Podia is an online course platform that allows creators to earn a living from their passion. You can use it to sell courses, memberships, and all kinds of digital products. But it may be better suited to some instructors than others.
Is Podia worth using? Podia offers a lot of convenient features in an all-in-one platform, making it worth using. High-volume sellers will get lots of value out of the “unlimited everything” approach, while the price may be more difficult to justify for some smaller businesses.
In this article, I’ll go over some of Podia’s top features. I’ll explain where I think this online course platform excels, and also a few areas where I think it could use some improvement. By the end, you should have a good idea if Podia is the right course platform for you.
Podia is a digital platform that allows you to sell online courses, memberships, and digital downloads to your students.
You can use it to quickly create a digital storefront to start selling your products, with minimal technical knowledge required.
Podia can help you handle every aspect of working with your audience. From sending out newsletters, to creating content, or taking secure payments.
If you’re already on another online course platform, they’ll even help you migrate over for free.
Podia uses one of the more simple pricing models of any online course platforms that I’ve seen. There are just two different plans to choose from.
Compare that to other platforms that usually have three, four, or even more different tiers and options available.
I actually find the way that they’ve chosen to keep things simple and straightforward rather refreshing. There’s no smoke and mirrors, and what you see with Podia is what you get.
On the platform you can choose between the interestingly-named Mover and Shaker plans.
The Mover plan is the more basic of the two. It costs $39 per month and is aimed more at people who just want to create a basic online course, or who are just launching their first digital product.
Although its features are far from limited.
The Shaker plan costs $79 per month and is aimed more at creators who are ready to grow their business. It gives more options when it comes to things like memberships and affiliate marketing.
Compared to some other platforms, the premium plan offers less perks and benefits, but is still worth the increase in price and stays competitive with similar offerings.
To evaluate an online course platform, you really need to know what it can do and what it’s capable of. And almost importantly, what some of the limitations are.
Here are some features of Podia that you’ll find interesting.
The monthly Mover or Shaker fee is all that you’ll ever pay to Podia. So it doesn’t matter if you’re earning $10 per month or $10,000 per month. You’ll always pay the same flat amount to use the platform.
You also get instant payouts on either plan. Whether you take payments with Stripe or PayPal, the money should get deposited and show up directly in your bank account within about 2 business days.
Some other platforms only payout once a month, which can make it harder to plan your finances.
Some other online course platforms have some sneaky details in the fine print that limit you on certain things. Whether that’s bandwidth, the number of courses you can sell, or any number of other things.
Podia doesn’t put any limits on you. You can have an unlimited number of products, files, and customers.
And you can send as many emails or make as many sales as you need without having to move up to a higher plan or pay extra fees.
Any course creator worth their salt has probably heard the phrase “the money is in the list” about a thousand times. But there’s a reason for that, it’s true!
Your email list is one of the most valuable tools that you’ve got for marketing as a course seller, or any other kind of online marketer or business owner.
Podia has built-in email marketing tools that will let you handle every aspect of email marketing directly through the platform.
You can send newsletters or one-off emails either to your entire list, or to a specifically targeted group.
You can also build funnels and create drip email campaigns to help engage potential and existing customers at every step of the sales funnel.
Podia also gives you all the necessary tools you’ll need to track and analyze how your emails are performing. Including click rates, unsubscribe rates, and open rates.
The ability to offer memberships is only available on the Shaker plan. But in my opinion, that alone is really worth the extra cost.
Memberships give you a way to earn a recurring and predictable income each month, instead of just having huge course launches where you earn a bunch of money, with a big lull afterward.
One interesting way that I’ve seen some creators use Podia is as an alternative to crowdfunding websites like Patreon.
Crowdfunding platforms can take anywhere from 5% to 15% or more of your revenue. So it doesn’t take much in terms of donations for the $79 per month for Podia to become more a more cost-effective option.
Podia’s memberships can do pretty much everything you’d expect out of Patreon or similar platforms. You can create an unlimited amount of different membership levels.
Each can have their own prices, and give different access to content and other perks.
Podia memberships are a great way to give exclusive access to members-only content to reward your loyal supporters.
You can use your membership site to share updates, ask members questions, or link it to other Facebook or Slack groups.
Even if you aren’t interested in selling a course or having a membership site, Podia can still be a fantastic option for selling digital downloads.
You can sell anything from shorter PDFs and cheat sheets or checklists, all the way up to e-books. You can also sell audio or video files, or pretty much any other content you could want.
You can also use Podia to offer free downloads for use as lead magnets, and grow your email list and audience that way.
Everything on Podia can also be bundled. So there’s lots of opportunity for upsells by suggesting your customers combine their digital downloads with online courses or memberships.
Podia gives you the ability to run webinars for your audience. This can be a great way to connect with them, whether you offer them for free to drive people to a product or build your list.
Or alternatively you can sell access to your webinars.
You can do live webinars and also share replays after the fact. The replays are a nice way to earn passive income as people continue to access them into the future.
Since it’s an all-in-one platform, Podia lets you handle things like sales pages from inside the platform, without having to use any third-party apps.
Use the Podia page builder to add testimonials, images, text, and other elements around your pages to create the look that you want.
