We are all familiar with the saying, “Knowledge is power.” Having its roots in the Latin: scientia potentia est, it holds just as true today as all those years ago.
Knowledge makes us superior to the other more powerful creatures in the world. Eagles and other sharp-eyed creatures might have better eyesight than humans, but we have learned to see further than them by understanding how the world works.
Although the example is a bit extreme, you get the point. The human race has won our place in the food chain due to our sheer knowledge and ingenuity.
It is therefore beneficial to share the knowledge we have with others, so that this knowledge does not become a burden on our minds and make us forget. Knowledge must be shared and developed in order to grow and develop.
That said, while it is ideal for sharing your knowledge and ideas for free, there is nothing wrong with selling it. After all, Knowledge is Power, and power can be money. At the end of the day, the knowledge owner gets to decide what to do with it. And that is the beauty of it.
For years, the only way to “sell” knowledge has been to directly teach or tutor the buyer or indirectly teach them through writing books on the subject.
The advent of the internet has only democratized this ability to distribute what you learned to the public. Anyone can share their knowledge, even those without a teaching license or who don’t know how to write books.
The kinds of things being taught around have also been busted wide open. People can share their knowledge on a variety of platforms, such as Youtube and TikTok, to teach others how they make or do the most common or absurd things.
Even formal education can have its niche platforms too. Online courses platforms are the answer.
For those of you who prefer a more visual experience, here is a video review from the YouTube channel SoftwarePundit. You can still read our article to get a complete overview of Thinkific.
Thinkific: An Online Course Platform Alternatives To Thinkific
Thinkific is a top choice for hosting your online classes. Learning Management System (LMS), creates, promotes and sells your online courses.
Thinkific started in 2012 when a group of entrepreneurs sought to create a platform to provide a rich and easily accessible teaching and learning environment for instructors and students.
They were fortunate to find a solution to their problem. Thinkific became an effective solution for creating, managing, and marketing online courses. Thinkific also did it easily, as even those without technical knowledge could use the platform.
Thinkific is a great tool for creating online courses. This allows the users to focus on one thing and one thing only: content. Students and teachers are motivated to engage when they have good content.
Thinkific offers many features to fulfill that promise. Later, we will look at these features and see if they really live up to the hype.
Enjoy the Thinkific Benefits
Thinkific isn’t the only platform capable of creating decent courses. In fact, plenty of LMS and CMS do the job as well as Thinkific. We would be remiss if this were not mentioned.
So what is it about thinkific that makes us prefer it as a platform overall?
- Thinkific doesn’t take transaction fees, unlike many other platforms. As a bonus, Thinkific immediately makes your funds available for withdrawal whenever you make a sale. So when it comes to sales, Thinkific makes sure that whatever is yours is absolutely yours
- You can try Thinkific’s core features and have a feel for the environment through its free plan. Although you are only limited to uploading 3 courses, you can have unlimited students enrolled in it as well as host most of the core content that Thinkific allows
- Thinkific’s drag-and-drop builder makes it simple to create an online course. This is in keeping with their commitment to letting content creators concentrate on the content. Thinkific supports multiple types of content such as audio, video, PDFs and quizzes.
- Thinkific also allows you to play with your course engagement by giving you various capabilities. The platform allows you to organize cohorts, schedule your content, and deliver them by drip-feed, locking them through prerequisite lessons and many others.
- You can also engage with students via Thinkific’s multiple channels. You can email your students their progresses and engage them in discussions. And even have them compete with the leaderboard.
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Thinkific features are almost identical to other course builders. The only exceptions are a few differences here and there. This is mostly because they focus on certain sections of the entire experience. These features include:
- User-friendly course builder
This isn’t a new feature, as many online course builders already offer it. It will be very difficult for a course builder to compete on the market if they don’t offer a user-friendly option.
- Drag-and-drop web page builder
Like the course builder, drag-and-drop page builders are standard issues for these kinds of services. Course makers need to market their courses. It is essential that they have the tools and resources to market their courses. Just like with Thinkific.
- Promotion and marketing tools
In the same vein as selling courses, course builders like Thinkific should have the proper built-in email and affiliate marketing tools, sales widgets, and the ability to offer coupons to make it easy for users to sell their products in the platform.
