Thinkific has proven to be one of the best education platforms online, and while they don’t fit every business model if you want to sell a course, they do land on most of the criteria that a lot of course sellers want to incorporate into the experience.
If you don’t know what you’re looking for yet, that’s okay: we’re going to break down Kajabi, another excellent course-seller program that utilizes a lot of unique features, and help you make a decision based on budget, intuitiveness, and student experience.
Thinkific vs Kajabi: both have similar functions, but don’t hit the nail on the head in every department. Let’s see what these have to offer, what they lack, and how to find a balance in between depending on your needs.
- Thinkific and Kajabi Compared
- What Course Building do They Offer?
- How Hard is it to Make a Course?
- Pricing (Including Payment Methods)
- Thinkific Pros and Cons
- Kajabi Pros and Cons
- Which Works Better for Your Specific Needs?
Thinkific and Kajabi Compared
Thinkific is a huge, data-driven, marketing-based course selling service, while Kajabi is an all-in-one platform that allows you to sell memberships, content, and more.
You’re about to launch a course, and depending on the topic, length, intricacy, and required downloadable learning materials, you’re going to find one of these two contenders fit your needs better than the other.
The only question is, which one will it be? Let’s find out.
What is Thinkific?
Thinkific is an online course builder and marketing tool designed to help you take a simple concept, and mature it into an online course that you can effectively sell to prospective students.
You take information that you know, develop it in a linear, module-based fashion, and piece by piece, you go through the course building options offered by THinkific and make a course.
Thinkific offers plenty of tools and resources to help you market your course once it’s done, so you aren’t just left in the mud. This is an all-in-one service, meaning
Thinkific is all you need to take your ideas of being a course builder and turning them into a reality. You’re about to become an online education entrepreneur.
What is Kajabi?
Similar to Thinkific, Kajabi is all about being a one-and-done service. As an SaaS-based platform, you’re able to build everything online with no software downloads required. Create, manage, sell, market, and promote your courses all from the Kajabi dashboard.
Kajabi allows you to deliver content in a way that most other services don’t, and has a heavy emphasis on marketing (which is why we put it up against Thinkific, which also has fantastic marketing solutions), giving you an opportunity to properly market and promote your courses without any prior knowledge about marketing when you start.
It requires no third-party tools, and is truly an all-in-one solution that anyone can learn to use in a short amount of time.
What Course Building do They Offer?
With Thinkific, you’re going to get access to an all-in-one tool that helps you build your video content.
Use their intuitive Screenflow to help capture your videos and design them around the course material and topic. You’re able to incorporate images, text, and documents as well so that your students can download these and view them during their courses or offline. Thinkific is still expanding into interactive content, so that is limited at the moment.
Kajabi has a slightly different approach: they’re going to tell you to either make an introductory, transformative, or certification course. Honestly, you could use any of these and the learning experience will be the same, minus a digital certificate or something like that.
Kajabi keeps things linear: choose a topic, use their SEO features to help make your course more responsive to web searches, do competition analysis with other courses out there, and locate your target audience. They offer a completely competition-driven course building platform.
What About Course Delivery?
Content delivery is done through content dripping from Thinkific, which is a feature that Kajabi doesn’t offer.
Content dripping allows you to force a student to complete one course before they’re allowed to move on to the next, which can be beneficial if your courses are monthly installments. This is a marketing tool.
With Kajabi, you can make mini courses that are basically interactive, one-video courses that you can use to help people know what they need from a product. If you end up selling products on your website, or even just multiple courses in different niches, you can use this to help deliver people from a prospect to a lead, and narrow down what they’re looking for.
At any rate, both course builders deliver linear, modular content once your students actually get into the virtual classroom, consisting of video, text, and image-based viewable content, as well as DLC.
How Hard is it to Make a Course?
On either platform, it’s dead simple to make a course.
Even if this is your first time on any course builder, both Thinkific and Kajabi will walk you through everything from start to finish to make sure you have what you need, and nothing less.
Thinkific has a relatively clean process to set up a course, but because they add features all the time, they make extensive online information available to you so that you can navigate their site and course building options with ease.
All you have to do is search their FAQ to get answers to your questions, or access their eight-part chapter-based blog that explains everything from start to finish.
They’ll literally tell you which buttons to click; it’s that simple. Even if you don’t use the FAQ or blogs, you’ll still be able to master Thinkific in little to no time at all.
It’s a hard toss-up here because Kajabi also offers a handhold through most of the process, but their FAQ and online chapters are limited compared to what Thinkific offers.
If you’re not going to take the time to learn the system without having to visit FAQs on a constant basis, you can learn Kajabi in a few days. Tops.
Templates aren’t everything, but they are important.
Your template will dictate how your students navigate your course and website, and unless you’re a graphical coder who knows how to make this stuff from scratch, you’ll want to pay attention to the templates offered to you by your LMS system.
Thinkific is about being productive. They want you to be successful with your online course, and as a result, they offer tried-and-true course templates.
In fact, the templates work for your entire website, which helps to expedite the process and make it faster to get your courses online, and hit the ground running.
Thinkific offers more integrated templates than Kajabi, but they don’t really have a market for third-party templates, so you’re limited in what you can do.
Kajabi offers some themes, but thanks to third-party theme providers (who usually make content for WordPress sites), there are other options available.
This is good and bad, because while the built-in themes in Kajabi could be though, these third-party providers understand supply and demand. They make themes that feel so much better than Kajabi’s integrated ones, and they sell them at a premium.
You’ll only have to pay a one-time fee to get access to a lot of them, but they’re definitely out there and tantalizing to say the least. With fewer integrated options, Thinkific wins this round.
Pricing (Including Payment Methods)
Going into anything, you need to know what budgets are available for you to work with.
