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Which Content Management System Is Best For Selling Information Online?

By Yaro Starak
38 Comments

Three years ago I began the search for a technology setup to market and deliver my first information product online. Although I made a decision and eventually launched my product, I would continue to change systems as I ran up against problems with the technology.

Gideon Shalwick and I have had a conversation over and over again, lamenting the lack of a truly robust software tool designed for Internet marketers to sell information online.

The ideal system should be able to…

…And so on.

There are so many features you need, and delivering them in an easy to use tool is very difficult, at least it has been so far as no one has managed to nail it yet.

Lately a few packages have surfaced which look like real contenders, and while not perfect, offer some pretty amazing features. I’ll introduce you to three of them in a moment.

Currently I’m using a combination of Clickbank/Paypal with WordPress and AWeber for my products. Gideon added to this list the Wishlist Member plugin for his most recent product to increase the membership site functionality of WordPress to manage his content.

I’m gearing up to do a brand new launch, the first time I have taught a new course now in several years, and as such, I’m going through the process of deciding on what software to use to deliver what I’m going to teach.

Here are the tools I’m looking at, one of which I will use, or I will stick with my current system. Hopefully my decision making process will help you come to a decision on what technology to use for your next information product.

Enter Kajabi – Is It The Answer?

You may have received a few emails lately from Internet marketers promoting the launch of a new platform called Kajabi. It is the brainchild of Andy Jenkins, who with a development team have been putting the final touches on what looks like a potentially very good system.

You can watch a video about it right here – What Is Kajabi?

John Reese (Outsource Force), Mike Filsaime (Affiliatedotcom.com), Jeff Walker (Product Launch Formula) and Frank Kern (List Control) all beta tested the software during a very busy 2010 launch year. I experienced all these launches on the front end, and experienced the back-end of Outsource Force, so I can see what the software can do from a user perspective.

What I don’t have yet is experience with the system from an administrator perspective, so I can’t judge exactly what it does. The videos give away a lot, so rather than me explaining, let Andy Jenkins convince you how good his software is by watching this -

What Is Kajabi?

Nanacast – The Proven Performer?

Early in 2010 James Schramko recommended Nanacast to me when I said I needed something that could let me take payments of over $1,000, handle affiliates and offer upsells and downsells. James praised Nanacast, stating he had done almost half a million dollars in transactions through it already, so I was keen to take a look.

I haven’t had a chance to play with Nanacast on a live product yet, though I did take a look at the admin interface and how James was using it. From what I can tell, it’s not the best presented tool, so it can be difficult to figure out how to use it (there is ample support and training however). I suspect as with most software, once you get a feel for the core functions you need to use, it becomes a lot easier.

This tool is available now and has been on the market for a while, so it’s the most publicly tested product of the three I am talking about in this article. As a result I suspect it has fewer bugs and more support materials as other people have no doubt already experienced problems and sought support for it.

If you want to try it out for yourself, visit – www.nanacast.com

FusionHQ – The Best For Beginners?

While Nanacast might need some improvement in terms of usability, FusionHQ looks to make setting up sales funnel processes point and click easy – as easy as drawing a mind map of the sales process you want to complete.

It also offers WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) style editor for all pages, meaning in theory even beginners should be able to use it to set up a fairly complicated upsell/downsell process.

The problem, as I see it, is in execution of the idea. We are talking about some at times complex processes, so giving people the power to set up and configure variables across different systems and keep it easy enough for beginners to use is a challenge.

FusionHQ may prove capable of achieving this, but like Kajabi, it hasn’t been largely tested by the public because it hasn’t opened to the public yet (at time of writing this).

You can learn more about FushionHQ here – www.fusionhq.com/

So Which One Is Best?

I haven’t had a chance to play with all these systems yet, so I haven’t give you an in-depth review. What you have now is my first impressions of the three platforms I’m considering for my own product.

On top of these options you might consider tools like Infusionsoft or 1ShoppingCart (see my 1shoppingcart review), though I have ruled them out of my decision making at this time.

