We all know the expression “Knowledge is Power” which has its roots in Latin: scientiapotentia est. It still holds true today as it did all those years ago.
Knowledge is what makes us more powerful than other creatures. While eagles and other intelligent creatures may have better vision than humans, we have been able to see more by understanding the workings of the world.
Although the example is a bit extreme, you get the point. Because of our knowledge and ingenuity, the human race has risen to the top in food chain.
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. 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. At the end of the day, the knowledge owner gets to decide what to do with it. And that is the beauty of it.
The only way to “sell” knowledge for years was to either directly or indirectly tutor the buyer.
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. 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 Caitlin Bacher 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 was easy to use, so even people with no technical knowledge could use it.
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.
As such, Thinkific provides plenty of features to help facilitate 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. That said, we would be remiss if we gloss over Thinkific just because of this fact.
What is it that makes thinkific such a great platform?
- Unlike most other platforms, Thinkific does not take any transaction fees from your sales. 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
- 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.
- You can also play with the course engagement through Thinkific’s many capabilities. You can organize groups, schedule content and send them via drip-feed. They also lock them with prerequisite lessons.
- 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.
Thinkific features are almost identical to other course builders. There are some differences, but these are minor. This is mostly how they handle some specific sections of the whole 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
Drag-and-drop page builders, like the course builder are common issues for these types 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.
For content creation, analytics is the name of the game. How else can you find your approach without knowing your strengths and weaknesses? Thinkific offers this feature to its users to make it easy for their users as to the direction their content should go.
Do they need to continue making tutorial videos that include direct examples? Or should they just give instructions? One cannot decide the best course of action without properly tracking revenues, engagements, and business performance.
- Student support and communities
Having a good community that consumes your content is a good way to build up returning customers. It is also a great way to brand your company and increase 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. Selling and course building are two different things. Many people who try Thinkific may be unfamiliar with the process and will stumble around until they feel at ease.
Thinkific gives these newbies and even veterans a chance to learn from what is tried and tested. This allows them to speed up the creation of courses and makes it easier for new users to use the app.
- Thinkific App store
Apps and programs can be purchased at the Thinkific App Store. The best thing about the AppStore is its community-made nature. It is a great place for fellow course creators and content creators to come together and have discussions with Thinkific developers.
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.
The main course builder will determine how good a course builder service is. After all, what are we supposed to expect about their secondary and additional features if they can’t be bothered having a good and well-functioning course builder?
Thinkific offers a “Get Started” checklist to help you get started with course building.
Create Your First Course
Upon starting your first course, you will be presented with a draft called “Your First Course” for you to use.
Opening this file brings you to the first-course builder interface, wherein the layout is very easy to follow. Course content is divided into Chapters and Lessons.
You can create lessons by clicking the “add Lesson” button.
You can choose from the following content types:
- PDF documents
- Slideshow presentations
- Webinars and live zoom lessons.
Any of these files can be uploaded as your lessons. If you want, you can add multiple course content and upload them using the Bulk Importer. Also, Thinkific makes you duplicate old lessons from previous ones by using the “Copy Lessons From” button.
Choose the Course Type
Thinkific allows you to pick what course you are currently building. For some of the choices, the service provides you with pre-formatted and good-looking templates that are structured for the appropriate 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.
These premade courses include:
- Mini-courses: These course templates are designed to make short, fast courses like tasters or freebies.
- Flagship Courses are courses that attract students and keep them 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 will allow you to tell potential customers about your courses. Caitlin Bacher 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: This is like the library template, except it is specially made for webinars and live lesson video recordings. This template is ideal for late enrollees or people who missed your seminars.
Your Students’ Course Design
Students will be able use your learning materials in the Course Player. As such, you can customize how this course player looks in the “Settings” tab on the “Courses” page. You can change the color scheme, fonts or add 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. You can also use it to rate your students. Caitlin Bacher Thinkific
Assignments are not available for PRO plans.
Overall, Thinkific’s course builder is very user-friendly. Especially when you are just starting, they will provide you with enough guidance on approaching your course.
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.
