If you want your blog to reach every reader, you have to use email. The Benchmark Email Lite WordPress Plugin builds an email list right from the pages of your WordPress site, and sends your subscribers email versions of your posts and pages in a flash. See when, where, and who opens or clicks on links or unsubscribes—all live from your WordPress dashboard!
With this version you can:
- Control up to 5 separate Benchmark Email accounts.
- Build your list of subscribers with a custom signup form widget or shortcode.
- Send test emails of your blog post before deciding on the final send.
- Easily send or schedule a formatted email version of your blog posts.
- View live reports of opened, bounced, unsubscribed, forwarded, and unopened email as well as clicked links.
From Blog to Email: Available as an easy-to-integrate widget, this signup form allows subscribers to sign up for email versions of your blog posts with just their email address. You can further customize the signup form with 27 additional fields (e.g., First Name, Last Name, Address, Phone, etc.). If a user signs up and they’re already a subscriber, the widget automatically updates the person’s data in your email list.
Themes to Match Your Blog: You want a signup form that looks like your blog, right? The Benchmark Email Lite widget uses standard HTML list items so you can code your CSS to make the widget match your blog’s design. Most themes will automatically match your signup form to the style of your blog.
Fully Customizable, Anywhere on Your Blog: Administrative controls allow you to fully customize the signup form. Choose which email list you want signups to be added to. Best of all, the signup widget can be placed on any page you want—or even every page of your site.
Test Versions of Your Email: Send yourself a test email before sending the content to your subscribers. The Plugin’s interface inside your post/page editor enables you to email a simple version of your posts (including images) the moment that you finish creating them on your site. Customize the email, From name and subject line when you send to achieve email marketing perfection.
Formatted Email Versions of Your Blog: Once you’re done testing, select a contact list from the Benchmark Email Lite Plugin and click send! The formatted email version of your blog will be sent to your subscribers right away. You can also schedule your email to be sent at a later date and time.
View Live Reports: Once an email is sent, you can see the live reports of its success from within your WordPress dashboard. Learn who opens your emails, clicks on links, unsubscribes and forwards your blogs to friends—even see which email contacts bounce and where your subscribers are reading from.
To get started, sign up for a FREE Benchmark Email account. This account will allow you to have up to 2,000 contacts and send up to 14,000 emails per month. You can use the Plugin and fully experience what Benchmark Email has to offer, including our Mobile Marketing iPhone App, Surveys, Polls and Autoresponders. We know you’ll love what you see, so once you out-grow your free account you can still use the Plugin free of charge for as long as you’d like. The Plugin is integrated via API with your Benchmark Email account. You may control up to 5 Benchmark Email accounts from a single WordPress site.
Need help? Please call Benchmark Email at 800.430.4095.
- Q1: Where do I go for help with any issues?
Please call Benchmark Email at 800.430.4095.
- Q2: How do I get the signup form shortcode to use on pages or posts?
Open a new or existing signup form widget instance by dragging onto any sidebar of your theme or the “inactive widgets” sidebar. Dink down (open) the widget contents and copy the shortcode provided at the bottom of the widget. Paste the shortcode onto any page or post for the signup form to appear inline.
- Q3: Why did the widget suddenly stop connecting with Benchmark Email?
Please check your API key. We observed on 11/09/2011 that our own API key was deleted/reset on Benchmark Email’s server. We had to generate a new one and place the new key code into our widget settings. To generate a new API key, log into Benchmark Email via their website and go to My Account, then Account Settings, then scroll towards the bottom of the page.
- Q4: Why am I seeing “Error Connecting…” in the admin area?
To combat occasional Benchmark Email API server slowdowns causing sluggish behavior in the WordPress admin area on pages containing this plugin’s features, we added a feature to disable connectivity if the plugin detects a 10 second or greater delay in any given connection attempt. Disablement lasts for 5 minutes. The connection timeout can be customized to a value greater than 10 seconds via the plugin settings page. This error can also be triggered by your web host providing slow outbound connectivity, or your web host throttling your PHP processing speed due to other problems with your site, such as memory leaks or heavy traffic. Despite delays, subscriptions are never lost thanks to our queueing system.
- Q5: How do I control which page(s) the widget appears on, or subscribe to multiple lists?