I lean towards simplicity, which I have done from the beginning of my time selling information online and has served me well, because it allows for a speedier and less complicated execution process, even if you miss out on some features.

Unless I am blown away by what I see in Kajabi or FusionHQ, or I decide I need the features in Nanacast, I will likely stick to the system I am currently using. It’s hard for me to go beyond Clickbank because I like that they pay affiliates for me. All three of the systems mentioned above all require you pay affiliates with a mass pay file (well I’m pretty sure Kajabi and FusionHQ do, I know Nanacast does), which is not a bad option, but I still prefer the Clickbank method.

With Kajabi launching as I type this and FushionHQ coming out next month, we will have some interesting options when it comes to deciding how to deliver our information products. Whether any of these products become the must-use delivery tool for selling information products is yet to be seen.

Yaro Starak
Testing Technology

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38 Comments

  • Hi Yaro,

    I think you need to look at Magento. It covers most everything you’ve mentioned above including:

    * Recently Viewed Products
    * Recently Compared Items
    * New Items Promotional Tool
    * Up-sells in Shopping Cart
    * Cross-sells on product pages
    * Send to a Friend for all visitors, or registered users only
    * Send Wishlist to a Friend by Email or RSS
    * RSS Feeds for New Products, New Specials and New Tags
    * Auto-generated Site Map
    * Google Site Map
    * Polls
    * Newsletter

    and that’s just the promotion side of things.

    Saying that, it does not suit small sites or those starting out. It’s for larger, transaction heavy sites that process large volumes.

    One suggestion I’d make to anyone looking at this area is to choose a platform that you’ll stick with for the next 5 years.

    The worse mistake you can make is to adopt a system (especially any new or beta product that’s not proven) and then have to switch to another system.

    Price shouldn’t be the main deciding factor.

    Ivan

    PS – I have no business connection with Magento.

  • Hey Yaro,

    As a hardcore user of FusionHQ I can fill in some of the details for those who would like to know more :-)

    In my opinion one of the biggest things FusionHQ has going for it is it’s drag and drop editor. It allows you to drag and drop all the content onto your page. It’s simple (even if you’re non-techie like me).

    For example you can drag and drop testimonial boxes, optin forms, fully coded buy now buttons, images, videos (can choose auto play, thumbnail, skins – even for youtube vids, size etc.) All the coding is automated – I love it.

    In reference to the section where you wrote “The ideal system should be able to…” then a list of bullets….

    Well FusionHQ does all of the ones you mentioned (except for 1 click upsell – which is a payment processor issue not FusionHQ).

    It also has an integrated (completely solid) affiliate system that uses IP and cookie tracking. You can even choose last or first affiliate wins – again no coding required.

    You don’t have to use FusionHQ’s affiliate system, it integrates with Clickbank which (means Clickbank will continue paying your affiliates for you).

    Facebook commenting can be found in the drag and drop editor. We used it for The Assassination launch (all done on FusionHQ) a couple months back – worked flawlessly.

    It’s easy to create sales funnels and membership sites using the drag and drop process map. Upsells, downsells, exit popups, the coding is all automated.

    You can choose from a variety of professional pre-made templates, or easily customize and upload your own.

    The cool thing about the membership sites are:
    1. Everyone gets their own username and password
    2. They are locked out if they refund
    3. Only one person can log in at once (to help prevent people sharing login details)
    4. You can drip feed content

    As an admin you can manage members, create unlimited membership levels and can even give master access if you want (so one username and password to access all of your membership sites)

    Split testing can be done in 2 clicks (no third party software). The stats show up live on the boxes in the flow chart.

    The membership sites are also SEO optimized and all URL’s are clean right from the beginning.

    Hope that helps with people who are interested in FusionHQ :-) There’s also a pretty good review blog about it at http://fusionhqreview.com

    Ben

  • Yaro, you left out Traindom (http://traindom.com).

