Online learning has gone through a heavy period of democratization recently. There are courses that cover almost every single niche you can think of, no matter the area of interest.
This has led to the rise of course marketplaces like Udemy and SkillShare. These spots have a huge collection of courses from a wide variety of course creators on a large array of topics.
It has also seen content creators using tools to create and manage courses on their own websites.
The marketplaces are a great way to host your courses with minimal effort and upkeep. But it is these course creation tools for your website that I want to focus on.
Here's what we'll cover
- What are online course platforms?
- What is Zenler?
- What is New Zenler?
- What are the features of New Zenler?
- Zenler vs Podia vs Teachable vs Thinkific
- New Zenler beta pricing and promo code
- Final Word
What are online course platforms?
Online course platforms are tools that let you create a course on your selected topic.
They also let you manage aspects of it like categorizing leads to pitch future courses or deals on existing ones.
Marketplaces like Udemy fall under this line of tools. Having a large marketplace means you have access to a system that obviously works.
There is also the higher likelihood of being discovered if your course is a cut above the rest and you’ve targeted the right niche.
But tools like Zenler and Podia offer a way to integrate this system onto your own website. This gives you greater control of your courses and flexibility in selling them to your audience.
On top of that, you can match the courses to your brand and not conform to a rigid system.
Then there is a big difference in the income you make. While marketplaces offer you a simple way to host courses, they also take a big bite out of the course fees being paid.
What is Zenler?
This means you decide where to host the course, custom pricing, lead management, integrations with email marketing tools, etc., and great customer support.
By leaving the safety net of places like Udemy, you get greater control of the structure of your course. You also get complete control of your assets.
Your assets are of course the audience you’ve painstakingly built. With tools like Zenler, the details of your course buyers and leads are in your control.
You get to decide when and how to contact them about new courses, or new offers on existing courses.
This is a big advantage for smaller businesses that depend more on customer loyalty than sheer numbers for their profits.
Before I dive into what New Zenler is and why it’s such a big deal, it’ll be helpful if we first understand what the features of an online course platform are.
That’ll give us an understanding of what is expected of such tools, and later, how to surpass these expectations.
1. Create and sell your courses
Zenler lets you create multiple courses using Zenler Studio.
The Zenler Studio comes packed with all the best features one needs to build a top-notch course and have it integrated into your website.
This includes course themes, narration tools, screen recording, adding attachments, linking to YouTube, etc..
You can publish it to your website and even on your Android app if needed. This is only available on the Pro Plus plan.
Then you can sell these courses to your audience from your website.
2. Easy course management for users
Your users can easily manage their courses (multiple) once they finish their purchase.
They can choose from all their purchased courses, and track their progress on each one.
This means they can pause and resume courses at will, making it a very flexible training environment.
3. Track user progress
As an administrator, you can see how far each user is in their training.
This is useful when you want to categorize users based on the courses they take, and how far along with those courses they are.
You would use this grouping when you send burst emails, customized to each user and their progress.
4. Get real-time statistics
You can get an overall picture of course-related statistics.
This is useful if you’d like potential leads to know of the users who’ve signed up to your courses, the completion rate of these courses, etc..
5. Integration with other tools
All the categorization and back-end features are pointless if you can’t use it to direct your marketing strategy.
You need to be able to integrate with tools like email automation tools, for you to fully leverage all this information on your hands.
What is New Zenler?
The idea of New Zenler popped up when the folks behind Zenler asked themselves a simple question. “What is the single biggest challenge with online courses?”.
They came upon the answer after a few rounds of customer feedback and surveys. It’s in sales and marketing.
It is not the course creation where creators struggle. It is finding an initial audience and then scaling this initial number steadily.
The set of features that would then define New Zenler came bursting out, once they found this answer.
They built the new version of their already solid tool based around giving the course creators ways to market and sell their courses.
Then they just kept running with this vision, till New Zenler became an entirely new beast.
What are the features of New Zenler?
The section about Zenler features was to get you accustomed to what is expected of your garden-variety online course platform.
Now we get into the part of why Zenler redefines what can be expected. It is an all-in-one solution for course creators, in the truest sense.
Say goodbye to all other tool subscriptions that you’d normally have. All you need is Zenler, once it’s out of beta.
Drag-and-drop page builder
To sell any digital product, a good landing page is a must.
Something that is usually ignored when you consider course platforms. The job of a course platform is to host and manage courses.
Not with Zenler. Here, you get an exceptionally easy-to-use, feature-rich drag-and-drop page builder to get the job done.
All the elements you’d ever need on your landing page, is included in their builder. This is thanks to their commitment to taking on board the recommendations from their beta users.
Options like the countdown timer for your landing page is genius. Ask any online content creator.
I thought it’d be easier to illustrate the features if I were to make a campaign to sell a course on reviewing movies.
Now I’m in no way suggesting this is a good landing page. My strength in design is not on trial here.
But it is the features that I can add in a couple of minutes and publish instantly that’s attractive.
There’s even extreme attention to detail with each element.
For instance, the countdown timer can be set to a specific time or make it evergreen. You can even set it up in a way that it pops up 5 seconds after the visitor lands.
With a few tries, you’ll get really good and really quick at making high-converting landing pages.
And you can create and publish multiple landing pages for split testing or just different ones for different target audiences.
This too shows a focus on scaling.
Upgraded course creator
The core product is not left unenhanced either.
The course creator now accepts all sorts of additions like videos, audio, PDFs, PPTs, downloadables and very soon, live videos!
Along with this, you can create membership sites and course bundles.
