Kajabi Review Top Highlights
- Kajabi is a powerful, fast, easy-to-use platform for selling online courses and building almost your entire tech platform in one place.
- Edit the design of your site without touching any programming code.
- Top notch customer support.
- Insanely powerful, easy-to-use marketing funnel builder, called Pipelines, is built in.
- Email marketing features built in.
- Video hosting and embeddable player built in.
Starts at $103/mo.
14 Day Free Trial?
|As a stand alone online course platform:|
|As an all-in-one platform:|
Welcome to this in-depth Kajabi review, which is a popular “all-in-one” app made for small business owners to sell courses online.
Before I get started, you should know that I can, at times, get pretty excited about software, especially online course platforms like Kajabi. Weird, I know.
And, I’m rather excited about this version of Kajabi software. I know that because when I tested it for this review, I found myself wanting to create and sell an online program with it.
I’m not sure if that happens to other people, but when software for small online businesses is well designed, I want to use it to help grow our business. That’s been going on between Kajabi and me. It’s not perfect (no app is), but it’s the closest thing I’ve seen to perfect software for online courses and building a business around digital knowledge products.
Now, since I like it, and because this is a software review, you might wonder if we use affiliate links in our reviews. Let’s get that question answered so we can get on with the review and help you decide if Kajabi is right for you (which is the whole purpose of this review.)
Here’s the deal: the links in this post are indeed affiliate links, which means that if you click on a link to go check out any of the software I mention in this post, and if you eventually sign up for a paid account for Kajabi, we make a small commission (enough to buy a sandwich, actually.)
That’s how we can afford to put so much time into testing and reviewing apps and then give the reviews to you for free. (We typically spend 40+ hours testing and creating a review like this.)
But here’s the cool part about our links for you to check out Kajabi: they have discount magic built in to them:
If you click on one of our links to check out Kajabi and you eventually decide to start paying for it, you will automatically get 15% off any payment option you choose, for the life of your account.
So, you have a detailed free review of Kajabi here to help you decide if it’s right for you, and if it feels like it’s a good fit, you’ll get a special, automatic Clarity Lab 15% discount off of Kajabi’s regular fees. That’s a win-win for you.
That said, I know things can get weird when you realize that someone is using affiliate links, because you start to wonder if they’re being honest in their opinions, or just trying to get you to click on links so they make a commission.
That’s not what’s happening here. We are as unbiased about the software we review as possible, and we level the playing field by having affiliate accounts for each of the apps reviewed. That way we don’t become unconsciously biased towards the apps we can earn commissions from.
Okay. Are we good on that? Awesome. Let’s carry on.
Now, because this review is so in-depth, here’s an easy-to-use table of contents for you:
What is Kajabi?
The Bottom Line (at the top)
Why you should trust me
The User Interface
Themes and Site Design Editing
Kajabi Theme Design and Editing
Opt-in Form Builder
Blog Post Creation
Membership Website Functionality
Integrations With Other Apps
Landing Page Generator
Kajabi Pipeline Marketing Funnel Builder
Email Marketing Tools
Contact Records and Management
Affiliate Marketing Features
Tutorials and Documentation
How easy is it to find people to hire who know how to use Kajabi?
Who’s Using Kajabi
Is Kajabi Right for You?
Kajabi is a web-based software platform that allows you to have almost all of the tools needed to run an online business that sells online courses, or other digital products, all within one app.
It gives you:
- Website building tools
- Membership site software
- Payment processing right on the site
- Email marketing tools
- Automated marketing tools
- Landing page tools
- A suite of features for affiliate marketing
Before I dive into an in-depth review of Kajabi, I’ll start with my bottom line opinion of it, for those of you who want to get to the point right away.
Kajabi is my current #1 favorite app for creating online courses, processing payments for them, and delivering your courses to your customers. It’s also our top pick for the category of “all-in-one” apps, which means you can get your entire website, email marketing, online course, and other necessary features taken care of with ONE APP.
The one place where I think Kajabi could improve their offer is if they had 20 or 30 more available website themes with different design styles. (More on that in a bit.)
If you already have a great website for your static pages, blog, list building, and content marketing efforts, and if you want to sell online courses in a separate space from your main website, Kajabi is the best membership website software around. It performs exceedingly well at allowing you to create and sell courses online.
I’ve used so many different platforms and plugins that create membership websites to sell online courses (because selling knowledge is a huge passion of mine), and so far, I’ve never come across an easier, faster platform than Kajabi.
Teachable, Thinkific, Ruzuku, WP Courseware, LearnDash, MemberMouse…those are all of the typical options folks tend to consider for creating and selling online courses, and I can tell you that none of them comes close to how good Kajabi is for selling and delivering online courses.
If you just want to focus on teaching online courses and helping people with your knowledge, instead of getting bogged down with tech headaches, Kajabi is an incredible platform to use. And, if you’re comfortable living with having a limited selection of marketing website themes, it can also serve as an incredible all-in-one app.
The “Hop on the phone with me” Green Box Interlude
Not sure if Kajabi is a good fit?
Get one-on-one decision help with me on the phone.
If Kajabi is a good fit for you, we can set up a site for you in 4 days for $497. (Wait…what?!) Learn more about that here.
