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You might have checked out the Benchmark Email reviews offered by users online, and whilst they are pretty positive, they may not give you the whole picture. Our review of Benchmark is based on a methodical approach and uses our practical experience and knowledge of dozens of other simple and advanced marketing automation tools.
With a presence in fifteen countries around the world, Benchmark Email 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 has won prizes, so I guess that’s something to brag about.
Offering a ‘powerfully simple’ tool (complete with a fresh, no-nonsense interface), Benchmark Email 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. Though the number of emails you can send is limited to just 250/month, you can store unlimited contacts, so it’s not a bad deal.
But do they stand up when compared to other email tools in the market? Let’s find out.
Free plan for up to 250 emails a month and unlimited subscribers is available.
Pros and Cons
Strangely, a lot of newsletter tools get this wrong, but Benchmark’s is a breeze to use with all the elements you’ll need. The clean design makes it easy to navigate and work through the setup process quickly.
Their template choice is wide and high quality, with mobile display options for all templates. They are sorted by type, industry and calendar holiday.
Benchmark allows you to set up useful, behavior-based email campaigns that are ideal for things like abandoned cart follow-up and basic lead nurturing. The visual workflow editor makes setting up automations a simple affair.
In previous email deliverability tests, we came across quite a few issues with Benchmark emails getting flagged as spam. Disappointingly, more recent tests have had similar results.
File storage charges
They offer a uselessly small amount of image storage, and then charge for the upgrade ($5/mo). They should just include it as part of the plan prices.
Is Benchmark the right newsletter service for you?
Not recommended if:
You need a simple and easy newsletter tool
We found Benchmark to be a pleasantly easy tool to use, with a clean design, logical navigation and an intuitive email editor. Great for beginners, or those who just don’t want a lot of complexity in their email tool.
You can’t afford to have your email go undelivered
Sounds like we’re joking, but really – if having a tool with high rates of deliverability is absolutely essential (for example, if you’re sending transactional emails), then it’s best to avoid Benchmark, which performed appallingly in our deliverability tests.
You don’t want to spend a cent
Although Benchmark do offer a free plan (which comes with a fair amount of features included), its tiny image storage limit means that you’ll probably be paying the extra $5 a month to increase it to unlimited. Also, the free plan only allows you to send up to 250 emails/month, which isn’t many at all.
Ease of Use
Benchmark Email is very easy to use, with a stripped-back interface that’s clean and simple. Getting familiar with the system takes no time at all.
Editor Info popup
The drag-and-drop editor is fast and pretty intuitive, although you’ll come across a few instances where things don’t quite work as you’d expect – or as you’d like. For instance, some elements can be edited directly within the email (for example, body text), whereas simple things like button text need to be edited in a separate area. Still, there are some very handy features, such as a built-in image editor that allows you to crop, resize and add filters to images.
Personalization Info popup
Only simple personalisation is available, no if/then/else logic.
Choice and Flexibility of Template Designs Info popup
There’s a good choice of templates available, and they’re all responsive. You can preview the mobile version of all emails from within the editor.
Email Marketing Automation Info popup
Automation Lite is available on all plans and allows you to send basic trigger-based emails. If however you’re looking to set up more sophisticated automation based on email clicks, webpage visits or abandoned cart follow-up, you’ll need to upgrade to Benchmark’s Pro plan. They also have some nice, ready-to-go templates to help you get these campaigns up and running quickly. It’s great if you’re looking to build targeted campaigns based on contact behaviour, but the automation is limited to sending emails and adding contacts to lists – there’s no way to do more complex tasks like sending emails with dynamic content, for example.
List Management Info popup
Segmentation based on contact fields with and/or criteria is available. On the paid plans you can also create ‘targeted lists’ based on email opens or URLs clicked within the email. However, you can only create segments within lists, not across them, which may be limiting for some. And you can only delete a subscriber from either one or all lists. There’s nothing in between. One useful feature though is their ‘clean list’ option, which allows you to remove bounces or those who haven’t opened your last few campaigns.
Registration Forms/ Opt-in & Opt-out- Process Info popup
The forms are done well, allowing you to create pop-ups and other basic forms with relative ease. You can also add a limited number of your own database fields, and integrate with tools like Facebook, Twitter, WordPress and Unbounce.
The reports are good, giving you the open, click, bounce, and unsubscribe rate (all data is exportable too). They also have an hourly performance graph, email heat-map, Google Analytics integration, geo-tracking and social tracking. There was no client or ecommerce tracking though.
