We are all familiar with the saying, “Knowledge is power.” Having its roots in the Latin: scientia potentia est, it holds just as true today as all those years ago.
Knowledge makes us superior to the other more powerful creatures in the world. 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.
Sure, that example might be overly dramatic, but you get the idea. The human race has won our place in the food chain due to our sheer knowledge and ingenuity.
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. After all, Knowledge is Power, and power can be money. The knowledge owner has the final say in what happens to it. That is the beauty of it.
The only way to “sell” knowledge for years was to either directly or indirectly tutor the buyer.
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.
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.
Online education is not the only option. Online courses platforms are the answer.
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 Liz Gipson Thinkific
When it comes to online courses, Thinkific is among the best services to host your 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 became an effective solution for creating, managing, and marketing online courses. Thinkific also did it easily, as even those without technical knowledge could use the platform.
Thinkific is a great tool for creating online courses. This allows the users to focus on one thing and one thing only: content. Students and teachers are motivated to engage when they have good content.
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 isn’t the only platform capable of creating decent courses. 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?
- Thinkific doesn’t take transaction fees, unlike many other platforms. As a bonus, Thinkific immediately makes your funds available for withdrawal whenever you make a sale. So when it comes to sales, Thinkific makes sure that whatever is yours is absolutely yours
- You can try Thinkific’s core features and have a feel for the environment through its free plan. Although you are only limited to uploading 3 courses, you can have unlimited students enrolled in it as well as host most of the core content that Thinkific allows
- Thinkific’s drag-and-drop builder makes it simple to create an online course. This is in keeping with their commitment to letting content creators concentrate on the content. Thinkific also allows multiple kinds of content, from video files, audio files, PDFs, quizzes, text, surveys, and more.
- Thinkific also allows you to play with your course engagement by giving you various 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 them their progressions, engage them in discussions, and give them awards. You can even make them compete on 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 how they handle some specific sections of the whole 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. It will be very difficult for a course builder to compete on the market if they don’t offer a user-friendly option.
- Drag-and-drop web site builder
Like the course builder, drag-and-drop page builders are standard issues for these kinds of services. Course makers need to market their courses. It is essential that they have the tools and resources to market their courses. 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
All of those marketing features will be for naught if there are not many payment options available for customers. It is ideal to have more than one payment option. This removes any friction for potential customers and makes it easier for them to pay you.
Analytics is key to content creation. How else can you find your approach without knowing your strengths and weaknesses? This feature is offered by Thinkific to help users decide the direction of their content.
Should they continue doing tutorial videos with direct samples, the best way to go about things, or just plain instructions would be better? One cannot decide the best course of action without properly tracking revenues, engagements, and business performance.
- Student support and communities
A good way to increase your customer base is to have a strong community that uses your content. Besides that, it is also good for branding as well as engagements. Remember, good customer support and community greatly improve customer retention. These features are a great way to get it done at Thinkific.
- Training tools
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.
Thinkific gives these newbies and even veterans a chance to learn from what is tried and tested. In doing so, they can speed up the process of making courses and allow newer people to use the app more.
- Thinkific App Store
The Thinkific App store sells apps and programs that take your online courses to another level. 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.
Thinkific Course Builder: How Good Is It?
At the end of the day, the only way to know how good a course builder is to test the crux of its service, which is the course builder itself.
The main course builder will determine how good a course builder service is. 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
Upon starting your first course, you will be presented with a draft called “Your First Course” for you to use.
This file opens the first-course builder interface. The layout is 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.
You can choose from the following content types:
- 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. The service also provides pre-formatted, professional-looking templates which can be used to create the course content.
While you can have perfect flexibility by using a blank template, these course templates can be extremely helpful when doing your job in a hurry or when you are just beginning to make courses.
Some of these premade course types include:
- Mini-course: These are course templates designed to create short and fast courses such as tasters and freebies.
- Flagship Courses 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 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. Liz Gipson Thinkific
- Membership Resource Library: You can use this template to create an archive of resources 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.
Customizing The Look of Course for your Students
Your students will be able to consume your learning resources in the Course Player. As such, you can customize how this course player looks in the “Settings” tab on the “Courses” page. You can change the color scheme, fonts or add 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 is convenient since you can see how your students view 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
As an extra way to engage students, assignments, quizzes and surveys can be very useful. Aside from that, you can use it as an added way to rate your students. Liz Gipson Thinkific
That said, assignments are only available for the PRO plan.
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.
How to build 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 your courses from your website or even if you don’t have a website yet.