Or, book a free 30-minute Kajabi consult call with me:
There’s a great deal of detail in the written part of this review, but if you’d like to get a quick overview tour and see some parts of Kajabi in action on my screen, have a look at the video below:
Let’s be honest…we don’t know each other, and you’re probably not totally sure if, or why, you should trust my opinions about Kajabi. That’s perfectly understandable, so let me address that.
For this particular review, you’re in good hands because a few years ago I used Kajabi in my own business. (That’s me over there to the right, trying to look like I often hang out on blue stairs.)
I had an online course about technology for building online course platforms (I know, I know…that’s so meta), and like you, I went through a long research process, wondering what online course software would be best to use. I ended up choosing Kajabi for my course, and I was thankful I did.
That’s all simply to say that I know it well and have had a chance to test it over multiple years with real customers in an actual business environment, as opposed to me just testing it without having real customers using it.
And that? Means that I’m in a good position to give you a thorough Kajabi review…one that will hopefully help make your own research process much faster and easier than mine was.
Also, I’ve built and run four online businesses over the last 11 years, and in each case, I did all the research, testing, and assembly of the tech systems that ran each business.
Each of those businesses became six-figure businesses, and three of them became multi-six figure businesses. The software platforms that powered each of those businesses were the tech engines that made that kind of revenue possible.
Because I’ve used several dozens of different apps in real-world business applications, I’m able to spot aspects of apps that could either be a huge win for your business, or a potential pitfall. Often, it’s the things that aren’t in a piece of software that can make it not great for you and your business.
It’s nearly impossible to spot those kinds of things when you haven’t actually used similar software in a business situation with real customers.
Alright, enough about me. Let’s dive into the Kajabi review. I’ll go through each section of the app and share my opinions as we go, starting with the user interface in general, which is well designed.
I found Kajabi to be quite easy to use. There’s a great dashboard on the homepage of the admin area with stats and the latest news from the Kajabi team.
I was also able to dive in and figure out how to use the app without checking the documentation help site, which is a good sign that this app is easy to use. If you have a general familiarity with how this kind of software works, you’d likely find Kajabi very easy to learn.
There’s a lot to love about Kajabi (a lot), but with most of the available themes, it falls a bit short in the non-member, marketing/blog website department, but only because there are only 11 available themes to choose from.
They’re great looking themes, and their website appearance editor is amazing. Don’t get me wrong. It’s just ther aren’t that many themes to choose from as a starting point for your website.
Kajabi is aiming to be an “all-in-one” software solution, meaning, you can take care of everything you need to take care of for your online technology in one app.
The part of Kajabi that’s designed to create your online marketing website (such as your homepage, about page, blog, contact page, and any other static pages of your site) is a tiny bit lacking in functionality compared to a self-hosted WordPress site built with, say, the Divi theme, which is an incredibly flexible, powerful website design tool for WordPress.
There are, however, some great things about the website design and editing tools in Kajabi, so let me take you through that section of it now.
There are currently 11 available themes to start with for the design of your marketing website.
Here’s a screenshot of the preview of most of the themes currently available inside Kajabi (and that Premier theme is the one in the upper left of this screenshot):
The themes that are available are beautiful and easy to customize, but if you don’t like the general design style they use, which tends to be more modern and minimal, you might find the lack of choices a bit limiting.
That said, because their theme designs are minimal, you can use powerful photography on your site to create the kind of look and feel you’re aiming for, simply because the photos will stand out more in a minimal design.
Here are the things I love about the theme design and editing features built into Kajabi’s website builder toolset:
1. If you find a theme you like from their selection to use as a starting point for the design of your site, the theme editing tools are a joy to use. They make editing the design of your site incredibly easy (meaning, you don’t have to work with any HTML or CSS code to make many significant changes to the design.)
2. I love that editing the content of areas of the homepage is a process of clicking on the element or content area that you want to edit, and then just editing content directly in the preview area on the right.
In the screenshot below, you can see an example of this in the dotted blue box on top of the photo background. That’s a section of text on the homepage of the demo site I built during the review process. To edit that chunk of text, you just click on the blue Edit button in the middle, and an editing area opens up in the left column for you to make changes that you’ll see show up in the preview of the site on the right.
The whole process feels intuitive and easy compared to the conventional design and editing process involved with a self-hosted WordPress site, or even many other membership website options on the market.
4. There’s a great selection of about 70 different fonts to choose from in the typography editor, which is really nice. These are non-standard fonts that give you many more options for the look and feel of the typography of your site compared to the normally very small selection of web-safe fonts common in most website builders.
To get a larger font selection than the 8 or so web-safe fonts on other platforms, you need to use something like TypeKit or Google Font Replacer, which requires a bit of work with copying and pasting snippets of code into the proper places within specific code files of your site.
With Kajabi’s website builder tools, you don’t need to worry about that, as long as you like one of the available fonts they’ve built in for you to choose from. In the screenshot below, you’ll see a few of the 70 available fonts.
5. It’s easy to turn off whole sections on the homepage if you don’t want to use them. Just hover over three dots next to any section name, then click on Hide, and entire sections of the design will disappear.
6. There’s an easy to use color picker to insert your brand’s color palette into the Kajabi theme:
7. Inside the website builder area, there are options to preview the site on different mobile sized screens and desktop/laptop screen sizes as well.