Comes with Marketing Tools
Rather than have your marketing tools integrated into your course tool, Zenler has made it so that all your user-related data is maintained in one place.
And that is the only place you’ll need because you’ll be doing all your selling and marketing from this space.
Visualize your marketing funnels
Marketing funnels are an excellent way to plan and manage a marketing strategy. It all gives you all important information like conversion rate, from stage-to-stage.
Without this, you’d have no real information to work with when you try to improve your funnel’s performance.
This usually means you get a subscription to something like ClickFunnels, an excellent marketing tool.
But Zenler is a bit obsessed with being the only tool you need.
Currently, you can create 2 types of funnels. A video series or a lead magnet.
The lead magnet gives away a freebie like a blueprint in excel or a detailed pdf with a step-by-step breakdown, once the user enters his/her contact details.
The video series creates value for the audience with a set of free videos, delivered daily for a week or so. The final step in the series is an offer for your paid course.
The best part is that you can see how your funnel looks, and the performance of each step.
Here too, the attention to detail is astounding. The options you have in building this funnel blows the mind.
Based on real campaigns that convert well, Zenler covers any and all page templates like different versions of the Optin page, a number of variations of a video step, and thank you pages to complement each of the potential opt-in pages.
This means you can build a funnel perfect for each niche audience you’re targeting and not settle for a sub-standard one-size fit all funnel.
Setting up Email campaigns
This is another major upgrade to the online course platform model.
Rather than collecting data on your course tool and then handing it off to an out-and-out email marketing tool, you can now do it all in one spot.
It all starts with the leads you’ve collected through your funnel or imported from your old setup.
Once you have the categorization of your leads figured out, you can set up email broadcasts custom-made for each situation.
It could be a list of users that have signed up for your free course and have completed at least 75% of that course.
You would set up a sign-up email for just these users. The beauty of this set-up is that leads from your funnels can feed directly into your email campaigns.
This massively cuts down on your tool costs and the time it takes to set up a campaign.
Two factors you’ll agree are big concerns for small businesses.
High-converting email scripts
Zenler will also be tapping into their beta user base to get together a set of proven email scripts, to make your email campaign setup even easier.
They are not just happy to provide the tools for us to do well, they’re doing everything they can to give us results.
Build your own Community
This is an absolute stunner of a feature to have for an online course creator.
One of the up-sells or just an add-on feature, very common, in online courses, is access to fellow students for advice and for general discussion.
Zenler lets you build space for one to grow and engage, as part of your course!
This is usually handled by another tool, or a one-size-fits-all solution that makes the whole affair a bit drab.
Once you set up a community with name, logo, and description, you can add a subsection of your students’ group to that community.
Here, members can post and respond to each other freely. Something that would’ve taken you a whole other subscription and associated learning curve now takes you minutes on your course platform.
There’s a live chat feature to top it all off.
Live webinars for promotion
This will be added in the future, once the basics of the tool are 100% ready.
Webinars are a great way to bring in new people and keep existing users engaged. A weekly meet-up goes a long way in fostering a community.
Zenler vs Podia vs Teachable vs Thinkific
If we’re talking online course platforms, Zenler has to compete with the likes of Podia, Teachable, and Thinkific.
Podia’s plans start at $39 a month. That’s $468 annually.
Their premium plan, Shaker, costs $79 a month. That comes up to $948 a year.
Unlike their competitors, Podia doesn’t charge you transaction fees on top of your subscription. That’s a pretty strong incentive by itself.
Podia is a market leader in this space. It lets you create memberships to attract further leads and embedded checkout for smoother sales.
It even supports affiliate marketing. With Podia, you can generate codes for your supporters to do the sales for you.
Podia keeps it simple for course creators, in that it includes the essentials for any course creator and doesn’t overwhelm you with fluffy features.
Also, their support is top-notch. This is a big factor, especially at the start, when you’re trying to get your course off the ground.
Teachable pricing starts with the basic plan of $29 a month, up to the $399 a month business plan.
That’s a range of $348 to $4,788 over the course of a year. But the business plan is not for individual course creators. So we’ll keep our focus on the Basic and Pro plans.
So the pricing range is $348 – 948.
The basic plan is a very economical option, but it comes with a 5% transaction fees on all your sales. Teachable does give instant payouts and support unlimited students across all plans.
Teachable has excellent features like graded quizzes, and drip course content to make the course experience fuller, and more rounded.
There’s a neat feature of generating course certificates for students who put in the time.
Thinkific is one of the OGs of course creation, and they have a long, storied history of successful course creators.
They even offer a free plan for someone new to dip their feet in the market. But we’re looking at more serious options.
That would be the Basic and Pro plans.
The annual cost ranges from $588 – 1188. Thinkific offers great features like drip content, memberships, course bundles etc..
Both of these plans support unlimited courses & students. The Pro plan opens up advanced customization of the design of your course page, which is crucial for branding.
The Pro plan also lets you create communities for your course students, one of the big pluses of Zenler.
New Zenler beta pricing and promo code
Currently, still in beta, you’ll have to request an invite to use this fantastic new tool.
But once you get in, you get access to the Premium plan for $897 a year. For a tool that takes care of everything course-related, that’s a steal.
The basic plan costs $337 a year but comes with a limitation of sending 100K emails and holding info for up to 25K leads.
There’s no promo code currently. But once one is active, we’ll be sure to update this section.
I’m fairly sure that if course creation has been an issue or a field you feel could’ve been improved upon, the details of New Zenler will have you really, really excited.
So are we.
So don’t be caught waiting too long, supercharge your online course with Zenler ASAP.