Want to decide between Podia and Systeme.io in under 10 minutes of your time? Read on because I’ve tried both so you don’t have to.

Over the years, I have created a variety of online systems and courses myself. For selling courses and products online, Podia has proven to be a powerful yet affordable platform.

Then Systeme came along, offering premium features for free, including unlimited file storage, and up to 2,000 contacts for free.

So, like me, you may be wondering; is Systeme better than Podia?

Is there a catch here?

In this post, we’ll share the key differences between Podia and Systeme.io (and whether Systeme really is free) so you can decide for yourself.

Systeme vs Podia: Overview

Podia and Systeme.io both claim to be all-in-one online business platforms. You can use them to create, market, and sell digital products, such as courses, downloads and more. Here’s more.

What is Podia?

Podia provides a single platform to create, market, and sell courses, one-on-one coaching sessions, and consultations online.

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In my experience, Podia can help you create custom websites, communities, memberships, and other engagement forums without requiring third-party integrations or separate subscriptions.

You can refer my complete review on Podia for more information on my personal experience using the platform.

What is Systeme?

Systeme provides a complete online platform for creating, marketing, and selling your physical and digital products.

Systeme.io features

I was particularly intrigued by Systeme.io’s free features that in other platforms would cost tens or hundreds of dollars per month. More on that below.

What are some similarities between Podia and Systeme?

Podia and Systeme.io share the following similarities:

  • Both are all-in-one platforms for course creation, marketing, selling, and follow-ups.
  • The two offer free plans for experimenting and growing an idea (unlike Kajabi and LearnWorlds)
  • Both support unlimited courses and products, unlike Teachable.
  • Both offer valuable features more affordably than the likes of Kajabi, Teachable, and Thinkific.

What I like about Podia over Systeme

  • Sell digital downloads: Like a digital version of Etsy, Podia enables you to host, promote, and sell digital downloads, such as ebooks, spreadsheets, workshops, and audio files in a similar way to Gumroad.
  • Podia Email 2.0: Trigger email automations based on factors such as email subscriptions, product purchases, and more. Segment emails based on multiple factors, such as tags, memberships, type of product purchased, etc.
  • Supports coaching: You can offer 1-on-1 coaching sessions to students who want a more personalized learning experience.
  • Pre-sell coaches: Promote your idea, build a following, and test it with real people before you invest time, money, and effort.
  • Create assessments and quizzes: Help your learners gain maximum value from your course with engaging tests.
  • Certify course completions: Encourage learners to complete courses and coaching programs 100% in order to receive a certificate they can share anywhere.
  • Replay webinars: Host live or replay webinars and earn revenue from both. New attendees will be able to take the same actions as if they had watched the webinar live.
  • Message on-page: Spark conversations on any website page using the on-page messaging widget. Visitors are not required to log in to chat.
  • Embed checkout pages into a button: Allow your site visitors to purchase knowledge products from any device, at any time, and on any platform. No redirects to separate sales pages are required.

What I like about Systeme over Podia

  • User-friendly workflows: I like that Systeme.io doesn’t have a steep learning curve or anything fancy. You can also access all the features you need in a click or two.
  • Get premium features for free: The free plan includes a ton of value, such as unlimited students, blog posts, file storage, and community members.
  • Build your audience before paying up: Send unlimited emails, set up a custom domain, get your list up to 2,000 contacts, and manage an elaborate affiliate program for free. This combo costs $$$/month elsewhere (including Podia).
  • Pay as you go: Upgrade to more and advanced capabilities at your business’ pace. No extra fees for features you don’t need (Ahem… Kajabi).
  • Build elaborate sales funnels with ease: You can create up to three funnels with up to 15 funnel steps each (for free!). Or, go unlimited with the high-end plan.
  • Nurture a following with Communities: If you are trying to build a lasting brand with an engaged community, I find Systeme.io’s community-building tools more elaborate than Podia’s.
  • Split testing rocks: Test engagement, conversion, and retention strategies to see which work best. One of my favorite Systeme features, for sure.

Upfront bottom line

In general, Podia is more suited to course-centric coaches who want to sell digital products, integrate 1-on-1 sessions into their courses or offer paid consultations.

With Systeme, it is a marketing automation platform that’ll enable you to establish your business from scratch and grow it at your own pace without the need for precommitment — unlike premium platforms like Kajabi and ClickFunnels.

Systeme.io vs Podia: Key differences that matter

Here, we’ll cover the key areas that can make a major difference in your decision between Podia and Systeme.

Key difference #1: Online course creation

It is quite simple to create a course on Systeme or Podia. Both offer easy-to-digest formats for organizing content/curriculum. For example, Podia supports sections and lessons.

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Systeme lets you add course modules in just a few clicks, too.

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But what I really like is that Podia lets you add coaching sessions directly in your course curriculum.

Think of high ticket selling conversions boost here!

This lets your learners book paid 1-on-1 coaching sessions while they are consuming course content for more personalized training.

Yet, Systeme lets you include different content types on the same page, such as a video and text. Podia doesn’t.

Key difference #2: Podia is better for paid memberships

System and Podia support community building; invite/add members, organize posts into topics, allow students to leave likes and comments, handle content moderation, etc.

Podia, however, lets you segment memberships into different paid plans with access to different content. Podia does not support PayPal payments for memberships. But Stripe and credit card payments will do.

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Systeme doesn’t support this level of paid memberships. Currently, you can only make your communities public or private. Alternatively, you can send personal invitations to members via email. You can also just add them to a select community.

