If you’re a content creator, artist, teacher, or other knowledge entrepreneur who’s looking to create a membership site, you know how hard it is to find just the right platform — one that lets you do more of what you love while making it easy to share your content and engage with members.
Today, we’re looking at the real benefits of using Kajabi vs. Patreon. Keep reading for our in-depth comparison of everything from Kajabi pricing and Patreon platform fee to integrations and how easy it is to actually run your site on these platforms.
Is Kajabi really a good Patreon alternative?
When you’re researching the best membership site for your knowledge business, it can be confusing. Sometimes, the features look so similar, it’s hard to know which platform is going to work best for you and your business.
From our experience working with thousands of knowledge entrepreneurs, these are the features that can make it easy to build your business or complicate your life so much, you feel like giving up:
- Monthly cost
- Design customizations and templates
- Integrations vs. all-in-one
- Ease of getting started
- Content security and access
- Analytics and reporting
- Customer service and support
- Community growth
- Membership site scalability
Ready to see how each platform measures up? Let’s get started...
Patreon sounds enticing to new creators because you don’t pay anything to set up your membership site. Instead, you pay a percentage of the income you earn on the site:
- Lite plan - 5% of your monthly income
- Pro plan - 8% of your monthly income
- Premium - 12% of your monthly income
The Lite plan is pretty basic, allowing for just one tier of support. The Pro plan is the most popular and allows creators to create multiple tiers of support. The Premium plan introduces the ability to produce and send merchandise.
Kajabi takes a different approach. Just pay a flat fee each month for the level you need:
- Basic - $119/mo
- Growth - $159/mo
- Pro - $319/mo
Every feature is available to you at every level. Plus, you don’t pay Kajabi a portion of your earnings. That means you can immediately start building your membership by:
- Adding a membership site, but also online courses, coaching programs, private podcasts, and digital downloads
- Automating your marketing with pipelines
- Creating unlimited landing pages
- Sending an unlimited number of marketing emails
With Kajabi, the only difference between plans is the number of:
- Products you can sell
- Marketing automations (pipelines) you can create
- Contacts (subscribers) allowed on your email marketing list
- Active members that can join your membership site
- Membership websites you can have and
- Administrative users you can have to help manage them
This means you immediately have the tools you need to grow your business. Start with the Basic plan, and as your business scales, Kajabi scales with you.
Design customization and templates
If you’ve read this far in our Kajabi vs. Patreon review, you likely already see it: At their core, Kajabi and Patreon are two fundamentally different platforms.
Patreon is designed primarily for the visitor. It gives people a place to crowdfund and support their favorite artist. Patreon partners with its users to attract those people, but they don’t give you many tools to do it.
You won’t find built-in templates for building your website your way. You’re the creative. It’s up to you to figure out how to engage with your following. And once you do, they take a portion of your earnings.
Kajabi, on the other hand, is designed for you, the creator. They empower and equip you to turn your passion into a business, giving you an entire business suite and pre-made templates to do just that.
With Kajabi, you can create your brand, your style, your way.
But you don’t have to figure out how to do it. Kajabi gives you templates for just about every piece of your membership site and marketing. These website templates, landing page templates, and website templates give you a creative springboard for building your own brand and expressing your own style. They also ensure that you look professional across every device.
And, if you want to really customize your Kajabi site, you can get access to the code editor for the website builder at the Pro plan level.
Integration vs. all-in-one
Most membership platforms need to be integrated with other software to be fully functional. That’s exactly how it is with Patreon.
Patreon is essentially a crowdfunding platform, a place to attract fans willing to pay for access to you. But aside from posting updates to your followers or creating merchandise, it’s not possible to do much without adding in other tools.
That’s why Patreon integrates with so many apps and third-party tools.
Let’s say you want to add interactive elements to your Patreon membership site and integrate some marketing tools. Here are some basic integrations you might set up:
- Vimeo to share videos on your site - $7 to $75/month
- A Wordpress website - $10/month+ for hosting
- A funnel builder - $100/month for basic functionality
- ConvertKit or Mailchimp for email - $50/month for a small to medium list
- Discourse for a forum - $5 or $100/month
The downside to integrations like this is that you must pay separately for these tools.
Mailchimp can cost up to $299/month for up to 10,000 subscribers. That’s on top of what you’d pay to Patreon based on your chosen plan. And that’s just for one integration. The more tools you integrate, the more the potential costs can add up.
Conversely, with Kajabi, there’s no need for third-party integrations, because everything is included on a single platform.
Rather than dealing with advanced programming and clunky plugins that never do exactly what you want them to do, Kajabi intuitively and seamlessly incorporates your membership website with your email marketing software, a blog, podcast, and landing page builder — including a marketing automation platform, funnel builder, and more — all in one place.
There’s no need to figure out how to integrate a bunch of different systems and software that weren’t designed to work together.
