If you’re starting a digital business and building out your tech stack, you may be considering MailChimp. With its free email software (for up to 2,000 contacts), website builder, and easy integrations, MailChimp feels like the perfect solution for a new business.
But before jumping on a free marketing platform, no matter how attractive it may look, it’s important to evaluate the effectiveness of its tool set, so you don’t outgrow them within a few months. And it’s important to carefully evaluate the cost.
We also want to note - Kajabi and Mailchimp do integrate together. So, if you like the functionality of Kajabi for your knowledge business but the email marketing capability of Mailchimp, you can use both. You just might find that you’re better served by Kajabi and can save some money by choosing an all-in-one platform.
In this detailed Kajabi vs. MailChimp review, we’ll take a close look at how these platforms stack up when it comes to building your marketing and your business. Let's jump right in!
Kajabi vs. MailChimp: the biggest differences
Kajabi and MailChimp may seem similar at first glance. Both are trying to create a world where technology isn’t a barrier to success. Both are targeted to entrepreneurs. Both provide email marketing software, a website builder, and other marketing essentials.
But Kajabi is more of a business-building platform, whereas MailChimp is more of a marketing suite. This is a fundamental difference that impacts their approach and their features.
Let’s start by taking a quick look at their histories.
MailChimp was founded in 2001 as an email solution for small businesses. Initially it was part of a web design agency called Rocket Science Group. Then, in 2007, it broke off and became its own entity.
In recent years, MailChimp has expanded its tool set to include social posting, shoppable landing pages, postcards, websites, content tools, and advanced automations. It’s no longer “just another” email software. It’s a marketing platform that gives you most of the functionality you need to run an ecommerce store.
Kajabi was founded in 2010 to empower entrepreneurs who are serious about their business to achieve success online. Its aim has always been to provide an entire business-building suite: one product, all the tech you need.
But over the years, it has continued to build out its functionality. Today, with every package, you get access to all of Kajabi’s tools:
- Website builder
- Landing page builder
- Online course builder
- Coaching hosting
- Email software
- Pipeline (or funnel) builder
- And more
Kajabi is committed to giving knowledge entrepreneurs the tools they need not just to launch and grow their businesses, but to do so quickly and efficiently. By providing all of the tools you need into one platform, it not only saves you time and money, it saves you the headaches of building and maintaining a complicated tech stack.
Which platform is right for you? It really depends on your goals for your business. Mailchimp has historically appealed to people who are testing out a new business, or small businesses that can’t afford expensive email marketing software. Kajabi, from day 1, has focused on serving entrepreneurs - especially knowledge entrepreneurs - who are serious about growing their business.
Now, let’s dive into the features to see which platform is best for you.
Mailchimp's website builder is available to all users, even on the free plan. This allows anyone to give it a test run. But be aware, a custom domain name is only available on the Standard plan or higher. If you’re serious about creating a professional website, Mailchimp’s free plan won’t likely meet your needs.
Mailchimp has earned 5 stars for ease of use. But, you don’t have a lot of flexibility to design your website your way. You can change the content within sections, select a new font, and adjust the colors and graphics. But that’s about it.
It doesn’t include a blog. And it only has basic content blocks: text, boxed text, divider, image, image group, image card, image + caption, video, social buttons, and a button. If you’re building an ecommerce website, it also gives you a product block and a promo code block.
In contrast to this bare-bones approach, Kajabi's website builder is intuitive and powerful. With no design or programming experience, you can create a mobile-responsive design that's clean, modern, and fast-loading.
Your website on Kajabi is like any website you see online. Though it will probably look better than many of the websites out there. It gives you beautiful themes that make it easy to get started building your website, and the tools you need to customize it to your personal taste.
Mailchimp’s website builder pits you face to face with a blank screen without any real direction on how to proceed. There are no templates or themes to use as a starting point, and you're expected to know how to proceed on your own. A daunting process if you've never created a website before!
Kajabi gives you eight themes to choose from. Plus, on the Pro plan, you get access to the HTML code editor, so you can get even more customized options by working with a web developer or external theme creator.
Each layout is designed for a different use case or vibe, so no matter what type of business you run or the brand personality you want to create, you’ll have a template that works for you. And every template can be edited and customized to create something uniquely your own.
With no web development experience, you can easily create pages with a variety of editable and customizable sections, which include features like:
Accordion: An expandable section that saves space and lets your user get more specific information. Great for FAQs.
Blog posts: Display your blog posts in reverse chronological order (no need to pay separately for a blog hosting platform.)
Countdown timer: Count down to a special offer. Great for creating urgency and motivating users to act.
Call to action: A customizable button that encourages the user to click to order.
Custom content: Your own custom content, including text and images.
Facebook comments: Displays your comments from Facebook to allow for greater social proof when it comes to promoting your online course or membership.
Event: Highlight an event on your page with both text, borders, and visual cues to draw attention. You can even use video to promote your event.
