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 is what makes us more powerful than other creatures. 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.
Sure, that example might be overly dramatic, but you get the idea. The human race has won our place in the food chain due to our sheer knowledge and ingenuity.
As such, it is only beneficial for us to share what we know with our fellowmen, lest we let this knowledge consign only to our minds, rotten and forgotten. After all, for knowledge to grow and develop, it must be shared and evolved.
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. The knowledge owner has the final say in what happens to it. 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.
This ability to share what you have learned has been made possible by the internet. Even those who have no teaching license or do not know how to write books now have the ability to share their knowledge.
The kinds of things being taught around have also been busted wide open. Whether for good or for bad, people can teach others how to make or do the most mundane or nonsense of things through multiple platforms like Youtube or TikTok.
Even formal education can have its niche platforms too. This is where online course platforms come in.
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 Andrea Merson Marketing Director Thinkific
Thinkific is a top choice for hosting your online classes. A Learning Management System (LMS) creates, promotes, and sells your courses online.
Thinkific was founded in 2012 by a group entrepreneurs who wanted to create an environment that would allow students and instructors to learn and teach.
They were fortunate to find a solution to their problem. Thinkific was a great solution to 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 users to concentrate on 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.
Thinkific is not the only platform that is a decent course maker. Many LMS and CMS can do the same job as Thinkific. We would be remiss if this were not mentioned.
What is it that makes thinkific such a great platform?
- 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. Thinkific ensures that your sales are 100% 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
- As a commitment to their promise of letting content creators focus on the content, Thinkific makes it easy to build an online course through its drag and drop builder. 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.
As for the features, Thinkific has more or less the same as that of the other course builders. The only exceptions are a few differences here and there. This is mostly how they handle some specific sections of the whole experience. These features include:
- User-friendly course builder
To be honest, this is not really a unique feature as most online course builders will already have this feature. 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 site 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. Similar to 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
All of those marketing features will be for naught if there are not many payment options available for customers. It is ideal to have more than one payment option. This removes any friction for potential customers and makes it easier for them to pay 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? One cannot decide the best course of action without properly tracking revenues, engagements, and business performance.
- Student support and communities
A good way to increase your customer base is to have a strong community that uses your content. It is also a great way to brand your company and increase engagements. Customer retention is greatly improved by having a strong community and customer support. It is good that Thinkific provides the avenue to do so with these features.
- Tools to train the trainer
While we are in the business of selling knowledge, it is not a bad thing to acquire our own in the meantime. Selling and course building are two different things. Many who try Thinkific might be new to the process and will tend to stumble around until they feel comfortable.
These newbies, as well as veterans, have the opportunity to benefit from the tried-and-trued knowledge of Thinkific. This allows them to speed up the creation of courses and makes it easier for new users to use the app.
- Thinkific App Store
The Thinkific App store sells apps and programs that take your online courses to another level. 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.
Thinkific Course Builder: How Good Is It?
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?
Thinkific offers a “Get Started” checklist to help you get started with course building.
Build Your First Course
You will receive a draft of “Your First Course” when you start your course.
This file opens the first-course builder interface. The layout is 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
- Live zoom lessons and webinars.
Any of these files can be uploaded as your lessons. You can upload multiple courses to the Bulk Importer. You can also copy old lessons from other courses using the “Copy Lessons From” button on Thinkific.
Choose 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.
Although you can still be flexible by using a template blank, they can be very helpful when you need to do your job quickly or are just starting to create courses.
These premade courses include:
- Mini-courses: These course templates are designed to make short, fast courses like tasters or freebies.
- Flagship Courses: These are the courses that make students and audiences take your courses or keep them always coming back. Each lesson is constructed in a way that is easy to progress and navigate for students.
- Pre-sell course: Pre-sell courses help you sell your courses. These can be like testers and short courses. This will allow you to tell potential customers about your courses. Andrea Merson Marketing Director Thinkific
- Membership Resource Library: You can use this template to create an archive of resources for your subscribers. This will encourage your audience stay on your site even when they are 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. Andrea Merson Marketing Director Thinkific
That said, assignments are only available for the PRO plan.
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.
Building an Online Course Website
While the course builder is what you can consider the core of Thinkific, It is the Site Builder that serves as the foundation with which you can prop your courses.
The Thinkific Site builder shares the same characteristics as the 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. It was designed with newbies and non-tech people in mind.
Start building your website by:
1. Pick a Theme.
When building your website, the best place is to pick a theme.
Thinkific offers three pre-designed themes templates. Each theme has its own styles, color schemes, fonts, and tweaked layouts.
These websites all have professional and good designs.
2. Use Site Builder to Customize Your Online Course Site.
After picking a theme, you can customize it as you like. You can make your desired edits to the site builder and create 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.
This is only the beginning. The potential your website can take will be up to you. Your imagination is limitless.