    I yet have to see a feature of Kajabi that Traindom does not have (push button video publishing, built-in forums, cloud architecture, html5 videos etc). My guess is Kajabi will not beat their price.

  • Yaro, I’m one of those tech guys that’s implemented and used Nanacast, Infusionsoft, DLGuard, Wishlist Member and tons of other WordPress plugins. I can’t comment on Kajabi since I have zero knowledge and haven’t seen the backend yet. If you want to compare Infusionsoft vs Nanacast, check out my blog at http://www.nanacastreview.com. I shot a thorough comparison video on both. The largest benefit to IS and Nanacast are their global affiliate programs. With both programs, once you send a lead, you get paid for all that lead’s purchases -on all commission related products- for life.

    Unfortunately, these higher priced solutions won’t work very well for small companies that are just starting out. For those companies, I highly recommend they check out Paypal Instant Commission products. These solutions instantly pay affiliates via Paypal for referrals on your commission structure. In a 50% split, you get paid the 1st sale, they get paid the 2nd and so on. These types of programs, like Clickbank, remove the stress of yearly 1099′s on the vendor. Instant payment is also a great motivation tool for affiliates. Anyways, I’ve written enough. Here are various instant commission products to check out: http://www.payspree.com, http://www.rapbank.com and http://viralmembershipsystem.com. The only major drawback to these instant payment solutions is the reliance on Paypal as a gateway. No need to elaborate on that point. ;)

    Hope this helps and wishing you the best, Yaro.

    -Jesus

  • Considering Andy Jenkins’ solid reputation and fairly recent launch of his very own information product (Video Boss) I would think Kajabi would be the front runner. However, every person’s situation is unique so making sure one picks the correct product is critical.

    The drag and drop feature is downright enticing, as are the slick layout designs and skins. Hopefully once I have put together an information product of my own these three options will be tested and easier to choose between.

    I wonder if any of these three options or any future solutions will offer to pay affiliates as Clickbank does?

    Andrew

  • Great post Yaro, I agree there are so many solutions out there now it’s difficult to decide what is best for you. I think Kajabi looks very powerful, but for me I want a system with affiliate functionality built in.

    I use Nanacast to get the affiliate functionality and also manage all my memberships and products in one go. Since switching to that I’ve probably had an increase of 3x or more in sales of my products through the power of affiliates.

    I’ve just finished developing my own system for creating squeeze pages, sales letters and launch pages within WordPress which combines perfectly with nanacast to give me all the functionality I need for my business – we’ll be doing a full launch for that soon so that’s perhaps another option to add to your list!

    By the way – was great to meet you in OZ at James Schramko’s FWF2 event!

  • Thanks for sharing this, I only had heard of Kajabi after receiving an email from Frank Kern promoting this product.

    Just a question, isn’t Delavo (formerly Fantasos) supposed to do what these pieces of software do?

    Regards
    Hector

  • Hi All

    I am the founder of FusionHQ, and so warn you I am biased in my opinion :-)

    However I just came accross this post and hope I can help shed some light on some of the points raised.

    Let me start by saying FusionHQ was developed for the express purpose of meeting many of these exact requirements. (I built it for me as I wanted this too).

    FusionHQ is a work in progress. There are some mutlitool platforms out there (such as Delavro and nonocast) that do offer some pretty cool stuff. Just they were not user friendly to me, or offer quite the fexability i wanted.

    FusionHQ has been designed to integrate with ClickBank too, so those wanting to use ClickBank can still build their sales funnels and membership sites etc in FusionHQ, and use ClickBank to handel the affiliate tracking and payment gateway. (it is also possible to use FusionHQs inbuilt affiliate system to manage ClickBank affiliates and provide tools for them).

    From what I have seen Kajabi does look pretty cool, and maybe a perfect solution for some people (they have a nice simple theme editor). We have had access and played with it a little, but as far as we can see you are restricted to using their hosting and it does not come with an inbuilt affiliate system or autoresponder, so is not really as a complete solution as some competitors such as nonocast or FusionHQ. (please correct me if I am wrong on this, just my early observations so far).

