Starting an online business to sell courses or other educational products requires more than just a website with your product listings. Have you already leveraged a strategy for marketing your products and incentivizing customers? And how much money will you need to put into it before you get money out of it? What about the logistics of payment plans and payment processors?
The sheer weight of it all can be paralyzing, but you’re not alone. This dilemma can be remedied with the right software.
The term “all-in-one” platform often generates mixed reactions. On the one hand, the simplicity and ease of navigating a single platform is very attractive. And on the other hand, it might seem too good to be true – maybe it has all the pieces you need, but are the pieces any good? Both reactions are fair, especially when you’re online business will rely almost completely on the software you choose.
That’s why, in this article, I’m going to introduce you to Kartra, a platform that marries the best of both worlds. From a single interface, you can effortlessly create, launch, and market your online business.
What Is Kartra?
Kartra is a cloud-based, fully-integrated online marketing platform. An overwhelming 90% of businesses won’t make it past the first 5 years, and one of the biggest contributors to this statistic is that they aren’t prepared to market effectively.
To solve that problem, Kartra offers a comprehensive set of features that work together seamlessly to enable even rookie entrepreneurs to prosper. Too ofetn, the need for these features is discovered once you are deep into running an online business. But by then, it’s very difficult to backtrack; there’s too much to lose. To keep things going, you often wind up forking out a lot of money – and creating a lot of hassle – to bolt on solutions.
But Kartra requires one platform, one set of login credentials, and one fixed monthly payment to create, launch, and market your online business. It gives you everything you need – a professional marketplace, attractive landing pages, membership capabilities, and an efficient checkout process that’s uniquely designed to maximize customer conversion rates.
Is Kartra Right for You?
When it comes down to it, there are two main categories of online businesses – fledgling and seasoned. These categories also often apply to how tech savvy the business owner is. When designing an all-in-one platform, many developers prioritize the needs of fledgling entrepreneurs who have a basic level of technological proficiency. They shoot for a ready-made solution with minimal flexibility. As a result, seasoned businesses and tech experts often feel stifled, their creativity and more sophisticated needs suffocating under the weight of system constraints.
As a matter of fact, Kartra’s ability to marry simplicity with full-functionality is the core of what makes this software exceptional (not to mention its affordable, value-packed pricing plans!).
Now that you’ve got a general overview of what Kartra has to offer, let’s zoom into each of its most distinguishing features to see why it stands out!
Kartra Review: Key Features and Benefits
The following list of features is sequenced to help you envision the entire process of setting up your online business:
- Page builder
- E-mail marketing
- Sales funnels
- Leads system
- Affiliate marketing
- Helpdesk portal
- Integrations and APIs
Kartra Page Builder
The platform’s robust page building features seem like the right place to start a Kartra review.
If you’re setting up a site to sell online courses, the first logical step would be to create an online presence with the drag-and-drop page builder. With over 500 page and templates to choose from, you can effortlessly achieve the desired look and feel for your website. Once you’ve selected a template, the process is highly intuitive and painless. Just drag and drop the different section templates, such as headers, images, logos, navigation buttons, social media icons, etc.
The sheer number of options at your disposal is impressive. Not to mention the myriad types of landing pages you can create. For example, in addition to your sales page, checkout page, and registration forms, you can even incorporate well-timed pop-ups to nudge buyers in the right direction (e.g., checkout, coupon, info, and lead capture pop-ups)!
Moreover, if you’re worried about how your pages will appear on smartphones and tablets, don’t worry! All of Kartra’s pages are fully mobile responsive. Everything will be formatted in mint condition, regardless of screen size. In other words, Kartra paves the way for a successful future/online business.
We’ll get into analytics in more detail later. But it’s also worth noting here that Kartra’s landing pages uniquely allow for split testing. That is, you can create two slightly different versions of your landing pages, and automate the analytics process to see which design, based on user activity, is winning more favor among site visitors.
I’ve only skimmed the surface of Kartra’s page builder and capabilities, but clearly, they’ve gone all out. After all, first impressions are important, and this principle equally applies to landing pages. That’s why they’re rigorously tested to ensure high-conversion sales pages and processes.
Kartra describes itself as “a video marketers dream come true,” and it’s hard to argue. You can, of course, load video into most of the platforms mentioned here on Learning Revolution, but few platforms enable you to create marketing videos with pop-ups, calls to action, and lead tagging like Kartra does.
The Kartra video player is highly configurable. In addition to timed calls to action and tagging, you can “skin” videos with your colors, logo, and a customized look and feel. Keep in mind, too, that this is the same video player you can use to deliver your online course content. Like Kartra pages, it’s optimized for mobile and – very important to many Learning Revolution readers – you can watermark your video content with it to help protect your intellectual property.
