With the right course building platform to market and sell your e-learning products, you can set up an online course site that generates steady revenue streams. E-learning platforms let online course creators set up their own websites, automate email marketing campaigns, and build branded communities.
Kajabi is an all-in-one course builder that first launched in 2009. It offers powerful features that help you sell courses and build rich content experiences paired with conversion-optimized landing pages. As a branded, hosted knowledge platform it enables you to create amazing digital products and training videos and sell them to students along with downloadable resources.
Additionally, Kajabi comes with different themes that allow you to deliver a unique learning experience and aesthetically pleasing content. You can choose from a number of mobile responsive themes or build your site from scratch.
Founded in 2012, Thinkific empowers online course creators to sell courses through their own websites. This platform lets you set up your course site in minutes, host videos and other content, create multimedia courses, easily import existing courses, and add audio to presentation slides.
It doesn’t require any technical know-how or design experience on your part. In addition to this, Thinkific offers marketing tools and integrations and lets you track student progress.
Let’s take a look at how Kajabi and Thinkific stack up against each other:
Factor #1: Ease of Use
Kajabi comes with an easy to use dashboard that makes most of its main features accessible from the main screen.
Although Kajabi is loaded with features, its intuitive interface ensures that first-time course creators don’t feel overwhelmed. In fact, the platform’s user experience is well suited to both beginners and advanced users.
Kajabi’s backend tools also include a smart Kajabi Assistant search bar, so if you can’t find what you’re looking for on your own, it will still be easy to find. What’s more, the various product “blueprint” templates on offer here make it easy to create courses based on structures that are proven to be engaging to students.
Similar to Kajabi, Thinkific also has a user-friendly dashboard with quick tooltips. You can view the main navigation on the left side of the page to quickly find what you’re looking for.
Thinkific also guides you throughout your course selling journey and gives you access to easy-to-follow tutorials on how to use the platform.
The bottom line: You can’t go wrong with either platform when it comes to overall backend usability, support and tutorials.
Factor #2: Website Themes
Kajabi comes with engaging, pre-built themes and templates right out of the box. You can choose from 12 free themes or upload your own custom theme.
All Kajabi themes are conversion-optimized, mobile-responsive, and customizable. You can modify just about everything, delete page elements, and add new ones. There are built-in solutions for different types of content pages, such as quizzes, sales pages, blog posts, webinars and product listings. It’s extremely versatile but surprisingly accessible and intuitive.
Thinkific’s Site Builder gives you access to a collection of simple themes along with multiple variations for each theme.
You can add different sections to your site’s pages such as customer reviews, countdown timers, pricing plans, and calls to action.
The bottom line: Either platform has what you need to launch a basic website, but once you want to go deep and start adding more sections and content types, Kajabi has more to offer.
Factor #3: Course Creation
Kajabi lets you use feature-rich product blueprints for mini-courses, online courses, evergreen training, memberships, and custom courses to upload content to.
This powerful course builder comes with support for video content. It uses Wistia to upload and stream videos, so you can be sure that your videos will be secure and load seamlessly regardless of the user’s device or bandwidth.
The Thinkific platform gives you access to a variety of pre-configured templates that allow you to easily organize your course content. The templates make it easy for course instructors to quickly get started. These include mini-courses, pre-sell, flagship courses, and digital downloads – everything you need to create an information product.
You can fill chapters with any sort content you want such as video lectures, presentations, surveys, and quizzes. Additionally, it lets you customize how your course progresses and the overall learning experience it delivers through neat features like multiple instructors, cohorts, and expiring content.
The bottom line: Both Thinkific and Kajabi support creating and publishing a variety of content types.
Factor #4: Content Dripping
Kajabi lets you set up content dripping based on student enrollment and course start date. This way, students are given access to a module or lesson on a predetermined day. And, as a result, students don’t feel overwhelmed by a large curriculum loaded with modules and lessons when they log in to their user accounts.
In addition to this, Kajabi lets you send automated drip emails to students to announce the release of new content. It also lets you set a specific lesson as a prerequisite for your course module. What this means is that students won’t be able to access a particular module until they complete the required lessons. However, they’ll be able to access all other unlocked modules. Similarly, you can require students to complete assignments and lessons before dripping more content.
