This is done by clicking on the “Copy This Email” icon to the right of the saved “DRAFT”, which looks like a clipboard. I have pointed to it in the image below with a red arrow. It is recommended to use this method when you need to reuse your email campaigns. If you were to make a copy of a sent campaign, then make a copy of that copy, followed by a copy of the 2nd copy...well, not only does that sound confusing, but it can also cause the coding of the original campaign to become jumbled. By the 3rd or 4th campaign, things can begin to look a little messy. It is very similar to when we used to make copies of VHS tapes, if you can remember that far back. The farther away you got from the original, the less quality there was in the copy. By using a saved “DRAFT” version of your campaign to make copies from, it ensures that each time you need to use it again, the copy you are making is only the 1st copy ever made. This maintains the level of quality you want to provide to your subscribers and saves you from having to continually build new emails.


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