With Kajabi, having all of the systems natively designed for, integrated, and baked into the overall platform will not only save you hours of time — it costs you nothing extra. There’s no need to pay a handful of companies tons of money every month when you can have everything centralized.
It not only makes sense from a membership site platform, it makes sense from a financial standpoint too!
Ease of getting started
Both Patreon and Kajabi offer a training portal and support. But Patreon’s support is largely self-serve. Only as a Premium user do you get an account manager to help you get set up. Otherwise, you’ll need to review Patreon U or look for help in the Patreon Community.
The Patreon Community is a forum for Patreon creators. It has seven areas where you can engage and ask questions: Updates, Get More Patrons, Find Creators, Patreon Feedback, Tools, Community, Ask Us Anything.
It’s great that it is an active forum with moderators who answer questions in a timely fashion. But what if you need more information? Let’s look at Patreon U.
The U gives you video training in three primary areas:
- Get started on Patreon
- Grow your membership
- Run your creative business
There are a few instructional videos pinned to the top of each of these pages, but Patreon U isn’t really a help platform. It’s the Patreon blog, which happens to have some supportive videos for creators.
Kajabi also has Kajabi University. It’s a real training portal with a growing collection of free training for Kajabi users. There are courses on both using Kajabi but also other business topics.
Kajabi also provides a Help Center. There, you’ll find answers to questions in these categories: Start, Create, Launch, Sell, Measure, and Scale your business.
The Help Center and Kajabi University are both designed to help you get up and running right away — no matter what you’re trying to do or how experienced you are. Their hands-on tutorials are taught by training specialists who are experts in running and growing a digital business.
Kajabi also offers live chat support for Growth and Pro plans. It’s available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. And each day, you can join a live virtual event or webinar to ask questions and get detailed answers and support.
So let’s say you’ve just set up your Kajabi membership site, and you’re ready to start marketing. You see Pipelines among your features, but you don’t know how to build a funnel or set up marketing automation.
Just go to Kajabi University. There, you’ll find a 9-video course on Mastering Pipelines. In 30 minutes, you can complete the course. You’ll understand pipelines, know how to craft a pipeline — including the pages, forms, and email sequences — and you’ll launch your own pipeline.
Got more questions? No problem. You can sign up for one of Kajabi’s daily webinars or reach out to the Kajabi support team. You can also join the Kajabi Community to connect with other Kajabi customers who are on the same journey as you.
Content security and access
Another crucial factor in our Kajabi vs Patreon review is the all-important aspect of content security. For a membership site, it’s important to be able to protect access to your content to prevent it from being shared with non-members.
You need to be able to keep new members from joining for a month, downloading everything, and then canceling. You also need to keep members from getting in over their heads by jumping into advanced content before they’re ready.
While there is no way to prevent all content leaks, Kajabi has more safeguards in place. You can customize content availability and distribution however you prefer.
You can drip-feed your content so members will continue to check in for new content. That turns your membership into a habit. It also ensures they don’t see all your content on Day 1. To get the advanced content, they need to stay with you long term. This can help you build recurring revenue.
With Wistia video uploading included with Kajabi, it’s an extra layer of protection against your content being shared outside of your paying customer base. If you offer an online course with Kajabi, you can also lock content from being visible until the member has passed an assessment. This ensures they actually understand foundational material before moving to advanced topics. (Remember - the online course hosting feature is included, so you have the flexibility to offer more products for your fans).
Patreon has no such feature set. Although it does allow users to upload and share media with subscribers, there’s no content access safeguard in place — a key differentiator when it comes to protecting and demonstrating the value of your knowledge to others. Many Patreon users will post unlisted YouTube video links as their members-only content, but those can easily be distributed outside of the paying community.
Analytics and reporting
Last but certainly not least, analytics and reporting features help you analyze what’s working, what’s not, and how to improve things over time.
Patreon offers some analytical information via its dashboard but also recommends that you integrate Google Analytics for a more well-rounded overview of your site’s performance. And since a lot of your Patreon functionality comes from third-party software, you’ll need to visit each of those tools to see how well they’re working for you. Until you integrate that data, you won’t have a big picture of how your business is performing.
Kajabi, on the other hand, puts the data you need at your fingertips. For example, you can view:
Play rate - the rate at which your members viewed videos on your site. Some may prefer to read the transcript or download a PDF as opposed to watching a video, so it’s important to keep that in mind as you view the analytics data.
Average engagement - This is the average percentage of the entire video that viewers watched. Some members may only watch the first part and then move on. Average engagement is a decent indicator in how well you’re keeping your members interested in what you have to say.
Viewer heatmaps - It’s entirely possible that your members are listening to the video in the background while they’re doing other things. A viewer heatmap will actually let you see which parts were watched repeatedly and which weren’t watched (and by whom).
This is a good way to see where members might be struggling or have questions, but are afraid to ask.
Analytical data like this can be invaluable as you work on tweaking and improving your material to engage with your members and keep them coming back for more. Kajabi offers a wide range of analytics tools that help you continue to refine your content, so you can concentrate on scaling your business.
