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The 3 Best Online Coaching Platforms And Tools (2023 Guide)

Blog Introduction: If you’re a digital business owner who has a coaching or consulting practice you want to grow in 2023, then this blog is key to helping you better understand the tools needed to succeed in your online coaching without having to rely on hundreds of different platforms that cost you thousands of dollars every single month.

This blog will cover some of the best tools and platforms to help you in your online coaching journey. We’ll discuss different price points for each forum to ensure that no matter what budget you’re working with, you have options available to you.

Finally, we’ll look at how each platform can enhance your coaching practice so that your clients receive the best possible experience from their time with you and remain loyal customers for years to come.

We will discuss three key areas: setting up an online presence, creating interactive content, and using automation to streamline operations.

Creating Offers & Client management

Unless you’re making sales, you don’t have a coaching business. So what’s needed to start making sales online?

We’ll look at a few essential factors in this section, including offers, software, and systems.

Type of Coaching business and Online Coaching Services

The coaching industry can be broken into a few core coaching business models:

Group Coaching programs:

You work with a group of folks to solve a specific problem inside a container.

Pros: This model works best for online coaches who have had experience working with many clients online and want to put all of the information into a tight container to support more people and have a higher earning potential.

Cons: This model can often make it more difficult to manage clients, especially if you don’t have proper systems set up to track client progress in the program or haven’t yet developed enough coaching experience to know how to support multiple clients at one time.

One on One Coaching Packages

Based on you working privately with a client regularly, where you meet for a set number of sessions to help them solve their issues through an individual approach

Pros: This model is great for an online coach who enjoys more high-touch, custom, and personalized programs because you’re only focused on one client at a time and can provide your best coaching at a higher ticket price. Because you have fewer clients to work with, coaching management tends to be much easier.

Cons: You are limited to the number of clients you can work with at any time and will need to create personalized proposals for each new client you enroll.

Sell Online Courses

These either do or do not include coaching sessions to help your clients understand information and get results by going through your online courses.

Pros: If you’re creating DIY or self-study courses that don’t offer group coaching as part of the offer, it’s easy to have unlimited clients because there’s no time involved from you.

Cons: Because there aren’t any touch points or group sessions offered, we often see client engagement drop inside these containers, making it nearly impossible to track progress outside of the course analytics.

Online Community and Memberships

Set recurring monthly subscriptions where folks pay to be a part of your community and have access to content.

Pro: Unlike selling an online course that is a one-time purchase, the benefit of selling a membership is the ability to consistently increase your MRR (Monthly Recurring Revenue) each time you have new clients sign up with you. This tends to be a great model for personal trainers and fitness coaches who want to create an evergreen offer that they are always enrolling clients into.

Cons: Because this tends to be a rolling, evergreen program, it requires ongoing client management and, often, for you to spend more time creating new assets for the actual offer to keep older clients excited about continuing to reinvest.

How much is an online coaching program?

Online coaching programs range from as low as $27/month for memberships or workshops to as high as $100,000 for access to an exclusive community or mastermind, depending on your niche, skillset, and target audience.

SELF-STUDY Courses average cost

The average cost for self-study courses without coaching ranges between $997-$2997.

Group Coaching Average Cost

While the moderate group coaching program with an average length of 3-6 months is typically between $2,500- $7,500 based on the container’s content.

Monthly Memberships Average Cost

Most online memberships or monthly recurring subscriptions charge between $27/per month – $197/per month, depending on the content included inside the membership.

one-on-one coaching Average Cost

One-on-one coaching programs range between $500/month and $5,000/per month, depending on the coaching offered and what’s included in the package. It’s essential to ensure your pricing is ethical and equitable, meaning that you are paying yourself a livable wage while also guaranteeing the ROI (return on investment) your client is receiving is justifiable for the investment they are making in their work with you.

Coaching Software and Online Coaching Tools

Suppose you build an online community or membership. In that case, you must choose the best coaching platforms to host your content on where you can easily track and collect client data that will help you improve the client experience inside your program.

Coaching Platforms

TRAINERIZE

If you’re a personal trainer, we recommend using Trainerize as one of the go-to apps for client management that allows you to create program templates that you can share with different clients based on their needs.

Trainerize has a mobile app that makes delivering fitness programs to clients easy. It offers an incredibly affordable rate with a FREE option to get started on your own using its 30-day free trial.

You can learn more about Trainerize by clicking here.

ScaleUP

Suppose you’re planning on creating courses and want an easy-to-manage members area. In that case, ScaleUP is a great alternative that allows you to have complete systems and membership sites with infinite upsells.

ScaleUP also allows you to track valuable client data, including the ability to track progress throughout the course content and encourage client engagement through comments.

