Today we're comparing possibly two of the most popular platforms in the all-in-one online course platform niche.
Kajabi and Kartra both have a large user base and raving fans that religiously follow any new features and announcements for their respective platforms.
Kajabi has been around since 2010 and is probably the most used all-in-one online course platform for beginner course creators.
Kartra, part of the Genesis Digital group that also created WebinarJam/Everwebinar, is usually used by more advanced digital entrepreneurs.
But how exactly do they compare?
That's what we're looking at with this extensive expert review of the major features of both platforms!
Kajabi and Kartra: What are they?
Both Kajabi and Kartra are an all-in-one online business platform, which means that they promise to have all the tools you need to create, market and sell your digital products.
We'll see this in more detail later in this review, but it's good to note here that Kartra also allows to easily sell physical products, whereas Kajabi is meant to sell digital products only.
A quick note on pricing; Kartra does have an entry plan that may be too limited for some users and you'll probably need the Silver package to really get all of what the platform has to offer.
Regardless, they both fall in the same category of being this hub for your online business, which revolves around four core pillars:
- Funnel/Page Builder
- Checkout/Cart to take payments
- Online Course Hosting and Delivery
Let’s take a closer look at those four features now.
Not a big difference there, Kartra has recently aligned itself with most other competitors by offering a 30 days trials.
Feature Comparison #1: Funnel Building
The ability to build well-designed and conversion optimized pages is a key component of your online course platform.
Regardless of your funnel strategy, it's likely people will interact with your site before the purchase and that's an opportunity to make a good impression!
Both Kajabi and Kartra have a similar flow for the creation of a page, which makes a direct comparison easier and relevant.
Essentially the process will look like this:
Pick a page template > Add Section > Add Blocks in sections
A first difference with Kartra before that is the ability to create different sites where pages can sit. This is actually a really useful feature as you can set global elements for each site (header menu, footer, custom styles, etc.).
As mentioned, you're going to get started on each platform by having the possibility to NOT start your page from scratch, but instead go off of a pre-made template.
Right off the bat, Kartra does have a wider variety of templates for different types of pages, but also designs that feel less like placeholders.
Kajabi's templates in comparison offer very little guidance and feel bare... Meaning that most times you'll end up having to pretty much start from scratch. Which can be a problem for beginners having no idea what kind of sections they should have on their pages!
But you can also buy Kajabi's page templates for 3rd party sellers.
Talking about templates, Kartra also allows you to save templates as favorites to reuse later, which isn't something you can't do with Kajabi.
So far then Kartra is leading, but let's take a look at inside the page builder
A difference to understand once you get into the actual page builder is that Kartra is a front-end, drag & drop page builder whereas Kajabi isn't per se.
Kajabi allows you to create different types of sections: hero, call to action, testimonials, FAQ,...
Which you will then add blocks to (text, video, image, button, form,...)
But with Kajabi, you won't drag and drop these into the page, but simply create them in the left side panel. This is a seemingly small difference but that can make the process a little less intuitive for beginners.
Note that what feels to me like a major drawback of that, is the fact that in Kajabi you can't move a block from one section to another,...
In a front-end page builder like Kartra, you can intuitively do so!
The pre-made section in Kajabi are mostly placeholders content too, whereas Kartra has some styled templates to just plug you content in :
This is where the comparison starts to weigh a little less on proclaiming Kartra as the better page builder.
Unfortunately, as with a lot of its features, Kartra gets really unintuitive when it comes to building things out.
Kajabi and Kartra have a rather similar range of blocks (called components in Kartra) you can choose from to populate your sections.
But Kartra makes this so clunky and cumbersome to edit.
Follow me here: to edit the different columns inside your section you'll need to toggle the switch at the top of your screen, which will disable the blocks editing. You need to the switch to the components to access the options to edit your blocks:
This really adds a lot of unnecessary extra clicks to the process!