Logo list: A "brand banner" showcasing the companies you've worked with or well-known sites you've been featured on. This is a great way to boost your social profile and your standing as a recognized authority in your field or industry.
Opt-in forms: Attractive options to encourage users to subscribe to your mailing list or opt in to receive a freebie. Kajabi gives you a great deal of freedom in designing your opt-in forms, so you can attract your best subscribers and turn them into paying customers.
Pricing options: Distinctive pricing tables that highlight the different prices and features in an easy-to-read format. This makes it easy to illustrate the value that’s packed into your membership, course, or coaching.
Testimonials: An elegant way to display student or member testimonials and increase your credibility. By showcasing testimonials from happy members and students, you can encourage more sign-ups.
And these are by no means all of the features found in Kajabi’s themes. Their drag-and-drop, intuitive website builder gives you the freedom and flexibility to build a professional website — without having to hire a developer.
Email marketing is Mailchimp's domain, so it's natural to assume it would win in our Kajabi vs. Mailchimp review. But that's not necessarily the case.
Mailchimp does roll out the red carpet when it comes to email. They've got a ton of templates and their email builder is relatively simple and straightforward to use. Their Standard and Premium plans offer some helpful functionality for those who are experienced email marketers.
Kajabi offers similar functionality. You can send single emails to promote a product, share news, or stay connected. You can also create email sequences that are triggered by an Automation.
And Kajabi gives you 19 templates for different types of emails. Whether you want to send a Simple Text email, showcase a product, or send a newsletter, you’ll find the template that you need.
If you only want to concentrate on email marketing to the exclusion of everything else, Mailchimp may be a good option. However, if you want email marketing that's integrated tightly with the rest of your business — from your digital products to your web pages, from payment processing to a podcast — Kajabi may be your best option.
How does Kajabi integrate with Mailchimp?
Kajabi allows for nearly a dozen integrations with third-party tools, including Mailchimp. If you choose to use Mailchimp (or another email service) with your Kajabi website, no problem. So, if you do have expertise in email marketing and will maximize their special features, you can absolutely use both Kajabi and Mailchimp - it will just be an added cost that you’ll have to decide if it makes sense for your business.
In Settings > Third-Party Integrations, simply select the service you want. Enter the API key (available in the product you’re integrating) and you’re set.
However, this may not be an ideal solution depending on how you have your mailing list set up.
For instance, if you want to automatically import your Kajabi contacts into Mailchimp, Mailchimp simply labels them as "API Import." It doesn't tell you if they're students, members, or subscribers. It also doesn’t tell you what course they bought or what membership they subscribed to. For that, you'll need to manually tag them yourself, one at a time.
Using Kajabi’s email with the rest of its tool set, that’s never a problem. The integration is built into the platform, and it works flawlessly.
CRM (customer relationship management)
Both Kajabi and Mailchimp offer a CRM or Customer Relationship Management system. Mailchimp approaches customer relationship management through the lens of email marketing. In other words, you import and tag your data and then add an automation based on audience segments and tags.
Mailchimp gives you rudimentary behavior targeting and basic personalization tools to allow for more one-on-one conversations with your target audience.
In Kajabi, your CRM is part of the entire tool set. You can import and manage contacts simply and efficiently. You can upload a CSV file at the push of a button, create custom data fields, and map them where you want them. Or, you can add contacts through form submissions from website visitors.
Based on your customer metrics, you can tag users based on:
- Behaviors (the course they ordered or membership tier they subscribed to)
- Assessments they completed
- Product pages they engaged with
- And more
And creating automations is easy. Kajabi will prompt you to create automations when it makes sense to do so. Use their templates or set up triggers yourself.
Best of all, you can do all of this within Kajabi’s platform. No need to deal with third-party integrations or clunky plugins. And as your business grows, you can create some fairly complex automations that give your customers a more personalized experience.
Course creation and student assessment
Mailchimp doesn't offer a course creator or memberships. To sell courses with Mailchimp, you must integrate it with an LMS (learning management system) such as Kajabi. That’s an additional cost, and you’ll need to build and maintain the integration.
Kajabi is the industry leading course creation platform, with student assessments, drip feeds, and other features that give your students a good experience.
And with Kajabi, course creation is point-and-click simple. So you can easily share your knowledge even if you've never taught anything before.
Kajabi offers a number of student assessment tools, including quizzes and self-assessments. These are optional, but they allow you to require students to complete an assessment before progressing to the next lesson.
In Kajabi’s analytics dashboard, you can track student progress and their assessment grades. You can take a "bird's eye view" of your course or get granular, clicking onto any student to evaluate their individual progress.
Kajabi has a lucrative affiliate program called the Kajabi Partner Program. For every person you refer who becomes a paid Kajabi user, you earn a monthly recurring 30% commission.
You can also host your own affiliate program on Kajabi to have your contacts refer more customers to you. This can help you build your marketing reach by incentivizing your past students or clients to promote your digital products to their networks.
Mailchimp has a referral program for users on a paid plan. You earn a $30 bill credit when a person you refer clicks your Referral badge and signs up for a paid monthly Mailchimp plan.
