Well before we get into that, since I’ve made the change, I’ve become a bit of a Kajabi super fan (almost like one of those annoying evangelists– I’m finding it just THAT good), so have a read of this post 8 things I LOVE about Kajabi!
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Kajabi pitch themselves as an all-in-one platform that makes it easy to create online courses, launch marketing campaigns, build landing pages and design the perfect website. Plus you can use it to manage your email marketing and even be a CRM (customer relationship management tool).
Basically it is a platform designed for online course entrepreneurs and those who offer digital training in any form. You can enroll students, plus you can set your whole business up with Kajabi if you want to – avoiding the minefield of integrations you normally have to go through when setting up online courses (we’ll get to that soon).
If you’ve ever created an online course or any sort of information product (or want to), I’m sure you’ve spent many MANY hours researching all the tech options available, in order to be able to host and sell your digital products.
No doubt you will find yourself on a gigantic learning curve of tech and software… and it may have totally blown your mind.
I know I spent hours (and freakin HOURS) trying to figure out what I needed.
Firstly working out what all the platforms were and then what the differences were between platforms and options. I found it rather confusing and overwhelming and really, it took a few weeks for me to actually get everything and why one thing would be better or worse than something else.
Not only is there a matter of choosing which platform to host your course (of which there are many options) THEN to sell your course, you need other systems and apps like landing pages, deadline countdowns, webinars, email marketing software and even video hosting.
It is like opening a big fat worm hole.
Basically, you end up building this crazy complicated spider web of different options of software tools, that all do great things, but connecting everything will likely leave you swearing your head off and wanting to punch your computer (or maybe that’s just me? 🤔)
I consider myself a tech savvy person - I teach people how to use a lot of different software, but building and selling my first course this year was one of the biggest challenges I’ve ever given myself and a big part of that was all the tech and moving parts.
I tend to research more than your average bear and look at every option, consider every factor and in the end, back in April 2019, when I built that first course, ended up opting for Teachable.
It had pretty good reviews, I’d been a student on courses other people had run on teachable which seemed fine.
It was kinda like the Toyota Camry of course software. No bells and whistles, not that exciting, but a fairly safe, solid choice.
At the time, I did look at Kajabi and loved the idea of it, but given it was a pretty high cost – almost double teachable, so I wrote it off straight away and just looked at other options.
Our website was already built on Squarespace and email hosting was with Convert Kit, so I didn’t need a system that had a website and email as well – even though that seemed like a good idea.
I thought I just wanted a solid platform to host my course and at the time, I thought Kajabi was overkill seeing I already had those things in place.
Plus I don’t like wordpress at ALL so I didn’t even look at any of the wordpress based options.
Teachable was the clear leader over other options course platforms like Podia and Thinkific.
Teachable seemed to tick most of the boxes of what I thought I needed.
Like a good “Camry” should.
And for the course itself and how students view the courses and track progress, it is fantastic.
A bit limited for customisation – pretty much all teachable courses look the same (unless you can pay someone to do fancy stuff in the code), but fine. The lessons show up nicely, you can group into modules, you can make downloads available, host your videos straight into the lesson and have a comments section.
So teachable was a good solid platform.
It may be solid, but the sales pages for the courses and the teachable homepage is damn ugly!
Really, those pages are so so SO horrible! (Someone in the Teachable Facebook group told me my sales page looked like a kindergartener did it 😮)
If you’re a coder or can afford a few grand for someone to fancy it up for you, then sure it might be OK, but that seems to defeat the purpose of going with a system that has a page builder to me.
I used the teachable sales pages as an interim measure until I could work out another option and I have no doubt my course sales suffered because of it.
To be honest, doing the sales page was the last thing I did in a hectic mission to rush my course to market and I didn’t give it the love I should. But I couldn’t figure out how to make it better, so I just left it like it was for the short term.
Sales pages are one of the most important aspects of having a course, so when it looks fuugly it isn’t doing you any favours.
After the dust settled from the course launch, I went on a quest to find a solution to this ugly sales page situation.
Firstly I thought I might make a Squarespace sales page and hook it up for sales through other software (thrivecart or samcart) then link the sale to teachable via zapier.
I was all set to create that up when bloody Squarespace went and changed their software literally right as I was building my new website.
I used to be a MASSIVE Squarespace fan and still love version 7, but version 7.1 - the new one, I’m really not digging so much. It’s not easy to make landing pages now – so I looked at other ways I could build the page.
I’d heard leadpages was great and saw a few other course creators were using that, so I got a trial account and had a play around.
Not sure if it’s just me, but I really hate when software says “easy to use” as one of it’s main features, but it is FAR from easy to use.
I mean sure, it is easier than literally coding a page by hand, but it isn’t what I’d call easy – especially compared to other systems.