On top of that, I found the options for editing blocks and columns very limited. The text editor itself looks like it's coming from 1998:
All of this makes you waste the precious time you saved with all these cool templates and pre-made designs what a shame!
On the other hand Kajabi, as always, has a very slick and intuitive block editor and capabilities.
One last noticeable elements for this comparison is the fact that Kartra natively allows for A/B split testing of traffic to any given page, which will make a lot of people happy!
The Bottom Line: Funnel Builder
This page builder comparison almost started as no-brainer choice with Kartra's loaded library of templates and designs.
But ultimately with the poor UX of the process, the platform lost its edge.
Overall I'd say that this is a tie. Kajabi does have fewer templates and might get you to start from scratch sometimes, but at least the whole process is still very seamless and intuitive.
If you're a beginner that may be what you value most.
Feature Comparison #2: Checkout
The cart is the logical next feature to compare in both platforms. This is essentially what makes the connection between your payment gateway (Stripe, PayPal, etc.) and giving your client access to the product they purchased.Both Kajabi and Kartra have a similar process for checkouts, where you'll create a product and associate whichever deliverable is relevant.
This is also where you do the whole setup for the pricing, upsell/downsell, affiliates, checkout design, etc.
First off, something that could make a big difference for some course creators is the fact that Kajabi only allows to sell digital products. More specifically, Kajabi only allows you to sell the courses you've built inside the platform.That means that it's not suited to sell physical products or one-off downloadable. Even if there are some workarounds for it, if you’re selling downloads or physical products Kajabi is not ideal for you.
In Kajabi, every time someone wants to buy something, they'll have to create an account. This doesn't make a lot of sense for people wanting to buy a physical product or a coaching service for example.
Kartra on the other hand, allows you to easily sell both digital and physical products, as well as any other products/services really. That includes the ability to add shipping costs and collect sales taxes and delivery information.
All in all, Kartra has a more thorough and flexible checkout setup process.
In both Kajabi and Kartra, you'll get the ability to add multiple upsell/downsells.
In Kartra you'll have to essentially recreate a product for each and then set up the funnel.
This process is slightly easier in Kajabi where you can simple attach exiting Offers:
Another big limitation of Kajabi's checkout is the inability to have more than one pricing on that page.
This means that if you have a one-off pricing option and a payment plan, for instance, you'll need to set up two different ‘Offers’ and checkouts.
However, Kartra allows for as many pricing options as you want on the same checkout, but also more flexible pricing options in terms of subscription date for instance, or recurring installments.
When it comes to the actual design of the checkout, there are some important differences.
Kajabi allows you to edit your checkout through your ‘Offer’ with a page builder, but that page builder is more limited than their regular page builder. In effect, you have very little control over the design and the blocks on the checkout.
But, that checkout design is fairly optimized for conversions.
Kartra allows for different options for your checkout. For example, it’s easy to do any of the following:
- Using a Kartra page
- Using a popup
- Embedding the checkout on another site
- Customize build styling
This can be tremendously helpful if you're using other platforms, or simply want to be able to design the checkout EXACTLY how you want!Another cool option, not available on Kajabi, is the possibility to have dynamic language on your Kartra based on the user's geolocation.
Lastly, let's take a quick look at the affiliate feature which is enabled at the cart level.
Both platforms are rather similar on that end. Kartra does allow for a bit more flexibility with the payment and affiliate sign-up process.
But the Kajabi affiliate dashboard does have a nice look.
Thus, it’s pretty much a tie for Kartra vs Kajabi on affiliate marketing.
The Bottom Line: Checkout
For checkout specifically, we have a clear winner! Kartra has both a wider, and more robust checkout to help you increase sales, but also more flexibility on the design end too.Kajabi's checkout is in my opinion one of its biggest weaknesses, especially with the lack of flexibility on most of these features. It is a simpler process; however, and slightly more intuitive, which could be enough for some users.