GroupApp

This is one of the best coaching platforms because it allows you to host your entire community inside the app instead of relying on Facebook. Group App starts at $0 per month for professional coaches ready to start their online community.

You can learn more about GroupApp by clicking here.

If you’re not a fitness coach and are looking for coaching tools to help you with your client management, there are a few other software we recommend to help make your life easier:

Online Payments

To have your business generate sales each month, you’ll need an automated way to collect cash and have clients enter their credit card information.

Stripe versus PayPal

Two of the biggest payment platforms in the online coaching world are Stripe and PayPal. Both services offer easy setup, secure transactions, and support for multiple currencies.

Stripe

Stripe offers a flat fee of 2.9% + $0.30 for each transaction, while PayPal charges a flat rate of 2.9% + $0.30 for domestic payments and 3.9% +$0.30 for international transactions. The main difference between the two services is that Stripe allows you to customize

You’ll want to have a way to create accessible checkout pages that link with Stripe, which is where we recommend ScaleUP so you can skip the hassle of codes and seamlessly connect your Stripe account with the user-friendly interface inside ScaleUP that has all the features you’ll ever need to feel confident selling your coaching program.

You can learn more about ScaleUP by clicking here.

Suppose you’re earning more than $100,000/year in sales. In that case, the stripe fees can quickly add up, which is why folks making at least $8,000 or more a month in sales consider switching to our custom platform, Noomerik, which connects perfectly with ScaleUP and reduces your payment processing fees exponentially.

You can learn more about Noomerik by clicking here.

Now that you have a way to collect payments, it’s time to start thinking about your coaching process and how you will move potential prospects into paying coaching clients.

Appointment Booking Software

There are two main types of appointments you’ll be booking every single month inside your online coaching business: Coaching appointments and enrollment calls.

If you plan on having plenty of one-to-one coaching clients, you’ll want to save time by having an automated system for scheduling sessions with your clients each week or month.

There are a few options depending on your needs and how many appointments you’ll be booking monthly:

Calendly

Calendly is a great scheduling system for coaches because it allows customers to schedule sessions with you quickly.

It integrates directly with many popular calendar providers, such as Google Calendar and Outlook, so your customers can see when you are available and choose a time that works best for them.

Calendly also offers customization options so that you can add specific instructions for customers, such as what documents they need to bring to the appointment or any special requests you may have.

Additionally, the system allows you to set up payment options so that customers can pay for sessions directly within the platform. Overall, Calendly is an excellent scheduling system that will save coaches valuable time and effort while providing a seamless customer experience.

You can learn more about Calendly by clicking here.

Save time by using Loom

Loom

Loom is one of our favorite coaching tools that allows you to save hundreds of hours monthly from meetings because it will enable clients to record and send messages with their questions.

This way, coaches can respond when available without breaking up their workflow. It also helps to keep track of conversations organized so that you don’t miss out on anything important.

Additionally, Loom offers additional features like deep analytics that help coaches better understand customer needs and the effectiveness of their services.

A loom is an invaluable tool that can help coaches save time, provide better customer service, and increase productivity.

You can learn more about Loom by clicking here.

Marketing Tools

Now that you’ve built out the backend of your online coaching business, it’s time to get serious about the meat and potatoes of growth: Marketing.

For the sake of this article maintaining a certain length, we’ll condense this next section to focus ONLY on the best online coaching platforms that offer an all-in-one solution for your coaching business and do a cross-comparison of the pricing, features, and benefits of each.

The most crucial marketing features for online coaches

You’ll want to be sure whichever software you choose has the basic functionality for marketing:

  • Email list building

  • Email Segmentation

  • Email campaigns and automation

  • Checkout pages

  • landing pages, funnels, or sales pages

  • Website Hosting

  • Membership area and courses

  • Contact list segmentation, including tagging, creating multiple intelligent lists, and more.

  • Affiliate management

  • Appointment Scheduling system

  • Pipeline and sales reporting

  • Social Media Planner

  • Task Management

There are many online coaching platforms in the world today, each of which tends to offer some of the core features outline above but often missing at least one or two of the features that require you to quickly stack costs by adding on other software and figuring out how to connect the dots.

The Best Online Coaching Platform

Regarding online coaching businesses, Kajabi and ClickFunnels are two of the most popular platforms with an upcoming competitor, ScaleUP. These offer powerful tools for online course creators and coaches, but each has unique strengths and weaknesses. In this comparison of Kajabi vs. ClickFunnels vs. ScaleUP, we’ll look at their features, pricing, customer support, and more to help coaches make an informed choice about which platform is right for them.