- Flexible payment options
Without multiple payment options, all of your marketing tools will be useless. Having more than one payment option is also optimal, as it removes friction from wannabe customers, and more payment options can make it easier for your leads to paying you.
Analytics is key to content creation. How else can you find your approach without knowing your strengths and weaknesses? This feature is offered by Thinkific to help users decide the direction of their content.
Should they continue doing tutorial videos with direct samples, the best way to go about things, or just plain instructions would be better? Without proper tracking of revenues, engagements, business performance, one cannot determine the best course.
- Student support and communities
Having a good community that consumes your content is a good way to build up returning customers. Besides that, it is also good for branding as well as engagements. Remember, good customer support and community greatly improve customer retention. It is good that Thinkific provides the avenue to do so with these features.
- Tools to train the trainer
Although we are in the business selling knowledge, it’s a good idea to have our own. Course building and selling are different disciplines altogether. Many who try Thinkific might be new to the process and will tend to stumble around until they feel comfortable.
Thinkific gives these newbies and even veterans a chance to learn from what is tried and tested. In doing so, they can speed up the process of making courses and allow newer people to use the app more.
- Thinkific App Store
Apps and programs can be purchased at the Thinkific App Store. What is great about this AppStore is that most of it is community-made. It is a great place for fellow course creators and content creators to come together and have discussions with Thinkific developers.
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The Thinkific Course Builder: Is it Good?
At the end of the day, the only way to know how good a course builder is to test the crux of its service, which is the course builder itself.
A course builder service will only be as good as its main builder. If they don’t have a well-functioning course building system, then what can we expect from them about secondary and additional features?
In the case of their course builder, Thinkific provides a handy “Get Started” checklist that guides you on what to do at your first foray into course building.
Build Your First Course
You will receive a draft of “Your First Course” when you start your course.
Opening this file brings you to the first-course builder interface, wherein the layout is very easy to follow. The course content is divided into chapters and lessons.
You can create lessons by clicking the “add Lesson” button.
Content types can be either of the following:
- Download PDF documents
- Slideshow presentations
- Webinars and live zoom lessons.
You can upload any of these files as your lessons. If you want, you can add multiple course content and upload them using the Bulk Importer. You can also copy old lessons from other courses using the “Copy Lessons From” button on Thinkific.
Pick the Course Type
You can choose the course that Thinkific is currently building. The service also provides pre-formatted, professional-looking templates which can be used to create the course content.
While you can have perfect flexibility by using a blank template, these course templates can be extremely helpful when doing your job in a hurry or when you are just beginning to make courses.
Some of these premade course types include:
- Mini-course: These are course templates designed to create short and fast courses such as tasters and freebies.
- Flagship Courses: These are the courses that make students and audiences take your courses or keep them always coming back. Every lesson is designed to be easy for students to follow and is simple to learn.
- Pre-sell course: Pre-sell courses help you sell your courses. These can be like testers and short courses. This allows you to advertise to potential customers what your courses entail. Alternatives To Thinkific
- This template can be used to create a membership resource library for your subscribers. This will encourage your audience to remain on your website even when looking at resources
- Webinar Replay is a similar template to the library template but it is specifically designed for webinars or live lesson videos. This template is ideal for late enrollees or people who missed your seminars.
Customizing The Look of Course for your Students
Your students will be able to consume your learning resources in the Course Player. As such, you can customize how this course player looks in the “Settings” tab on the “Courses” page. Options include changing color schemes, fonts, or adding logos.
Here you can also add a description of the course and an image.
You can also preview your lessons in this section. This allows you to see the views of your students on your lessons. As such, you can put yourself in their shoes and see the problem from their perspective.
You can assign assignments and track progress
Assignments, quizzes, and surveys are super handy as an additional way to engage your students. Aside from that, you can use it as an added way to rate your students. Alternatives To Thinkific
Assignments are not available for PRO plans.
All in all, Thinkific’s Course Builder is easy to use. They will give you enough guidance, especially if you’re just starting out with your course.