    We are working on a plugin for wordpress to enable you to manage membership programs from FusionHQ, but using a wordpress site as the members area (for those who want to, the site builder is more than enough for most peoples needs).

    Also for those who use video on their sales pages you may be interested to know we are about to release (this week) an optional CDN interface to provide video hosting (with a built in media encoder) to make life eaven easier. (current drag and drop video supports any file location or YouTube URL with a bunch of different video skins to choose from).

    Which ever system people end up choosing I recommend the move to an integrated solution (ideally one that supports 3rd party service integration). Since we have been using FusionHQ for our own projects the setup time has been reduced from several days (or even a couple weeks) to just minutes.

    I am excited to see the range of new options becoming available and the posabilities that are being opened up to marketers. Keep an eye out over the coming months, things are sure to keep getting more interesting.

  • Can you please make a comparison of the Kajabi vs.NPC(Adam Short)?

    • Romeo – that’s like comparing apples to oranges. You can’t really compare because one is about software, the other is about training.

  • Lions, and tigers and bears – oh my! There are a lot of solutions here. I just looked at some of the tutorials for Digital Access Pass (DAP) plugin last week and it looks pretty slick. It seems to make sequential delivery easier than say Wishlist.

    BTW, I just uninstalled Magento. I thought it was way too complicated.

    I’m looking forward to seeing other comments from folks on what they like, that’s simple too.

    Monique

  • Magento is way too complicated for most. That’s the argument of upcoming Kajabi and that’s what you can already see in place in Traindom. Their whole premise is built-on the easiest way to get going with your e-business angle. And it’s true, its feature-rich, yet simple enough for anyone

  • Yaro,

    Frequent reader of your blog. Have a couple of your interviews too.

    Just wanted to add http://DigitalAccessPass.com (DAP) into the ring here.

    DAP has everything you mention above covered.

    * Full transaction management: Check

    * Built-in Affiliate Management with Pay-Per-Lead & Pay-Per-Sale: Check

    * Secure Video Hosting and delivery through Amazon S3: Check (via our own plugin S3MediaVault.com included for free with some licenses)

    * 1-Click Upsell/Downsells/OTO’s: Check (works with Authorize.net & Paypal Payments Pro)

    * Split testing: Built-in autoresponder and affiliate tracking lets you do a bit of that

    * Integration with Autoresponders: Native integration with Aweber, GetResponse, 1ShoppingCart and any service that gives you a subscribable email id. But can also integrate with ALL other autoresponders out there using a forced-squeeze-form.

    * Content Dripping: Industry-leading, most powerful, easy-to-setup feature

    * Built-in email autoresponders that also allows you to use 3rd party SMTP servers to send out emails by-passing your servers.

    Tons & tons more features, easier to read it all at our site :-)

    Hope you can accept self-nominations. Actually, Monique above seems to have nominated us already, but just wanted to send in our official nomination :-)

    Cheers!

    - Ravi Jayagopal
    Founder & Co-Developer
    DigitalAccessPass.com (DAP)

  • Hey Yaro,

    Here’s my video response to your post:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A-U6-jF5-So

    It also reflects my opinion for your “simple systems” post as well.

    Thanks.

  • Hello Yaro,

    First I’d like to thankyou for all the brilliant content you put out on your blog, but as far as CRMS are concerned, I personally would not touch Kajabi for 2 reasons:

    You are essentially putting all your eggs in one basket, sales data etc, meaning if something went wrong, you are pretty much screwed.

    Credibility of the vendor and those promoting the product, have you seen the videos by the salty droid which contain leaked phone calls between Andy Jenkins and Jeff Walker?

    You would be incredibly shocked what these guys discuss in these phone calls.

    Here is Part 1;

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ur9s8hTdYJE

    and Part 2;

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xFhYujU5Pt

    So if you care at all about your readers and your reputation, I would not recommend this product to anybody, let alone associate myself with the product.