You just click on the screen size you’d like to preview the site in, and the preview area resizes to that screen size, showing you how your design and content will reorganize itself based on that particular screen size.
What all of this means is that a) all themes in Kajabi are mobile responsive, and b) it’s incredibly easy to see what your site will look like on various screen sizes.
8. For those of you who want full access to edit the HTML of the themes, you can do that.
You’ll need to be familiar with the Liquid programming language to accomplish this level of editing, but if you want full control over the HTML that the Liquid code outputs for your site, you can have that.
Here’s what their code editor looks like. And don’t worry, this will look like a foreign language if you don’t know the Liquid programming language:
9. As I mentioned above, the Premier theme is AMAZING. You can do a ton of things with that theme, and it has a built in Disqus comment system (my favorite blog comment system on the web), as well as exit intent pop ups and two-step opt-in workflow (both of which can greatly increase the rate at which your email list grows. If you’re familiar with Sumo Me’s exit intent pop ups, or LeadPages two-step opt-in boxes, that’s what these are, only, you don’t need any third party apps connected to your site to use them. Win!)
I suspect that all of the themes inside of Kajabi will eventually have all the functionality that the Premier theme has, and when that happens, most of the downsides I’ll list below, about the marketing website builder aspects of Kajabi, will disappear.
1. If the theme you choose doesn’t have a sidebar built into it, you can’t add a sidebar to any pages of the site.
That’s a big downside. It means that you can’t put opt-ins or banner ads for your programs, or even a list of categories you write on within your blog.
All of that is basic blog site functionality that should be there in my opinion.
That said, the Premier theme has all of those sidebar options, and more, available out of the box.
2. Though it’s great to have that level of access to the HTML level of your site’s design, you can’t, however, add your own custom CSS to style the HTML elements of your site.
I find that a bit odd because it’s more common to see website builders like this only give you access to do custom CSS, as Rainmaker does, and not allow you to customize the deeper layer of HTML code.
3. From what I can tell, it doesn’t look like you can re-order the sections on the homepage. I found myself wanting to do that so I could move the free offer opt-in section up higher on the page of my demo site than where it is by default in the theme I chose, which is at the bottom.
Again, this isn’t true with the Premier theme, which allows you to drag and drop sections around as you please. That’s phenomenal to have as an option when you’re designing and building a site.
Not sure if Kajabi is a good fit?
Get one-on-one decision help with me on the phone.
If Kajabi is a good fit for you, we can set up a site for you in 4 days for $497. Learn more about that here.
Or, book a free 30-minute Kajabi consult call with me:
The opt-in forms built into the themes look fantastic without touching any code to customize them. That’s just awesome.
If you’ve been building websites for a while, you’ll likely remember the days when it took multiple hours of custom coding to get a nice looking opt-in form on your site that tied into your email marketing app.
The Kajabi team has done an outstanding job of making their opt-in forms easy to set up, tie to your email marketing platform, and have the forms appear on your website.
The screenshot below shows what the default opt-in form looks like in the theme I chose for the demo site. The form is the bit below the “Get the Ebook Here” heading in the lower right of the screenshot. Total time to create that opt-in form? 35.4 seconds.
There aren’t really any downsides with Kajabi’s opt-in forms. They look great and they’re fast and easy to set up and put on a page of your site.
Blogging in Kajabi is the weakest part of its feature set, but it’s not that bad. Kajabi’s blogging features just aren’t as fully fleshed out as what you’d see in a self-hosted WordPress site. But, keep in mind that WordPress started out many years ago as a blogging platform, so the WordPress community has had a long time to develop its blogging features.
Here are the things that stood out to me with the blogging functionality in Kajabi.
1. You can’t easily resize images that you place at the top of blog posts. That means that when you want to put a photo at the top of your posts, which is a common blogging practice, you have to use their recommended featured image size.
2. There isn’t yet a media area with all the images you’ve uploaded for other pages and blog posts in the past. If you want to put photos in a post, you have to upload them fresh, even if you’ve uploaded those images before.
If you’re familiar with using WordPress for your website and blog, this might come as a surprise to you, because in WordPress you have easy access to a Media section, where ALL of the images, and other media, like audio files, are displayed in a large library.
That comes in handy because often you’ll want to re-use certain photos or media files in different areas of your site.
That said, a media library feature is on the roadmap to be added to Kajabi soon.
3. The SEO settings for blog posts are minimal. You can set the title, the description, and an image that will appear on social media sites when people share your post on social media.
I would love to see a much more robust set of SEO tools available inside the blog post editing area (and the same goes for the static pages of the site as well, like your About page.)
4. Placing an image in the body of a blog post is a bit clunky. You can upload the image, but you can’t resize it once you upload it, nor can you easily set how the text wraps around it without going into the HTML view of the post and manually putting in inline CSS around the image.
That will probably feel like a pain for most people, especially those who don’t want to mess with custom code every time they want to drop an image into a blog post.
And here’s the end result, a photo in the body of a blog post with the text wrapping around it:
5. When you create more posts and want to put tags on a given post (which will allow readers to click on a link for a tag and read all the posts with that same tag), Kajabi doesn’t give you a list of previous tags you’ve used, so you have to memorize all the tags you use.