3. Make a Training website Entirely 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. As such, we can take these pages and use them as the building blocks of your websites. These pages are worth mentioning:
- Your website’s homepage is the face. Where most relevant things should be found
- Course pages: These can swerve as landing pages for approaching courses. If you want, you can also make a course page that serves as a landing page for all the courses you offer in your “class”
- Sign-up pages are where students and potential customers enroll in individual courses or join a membership Andrea Merson Marketing Director 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. It is possible to design a student dashboard that makes it easy for students to access all the content on your website.
- You can find payment pages, or checkout pages: Here you can place your payment options to subscribe or sign up for your class.
- Pages Coming Soon: Although they may not appear to be full, these pages can be used as teasers or previews of any pages, courses, offers, or bundles that you might offer.
These pages can be used with your website in many ways. These templates can also be used to quickly create a website. These templates are a great way to skip the tedious part of selecting which template you want for your website. Andrea Merson Marketing Director 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
To properly design a web page using Thinkific Site Builder, it helps to understand that the pages made with these site builders are made up of sections. 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. Simply click on “Add Section” to add more sections.
Thinkfic offers 23 pre-formatted pages sections. These pages are geared towards building high-converting pages. These high-converting pages include, but are not limited to:
- Get involved.
This is a crucial part of selling. 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 for key messages and makes it easy to scan information with bullet points.
- Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions are a common scene on most websites. These are designed to answer all common questions from customers. Andrea Merson Marketing Director 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. You can often find this section on the checkout page of one of your courses.
This section is where you can put your instructor profiles in the courses. This section gives students information about the teachers.
- Pricing Options
You can place your pricing options here. This tells your students the cost of your courses and where you can pay for them. This is where you can also describe your bundles and what they include, as well as how much each one costs.
You can add this section to your course promotion page to make a video advertisement.
Earning Profit Through Your Content with the Use of Your Online Course Platform
Now we come to what is known as among the most anticipated parts of the review. 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. While others are the opposite and mostly rely on integrations to carry forth the promotion and business side of things.
So on which side does Thinkific fall on? Let’s find out as we try the business, promotion, and marketing features of Thinkific.
Promote Your Courses
Thinkific comes with marketing tools to help you make money from your content. 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.
Another feature available for free users is the ability to build free trial courses. It’s like giving your customers a free taste or sample. This is one of the best ways to show your audience who you are. Andrea Merson Marketing Director Thinkific
Customers and potential students can get a glimpse into your content by allowing them to see it. This will give customers and potential students a glimpse into the workings of your content before they pay for it.
While these promotional materials may seem lacking at first, in skillful hands, these can go a very long way as promotional materials. In the right condition, they might even compete with some products that have been promoted to the extreme.
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. These tools will help you promote your course material in the market. Some of these include:
Coupons need no introduction. They’ve been in use for many transactions for a long period of time. It is not surprising that they are being used in online marketing and business.
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.
From a marketing standpoint, coupons can be set up and used to promote your bundles and courses. This will entice potential customers to check out your courses, especially if a discount is included.
Thinkific also allows you to personalize your coupons. From setting the dollar or percentage amount for the coupon to setting an expiration date and setting the number of times, the coupon can be redeemed.
- Sales Widgets
You can use sales widgets to link to other websites or social media to share your purchase links. These widgets are very useful given the amount of traffic required to get your course noticed. And let’s face it, you will need a lot of traffic.
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 your audience is already established, you still need a quick and easy way to link your courses with classes on other websites.
That’s where social media comes in. 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.
The easiest way to do this is through sales widgets which generate HTML code that can easily be pasted on existing websites. Of course, this includes social media sites. Aside from that, these codes can also be sent as messages if you want to market that way. Andrea Merson Marketing Director Thinkific
Another customization you can do with this widget is how it looks. You can choose to display a button, a button with a product image, or include text that you want to go with it.
- Email Marketing Tools
Email marketing tools allow you to manage your newsletters and send targeted messages to subscribers. This tool is not used to convert new subscribers but to keep them. This tool can only be sent to those you already know.
Thinkific’s email marketing tools are limited to this ……… Unfortunately, only existing students can be emailed about your courses. Notifying them about new products or courses is another option.
Not everything is bad, though, as if you want more features, you can use other email marketing tools such as Mailchimp, Mailerlite, AWeber, Constant Contact, ActiveCampaign, or ConvertKit.
That said, it would have been miles better if Thinkific had a better local Email marketing tool for users to use.
- Affiliate Marketing
If you think your own marketing skills are insufficient, then you can opt to go the Affiliate marketing route and get experts and influencers to promote your courses.
The process is simple and straightforward with Thinkific. 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. Andrea Merson Marketing Director Thinkific
That said, paying the affiliates is done outside the system, so that’s a catch. The same applies to instructor revenue sharing.