Feature Comparison #3: Emails/Automations
Another distinctive feature of all-in-one platforms is the integrated email marketing system, and automation capabilities.
Both Kartra and Kajabi have tools for your email list hosting, segmenting and management.
These come in three categories (for both platforms): broadcasts (one-off emails), sequences (autoresponders) and automation.
Taking a look at the email builder for either broadcasts or sequences, both platforms are actually on par.
They both have a cool visual builder that works with different blocks you can add or simply use a pre-made template.
Kartra also allows you to save your own templates to reuse later (Kajabi doesn't).
But where Kartra stands out is with the cool visual sequence flow builder, allowing you to also add elements that you'd normally only expect to see in a full-blown marketing tool like ActiveCampaign.
These elements include:
Wait X amount of time
Send a text (connect an external SMS tool)
Split test your sequences emails to optimize performances
Kajabi's sequence builder pales in comparison to the advanced tool Katra built.
If this wasn't enough, Katra also boasts way more advanced automation, like the ability to use page views as a trigger or video plays.
Finally, Kartra also features an integrated CRM and ticketing system. You can manage prospects and student's tickets directly in the platform, answer with canned responses, or simply a built-in FAQ.
You can also create a live chat option for people to talk to you or someone in your team directly, which is proven to increase conversions when you have one of these on your sales page for example!
Having a real CRM also means that you can add notes in the user's profile but also attribute lead points which you can use later for gauging the engagement of your prospects for example, and trigger a different sequence based on a certain set threshold of lead points.
This is such a powerful tool that you wouldn't expect from an all-in-one platform, but Kartra offers it.
This is simply non-existent in Kajabi and the user management, although not terrible, is limited in comparison.
The Bottom Line: Email & Automations
Again, we have an indisputable winner: Kartra.
The platform is offering such a robust and advanced system, it's hard to compete for a beginner's tool like Kajabi in that area.
Kartra went above and beyond with the full-fledged CRM system and this is a big asset for course creators wanting to make a difference and stand out with outstanding customer care.
Feature Comparison #4: Product Delivery
And now for the final feature comparison: the actual course design and experience. As in, uploading your course content and designing the member's area of your online course platform.
This is honestly where Kajabi shines (about time)!
The platform allows for a variety of well-designed templates and layouts for the inside of your course.
All you have to do is to upload the content and organize it in the back-end and everything in the front-end will populate:
You can easily change the color, edit the sidebar, create announcements, and much more.
In comparison, Kartra membership builder doesn't feel as stylish, to say the least.
It's a drag and drop builder where you'll add and upload your content right here and there, and then organize it from the only layout available.
Kartra does not have a great user experience or design capabilities which may leave some students with a bitter taste and not excited to go through the course.
The only flex for Kartra here is the flexibility of the video creator.
After uploading a video, you can add-in video call to actions or automation, which can be cool for both the learning experience but also from a marketing perspective!
For example, you could require people to opt-in to watch the video or make a powerful in-video call to action within the course to talk about an upsell.
The Bottom Line: Product Delivery
Kajabi remains unmatched when it comes to course design and student's experience not just in comparison to Kartra, but among all other all-in-one platforms in the industry.
Kajabi puts a huge emphasis on how things look in the front-end and the user journey, which goes beyond just the learning experience but also has an influence on building a loyal audience that will come back for more.
A word of mention for some extra features that are notable on both sides and exclusive to one or the other platform.
Ever used something like Calendly or Acuity?
Well, Kartra has a similar integrated calendar feature that will allow you to invite your prospects to book a free or paid consultation for example.
But that’s not all! You'll also be able to set recurring classes which user can book, or simply weekly office hours for people to join.
The possibilities for your courses and memberships are endless!
This is an alternative to creating a private Facebook group and allows to keep everything in the same place.
You can organize the community in channels and group conversation, create challenges, gamify the experience and have a Leaderboard.There is also a member's directory for your people to network with each other or simply find an accountability partner.