If you are setting up a program for your wellness business you might be considering an all in one platform. If you are just getting started with your business, an all in one platform may seem like the simplest choice for hosting your programs and your business. In this article I provide the pros and cons of having an all in one platform for your programs and possibly for your entire business.
What is an all in one platform?
An all in one platform is an online platform that does multiple things. In this article I’m going to look specifically at all in one course platforms.
All in one platforms might contain things like a website, email provider, course platform, appointment scheduler, webinar hosting, landing pages and checkout pages. Not all of them have all of these options so I’ll take a look at a few different platforms in more detail in a bit.
The alternative to all in one platforms is to use multiple platforms. You might have a website on WordPress, ActiveCampaign for email marketing, Leadpages for landing pages, Thinkific for hosting programs, Zoom for webinars and Calendly for appointment scheduling.
What are the most popular all in one platforms?
Two of the most popular all in one platforms are Kajabi and Kartra. Other options are Podia and New Zenler. New Zenler is in a very long beta and at the time of this article they are starting to increase their prices. Right now they are much lower priced than either of the other 2 options.
Here is a comparison of the features of these platforms:
Kajabi includes websites, courses, landing and sales pages, email marketing and video hosting. This platform also offers a number of templates for websites and digital products so you can get started quickly. Their plans start at $119 per month and the cost increases with the number of users and the number of products.
I’ve taken Kajabi for a test drive and was impressed by how quickly I could get things set up. I did find that the course layout didn’t seem very flexible. Although the assessment feature was powerful I didn’t find it worked very well for simple questions.
Kartra includes courses, email marketing, web pages, video uploads, helpdesk and appointment booking.You can use Kartra for a website, but does not include blog capability. It starts at $99 per month and like Kajabi, increases with the number of products and the number of users. I haven't taken Kartra for a test drive, so I can't comment on backend features. I've used it as a user and found it works well.
New Zenler has been in beta for a long time, but are getting close to release. Their product includes websites, courses, emails, video hosting and sales and landing pages. New Zenler is currently $67 per month, but expect this price to rise closer to their official launch.
I’ve used New Zenler and it found it a little harder to set up than Kajabi. But I believe they are continuing to add more templates and add more features as they get closer to the official release.
Podia offers websites, email marketing, courses and video hosting. Their plans start at $39 per month. They limit some of the functionality in the lower tier plan.
I looked at Podia briefly with the free trial and it the course development seems to be solid on the backend. I haven't tried their websites or email platforms. Their ability to use questions is somewhat limited. You will need to get the higher tiered plan if you want to have a membership, or offer coaching. I’ve used Podia in a few courses I’ve taken and I don't really like the user experience, but that's just my personal opinion.
Advantages of an all in one platform
The main advantage of the all in one platform is having everything together in one place. This means integration between the various functions of your business is simplified. There are also fewer areas for tech integration issues.
In theory cost should be less in an all in one platform, at least that is how they are marketed, but generally I’ve found that when you are starting out, cost will be less with multiple low cost platforms. But you may find that the simplicity of an all in one platform means you are spending less time than you would with several other platforms. If this means more time to spend in other areas of your business then an all in one platform can save you money.
Disadvantages of an all in one platform
Have you ever heard the expression jack of all trades, master of none? This describes all in one platforms. By trying to do everything, they are not focusing on any one area. For instance stand alone course platforms likely provide more options, WordPress websites are more easy to customize, and design for speed and SEO, and companies that focus on email marketing will likely have more robust systems.
Cost is also an issue, especially when your starting out. Since all in one platforms don’t have free plans, you are paying for the cost of all the platforms.
If you decide that you need something the all in one platform doesn't offer, it can be difficult to change. Do you move everything off the platform or add the expense of a new platform in addition to the all in one platform?
One thing I've noticed is that many larger companies that promote all in one programs are not using them for everything. As your needs increase you may find that the all in one platform no longer meets your needs. This means that you might need to pay for additional platforms as well as your all in one platform.
How should you choose?
All in one platforms can simplify your business. By choosing an all in one platform you could be up and running more quickly than if you are learning multiple platforms. If you don’t have the time or ability to learn and implement multiple tech platforms, then an all in one platform might be a good idea.
Budget may also be a factor to consider. Add up the costs of the individual platforms you need and determine if the cost of the all in one platforms make sense.
If you are trying to customize your user experience or want additional functionality than all in one platforms offer, then multiple platforms is probably a better option.
Most all in one platforms offer free trials. Take them for a test drive to see if they are right for you. While recommendations can help you choose, it’s also important that you make the choice that is right for you and your business. In this blog post I gave you some ways to create a great user experience. Make sure that the platform you choose offers a user experience you can be proud of.