The subscription economy is growing rapidly, and there’s never been a better time to sell subscriptions online.
This trend has caught on in the content-creator economy space as well. Due to its rising popularity, more and more online content creators are looking for subscription services, which is why we’ve created this guide.
We’ll explore the seven best subscription platforms for creators and discuss the features each platform offers and the business model it’s best suited for.
Before we get into the individual platforms, though, let’s briefly discuss what we mean when we say subscription platforms.
Best Subscription Platforms for Creators
- Kajabi: Best all-in-one membership platform
- Circle: Best for community memberships
- SamCart: Best for subscription billing & management
- Podia: Easiest to use membership platform
- Uscreen: Best for video subscription sites
- Patreon: Best for fan-based memberships
- Substack: Best newsletter subscription platform
What Is a Subscription Platform?
A subscription platform is an online service that connects social media platforms with both physical and digital products or services via subscription-based business models.
It must offer tools for creating recurring billing plans, enabling payment processing, managing subscribers, and providing detailed analytics and reports.
However, subscription platforms is a very broad term, and our focus in this guide will be on platforms that support the business models used by online content creators.
Your business model should be the most important consideration when it comes to choosing the right subscription platform.
Different subscription models require different subscription platforms, so we have included platforms for all the popular models, including course-based membership sites, membership communities, OTT platforms, paid newsletters, and fan-based models.
With this in mind, let’s discuss the top subscription platforms for online content creators.
Kajabi is among the most popular platforms that creators use to build their membership sites. It’s an all-in-one platform for content creators to get the most from their subscription service.
One of Kajabi’s key features is that it supports various product types. You can create online courses, coaching, community, and even podcasts.
As a result, you can create all types of membership sites, from a course membership to a paid community, and you can also combine different product types to create a hybrid membership.
What’s also great about using Kajabi is that it offers free (and branded) mobile apps for your customers to access your membership site.
Moreover, it supports flexible product-pricing options, letting you set weekly, monthly, and annual payment schedules and even free-access trial periods. It also makes it easy to track and manage your customers’ subscriptions.
Finally, Kajabi is an all-in-one online platform, meaning you can run all aspects of your subscription business from a single place. You can build your website, create marketing funnels, conduct email marketing, and run an affiliate program.
When it comes to pricing, you can choose from three plans. The entry-level plan costs $149/month, while the highest plan costs $399/month. There’s no free plan available, but you can get a free trial.
While Kajabi’s starting price is on the higher side, it’s a good choice for creators who want to run their entire business from one place. It will simplify your subscriptions in a cost-effective, easy-to-use system.
Circle (or Circle.so) is primarily an online community platform, so it stands out with its excellent community-building features.
The platform has powerful tools for keeping your community organized, creating engaging community content, hosting virtual events, doing live video calls with members in-platform, and creating smaller subcommunities.
Circle also lets you create and host online courses inside your community.
On top of all of this, you can easily launch a membership app. You can enable the free mobile apps included in your monthly package to let your members access your community on the go.
When it comes to subscriptions, you can create weekly, monthly, or yearly subscriptions with the option for a free trial. Plus, you can allow members to easily upgrade or downgrade their subscription plans.
Circle’s pricing is straightforward. The pricing starts from $49/month, and the most popular plan costs $99/month.
Overall, Circle would be a good fit for creators looking to build a subscription-based online community that helps members gain access to discussion areas, exclusive content, online courses, and live events.
MORE ON CIRCLE:
SamCart is a checkout page builder that comes with powerful subscription billing and management features. Unlike Kajabi and Circle, it’s not a membership website builder, even though SamCart has a basic course builder.
To start with, SamCart’s monetization features include high-converting checkout pages and powerful conversion tools, such as order bumps, upsells, and abandoned carts.
Regarding subscriptions, you can create subscription plans of any duration, set up subscription tiers, and use your own gateways for processing payments.
It also has features for managing customer subscriptions, including the ability to pause or cancel them. You can even send your subscribers automated reminders about upcoming and overdue payments, which reduces the overall churn.
Talking about the pricing, SamCart is reasonably priced. Its pricing starts from $59/month, and there’s no transaction fee. However, if you want access to advanced features, you can also upgrade to the $119 or $299 monthly plans.
SamCart is ideal for creators looking for a best-in-class checkout platform that gives them complete control over charging and managing subscriptions.
Podia is a popular membership website builder that can be used to create all types of membership sites.