Customer service and support
Just because you can teach a course or you have detailed knowledge to share about a specific industry or topic, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re tech-savvy. Kajabi gets that.
By bringing together the marketing tools every business needs to grow and scale, Kajabi makes it possible to start earning from a membership site quickly and easily — no programming or tech experience needed.
You get email marketing, blogging, podcasting, video, shopping cart, course creation, and more — all in one place. So you don’t have to try to figure out how to integrate third-party tools or find the perfect stack of tools that work seamlessly together.
If you do need a hand, however, support is never in short supply. As we mentioned above, Kajabi offers video and text tutorials that walk you through everything from creating your online course to marketing your products and payment processing.
With the Growth and Pro packages, you get access to live chat support. With the Basic plan, you can access Support via a ticket-based system, which is staffed Monday through Friday, 9am until 7pm.
Patreon offers a help center, but it serves patrons as well as creators. So a lot of the focus is on using the Patreon app, finding creators, and understanding your payments to them.
As a creator, you’ll need to focus primarily on three categories: Getting Paid, My Creator Page and Managing Patrons. For more support, you may email Patreon Support or visit the Patreon Community forum.
An active community is a huge part of a successful membership site. You need a centralized place where members can hang out, ask questions, and become an active part of your community.
Patreon uses third-party integrations for community creation. They offer Discord for voice and text chat, and Discourse for a more forum-based approach. Both of these tools are outside of Patreon itself, although Patreon members can create different levels as “perks” for their subscribers.
As you might expect, community functionality isn’t built into Patreon by default. You’ll need to learn how to use the Discord and/or Discourse systems separately and, in the case of Discourse, you may need to pay if you go over 50,000 pageviews per month.
Kajabi’s Community feature is included in every plan, from Basic to Pro. It gives you a place for members to interact with each other, explore lessons, ask questions, and more.
Use the Community feature as a forum for your membership site. Integrate it with a course on your Kajabi site. Or use it as a lead magnet, allowing new customers to test the waters before committing to membership.
But no matter how you structure your membership, because the Community is part of your website, you’ll never have to ask your members to jump to another tool to engage with your community.
This helps you create a consistent member experience. And that turns members into raving fans who can’t stop talking about how great your membership is.
The Community feature is perfect for growing your membership site. Unlike Facebook groups or other third-party integrations, you can pin important topics to the top of the feed, making sure that all users see important news and updates. You can also easily categorize posts by topic, letting people quickly access the information they need without having to jump through multiple hoops.
Membership site scalability
Your site is built. Great! But what happens when you start gaining more customers and you want to scale your business?
Do you have to pay more to support more customers? How easy is it to add new features to your membership site?
This is one of those areas where Kajabi and Patreon differ philosophically. You see, Patreon thinks like a software company. They believe that if their users are making money, they should too. So if you want to scale, you’d better be prepared to pay for it.
With Patreon, if you invest in a better plan so you can support your members more easily, you’ll pay Patreon a higher percentage of your earnings. (And remember, that doesn’t include the other tools you’re going to invest in to scale your marketing efforts.)
With Kajabi, you’ve got one flat rate for the plan you choose. That’s it.
The Basic plan will take you up to 1,000 active members, three products, and three Pipelines. When you grow beyond that point, the Growth plan allows for 10,000 active members and 15 products.
You get all of the tools and guidance you need to create and grow your membership site and your business from Day 1. You’re free to grow and scale your way, without forking over a percentage of your earnings every month, then paying transaction fees and subscriptions to third-party tools.
The final word on this Kajabi vs. Patreon review
If you’ve been looking for a Patreon alternative or a great membership platform that can grow with your business, look no further than Kajabi.
While it’s true that, with Patreon, you can get people to financially support your passion, it can only take you so far. With Kajabi, you can actually turn your passion into a profitable business.
Financially, Kajabi definitely comes out on top. Patreon may look like your least expensive option, but on a monthly basis, you could end up paying substantially more — especially as your business grows.
With Kajabi, you don’t need to buy other tools to set up or run your business. And Kajabi allows you to scale without having to pay additional fees or percentages.
There’s no “success tax” with Kajabi. Which means you’ll keep more of your hard-earned money while continuing to provide your members with a great experience.
Technologically, Kajabi also comes out ahead. It eliminates the need for clunky third-party integrations, plugins, and add-ons. All the Industry-leading marketing and sales tools you need are baked into the Kajabi suite of services.
And because they’re designed to work together, you don’t have to shop around for tools that play nice with one another or figure out how to make your integrations work.
There’s no better time than now to create a membership site, connect with fans and followers, and build a business that’s set up for success right from the start.
Overall, Kajabi is highly recommended as an alternative to Patreon. With its variety of marketing tools, intuitive user interface, design templates, excellent customer support and detailed analytics, Kajabi helps you grow a business, not just capture revenue from fans.
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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