I have a hard enough time remembering the names of people I meet, much less the names of the tags I’ve used for other posts in the past. Some kind of menu of available tags would be great.
6. Overall, the blogging functionality feels a tad weak to me. Not much, but a little. I have a feeling that the Kajabi team is working hard on developing this part of the platform, so it may soon be much, much better than it is now. You can still use Kajabi to accomplish everything you’d be able to do with blogging on a WordPress site, for the most part, but
There’s an entire section of Kajabi’s website builder area that’s devoted to editing an assortment of email templates for automated emails like a welcome email that goes out to new members who have just purchased a course from you.
That’s something I haven’t seen in other platforms with similar feature sets, and it’s great that this functionality is there.
The emails that are there make it very easy to get your prospects and customers the information they need to see after they sign up for either free things you’re offering, or paid courses.
There are merge codes that dynamically insert information right into the emails, like the customer’s name, their login email, password, and a link to login to access their free or paid course.
For example, below is a preview of the Member Welcome Email that will go out to any members that buy a course from you:
The email templates use merge codes that are in the Liquid language. That may take some getting used to if you’ve not worked with the Liquid language before. It’s not complicated by any means to insert merge codes though, so this isn’t a huge downside.
To edit the templates, you’ll have to avoid messing with the Liquid merge codes that insert information into the email.
Or, conversely, if you want to have certain information appear in an email that’s currently not appearing (meaning, dynamically generated content), you’ll need to do a bit of copying and pasting to get the Liquid merge code in the right spot of the email template.
It’s not difficult, but from my experience of consulting with people who are using website builders that use merge codes, or the very similar “shortcodes”, most people don’t like having to copy and paste codes in different places to get their tech tools to do things they want to do.
The screenshot below shows a view of the editing view of the Welcome Email I showed in the previous screenshot.
This is where Kajabi shines: creating a great membership website experience for your members, and, for you and your team, as managers of the membership site.
I know of many people, myself included, who have used Kajabi just because this part of its feature set is so good.
Creating an area for the contents of your online course, or courses, is incredibly fast and easy with Kajabi.
Here’s a screenshot of the homepage of one of the modules in a demo course I built in my Kajabi site:
Below are the stand out aspects of Kajabi’s membership area and online course features.
1. Wistia video streaming is built right into Kajabi. Wistia is, by far, my favorite video streaming service. I’ve been using it for multiple businesses and online courses for the last five years, and I’ve rarely had any problems with their service, ever.
Kajabi is the first membership website platform that I’ve seen to integrate Wistia video streaming functionality right into the platform. Here’s a screenshot of what the Wistia video player looks like inside Kajabi. (Apparently, the first lesson in my course about how to build an online technology platform has to do with…um…taking a day off and going skiing.):
This is great because Wistia costs a minimum of $99/mo. So, you’re essentially getting a Wistia account in addition to your Kajabi account. Keep that in mind when you’re evaluating Kajabi’s price point.
2. Having Wistia integrated into the platform for streaming course videos is awesome. However, I wish it was possible to use Wistia to play videos on the front facing pages of the site, meaning, the non-member’s area pages of the site.
In most of the themes available in Kajabi, that’s not an option. However, if you use the Premier theme, you can put Kajabi’s built in Wistia hosted videos anywhere you want on your site, whether or not the location is inside or outside of the member’s area.
3. Some basic Wistia stats are built right into a given lesson page so you can see viewer engagement, number of plays, and the play rate.
4. You can set whether or not members can cancel their subscription by themselves or not. If you select “no” for this, people will have to contact your support team to cancel their subscription. It’s nice to have that option.
5. When members of your courses leave comments on lesson pages, they will be notified via email when you, someone from your team, or another course member responds to their comment. They’ll get an email notification to let them know someone has replied.
This may seem like a simple thing, but it’s a huge win. You want it to be easy to build your community and let people actually have conversations with each other, or with you, as a teacher. Rainmaker, for example, doesn’t have this feature.
When a membership site platform doesn’t give you and your members email notifications of new comments or replies to previous comment threads that you’re both watching, it’s very difficult for both you and your course members to have back and forth conversations, because no one knows when people leave new replies in the member’s area.
So, it’s awesome to see this email notification for new comments and replies built right into Kajabi.
6. You can set up content drip schedules for your course modules and lesson pages so that people will get access to a given module or lesson pages on a set number of days after they join the program.
This can help reduce the overwhelm that some online learners feel if they see a giant curriculum with tons of modules and lessons to get through all at once when they login to your course area.
7. You can easily upload content directly from your Dropbox or Google Drive account, in addition to uploading content from your computer. I’ve not seen this feature in other membership site software before, and it’s great to see.
8. It’s easy to import a list of course members if you’re migrating from another membership site platform to Kajabi. You can simply import a .csv file with the names and email addresses of your members.
I don’t think, however, that you can bring over your current member’s passwords from your previous membership site software. That’s unfortunate because if you migrate to Kajabi, it will mean that all of your existing members will need to reset their password to be able to login to your new course area on Kajabi.
If this is a potential stumbling block for you, it would be worth checking in with Kajabi support to see if there’s a way to import your member’s existing passwords from your previous system.
By the time you read this review, that option may already be there.