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Building an Online Course Website
The course builder can be considered the core of Thinkific. However, it is the Site Builder that provides the foundation on which your courses can be built.
Thinkific Site Builder shares many of the same features as other landing page builders. This allows you to sell your courses from your website or even if you don’t have a website yet.
The website builder is easy to use. This website builder was created with non-techy people and newbies in mind.
To start building your website, you start with:
1. Pick a Theme.
When building your website, the best place is to pick a theme.
For this reason, Thinkific has three pre-built theme templates. Each theme comes with its own style, colors, fonts, layouts, and customized layouts.
These websites all have professional and good designs.
2. You can customize your online course site using the Site Builder.
You can modify the theme you have chosen after you’ve selected it. Through the site builder, you can do your preferred edits and make out an entire website. You can also create individual pages if you wish.
Site builders use drag-and-drop tools that make it simple to create a website from scratch. This tool can be combined with pre-made themes to create a professional-looking website.
And that is just the beginning. Your website’s potential is limitless. Your creativity will only be your limit.
3. Start a Training Website from Scratch.
We are already in the course-making business so it makes sense to build a website for training. For this matter, Thinkific provides a great selection of pages for your perusal.
These pages are pre-designed and ready to be mapped into a complete course or training website. These pages can be used as building blocks for your website. Some pages of note include:
- Home Page: The face of your website. The place where the most important things should be located
- These pages can be used as landing pages to help students approach courses. You can create a course page to serve as a landing page for all courses in your class.
- Sign-up pages are where students and potential customers enroll in individual courses or join a membership Alternatives To Thinkific
- Sign in Pages: This should be sued for subscribers of your website
- Student Dashboard: This will serve as your student’s starting point when signing in to your website. A good student dashboard can be designed in a way that makes everything on your website accessible.
- Checkout pages or payment page: This is where you place your payment options for subscribing or signing up for your class.
- Coming Soon pages: These pages may look empty, but they can serve as teasers and previews for any upcoming pages, courses, offers, and even bundles you offer.
Of course, these types of pages are just some examples you can use with the website. These templates are also a good utility for making a website and needing it fast. These templates are a great way to skip the tedious part of selecting which template you want for your website. Alternatives To Thinkific
You can also create a customized page by clicking on the Custom Page link in the menus. This will allow you to design your page according to your requirements.
4. Edit Individual Pages
It is important to understand the structure of Thinkific Site Builder pages in order to properly design them. These sections can easily be modified and moved around.
Pre-built pages come with suggestions sections that will help you choose the right ones for your page. Adding more sections is just as simple as clicking on the “Add Section”
Thinkfic offers 23 pre-formatted pages sections. These pages are geared towards building high-converting pages. These pages are highly-converting and include but not limited to:
- Get involved.
This is an essential part, especially when you aim to sell. This lets your would-be students and customers know how to sign up or buy.
- Smart Product and Category
This section provides a list of information that can provide your customers with automatically listed summaries of available products you sell.
This section can be used to highlight key messages, making it easy for the readers to scan information using bullet points.
- Most Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions are a common scene on most websites. These are designed to answer all common questions from customers. Alternatives To Thinkific
- ‘Social Proof’
These sections can be compared to testimonials. They show client reviews, comments, and experiences. They make a statement to show off what they get in the lessons, which in turn entices other customers to avail of your product.
These sections help you promote other courses. This section is often found on the checkout page for one of your courses.
This section is where you can put your instructor profiles in the courses. This gives students information as to the people who are teaching them.
- Pricing Options
Here you can submit your pricing options. This tells your students the cost of your courses and where you can pay for them. If possible, this is also where you can describe your bundles, what you include in them, and how much they cost.
You can add this section to your course promotion page to make a video advertisement.
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Earning Profit Through Your Content with the Use of Your Online Course Platform
We now come to the part that is often the most anticipated. How does the business side of Thnkific work? Is the service providing enough tools and resources to enable users to make a living from their hard work?
The thing of the matter is that nowadays, all online course builders and course platforms include inherent tools to give users and teachers the ability to promote their courses and products. The only difference is in the focus of each platform.
Yep, that’s right. Some course platforms focus more on selling and turning conversion than the creation side. Others, on the other hand, focus more on the business and promotion side of things and rely heavily upon integrations.
