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 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. After all, for knowledge to grow and develop, it must be shared and evolved.
It is great to share your knowledge and ideas free of charge, but it is also fine to sell it. Knowledge is power, and money can also be power. 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. Even those who have no teaching license or do not know how to write books now have the ability to share their knowledge.
It has also been revealed that there are many things being passed around. 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. This is where online course platforms come in.
Here is a video review by SoftwarePundit for those who like a visual experience. You can still read our article to get a complete overview of Thinkific.
Thinkific: An Online Course Platform Forum Intergrations, Zapier, 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 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.
This ease of use makes Thinkific essential for online course creators. This allows users to concentrate on 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.
Enjoy the Thinkific Benefits
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.
So what is it about thinkific that makes us prefer it as a platform overall?
- 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. Thinkific ensures that your sales are 100% yours.
- Through the free plan, you can test Thinkific’s core features as well as get a feel of the environment. 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 also allows multiple kinds of content, from video files, audio files, PDFs, quizzes, text, surveys, and more.
- You can also play with the course engagement through Thinkific’s many 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.
- Thinkific also allows you to engage with your students through multiple channels. You can email your students their progresses and engage them in discussions. You can even make them compete on the leaderboard.
Thinkific features are almost identical to 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
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 site builder
Like the course builder, drag-and-drop page builders are standard issues for these kinds of services. Course marketers need to promote their courses. It is essential that they have the tools and resources to market their courses. Just like with Thinkific.
- Marketing and promotion 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. 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? 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
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. These features are a great way to get it done at Thinkific.
- 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 people who try Thinkific may be unfamiliar with the process and will stumble around until they feel at ease.
These newbies, as well as veterans, have the opportunity to benefit from the tried-and-trued knowledge of Thinkific. 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. The best thing about the AppStore is its community-made nature. As such, it is an excellent place where fellow content and course creators get together and discuss things along 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.
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
- Webinars and live zoom lessons.
You can upload any of these files 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
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.
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.
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 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 allows you to advertise to potential customers what your courses entail. Forum Intergrations, Zapier, Thinkific
- This template can be used to create a membership resource library 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 is perfect for your students who are late enrollees and for 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. Options include changing color schemes, fonts, or adding logos.
Here you can also add a description of the course and an image.
This part also allows you to preview your lessons in the course player. This allows you to see the views of your students on your lessons. This allows you to see the problem through their eyes.
Set Assignments and Check Progress
As an extra way to engage students, assignments, quizzes and surveys can be very useful. You can also use it to rate your students. Forum Intergrations, Zapier, Thinkific
That said, assignments are only available for the PRO plan.
Overall, Thinkific’s course builder is very user-friendly. 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 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.
For this reason, Thinkific has three pre-built theme templates. Each theme comes with its own style, colors, fonts, layouts, and customized layouts.
All in all, these websites have good and professional 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. If you want, you can dig in and craft individual pages.
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. Your website’s potential is limitless. Your creativity will only be your limit.
3. Make a Training website Entirely 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. Thinkific offers a wide range of pages to help you choose from.
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:
- Home Page: The face of your website. Where most relevant things should be found
- These pages can be used as landing pages to help students approach 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 Forum Intergrations, Zapier, Thinkific
- Sign in Pages: This should only be used for subscribers to 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.
- 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 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. Forum Intergrations, Zapier, 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. 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 an essential part, especially when you aim to sell. This will allow potential students and customers to know how to sign-up or purchase.
- 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. Forum Intergrations, Zapier, Thinkific
- ‘Social Proof’
These sections are akin to testimonials and show off client experiences, comments, and reviews. 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 is where your instructors profiles can be added to 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.
If you want to promote your courses with a video advertisement, you can add the section here.
You can earn profit through your content by using 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?
It is a fact that all online course builders and platforms today offer tools to allow teachers and students to promote their courses. They only differ on how much that platform focuses on.
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.