Kajabi Versus ClickFunnels Versus ScaleUP: The Biggest Differences

Kajabi

Kajabi offers online course creators the ability to create websites with custom domain names, email marketing campaigns, online payment processing capabilities, and a robust set of course-building tools, as its primary focus is selling courses for digital creators.

The platform is made for folks who prefer a more modern, minimalistic, and templatized approach to online coaching platforms, which is why they are often recommended by business coaches teaching you how to sell courses online.

ClickFunnels

ClickFunnels was designed as a funnel-building software for marketers who value data over everything.

ClickFunnels also offers the ability to host courses but tends to have a less user-friendly backend and can have a higher learning curve for coaches who don’t want to learn how to code

ScaleUP

Coaches designed ScaleUP for coaches as the best online coaching platform for taking your business online and having all the marketing tools you need to scale without paying additional fees for multiple software.

ScaleUP combines Kajabi’s modern approach while maintaining the high level of customization that ClickFunnels offers, allowing you to get the best of both worlds.

Features

Dashboard

The most immediate distinction between the three options when deciding on the online coaching platform you want to use is the priority of content laid out on the dashboard of each system.

Kajabi Dashboard

Kajabi’s dashboard is all around your email list and course sales since their core focus is growing your online coaching business through memberships. You’ll also notice that their user interface is simplistic and minimalistic, providing users with the least amount of information.

Dashboard of Kajabi homepage upon logging in
Clickfunnels Dashboard

ClickFunnels Dashboard is getting a major upgrade in 2023 as it begins to move away from being solely focused on funnel development and starting to broaden itself into the larger capacity of blogs, funnels and selling courses online. It’s important to note that ClickFunnels was originally developed for a much broader audience beyond just coaches and course creators, but instead, geared towards e-commerce, products and other types of digital coaching products.

ClickFunnels 1.0 Dashboard
ClickFunnels 2.0 Dashboard
ScaleUP Dashboard

ScaleUP’s dashboard provides a more robust overview of the most important analytics for it’s users including the basics of pipeline value, the percentage of sales closed and lost per month, along with an overview of upcoming appointments, tasks and includes analytics from your ads and source reporting accounts.

As you can tell, ScaleUP is built to be the most robust and thorough coaching platform on the market for coaches who professional coaches who are excited by a more sophisticated platform.

ScaleUP Dashboard

Products and Memberships

Kajabi Memberships

Kajabi offers a limited amount of 3 products, 1 website, 3 funnels and up to 1,000 active members or 10,000 total contacts at it’s base plan of $149/month. It’s course area is one of the best for coaching programs because it allows for assessments, comments and a free mobile app that make it easy to increase client engagement and track progress.

Kajabi only allows for products to be created with a pay in full one time payment processing option OR using monthly subscriptions by linking Stripe or PayPal.

Kajabi Courses and Products Dashboard
ClickFunnels Memberships

ClickFunnels offers the ability to create up to 3 courses, 1 website, 20 funnels, 1,000 active students or 10,000 total contacts at it’s basic plan of $147 per month and is avidly working on improving it’s course builder by creating course templates in the ClickFunnels 2.0 release where you can easily drip content out based on the clients progress.

ClickFunnels does NOT currently offer a mobile app for users to be able to login and access their content.

ClickFunnels 2.0 Course Dashboard
ScaleUP Memberships

ScaleUP offers the best offer with truly unlimited courses, memberships, websites and funnels at it’s base plan of $97 per month while also providing 4 core templates to choose from for each course or membership type including the ability to drip, schedule, lock and create assessments to help track your students progress throughout the course.

You’ll also notice that inside the ScaleUP Membership Dashboard, you have the ability to create custom WordPress sites and have your website hosted the best website building platform on the web.

ScaleUP also offers a mobile app for all course content.

ScaleUP Membership Area

Conclusion: If your only goal is to have the best coaching tool for courses and memberships with a clean and sophisticated interface, Kajabi is the way to go. If you’re wanting to build an unlimited amount of courses, products and membership libraries that allow you to grow an unlimited clients, it may be more cost effective to switch to ScaleUP for hosting your programs.

Email Marketing and Automation

Kajabi Email Marketing

Kajabi has one of the more limited email marketing features thanks to it’s simple user interface. You can setup campaigns, email blasts and basic automations but are limited by factors such as only being able to schedule emails 1 day apart which can be disadvantageous for folks who want to create more robust email marketing campaigns such as workshops and webinars.

With Kajabi, you can only send emails to a max of 10,000 contacts per month before needing to upgrade to their growth plan at $199/month which allows you to have an email list of 25,000. If you have MORE than 25,000 contacts on your email list, you’ll be required to upgrade to their Pro plan that costs $399/month.