    Respectfully
    Chris

    • Holy scandal that first video is incredible. How did the Salty Droid get a hold of that conversation? I would imagine Jenkins and Walker would be irate and try to pull that video off of YouTube.

      If that video doesn’t weaken their reputations then I suggest visiting the Salty Droid blog and reading the “Speaking of the Syndicate” post.

      Andrew

  • Good Article I have liked it so much.
    I have posted a new article at my blog for the Bosses/Managers Behaviour and who wants to run a great company what great steps they must have to take to go a head for a great company. read it and feed back me
    the post exists here:-
    http://entrepreneurshipblogs.blogspot.com/2010/10/good-boss-who-wants-to-run-good-company.html
    -MaskedBlogger-
    http://entrepreneurshipblogs.blogspot.com
    Dated:- 10th Day Of October, 2010

  • I think, for those who are launching their first product, a combination of Clickbank, Paypal and a good Autoresponder like AWeber or GetResponse is probably the best option, beacuse:

    *Very easy to use and configure: Setting up a PayPal account takes less than 5 minutes. Setting up a product in Clickbank also shouldn’t take more than 5-10 minutes.

    * It’s cheap: ClickBank charges only a 1-time setup fee of $50 and PayPal asks for a fairly reasonable commission. There is no need for an expensive merchant account

    * Clickbank already provides you with an interesting affiliate base – sure, one still has to do the initial workload to get it going.

    * There are various WordPress plugins for split testing and other free solutions that can be used for any website (like Google website optimizer).

    I also checked out Magento and this really looks like a very interesting and sophisticated solution, but still, for anyone trying to sell his/her first product I’d still recommend the simple approach using WordPress and Clickbank.

  • I like the video for Kajabi. It will be very interesting to work with Kajabi. I will surely try this.

  • I did revived an email about Kajabi and I may give it a try. I think It can do everything I was looking to accomplish.

  • Aargh, I was all ready to invest in Kajabi as naively I thought it was the only complete package for my needs out there, now I have all this other stuff to weigh up. It’s time to unleash the power of decision making!
    Cheers!

  • It sounds as though you have the right blend. Which is used would depend on blog/site content, I would think.

  • Hi Yaro,

    Thank you for the balanced approach and for not saying that everybody absolutely has to have Kajabi. I got a hint that there may be some customer service issues with it. Everybody and their dog in internet marketing is raving about it and even people I’d thought would take more cautious approach are pushing it very strongly.

    If it’s that good it will be around for a long time and it will prove itself in real life.
    No need to get it right away.

    Vance

  • Just clicking on a few of these comments links revealed some pretty outstanding products and resources.. wow! I didn’t even realize there was such a breadth of options for backend information marketer management. I will definitely refer back to this post.

  • I’m looking for a commenting system similar to Kajabi’s that enables members to have a central dashboard where they can see all the comments/questions they asked and also the replies and answers to their questions. Any suggestions? It would also have to work with the Digital Access Pass plugin too.

    Thanks

  • I’ve purchased both Kajabi and FusionHQ, after trying integrating several pieces of software into WordPress unsuccessfully. So either you hire an expensive programmer or get an integrated solution. Kajabi is very simple to use and contains most of the stuff you need. I like the funnel drag-and-drop especially, and the customer community option. It also integrates well with Paypal and AWeber. What I don’t like is that the video hosting at Amazon does not work (!), i.e. no streaming video as yet. Since our product is a home-based video course I then went into FusionHQ yesterday, which also has no streaming video option and the files are in addition not secured.

    It’s amazing to me that Amazon has a huge security hole and doesn’t protect the content from theft.

    So I’m at a loss what to do now, I can only hope that either Kajabi or FusionHQ shapes up. Otherwise we’re out before the refund period is over.

    regards,
    Fredrik

    • Hi Fredrik

      Sorry it seems as you are unable to find the features you mentioned in FusionHQ.

      Can I reassure you they are there (at least as I understand you they are).