The widget supports subscriptions to multiple lists or even multiple Benchmark Email API accounts. You may use our optional setting to limit the Plugin to a single page, or use the JetPack module “Widget Visibility” to create visibility rules for a single widget instance. You may also configure multiple instances of the widget and title each instance for the list it corresponds to.
- Q6: How can I customize the email template?
In version 2.4.3 we added a filter
benchmarkemaillite_compile_email_themeto permit email template customization using external code, such as a theme or plugin. In version 2.4.5 we added an email template editing interface for users who know enough HTML code to apply their own customizations in the admin area Email Template tab. For earlier users of the filter technique or those who modified the sample template file directly, we recommend switching to the new tool by disabling or removing any external customizations and applying them with the new tool. The new tool automatically embeds WP core CSS and applies HTML normalization.
- Q7: How do I make the form match my theme?
The signup form uses standard HTML list items so it can be manipulated by CSS within your theme to match your site’s design. Some themes will automatically style the widget to match the design. Contact the designer of your theme if you are having difficulties getting the form to match your theme, or add your own child theme with CSS (or a plugin with a CSS editing feature, such as Jetpack) to custom style the elements. The main classname value is
- Q8: Where do I go to change the double opt-in confirmation email text?
- Log into your Benchmark Email account.
- Click on Emails, Contacts, then click on My Signup Forms.
- Either create a new signup form or click to edit an existing form for the list in question.
- Complete the section titled “Opt-in Mail”.
- Q9: What happens if a subscriber resubmits their subscription?
If the subscriber’s email address preexists on the list, this will update the other fields, if enabled on your widget and populated by the user.
- Q10: Why do I occasionally get “Successfully Queued Subscription”?
This occurs when the Plugin is not able to immediately connect with the Benchmark Email API server at http://api.benchmarkemail.com. To remedy this occasional problem, we built in a connection failover capability to queue subscriptions into a CSV file stored in the Plugin folder, and automatically attempt to unload the queue every 5 minutes until successfull to the Benchmark Email API server. We also created a monitoring job via Pingdom.
- Q11: Why are the Extra 1 and Extra 2 fields no longer available?
Benchmark Email changed the default fields associated with newly created lists in mid 2011. The fields Extra 1 and Extra 2 became Date 1 and Date 2 on new lists created after that date. Users are able to change their list’s field titles and types by clicking the Edit link on any list, then clicking Advanced. However, this plugin does not currently support non-default settings. We had to eliminate the Extra 1, Extra 2, Date 1, Date 2 options in order to comply with default settings before and after said change to the defaults.
- Q12: Why did you switch to double opt-in starting in v1.0.4?
Two reasons. First, Benchmark Email requested that we use this method because it ensures list quality, which in effect keeps everyone out of trouble and keeps their prices down. Second, in the event somebody unsubscribes and chooses “Do Not Contact” checkbox and gets placed on the Master Unsubscribe List, they can only be removed from this list by the Benchmark Email customer opening a ticket for removal or the subscriber re-subscribing with a confirmed double opt-in method. This provides an easy way for somebody to re-subscribe.
2.6 on 2016-06-25
- Added: new email template anchors for categories, excerpt, featured image, permalink, tags thanks to a suggestion from Pedro on Forum.
- Added: communication logging and admin area UI tab displaying last 25 communications for diagnostic use.
- Added: cron queue viewer to Comm Log tab.
- Updated: Benchmark Email API server version from 1.0 to 1.3
- Updated: post metabox JS form validation to place multiple errors into a single pop-up message to match the front end.
- Updated: general code cleanups.
- Updated: removed transient caching of email report level 2 as it was unnecessary and was somewhat conflicting with level 1 cache.
- Updated: Increased jQuery UI version to the latest stable 1.11.4 minified version.
- Updated: Increased commection timeout default to 20 seconds to reflect latest testing.
- Updated: subscription logic to fix a few issues, addresses user sometimes receiving “Failed to add subscription” error message and a problem where sign up forms with multiple lists were only updating the first list.
- Fixed: widget constructor deprecated notice since WP 4.3.0 when DEBUG mode is ON.
- Fixed: vendor handshake to set all API keys instead of just the first one, and to refresh every 30 days.
