The Best Kajabi Alternatives of 2021
We've spoken to thousands of creators in order to evaluate online business platforms about Kajabi and alternatives to Kajabi. Here are our picks.
Kajabi calls itself an “all-in-one online membership and course platform.” It’s one of the most complex software platforms available today for marketing and running paid online courses and content on the Internet.
But before you go all in on Kajabi, though, it’s good practice to look at its strengths and weaknesses, and understand the alternatives available to ensure you’re choosing the right platform for your goals.
The last thing you want is to spend thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours setting up your online courses on Kajabi only to realize its significant gaps. It’s better to go into your platform decision with your eyes wide open on both the good and the bad.
In this article, we’ll cover what Kajabi does well and what motivates some creators and entrepreneurs to leave its platform. From there, we’ll give you the top 3 alternatives to Kajabi and what each does well.
Where Kajabi Shines
There are people running their courses on Kajabi and making millions of dollars each year. It’s a stable, savvy 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. While Kajabi has a web-based forum feature, 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 3rd 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 in 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
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that membership sites and online courses are only growing in popularity. It seems every day there’s a new podcaster, author, influencer, or coach announcing their latest online course or launching a new monthly membership.
Creativity and innovation are increasingly becoming the name of the online course game. What works today increasingly leaves Kajabi behind scrambling to catch up.
The 4 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 accessibility of a Facebook Group, which is why so many Kajabi instructors start a separate Facebook Group in addition to using Kajabi.
And yet, it’s increasingly the course community that’s 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.
- 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. Think about Kajabi 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. Another frustration with Kajabi is around analytics. With so much of a person’s business riding on Kajabi, the lack of analytics is a challenge.
- 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. It 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 either on WordPress or a homegrown online course website or native mobile combination, we’ve narrowed down the list to the top six options.
Depending on whether you’re simply looking for a different course platform than Kajabi or you’re ready to bring your online courses and community together in the same place under your brand, you have choices.
Kajabi Alternative #1 – Teachable
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.
Additionally, Teachable’s mobile app is only available on iOS which cuts out a large percentage of users from having access to your course on the go.
Choosing Teachable means managing more services in different places, but it’s still cheaper and simpler to use than Kajabi.
Kajabi Alternative #2 – Thinkific
Another alternative to Kajabi to consider if you’re looking to create online courses is Thinkfic. On Thinkific’s platform, they tried to build an all-in-one solution for entrepreneurs to build websites to host all of their digital products, from online courses to digital memberships.
Creators and entrepreneurs can create a wide range of content types for their online courses including quizzes, multimedia-based articles, videos, surveys, webinars, and more. Additionally, Thinkific has some automation tools which make onboarding students and sending mass emails much easier.
Other features that make Thinkific a great Kajabi alternative are that it’s cheaper to get started. Kajabi offers a 14-day trial to get started, but their platform has a steep learning curve. When you build an online course through Thinkfic, you’ll be able to start for free, learn the basics, and then start paying when you’re ready to get your courses in gear.
Thinkific doesn’t provide native email support, however, and they rely on using many integrations instead of native features which can be costly in the long run.
Kajabi Alternative #3 – Mighty Networks
Mighty Networks is a SaaS-based solution that brings online courses, communities, and events all under one roof. It started as a world-class community platform with a feature set similar to a Facebook Group and added paid online courses and memberships over the past two years.
A Mighty Network stands out from both Kajabi and Teachable in the way it delivers a community on par with a Facebook Group alongside paid online courses or mastermind groups. But why is community so important? When your business is powered by community, you’ll spend less time endlessly churning out content and more time fostering strong bonds with and between your members. When you have that, your members will continue the conversation around your brand, so you don’t have to. Sounds pretty awesome, right?
With a Mighty Network, you can start simple and scale to bundles of online courses, paid memberships, groups, events, and more.
The best part of a Mighty Network? It’s instantly available to your members or students on every platform–web, iOS, and Android. Over 65% of Mighty’s rapidly growing engagement happens on its native mobile apps. And when you’re ready, you can upgrade to offer your entire package of 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 of Kajabi, the power of the community and native mobile apps drive better results, faster growth, and deeper engagement. They more than make up for what’s lost with Kajabi’s more aggressive marketing tactics.
Kajabi Alternative #4 – Skillshare
In a lot of ways, Skillshare has become the cool kid on the block in regards to online learning. They are an interesting alternative to Kajabi due to their emphasis on creating a marketplace for creators and entrepreneurs to sell their courses.
Their platform has become popular in part because they’ve been able to attract a wide range of creators to build content, from podcasters to marketers, and painters to programmers. This is enticing for people wanting to learn new skills and an exciting opportunity for entrepreneurs to tap into.
On Skillshare, you can create online courses, promote them, and grow your audience thanks to the platform’s large pre-existing user base. For some, the pre-recorded nature of Skillshare courses will be more approachable than having to teach “live,” but it also proves to be a bit less dynamic of an experience for your students that way.
However, the marketplace format is a double-edged sword for creators and entrepreneurs. For some people, they will find immense success with Skillshares discovery tools, but for others, their courses can be largely forgotten or left unseen because of how competitive the platform is.
Making money on the platform is also a bit of a mixed bag because you’ll need at least 25 students in your course before you can monetize. And even then, it’s only $1-2 per student.
Kajabi Alternative #5 – Udemy
Udemy is another good platform to use if you’re looking to build an online course for your business. They offer many of the same great features that we’ve discussed above but also have made it easier for creators and entrepreneurs to sell multiple courses under one roof.
On the Udemy platform, your online courses will live within their bustling marketplace which could attract many new customers (although it can also be negative and bury your work). On top of that, your supporters can leave reviews and ratings which can increase your course’s visibility, and the software is very easy to navigate around in.
Additionally, you can build different kinds of content on Udemy, so you’re not stuck only creating videos or one content type. Some good options we’ve found are the ability to create audio lectures for people on the go, text-based lectures, quizzes, and Q&As.
Unfortunately, Udemy still runs into some similar problems as some of the other Kajabi alternatives. For one, Udemy relies heavily on the use of third-party integrations. This isn’t inherently a bad thing, it’s great to be able to use your pre-existing systems on a new platform, but it becomes very costly as your business grows.
And another knock against Udemy is that their mobile app experience is largely only useful for your students. On the instructor side of things, you’ll be left having to use the mobile web version to make changes to your course on the go.
Kajabi Alternative #6 – Podia
Podia is an interesting alternative to Kajabi because they’ve built a platform that allows for online courses, memberships, and digital projects. It has some similarities to the all-in-one model of Mighty Networks, but they rely heavily on integrations for their platform instead of native features.
On Podia, you can create different kinds of content and offer it all in one digital storefront, so it’s easy to navigate and add new products. Some examples of what you can create are: online courses, digital memberships, one-off webinars, and digital downloads. They also offer solid 24/7 support to help you through your issues as they arise.
One key issue that Podia faces is its limited community features. While they do offer community building features, they are largely relegated to your individual products. That means that you won’t be able to create a true community feeling, just sub-communities for your individual offerings.
So you could have a group coaching membership site and the people who enroll can converse with you and each other, but this is a fairly small-scale endeavor. Creating a unique community around your individual products is a bit harder on Podia compared to some of the other alternatives to Kajabi.
The Winner: Mighty Networks
When you start a Mighty Network, you’re choosing a much more powerful platform that gets more valuable to 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 Right Kajabi Alternative for You
Between all of the Kajabi alternatives we’ve listed, you have many great options fo 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.
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