9. There’s a seemingly small, but very cool thing about the learner experience on lesson pages: if you have a video on a lesson page that’s hosted inside of Kajabi using their built in Wistia player, when a member of your course watches the video all the way to the end, Kajabi will automatically mark the lesson as complete for them.
10. Category and lesson creation is straightforward. You just need to create the categories first, then create lessons that go in each category. I think of categories in Kajabi as modules, and within each module is a collection of lessons on different topics.
11. It’s easy to upload files to make available for download on any lesson page. When you do this, Kajabi automatically creates download buttons for the files you uploaded. That’s awesome.
Accomplishing that with a self-hosted WordPress site using a membership site plugin takes several steps and several minutes of time. With Kajabi, it happens automatically for you in seconds.
12. There is a comment section on the lesson pages by default. You can see how comment threads look on a lesson page below.
13. All of the course themes are mobile responsive.
14. The previous and next navigation buttons automatically appear on each lesson page. That’s really nice to have.
Again, that saves a good bit of time. There’s a lot of these seemingly small things that Kajabi does automatically that create the feeling of it being very fast for you to create a membership area for your customers to use.
15. There’s a progress bar showing learners how far into the course they’ve made it, based on what lessons they’ve completed.
That’s great to have as part of the user interface for learners, but it’s not obvious that the checkbox to manually mark a lesson as completed is actually a checkbox.
I had to guess around for where it was on a lesson page. It looks like a plain gray box if you aren’t looking for it.
Aside from that one small detail, it’s great to have a progress bar to show learners how far along in the course they are.
16. On your side, as a course manager, there’s a Progress area where you can see how far people are making it through the modules and lessons. It’s amazing to have that information.
It can give you direct feedback into where people are stalling in your course, or where they may need more support, or different content, to help them make it through the rest of the course.
17. There’s a place to posts announcements to members, and have them automatically emailed to them when you post the announcements. This is one of the benefits of using an “all-in-one” type of app.
When the software creators integrate email marketing features with membership site features, it’s easy to give you, as the site owner, a way to send out emails to your course members.
18. If you have multiple courses, it’s incredibly easy to display a library, or menu page, of all of your courses that people can buy. This is surprisingly difficult with other membership site software on the market.
In Kajabi, each course will have a tile with the main image you’ve set for the course, the title of the course, and a short description.
In the screenshot below, the Featured Offers section of this Kajabi site is an example of what it looks like when Kajabi displays multiple courses you’re offering for sale.
Not sure if Kajabi is a good fit?
Get one-on-one decision help with me on the phone.
If Kajabi is a good fit for you, we can set up a site for you in 4 days for $497. Learn more about that here.
Or, book a free 30-minute Kajabi consult call with me:
Downsides of the course creation features
1. If you select to show the text on a lesson page by default (where the text section would go, which could have anything you want to convey that might relate to a video that’s on the page), the Comments tab is not selected.
Comments are only visible if you click on the Comments tab. In the older version of Kajabi, comments used to be at the bottom of the page, always visible, which I liked better because learners could find them just by scrolling down a bit.
I think some people may miss the comments on lessons when they’re hidden by default.
On the other hand, if you select to have the comments shown by default (instead of the lesson page’s text) when someone goes to a lesson page, then the lesson text is hidden on the Details tab, which isn’t great either.
3. There is no built-in discussion forum anymore in this new version of Kajabi. I think some course owners may want the option to have their own private forum inside of their course area, because using a closed or secret Facebook group for your discussion area, which many online course owners do these days, is not the right fit for every market.
Out of the box, Kajabi integrates with these email marketing platforms:
It also integrates with Google Analytics, Click Funnels (for landing pages), and you can add the Facebook Ad tracking pixel as well for running Facebook ads that send people to your Kajabi site.
Dozens and dozens of integrations with other apps are available by connections made through Zapier and Segment, which is a service that creates connections between apps that don’t natively integrate with each other.
If you’re not familiar with what landing pages are, they’re pages of your site that focus a visitor on just the content of the page and nothing else.
Most often, in other landing page creators, there are no menu items to distract people at the top of the page, but some of Kajabi’s landing page templates do give you an option to put some menu items at the top of the page.
In general, landing pages are designed to get people to take one action and one action only, whether that’s to sign up for a free offer of some kind, or to buy a product or program you’re selling.
There’s currently 23 landing page templates available, and there are options for opt-in pages, webinar registration pages, and sales pages.
Building landing pages is just like building other parts of a Kajabi site, so all of the comments I made above about the building and design process apply to landing page generator as well.
Here are a few of the landing page templates available:
1. I found it a bit hard to figure out how to link to a landing page from your main menu, which you’d want to do if you create a sales page with a landing page template for your online program and you want to link to it.
2. I’d love to see the option to create sales pages that match the theme of the main website and membership area. Currently, there’s only one theme that’s available for both the marketing website, the membership area, and landing pages that matches, which is the Premier theme.
The crew at Kajabi has just recently released a brand new tool inside of the app: Pipelines. This set of features allows you to easily build complete workflows for things like offering a free ebook to build your list, or, to build out the entire workflow and content pages of a product launch.