Systeme.io community and memberships features

Key difference #3: Podia offers more beautiful emails, but Systeme provides better automation

You can create one-time newsletters and automated email sequences (campaigns) with either Podia or Systeme. You can also customize your emails in real-time with the drag-and-drop builder.

However, Systeme went for a simple look and feel, with just a few merge fields.

Systeme.io email builder features

Keeping it simple is great, but if you want to brand your emails to match your website and landing pages, that’s not so great.

Not with Podia. Podia’s new email builder offers more vibrant templates (10!) you can further customize to suit the look and feel you are going for.

Podia email templates

Yet, it is still as easy to compose an email on Podia as it is on Systeme. See if you agree here:

Podia email builder

Where Systeme blows Podia out of the water is email marketing automation. Yes, Podia has added a variety of new automation triggers to its Campaigns email feature.

Consider this:

Podia email conditions

But, I really like how you can create full-blown, automated email sequences with Systeme’s Rules and Workflows (up to 15 steps).

email marketing automation in Systeme.io

This means you can more easily segment your learners and send more targeted emails without needing to use third-party tools like Zapier. And, I also like that Systeme will let me send unlimited emails to unlimited students with a 2,000-strong contact list for free. Nilch!

Key difference #4: Systeme offers more advanced funnel building vs Podia

Podia’s Campaign Emails automate drip emails based on the stages of your sales funnel. If you wish, you can also segment your customers based on which products they purchased, and send them targeted emails accordingly.

Sales funnel building in Podia

Systeme, on the other hand, lets you build up to three free sales funnels for different products, each containing 15 steps. You can build both simple and sophisticated campaigns, regardless of whether you sell a digital or physical product.

How to build a sales funnel with Systeme.io

Also, besides customizing Systeme’s funnel steps, you can also do A/B testing and set deadlines for offers. Handy!

Key difference #5: Checkouts in Podia vs Systeme.io

Podia supports upsells, one-time payments, free giveaways, monthly payments, coupon codes, bundling courses, and global tax calculations.

Better yet, Podia now lets you accept more payment options; PayPal, Stripe, Apple Pay, Google Pay, credit or debit cards, iDEAL (Dutch customers only), and direct deposits.

Podia supported payment gateways

Systeme offers even more payment gateways; RazorPay, PayPal, Stripe, Mercado Pago, GoCardless, Mollie, and FlutterWave.

It’s checkout page (Order Form), which is the last step in each sales funnel, also supports a bunch of tools to help you make more sales, including setting offer deadlines.

Set offer deadlines on Systeme.io

Those include order bumps, bundling courses, payment plans (Subscriptions), upsells, coupons/discounts (in % or $), 1-click upsells, and cross-sells.

Creating a checkout page on Systeme for creators

It’s also possible to charge your customers VAT, with a variety of different countries’ tax systems to choose from.

Systeme also lets your customers fill out their shipping and tax compliance details, as well as other options, such as color and size variations, if you want to sell physical products.

Sell physical products alongside digital products with Systeme

Selling physical products on Podia is more complicated because there’s no way to specify which products to ship physically. In short, I recommend selling digital downloads rather than physical products on Podia.

Oh, one more thing. To help boost your conversion rate, Podia offers integrated chat for quick messaging. That means your website visitors can land on any of your pages, view compelling content/offers, contact you via the message widget, and complete their purchase without leaving the page.

No redirections to separate product or checkout pages are required here.

You can also choose who can message you directly.

Messaging settings on Podia

The single-page checkout experience applies anywhere on your website.

Key difference #6: Integrations

Systeme is designed to meet all your digital product business needs.

In fact, Systeme includes a similar workflow editor to more dedicated tools such as ActiveCampaign, GetResponse, and SendGrid.

The editor looks like this:

Systeme Workflows to replace other tools

There aren’t many native integrations here. However, you can still connect ActiveCampaign and SendInBlue directly via API.

Or, you can use Zapier to connect many more apps at your own pace.

Zapier for Systeme.io

Meanwhile, Podia lets you connect Zoom for webinars, up to seven email platforms via API, and even more tools through Zapier.

Podia integrations

Podia wins here.

Key difference #7: Pricing

Podia and Systeme strike me as two of the best value for money options for creators who do not want to sacrifice capabilities and future growth potential.

Now, picture this:

Podia pricing plans

Compare Podia’s pricing with Systeme.io’s plans.

Systeme.io pricing

You’re probably right if you think Systeme.io’s free tier offers more value than Podia’s $39/month Mover plan. Here are a few things to note:

  • Getting affiliates or customizing your pages with third-party code (essential for most people) requires you to pay $89/month for Podia’s Shaker plan.
  • Podia charges an 8% transaction fee for sales you make on its free plan.
  • Podia’s free plan doesn’t allow you to sell courses, host webinars, or offer more than one download (webinars are exclusive to the $89/month plan). That’s quite different from unlimited emails sent, students, file storage, community members, blog posts, and more, offered on Systeme.

Still, I wonder if Systeme will revise its pricing up once it’s onboarded a significant portion of its competitors’ customers. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Yet, Systeme has generous limits, even in its free plan, which can enable you to simply dive in and buy jetpack as you go! 🏊

Systeme vs Podia: Verdict

The best platform for creating online courses and selling digital products will depend on your unique requirements.

Based on my experience, I recommend Systeme.io for those still refining their online business ideas, are on a tight budget, and want to upgrade to more advanced capabilities gradually. If you don’t mind its bare bones approach, Systeme is a user-friendly, affordable, and all-in-one course funnels platform.

Podia is a great option if you’re looking to customize many aspects of your business – but without overdoing it. It is also particularly great if you want to offer 1-on-1 coaching sessions and digital downloads without breaking the bank.

Over to you.