The past year has brought a wave of popularity for online courses, virtual communities, and paid membership websites and apps. While there is an emerging set of platforms designed for creators and brands to build these new and extremely popular digital businesses, one of the oldest legacy platforms serving this market is Kajabi.
In this article, we’ll cover what still attracts creators and course instructors to Kajabi today, and what motivates creators to leave its platform if and when they decide to make that move. From there, we’ll give you the top 3 Kajabi alternatives, what each does well, and share an overall winner.
Where Kajabi shines
There is a lot that Kajabi does well. People are running courses on Kajabi that make millions of dollars each year. It’s a stable, marketing-heavy platform for running paid memberships and online courses.
When Kajabi talks about being an “all-in-one” platform, they are specifically talking about marketing online courses, selling online courses, and delivering online courses together in one place. While Kajabi has a web-based forum feature, until recently, most people who use Kajabi also use a Facebook Group to run their course community.
Kajabi’s features include:
- The ability to set up and run online courses with text, files, photos, and videos you upload to a third-party video hosting service called Wistia.
- The ability to choose different ways to deliver an online course, from making everything available at one time to dripping course content by date or requiring a student to finish the prior lesson first.
- The ability to engage students with quizzes and polls.
But where Kajabi really makes its mark is on how it lets instructors market and sell their courses:
- Robust marketing tools to deliver email campaigns, welcome flows, weekly updates, and more.
- Effective marketing landing pages to create email waitlists or sell exclusive “windows” for purchase.
- Checkout and payments that support multiple currencies around the world.
Where Kajabi falls short
Creativity and innovation are increasingly becoming the name of the online course game. Unfortunately, the modern way to build and grow courses and memberships increasingly leaves Kajabi behind.
The five most commonly mentioned shortcomings of Kajabi are:
No community. While Kajabi says it offers “a community,” it’s an extremely limited forum feature. It’s web-only and pales in comparison to the features and availability of a Facebook Group, which is why so many Kajabi instructors start a separate Facebook Group.
And yet, course communities are playing a bigger and bigger role in getting people to buy, engage, and refer new people to an online course.
Not having a best-in-class community available via mobile apps as part of an “all-in-one” solution has become a showstopper for many course creators evaluating Kajabi.
Extremely limited mobile apps. One of Kajabi’s strengths is the way people can brand their marketing pages and courses on the platform as their own. One way to think about Kajabi is as a private label service similar to Shopify but for digital as opposed to physical products.
So, when Kajabi launched its first native mobile app in late 2019, it was a surprisingly limited Kajabi app with no option for instructors to offer their courses on their own private label mobile apps. At a time when most people only use native mobile apps on their phones, the lack of mobile access and community features on Kajabi are striking.
Limited analytics. With so much of a person’s business riding on Kajabi, the lack of analytics is regularly called out as a challenge in choosing and using Kajabi.
Difficult to upsell existing users. Kajabi’s shopping cart doesn’t allow a creator to sell additional content to existing customers. As a result, a creator may also have to add an external shopping cart – like SamCart – to make this possible, at an added expense of $2,000+/year.
It’s the most expensive platform in the market. Kajabi’s strength in marketing online courses has meant that it could charge instructors a lot of money for its platform. With limited email and website editors, Kajabi’s feature set is viewed as extremely limited for its price tag. Even as new alternatives to Kajabi emerge, Kajabi remains the most expensive platform for delivering online courses and content in the market.
The best Kajabi alternatives
We’ve researched a dozen different alternatives to Kajabi for this analysis. After kicking out custom development on WordPress or building a homegrown online course website-native mobile app combination, we’ve narrowed down the list to the top two options.
Depending on whether you’re simply looking for a different course platform to Kajabi or you’re ready to use a community to make creating, growing, and retaining students even easier, you have choices.
Kajabi alternative #1 – Mighty Networks: The community plus courses platform
A Mighty Network stands out from both Kajabi and Teachable in the way it delivers a community on par with a Facebook Group in the same place it enables you to run paid online courses or mastermind groups. With a Mighty Network, you can start simple and scale to bundles of online courses, groups, events, and more.
A Mighty Network offers three different ways to run online courses and community together:
- Course content only courses. You can run and charge for a standard online course with a beautiful overview, sections, lessons, video (currently embedded from YouTube, Vimeo, or Wistia), and all forms of content within a Mighty Network.
- Course content plus a dedicated course community. This is where a Mighty Network starts to stand out from other course platforms. You can also choose to add a dedicated course community to any online course within a Mighty Network. This increases the odds of completion, success, and student impact, as the course and community are together in one place.
- A “live” course with a course community. The third option available for creating an online course on a Mighty Network makes it the most unique alternative to Kajabi. You can run a course “live”with a community front and center, adding your course content as you go. With this option, any new course instructor can launch and grow an online course more easily than anywhere else.
A Mighty Network is also instantly available to your members or students on every platform–web, iOS, and Android–with community features from profiles to direct messaging, topics, and questions, polls, and more.
There’s one last option that makes a Mighty Network pretty special. When you’re ready, you can upgrade to have your courses, community, and memberships on your own native mobile apps available directly in the Apple App and Google Play Stores.
While a Mighty Network doesn’t have the same level of complex marketing flows as Kajabi or certifications/quizzes built-in, the power of the community and native mobile apps drive better results, faster growth, and deeper engagement. They more than makeup for what’s lost with Kajabi’s more aggressive marketing tactics.
Kajabi alternative #2 – Teachable: The next best course only platform
If you’re happy having your online courses and community spread across multiple places, then Teachable is the best alternative to Kajabi.
Now, it should be said that most instructors start off on Teachable for their early online courses and tend to upgrade to Kajabi once they are successful. However, if you’re not happy with Kajabi, the primary online course alternative is Teachable.
Teachable has all the features you need to create courses, enroll students, and collect payments. It doesn’t have integrated email nor does it offer the same kinds of complex marketing features Kajabi is known for.
With Teachable, you’ll have your online courses taken care of, but you’ll still need the following to sell and engage your online courses:
- An email provider like ConvertKit or MailChimp.
- An online marketing platform like Clickfunnels.
- A Facebook Group or a Slack channel to engage people on a mobile app (Teachable doesn’t have mobile apps).
Choosing Teachable means managing more services in different places, but it’s still cheaper and simpler to use than Kajabi.
The winner: Mighty Networks
When you start a Mighty Network, you’re choosing a much more powerful platform that gets more valuable for everyone in your course with each new person who joins and contributes. Compared to swapping out Kajabi for Teachable and then needing to augment it with other services, the decision to use a Mighty Network is pretty clear.
Choose the best Kajabi alternative for you
Between Kajabi, Teachable, and a Mighty Network, you’ve got three great options for running your online courses and memberships.
Whether your emphasis is on aggressive marketing tactics, a course-only alternative, or you’re ready to scale faster by bringing your courses and community together in one place, there’s a platform for you.