We all know the expression “Knowledge is Power” which has its roots in Latin: scientiapotentia est. It still holds true today as it did all those years ago.
Knowledge is what makes us more powerful than other creatures. 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. After all, for knowledge to grow and develop, it must be shared and evolved.
That said, while it is ideal for sharing your knowledge and ideas for free, there is nothing wrong with selling it. 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.
The advent of the internet has only democratized this ability to distribute what you learned to the public. 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.
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 Review Thinkific Free Plan
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 was a great solution to creating, managing and marketing online courses. Thinkific was easy to use, so even people with no technical knowledge could use it.
This ease of use makes Thinkific essential for online course creators. This allows the users to focus on one thing and one thing only: content. Good content is what drives students and teachers to engage.
Thinkific offers many features to fulfill that promise. We will examine these features later to see if the promises are true.
Thinkific isn’t the only platform capable of creating decent courses. In fact, plenty of LMS and CMS do the job as well as Thinkific. We would be remiss if this were not mentioned.
So what is it about thinkific that makes us prefer it as a platform overall?
- Thinkific doesn’t take transaction fees, unlike many other platforms. Thinkific instantly makes your funds available to withdraw whenever you make a sale. Thinkific ensures that your sales are 100% yours.
- You can try Thinkific’s core features and have a feel for the environment through its free plan. While you are limited to 3 courses upload, you can host unlimited core content and have unlimited students.
- As a commitment to their promise of letting content creators focus on the content, Thinkific makes it easy to build an online course through its drag and drop builder. Thinkific supports multiple types of content such as audio, video, PDFs and quizzes.
- You can also play with the course engagement through Thinkific’s many capabilities. You can organize groups, schedule content and send them via drip-feed. They also lock them with prerequisite lessons.
- You can also engage with students via Thinkific’s multiple channels. You can email them their progressions, engage them in discussions, and give them awards. You can even make them compete on the leaderboard.
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Thinkific features are almost identical to other course builders. The only exceptions are a few differences here and there. This is mostly because they focus on certain sections of the entire experience. These features include:
- Easy to use course creator
This isn’t a new feature, as many online course builders already offer it. It will be very difficult for a course builder to compete on the market if they don’t offer a user-friendly option.
- Drag-and-drop web page builder
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.
- Promotion and marketing tools
In the same vein as selling courses, course builders like Thinkific should have the proper built-in email and affiliate marketing tools, sales widgets, and the ability to offer coupons to make it easy for users to sell their products in the platform.
- Flexible payment options
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? Without proper tracking of revenues, engagements, business performance, one cannot determine the best course.
- Support for students and student communities
Having a good community that consumes your content is a good way to build up returning customers. 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.
- 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. 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.
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The Thinkific Course Builder: Is it Good?
At the end of the day, the only way to know how good a course builder is to test the crux of its service, which is the course builder itself.
The main course builder will determine how good a course builder service is. After all, what are we supposed to expect about their secondary and additional features if they can’t be bothered having a good and well-functioning course builder?
Thinkific offers a “Get Started” checklist to help you get started with course building.
Create Your First Course
You will receive a draft of “Your First Course” when you start your course.
This file opens the first-course builder interface. The layout is easy to follow. The course content is divided into chapters and lessons.
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
- Live zoom lessons and webinars.
You can upload any of these files 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.
Choose the Course Type
You can choose the course that Thinkific is currently building. For some of the choices, the service provides you with pre-formatted and good-looking templates that are structured for the appropriate course content.
While you can have perfect flexibility by using a blank template, these course templates can be extremely helpful when doing your job in a hurry or when you are just beginning to make courses.
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 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 allows you to advertise to potential customers what your courses entail. Review Thinkific Free Plan
- 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 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. You can change the appearance of the course player 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. As such, you can put yourself in their shoes and see the problem from their perspective.
Set Assignments and Check Progress
Assignments, quizzes, and surveys are super handy as an additional way to engage your students. You can also use it to rate your students. Review Thinkific Free Plan
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.
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Building an Online Course Website
While the course builder is what you can consider the core of Thinkific, It is the Site Builder that serves as the foundation with which you can prop your courses.
The Thinkific Site builder shares the same characteristics as the other landing page builders. This allows you to sell courses directly from your website, even if your site isn’t yet online.
The website builder is easy to use. This website builder was created with non-techy people and newbies in mind.
Start building your website by:
1. 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. Use Site Builder to Customize Your Online Course Site.
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. 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 creativity will only be your limit.
3. Start a Training Website 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:
- Your website’s homepage is the face. The place where the most important things should be located
- These pages can be used as landing pages to help students approach courses. You can create a course page to serve as a landing page for all courses in your class.
- Sign-up pages: This is where your potential customers and students enroll for individual courses or memberships Review Thinkific Free Plan
- Sign in Pages: This should be sued for subscribers of your website
- Your student’s dashboard will be your starting point for signing in to your site. It is possible to design a student dashboard that makes it easy for students to access all the content on your website.