- Fixed: escaping of values during transmission of subscriptions for characters like backslash, single quote, double quote.
2.5 on 2015-04-13
- Added: Support for widget signup form based subscriptions.
- Added: Localization logic with embedded translation files for Spanish, Portuguese/BR, and Chinese/Traditional/TW regions.
- Added: Pre-population of Metabox Admin email name and from name fields.
- Updated: Consolidated loading graphic to WP core image. Replaced subscribe form LIs with DIVs.
2.4.6 on 2014-06-17
- Added: jQuery UI slider and datepicker elements for date and time selections.
- Added: Method in API class for downloading the list of signup forms, future use.
- Updated: Misc code cleanup and optimizations.
- Fixed: A PHP warning in admin_init hook widget upgrade code when no tokens are configured and debug mode is on. Credit to frenchbob for the bug report.
- Fixed: A caching problem with reports not clickable a second time during 5min cache interval, removed tokenindex from reports area.
2.4.5 on 2014-01-04
- Added: Email Template tab with instructions for customizing the email template colors, fonts, and logo, with button to reset template to default values.
- Added: HTML processing library to normalize the email template and body HTML and convert WP core classes to embedded CSS for GMail.
- Added: Overall report of all links clicked and by whom, in addition to the click performance report and link detail report.
- Added: Link to flush/refresh transients on reports level 1 and 2 screens now that we use the 5min caching.
- Added: Auto flushing of report transients/cache at new campaign creation.
- Added: Email template EMAIL_MD5_HERE anchor to bring in the Gravatar site admin email hash for logo sample purposes.
- Added: Settings saved message to settings panels.
- Added: Hook to prepopulate with the default values when setting is new on an installation, logic that resets the template to default to always run except when template contains BODY_HERE to ensure that no faulty template not containing the page body can be saved.
- Updated: Default template HTML a bit and adjusted descriptive text on the template page editor as well as target=_blank linking.
- Updated: JS error alert box linebreaks for FireFox compatibility. Put metabox date/time fields line break to separate them a bit.
- Updated: Reports WP transients to store email list for 5mins (level 1) and campaign summaries (level 2) for 5mins. Campaign details (level 3) continue to be pulled in realtime. Improves performance when clicking around.
- Updated: Pie chart background for transaprency for WP38 admin theming.
- Updated: Widget and shortcode submission handling to return the form upon errors. Trac references #2103.
- Updated: Metabox time drop down to display in North American standard.
- Updated: Gettext i18n echoing for cleaner code.
- Updated: Email rendering code to pull from the new admin setting for Email Template HTML prior to using the previous template file.
- Updated: Settings API structuring to accomodate the second settings page.
- Fixed: Bug in the code that deactivates widgets of disabled API keys. Thanks to kris0499 for the issue report.
- Fixed: Repopulation of widget after submission errors occur. Trac references #2104
- Fixed: FaultCode detection to level 1 reports page. Trac references #2101
2.4.4 on 2013-12-14
- Added: static function declarations for WP3.6 strict standards debug mode compatibility.
- Updated: Tab name from Reports to Emails to make room for changes to the email listings format.
- Updated: Moved some methods around for optimal OOP mojo.
- Updated: Page anchor for the timezone selection on BME UI, as linked from the metabox timezone paragraph.
- Updated: Date selector to show dates up to 365 days into the future, the limit of the BME interface as well.
- Updated: Reports area table column widths to be more uniform and consistent. Set campaign caching timeout to 1 hour to expire old data.
- Updated: URL to WP core arrow images for widget admin side due to 3.8 no longer having the arrows-vs.png file. Changed to arrows.png file that exists with both admin themes pre 3.8 and post 3.8. Trac references #2083
- Removed: DIV wrapper of plugin as it was causing duplicate IDs and in T14 the response body was invisible. Trac references #2085
- Fixed: Widget instances used within page shortcodes to prevent PHP strict standards notice about calling the widget class statically.
- Fixed: PHP warning ‘division by zero’ for campaigns with 0 opens on the main campaign summary screens.
- Fixed: Typo in the settings script.
