Kajabi is perhaps the most popular choice for people creating digital courses and selling their expertise online. At least for people looking for an all-in-one platform to host their courses and do everything from.
But is Kajabi also suited for building a membership?
I've spent well over 1,600+ hours on Kajabi, building courses and membership for clients - anything from solopreneur to Fortune 500 companies
So let me shed some light on what you can and cannot do if you decide to use Kajabi for your membership
Online course vs Membership: Different tools
First, let's understand what difference we make between online courses and memberships and what kind of different tools you might be needing.
These two business models have a lot in common. They both require a few key essential elements in order for you to have everything you need for both the delivery and marketing of your products:
Beyond structure and layout, there is one key functionality most memberships also need to be complete and gather its members together: a Community tool.
So these are the kind of things to look out for in any platforms you're considering to build your membership in and sell it successfully.
so how does Kajabi compare?
Creating a Kajabi membership
Kajabi is often considered by new membership owners because of it's main selling point: it's an all-in-one platform.
All the elements we have mentioned are there: funnel building, checkout, course/membership design and hosting, an integrated email marketing tool and a Community capability (more on that later).
It's also a great option for people wanting to avoid the tech headache of a WordPress LMS system to which you have to patch up a bunch of different plugins and external tools.
The first thing to know with creating your membership in Kajabi, is that there is no membership product per se.
When creating your Product you will see a range of pre-made templates but the truth is that all of them have the same functionality and capabilities. (apart for the Community Product)
The only difference is the placeholder structure you'll get when choosing any of these templates - same thing for the membership.
But if you think about it, a membership doesn't really need more capabilities than a course! The main difference is in the structure and delivery of the content and the community experience.
Kajabi membership as an user
And when it comes to the layout of your membership, Kajabi truly stands out from other self-hosted platforms.
Because you choose among many different themes for your Product:
To stop beating around the bush, let's focus right now on the very best of these templates for your membership on Kajabi: Momentum.
This rather recent templates will give you the ability to structure a large quantity of content into something organized and not overwhelming:
This is particularly important because the main reason people cancel a membership is content overwhelm!
When logging into the membership, your members will land on the main dashboard where you can have different announcements or timely information.
They can then easily browse through the content of your membership with the sidebar (left hand side).
And of course at the top, see their overall progress.
If you want more customization on your Momentum theme, you can either get your hands dirty with some coding (coding access is available on the Pro plan).
Or you can buy a custom Momentum theme from a third party.
Kajabi membership as an admin
Now let's take a look at the back-end and how you'd manage content and everything around your membership as an admin.
Kajabi allows for a real back-end content management of your membership. You can create Categories and subcategories, which will contain your Posts, aka your videos or content.
This can be video, text, image, video and you can add downloadable content which be PDFs, slides, etc.
Something important for your membership: content can be dripped. Meaning that you can delay when a member will get access to a part of your membership.
This is done at the category or sub-category level, you'll pick an amount of days from the member's start date, defined by default to be the purchase date but this can be changed in your Offer, at which the member will get the content dripped to.
You can of course customize some part of the membership itself, depending on what theme you picked (we recommended Momentum).
Change colors, text values but also Dashboard and structure of your body and sidebar content.
Pricing and creating a subscription
Kajabi has a native cart functionality which will allow you to create a subscription, take payment and give proper access to your membership.
You will create an Offer, in which you'll be able to add whichever Products and bundle you want to include in your membership.
This is also when you create a pricing (1 per Offer), and choose your subscription and model: weekly, monthly or yearly but also free or paid trial.
You can set restrictions on access from there as well as any post-purchase automations and notifications.
What Community For Your Kajabi Membership
You've maybe heard what they say about membership websites: People come for the content and stay for the community.
In 2019, Kajabi launched its Community Products to truly provide everything a membership needs to thrive and nurture its people.
The way most membership owners usually deal with this is by creating a private Facebook group (or WhatsApp, Telegram, Slack, Discord,...).
But the problem with doing this is now that your members are asked to be in 2 different places: your kajabi membership where all the content is hosted and wherever the external group is.
Using Kajabi Communities solves this in theory by having everything in one place, but let's see how it compares to the infamous Facebook groups.
Inside your Kajabi Community Product, you'll be able to create Topics to sections the different threads people may have within your membership:
There is then of course, a main Feed where people will create posts that can include images, videos, and links.
Lastly, the sidebar can be used to feature announcements or send people elsewhere inside your membership or not.
And that's pretty much it!
As you can see, this isn't a very powerful community tool and resembles more of a basic forum.
But this could just do the trick for you.
The hardest part of using any integrated forum or community, is to get people to actually use it. The reason why membership and course creators usually go for something like a Facebook group is because that's where their people ALREADY hang out regularly. And so that's where you'll have a higher chance of creating an engaged communities.
You may have to see this for yourself but at least you know what's possible in Kajabi.
What You Can't Do In Your Kajabi Membership
So now let's take a look at what's NOT possible. And here I'm not going to make an exhaustive list of what's not possible in Kajabi, but on a few key things some membership owners might find to be deal breakers.
Sometimes you may want to batch produce all of your membership content for the next few months, upload and schedule it out.
Although we've mentioned before that content inside a Kajabi membership can be dripped, this cannot be scheduled at a specific date you'd pick for all members, but only based on each member's join date (which will vary).
You can however draft content in advance, so this simply means that you will have to manually go and post it when you want it live.
Members only Pages
Whichever Kajabi theme you choose, the structure of your membership area will look something like: Main Page/Dashboard > Category Pages > Post Pages.
These pages are much different from the standalone Pages you'll create for your marketing funnels inside of Kajabi, because they won't be as customizable.
Some membership owners want to create pages from scratch, for diverse reasons, that can only be accessed by paying member's: paying blog posts, paying podcast episodes,...
This can't be done in Kajabi without custom coding and if you want to have any content protected, it will need to be within the static pages of your Product, which are limited.
Member's Individual experience
Sometimes you may want to give access to content to some users and not others. This can be within a tiered membership structure where VIP members get additional trainings, or if you have different levels for example.
You can't really do that in Kajabi within the same Product. Meaning that all members having access to that product, will have access to the same content.
This also mean that you can't upload a corrected exercise to a specific student only or change the drip for a new cohort or block access to previously posted content to new members.
There are some ways around this by simply creating a new Product altogether to separate that content which you can then give access to a smaller set of members, but this can be a problem depending on what type of membership you're running.
Overall as with picking any platform, there are some trade off in choosing Kajabi for hosting your membership.
We've seen that in most cases, you will very much be able to run a successful one with some key tools and features readily available on the platform.
There are still some limitations with the Community and other aspects of Kajabi that may not be the perfect fit for you.
But the most important thing is to know in advance what you're willing to give up and what is important to create the best possible experience for your members, and yourself helping them.