Which side is Thinkific on? Let’s find out as we try the business, promotion, and marketing features of Thinkific.
Promote Your Courses
By default, Thinkific has marketing tools that help you sell your content for cash. These features are available to all users, even those who use the free plan. However, they are very limited and only allow for the most basic functions.
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is one of these tools. Thinkific offers the necessary SEO options for free to plan users. This allows you promote your lessons in the simplest ways possible, making it capable of rising up the search engine results page.
Free users also have the option to create free trial courses. It’s like giving your customers a free taste or sample. This is among the most efficient ways to show your audience what you are capable of. Alternatives To Thinkific
Customers and potential students can get a glimpse into your content by allowing them to see it. That way, once they dive into your paid content, they already have at least a small idea of how things work out.
While these promotional materials may seem lacking at first, in skillful hands, these can go a very long way as promotional materials. They can even be used to compete with products that have been promoted too much.
Of course, we are only talking about the free stuff. As you go up through Thinkific’s pricing plans, more marketing tools are unlocked for you. Many of these enhance your ability to promote your course materials in the market. These include:
Coupons don’t need introduction. They’ve been in use for many transactions for a long period of time. So it is no surprise that they are also being used in online business and online marketing.
Thinkific’s coupons come from digital codes that are very easy to share. These codes can be used in Thinkific’s ecosystem very well. You can use a coupon at Thinkific’s checkout to instantly redeem it.
Coupons can be used to promote bundles or courses from a marketing perspective. This will entice potential customers to check out your courses, especially if a discount is included.
As a side note, Thinkific allows you to customize your coupons. The coupon can be customized by setting the dollar amount or percentage, as well as the expiration date and the number of times it can be used.
- Sales Widgets
You can use sales widgets to link to other websites or social media to share your purchase links. These are extremely useful, given how much traffic you need to get your courses noticed in the first place. You will need lots of traffic, let’s face the facts.
It’s the truth, you can’t expect to have any traffic at all if you are just new to creating courses and if you do not have a built-in audience. Even if you have a built-in audience, you need a fast and convenient way to link your courses and classes from other websites.
This is where social media comes into play. It is a given that almost everybody uses social media. It is important to determine where the majority of internet traffic comes and redirect some traffic to your site.
This is possible by using sales widgets that generate HTML code which can be easily pasted onto existing websites. Of course, this includes social media sites. If you wish to market this way, these codes can be sent as messages. Alternatives To Thinkific
You can also customize the widget’s appearance. You have the option to show a button or a button with a product picture. Or you can add text to match it.
- Email Marketing Tools
Email marketing tools allow you to manage your newsletters and send targeted messages to subscribers. In a way, this tool is used less to get new conversions and rather to retain them. This tool can only be sent to those you already know.
In the case of Thinkific, their email marketing tools do just this…….. And not much more. Unfortunately, only existing students can be emailed about your courses. You can also notify them about new products and courses.
You don’t have to like everything. However, if you need more features, there are other email marketing tools available such as Mailchimp or Mailerlite, AWeber and Constant Contact. ActiveCampaign is another option.
However, it would have been a lot better if Thinkific had an even better local Email marketing tool available for its users.
- Affiliate Marketing
You can choose to use affiliate marketing to get influencers and experts to promote your courses if you feel your marketing skills are not sufficient.
Thinkific allows the process to be easy and straightforward. You will need to add the associated person as a user, and make him an “Affiliate”. This information can be found under “User Roles” within the Process.
You can also convert Thinkfiic users into affiliates by finding them through the same process.
As for checking the status and performance of your affiliates, Thinkific will track the courses or bundles your affiliate sells and record the corresponding revenue. Alternatives To Thinkific
However, affiliates are not paid within the system. It’s the same with instructor revenue sharing.
If you don’t have a way to receive payments or enroll in your courses, all that marketing effort will go sour. Thinkific offers Stripe as a payment platform for cards. You can also connect PayPal to make one-off payments.
You can also link your courses with a Shopify website. That way, you can get all the tools the eCommerce platform offers its users.