- 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. This skips the nitpicky part of choosing which to use on your website. Review Thinkific Free Plan
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 easily be modified 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. 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 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.
- Most Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions are a common scene on most websites. These are designed to answer all common questions from customers. Review Thinkific Free Plan
- ‘Social Proof’
These sections are akin to testimonials and show off client experiences, comments, and reviews. They make a statement to show off what they get in the lessons, which in turn entices other customers to avail of your product.
These sections help you promote other courses. 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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Earning Profit Through Your Content with the Use of Your Online Course Platform
Now we come to what is known as among the most anticipated parts of the review. 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?
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. They only differ on how much that platform focuses on.
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 see how Thinkific handles promotion and business.
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.
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is one of these tools. Thinkific offers the necessary SEO options for free to plan users. This allows you promote your lessons in the simplest ways possible, making it capable of rising up the search engine results page.
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. Review Thinkific Free Plan
By allowing customers and potential students a taste of your content, you will allow them a peek into the curtains and how classes are done. That way, once they dive into your paid content, they already have at least a small idea of how things work out.
These promotional materials can be a great way to promote your products. In the right condition, they might even compete with some products that have been promoted to the extreme.
Of course, we are only talking about the free stuff. 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 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.
From a marketing standpoint, coupons can be set up and used to promote your bundles and courses. This will entice potential customers to check out your courses, especially if a discount is included.
Thinkific also allows you to personalize your coupons. The coupon can be customized by setting the dollar amount or percentage, as well as the expiration date and the number of times it can be used.
- Sales Widgets
Sales widgets are a feature that allows you to post purchasing links to other websites and social media. These are extremely useful, given how much traffic you need to get your courses noticed in the first place. You will need lots of traffic, let’s face the facts.
You can’t expect traffic if your courses are new and you don’t have an audience. Even if your audience is already established, you still need a quick and easy way to link your courses with classes on other websites.
This is where social media comes into play. It’s a fact that social media is used by almost everyone. 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. Of course, this includes social media sites. Aside from that, these codes can also be sent as messages if you want to market that way. Review Thinkific Free Plan
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. 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.
If you find some current users of Thinkfiic or your course, you can convert them into affiliates 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. Review Thinkific Free Plan
That said, paying the affiliates is done outside the system, so that’s a catch. 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. 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. 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
A good website selling products should have a Reports and Analytics section. This feature will help users identify which areas they excel at and which ones they should focus on to improve.
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 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. Review Thinkific Free Plan
For example, for courses with low completion rates, students might find the course extremely hard. It could be an issue with how you present the information. 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 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 with 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.
|-Optimize your workflow and create a premium experience with a platform designed to scale
The Free Plan
Is the first plan you should take if you are new to all this course building and course management stuff. 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.
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 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. For example, you can begin to live-stream your lessons as long as time permits it.
The Start plan also opens up additional marketing tools and grants you access to the Thinkific App Store.
You also have the option of a custom domain to host your course website.
The Grow Plan
The Grow plan is for you if you are serious about selling and making courses. 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 gives you access to bulk enrollments so that the enrollment process can be done easier and faster. 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. Review Thinkific Free Plan
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 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.
For Thinkific, this is called 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 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 charge transaction fees. When a sale occurs from your products, courses or memberships, funds are immediately available for withdrawal.
- Thinkific offers a fully implemented 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. Review Thinkific Free Plan
- 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 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. Its price is entirely reasonable, and the features are as good and easy to use as most of its competitors.
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. Review Thinkific Free Plan
In my opinion, providing a free startup plan is actually a mark of confidence on the side of the service. They are confident in their product and willing to allow the public to 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. With just a glance, you can easily know what to do and what functions as what. As for the more complex side of things, Thinkific provides enough prompts to guide you through the process.
This 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’s not a standalone platform. However, in keeping with their philosophy, it is simple to use and can easily be grasped by beginners.
It does offer impressive editing options, which makes it ideal for creating training and tutorial websites. 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.
As for their payment options, it would be better to have more options other than Stripe and PayPal.
Not everything is bad. Thinkfic still has some clever tools that help you monetize your courses. With a little creative touch, you can sell your products and courses. This requires more effort than normal, but it is possible.
Thinkific’s Frequently Asked Questions Review Thinkific Free Plan
Can You Build an Entire Website with Just Thinkfic?
Yes, you can!
Thinkfiic gives you the freedom to build your entire online education business. You can easily create courses, websites, and your entire brand on one platform. Thinkific has builders that are designed to facilitate building, marketing, and selling online courses.
How can I allow my students to access my course content while offline?
It will be at your discretion.
Remember that students may need assistance logging in to 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 has no intellectual property rights and will not claim them. Therefore, anything built and published on the platform is 100% to the creators.