Kajabi Vs. Podia:
A Comparison of LMS & Membership Software
When it comes to selecting LMS and membership platforms, there is a lot to consider and it can be pretty overwhelming to review software functionality, design limitations, integration options, and pricing models.
In this comparison of Kajabi vs. Podia, we break down all the important considerations for you, so you can find the perfect software for you and your business.
We’ve tested and used a number of membership and LMS plugins over the years. And after none of them met our needs, let alone exceeded our expectations, we put our Software Engineering expertise to work and developed AccessAlly.
We continue to review and test membership site and LMS software that’s available on the market so we can share our knowledge with you.
Today we’ll share what we know about Podia and Kajabi.
How Do Kajabi and Podia Differ From Each Other?
Kajabi and Podia are both all-in-one, hosted, SaaS platforms that attempt to provide everything you need to build your business and sell your online courses and membership subscriptions.
Through our testing and researching both of these all-in-one platforms, we found some similarities as well as some surprising differences in features, pricing, setup, and the final product.
Simply put, Kajabi tries to do everything: host your website, take payments, deliver courses, handle marketing automation pipelines, send marketing emails, and design landing pages.
Similarly, Podia offers everything you need to sell your online courses, host webinars, downloads, and memberships. On their platform, you can build a storefront, add website pages and products, and start taking payments without needing to be a tech expert.
These all-in-one approaches can be very appealing for new online business owners who want to keep operating budgets low and be able to see and edit all (or most) aspects of their business on the same platform.
With both Kajabi and Podia, it’s important to realize from the beginning that you will likely outgrow these all-in-one platforms.
Depending on your business, you’d likely outgrow Podia before Kajabi due to lack of customization, email marketing automation, and the ability to offer a fully functional membership site.
For that reason, if you choose either of these SaaS, hosted solutions, we recommend budgeting time and money for a system migration in the future.
Kajabi has different pricing tiers with limits on products, pipelines, marketing emails, contacts, active members, number of websites, and admin users.
For example, on the lowest level tier you’re limited to 1000 active members. That means if you wanted to offer a free course opt-in on your website as a lead magnet, or share this offering with your existing email list, you’d be forced to upgrade as soon as you reach the 1000 member limit. .
If you already have 200 active members, that caps your growth to only 800 opt ins on this bottom tier. The lowest tier, named their Basic plan is $149/month. You’d need to upgrade to the 199/month, Growth plan to have up to 10,000 active members.
Also note that there are limits for each tier. For example, on the $199/month, mid-level Growth plan, only three products, 10,000 contacts, and 3 pipelines are allowed.
In short, you’ll likely run into limitations early on with your offers using Kajabi and need to upgrade to the mid-level Growth plan at $199/month, or even the upper level Pro plan at $399/month. This could make budgets tighter than anticipated simply to support email list growth and nurturing your audience. Meaning you may not see a return on your investment right away.
Podia, on the other hand, has only two pricing tiers for you to choose from when building your online course business. Podia is less expensive than Kajabi and they don’t have limits on members, products, or courses. Podia’s tier differences are based on features.
Podia’s lower tier, their Mover plan at $39/month doesn’t support memberships, blogs, off-site buy buttons, affiliate marketing, or third-party code. If you want to take advantage of Podia’s full suite of features, you’ll need to opt for their upper tier Shaker plan at $79/month.
A Story About MIgrating from Kajabi to AccessAlly
"I’m head over heels in love with AccessAlly! We saw an immediate increase in sales!
AccessAlly is SO easy to use and integrates perfectly with Ontraport. We've had ZERO issues with it, which I don't think I can say about any other software or tool or plugin we use. Plus the interface is beautiful.
We moved them over from Kajabi to AccessAlly and every single member loves the new site. It's extremely user friendly for our clients, and for us. AccessAlly is a brilliant, beautiful, user friendly platform that has had a direct positive impact on our bottom line."
- Heidi DeCoux, CSMtalent.com
Using pre-built design templates can speed up the creation of your membership site and online courses. You are generally limited in your customization and design flexibility when using pre-built options on Podia and Kajabi as a result.