Thinkific’s payment options let you customize the price of your products. Customers can be charged with different payment options. For example, you can sell courses for a one off fee.
You can even make membership subscriptions and charge accordingly. If you want, you can sell your course in a bundle. But right now, I haven’t tried that feature as I have only a few courses made with their system.
One thing to note about Thinkific though is that they do not charge you any commission fee for any of your courses sold!
Analytics and reporting
Any good website that is selling something should include a Reports and Analytics feature. This will allow users to figure out which stuff they are doing well on and which ones they need to focus on and improve.
Thankfully, Thinkific has one, but it is a relatively new feature. It currently reports only on four areas, which are: Enrollments and Student Engagement, Revenue, Orders, Enrollments, and Student Engagement. This feature is still in its infancy and is only available on the Start + Growth add-on package.
For what it’s worth, it is a step in the right direction as having it is much better than having nothing at all.
How does it all work?
Thinkific’s reporting and analytics collect the necessary data how they wish. Some selections include filtering data by date, course or product type, by recency of customers (whether they are new or existing), and more.
These data can give you multiple insights into how your courses perform. Let’s take, for instance, data about student engagement.
This data will allow you to view things like course enrollments and completion rates. These metrics can be compared across all subjects. This allows you to see which subjects are having low completion rates.
You can then identify the reasons for these problems. It is up to you then to make the necessary adjustments. Alternatives To Thinkific
Students might find it difficult to complete courses that have low completion rates. Still, it might be a problem with the way you are presenting the information or instructions. Once you have identified the problem, you will be able to find a solution that works without having to tear your hair out.
This data is then shown as a chart and graph that makes it a lot easier to read and understand.
Prices and plans that are thought-provoking
Thinkific is a leading platform for course development and marketing. You can expect a price that’s appropriate for your standing.
Thinkfiic is a product that you pay for. With all its features, you won’t be ripped off.
Besides that, Thinkific has a free plan which you can use to test their products. If you are interested in learning more about Thinkific’s features or need to start your course-creating journey, you can always get a free plan.
|$0 per month||$74 per month||$149 pero month||$374 per month|
|Create and launch your product using a website and checkout experience
|Add products to your company and create a cohesive learning experience.
|-Build successful business with a complete suite of tools to help you sell more
|With a platform that scales, optimize your workflow to create premium experiences.
The Free Plan
Is the first plan you should take if you are new to all this course building and course management stuff. This is the best way for you to get to know the service and test it out. You can do all the services offered by the free plan, but only in a limited capacity.
The Free plan is only good for making one course. Making more than that requires you to sign up. This course is full of potential and you can enroll as many students as you wish.
The Start Plan
If you think you like using Thinkific and would like to proceed with the next big step in the right direction. The main benefit of upgrading to this plan is your limiters are removed, and you are free to make unlimited courses.
Aside from that, Thinkific affords you a few more options in the type of courses you can make. You can even live-stream your lessons for as long as you have the time.
Furthermore, the Start plan opens up more marketing tools and gives you access to the Thinkific app store.
You also have the option of a custom domain to host your course website.
The Grow Plan
The Grow plan is for you if you are serious about selling and making courses. The first benefit you get is removing the Thinkific branding. Although it may seem easy, it has a significant impact on branding, marketing, and professionalizing your courses.
This gives you access to bulk enrollments so that the enrollment process can be done easier and faster. In terms of support, you are given priority email and phone support. So you can have faster solutions given to you should different problems arise for your website. Alternatives To Thinkific
The Expand Plan
The Expand plan is designed for larger businesses and institutions. It allows you to optimize your workflow and create a premium experience with a platform that is designed to scale.
This plan is especially good for huge institutions wanting to create an online presence. It provides the same features as the other Thinkific plans but also offers 10 Communities that make it easier for students to manage.
This plan provides five administrators who will help you manage your business.
Some LMS services give clients and customers an option to create bespoke plans separate from the services’ basic plans. Their prices are not listed because customization may change the cost. The customization will affect the price.
For Thinkific, this is called Thinkific Plus. It’s a powerful, scalable and simple-to-use learning platform that is tailored to your students and team.