      1) Streaming media – You can drag and drop streaming media on to the page. Media sources can include YouTube, your own file location (such as Amazon) or FusionHQ’s own CDN service (due for release early next week).

      2) Content can be protected in multiple ways. For a start only one person can be logged in at one time to a membersip area, download links can be set to display for set number of days, and are unique to each sale. On top of this it is possible to protect the download button so only the computer that purchased the product can see it.

      If you require any detailed technical assistance on how to set any of this up please contact the support desk.

      Any other suggestions you have on how to improve the system please let us know. We are always working to make things better.

      Regards

      Leon Jay
      CEO FusionHQ

    • I am not a technical person, I just wanted a system that would allow me to design the front sales process pages and operate a membership Website.

      I tried Kajabi and it had bugs and would now allow us to design a sales page that Kajabi uses to sell so out of principle we didn’t go forward. So, we tried Fusion but we found this frustrating snd support is slow.

      Luckily my business part is a programmer so he is working this out using WordPress with a plugin. We should have something up within the next week or so and with all the hassle I am thinking there is a market building platforms for others.

      Does anyone do this? If not we may offer a service.

      • Bob,

        Yes, we offer this ourselves actually. Our customers have been having great success with the following combination:

        1) WordPress (of course :-)
        2) DAP: http://DigitalAccessPass.com (membership platform for WordPress)
        3) OptimizePress: http://optimizepress.com/ (this is the super-awesome theme that lets you create Kajabi-like pages and funnels)

        Disclosure: Am the founder/co-developer of DAP.

        Cheers!

        - Ravi Jayagopal

      • Hey Bob

        Thanks for your comments.

        For your information (too little too late I am sure in your situation) but we are just taking on a whole new customer support department to speed things up. We have been a little overwhelmed in that area recently, but are getting back on track and gearing up a lot more tickets.

        We are also in the middle of a redesgin update to make the more advanced functionality even easier to use.

        If there is ever anything we can do to improve things in your eyes please let us know via support@fusionhq.com.

        Thanks

        Leon
        CEO FusionHQ Inc

        • @Leon – I think it is too late…I sell software so I am familiar with bugs/issues and good support will ensure you retain clients and being open and honest like you have here is a great policy.

          We will see how we get on.

          Thanks

          Bob

  • Bob,

    I wouldn’t want to turn this thread into a mini sales page for DAP :-)

    So feel free to email us via http://DigitalAccessPass.com/contactus.php , and we’ll be happy to send you more information about sites using DAP, OptimizePress, how they look, etc.

    Cheers!

    - Ravi Jayagopal
    Founder & Co-Developer, DAP

  • I still think the best way to go is AWeber or GetResponse. Just for total package and cost.
    And both are relatively simple for the newbie to use.
    I’ve subsequently seen a bit of negative feedback regarding Kajabi, so personally I’ll stick to the reliable Aweber.
    ~ Rory

  • DAP had some customers in common with Premium Web Cart and in a matter of a few days, DAP created a robust integration between our 2 software platforms.

    Kajabi had contacted our company before DAP to integrate with Premium Web Cart but 8 months later it’s still not done even though we offered full programming / technical support and a free account for them to use for their development.

    I think this speaks volumes to the fact that DAP is highly customer centric and a great partner for your business.

    The other thing that scares me about Kajabi is the fact that they promote the products for other people. This is great if you’re one of the “fair haired children”, but if you’re not, you really need to wonder how much of your detailed business information you want Kajabi to have their hands and eyes on?

    As Andew S. Grove likes to say, “only the paranoid survive”. And I think you should be very paranoid when you see Kajabi promoting competitor’s products and you’re using their service.

  • Hi all, here’s my video review of membership site softwares – DAP & Nanacast http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fEoV0cQO9gs
    Hope you find useful!
    Laura :-)

  • Jack

    Which CMS would you recommend for selling different digital products on different web sites but managing all from one place?

    Jack

    • I’m a big fan and avid use of Ontraport. It can manage multiple products and is a full customer management and marketing system. It’s not a beginner tool though!

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