I have to say, this is one of my favorite parts of the New Kajabi. The creation process for building out a marketing funnel workflow like this is, in every other platform, quite a task. And it’s a task that requires you to do A LOT of visualization of where in the app to create the many different pieces of content, and where to upload, for example, your pdf for your free report, or where to go to compose the welcome email that delivers the free report.
In every other platform I’ve ever used or tested, the marketing funnel creation process takes you into at least 3 or 4 different areas of the app you’re using. But Kajabi? Just put it all in one place, and they automate the entire set up process. It’s a bit mind blowing.
When you see this Pipeline tool in action, you’ll likely feel as I did: “Why the hell didn’t someone create a marketing funnel creation tool like this before?”
Here’s what it looks like when I chose to create a free report marketing funnel. I simply clicked on that type of funnel, chose a pdf file to upload as my free report, and this is the very next thing I see: each section of the marketing funnel is laid out clearly in a left column menu, and I can edit the placeholder content that it set up for me when it created the entire funnel for me:
In that “Pipeline Pages” section in the left column, you can simply drag and drop different parts of the workflow process to change what order things happen in within the pipeline. *Mind blown*
And it automatically creates a landing page/opt in page for your free report with placeholder content and images for you to edit and adjust. Here’s the one it created for me:
It also automatically created the email that goes out right after someone signs up to get the free report, as well as a page where they can go to download a copy of the free report. And it all happened AUTOMATICALLY. Crazy pants.
You just go in and edit the email copy, the copy on the download page, and the copy/images on the opt in/landing page. It’s insanely easy to use.
From now on, until I see something better out there on the wild web, Kajabi’s pipeline marketing funnel builder is the best, easiest way to build marketing funnels. Period.
A few years ago, I used the older version of Kajabi to launch and deliver an online program about technology tools. I can remember what it was like to build a video based product launch funnel in the old Kajabi. It was nice, but it still took a long time (an hour or two) to set up the full structure of a traditional video based product launch funnel sequence.
I just used the Pipelines feature they just added to the new Kajabi, and it took exactly 47 seconds for Kajabi to set up the entire funnel sequence for me, with placeholder content I can go in and edit.
The amount of time needed to create a fully functioning, video-based product launch funnel went from taking two hours in the old Kajabi to 47 seconds in the new Kajabi. Holy crap. Here’s what the funnel looks like after it did its thing:
None. This part of Kajabi is amazing.
Having your email marketing platform right inside of your website creation/editing platform, as well as your membership site platform, is a big plus when using an “all-in-one” solution like Kajabi.
This kind of integration is one of the big appeals for all-in-one solutions because it means that you don’t have to tie together, and login to, multiple different tech tools to accomplish the kinds of things you need to do to run your business.
Here are the things that stood out to me about Kajabi’s email marketing tools:
1. Its email marketing features look good. The set of features for this area of the app aren’t as extensive as email marketing apps that only focus on email marketing, like my current favorite, Active Campaign, but what is there is solid.
All the basic functionality you’d need is there, but not much extra.
You’ll find tools for creating opt-in forms, broadcast emails, and autoresponder series, but more advanced marketing features that are common in email marketing software are not present.
2. Creating an automated follow-up campaign is easy and straightforward, with one tiny exception: By default, the first email in an autoresponder series is set to go out one day after they sign up, and you will always want the first email to go out immediately after someone signs up.
To do that, you have to change the default setting to “Day Zero” (which sounds like the title of a sci-fi film to me), instead of Day One, which isn’t very intuitive.
3. Building an opt-in form and tying it to an automated email campaign is easy. What that means is that creating a sign-up form for something like a free email course on your homepage is easy peezy.
Then, when people use that sign-up, or opt-in, form on your site to get the thing you’re offering, they’re automatically added to your email list and are sent whatever free thing it was that you’re offering.
If, for example, you’re offering a free 7-day email course, when people sign up to get that course, they’re added to your email list and get the first lesson immediately (the lessons of your email course would be set up as individual emails in an autoresponder in Kajabi.)
Here’s a view of part of the opt-in form editing area:
4. You can easily create a customizable thank you page that people will see after they hit “sign up” on an opt-in form.
5. You can easily duplicate an autoresponder series to create a similar one without having to start from scratch.
6. The broadcast email stat reports show the open rate, click rate, bounce rate, and unsubscribe rate for each email you send.
Those are the most important set of stats you’d want to monitor for broadcast emails to your list, but if you’re looking for more advanced email stats, you won’t be able to get them in Kajabi.
Notably missing from their built-in email marketing platform is list segmentation and tagging. You can’t create list segments, nor can you tag people when they get on your list.
There are filters you can use to target people on the one list you’ll have, but they don’t seem to be as flexible or powerful as the email broadcast targeting you could do if you were able to tag people with as many tags as you wanted to. You can do that in other email marketing software like Active Campaign or Convert Kit. (When you can tag people with multiple tags in your email marketing system, you can then send emails to people who have certain tags, and not others. That gives you an incredibly flexible way to target who you send certain emails to in your marketing efforts. I would love to see tagging options based on different user behavior as part of Kajabi.)
There is a simple person record for each contact on your email list and member list inside of Kajabi.
Here’s what a contact record looks like:
The things available on the person record pages constitute a basic CRM, or Customer Relationship Management app.
As far as this feature of Kajabi performing like a full CRM, the features on this page are minimal, but I don’t think that’s a big deal.