Contact the Thinkfic sales team to get Thinkific Plus. They will help you understand the tools you need to optimize your platform. They will provide you with education experts who can inspire and give you the confidence to grow beyond what you imagine.
Thinkific Plus will give you all the features from the Expand plans while also adding in these features:
- Unlimited Products
- Unlimited Administrators
- 3+ Separate Thinkific sites
- Service Level Agreement 99.9%
- Dedicate Customer Success Team
- Multiple seats and Tiered pricing checkout
- Email white-labeling
- Single Sign on
- Bulk Selling App
- Enterprise API Access
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Thinkific Pros and Cons
- Thinkific does NOT charge transaction fees. When a sale occurs from your products, courses or memberships, funds are immediately available for withdrawal.
- Thinkific has a fully realized free plan. It includes all core features and functions like a paid plan. There are no restrictions, but if you’re serious enough you can sell courses through the service with no upfront investment. Alternatives To Thinkific
- Thinkkific’s drag-and-drop builder is super easy to use, and even non-tech-savvy people can use it. It even allows you to upload multiple types of media content to create varied and interesting courses and lessons.
- There are some aspects of Thinkific that are not really that are not as user-friendly as expected. This is something that some creators of the service have expressed.
- The service lacks many marketing features. Their email marketing capabilities are very basic and far behind those of the competition.
- Thinkific’s designs and customizations are quite limited, given that the service only provides a few themes to play with. It is difficult to make a website that stands out from the competition with these options.
The Thinkific Verdict
Thinkific is an excellent choice for course promotion and course creation. It is affordable and features are just as easy as those of its rivals.
The free startup plan is a godsend for those just starting, as it will give them a feel of how things are with the service. Alternatives To Thinkific
In my opinion, providing a free startup plan is actually a mark of confidence on the side of the service. They believe their product is of use and are willing to let the public try it.
You can see that Thinkific’s free plan is bold and understandable. It is unlike the other “free plans” of the other products where they only masquerade as free, but there isn’t you can do with the service.
Thinkific’s Course Builder is very intuitive and easy to use. With just a glance, you can easily know what to do and what functions as what. As for the more complex side of things, Thinkific provides enough prompts to guide you through the process.
This can be a tricky side. Too many prompts can overwhelm novice users and cause frustration for those who are already proficient.
However, it is important to remember that Thinkific might be too easy for some users. But that is just nitpicking. At the end of the day, Thinkific’s course builder is fast, easy, and responsive, and that’s what most people need.
For their Site Builder, Thinkific also chooses to keep it simple. It is not like a standalone platform. However, in keeping with their philosophy, it is simple to use and can easily be grasped by beginners.
It has impressive editing capabilities, making it ideal for creating tutorial and training websites. It is also a great tool to add training pages to existing websites.
There aren’t enough themes to suit all tastes and demographics.
Finally, I believe Thinkific is lacking in the marketing department. Just looking at the bare bones structure of their Email marketing can turn off marketers, and marketing Thinkific’s courses can be an uphill climb without resorting to third-party integrations.
As for their payment options, it would be better to have more options other than Stripe and PayPal.
Not everything is bad. Thinkfic still offers some useful tools to help you make money from your courses. With a little creative touch, you can sell your products and courses. It does require more effort than usual, however.
Thinkific’s Frequently Asked Questions Alternatives To Thinkific
Can You Build an Entire Website with Just Thinkfic?
Yes, you can!
Thinkfiic gives you the freedom to build your entire online education business. This means you can create both courses, websites, or your overall brand within one seamless platform. Thinkific has builders that are designed to facilitate building, marketing, and selling online courses.
I Want to Allow my Students Access to my Course Content while Offline; How Do I Do that?
It will be at your discretion.
Bear in mind that your students will need help logging into your courses offline. That said, you can offer your courses to be downloadable. You can do this on content such as video files, audio files, and PDFs. Your students can download these to their devices and access them even offline.
Who Owns the Content Published on Thinkific?
Any content built into the Thinkific Platform is the sole and exclusive property of the creators.
Thinkific does not, and will not, claim any intellectual property rights over materials made by the course creators and builders. Therefore, anything built and published on the platform is 100% to the creators.