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. 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. Knowledge must be shared and developed in order to grow and develop.
That said, while it is ideal for sharing your knowledge and ideas for free, there is nothing wrong with selling it. After all, Knowledge is Power, and power can be money. At the end of the day, the knowledge owner gets to decide what to do with it. 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. Anyone can share their knowledge, even those without a teaching license or who don’t know how to write books.
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. To get a comprehensive overview of Thinkific, you may still want to check out our article below.
Thinkific: An Online Course Platform Greg Smith Thinkific Founder
Thinkific is a top choice for hosting your online classes. A Learning Management System (LMS) creates, promotes, and sells your courses online.
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 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 the users to focus on one thing and one thing only: content. Students and teachers are motivated to engage when they have good content.
Thinkific offers many features to fulfill that promise. Later, we will look at these features and see if they really live up to the hype.
Thinkific is not the only platform that is a decent course maker. In fact, plenty of LMS and CMS do the job as well 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. So when it comes to sales, Thinkific makes sure that whatever is yours is absolutely yours
- Through the free plan, you can test Thinkific’s core features as well as get a feel of the environment. While you are limited to 3 courses upload, you can host unlimited core content and have unlimited students.
- Thinkific’s drag-and-drop builder makes it simple to create an online course. This is in keeping with their commitment to letting content creators concentrate on the content. Thinkific supports multiple types of content such as audio, video, PDFs and quizzes.
- 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 them their progressions, engage them in discussions, and give them awards. 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. There are some differences, but these are minor. This is mostly because they focus on certain sections of the entire experience. These features include:
- Easy to use course creator
To be honest, this is not really a unique feature as most online course builders will already have this feature. A course builder who doesn’t have a user-friendly one will find it very difficult to compete in the market.
- 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. As such, giving them the proper tools to do so easier is a godsend. Similar to Thinkific.
- Marketing and promotion tools
Thinkific, a course builder, should also be able to offer coupons, as well as the necessary email and affiliate marketing tools.
- Flexible payment options
Without multiple payment options, all of your marketing tools will be useless. Having more than one payment option is also optimal, as it removes friction from wannabe customers, and more payment options can make it easier for your leads to paying you.
Analytics is key to content creation. Analytics is the only way to discover your approach and your 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.
- Support for students and student 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
While we are in the business of selling knowledge, it is not a bad thing to acquire our own in the meantime. Course building and selling are different disciplines altogether. Many who try Thinkific might be new to the process and will tend to stumble around until they feel comfortable.
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. 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. 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?
In the case of their course builder, Thinkific provides a handy “Get Started” checklist that guides you on what to do at your first foray into course building.
Build Your First Course
You will receive a draft of “Your First Course” when you start your course.
Opening this file brings you to the first-course builder interface, wherein the layout is very easy to follow. The course content is divided into chapters and lessons.
To begin creating lessons, you only need to click the aptly named “add Lesson” button and pick a content type.
Content types can be either of the following:
- 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. Also, Thinkific makes you duplicate old lessons from previous ones by using the “Copy Lessons From” button.
Pick the Course Type
Thinkific allows you to pick what course you are 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.
Some of these premade course types include:
- Mini-course: These are course templates designed to create short and fast courses such as tasters and freebies.
- Flagship Courses: These are the courses that make students and audiences take your courses or keep them always coming back. 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 courses can serve as short tests or as a way to get your course noticed. This will allow you to tell potential customers about your courses. Greg Smith Thinkific Founder
- This template can be used to create a membership resource library for your subscribers. This will encourage your audience to remain on your website even when looking at resources
- Webinar Replay is a similar template to the library template but it is specifically designed for webinars or live lesson videos. This is perfect for your students who are late enrollees and for people who missed your seminars.
Customizing The Look of Course for your Students
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.
You can also preview your lessons in this section. 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. Greg Smith Thinkific Founder
Assignments are not available for PRO plans.
All in all, Thinkific’s Course Builder is easy to use. Especially when you are just starting, they will provide you with enough guidance on approaching 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.
This website builder is also pretty 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.
All in all, these websites have good and professional designs.
2. You can customize your online course site using the Site Builder.
You can modify the theme you have chosen after you’ve selected it. 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.
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. Thinkific offers a wide range of pages to help you choose from.
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. Some pages of note include:
- Your website’s homepage is the face. The place where the most important things should be located
- 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 Greg Smith Thinkific Founder
- Sign in Pages: This should only be used for subscribers to your website
- Your student’s dashboard will be your starting point for signing in to your site. A good student dashboard can be designed in a way that makes everything on your website accessible.
- Checkout pages or payment page: This is where you place your payment options for subscribing or signing up for your class.
- 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. Greg Smith Thinkific Founder
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
It is important to understand the structure of Thinkific Site Builder pages in order to properly design them. 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:
- Call to Action.
This is a crucial part of selling. 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 to highlight key messages, making it easy for the readers to scan information using bullet points.
- Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions are a common scene on most websites. These aim to answer all the commonly asked questions by the customer base. Greg Smith Thinkific Founder
- ‘Social Proof’
These sections can be compared to testimonials. They show client reviews, comments, and experiences. They make a statement to show off what they get in the lessons, which in turn entices other customers to avail of your product.
These sections help you promote other courses. This section is often found on the checkout page for one of your courses.
This section is where you can put your instructor profiles in the courses. This gives students information as to the people who are teaching them.
- Pricing Options
Here you can submit your pricing options. This will inform your students about the cost of your courses as well as where they can be paid. If possible, this is also where you can describe your bundles, what you include in them, and how much they cost.
You can add this section to your course promotion page to make a video advertisement.