As powerful as all of that is, one of the best aspects of Kartra Video is that it lets you view user activity in real-time and profile your watchers. For example, if your sales pitch begins at the 3-minute mark of your 4-minute video, then not only can you add an automatic call to action at the end, but you can tag the customers who went past the 3-minute mark as “Has seen offer” and adjust your marketing efforts accordingly.
Most online business platforms enable e-mail marketing via third-party integrations – which means you will need to find and pay for a separate e-mail platform. Kartra, on the other hand comes, with its own full-featured Karta Mail system.
As you would expect from a robust e-mail platform, Kartra Mail supports capabilities like tagging and segmenting your subscribers, automating messages based on criteria you specify, split testing, and configurable templates to reflect your brand. It even has SMS capabilities.
Kartra Mail is also tightly integrated into the platforms sales funnel and lead management capabilities (more on those below) and provides reporting that gives you clear insight into how subscribers are engaging with your e-mails (clicks, opens, etc.), whether they are converting into buyer, and how much revenue specific e-mail campaigns generate.
Overall, the capabilities you get from Kartra Mail are on par with what you will get from big name e-mail providers like MailChimp or Constant Contact, but you don’t have to pay separately for them, and they are completely integrated with the rest of the system out of the box.
But most uniquely of all, you can also take advantage of Kartra’s marketplace – where users like yourself can enlist or sell your services – to buy or sell your own marketing campaign tools. As such, the marketplace serves as yet another avenue for revenue and additional tools.
Additionally, you can expand your reach with a battalion of marketing affiliates who can sell your products to their respective audiences/customers. Kartra helps you cultivate, screen, enlist, and set commissions for your affiliate team with its in-built affiliate management system. And of course, this process, too, can be automated, thus keeping your hands-free for what matters most.
And to take things a step further, Kartra integrates data from its thorough toolkit of marketing features to provide robust, exhaustive, and insightful analytics. By viewing web traffic and detailed user activity reports, and leveraging data in accordance with your lead tags, strategizing for success becomes a breeze! Kartra places everything you need right at your feet!
Kartra Sales Funnels
Pretty landing pages, videos, and e-mail capabilities are all great, but their potential is limited if you can’t put them all together to attract and engage with prospects in a compelling way. And that brings us to an area that no Kartra view would be complete without: sales funnels.
In case “sales funnel” isn’t a familiar term, it basically describes a way to create a path from an initial visit to your site all the way through a purchase. Someone may land on your site, for example, and opt in to view a valuable video you have created. When they do that, they might, for example, be added into a sequence of e-mails or directed to other pages through which you give them additional valuable content. That might mean access to more videos, e-mail based tips, downloadable documents – whatever makes sense for your business. Through this process, you build trust and authority, qualify your prospects, and guide a percentage of them to making a purchase.
Because all your landing pages, emails, and sales funnel components are perfectly integrated and function as a cohesive unit, Kartra makes setting up this path very easy. All you need to do is outline the sequence of events that will take place as potential buyers navigate your site, and then set “If/Then” parameters in Kartra to define rules and behaviors for every imaginable scenario a visitor might encounter. Once you’ve created your “rulebook”, then the sales funnel process becomes completely automated and hands-free!
As with the page builder, building your sales funnel is as easy as dragging, dropping, and using arrows to connect the different steps your visitors will take, all the way from “peruse” to “purchase”. However, if you’re strapped for time and/or clueless about what makes a great sales funnel, then try leveraging Kartra’s marketplace where you can purchase funnels that other Kartra users have created or hire an expert to help you.
As you probably realize, being able to set up sales funnels is really powerful way to reduce the labor required to run your business, provide your prospects with a more personalized experience, and greatly increase your revenue potential. Few platforms can match Kartra for combining strong funnel capabilities with all of the other capabilities you need to run a revenue-generating website.
Kartra Lead Management
Right up there with Kartra’s funnel capabilities are its leads features. These go hand in hand with funnels and e-mail marketing and no Kartra review would be complete without highlighting them.
Depending on your funnel strategy, you might or might not have multiple points along the funnel at which you can gather and view all your leads’ personal information at a glance. With Kartra, your customers are 100% yours. So, the lead management process is thoroughly transparent and you completely own your leads’ information.
Kartra’s lead tagging system empowers you to profile potential buyers and segment them into laser-focused groups to enhance your targeted marketing efforts. Instead of creating a one-size fits all solution, you can maximize customer conversions with targeted email marketing campaigns that enable you to differentiate between cold vs warm leads, repeat customers, and potential buyers that fell through the cracks.
If lead tagging qualifies them, then lead scoring quantifies them. For example, you can automate points based on how many items a customer’s shopping cart contains at checkout, in addition to a prescribed amount of points for successful purchases. This level of qualitative data can help you determine where to focus your efforts.
All in all, with lead tagging and lead scoring combined, and the fact that Kartra is a single, fully-integrated system, you get a 360-degree view of your sales prospects – ultimately, your greatest asset.