What makes Podia stand out is its simplicity. The platform and all its tools are easy to use, allowing you to get your membership site up and running quickly.
Like Kajabi, Podia also lets you create multiple product types, including online courses, digital downloads, coaching, webinars, and community. So the platform can support multiple membership models.
When it comes to pricing your subscription, with Podia, you can only offer monthly or yearly payment options, which is less flexible than some other options mentioned here.
Having said that, Podia doesn’t include a sales funnel builder or a full-fledged email marketing solution. As a result, its pricing is more affordable. It has a free plan, and the paid plans start from $39/month.
All in all, Podia will be a great pick for creators looking for a simple, affordable solution to build and run a membership site.
Uscreen is a video-on-demand (VOD) platform that video content creators can use to launch subscription-based streaming services.
It makes it easy for you to upload and manage your content, create a Netflix-style video catalog, and stream your content globally. It also includes all the tools for live streaming and community building.
The best thing about Uscreen is that it supports native apps for iOS, Android, AppleTV, Roku, Android TV, etc., allowing you to deliver a great member experience on all devices.
The subscription section of Uscreen is quite powerful as well. It allows you to charge monthly, quarterly, half-yearly, and/or yearly subscription plans. Plus, you can create subscription bundles and tiers.
Uscreen’s pricing starts from $99/month for the Basic plan and goes up to $199/month for the Growth plan. However, these plans don’t support native apps, which are available on a more expensive plan.
Overall, Uscreen will be a perfect fit for creators looking to build a Netflix-like OTT platform or a video subscription website.
MORE ON USCREEN:
Patreon is a popular subscription platform for online content creators that allows your fans to support you through subscription payments.
With Patreon, you can create subscription tiers, offer exclusive content for your patrons, and create reward tiers.
The good thing is that you don’t need to build a website or sign up for a payment gateway. Your membership will be hosted on the Patreon website, and patrons will pay you directly through the platform.
Patreon doesn’t have a set monthly price. However, it takes between 5% to 12% of your revenue as transaction fees. Additionally, you need to pay between 2.9% and 5% as payment processing fees.
Keep in mind that Patreon isn’t a membership-website builder and isn’t recommended for running a membership site business. Rather, it’s ideal for you if you’re looking to launch a simple membership quickly and get support from fans for your work using patronage.
Substack differs from the platforms we’ve covered so far because it supports a specific type of subscription-based product—newsletters. It’s pretty popular with writers, journalists, and bloggers looking to monetize their content.
Substack lets you build an email list and then write blog posts and send them out as newsletters. It also gives you tools to create exclusive paywalls and charge subscriptions.
Again, Substack doesn’t have a set monthly fee. Rather, the platform takes 10% of your earnings from paid newsletters. If you keep your newsletters free, the platform won’t charge anything.
However, there’s only so much you can do with this sort of platform apart from newsletters and blog posts. But if this is a form of content you’re looking to get into, then it’s a great option that will simplify the process.
Other Subscription Platform Options
While we covered our top seven choices for creator subscription platforms, there are some other good options available. Here are just a few other platforms:
- Thinkific is a leading online course builder in the market, and it also supports the subscription model, making it a great alternative to platforms like Kajabi and Podia for course-based memberships.
- Mighty Networks is an online community platform that also enables subscriptions. It can be a great alternative to solutions like Circle for running paid membership communities.
- ConvertKit is an email marketing platform that also supports paid newsletter subscriptions. It can be a great alternative to Substack if you’re looking for a full-fledged email marketing solution.
- Gumroad is a popular eCommerce platform for selling digital products. You can use it to sell file-based digital products like eBooks, templates, software, etc.
- Buy Me a Coffee works similarly to Patreon and lets your supporters pay for continued access to your content or just as a way to support you. In addition, the platform allows your users to interact with you.
- Shopify is the most popular eCommerce platform. While it isn’t necessarily a creator subscription platform, you can create subscription boxes and other innovative subscription eCommerce models with it.
In this article, we covered the best subscription platforms for creators. There’s no single option that will be best for all content creators, and the right choice depends entirely on your specific situation.
For example, if you’re looking to build a full-fledged membership site with courses, podcasts, and community, Kajabi will work the best for you.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for just a subscription management platform, we recommend going with SamCart.
We hope this article has helped you pick the perfect subscription platform for you. Still have more questions? Leave them down below, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.