Posted in   Community building   on  May 12, 2024 by  Himanshu

As an entrepreneur and community builder, I've spent the last two years testing and refining tens of community platforms. Mighty network, Kajabi and now Skool.

I've also had the opportunity to explore Circle, another popular platform for building and engaging with online communities. I think I have found a winner.

In this article, I'll share my personal experience of Skool and Circle and will discuss key features, pros, and cons. This guide will help you decide which platform is best for your online community.

What is Skool?

So Skool is an all-in-one platform designed to help creators build and monetize online communities. As we covered in our Skool review, it's not for everyone as many people promote it everywhere.

As an early tester of Skool, I've seen the platform evolve and improve over time. Currently, Skool offers a range of features:

  • Community building: Skool allows you to create a community space where members can connect, share ideas, and collaborate.
  • Monetization: Skool offers various monetization options, including subscriptions, courses, and premium live events.
  • Integration: Skool integrates seamlessly with popular tools and platforms, such as email marketing software and payment gateways. This can be done through Zapier plugin.
  • Gamification: One of the strongest element of Skool is a powerful gamification and leaderboard system. It helps community managers with maintaining high engagement.
  • Skool games: This is phenomenal. Skool community creators can join monthly Skool games and win rewards for growing their online community.

If you are looking to create a community on subscription model Skool can be a right tool for you. But is this really better than Circle? Let's look at this another platform. 

What is Circle?

Circle is a flexible and scalable platform designed to help creators build and engage with online communities. I've had the opportunity to test Circle and explore its features, including:

  • Community building: Circle offers a range of community building tools, including discussion forums, social networks, and event management.
  • Content creation: Circle provides a range of content creation tools, including blogs, podcasts, and video hosting.
  • Monetization: Circle offers various monetization options, including subscriptions, sponsored content, and affiliate marketing.
  • Integration: Circle integrates with a range of popular tools and platforms, including email marketing software and CRM systems.

Skool vs Circle: Key Features Comparison

When it comes to choosing the right platform for your online community, it's essential to consider the key features and how they align with your goals. Here's a comparison of Skool and Circle's key features:

FEATURE

SKOOL

CIRCLE

Monetization

Subscriptions, courses, affiliate marketing

Subscriptions, sponsored content, affiliate marketing

Integration

Seamless integration with Zapier 

Integration with popular tools and platforms

Community Building

All-in-one community space

Flexible and customizable community building tools

Content Creation

Courses, live streams, discussion forums

Blogs, podcasts, video hosting, and more

Pricing

Starting at $99/month

Starting at $49/month

Skool vs Circle: Use Cases

So, when should you use Skool, and when should you use Circle? Here are some use cases to consider but you do not need to limit yourself with them:

  • Skool:
    • Online courses and coaching programs
    • Membership sites and subscription-based models
    • Community-driven businesses and startups
    • Creators with private content.
  • Circle:
    • Discussion forums and social networks
    • Event management and community engagement
    • Businesses and organizations with complex community needs
    • Coaches who want to start small

Skool vs Circle: Good, bad and ugly

After using both Skool and Circle, I've identified some key points that you should consider before picking any of them. Feel free to add more in the comments if I have missed any:

Skool Pros:

  • Easy to use and set up
  • All-in-one community space
  • Strong gamification.
  • Private Skool community builders community
  • Active Skool Games program. A dedicated competition to make money with Skool.

Skool Cons:

  • Limited customization options
  • No option to upload video
  • Limited analytics and reporting

Circle Pros:

  • Highly customizable and flexible
  • Scalable and suitable for large communities
  • Strong integration with popular tools and platforms
  • Competitive pricing
  • High-quality customer support

Circle Cons:

  • Steeper learning curve
  • Confusing user interface. I interviewed a few users who migrated from Circle to Skool and realized the key reason to make this shift was confusing interface of Circle.

In my personal experience, I did not find Circle confusing to use. However, Skool does offer a cleaner interface and more intuitive user experience.

Try Skool for free for 14 days

Skool vs Circle: Community Management

When it comes to community building, both Skool and Circle offer unique features and advantages. Here's a more in-depth comparison:

  • Skool: Skool's all-in-one community space is ideal for creators who want to build a tight-knit community around their brand or business. Skool's community building features include discussion forums, live streams, and courses.
  • Circle: Circle's community building tools are highly customizable and flexible, making it ideal for creators who need to build complex community structures. Circle's community building features include discussion forums, social networks, and event management.

Winner: None

Skool vs Circle: Monetization

Monetization is a critical aspect of building and sustaining an online community. Here's a comparison of Skool and Circle's monetization options:

  • Skool: Skool's monetization options include subscriptions, courses, and live events. Skool's platform is ideal for creators who want to monetize their community through structured content, such as online courses or coaching programs. You can do it by creating premium courses in the classroom section.
  • Circle: Circle's monetization options include subscriptions, sponsored content, and affiliate marketing. Circle's platform is ideal for creators who want to monetize their community through a variety of revenue streams. Circle's main objective seems creating engagement and building a customer community.

Winner: Skool

Skool vs Circle: Integration

Integration is a critical aspect of building and sustaining an online community. Here's a comparison of Skool and Circle's integration features:

  • Skool: Skool integrates seamlessly with popular tools and platforms, including email marketing software and payment gateways. The only challenge is, it offers integration only through Zapier or web-hooks. Also, there are limited hooks available on the platform.
  • Circle: Circle integrates with a range of popular tools and platforms, including email marketing software and CRM systems. Circle's platform is ideal for creators who want to integrate their community with a wide range of tools and platforms.

Winner: Circle

Conclusion

I personally use Skool for building my community but Circle is also not a bad option. I love Skool's simple, intuitive interface and focus on what really matters: engagement and monetization. But this can not be the case for everyone.

If you're looking for an all-in-one community space with strong monetization options, Skool may be the best choice. However, if you need a more flexible and customizable platform that can scale with your community, Circle is worth considering.

Additional Resources

  • Skool Games: Get free 14 days trial and participate in the next Skool game.
  • Circle: Visit Circle's website and learn more about their platform and community building tools.
  • Community Course: Learn how to build and monetize your community in the next 5 days.

Any questions? Feel free to ask in the comment box.

About Himanshu

Himanshu is a recovering shiny object seeker and computer science engineer turned into an internet entrepreneur.

He bootstrapped Afleet.io from 0-$200k and has helped tens of companies grow from scratch with the help of building online communities.

He helps coaches and entrepreneurs grow their business through content and communities.

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