Podia Review: 10 Features Course Creators Will Love

Thinkific vs Podia for online course and membership hosting
By Becky Mollenkamp, PCC

I’m not one for hyperbole, so it means something when I say Podia is the best thing to happen to my business.

I switched to Podia in early 2018, and have not once regretted that decision (find out why I dumped Thinkific for Podia). It’s a one-stop shop for my offerings and makes my life so much easier. My favorite part, though, is that I’m PAYING LESS and getting so much more. How often can you say that?

In this post, I’m sharing my review of the 10 features that I love most about Podia. If you run an online business or just want to make extra money from online offerings, Podia could be the best platform for your selling needs. 

(This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase via a link here, I may receive a commission. The price is the same for you whether you use my link or buy directly from the vendor.)

1. Create Online Courses

Creating an online course is a great way to showcase your authority and earn money. With so many hosting platforms out there, why choose Podia? For me, it’s simple—because you can sell courses but also make extra dollars by also selling digital downloads and memberships. Oh, and Podia is REALLY easy to use … their new, more robust editor is pretty intuitive and customizable.

There’s no limit to how many courses you can sell, and you can easily include video, audio, downloads, quizzes, and more in your courses. You can also deliver the content all at once or drip it out over time.

2. Sell Digital Downloads

One of the best ways to showcase your style and expertise is with a digital download. It’s also one of the easiest ways to start earning money online. It’s so simple to put together a PDF, eBook, guide, or workbook using Canva, or to create a template or audio file that you can sell.

Also, if you’re not yet ready to invest in an email marketing platform like ConvertKit, you can use the digital download option as a free way to deliver your opt-in (also called a lead magnet or freebie).

3. Host a Membership

The reason I switched to Podia was because I wanted to create a membership and my previous course-hosting platform didn’t provide that service. Now, I can sell everything in one place rather than having to pay separate providers for each thing (ie, Thinkific for courses, Gumroad for downloads, and Kajabi for memberships).

Memberships are an awesome way to earn recurring income from your audience. It allows you to build a community of fans who love your content, engage with you, and support your work. You can even set them up “Patreon” style but without all the extra fees!

4. Make More with Bundles

Combine two or more products together and sell them as a package to generate additional revenue. Offer multiple products for a single price (that’s lower than the sum of the original prices), incentivize prospects to purchase a new product (by including another product with their purchase), or create customized bundles for different customer personas (e.g. “The Course Creator Bundle”, “The Blogger Bundle”, etc…).

Bundles are a smart way to make more money per sale, and to help your customers with a more comprehensive offering.


5. Use Upsell Offers

Upsells are a great way to increase the size of your orders by giving your customer a great deal on adding additional products to their purchase. You can set up an upsell for any course or download so customers who are already buying from you can very easily make an impulse buy of an additional product.

Using discounts on the upsells can incentivize someone to make an additional purchase they may not have otherwise, which ups your total earnings without all the extra effort of a lengthy email sales campaign pushing other offers.


6. Basic Email System

Podia has a very basic email marketing system actually built into it. This is really great for anyone who is newer to online selling and doesn’t yet want to invest in a more robust and pricey platform like ConvertKit (what I use and love).

While not comprehensive, the internal email system does allow you to create drip campaigns that are triggered with a purchase (perhaps a series of emails to sell a buyer of a digital download on a more expensive course), or one-time campaigns that can be used for weekly newsletters or to update students/members about changes to your courses/memberships.

You get basic analytics (how many people received the email and when, plus open and click rates). You can’t yet schedule emails, but it is a feature that is likely to be added soon (I’ve requested it, and Podia is usually good about getting to customer requests pretty quickly).

7. Create Quizzes for Courses

A pretty snazzy (and newer) feature on Podia? Quizzes. You can now add them easily to your courses to help to reinforce what your students learn. They are simple, clean, and easy to use—plus, they work on mobile.

Just ask whatever questions you want and then when a student finishes answering all of your questions, they’ll see their final results before moving onto the next lesson in your course.


8. Embed the Buy Button

These features aren’t necessarily listed in order of preference because the embedded checkout is probably my very favorite feature. It allows you to turn any web page into a sales page, meaning visitors can buy your Podia products without ever leaving that page.

Seriously, this was a game changer for me. Now I can create my own landing pages on my WordPress site and allow people to buy my course or digital download (or enroll in my membership) without having to navigate away from my website. Remember, the more steps someone has to take to purchase, the more likely they are to change their mind.b

You can see how the buy buttons work on this page where I sell low-cost masterclasses. There are also options to create product cards (with an image, product title, and description along with the buy button) or text links that embed the checkout trigger directly into a text hyperlink.


9. Set Start Dates

If you don’t have evergreen courses (those that are available for purchase and automatic start at any point), don’t worry. You set a course to start at a future date, so you can pre-sell your courses and get paid while you create!

This can be helpful in a few different scenarios:

  1. You’d like to pre-sell your course and allow students to pay for it before the launch date.
  2. You’d like to have all of your students start your course at exactly the same time.
  3. You’d like to run your course multiple times per year (and have everyone start at the same time).

With this feature, your students will be charged immediately after they purchase. This is different from Podia’s pre-launch feature, which simply collects email addresses of people interested in buying your course when it launches. You can also remove a start date (and give everyone access immediately) anytime before the start date passes.

10. Integrations Make Life Easier

Podia integrates seamlessly with most major email marketing platforms, including ConvertKit, Mailchimp, AWeber, Drip, MailerLite, and ActiveCampaign. There is also an integration that allows you to connect your shop with ThriveCart for affiliate marketing (although I just use Podia’s built-in affiliate system because it works for my needs at this point).

Also, you can use Zapier to automatically do a ton of super specific tasks. You can create a Zap to add a new member to a Google Sheet or to receive a Slack message for every new purchase, as examples.