One of the big areas that Kajabi can handle for your online business is email marketing – called “Email Campaigns” within the Kajabi interface.
Essentially we’re talking about sending emails, manually and automatically, to the people in your contact database. In addition, tracking how your contacts are interacting with those emails and also handling things like unsubscribe requests and bounced emails.
Here Kajabi competes directly with more established email providers like AWeber, MailChimp, ConvertKit, ActiveCampaign and many, many more. As you might expect, Kajabi can’t compete feature-for-feature with all of these; however, it does cover most of what you need in a solid fashion.
So let’s start by taking a look at the two types of email campaigns supported by Kajabi – email broadcasts and email sequences.
Almost all email providers support broadcasts – single emails sent manually to your contact list (or some segment of it). Broadcast emails are usually sent to everyone at the same time, either immediately or at some specified future date and time.
Email broadcasts are great for a few different things, including:
- Email newsletters that help you bond with and nurture your subscribers;
- Blog teasers that promote and drive traffic to your latest blog posts;
- Time-sensitive offers relevant to your subscribers’ interests and goals.
Generally, you can think of broadcasts as one-time emails that serve a specific purpose but are probably not used again.
The other type of Kajabi email campaign is the email sequence. (Many email providers call this type an email autoresponder.) Essentially it’s a predefined series of reusable emails that get sent automatically to your contacts under certain conditions.
For instance, you might create a “welcome” email sequence that sends one email a day for five days to anyone who signs up to your email list. Or an “onboarding” sequence that helps members get oriented with a product they’ve just bought via a series of informative emails.
Whereas email broadcasts are sent once at a specific time and usually to a whole group, email sequences are sent whenever they’re required to individual contacts that meet specific criteria.
Much like Kajabi Pages gives you a collection of pre-designed templates for building attractive and optimised landing pages, Kajabi’s Email Campaigns gives you templates for building attractive and effective emails.
But before we look at those in more detail, I want to touch upon what I call “The Great Email Template Debate”.
The Great Email Template Debate
There are two schools of thought around email design, which boil down to “plain versus fancy”. In other words, plain text emails with minimal design and few images, versus more richly designed emails with fancy images, rich formatting and other branding elements.
Those who prefer plain text emails argue that since they look like regular messages from a friend or colleague, recipients are more likely to open and engage with them compared to a slickly designed email that’s clearly from a business.
Those on the fancy side of the argument would say that a richer design helps your emails stand out in the recipient’s inbox and promotes brand recognition.
Generally, if your emails are presented as coming from an individual (e.g., the business owner) rather than from a business or brand, a plain email will probably work better. If your emails come from the brand as a whole, a richer design might be preferable.
The good news is that Kajabi handles both types well via its selection of email templates.
What Email Templates Does Kajabi Provide?
Kajabi offers a selection of well-designed, mobile-responsive email templates you can customise and use for specific purposes such as sharing a newsletter, announcing an event or promoting an offer.
These templates are modern and attractive but at the same time fairly simple and generic, so they can be used across different niches without much customisation.
In addition, you can also choose from a selection of more richly designed (and image-heavy) templates in a variety of designs that are tailored to specific niches.
Finally, there’s a simple text template you can use if you prefer the plainer approach.
Inside the email editor, you can customise the existing sections (or add new ones of your own) and provide the all-important body content. It’s all done in an environment that is very similar to the one used for building landing pages.
Note: Once you’ve created your email you also have the option to send a test email. Very handy for making sure that everything looks as it should!
Features and Limitations
Email broadcasts and sequences both support additional automation. This means actions taken by recipients can trigger other actions within your application.
For instance, when sending an email broadcast to promote your latest blog post, you could create an automation that adds a tag to every contact who clicks the link.
Or you could use an automation to send a coupon code to anyone who opens a specific email in a sales sequence if they don’t purchase your offer within a certain period.
For broadcasts, you can trigger an automation when your email is either opened or clicked. For sequences, you can also trigger an automation when an email is first sent.
With email sequences, you can also define triggers for entering (or prematurely exiting) the sequence and trigger other automations once the sequence is complete (effectively “chaining” one sequence to another).
Note: Since the different areas of Kajabi are so tightly integrated, email automations enable some fun possibilities. For example, you could trigger a “congratulations” email whenever a member completes a specific lesson in your online course.
Kajabi provides some basic reporting to help you track the performance of your emails.
For email broadcasts Kajabi shows the following statistics:
- Sent – the total number of emails sent in the broadcast;
- Delivered – the percentage of emails actually delivered (i.e., accepted by the receiving email server);
- Opened – the percentage of emails opened by the recipients;
- Clicked – the percentage of emails where the recipient clicked a link within the content;
- Hard Bounced – the percentage of emails that “hard bounced” (i.e., permanently rejected by the receiving email server);
- Unsubscribed – the percentage of emails that resulted in the recipient unsubscribing from your list.
For email sequences, Kajabi shows the same statistics for each sequence averaged over its lifetime and a smaller set (Sent, Clicked, Opened and Unsubscribed) for each individual email.
These reports will help you discover which of your emails are performing best (and worst!). That’s useful information since making a small tweak to the subject line of an underperforming sequence email could dramatically increase its open rate.
Custom Email Domain
By default, any emails you send from your Kajabi account (broadcasts or sequences) will be sent from an account-specific email address on Kajabi’s email domain that looks something like this: firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can easily set things up so that any replies are directed to your regular email but the sending address that people see in their inbox will be a Kajabi-branded one.
However, some people will prefer to send their emails from a domain they own and their customers will more easily recognise.
Well, Kajabi’s custom email domain features let you do just that.
Note: Using a custom email domain gives you more flexibility, but it’s more complex to set up and shifts more of the responsibility for things like deliverability onto you.
Automated List Hygiene
To help maintain the reputation of its email sending domains (and improve the deliverability of your emails) Kajabi works behind the scenes to remove invalid and inactive email contacts from your list to keep it as “clean” as possible.
Note: Contacts that have been automatically cleaned are still visible in your database via the Excluded segment.
Compared to some dedicated email marketing platforms, Kajabi is more limited in its feature set. So let’s take a quick look at the most important gaps.
Basic Email Sequence Builder
Kajabi provides a simple interface for creating and editing email sequences that’s in contrast to the more graphical “builders” available in other tools.
For each sequence, you’ll see a list of emails together with the day (relative to the start of the sequence) that they’re due to be sent out.
It does the job but it’ll seem very basic to anyone used to a more sophisticated email marketing tool.
Limited Timing Options for Email Sequences
Some email platforms support flexible logic for automated emails like “send on the next working day” or “send one hour after the previous email”.
However, Kajabi only provides two timing options within its email sequences:
- Send email immediately after some trigger occurs (e.g., someone joins your email list);
- Send email a specified number of days after the start of the sequence.
Additionally, you can’t send two emails from the same sequence on the same day, which is a little restrictive.
Transactional Emails Still Use Kajabi’s Domain
Even if you’ve configured a custom email domain, certain transactional emails sent from your Kajabi account will still use the kajabimail.com domain.
Examples include opt-in confirmation emails, login credential emails and offer granted emails.
I assume this is done to ensure that important emails are always sent from a domain that Kajabi controls and trusts.
However, it does mean that your users will still receive at least some emails from a domain they may not immediately recognise.
No Split-testing of Email Subject Lines
Some email marketing platforms have built-in support for split-testing of subject lines.
That means you can provide two or more subject lines for a broadcast email and let the system decide which one is best.
Kajabi doesn’t have this feature but to be fair, many other popular platforms lack it too. It’s most useful when you have an email list with at least a few thousand people on it.