The Thinkific Site builder shares the same characteristics as the other landing page builders. This allows you to sell courses directly from your website, even if your site isn’t yet online.
The website builder is easy to use. This website builder was created with non-techy people and newbies in mind.
Start building your website by:
1. Choose a theme.
When building your website, the best place is to pick a theme.
Thinkific offers three pre-designed themes templates. Each theme comes with its own style, colors, fonts, layouts, and customized layouts.
These websites all have professional and good designs.
2. Use Site Builder to Customize Your Online Course Site.
You can modify the theme you have chosen after you’ve selected it. You can make your desired edits to the site builder and create an entire website. You can also create individual pages if you wish.
The Site builder uses drag-and-drop tools, making it easy for users to build your 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.
Since we are already in the business of making courses, it would be a very good idea to proceed and build a training website to house your created courses. For this matter, Thinkific provides a great selection of pages for your perusal.
These pages can be easily mapped to create a 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
- 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 Caitlin Bacher Thinkific
- Sign in Pages: This should be sued for subscribers of your website
- Your student’s dashboard will be your starting point for signing in to your site. 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.
- 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. Caitlin Bacher Thinkific
If you want something entirely different, you can create a custom page by simply clicking on the Custom page in the menus and then designing your page to suit your needs.
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 be customized easily 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.
- Frequently Asked Questions
Websites often feature Frequently Asked Question. These aim to answer all the commonly asked questions by the customer base. Caitlin Bacher Thinkific
- ‘Social Proof’
These sections can be compared to testimonials. They show client reviews, comments, and experiences. These sections are like testimonials and show what the clients get from the lessons. This in turn encourages others to use your product.
These are sections that help promote other courses that you are selling. 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 section gives students information about the teachers.
- Pricing Options
You can place your pricing options here. This will inform your students about the cost of your courses as well as where they can be paid. This is where you can also describe your bundles and what they include, as well as how much each one costs.
If you want to promote your courses with a video advertisement, you can add the section here.
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? Does the service provide enough and proper tools to allow users to make money from their hard work?
It is a fact that all online course builders and platforms today offer tools to allow teachers and students to promote their courses. 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 see how Thinkific handles promotion and business.
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 provides free plan users with the needed SEO options, which allows you to promote your lessons in the most basic ways by making your content capable of climbing up the top of the search engine results.
Free users also have the option to create 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. Caitlin Bacher Thinkific
By allowing customers and potential students a taste of your content, you will allow them a peek into the curtains and how classes are done. 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. They can even be used to compete with products that have been promoted too much.
We are not talking about the stuff that is free. 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. Some of 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. They are utilized very well in Thinkific’s ecosystem. Using a coupon on Thinkific’s checkout will automatically use it with little to no hassle.
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 widgets are very useful given the amount of traffic required to get your course noticed. You will need lots of traffic, let’s face the facts.
You can’t expect traffic if your courses are new and you don’t have an 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.
That’s where social media comes in. It is a given that almost everybody uses social media. You should find where most of the internet traffic comes from and try to divert some of those traffic to your website.
This is possible by using sales widgets that generate HTML code which can be easily pasted onto existing websites. This includes social media sites. If you wish to market this way, these codes can be sent as messages. Caitlin Bacher 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. After all, you can only send this to people you already have contact with.
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.
However, it would have been a lot better if Thinkific had an even better local Email marketing tool available for its users.
- 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.
Thinkific tracks the sales of bundles or courses by affiliates to check their performance and status. It also records the revenue. Caitlin Bacher 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.
Lastly, there is also an option to link your courses to a Shopify site. This allows you to access all of the eCommerce platform’s tools.
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 also offer membership subscriptions, and charge accordingly. If you want, you can sell your course in a bundle. However, this feature is not available to me at the moment as I only have a handful of courses created 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 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. Currently it only reports on four ares which include: Orders, Enrollments, Student Engagement, and Revenue. This feature is currently in its infancy, and only the Start + Growth package has it.
For what it’s worth, it is a step in the right direction as having it is much better than having nothing at all.
So how does it work?
Thinkific’s analytics and reporting collect the data they need. Some selections include filtering data by date, course or product type, by recency of customers (whether they are new or existing), and more.