However, since there are some fundamental strategies for course building and presentation, you might not mind this limitation with Kajabi and Podia.
Kajabi offers a handful of templates that can be customized by selecting colors and fonts. You can make direct edits through custom code.
Similarly, Podia allows third-party coding on their upper tier. They too offer templates where you can customize colors and fonts to match your branding.
Both offer email templates, landing pages templates, and order form templates as well. If you have a very specific design idea that you’re not willing to adapt to the limitations of the platforms, you’ll have to custom code, or hire someone to achieve your specific look and feel. With Podia, third-party code is only allowed on their upper-level Shaker plan.
If you’re looking for a course builder that allows full design flexibility, take a look at our showcase page to see what’s possible when you choose AccessAlly instead.
INTEGRATION OF MARKETING AUTOMATION SOFTWARE
Both Kajabi and Podia have email sending and marketing automation options built in. They intend to replace marketing automation systems such as MailChimp, AWeber, ConvertKit, and Drip, or more complex CRMs such as Infusionsoft, Ontraport, and ActiveCampaign.
The exact features available within each platform will vary. The exact features will vary, but these CRM and marketing automation systems are designed to give you full control over managing and marketing to your contacts.
All-in-one platforms are built on a different philosophy to provide everything you need in one place. That’s to say that email marketing automation isn’t Kajabi and Podia’s strongest feature.
If you already have a CRM software solution that you want to integrate, both Kajabi and Podia support integrations. Be aware that you’d be using a 3rd party tool, such as Zapier to support this integration. As with any additional integration component, it adds a monthly cost, a time investment, and an ongoing maintenance and troubleshooting component.
Podia offers a simple way to communicate with your customers. If you prefer a more complex setup, you’ll need to implement a CRM integration. While Podia does allow newsletters, drip campaigns, automated emails, and segmentation, their features will be less advanced than what you’d find in an email marketing automation system like ConvertKit, ActiveCampaign, or Infusionsoft and Keap.
Kajabi can support a more complex setup, that again could replace a CRM entirely. They too offer templates for any kind of email (newsletters, automations, or purchase confirmation emails). You’ll need to be sure you select the correct tier so you don’t run into email send limits.
Using Podia and Kajabi’s built-in marketing automation and email sending does allow you to keep everything under one roof though, so if that’s your goal (rather than using an integration), plan to modify your setup accordingly to what each platform is capable of. That will likely mean simplifying your automations to avoid platform restrictions or roadblocks.
Pro Tip: Marketing automation tools are here to stay. Use your marketing automation tool to power your course and membership program by taking advantage of AccessAlly’s deep 2-way street integration. It’s built to help you sell more, teach better, and engage with your students longer.
LEARNING REINFORCEMENTS: QUIZZES, PROGRESS-TRACKING, & CERTIFICATES
LMS-style learning becomes more effective with reinforcements such as quizzes, tests, progress tracking, and certificates.
Neither Kajabi or Podia offer expansive LMS features. If you know you want (or know you’ll eventually want) these features to make learning for your students more effective and increase retention, there are more advanced options on the market.
Both Kajabi and Podia offer entry-level reinforcement options. Kajabi offers assessments and progress tracking while Podia offers quizzes, comments, and messaging.
Pro Tip: AccessAlly’s built-in LMS features include quizzes, homework submissions, and private notes, progress tracking, and certificates of completion.
These advanced learning reinforcements help your students become engaged in the learning process, which makes for a better learning experience, leading to long-term, happy students, and ultimately more sales.
E-COMMERCE & AFFILIATE MANAGEMENT FUNCTIONALITY
There is one caveat though: neither Kajabi or Podia can support recurring payments or run payment plans through PayPal. Any such payments would have to be accepted through Stipe.
Podia and Kajabi also both support affiliate program management, but be sure you’ve budgeted for the correct tier to get this feature.
In Kajabi’s affiliate feature, you can add announcements and share links through the affiliate dashboard. Affiliates can also see their clicks, form submissions, and conversions. There’s not, however, a way to share swipe copy, banners, or other assets with your affiliates through the platform. You’ll have to think outside the box for the best way to share these assets and information with your affiliates.