Languages Info popup
A relatively good 9 languages within the tool. Chat support is available for 6 languages.
Spam- and Design-Testing Info popup
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. Find out how to avoid spam filters here.
Bounce Management Info popup
Pretty standard bounce management, flagging contacts as ‘confirmed bounces’ once they hard bounce three times. Note that these count towards your active contact count as long as they are not deleted or set to ‘unsubscribed’.
Blocklist Info popup
This is not available.
Storage available for data and images
10mb - Unlimited
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 unlimited.
Authentication Info popup
SPF and DKIM are available.
Own Domain Info popup
Although tracking links use Benchmark’s own domain by default (trk169.benchurl.com), you can contact support to request to use your own domain name.
Different levels of account access Info popup
Benchmark have sub-accounts available on their paid plans. It lacks some of the customization depth that other tools have, though.
Quite a lot of integration available, including social media, CRMs and most other popular products. You also have all the in-app Zapier templates.
Landing Page Builder Info popup
Benchmark offers a landing page builder on its Pro plan. There are 6 simple templates available, and editing them is much like editing an email template.
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, although they struggled with getting back to me on things they couldn’t answer straight away.
Benchmark Email is a breeze to use. While their automation features aren’t the most sophisticated out there, they will probably be more than adequate for most small-to-medium businesses looking to send more targeted email campaigns.
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 its luster when you look at things such as their deliverability issues.
Its automation pro feature offers users a way to set up simple yet useful automated campaigns, and is ideal for businesses who are just getting started with marketing automation. It should be noted however that it doesn’t stack up against the powerful automation offered by ActiveCampaign. A definite plus, though, is that you can try out Automation Pro on the free plan – you will just need to switch to a paid plan in order to activate your campaigns.
Benchmark is surprisingly stingy with their image and file storage: 10 MB won’t get you far. Keep that in mind when calculating the cost of their plans as you’ll probably end up paying $5 on top of that for additional storage.
Benchmark is a capable tool, with a good design that is simple enough for first-time users. And with their free plan, you can get a good sense of whether their marketing automation and email capabilities will fit your needs.
Benchmark only counts active subscribers towards your monthly billing limits. Unsubscribed and bounced email addresses don’t count. Confirmed via live chat:
Benchmark does offer a free. This comes with unlimited contacts and 250 emails/month. Though features are limited, you can benefit from responsive templates, basic drip campaigns and segmentation without paying a cent.
Though Benchmark is really easy to use and comes with decent automation features, its deliverability lets it down.
Yes! A generous 25% discount is given to all nonprofits.
Benchmark’s email marketing service is legit and safe. It stores your customer data securely, so there’s no need to worry.
ActiveCampaign has the most powerful automation system we’ve ever tried, but at the same time it’s not over complicated. Their deliverability rates are also well above average, and their registration forms are highly customizable. Their pricing is fair if you consider their (high) quality.
GetResponse is more powerful than Benchmark, it comes with one of the best automation solutions we’ve ever seen. Additionally, it has unique advanced features like a webinar hosting solution or a landing page editor. It’s also a cheaper alternative than Benchmark.
MailerLite is affordable too and they performed well in our deliverability tests. In terms of features, they are similar to Benchmark – but way more budget friendly.
But if you are still unsure of what tool to use, check our smart assistant and find out in a couple of minutes.
Hi, I'm Inka! I spent the earlier part of my career in agency land, helping businesses of all sizes get their email marketing campaigns up and running. Now, at EmailTooltester, I'm using my experience to help businesses like yours find the best email marketing services for your needs.
Hey, I'm Charlotte! I've always been enthusiastic about helping others. After working for various tech startups and eCommerce businesses, I developed a strong passion for email marketing. Now, at EmailTooltester, I'm putting this knowledge to good use by recommending the very best digital tools for your business.
06 Feb 2024 - Deliverability section updated
18 Jan 2023 - Pricing update
25 Apr 2022 - Deliverability rating decreased
17 March 2022 - Note about legitimacy added
03 Jun 2021 - General update
22 Apr 2020 - Updated free plan limits
7 Jan 2019 - Deliverability rating updated
20 Apr 2018 - Video review added
20 Mar 2018 - Deliverability rating added
8 Mar 2018 - Updates in interface and marketing automation
16 Jan 2018 - Prices update
28 Nov 2016 - Small updates in the storage section.
15-27 Oct 2016 - Initial tests.
This review has been written and researched following our EmailToolTester methodology.