ClickFunnels Email Marketing

ClickFunnels offers a more robust email marketing feature but it only becomes accessible for folks who upgrade to their pro plan at $197/month. ClickFunnels offers its own in house SMTP provider similarly to Kajabi and allows you to schedule broadcasts, send email blasts or setup more sophisticated campaigns and automations.

Clickfunnels pricing model is similar to Kajabi in the limitations of contacts you can email per month. If your contact list is between 10,000-25,000, you’ll need to pay the $197/month and if you’ve grown your business contact list over 25,000-200,000 contacts, you’ll have to upgrade to the Funnel Hacker plan at $497/month.

ScaleUP Email Marketing

ScaleUP offers the most robust email builder with the option to embed YouTube Videos, Giphs, Audio bits, and photos with the optional HTML code builder OR the ability to use the simple drag and drop feature.

This platform also offers hundreds of email templates for you to quickly pull from and the ability to schedule out dripped emails, batched emails, blast emails or hyper sophisticated automated sequences that can range from minutes instead of being limited by days.

Additionally, ScaleUP has NO LIMIT to the amount of users you can send emails to each month and has a simple re-billing system setup so you only get charged $1.05 for every 1,000 emails you send. This means, you only pay for the emails you actually use and not just for contacts on your email list.

Conclusion: If your only goal is to send basic emails out and you don’t need a ton of sophistication, Kajabi will be your best coaching software for email marketing.

Alterantively, if you’re someone who wants the ability to create more robust email marketing campaigns on your coaching platform and have more control over your emails, we recommend ScaleUP which will save you thousands each month based on your email list size continuing to support unlimited clients and raising the bar for online coaching platforms.

Payments and Checkout Pages

When it comes to the ability to scale your coaching practice, it’s a clear winner for functionality.

ScaleUP offers the ability to create personalized proposals and invoices you can send directly to clients via text SMS or email. The system also allows you to manually record payments received outside the system whether it was through apple pay, zelle or cash so you can track all the revenue in one place.

Additionally, ScaleUP offers you the option to add tax to all purchases automatically along with the ability to create coupon codes based on percentages, dollar amounts, fixed amounts or more with set expiration dates for each product.

ScaleUP Payments Dashboard

Unlike Kajabi or ClickFunnels, ScaleUP also allows you to create multiple payment options for each product whether it be a one time payment, a monthly payment plan OR a recurring monthly subscription with no expiration date.

ScaleUP also allows you to setup trial periods for each product including onetime setup fees so you can be sure you’re getting paid without having to think twice about it. This is what makes ScaleUP one of the best online coaching platforms out there.

ScaleUP Products offer multiple payment options

When it comes to taking payments and collecting cash, Scaleup is one of the best coaching platforms on the market.

Is Kajabi good for coaches?

Kajabi is a great online coaching platform for coaching companies that enjoy a simple, sophisticated and education based business model that gets straight to business. Many folks would consider Kajabi one of the better marketing tools for beginners and novice business owners who only want to focus on building one main course or product and don’t need a lot of landing pages, email marketing tools or other coaching tools outside of selling courses online or programs.

If you know how many clients you want to have and it fits within the Kajabi limit of 10,000 total contacts before needing to upgrade your plan, Kajabi may just be for you!

Our opinion? Kajabi is a good coaching platform, but we don’t believe it’s the best.

What is the best online coaching platform?

Online coaching platforms exist to help you build your coaching packages and scale your business, which means it’s imperative to fine a true all-in-one solution that not only allows you to create landing pages, build courses, or have a fancy coaching app, but more importantly, grows with you and gives you the peace of mind that your business is running smoothly as you grow.

This is why we believe ScaleUP is the best coaching platform on the market offering additional tools not available inside any other platform out there including:

  • Calendar booking system with unlimited calendars, group calendars, appointments and syncing with Google, Zoom, and Ical which would quickly replace the cost of Calendly or other clunky appointment systems like Acuity Scheduling so you can scheduling one on one coaching sessions or group sessions anytime.

  • Native Invoicing and taxes along with tracking all subscriptions, orders, products and transactions to make selling coaching services easier than ever. This system even integrates directly with QuickBooks to make your end of year accounting a breeze.

  • Unlimited users including the ability to have multiple coaches inside one account OR have multiple team members without having to share your password.

ScaleUP also offers a 30 day free trial for all new users who want to explore the platform before making the big switch, just click here to learn more.

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I'm Sophie Kessner

First generation Mexican American mama that’s gone from hood to strategic hustle. I’ve spent the last 10+ years inside the personal development space supporting 100’s of coaches in scaling 6 figure businesses online & supported 4 different companies in surpassing the 7 figure mark. Today, I focus on making scaling more sustainable by integrating the lenses of business, systems, automation and CEO Development through an Equity centered and Trauma informed lens.

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