Mailchimp typically frowns on the promotion of affiliate programs. If you want to rely on affiliate marketing to generate more leads or clients, Mailchimp may not be right for you.
Before choosing any tech for your business, you need to make sure it integrates with the other tools in your tech stack. Kajabi integrates with ten different services including:
- Google Adsense
- Google Analytics and
Kajabi also integrates with Zapier, so you can integrate it with thousands of non-native apps relatively easily. But since Kajabi is a true all-in-one marketing and business platform, you may not need many (if any) integrations.
Conversely, Mailchimp offers over 300 different integrations. While it's easy to think more is better, many of these integrations only import new contacts into your primary list. It doesn’t give you the ability to automate tag creation or segmentation of these contacts. This makes it difficult to do advanced email marketing that could grow your business.
Mailchimp offers limited email marketing for free for up to 2,000 subscribers. In the Free plan, you’ll be able to send emails to your list. But you won’t have access to advanced features like automations and behavioral targeting. These features are only available on paid plans.
Your price for Mailchimp’s email marketing depends on the plan you choose and the number of people on your list. They offer four plans:
- Essentials, starting at $9.99 per month (for 500 contacts)
- Standard, starting at $14.99 per month (for 500 contacts)
- Premium, starting at $299/month (for 10,000 contacts)
These plans sound affordable, but as you grow your list, your monthly fee will increase significantly. The Standard plan, for example, costs:
- $51.99 per month for up to 2,500 contacts
- $105 per month for 10,000 contacts
- $230 per month for 25,000 contacts
- $430 per month for 75,000 contacts
And these prices only apply to Mailchimp’s email marketing software. If you want to tap into their website and ecommerce features, you’ll need to purchase them separately:
- Free - 2% transaction fee and Stripe processing fees
- Core, starting at $10 per month + 1.5% transaction fee and Stripe processing fees
- Plus, starting at $29 per month + .5% transaction fee and Stripe processing fees
These plans include unlimited web pages and products, appointment scheduling, and other tools you’ll need to run an ecommerce business. You can also choose add-ons at an additional charge, including a custom domain, advanced scheduling, and transactional emails.
Keep in mind, Mailchimp’s marketing suite doesn’t include many of the features that knowledge entrepreneurs need. If you decide to offer courses, memberships, or coaching, you’ll need to pay for third-party services and integrate them with Mailchimp.
Kajabi, on the other hand, is a true full-service business platform. You can choose among three pricing plans:
- Basic at $149 per month
- Growth at $199 per month
- Pro at $399 per month
Let’s compare that to Mailchimp’s plans. Kajabi’s Growth plan gives you 25,000 contacts for about $30 less than an equivalent plan in Mailchimp. And every package includes the entire suite of marketing and business-building tools. Nothing is held back. There are no hidden costs.
Best of all, Kajabi built every feature to play nice with the others. No need to worry about integrations, because everything works together out of the box.
So while Mailchimp appears to be less expensive than Kajabi, comparing the features you get, Kajabi actually saves you money, giving you terrific value for the dollar.
Both Kajabi and Mailchimp have robust knowledge bases for "self-serve" customer service.
Mailchimp's library of topics features videos and frequently asked questions on how to use their different services. There are also pop-up boxes with hints and directions for getting the most from its features.
If you want to speak to an actual human, you'll need to purchase their $299/month plan, which gets you access to Mailchimp's phone support.
Kajabi also has a comprehensive knowledgebase of how-tos, video walkthroughs and tips on how to get the most out of the platform. If you have the Growth plan or higher, you also get email and live chat support, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Kajabi’s user base offers regular online and in-person events through the community forum. And all users get free access to Kajabi University, which provides an in-depth series of training and educational courses on building a successful course or membership and running a profitable business.
Kajabi vs. Mailchimp: the bottom line
As you can see from our detailed Kajabi vs. Mailchimp review, both platforms have a different focus and approach when it comes to helping you market your business. Mailchimp is all about creating email marketing campaigns that are beautiful and attention-getting, whereas Kajabi is centered squarely around the designing, building, and selling of knowledge commerce products.
If your goal is to build a quick ecommerce business, and you don’t plan to create knowledge based digital content,, Mailchimp may be the right choice for you. Or, if you’re a sophisticated email marketer and plan to leverage their advanced features,
But if you’re serious about growing a profitable knowledge business, it makes sense to use Kajabi’s all-in-one business suite. Its website builder, CRM, affiliate program, Kajabi pipelines and marketing automation empower you to launch and scale your business — without having to invest in add-ons or additional products.
Try it free for 14 days, and see how easy it can be to connect with your customers and grow your business using an all-in-one platform that’s built for your success
Join us for live Q&A webinars every day, Monday through Friday. Register today to learn everything you need to know to succeed as a knowledge entrepreneur, including selling products, Kajabi themes, pipelines, webinars, and the Kajabi Partner Program.
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