The website builder is easy to use. It was designed with newbies and non-tech people in mind.
Start building your website by:
1. Pick a Theme.
When building your website, the best place is to pick a theme.
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. You can customize your online course site using the Site Builder.
You can modify the theme you have chosen after you’ve selected it. Through the site builder, you can do your preferred edits and make out an entire website. You can also create individual pages if you wish.
The Site builder uses drag-and-drop tools, making it easy for users to build your website from scratch. Combining this with pre-built themes, users can make a professional-looking web page from scratch.
This is only the beginning. The potential your website can take will be up to you. 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 can be easily mapped to create a course or training website. These pages can be used as building blocks for your website. 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: This is where your potential customers and students enroll for individual courses or memberships Liz Gipson 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. A good student dashboard can be designed in a way that makes everything on your website accessible.
- 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.
These pages can be used with your website in many ways. These templates are also a good utility for making a website and needing it fast. This skips the nitpicky part of choosing which to use on your website. Liz Gipson Thinkific
You can also create a customized page by clicking on the Custom Page link in the menus. This will allow you to design your page according to your requirements.
4. Edit Individual Pages
To properly design a web page using Thinkific Site Builder, it helps to understand that the pages made with these site builders are made up of sections. These sections can be customized easily and moved around.
The provided pre-built pages even come with suggested sections to easily allow you to pick which ones you need for your page. Simply click on “Add Section” to add more sections.
All in all, Thinkfic provides users with 23 pre-formatted page sections available. Most of these pre-formatted pages are focused on building high conversions. These pages are highly-converting and include but not limited to:
- Call to Action.
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 contains information that will allow you to provide your customers with summaries of the products you offer.
This section can be used to highlight key messages, making it easy for the readers to scan information using bullet points.
- Most Frequently Asked Questions
Websites often feature Frequently Asked Question. These are designed to answer all common questions from customers. Liz Gipson Thinkific
- ‘Social Proof’
These sections are akin to testimonials and show off client experiences, comments, and reviews. 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. You can often find this section on the checkout page of 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
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.
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. 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?
The thing of the matter is that nowadays, all online course builders and course platforms include inherent tools to give users and teachers the ability to promote their courses and products. The only difference is in the focus of each platform.
Yep, that’s right. Some platforms are more focused on the conversion side of selling courses and creating content. While others are the opposite and mostly rely on integrations to carry forth the promotion and business side of things.
Which side is Thinkific on? Let’s see how Thinkific handles promotion and business.
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.
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. Liz Gipson 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.
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. 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’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. 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. From setting the dollar or percentage amount for the coupon to setting an expiration date and setting the number of times, the coupon can be redeemed.
- Sales Widgets
You can use sales widgets to link to other websites or social media to share your purchase links. These widgets are very useful given the amount of traffic required to get your course noticed. You will need lots of traffic, let’s face the facts.
It’s the truth, you can’t expect to have any traffic at all if you are just new to creating courses and if you do not have a built-in audience. Even if your audience is already established, you still need a quick and easy way to link your courses with classes on other websites.
That’s where social media comes in. It is a given that almost everybody uses social media. It is important to determine where the majority of internet traffic comes and redirect some traffic to your site.
The easiest way to do this is through sales widgets which generate HTML code that can easily be pasted on existing websites. This includes social media sites. Aside from that, these codes can also be sent as messages if you want to market that way. Liz Gipson Thinkific
You can also customize the widget’s appearance. You can choose to display a button, a button with a product image, or include text that you want to go with it.
- Email Marketing Tools
Email marketing tools allow you to manage your newsletters and send targeted messages to subscribers. This tool is not used to convert new subscribers but to keep them. This tool can only be sent to those you already know.
Thinkific’s email marketing tools are limited to this ……… Unfortunately, only existing students can be emailed about your courses. Notifying them about new products or courses is another option.
Not everything is bad, though, as if you want more features, you can use other email marketing tools such as Mailchimp, Mailerlite, AWeber, Constant Contact, ActiveCampaign, or ConvertKit.
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.
Thinkific allows the process to be easy and straightforward. 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.
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. Liz Gipson Thinkific
That said, paying the affiliates is done outside the system, so that’s a catch. The same applies to 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. In this vein, Thinkific has Stripe as a card payment platform. Other ways include connecting PayPal for one-off payments.
You can also link your courses with a Shopify website. That way, you can get all the tools the eCommerce platform offers its users.
Thinkific’s payment options let you customize the price of your products. 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.