The page lists out a person’s name, email, what they opted in for, what they’ve purchased, emails they’ve received, and notes about that person.
It’s great to have all of this in there, but if you’re looking for a full CRM suite of features, as you’d get with something like Highrise, PipeDrive, or Salesforce, you won’t find those features here.
The contact records in Kajabi are a clear record of vital information for each contact in your system, and nothing more.
Most small business owners selling online programs don’t need a full CRM, so the information you have access to in the person record for each member is perfect.
Here are a few other things you can do on the person record pages:
1. You can remove access to a program for someone if they’ve bought a course from you.
2. You can also send them a temporary password, which is handy because often people will lose their password and ask for help in logging into the site, which happens when folks don’t notice the “lost password” link on the login page.
3. You can see what opt-in forms a person has filled out as well.
4. If someone has purchased one of your courses and they’re being a bit cantankerous, you can mute them.
For example, if someone is saying things in comments inside your course that you don’t want them to say, or if they’re upsetting other members, or breaking your community guidelines in any way, you can mute them. You would then reach out to them privately to clear things up.
Muting them prevents them from being able to comment in your course area. My wife sometimes wishes she had a mute button for me.
Here’s another big chunk of functionality that draws people to want to use an all-in-one app: being able to process credit card payments right on your site, and having all of that integrated into your main tech tool, or app, for your business.
You can do that with Kajabi, though, you do have to integrate a third-party payment processing app with your Kajabi site to do this. (See? It’s not really an “all-in-one” app because you still need to use other apps with it, like a payment processing app. Even so, it’s still nice to have a “mostly-all-in-one” app.)
Here are the stand out points of Kajabi’s payment processing features:
1. At the time of writing this review, Kajabi integrates with Stripe and Paypal for payment processing, which is great.
I love Stripe (Paypal, not so much), but, here’s the thing: Kajabi ONLY integrates with Stripe and Paypal currently. That means that if you’d like to use something like Authorize.net for your payment processing, you won’t be able to do that.
2. You can set the currency for your courses to be in whatever currency you’d like.
3. The checkout page when buying a course is very nice looking.
There’s also a nice sidebar on the checkout page that shows your course graphic plus some bullet points to remind people the big benefits they get when they sign up. You can even add a testimonial with a customer photo to the checkout page sidebar. Those things can help a lot with cart abandonment.
Here’s what a checkout page looks like on Kajabi:
4. You can add a money back guarantee seal image at the bottom of your checkout page…another little thing that can help reduce checkout page abandonment.
5. You can add people automatically to an automated follow-up sequence of emails after they buy a course from you. That’s nice for on-boarding, meaning, it’s nice to be able to automatically send new members a series of emails to get them familiar with how to use your course.
6. You can easily present customers with a terms and conditions page that they have to click to agree with before they finish the purchase process.
This is a nice option if you have ever run into problems with people not reading things like your refund or opt-out policy of your program in the past.
Turning this feature on ensures that customers have to read your program policies (or at least skim them) and sign off on them before they can join the program. That can cut down on problematic customers doing things like coming to you later asking for a refund beyond your money back guarantee period.
On the other hand, putting a terms and conditions page that you have to sign off on before you buy can also turn some people off, increasing your cart abandonment rate.
So, pro tip of the day: be careful when implementing this step of your purchase process, if you decide to do it.
7. It’s easy to set affiliate sale commissions per offer for a given course, so you could, for example, set the one-time payment commission to one percentage, and the payment plan payments to a different level of commission for your affiliates.
If you’re not familiar with what an affiliate program is, it’s when you pay other people a percentage of each sale for folks that they send to your site from their community.
I’ll say more about Kajabi’s affiliate program features in the next section.
8. If you want to use upsells, which is when you present customers with another course or product right after they purchase something, that option is available in the Kajabi checkout process.
9. It’s easy to create coupon codes if you want to offer special discounts on your courses at some point.
10. After someone buys a course from you, they can be redirected to your course library page, listing all of the courses you have.
They will see the course they just bought (and have access to it), plus all the other courses you’re selling.
They will only be able to access the courses they’ve purchased by clicking on the card with the course name of the courses they’ve bought.
This is a great feature of Kajabi that is very challenging to replicate on other membership site platforms if they don’t allow you to create a page like this by default.
A workflow process like this can help you sell other courses because when a person buys one course, they’re directed to the course library page and will see all the other courses you offer.
From there, they can click on the ones they don’t own to learn more and purchase them.
11. Kajabi integrates with Quaderno to fully automate and handle the hassles around the VAT tax for European buyers of your courses. That’s a huge time/hassle saver if you need to comply with the VAT tax laws for European customers.
12. Once customers buy something from you, if they come back to buy another online course or digital product, they can do so with one click, since Kajabi securely stores their credit card information from the first purchase.
13. You can process refunds right within Kajabi, meaning, you don’t need to go into Stripe or Paypal to process refunds (which is a pain.)
There’s a built-in affiliate program in Kajabi if you have the Pro or Premium plan.
This allows you to manage your affiliate marketing program, while also giving your affiliates a dashboard where they can get their click and sales stats.