Thinkific also offers content dripping based on student enrollment and course start date. So, until students complete certain lessons, they won’t be able to unlock new modules.
Even though this platform also allows you to set modules and courses as prerequisites, all modules after the prerequisite course will be locked automatically. Moreover, you won’t be able to send drip emails to your students with Thinkific.
The bottom line: If you want your students to always be able to access all lesson modules at once, then this factor shouldn’t make a big difference to you. If you only need limited control over the flow of available content, then Thinkific will do the job just fine. For full-on drip capabilities, Kajabi is the way to go.
Factor #5: Community Building
With Kajabi, students can use the built-in community features to interact with one another – and with you, the expert they’re interested in learning from most. Like a hybrid of Facebook Groups and a branded forum, this feature lets students join existing discussion threads or start new ones.
It also integrates with the commenting system of your course site. This allows students to send messages to the admin (i.e. the course instructor) or to other students.
Additionally, when a member of your online course posts a comment on lesson pages, they’ll be notified through email when you (or a fellow student) leave a response.
Thinkific lets you set up a community forum. However, it doesn’t offer a native comments system to allow students to ask questions and start discussions. Moreover, this platform doesn’t let you associate questions and comments with specific lectures or lessons.
The bottom line: Both platforms offer viable community forum solutions for added value to students and members.
Factor #6: Marketing Automation and Payments
Kajabi comes with the powerful Sales Pipeline Builder that allows you to easily create and automate marketing funnels that span touchpoints.
The pipeline builder gives you access to pre-built blueprints that you can choose from. For instance, if you want to launch a new course, the Product Launch pipeline will automatically create an opt-in page, the follow-up emails, video sequences, and the offer page. All you need to do is fill in your content, and you’re ready to deploy.
In addition to this, Kajabi lets you broadcast live and pre-recorded webinars, which is great for establishing yourself as an authority in your industry and building your email list.
Kajabi offers a complete email marketing suite that lets you do more than just sending email blasts. You can create automated email sequences that you can use to welcome new students or launch a new product. Its automation rules allow you to trigger actions like initiating new email sequences, adding or removing tags to contact segments, and sending prospective customers a special offer.
Kajabi also helps you capture leads with lead generation forms and landing pages via its library of customizable landing page templates, which can be integrated with assessments. Plus, you can create opt-in forms for your course site or blog and use them as pop-ups or embedded forms.
Both Kajabi and Thinkific allow you to offer students flexible payment options on your course memberships and subscriptions. For instance, you can sell your online course for a one-time fee or follow a subscription model. Alternatively, you can create multiple pricing tiers for your coaching classes or training programs.
Both Kajabi and Thinkific also support direct integration with PayPal and Stripe so your students can pay through their credit card or via their PayPal account. The payment will be transferred directly to your account.
Thinkific comes with simple email marketing features that only let you send broadcast emails to your students. It’s also worth mentioning that the platform doesn’t support autoresponders. In addition to this, you’ll have to use a third-party email marketing service such as Drip or ConvertKit to manage your email list.
You can also set up your own affiliate program on both platforms.
The bottom line: While both platforms support Stripe, PayPal, flexible billing, affiliates and marketing features, Kajabi’s Pipelines, multi-channel automation and contact management features are huge game-changers for sellers.
Factor #7: Cost
Let’s take a look at Kajabi’s pricing plans:
- Basic: $149 per month (3 products, 3 pipelines, 1 website, 10,000 contacts)
- Growth: $199 per month (15 products, 15 pipelines, 1 website, 25,000 contacts)
- Pro: $399 per month (100 products, 100 pipelines, 3 websites, 100,000 contacts)
And here are the pricing plans offered by Thinkific:
- Free: $0 (Access to core features and up to 3 courses)
- Basic: $49 (Free features, content dripping, coupons, and Zapier triggers)
- Pro: $99 (Basic features, 2 admin accounts, 5 course admins, advanced course pricing options)
- Premier: $499 (Pro features, 5 site admins, 50 course admins, SSO)
The bottom line: Although Thinkific is somewhat less expensive, Kajabi’s additional features easily justify the gap.
An e-learning platform helps you build a website to create, sell, and market your courses. We stepped through some of the main features on offer with Kajabi and Thinkific to help you find the option that matches your specific needs and requirements.
Image via Edubirdie