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. While eagles and other intelligent creatures may have better vision than humans, we have been able to see more by understanding the workings of the world.
Although the example is a bit extreme, you get the point. Because of our knowledge and ingenuity, the human race has risen to the top in food chain.
As such, it is only beneficial for us to share what we know with our fellowmen, lest we let this knowledge consign only to our minds, rotten and forgotten. 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. 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. That is the beauty of it.
For years, the only way to “sell” knowledge has been to directly teach or tutor the buyer or indirectly teach them through writing books on the subject.
This ability to share what you have learned has been made possible by the internet. Even those who have no teaching license or do not know how to write books now have the ability to share their knowledge.
The kinds of things being taught around have also been busted wide open. 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. Online courses platforms are the answer.
For those of you who prefer a more visual experience, here is a video review from the YouTube channel SoftwarePundit. You can still read our article to get a complete overview of Thinkific.
Thinkific: An Online Course Platform Michael Hyatt Thinkific
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.
Luckily, they were able to find an effective solution to their dilemma. Thinkific became an effective solution for creating, managing, and marketing online courses. Thinkific was easy to use, so even people with no technical knowledge could use it.
Thinkific is a great tool for creating online courses. This allows 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.
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.
What is it that makes thinkific such a great platform?
- Unlike most other platforms, Thinkific does not take any transaction fees from your sales. Thinkific instantly makes your funds available to withdraw 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. Although you are only limited to uploading 3 courses, you can have unlimited students enrolled in it as well as host most of the core content that Thinkific allows
- As a commitment to their promise of letting content creators focus on the content, Thinkific makes it easy to build an online course through its drag and drop builder. Thinkific supports multiple types of content such as audio, video, PDFs and quizzes.
- Thinkific also allows you to play with your course engagement by giving you various capabilities. You can organize groups, schedule content and send them via drip-feed. They also lock them with prerequisite lessons.
- You can also engage with students via Thinkific’s multiple channels. You can email your students their progresses and engage them in discussions. And even have them compete with the leaderboard.
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As for the features, Thinkific has more or less the same as that of the other course builders. The only exceptions are a few differences here and there. This is mostly how they handle some specific sections of the whole experience. These features include:
- 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 makers need to market their courses. It is essential that they have the tools and resources to market their courses. Similar to Thinkific.
- Promotion and marketing tools
Thinkific, a course builder, should also be able to offer coupons, as well as the necessary email and affiliate marketing tools.
- Flexible payment options
All of those marketing features will be for naught if there are not many payment options available for customers. It is ideal to have more than one payment option. This removes any friction for potential customers and makes it easier for them to pay you.
For content creation, analytics is the name of the game. 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? Without proper tracking of revenues, engagements, business performance, one cannot determine the best course.
- Support for students and student 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. 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. This allows them to speed up the creation of courses and makes it easier for new users to use the app.
- Thinkific App store
Apps and programs can be purchased at the Thinkific App Store. 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.
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Thinkific Course Builder: How Good Is It?
The only way to determine the quality of a course builder’s service is to actually test it.
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?
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.
This file opens the first-course builder interface. The layout is easy to follow. 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:
- Download PDF documents
- Slideshow presentations
- Live zoom lessons and webinars.
Any of these files can be uploaded as your lessons. You can upload multiple courses to the Bulk Importer. You can also copy old lessons from other courses using the “Copy Lessons From” button on Thinkific.
Choose the Course Type
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-courses: These course templates are designed to make short, fast courses like tasters or freebies.
- Flagship Courses: These are the courses that make students and audiences take your courses or keep them always coming back. Each lesson is constructed in a way that is easy to progress and navigate for students.
- Pre-sell course: Pre-sell courses help you sell your courses. These can be like testers and short courses. This will allow you to tell potential customers about your courses. Michael Hyatt 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.
You can even add a course description and image in the settings here.
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. 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. Aside from that, you can use it as an added way to rate your students. Michael Hyatt Thinkific
That said, assignments are only available for the PRO plan.
Overall, Thinkific’s course builder is very user-friendly. Especially when you are just starting, they will provide you with enough guidance on approaching your course.
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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 courses directly from your website, even if your site isn’t yet online.
This website builder is also pretty 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.
Picking a theme is the best place to start when building your website.
Thinkific offers three pre-designed themes 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.
After picking a theme, you can customize it as you like. You can make your desired edits to the site builder and create an entire website. You can also create individual pages if you wish.
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.
And that is just 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.
We are already in the course-making business so it makes sense to build a website for training. For this matter, Thinkific provides a great selection of pages for your perusal.
These pages can be easily mapped to create a course or training website. These pages can be used as building blocks for your website. Some pages of note include:
- Home Page: The face of your website. 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 Michael Hyatt 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 can also be used to quickly create a website. This skips the nitpicky part of choosing which to use on your website. Michael Hyatt 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.
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 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 for key messages and makes it easy to scan information with bullet points.