Unless of course, you want to use one of their kinda blah out of the box templates and not have it look like your brand it at all.
I’m sure if I stuck it out and spent time learning it more, I could have made an OK page, but since I didn’t love it, I kept looking for alternatives.
By chance, I watched a webinar, that I thought was about marketing and sales, but ended up basically being a pitch for Kajabi… It was a good webinar though and it got me curious.
So this time, I decided to actually get a trial of Kajabi to play around with it and compare it to leadpages before writing it all off without really giving it a go.
I figured teachable + leadpages + wistia video hosting + squarespace, was going to cost me more than Kajabi anyway, so it was actually better for me financially than paying for separate software each month.
So I started a free trial and got to work testing it out.
I admit I got a bit frustrated with it at first – mainly because it is different to other platforms and I got frustrated that it didn’t always do what I wanted it to do.
But through that frustration, I found the single best thing about Kajabi.
Holy fork this was a lifesaver!
And not only did I get 24 hour live chat (that I used numerous times in those first few days!) in addition, I got a LIVE 1:1 in person run-through of the platform, so I could ask questions and better understand what I could and couldn’t do.
AND amazingly all this was before I had even paid Kajabi a cent!
How incredible is that for customer service 😍🙌✨
Plus, I got an additional two follow up calls from a Kajabi specialist, who patiently answered all my questions (of which there were many!)
Customer support from teachable was an ongoing source of frustration – especially being in Australia, as I’d usually have to wait a full 24 hours to hear back from someone and almost every time I got in touch – despite saying in my help request that I had read the help articles, they would send me a link to a help article. Then if I was lucky, after 48 hours I’d get some help. Sometimes it would take days.
I tried out Kajabi’s pipelines for my lead magnets, which were great! The hardest was getting a webinar set up – I needed to scour youtube and google to figure out the best way to run a webinar, but everything else I was able to sort out via the help pages, live chat and my 1:1 onboarding calls from Kajabi.
I decided to copy my Business 101.. Literally sales page over from teachable to Kajabi and whilst it wasn’t a quick process, it looks SO much better!
Both systems use blocks, but Kajabi’s blocks actually look good and you have a reasonable amount of control over what they look like. No weird fonts or font sizes or things not lining up nicely.
When I started loading up the course material, I was thrilled THRILLED, I tell you, to discover you have flexibility with how the course and lessons are displayed.
There is an option that gets close to that standard online course view that every man and his dog has, if that is your thing (momentum theme), or you can get creative and lay it out all pretty with one of the other themes (Premier is my favourite).
After a few days, I was hooked.
Over the period of a few weeks – I went from thinking hmmm maybe this could be a replacement for teachable and at least I can build my landing pages as well, to holy forking sheet this is the best piece of software I’ve used (not to mention an awesome company).
As much as I am fangirling over Kajabi, there are some things I don’t love and am still working out.
Whilst it *can* replace lots of software, I’m not totally convinced it always *should*. These are some of the aspects of Kajabi compared to Teachable and other platforms and how they compare.
✔ Big Tick to Kajabi. These look fantastic and you can build out how you want. Kajabi includes handy templates and you can get someone clever to make them look extra pretty if you need it.
If you build a pipeline – everything is created and links together from the start which is glorious - it is basically a DIY funnel builder.
There is nothing like this in Teachable - just a basic (very basic) sales page builder.
✔ Big tick. I love the course aspect of Kajabi, the pages look great, easy to use as a student and it tracks progress. I especially love that you can customise what the course looks like and you aren’t trapped into that one style where you can only change the colours.
You can make the course more on brand and with some templates, even add a sidebar to promote another course, link to your website, affiliate programs or anything else. VERY awesome.
Videos are hosted via Wistia with unlimited bandwidth and great quality (up to HD), and you can easily add assessments. I’m sure I’ll be able to nitpick some stuff down the track, but for now – happy camper here
✔ Tick compared to teachable, but using it, in general, is a maybe for now.
I’m actually currently trialing a/b testing a campaign in Kajabi vs Convert Kit to see how they perform. So far it’s pretty on par in terms of open rates.
I like that you can add automation mid sequence to trigger actions (ie deadline funnel). The follow ups via automations are great - for example if someone hasn’t logged in for a certain period of time that can trigger an email. You can set up automations based on lesson completion etc.
The analytics are a little hidden and I can’t easily see by going into a person which emails they have opened or clicked on like with Convert Kit. Also there is no visual automation builder in Kajabi and no email templates as such. I’m cut and pasting as a workaround for the moment.
BUT having everything in one system is really handy - I never would have even considered that with Teachable, I only used Convert Kit. I’ll do a Kajabi vs Convert Kit full follow up soon.