- Fixed: Printing of extra widget wrapper on forms and responses. Added code to track if widget is in shortcode mode. Trac references #2084 #2086
- Fixed: Widget pre title html echo to be before title. Trac references #2081 and #2082
- Fixed: Widget API key deletion to inactive sidebar disablement code to prevent action from recurring after the widget was disabled. Trac references #2080
2.4.3 on 2012-12-05
- Added: Filter ‘benchmarkemaillite_compile_email_theme’ to allow external email template customization. See FAQ.
- Added: Automatic radio button selection of sending type on the metabox when sub elements are chosen.
- Added: Message when a widgets of deleted API keys are being deactivated.
- Updated: Feedback responses on the post metabox, especially for the successful sending of test email campaigns.
- Updated: Renamed some function names to match the WP hook they relate to.
- Updated: Changed message on sent test email campaigns to say ‘sent’ instead of ‘created’.
- Updated: Updated WP admin notice box contents to look more normal, yellow or red based on status of message as error or update message.
- Updated: Minor enhancement to settings links code.
- Fixed: Bug regarding the Please Select option for widget administration.
- Fixed: Bug on defaulting of the list selection, by deactivating widgets of deleted API keys.
- Fixed: Bug with field validation when the same widget exists on a page in both a shortcode and a sidebar widget.
- Fixed: Bug with the missing API key error persisting during the first refresh after putting in an API key.
2.4.2 on 2012-11-07
- Added: Looping of detailed report data requests, to present full table of data (over 100 limit).
- Added: Line number counter to detailed reports.
- Added: Connection timeout warning atop the settings and reports interfaces with button to reconnect.
- Added: Descriptive text on the individual email detail reports.
- Updated: Moved report under Links Clicked to the email campaign page as Click Performance to more closely mirror the BME interface.
- Updated: Split email links report into parent and child reports per URL being referenced.
- Removed: Lower limit on timeout. Was set at a minimum of 10 seconds.
- Fixed: Changed the Opens By Country report on the main email campaign page to only show when there has been at least 1 recorded open.
2.4.1 on 2012-10-17
- Added: Ability to send test email copies to up to 5 addresses.
- Added: Administration sidebar menu flyouts to match tabs.
- Updated: Organized library, markup, and JS files into folders.
- Updated: Reorganized reports code for better optimization.
- Updated: Reports tab reporting when there are no reports, or no reports for specific keys.
- Updated: Adjusted reports table column widths.
- Updated: Set maxlength settings for posts/pages metabox text input fields.
- Fixed: Error message window was persisting for 5 seconds, when it should just display once.
- Fixed: Email template height 100% was causing extra space in footer of test emails.
2.4 on 2012-08-15
- Added: Shortcode that allows any sign up form widget to be used within pages and posts.
2.3.1 on 2012-07-18
- Fixed: Minor bug with the subtitle display during widget administration.
2.3 on 2012-06-04
- Added: Full email campaign reporting capabilities.
- Updated: Moved menu item from the Settings section to a top level item with icon.
2.2.1 on 2012-03-28
- Added: Setting for connection timeout to be customized for diagnostic purposes. See FAQ.
- Fixed: Removed Extra 1 and Extra 2 widget field options due to newer defaults. See FAQ.
2.2 on 2012-03-26
- Added: Scheduling capabilities for post to campaigns feature.
- Added: Prevents admin area slowdowns by detecting API server connections over 5 seconds and disabling communications for 5 minutes.
2.1 on 2012-03-12
- Added: All additional fields supported by BME onto widget signup form administration.
- Added: Upgrade procedure from v2.0.x to 2.1 saved widgets.
- Fixed: Notices showing up upon page/post deletion.
2.0.2 on 2012-02-20
- Fixed: Queue unloading was failing when the API connection goes down and subscriptions come in.
2.0.1 on 2012-02-13
- Added: Green and red indicators adjacent to entered API keys on the Benchmark Email Lite settings page, showing status upon save.
- Added: Benchmark Email response code into error message after creating an email campaign failure.
- Fixed: Includes silent updates made to the v2.0 release concerning automatic upgrading of saved widget settings from earlier v1.x.
- Fixed: v3.3.0 compatibility when no widgets preexisted from earlier version caused a warning at the top of the screen.
- Fixed: After deleting API key, the warnings about the need to have an API key weren’t being fired anymore.
- Fixed: Bad API key(s) were triggering an error “Unable to connect” that wasn’t very helpful.