Similarly, the affiliate dashboard in Podia displays the number of sales, commissions made, clicks, and conversion rates. Affiliates can use the affiliate dashboard to find their personal tracking links.
With Podia though, similarly to Kajabi, there’s no seamless way to share content and assets with your affiliates from the dashboard. You’ll need to think of a creative way to share assets with your affiliates that is easy to manage.
Pro Tip: If you’re looking for a fully-functional, completely integrated affiliate system, consider using AccessAlly.
Register affiliates, and create a beautifully designed dashboard where affiliates can find their links, commissions, conversation rates, and assets to promote your brand.
BULK COURSE ENROLLMENT
As you build your business and course offerings, selling your online programs to larger groups, such as a corporate setting, can be a powerful strategy to expand your reach and grow your business.
With bulk course enrollment, a single person can purchase a group of licenses to your offerings with one click. After the successful purchase, the purchaser, most commonly referred to as a team leader, or parent account holder can divvy out licenses to individuals as needed.
Neither Kajabi or Podia offer a bulk enrollment feature.
Pro Tip: If bulk enrollment is a high priority for you and you know you’ll be exploring this business opportunity, make it easier on yourself and choose a solution that offers an easy to use, out of the box bulk enrollment feature like AccessAlly. You won’t need add-ons, complicated workarounds, or to modify your offerings because of platform limitations.
With AccessAlly you’ll have the power to sell a package of licenses for your courses and content. Then, the team leader can assign sub-accounts to individuals. You’ll have the power to design functional member management dashboards, and use custom operations to trigger automations by team leaders.
OWNERSHIP AND GROWTH OPPORTUNITIES
If you choose a hosted software-as-a-service solution you're essentially renting space to host your business.
Both Kajabi and Podia take care of a lot of behind the scenes requirements of running an online business, like hosting a website, choosing themes for design, and maintenance.
On the other side of that coin, it also means you have to conform your setup to their system. This may mean changing parts of your business model, course delivery, or overall brand look and feel. If you outgrow these tools, or choose to migrate off their all-in-one platforms for another reason, there’s no easy way to move your online business to a different tech stack. It will require additional time, manual migration, and most importantly more money.
All that being said, both platforms are easy to use, well-designed, and well supported.
As your business grows, you’ll quickly run into limitations with one part of their system or another. For example, as your business grows and you want to ‘graduate’ an online course to a fully-functioning membership program with built in progress tracking, bulk course enrollment, and a full affiliate dashboard with assets, you’re forced to conform to the system or migrate.
Additionally, if you want an integrated forum, advanced gamification, or other features that we know increase retention and engagement, you’re forced to wait for their developers to create the feature, or again, migrate.
With AccessAlly, you have even more control. It’s an open source LMS WordPress plugin.
What does that mean for you? Anyone can see and read the code, and it’s easy to back-up and export your content, so if you ever decide to migrate away from us, you won’t lose all of your work.
Onboarding and Onling Customer Support
As you adopt a new software and setup of any kind, you’re bound to have questions. And even after using it time and time again, you’ll likely have more advanced inquiries, features requests, or implementation setup questions. Having access to support is imperative, no matter which software you choose.
Both Podia and Kajabi offer 24/7 support for clients.
Podia has live chat hours, and will respond 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, even outside of their live chat hours. You’ll just need to email them or leave a message on their chat feature to get a response outside of their designated hours. They also offer opportunities to learn independently with their Help Center, which are questions and topics answered by the Podia team and the customer community. Podia also does a good job introducing you to their support team on their website so you know who you’re talking to.
Similarly, Kajabi offers support via email and live chat. Annual plan subscribers also gain access to two separate 1:1 sessions with Kajabi team members, so you can get live answers to your unique setup questions in real-time. In addition, Kajabi University has hours of detailed training videos, and a customer based community that offers support.
When onboarding with Podia, they offer free migrations depending on your tier selection to help bring over existing content. Kajabi does not offer free migrations.
Your Workflow on Kajabi vs. Podia
- Install the plugin on your WordPress membership site
- Install the LaunchPad theme or choose one of your own.