And it’s great that Kartra doesn’t try to nickel and dime you by taking a cut of your sales or withholding key lead data. Instead, it sets you up for success by allowing you to track their journey on your site and gain invaluable intel. The more lead information you collect, the easier it will be to leverage Kartra’s exhaustive, in-built analytics to attract more leads and bolster sales.
We’ve made it this far, yet barely scratched the surface of Kartra’s marketing capabilities. That notwithstanding, despite providing everything in-house, Kartra goes above and beyond the basics to ensure each tool is high-functionality without assuming any significant technical or marketing knowledge on your part.
However, if there’s no way around third-party integrations, then you’re in luck. Kartra provides a long list of plug-n-play integrations from a wide range of categories, including but not limited to payment gateways, email service providers, and membership platforms.
There are also more than 2000 pre-built Zapier integrations you can leverage. Finally, Kartra does have a robust set of options – API, IPN, and a custom app framework – that enable you to interface with the system in just about any way you can imagine. (These options do, of course, require programming capabilities, as they would on any platform.)
So far, we’ve we’ve made it through this Kartra review without referencing any product types. For the most part, Kartra’s features are optimized for the sale of digital versus physical products – and Kartra Memberships are the core capability that will be of interest to most Learning Revolution readers.
The membership capabilities are leverage by many Kartra users to develop training materials and/or e-learning courses that are hosted on their membership sites. In this model, every purchase amounts to a recurring payment, creating a snowball effect for your recurring revenue. But that’s not all!
Once you convert a customer and they purchase a membership subscription, you can also drip feed your training content as another mode of additional income. For example, if your training program consists of 5 modules, then you might “drip” each subsequent module for a small fee. This will keep your trainees engaged, in suspense, and keen to find out what’s next.
And, as with everything else, Kartra does much of the heavy lifting for you so you can focus on content creation and quality assurance. For example, the drag-and-drop interface for building your membership site makes the process quick and straightforward. Moreover, you can customize your site using one of Kartra’s many professional templates and color schemes.
But there’s much more to this feature than meets the eye. Kartra’s membership feature also provides your trainees with a premium experience. Create learning paths by structuring your content into categories and subcategories, making for an intuitive navigation experience. And you’re not limited to one method of delivery. Kartra can take on nearly any type of training format, including text, images, audio, video, podcasts, or some combination thereof.
And of course, as a course admin, you’ll have a full range of analytics tools at your disposal for tracking user progress. This will help you diagnose problem areas with your membership content and adjust accordingly. In addition, every membership site worth its salt offers a helpdesk portal. You significantly lower the value of your membership offering(s) without a means of customer support, especially when you’re charging customers on a monthly/recurring basis.
Furthermore, you’re not just limited to the customary email ticketing system. Now, more than ever, people are going for services that offer live support. With Kartra, you can use the real-time live chat or ticketing system, or switch to a ticket-only system after live-chat hours. The best part is that Kartra’s helpdesk enables multi-agent collaboration and integrated billing to make the support process smooth on both sides of the counter!
Now that we’ve covered much of Kartra’s features at length, you might be worried about the cost of such a valuable offer. I find Kartra’s pricing to be more than reasonable for the breadth and quality of features it provides (for even the most novice online businesses). Moreover, it’s 4-tier pricing plan is highly flexible. You won’t have to pay for more than the necessities.
According to the pricing plan pictured above, the first thing you’ll need to consider is how many leads you currently have or anticipate that you will have. Other features, such as the number of custom domains, bandwidth, landing pages and membership sites naturally increase as you upgrade plans, so take a long hard look at where your business currently is, and where you’d like it to be before deciding on a plan.
Note that, if you go with the basic or Starter plan, you won’t have access to Kartra Agency, which gives you an “at a glance” view of multiple client accounts. So I’d recommended starting with the Silver plan to access this indispensable feature.
Kartra Review: Final Thoughts
Kartra is a solid platform to start your online business. Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned veteran, you’re going to find that it has all the features you need to get a website, sales funnel, marketing strategy, and membership site up and running! That being said, without leveraging its membership site capabilities, you’re limiting yourself to one-off sales. The constant hunt for leads and conversions can be time-consuming and financially destabilizing, to say the least.
That’s why, of all the features we’ve looked at, I’d highly recommend taking advantage of Kartra’s membership feature. It’s great for edupreneurs, training centers, or anyone looking to train people online. Their membership site is fully-loaded with a recurring payment system, content drip feeding, and branding and customization tools. Moreover, you can virtually create any type of training material that incorporates one or more of text, audio, images, and video.
Despite the fact that Kartra is a carefully-designed all-in-one platform, you could deep-dive into any one of its features and still resurface without fully unlocking its potential. It’s quite remarkable and rare for an all-in-one solution to provide such well-rounded value.
One of the hardest aspects of getting an online business up and running is simply starting. So what’s eating you? Get started with Kartra today!
By Sydney Mansaray for Learning Revolution