1. Here’s what your affiliates would see when they login to your dashboard to check their click and sales stats.
2. All the basics of an affiliate management program are in Kajabi’s affiliate program features, including your own dashboard, as an admin of the site, where you can track the clicks and conversions of your affiliates.
3. You can create affiliate links for your affiliates, set default commissions, override the defaults and create custom commissions for individual affiliates, and send out links for affiliates to go to a page to sign up to become one of your affiliates.
4. You can send out emails to all of your affiliates from right within Kajabi, using the same built in email marketing features you’d use to send out broadcast emails to your regular email list, but these emails will only go to your affiliates.
5. You can export the full list of affiliate sales for each month and then use that exported file to do a Paypal Mass Pay to pay your affiliates. That makes the process of paying your affiliates much, much faster than paying them manually in Paypal one at a time.
You can’t upload swipe copy or advertising banners for your courses into the affiliate website where your affiliates can login.
This means that if you have an affiliate program, you’ll need to deliver pre-written promotional “swipe copy,” and any course banner images for their promotions, via email. That’s not ideal either for you or your affiliates.
It would be much easier for everyone if you could deliver those things from right within the affiliate website where they go to check their stats. (This is how most other affiliate management systems work. You’re able to give affiliates everything they need all in one place.)
Kajabi has always had great support. Whenever I’ve needed to contact them over the years, the support folks have always been timely, helpful, and smart. Their support team actually stands out as one of the stellar examples of how to do customer support if you own a software company.
They also have live chat if you have a Pro plan, and I can tell you from experience, being able to get instant help when you’re in the middle of launching an online course with Kajabi is a life saver. I can’t tell you how many times Kajabi support folks saved my ass during launches.
Support for the lowest level plan happens via a support ticket system, and you’ll usually get responses within a day.
Kajabi has a great set of written and video tutorials that show you how to use every section of it.
There’s no need to worry about having trouble learning how to use it from their tutorials, which can sometimes be an issue with apps like this.
Kajabi has been around since 2009. It’s very popular in the information marketing and online course spaces, which means that there’s a good chance that you won’t have a hard time finding someone, like a virtual assistant, who’s familiar enough with it to manage it, or even set it up, for you.
Also, for a talented virtual assistant who’s already familiar with how to use other similar apps, or even just WordPress, Kajabi would not take them long to learn.
Kajabi’s Basic Plan costs $103/mo billed annually, or $129/mo billed monthly. The Pro Plan costs $311/mo billed annually, or $389/mo billed monthly. And their Premium Plan costs $719/mo billed annually, or $899/mo billed monthly.
You can find out the details of what comes with each level of their plan on their site here.
And, as I mentioned before, keep in mind that you’re getting a Wistia video streaming account (which is $99/mo) rolled into your Kajabi account.
If you’re curious to see Kajabi being used out in the wild, here’s some great examples of entrepreneurs who are using it:
Brendon Burchard. His main site is not running on Kajabi, but all of his courses are.
Chalene Johnson. She’s using a similar set up as Brendon is, with her main site running on a self-hosted WordPress site, likely with a custom WordPress theme, and many of her courses are using Kajabi.
Modern Soul Society. Their whole site is running on Kajabi.
Healthy Habits Happy Moms. They are running their marketing site on WordPress and their courses are using Kajabi.
Balanced Cents. His whole site is on Kajabi.
If you don’t classify yourself as a “techy” person, and you know, without a doubt, that you don’t want to learn how to do any kind of custom coding, Kajabi should be at the top of your list for consideration.
I will qualify that recommendation with this though: I would recommend that you use something else for your marketing site, such as a self-hosted WordPress site, and just use Kajabi for selling your courses and creating a great learning experience for your members.
If you’re in that “non-techy” camp, the recommendation to use WordPress for your marketing site comes with a caveat: I would recommend hiring someone to build that site for you.
Learning how to build your own self-hosted WordPress site will a) take you many months of full-time work, and b) lead you into territory where you’ll have to learn complicated techy things, and likely learning how to do some custom coding as well.
If you’re non-techy and looking for an all-in-one app that will give you a fully functioning marketing site plus email marketing, membership site, landing pages, affiliate sale system, plus a few other things, all within one piece of software, at this point, Kajabi may not be the best fit for you.
It does so many things better than any other platform out there, like creating a membership site, but if the limitations of its tools for building a marketing site, which I described above, feel limiting, you should probably consider looking at other all-in-one options.
If you can handle learning to work with some simple shortcodes (which look a bit like code but are easy to work with), I’d recommend checking out Rainmaker as an alternative all-in-one app that will do all of those things mentioned above, and give you a more fully functioning marketing site. You can read our in-depth review of Rainmaker right here.
Because many people end up trying to decide between Rainmaker or Kajabi, in a sentence, I’ll sum the recommendation up like this: Kajabi is much better at creating a membership area for online courses than Rainmaker, and Rainmaker is better at providing a fuller all-in-one solution that can also give you a great marketing site.
Alrightee then. That’s it for this review. If you’re still reading and made it all the way down here, holy moly! I hope this has helped you in your quest to find the best solution for your business. 🙂
If Kajabi sounds interesting to you, I highly recommend taking it for a free 14-day trial, right here and seeing for yourself whether or not it would work for you and your business.
If you have any questions about Kajabi, or if you want to share anything about your own experience of using it, let me know in the comments below.