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. Even users who are utilizing the free plan can try these features, albeit they only have access to the most basic of functions and are pretty limited in their scope.
Among these tools include the ability for search engine optimization or SEO. 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. Think of it as giving your potential customers a free sample or a taste test. This is one of the best ways to show your audience who you are. Forum Intergrations, Zapier, 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. That way, once they dive into your paid content, they already have at least a small idea of how things work out.
These promotional materials can be a great way to promote your products. 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. You will unlock more marketing tools as you move up in the Thinkific pricing plans. Many of these enhance your ability to promote your course materials in the market. Some of these include:
Coupons don’t need introduction. They have been used in many transactions for a long 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. 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.
Thinkific also allows you to personalize 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.
This is where social media comes into play. It’s a fact that social media is used by almost everyone. 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. Forum Intergrations, Zapier, Thinkific
Another customization you can do with this widget is how it looks. 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. 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. 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.
That said, it would have been miles better if Thinkific had a better local Email marketing tool for users to use.
- 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.
The process is simple and straightforward with Thinkific. The steps include adding the affiliated person as a user and making him an “Affiliate” which you can find under “User Roles” in the Process.
If you find some current users of Thinkfiic or your course, you can convert them into affiliates 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. Forum Intergrations, Zapier, Thinkific
However, affiliates are not paid within the system. It’s the same with instructor revenue sharing.
All that marketing work will be for naught if you have no way of receiving payments or your courses. 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 allow you to customize how you price your products. You can even charge customers with different payment plans. 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. However, this feature is not available to me at the moment as I only have a handful of courses created 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
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.
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. Forum Intergrations, Zapier, Thinkific
For example, for courses with low completion rates, students might find the course extremely hard. Still, it might be a problem with the way you are presenting the information or instructions. Once you find the problem, you can then find an applicable solution without tearing 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 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.
Thinkific also offers a free plan that you can use to try 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 with a website and checkout experience
|Add products to your company and create a cohesive learning experience.
|A complete set of tools is available to help you increase your sales.
|-Optimize your workflow and create a premium experience with a platform designed to scale
The Free Plan
If you’re new to course management and course building, this is the plan that you should start with. 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.
Only one course is allowed under the Free plan. 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. 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. For example, you can begin to live-stream your lessons as long as time permits it.
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. 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 allows you to access bulk enrollments, making the enrollment process easier and quicker. You have priority email support and phone support. So you can have faster solutions given to you should different problems arise for your website. Forum Intergrations, Zapier, 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 ideal for large institutions that want to establish 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.
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.
This is 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 will help you understand the tools you need 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:
- Unlimitted Products
- Unlimited Administrators
- Three+ 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
Thinkific Pros and Cons
- Thinkific does not take any 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. Although there are no limitations, if you are serious enough, you can start selling courses through the services with no upfront monetary investment. Forum Intergrations, Zapier, 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 capability is quite basic and is miles behind 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. With these options, it is hard to create a website that stands out among the rest.
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.
For those who are just starting out, the free startup plan will be a great help. It will allow them to get a feel for how things work. Forum Intergrations, Zapier, 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. 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 is a difficult side to balance, too, as giving too many prompts away can usually overwhelm the beginner user and may irritate those who already have a handle on things.
One thing to note, however, is that some experienced users might find Thinkific too simple for their taste. 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. It is easy to use, and it fits their philosophy.
It has impressive editing capabilities, making it ideal for creating tutorial and training 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.
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.
As for their payment options, it would be better to have more options other than Stripe and PayPal.
However, not everything is grim-looking though. Thinkfic still has some clever tools that help you monetize your courses. You can sell products and courses with a little creativity. It does require more effort than usual, however.
Thinkific’s Frequently Asked Questions Forum Intergrations, Zapier, Thinkific
Can You Build an Entire Website with Just Thinkfic?
Yes, you can!
Thinkfiic allows you to create your entire online education company. This means you can create both courses, websites, or your overall brand within one seamless 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 is up to you.
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. 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.