- Frequently Asked Questions
Websites often feature Frequently Asked Question. These aim to answer all the commonly asked questions by the customer base. Michael Hyatt 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 sections help you promote other courses. You can often find this section on the checkout page of one of your courses.
This section is where you can put your instructor profiles in the courses. This 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. 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.
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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. While others are the opposite and mostly rely on integrations to carry forth the promotion and business side of things.
So on which side does Thinkific fall on? Let’s find out as we try the business, promotion, and marketing features of Thinkific.
Promote Your Courses
By default, Thinkific has marketing tools that help you sell your content for cash. 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 among the most efficient ways to show your audience what you are capable of. Michael Hyatt Thinkific
Customers and potential students can get a glimpse into your content by allowing them to see it. That way, once they dive into your paid content, they already have at least a small idea of how things work out.
While these promotional materials may seem lacking at first, in skillful hands, these can go a very long way as promotional materials. They can even be used to compete with products that have been promoted too much.
We are not talking about the stuff that is free. As you go up through Thinkific’s pricing plans, more marketing tools are unlocked for you. Many of these enhance your ability to promote your course materials in the market. These include:
Coupons need no introduction. They’ve been in use for many transactions for a long period of time. So it is no surprise that they are also being used in online business and online marketing.
Thinkific’s coupon codes are digital codes that can be shared easily. They are utilized very well in Thinkific’s ecosystem. You can use a coupon at Thinkific’s checkout to instantly redeem it.
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.
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. Michael Hyatt Thinkific
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. In a way, this tool is used less to get new conversions and rather to retain 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, you can only email existing students enrolled in your courses. Notifying them about new products or courses is another option.
Not everything is bad, though, as if you want more features, you can use other email marketing tools such as Mailchimp, Mailerlite, AWeber, Constant Contact, ActiveCampaign, or ConvertKit.
That said, it would have been miles better if Thinkific had a better local Email marketing tool for users to use.
- Affiliate Marketing
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.
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.
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. Michael Hyatt Thinkific
However, affiliates are not paid within the system. 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. 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. 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. You can also sell courses for a one-off fee.
You can also offer membership subscriptions, and charge accordingly. You can also sell your course as a bundle if you wish. 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. 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. Let’s take, for instance, data about student engagement.
This data will allow you to view things like course enrollments and completion rates. These metrics can be compared across all subjects. This will allow you to identify subjects with 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. Michael Hyatt 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.
The data is displayed as a graph and chart, which makes it much easier to understand and read.
Prices and plans that are thought-provoking
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.
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.
Besides that, Thinkific has a free plan which you can use to test their products. If you are interested in learning more about Thinkific’s features or need to start your course-creating journey, you can always get a free plan.
|$0 per month||$74 per month||$149 pero month||$374 per month|
|Create and launch your product using a website and checkout experience
|Add products to your 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
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.
The Free plan is only good for making one course. 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 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. 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.
Lastly, you also have the option to have a custom domain for your course website.
The Grow Plan
If you’re serious about making sales and selling courses, the Grow plan is right for you. First, you will be able to remove the Thinkific branding. It might seem simple, but it does a lot in terms of branding, marketing, and making your courses look more professional.
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. Michael Hyatt 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 ideal for large institutions that want to establish 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.
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.
Contact the Thinkfic sales team to get Thinkific Plus. They will help you understand the tools you need to optimize your platform. They will provide you with education experts who can inspire and give you the confidence to grow beyond what you imagine.
Thinkific Plus will give you all the features from the Expand plans while also adding in these features:
- Unlimited Products
- Unlimited Administrators
- 3+ Separate Thinkific sites
- Service Level Agreement 99.9%
- Build a Customer Success Team
- Multiple seats and Tiered pricing checkout
- Email White-labeling
- Single Sign on
- Bulk Selling App
- Enterprise API Access
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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 has a fully realized free plan. It includes all core features and functions 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. Michael Hyatt 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. It is difficult to make a website that stands out from the competition with these options.
The Thinkific Verdict
Overall, Thinkific is a good choice for course creation as well as course promotion. Its price is entirely reasonable, and the features are as good and easy to use as most of its competitors.
The free startup plan is a godsend for those just starting, as it will give them a feel of how things are with the service. Michael Hyatt Thinkific
I believe that offering a free startup plan to a service is a sign of confidence. They believe their product is of use and are willing to let the public try it.
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.
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. 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. Thinkific’s course creator is responsive, fast, and easy to use, which is what most people want.
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. 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.
Finally, I believe Thinkific is lacking in the marketing department. 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. It does require more effort than usual, however.
Thinkific’s Frequently Asked Questions Michael Hyatt Thinkific
Is it possible to create a complete website with just Thinkfic?
Yes, you can!
Thinkfiic gives you the freedom to build your entire online education business. 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.
How can I allow my students to access my course content while offline?
It is up to you.
Remember that students may need assistance logging in to 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. 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.