You can use Podia sales pages to pre-launch a product and start collecting email addresses, even before your product is created.
This can be a fantastic way to garner interest in your product and see if it’s worth creating. Plus you can grow your list in the process.
Podia’s checkout is optimized for conversion and tries to make sales as frictionless as possible. They claim it’s possible for people to fully check out in just 12 seconds!
Checkout buttons can be embedded on any website, blog, or landing page that you create.
You can use Podia’s built-in messaging for a number of different purposes. But overall, it’s a great way to get to know your customers and figure out what they want, and what challenges they may be facing.
Live chat makes it convenient for customers to reach out and talk to you. You can use it more for support and answering questions people have to help boost sales.
Or you can even use it proactively to validate product ideas and make sure they’ll work before you actually put in the effort of creating them.
Even when you’re asleep, Podia’s messaging can keep gathering any feedback and questions that come in. And you can reply to them once you’re back online.
So it doesn’t matter whether you’re doing customer support, gathering customer feedback and requests, or engaging and upselling.
Podia’s integrated messaging is a feature that you won’t find built into many other platforms.
In many cases, you’d need to get a separate chat application to use if you decide to host your site elsewhere.
If you’ve already got a sizeable following, why not let your audience help sell your course for you? You can turn your biggest fans into your very own sales team by using Podia’s affiliate program.
You can set exactly how much you want your affiliates to earn per sale, and you can give each affiliate a unique coupon code to use.
Overall, Podia is a great all-in-one platform that I’d recommend. But there are a few reservations that I have that hold the platform back from receiving a glowing review from me.
Here are some aspects of Podia to take into consideration during your evaluation of the platform.
Neither the Mover or Shaker plan gives you the option to remove Podia branding from your storefront. While it is an option that’s available, it costs extra.
To me it cheapens the site a bit. It reminds me of free website hosts where you’ll get a message across the bottom saying something like “This free website hosted by Wix” or something similar.
While it’s not a dealbreaker for me, I do consider it a sticking point that I’m really not a fan of.
While Podia does have the option to include interactive quizzes at the end of modules, the feature is quite limited.
There is no way to add graded quizzes or assignments like on some other platform. And there is also no way to provide your students with certificates once they’ve successfully completed a course.
If your course is more self-directed then this might not be a big deal for you.
But if you were hoping to offer a course that gives more instructor feedback on student’s work, that will be much more difficult to accomplish through Podia.
Considering that Podia offers memberships, I expected a bit more in terms of community.
Compared to other platforms like LearnWorlds that have an integrated social network, Podia lacks a bit in the community department.
There’s no community area on the platform where your students can talk to each other, even in the membership area.
Nowadays a lot of online course platforms have the option to log in and access course material on mobile devices. Both in terms of instructors to manage their courses, and also for students to access material on the go.
Podia doesn’t offer any native mobile support at this time.
If you’re a solopreneur and running everything on your own, again this probably won’t be a huge deal.
But for larger organizations who need multiple administrators for their online school or course, Podia doesn’t offer any options. The $39 or $79 plan is per user.
This is fine if you’re managing everything yourself. But if you were hoping to work with a partner, or even give access to a virtual assistant to help manage your course, it’s a lot more difficult with Podia.
If you’re using Podia’s lower-priced plan, you can’t take advantage of any third-party code or scripts.
This can be extremely limiting, and it’s something that almost all course sellers will want to use in my opinion.
What this means is that you can’t integrate with things like Facebook Pixel to track how any of your course advertisements are doing.
And you can’t even use a countdown timer or popup solution from a third-party sales funnel app.
Teachable arguably has more to offer than Podia, and puts more emphasis on course creation. It allows for graded quizzes, certificates, course compliance, and provides better course analytics.
Although it’s not able to handle Memberships like Podia can, since
Like Teachable, I feel that Thinkific also does a better job at course creation and delivery than Podia does.
For much of the same reasons and extra features that Podia doesn’t offer. I feel that Thinkific also has a more powerful site builder.
So where Podia really stands out from other platforms for me is versatility. If you want to offer a bunch of different digital products including memberships, courses, and digital downloads, then it’s an ideal choice.
As long as you’re willing to give up a few features like graded quizzes, design flexibility, and community.
Podia could be a great solution for your online business. Whether you’re looking to sell courses, a membership site, or just digital downloads.
You can also use Podia as a unique alternative to crowdfunding platforms like Patreon.
For larger content creators, paying a flat monthly fee might be a better alternative than paying transaction fees on all of the funds that you receive.
Usually Podia becomes more appealing for this application if you earn more than $1,000 from memberships or digital sales per month.
Podia still excels at creating and hosting more traditional online courses too though. The platform puts no limits on your number of courses, emails, or anything else.
It provides content creators with powerful email marketing tools, sales pages, webinar, and affiliate marketing functionality.
I think the platform may not be the best choice for brand new course creators. But for those with an intermediate or advanced amount of experience with selling online courses, I think Podia is worth trying.
Jacob has a background in finance and engineering. Outside of his day job, he is a lifelong learner, who enjoys reading, taking online courses, and writing about what he's learned.
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