Of course, these different data can provide multiple insight as to how your courses are performing. Take for example, the data on Student engagement.
Having this data allows you to see things such as course enrolments as well as there completion rates. You can then compare these metrics across the board. This allows you to see which subjects are having low completion rates.
From there you can find out the problems as to why such things are. It is up to you then to make the necessary adjustments. Caitlin Bacher 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.
The data is displayed as a graph and chart, which makes it much easier to understand and read.
Thinkific Pricing and Plans
Thinkific is one of the leading platforms on course building, 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.
Thinkific also offers a free plan that you can use to try their products. You can always start your course-creating journey for free before moving to a paid plan if you need it or want more of Thinkific’s features.
|$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
|-Optimize your workflow and create a premium experience with a platform designed to scale
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. The free plan allows you to do everything the service offers, albeit at a limited capacity.
The Free plan is only good for making one course. 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 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. For example, you can begin to live-stream your lessons as long as time permits it.
Furthermore, the Start plan opens up more marketing tools and gives you access to the Thinkific app store.
Lastly, you also have the option to have a custom domain for your course website.
The Grow Plan
If you’re serious about making sales and selling courses, the Grow plan is right for you. 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. You have priority email support and phone support. You can get faster solutions if you have different issues with your website. Caitlin Bacher Thinkific
The Expand Plan
The Expand plan is designed for larger businesses and institutions. 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. It provides the same features as the other Thinkific plans but also offers 10 Communities that make it easier for students to manage.
Speaking of management, this plan also provides 5 administrators to help with running things.
LMS services offer clients and customers the option to create custom plans that are separate from their basic plans. Most of the time, their prices are unlisted as the customization might change the cost, and that cost will depend on the customization.
For Thinkific, this is called Thinkific Plus. It is a powerful, scalable, and easy-to-use learning platform geared toward your team and students.
To get Thinkific Plus, you must contact the Thinkfic sales team. They can help you to understand the tools that you need in order to optimize your platform. They can connect you with education experts who will inspire you and give you the confidence you need to achieve more than you could ever 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%
- 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
Thinkific Pros and Cons
- Thinkific does NOT charge transaction fees. Funds are immediately available for withdrawal whenever a sale is made from your products, courses, or memberships.
- Thinkific offers a fully implemented free plan. It includes all core features and functions like a paid plan. Although there are no limitations, if you are serious enough, you can start selling courses through the services with no upfront monetary investment. Caitlin Bacher Thinkific
- Thinkkific’s drag and drop builder is easy to use by even non-tech-savvy users. You can upload multiple media types to create different and exciting lessons and courses.
- Some aspects of Thinkific aren’t as user-friendly than expected. Some creators have acknowledged this.
- There is a huge lack of marketing features in the service. Their email marketing capabilities are very basic and far behind those of the competition.
- The customization options and designs available through Thinkific are very limited. There are only a handful of themes that you can choose from. It is difficult to make a website that stands out from the competition with these options.
The Thinkific Verdict
Overall, Thinkific is a good choice for course creation as well as course promotion. 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. Caitlin Bacher 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.
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.
For the Course Builder, Thinkific is pretty easy and intuitive to use. With just a glance, you can easily know what to do and what functions as 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.
One thing to note, however, is that some experienced users might find Thinkific too simple for their taste. 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.
Thinkific’s Site Builder is also 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 does offer impressive editing options, which makes it ideal for creating training and tutorial websites. Aside from that, it is an excellent tool for adding 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. Marketers can feel disillusioned by the Email marketing structure. Marketing Thinkific’s courses are difficult to market without 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. This requires more effort than normal, but it is possible.
Thinkific’s Frequently Asked Questions Caitlin Bacher 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.
I Want to Allow my Students Access to my Course Content while Offline; How Do I Do that?
It will be at your discretion.
Remember that students may need assistance logging in to your courses offline. You can make your courses downloadable. This can be done for content such as audio files, video files, and PDFs. These files can be downloaded to students’ devices so they can access them 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. Therefore, anything built and published on the platform is 100% to the creators.