- Fixed: Bad API key(s) were causing the good API keys to not be considered and utilized.
2.0 on 2012-01-31
- Added: Ability to create Benchmark Email campaigns from WordPress pages and posts.
- Added: Ability to send post campaigns immediately to either a test address or a selected Benchmark Email list.
- Added: Plugin settings page for global API Key(s) and campaign settings.
- Updated: Moved API key setting from individual widgets to a new Plugin settings panel.
- Updated: Split PHP functions among several classes/files for organization and growth.
- Updated: Added warranty disclaimer text in the main Plugin file header.
- Fixed: W3C validation error on strict mode, caused by two hidden input fields.
- Fixed: Localizations (language) weren’t being loaded properly for International support.
1.1 on 2011-12-07
- Added: Prepopulation of the fields for logged in users.
- Added: Ability to toggle first and last name fields off.
- Added: Optional text to display to your readers.
- Added: Ability to change the text of the subscribe button.
- Added: Added widget title display in widget subtitle bar area.
- Added: New link on widget admin panel to view list names on BME.
- Updated: Expanded widget administration panel width to 400 pixels.
- Updated: Moved widget back end and front end HTML markup code to separate files.
- Updated: Added text next to the API Key field regarding FAQ #1.
- Updated: Sanitization functions adjusted.
- Removed: Output of widget set-up instructions on website before the widget is configured.
- Fixed: Bug when extra spaces existed between words in the list name admin vs front end behavior differed.
1.0.5 on 2011-08-18
- Updated: Moved the subscriptions queueing in the event of API failure to WP cron instead of being triggered upon subsequent subscription.
- Updated: Moved the subscriptions queueing in the event of API failure storage from a CSV file type storage to storage in the WordPress database. Prevents filesystem permissions issues.
- Updated: Cleaned-up some code with unnecessary referencing of widget IDs during subscriptions processing.
- Updated: Renamed “cache” to “queue” for clarification about the failover handling support.
- Fixed: Added a new button on the widget configuration panel to “Verify API Key and List Name” as the previous tab-off event wasn’t always being executed if users click Save without first tabbing off the elements to be tested.
1.0.4 on 2011-06-20
- Added: AJAX feedback mechanism in widget administration that checks the API key and list name fields against the Benchmark Email database and reports status.
- Updated: Subscription to utilize Benchmark Email’s double opt-in method. This prevents the problem when somebody who wants to re-subscribe can’t get out of the Master Unsubscribe List.
1.0.3 on 2011-05-23
- Added: BME API key to failover CSV temporary buffer file.
- Added: Spinner icon appearance upon front end form submission.
- Updated: The response texts to proper case.
- Updated: The CSV buffer file processing logic and combined with main process.
- Fixed: PHP notices showing up when debug mode is turned on in
- Removed: Display of the front end form upon successful submission.
1.0.2 on 2011-05-18
- Added: Failover handling. If the API becomes unavailable the Plugin will dump subscriptions into a CSV buffering file in the Plugin folder that will attempt to post to the API and clear the file upon each subsequent subscription submission.
- Updated: The first name and last name field titles from “firstname” to “First Name” per the spec of the newly released API.
- Fixed: Bug when multiple widgets exist on a page and sometimes aren’t being keyed properly, causing the processor to not always know which widget is being submitted.
1.0.1 on 2011-05-14
- Added: Support for international language translation/localization.
- Added: Anchor
#benchmark-email-liteinto URL so that after form submission it puts the user on the proper screen position to view the server response.
- Updated: Admin area widget field sanitization method to
sanitize_text_field()function requiring v2.9.0.
- Updated: Title for the Benchmark Email Token to the term “API Key” to match what Benchmark Email is calling it on their website.
- Updated: The server response to clear out the submitted values upon successful form submission.
- Fixed: Bug in first name, last name, and email address submitted data sanitizing to be compatible with international symbols or anything that WordPress considers safe for data validation purposes. Reference:
sanitize_text_field()functions on WordPress Codex.
- Fixed: Bug when the widget is installed multiple times on a single page leading to only one form pre-populating the entered data and some CSS conflicts. Multiple instances per page are now supported!
1.0 on 2011-05-12
- Added: Initial Plugin release.