Kajabi and Thinkific have somewhat similar pricing structures, but with different benefits that you need to know before making a final decision.
There are a total of four pricing plans available from Thinkific, each of which are designed for different course creators and business levels.
- Free: As free as free can possibly mean. You’re restricted, such as not being able to have a custom domain and what-not, but it’s a good place to get started if you’ve never built a course before. Build it on here, take as much time as you need, and upgrade when you’re ready to go live.
- Basic: At just $49 per month, you get access to that custom domain you’ve been waiting for, as well as basic email integration, affiliate benefits, and SEO structuring that helps your site operate better in Google. Annually, this plan is just $39 per month.
- Pro: For larger businesses that are really gathering traction, the $99 per month Pro plan allows you to use live Zoom meeting integration, multiple course admins, community building options, email integration, and more. Annually, this plan is $79 per month.
- Premier: Designed for large-scale businesses, this is $499 per month for access to enhanced features like onboarding packages, SSOs, up to 50 course admins, more site admin accounts, group analysts, and so much more. Annually, this package is $399 per month.
You can use PayPal, Stripe, and major credit cards to pay for any of these packages.
Kajabi has three plans available, and none of them have a free tag (not that many of these LMS systems do), although you can start a free trial. This is what you need to know about their packages.
- Basic: For $149 per month, you can price three products and have up to 1,000 active users, all in one website. You do have access to unlimited emails and landing pages, but other than that this package is pretty limited. Annually, this package is 20% off at $119 per month.
- Growth: For $199 per month, you’ll get access to up to 15 separately priced products, 10,000 active monthly members, unlimited landing pages, marketing emails, and you can host all this through ten admin users on a single website. Annually, this package is 20% off at $159 per month.
- Pro: For $399 per month, you get access to over 90,000 contacts, you can host up to three separate sites, and have up to 20,000 active members in your site. Unlimited landing pages, marketing emails, and up to 100 separately-priced products all make this worthwhile of a large-scale online educator. Annually, this package is 20% off at $319 per month.
You can use PayPal, Stripe, and major credit cards to pay for any of these packages.
Thinkific Pros and Cons
- Plethora of Payment Options: Students can pay in a number of ways, so you aren’t limited by anything in terms of getting payments to come through. One of the most frustrating things about shopping for anything online is following the funnel, coming out at the sales page, and then not having applicable payments or not trusting the site enough to give credit card information. With Thinkific, you don’t run into any of those problems.
- Customizable Site: You can customize your site in a number of ways, so you don’t end up with drag-and-drop templates. Thinkific does offer templates, and they’re proven to work, but they make your site feel authentic and one of a kind with the micro customization options at your disposal.
- Voice Over PowerPoint: This is an underrated feature, but it’s also overly powerful. You can handle video production from within Thinkific by running a PowerPoint and narrating it through their service. There’s excellent sound clarity, and overall this is just one of those underdog features that you’ll use more than you think.
- Excellent Marketing Tools: You can market your Thinkific course with coupons, landing pages, and other options through the dashboard. Marketing is something that every online business needs to be doing, so the fact that they’re able to do some of it for you is pretty fantastic.
- There’s No Option for Funnels: Internet sales 101 tells us that you need some sort of a funnel going on, so the fact that Thinkific doesn’t offer this when they offer so many other marketing tools is a real shame. You can make individual landing pages through Thinkific, but they’re lackluster. You might need to use another service for funnels, or make good on the affiliate abilities here.
- Only Phone Support: You’ll find some online reviews that discuss this and say it’s a good thing, but I’m going to be real with you: it’s not, it’s really not. Phone support can be helpful when you get straight through, but it’s unlikely to happen. These issues that you face when building a course or managing a website are complex, and not a one-minute fix over the phone. There’s no chat support, so you’re left with long wait times to actually get assistance.
Kajabi Pros and Cons
- Tons of Tools: You want as many options as possible (without being overwhelmed) so that you can make a custom site, and a custom experience. With Kajabi, you get enough tools to integrate into your platform and make a truly unique experience for your students.
- Wista Integration for Video Hosting: You don’t have to lock your videos behind a YouTube share-only link or anything of the sort. By hosting videos on Wista, you’re able to make a closed-off, private education environment for your students and nobody else.
- Marketing Tools: Marketing is the name of the game with anything you try to sell online, and thankfully, Kajabi integrated some tools here to be able to market your courses effectively. It may not be as in-depth as Thinkific, but it’s powerful enough to get the job done and then some.
- Excellent UI (for You and Students): Building courses feels intuitive, and when you actually access them, it feels pretty smooth as well. Your students will have a simple time navigating your site, and you’ll have a fun time building it.
- No Completion Certificates: Unless you integrate with Accredible, a third-party certificate supplier, your students do not get anything at the end of the course. No gold at the end of the rainbow, so to speak. While these certificates may mean nothing for accreditation to college or job performance, you don’t want to offer an anti-climactic experience, either.
- Lack of Custom Coding Options: Custom code is important, because eventually you’re going to have an idea for a great site add-on that doesn’t exist in a third-party marketplace. Many course owners do. Implementing it will take custom code and someone to design it, and with Kajabi, you cannot inject custom code to make that happen.
Which Works Better for Your Specific Needs?
It’s important to know that Kajabi isn’t just an online course platform, which a lot of people assume going into it. It’s an all-in-one tool for charging memberships, downloadable content, and other things just like it.
Because of that, it doesn’t necessarily work as well for course quality, but it does offer some add-ons that can help more technical courses with a lot of assets that they need to get from their page into the students hands. It beats using a Google Drive folder for everything.
At the end of the day, we think Thinkific won this round, but it’s ultimately up to you. For beginners, Kajabi has some training wheels and obvious advantages, but you should eventually consider upgrading to Thinkific if you’re going to sell courses online.