Update May 2020: I will write up a full review shortly, but I am now moving my emails from Convert Kit to Kajabi as my tests showed comparible deliverability, with some emails going to spam in BOTH platforms. No email provider is perfect in that regard and there are a lot of factors that go into email deliverability. Convert Kit's analytics are superior, but the convenience of having everything in one place wins out for me.
✔ Tick compared to Teachable, but just OK compared to other platforms. You can see some analytics, but it’s a bit limited and you can’t easily see where the traffic is coming from like you can in Squarespace. It is nice that they break the regular pages and the offer pages up – so you can see how many people are clicking through to buy. I like that.
For the actual course analytics - I think Teachable’s pro plan is better, as you can see how each student watches the individual videos - if they watch the whole things, hotspots where people went back and watched again etc. You can see where students are up to in Kajabi, but it takes a bit of digging.
Update May 2020: This has now improved in Kajabi, but Teachable is possibly still slightly better
Not sure how this compares yet, as we will be setting up a membership in the months (look out for the Unicorn Business Lounge!), so haven’t really looked at this area yet.
It is great to know I can use Kajabi for my courses AND membership, but it is a little similar to what you could do with teachable (basically bundling courses together). There is a community aspect to Kajabi I am digging into - like a message board, but I may use a Facebook group to start with, as that aspect of Kajabi seems to be in its infancy. I shall report back after the Unicorn Business Lounge launches in November.
Update May 2020: I love Kajabi for memberships, especially because you can create a central hub area if you have a big membership with lots of content and link out to different areas (you can see this in action here)
Both Teachable and Kajabi aren’t great with checkout pages - especially compared to third-party options like Thrivecart and SamCart. I think Kajabi has been working on their checkout pages (and hopefully will continue to do so).
There is the option to add testimonials – however you can’t change what they look like or where they position on the page, so it is a bit limiting. I’m going to do some tests with using a thrive cart page to see if that converts better, or if Kajabi checkout pages will convert OK.
I have read in numerous places that the Kajabi checkout pages convert better than teachable – which I can understand. Mine just look a bit ugly right now and I want to figure out how to improve that.
Update May 2020: I am still experimenting with ThriveCart and so far both the Kajabi checkout page and the ThriveCart page are performing similarly, I do like the look of the ThriveCart page, but don't hate the Kajabi page. I recently spoke to the team at Kajabi who are improving the checkout and I am excited to see the changes coming.
Both Teachable and Kajabi offer blog capability. I’ve not heard of anyone ever using Teachable’s blogs however, as most people who use Teachable seem to have another website and would host their blog on that. Kajabi, as an all in one (website builder AND course platform) offers much better blog capabilities.
However, as to whether it is better than hosting your blog on a wordpress, squarespace or other site, I’m on the fence. I am almost considering moving this blog from squarespace to Kajabi, but find the layout a bit restrictive.
You can build a nice sidebar on the blog home page and the posts which is good. It is easy to add CTA’s – however every blog post has the exact same CTA which isn’t ideal.
I don’t love the way the categories are managed and there is no flexibility for the image size previews. I’m going to keep researching and ensure the SEO is good before making the switch. Watch this space!
Update May 2020: As of a week ago, the blog and Squarespace website has been moved to Kajabi! I'm still playing around with ways to make the blog look pretty. Squarespace blogs do look a bit prettier, however I don't notice *that* much of a difference on mobile and that is where the majority of the traffic is. I didn't think it was enough of a difference to continue paying for two platforms.
It’s funny when I used teachable, I just thought it was OK - it did the job, but ended up feeling frustrated a lot of the time.
But with Kajabi, despite getting frustrated in the beginning, I’m not just loving it now – I love it so much I want to share how much I love it and why.
Which to me is the sign a company is doing things right.
If you have an online info business and considering an all in one solution, I definitely recommend you check Kajabi out.
You can even get a 28 day trial, instead of their usual 14 day trial by using this link. You get bonus Unicorn perks as well to help you get up and running quickly.
You can get a 14 day FREE trial and get shown how to use the platform, so you can get your site and offers up and running. PLUS we give you some additional support and help to get set up!
Try it out for yourself and see how awesome Kajabi is.
And of course – if you have any questions, please let me know – I’m happy to help.
Update May 2020:
I have grown to love Kajabi so much, that we now run TWO businesses on Kajabi and actually now offer Kajabi support, training and done for you work.
What started out with me adoring the software, turned into a bit of an obsession and spending more and more of my time helping others with Kajabi. That helping others soon got to the point it was almost all we were doing and Kajabi support is now one of our core offerings!
I was also asked to create a course for Kajabi University, so look out for the Business Planning course soon.
PLUS you'll get your choice of a Unicorn Advisory partner bonus pack worth up to $700!