- Integrate your payment gateway
- Use the LifterLMS course builder to setup your course structure
- Install or set-up CRM integration third-party tool, team licensing add-ons, member directory add-ons, etc.
- Set up your marketing automation campaign or notifications within the plugin
- Add your content, quizzes, and more with the shortcode adder
- Setup your storefront
- Add any connecting applications you might want to use, such as Zapier for integrations
- Choose your URL
- Migrate existing content or add new content to your website pages
- Add integrations such as Google Analytics or Facebook tracking pixel
- Customize the look and feel of your site by using the out-of-the-box editor or building something from scratch
- Build your online courses, digital downloads, memberships, and free or paid webinars.
- Setup your payments and terms of purchase
- Add your emails and marketing automations or integrate with a CRM
Podia vs. Kajabi Features Comparison
We’re a digital marketing software company built by marketers and software engineers. With our particular background and expertise, we’ve designed our membership and LMS plugin AccessAlly, to give you everything you need in an easy to use, powerful package. Let's review how AccessAlly compares in a feature match up to Kajabi and Podia.
|Protected course content|
|Built-in Recurring Stripe and PayPal payments||No recurring with PayPal||No recurring with PayPal|
|Course builder for modules, lessons, and topics|
|Automatically creates tags, pages, and menus||No tags|
|Deep 2-Way Integration with Infusionsoft, Ontraport, ActiveCampaign, ConvertKit, and Drip|
|Multiple currencies, automated expiring coupons, and order bumps|
|Cart abandonment automation|
|Progress tracking, and progress-based unlocking content|
|Multiple types of quizzes, and auto generated certificates of completion|
|Course Licensing with Teams or Umbrella Accounts|
|Searchable member directories and editable custom fields through profiles|
|Gamification where members can earn points, and activity-based automation, login tracking|
|Media player, video bookmarks, tagging automation on quizzes|
|Cross-selling dashboards, with 1-click upsells|
|Built-in affiliate tracking with multiple tiers, links, and reporting||Limited features||Limited features|
The True Cost of Kajabi and Podia
These pricing models will give you a realistic idea of costs associated with Podia compared to Kajabi
If you plan to use the built-in email marketing automation in Podia or Kajabi, these may be good fits for you. However, be prepared to flex your business model and get creative when you run into system limitations.
If you already have a website and email marketing automation platform, it really doesn’t make sense to select an all-in-one, hosted, SaaS platform like Kajabi or Podia because you won’t be using those features. These are more ideal for a true beginner with no other systems or setups, or someone who knows they want to stay small or doesn’t mind doing system migrations. Remember that monthly costs will increase steeply on Kajabi as you increase your offerings and members.
While Podia is less expensive than Kajabi, their all-in-one platform is truly best for small, creative business owners who are just getting started and don’t plan to enhance their engagement with LMS features that support their students learning and growth. If you’re coming to the table with very specific design requirements, course setup, emails, and marketing automations, then Podia is not for you.
If you do already have outside systems, and you choose either Podia or Kajabi, make sure you have budgeted time and money to support integrations. From initial setup, to maintenance, to troubleshooting, you’ll need to have someone on your team (or yourself) who’s capable and comfortable figuring these things out.
Should I use Kajabi or Podia?
Kajabi might be right for you if…
- You want a basic course-website and have no plans of expanding your offerings in the future
- You’re not attached to a specific design and willing to flex your vision when met with system limitations
- You don’t have a CRM setup and have no plans of setting one up in the future
- You won’t mind setting up your business on ‘rented land’ and manually migrating when your business grows
Podia might be right for you if…
- You’re a creator looking for a simple course website
- You have offerings like free and paid webinar, digital downloads, or simple courses with no plans to expand to a fully functional and integrated membership site
- You don’t have a CRM and plan to keep automation and interaction with your customers simple
- You’re willing to migrate off the system when your business grows
NOT THE SOLUTION YOU REALLY NEED?
Schedule a live demo to see how AccessAlly
Hi, I'm Kimberly
I'd love to learn more about your goals and answer your questions about how AccessAlly can help you get there. Book a demo today!