All that marketing work will be for naught if you have no way of receiving payments or your courses. In this vein, Thinkific has Stripe as a card payment platform. You can also connect PayPal to make one-off payments.
Lastly, there is also an option to link your courses to a Shopify site. 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. You can even charge customers with different payment plans. You can also sell courses for a one-off fee.
You can also offer membership subscriptions, and charge accordingly. You can also sell your course as a bundle if you wish. But right now, I haven’t tried that feature as I have only a few courses made with their system.
Thinkific is unique in that you don’t have to pay a commission for any courses they sell.
Reporting and Analytics
A good website selling products should have a Reports and Analytics section. This feature will help users identify which areas they excel at and which ones they should focus on to improve.
Thankfully, Thinkific has one, but it is a relatively new feature. Currently it only reports on four ares which include: Orders, Enrollments, Student Engagement, and Revenue. This feature is still in its infancy and is only available on the Start + Growth add-on package.
It is a good step in the right direction. Having it is better than nothing.
So how does it 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. Then it will be up to you to adjust accordingly. Andrea Merson Marketing Director Thinkific
For example, for courses with low completion rates, students might find the course extremely hard. It could be an issue with how you present the information. 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.
Thinkific Pricing and Plans
Thinkific is one of the leading platforms on course building, and marketing. As such, you can expect to have a price that is appropriate for their 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 business and create a cohesive learning experience for your students
|A complete set of tools is available to help you increase your sales.
|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. It is the best way to get a feel of the service and to test drive what it is capable of. You can do all the services offered by the free plan, but only in a limited capacity.
Only one course is allowed under the Free plan. To make more courses, you will need to sign up. That said, this course has a lot of potential, allowing you to enroll an unlimited number of students you want.
The Start Plan
If you feel that Thinkific is something you would enjoy, you can take the next step. Upgrade to this plan and your limitations are gone. You can 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.
The Start plan also opens up additional marketing tools and grants 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. First, you will be able to remove 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. Andrea Merson Marketing Director Thinkific
The Expand Plan
The Expand plan is for bigger institutions and businesses. This plan allows you to streamline your workflow and provide a premium experience using a platform that can scale.
This plan is especially good for huge institutions wanting to create an online presence. Aside from providing the usual features of the other Thinkific plans, it provides unprecedented 10 Communities to keep students easier 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.
This is Thinkific Plus. It is a powerful, scalable, and easy-to-use learning platform geared toward your team and students.
Contact the Thinkfic sales team to get Thinkific Plus. They can help you to understand the tools that you need in order 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
- Three+ separate Thinkific sites
- Service Level Agreement 99.9%
- Build a Customer Success Team
- Check out multiple seats or a tiered pricing option
- Email White-labeling
- Only one sign on
- Bulk Selling App
- Enterprise API Access
Thoughtific Pros and Cons
- Thinkific does not take any transaction fees. Funds are immediately available for withdrawal whenever a sale is made from your products, courses, or memberships.
- Thinkific has a fully realized free plan. It has all the core features available and acts 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. Andrea Merson Marketing Director 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. Some creators have acknowledged this.
- 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. With these options, it is hard to create a website that stands out among the rest.
Overall, Thinkific is a good choice for course creation as well as course promotion. Its price is entirely reasonable, and the features are as good and easy to use as most of its competitors.
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. Andrea Merson Marketing Director Thinkific
I believe that offering a free startup plan to a service is a sign of confidence. They believe their product is of use and are willing to let the public try it.
Looking at Thinkific’s free plan, too, you can say that it is very bold, and the limitations are pretty understandable. This is not like other free plans of other products. However, there are still things you can do with it.
Thinkific’s Course Builder is very intuitive and easy to use. You can quickly see what you need to do and which functions are what. Thinkific has enough prompts to help you navigate the more complicated aspects of the world.
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. This is just my 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’s not a standalone platform. However, in keeping with their philosophy, it is simple to use and can easily be grasped by beginners.
It does offer impressive editing options, which makes it ideal for creating training and tutorial 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.
Lastly, on the marketing side of things, this is where I feel Thinkific falls short. Marketers can feel disillusioned by the Email marketing structure. Marketing Thinkific’s courses are difficult to market without third-party integrations.
It would be more convenient to have other payment options than Stripe or 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 Andrea Merson Marketing Director Thinkific
Can You Build an Entire Website with Just Thinkfic?
Yes, you can!
Thinkfiic allows you to create your entire online education company. You can easily create courses, websites, and your entire brand on one platform. Thinkific offers builders that can be used to build, market, and sell online courses.
How can I allow my students to access my course content while offline?
It will be at your discretion.
Bear in mind that your students will need help logging into your courses offline. You can make your courses 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?
The creators are the complete and sole owners of any content that is built into the Thinkific Platform.
Thinkific does not, and will not, claim any intellectual property rights over materials made by the course creators and builders. Everything published and built on the platform belongs to its creators.