Benchmark Review - Hitting the mark?

Benchmark email reviewWith a presence in fifteen countries around the world, Benchmark pride themselves on international service. I found myself speaking to several of their (more than 100+) staff on many occasions, and it’s true that their support is not only fast but also friendly. In fact, Benchmark’s support won top prize in PC Magazine last year, so I guess that’s something to brag about.

Aiming for a ‘powerfully simple’ tool, Benchmark have done a decent job in terms of both user experience and features offered. This is particularly true when you consider that many of their features can be accessed without paying a cent. Which limits you to slightly fewer features and also the amount of subscribers and emails you can send. But, nonetheless, it’s not a bad deal.

But do they stand up when compared to other email tools in the market? Let’s find out.


Benchmark Screenshots


Benchmark in Detail

Criterion Rating/Info Notes
Ease of Use 4.5 Benchmark is very easy to use, with a visually pleasing
interface that mostly makes sense. Some sections look a little dated, though, and a few things are hidden away.
Newsletter Creation
info-Editor 5 The editor is one of the better ones out there, with easily interchangeable templates and a good variety of blocks. You can add images within any block of text, and they also have several image+text ready-made options. Anchor points can also be added with one-click. You can only ‘undo’ while you’re editing a block, so keep that in mind. 
-Personalization yes Only simple personalisation is available, no if/then/else logic. 
info-Types of Emails 5 Classic, autoresponders, recurring, once-off (date-based), RSS to email, A/B testing, surveys.
infoChoice and Flexibility of Template Designs 5 There’s a good choice of templates available, and they’re all responsive. One good thing about the templates is that you can choose specific options for how certain features display separately on mobile devices.
Marketing Automationinfo
2.5 Benchmark's automation is mostly advanced autoresponders, allowing automatic emails to be sent based on signups, opens and clicks.
List Management 2.5 Only basic list management is available, segmenting lists via and/or criteria. It’s not that flexible to manage users across lists either, as you can only delete a subscriber from either one, or all, lists. There’s nothing in between.
Registration Forms/
infoOpt-in & Opt-out- Process
3.5 The forms are done well, allowing you to create pop-ups and other basic forms with relative ease, yet some sections could do with an update. You can add your own database fields, yet the options are limited, for example no drop-downs.
Reports and Analysis 4 The reports are good, giving you the detail of openers and clickers. They also have an email heatmap, Google Analytics integrations, geo-tracking and social tracking. There was no client or ecommerce tracking though.
Languages 4.5 A relatively good 9 languages, but we found a couple of instances where pages didn’t quite work correctly, such as when choosing Portuguese.
Further Features
info-Spam- and Design-Testing 3 They do have these available within the editor. Spam testing is free, while design testing needs to be purchased. We did have issues where our emails passed the spam tests though, and all were delivered as spam. This also happened with all emails from Benchmark’s marketing team too, which is a little concerning.
info-Bounce Management yes Pretty standard bounce management, flagging contacts as ‘confirmed bounces’ once they hard bounce twice. Note that these count towards your active contact count as long as they are not deleted or set to 'unsubscribed'.
info-Blacklist no This is not available.
-Storage Available for Data and Images 10MB-10GB Benchmark only offer a tiny 10MB of image storage, meaning that the average user will have to pay an additional $5 per month to increase it to 10GB.
info-Social Media Integration 5 Apart from basic social media buttons, Benchmark actually have some diverse social media integration. The regulars, Facebook and Twitter, are there, but you’ll also find services like Tumblr, Etsy and Pinterest.
info-Newsletter Archive yes This is available.
Pro Features
info-Authentication yes SPF, DKIM and whitelisting all available.
info-Own Domain? no Tracking links use as domain name.
info-Different Access Levels yes Benchmark have sub-accounts available on their paid plans. It lacks some of the customisation depth that other tools have.
-Integrations yes Quite a lot of integration available, including social media and most popular products. 
info-Landing Page Editor no This is not available.
Support 4 The knowledge base is great due to its large library of videos, webinars and even several free ebooks on different topics. The online support was fast, and mostly useful, but they can be quite pushy with trying to call you every time you ask something.
Overall Rating 3.9
A breeze  to use and offering a handy free plan. And although parts of the interface can seem outdated, you could do worse than Benchmark.

© EmailToolTester Matrix


When comparing Benchmark’s paid plans to its competitors, they sit within the middle to higher end, depending on subscriber numbers. They can match their competitors in the areas of ease-of-use, especially when it comes to the editor and template flexibility. But Benchmark starts to lose some of it’s lustre when you look at things such as their basic list management and spam testing issues, which could be important for some businesses.

Unfortunately their marketing automation (a.k.a. ‘Engagement Automation’) is really just a version of an autoresponder and doesn't stack up against the powerful automation offered by, for example, ActiveCampaign.

Coming back to support: while friendly, it can often be a little pushy. I had several calls, and requests for calls, when I just wanted a simple question answered. Also, I’d recommend giving free users a trial period that allows them to try out the paid features, like many other services do.

Benchmark is surprisingly stingy with their image and file storage: 10 MB won't get you far. Keep that in mind when deciding for one of their plans as you'll probably end up paying $5 on top for additional storage.

Benchmark is a capable tool, with a good design and simple enough for first-time users. And with their free plan, it’s worth at least trying them out to see if they fit your needs.

  > Try Benchmark now for free.  



28 Nov 2016 - Small updates in the storage section.
15-27 Oct 2016 - Initial tests.

Last Update: 28 Nov 2016 | Steve Lamattina


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