Though it’s a new feature, Thinkific does have one. It currently reports only on four areas, which are: Enrollments and Student Engagement, Revenue, Orders, Enrollments, and Student Engagement. This feature is currently in its infancy, and only the Start + Growth package has it.
It is a good step in the right direction. Having it is better than nothing.
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. Take for example, the data on Student engagement.
This data will allow you to view things like course enrollments and 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. Liz Gipson 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 have identified the problem, you will be able to find a solution that works without having to tear your hair out.
This data is then shown as a chart and graph that makes it a lot easier to read and understand.
Thinkific Pricing and Plans
Thinkific is one of the leading platforms on course building, and marketing. As such, you can expect to have a price that is appropriate for their standing.
Thinkfiic is a product that you pay for. With all its features, you won’t be ripped off.
Besides that, Thinkific has a free plan which you can use to test their products. If you are interested in learning more about Thinkific’s features or need to start your course-creating journey, you can always get a free plan.
|$0 per month||$74 per month||$149 pero month||$374 per month|
|-Create and launch your product with a website and checkout experience
|Add products to your company and create a cohesive learning experience.
|-Build successful business with a complete suite of tools to help you sell more
|With a platform that scales, optimize your workflow to create premium experiences.
The Free Plan
Is the first plan you should take if you are new to all this course building and course management stuff. This is the best way for you to get to know the service and test it out. 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. Making more than that requires you to sign up. That said, this course has a lot of potential, allowing you to enroll an unlimited number of students you want.
The Start Plan
If you feel that Thinkific is something you would enjoy, you can take the next step. Upgrade to this plan and your limitations are gone. You can make unlimited courses.
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. So you can have faster solutions given to you should different problems arise for your website. Liz Gipson Thinkific
The Expand Plan
The Expand plan is designed for larger businesses and institutions. It allows you to optimize your workflow and create a premium experience with a platform that is designed to scale.
This plan is especially good for huge institutions wanting to create an online presence. It provides the same features as the other Thinkific plans but also offers 10 Communities that make it easier for students to manage.
This plan provides five administrators who will help you manage your business.
LMS services offer clients and customers the option to create custom plans that are separate from their basic plans. Their prices are not listed because customization may change the cost. The customization will affect the price.
This is Thinkific Plus. It is a powerful, scalable, and easy-to-use learning platform geared toward your team and students.
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 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%
- Dedicate Customer Success Team
- Multiple seats and Tiered pricing checkout
- Email white-labeling
- Only one sign on
- Bulk Selling App
- Enterprise API Access
Thinkific Pros and Cons
- Thinkific does not take any transaction fees. Funds are immediately available for withdrawal whenever a sale is made from your products, courses, or memberships.
- Thinkific offers a fully implemented free plan. It has all the core features available and acts like a paid plan. There are no restrictions, but if you’re serious enough you can sell courses through the service with no upfront investment. Liz Gipson 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.
- The service lacks many marketing features. Their email marketing capability is quite basic and is miles behind the competition.
- Thinkific’s designs and customizations are quite limited, given that the service only provides a few themes to play with. With these options, it is hard to create a website that stands out among the rest.
Overall, Thinkific is a good choice for course creation as well as course promotion. 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. Liz Gipson Thinkific
In my opinion, providing a free startup plan is actually a mark of confidence on the side of the service. They believe their product is of use and are willing to let the public try it.
You can see that Thinkific’s free plan is bold and understandable. 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. You can quickly see what you need to do and which functions are 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. This is just my nitpicking. At the end of the day, Thinkific’s course builder is fast, easy, and responsive, and that’s what most people need.
For their Site Builder, Thinkific also chooses to keep it simple. It’s not a standalone platform. It is easy to use, and it fits their philosophy.
It has impressive editing capabilities, making it ideal for creating tutorial and training websites. It is also a great tool to add training pages to existing websites.
There aren’t enough themes to suit all tastes and demographics.
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.
It would be more convenient to have other payment options than Stripe or PayPal.
However, not everything is grim-looking though. 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 Frequently Asked Questions Liz Gipson Thinkific
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 will be at your discretion.
Bear in mind that your students will need help logging into your courses offline. That said, you can offer your courses to be downloadable. This can be done for content such as audio files, video files, and PDFs. Your students can download these to their devices and access them even offline.
Who owns the content published on Thinkific?
The creators are the complete and sole owners of any content that is built into the Thinkific Platform.
Thinkific does not, and will not, claim any intellectual property rights over materials made by the course creators and builders. Therefore, anything built and published on the platform is 100% to the creators.