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. What is the Thnkific business side? 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 platforms are more focused on the conversion side of selling courses and creating content. Others, on the other hand, focus more on the business and promotion side of things and rely heavily upon integrations.
Which side is Thinkific on? Let’s find out as we try the business, promotion, and marketing features of Thinkific.
Promote Your Courses
By default, Thinkific has marketing tools that help you sell your content for cash. These features are available to all users, even those who use the free plan. However, they are very limited and only allow for the most basic functions.
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is one of these tools. Thinkific 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.
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 among the most efficient ways to show your audience what you are capable of. Greg Smith Thinkific Founder
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.
These promotional materials can be a great way to promote your products. 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. These tools will help you promote your course material 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. 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.
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. And let’s face it, you will need a lot of traffic.
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. Of course, this includes social media sites. If you wish to market this way, these codes can be sent as messages. Greg Smith Thinkific Founder
You can also customize the widget’s appearance. You have the option to show a button or a button with a product picture. Or you can add text to match it.
- Email Marketing Tools
Email Marketing tools manage newsletters and send out targeted promotions 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.
In the case of Thinkific, their email marketing tools do just this…….. And not much more. Unfortunately, you can only email existing students enrolled in 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. 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. Greg Smith Thinkific Founder
However, affiliates are not paid within the system. 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. Thinkific offers Stripe as a payment platform for cards. Other ways include connecting PayPal for one-off payments.
You can also link your courses with a Shopify website. This allows you to access all of the eCommerce platform’s tools.
Thinkific’s payment options let you customize the price of your products. You can even charge customers with different payment plans. 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.
One thing to note about Thinkific though is that they do not charge you any commission fee for any of your courses sold!
Analytics and reporting
Any good website that is selling something should include a Reports and Analytics feature. This will allow users to figure out which stuff they are doing well on and which ones they need to focus on and improve.
Thankfully, Thinkific has one, but it is a relatively new feature. It currently reports only on four areas, which are: Enrollments and Student Engagement, Revenue, Orders, Enrollments, and Student Engagement. This feature is still in its infancy and is only available on the Start + Growth add-on package.
For what it’s worth, it is a step in the right direction as having it is much better than having nothing at all.
How does it all work?
Thinkific’s 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. Let’s take, for instance, data about 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.
You can then identify the reasons for these problems. Then it will be up to you to adjust accordingly. Greg Smith Thinkific Founder
Students might find it difficult to complete courses that have low completion rates. 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.
The data is displayed as a graph and chart, which makes it much easier to understand and read.
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.
However, what you pay is what you get with Thinkfiic, with all the features it provides, you will hardly find yourself being ripped off by the product.
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 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
If you’re new to course management and course building, this is the plan that you should start with. 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. 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.
Thinkific also offers a variety of course options. 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 allows you to access bulk enrollments, making the enrollment process easier and quicker. In terms of support, you are given priority email and phone support. You can get faster solutions if you have different issues with your website. Greg Smith Thinkific Founder
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.
Speaking of management, this plan also provides 5 administrators to help with running things.
Some LMS services give clients and customers an option to create bespoke plans separate from the services’ 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’s a powerful, scalable and simple-to-use learning platform that is tailored to your students and team.
Contact the Thinkfic sales team to get Thinkific Plus. They will help you understand the tools you need to optimize your platform. They 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 offers all the Expand features, but also adds these additional features to the plan:
- Unlimitted Products
- Unlimited Administrators
- Three+ separate Thinkific sites
- Service Level Agreement 99.9%
- Build a Customer Success Team
- Multiple seats and Tiered pricing checkout
- Email white-labeling
- Only one sign on
- Bulk Selling App
- Enterprise API Access
Thoughtific Pros and Cons
- Thinkific does NOT charge transaction fees. When a sale occurs from your products, courses or memberships, funds are immediately available for withdrawal.
- Thinkific has a fully realized free plan. It has all the core features available and acts 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. Greg Smith Thinkific Founder
- Thinkkific’s drag and drop builder is easy to use by even non-tech-savvy users. It even allows you to upload multiple types of media content to create varied and interesting courses and lessons.
- Some aspects of Thinkific aren’t as user-friendly than expected. This is something that some creators of the service have expressed.
- The service lacks many marketing features. Their email marketing capabilities are very basic and far behind those of the competition.
- 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.
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.
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. Greg Smith Thinkific Founder
In my opinion, providing a free startup plan is actually a mark of confidence on the side of the service. They believe their product is of use and are willing to let the public try it.
You can see that Thinkific’s free plan is bold and understandable. It is unlike the other “free plans” of the other products where they only masquerade as free, but there isn’t you can do with the service.
Thinkific’s Course Builder is very intuitive and easy to use. 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. 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.
Thinkific’s Site Builder is also simple. It is not like a standalone platform. It is easy to use, and it fits their philosophy.
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.
The only thing lacking is more themes to cater to more people and their different tastes.
Lastly, on the marketing side of things, this is where I feel Thinkific falls short. Just looking at the bare bones structure of their Email marketing can turn off marketers, and marketing Thinkific’s courses can be an uphill climb without resorting to third-party integrations.
As for their payment options, it would be better to have more options other than Stripe and PayPal.
However, not everything is grim-looking though. Thinkfic still offers some useful tools to help you make money from your courses. You can sell products and courses with a little creativity. This requires more effort than normal, but it is possible.
Thinkific Frequently Asked Questions Greg Smith Thinkific Founder
Is it possible to create a complete 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 is up to you.
Remember that students may need assistance logging in to your courses offline. You can make your courses 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. Everything published and built on the platform belongs to its creators.