As the most recent research has shown, the market value for online courses is on steep upward curve and estimated to hit the £300 million mark by the year 2025. As remote working becomes more common, it follows that online learning will take a similar trajectory. The number of new course-building platforms adds credence to this prediction. 

But how to make the right decision as to which platform (aka learning management system) has the best fit? If you want to create an online course, you need to ensure you sign up for the most favourable options for your business – to create it and then to grow it. We’re all here to make money, right?

In this article, we’re comparing two of the best-known platforms currently on the market – Kajabi and Thinkific. We look at some deciding factors when building online courses and how they might impact how you run your business. Either way, it is always useful to have an idea up-front of the kind of course you want to create, who your potential customers are and how you hope to sell your product. But for now, let’s examine these two learning management systems and see which might work better for your business.

Course and website creation

Both platforms offer a huge array of options to bring an online course to life. Thinkific has a number of specifically designed themes which can be easily customised to fit each course including the capability of adding videos, PDFs, webinars and quizzes. They also offer certificates of achievement (which Kajabi doesn’t). The page builder allows a full drag-and-drop option for simple and quick results.

Kajabi also offers a straightforward drag-and-drop interface and a number of beautifully professional-looking course themes. It has the advantage of having a third tier (subcategories) which allows extra flexibility when building a course. Uploading videos, assignments, quizzes and downloadable files are all press-of-a-button. 

From a student’s user experience point of view, the Kajabi course player has a better choice of themes to better suit a particular course. From this perspective, jumping from different modules and lessons, the Kajabi system is better designed in terms of navigation. And Kajabi has created an app for both iOS and Android users to enhance the learning experience through accessibility on a mobile.

Marketing automation

Who wouldn’t want to automate some of the more repetitive tasks within a company’s marketing strategy? Kajabi offers a complete email builder to produce professional and perfectly timed email campaigns to keep engagement levels up and freeing up time for creating new course content. The fact that this tool is integrated avoids having to use third-party plugins and the Kajabi system allows for full flexibility in every aspect of the automation process. This feature also allows for drip emails when there is new content available, and a pipeline builder to help create marketing funnels.

While Thinkific makes no pretence to be anything but pure course creation software and is arguably offers a more classroom-type experience, the lack of automation is a distinct downside. It means that those who would like to step up their marketing strategies, installing (and paying for) other systems would be necessary.

Blogging

While not in quite the same blogging league as WordPress, Kajabi does at least offer the capability to add a blog. Whereas Thinkific does not, meaning their course creators would have to rely on external blogging platforms. Kajabi users can make full use of functions such as SEO controls, opt-in forms and a customisable sidebar. Blogging can be likened to a business’s own newsfeed and an important way to engage with clients. Not a feature to be taken (or not taken) lightly.

Customer Support

Kajabi wins this category, giving its clients full access to a 24/7 helpline. And they reply to email requests remarkably quickly! This is a real bonus and superior to Thinkific’s support desk which is only open from Monday to Friday during usual office hours. Both provide extensive training webinars and videos which run through how to create online courses step-by-step. 

The Kajabi University (yes, really!) is a mine of information. From Build a Course to Pipeline Mastery, it’s all here. And there’s a How To section covering topics such as How To Get Your Course Visible Online to How To Find Your Niche. This is handholding at its finest!

Thinkific has a comprehensive help centre which includes FAQs, and a training centre (although the courses are not free). Their Expert Marketplace connects users to a network of experts in the field of Thinkific features and functions for those wanting to outsource part (or all) of the process.

Pricing

At a glance, Thinkific offers a range of packages which are noticeably cheaper than Kajabi. However, it is definitely worth weighing up what is included on both sides of the fence as it isn’t as simple as comparing like for like. Thinkific has four-pricing options (including a free one) and an impressive variety in the core features on offer. The Basic package starts at $39 per month (for the annual option) and rises to $399 for the Premier version. For a trial run, Thinkific give a 30-day, money back guarantee.

Kajabi has three-pricing options but provides a vastly superior breadth of features for those hoping to go one step further with marketing and promotion strategies. They also offer a 20% discount on the annual packages which start at $119 per month for the Basic plan and $319 for the Pro plan. Users can try it out for 14 days for free.

 What their users say

“Thinkific Plus offers the power and flexibility to help us achieve the business goals that we want. If we had started using Thinkific Plus 1 or 2 years previously, we would have gotten to where we’re at now much faster.” RYAN CHYNCES, Online Education Manager at Hootsuite

“By teaching our audience how to scale and grow their business through online training, we’ve grown ours. We couldn’t have done it without Thinkific.” JOHN LEE DUMAS, podcaster

“Since moving to Kajabi email, from Drip, my open rates have risen from 16% to 23%+.” ROSS GRANT, Actor

“Kajabi makes it incredibly easy to turn your knowledge into products you can sell.” AMY PORTERFIELD, Online Marketing Expert

To conclude

It is no accident that these two wonderfully designed bits of digital kit are top of the board among learning management system platforms. Their stats, both in client numbers and revenue figures, speak for themselves. It really comes down to what each individual course creator really needs. If it is a purely for course creation, go Thinkific. A more traditional learning experience, it may also be a more fitting choice for those beginning their online course business. For more information: https://www.thinkific.com

If it is an all-in-one platform which includes a full rack of marketing tools as well as course creation capability, Kajabi is the one for you. Our experience leans towards Kajabi. We love that every part of the process is so easily found in one place. The need to add other tools to have access to additional systems is not necessary. Everything is inbuilt including blogging, sales funnels and email marketing. For more information: https://kajabi.com