We are all familiar with the saying, “Knowledge is power.” Having its roots in the Latin: scientia potentia est, it holds just as true today as all those years ago.
Knowledge is what makes us more powerful than other creatures. Eagles and other sharp-eyed creatures might have better eyesight than humans, but we have learned to see further than them by understanding how the world works.
Although the example is a bit extreme, you get the point. The human race has won our place in the food chain due to our sheer knowledge and ingenuity.
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. After all, Knowledge is Power, and power can be money. The knowledge owner has the final say in what happens to it. And 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.
It has also been revealed that there are many things being passed around. 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.
For those of you who prefer a more visual experience, here is a video review from the YouTube channel SoftwarePundit. To get a comprehensive overview of Thinkific, you may still want to check out our article below.
Thinkific: an Online Course Platform Sarah Cordiner 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 was a great solution to creating, managing and marketing online courses. Thinkific also did it easily, as even those without technical knowledge could use the platform.
Thinkific is a great tool for creating online courses. This allows users to concentrate on content. Good content is what drives students and teachers to engage.
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 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.
What is it that makes thinkific such a great platform?
- Unlike most other platforms, Thinkific does not take any transaction fees from your sales. As a bonus, Thinkific immediately makes your funds available for withdrawal whenever you make a sale. Thinkific ensures that your sales are 100% yours.
- Through the free plan, you can test Thinkific’s core features as well as get a feel of the environment. 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 also allows multiple kinds of content, from video files, audio files, PDFs, quizzes, text, surveys, and more.
- You can also play with the course engagement through Thinkific’s many capabilities. 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. You can even make them compete on 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:
- User-friendly course builder
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 page builder
Drag-and-drop page builders, like the course builder are common issues for these types of services. Course marketers need to promote their courses. It is essential that they have the tools and resources to market their courses. Similar to Thinkific.
- Marketing and promotion tools
In the same vein as selling courses, course builders like Thinkific should have the proper built-in email and affiliate marketing tools, sales widgets, and the ability to offer coupons to make it easy for users to sell their products in the platform.
- Flexible payment options
Without multiple payment options, all of your marketing tools will be useless. It is ideal to have more than one payment option. This removes any friction for potential customers and makes it easier for them to pay you.
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.
Should they continue doing tutorial videos with direct samples, the best way to go about things, or just plain instructions would be better? 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
Although we are in the business selling knowledge, it’s a good idea to have our own. Selling and course building are two different things. 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. 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?
At the end of the day, the only way to know how good a course builder is to test the crux of its service, which is the course builder itself.
A course builder service will only be as good as its main builder. After all, what are we supposed to expect about their secondary and additional features if they can’t be bothered having a good and well-functioning course builder?
In the case of their course builder, Thinkific provides a handy “Get Started” checklist that guides you on what to do at your first foray into course building.
Build Your First Course
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. Course content is divided into Chapters and Lessons.
You can create lessons by clicking the “add Lesson” button.
Content types can be either of the following:
- Download PDF documents
- Slideshow presentations
- Webinars and live zoom lessons.
Any of these files can be uploaded as your lessons. If you want, you can add multiple course content and upload them using the Bulk Importer. Also, Thinkific makes you duplicate old lessons from previous ones by using the “Copy Lessons From” button.
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.
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.
These premade courses 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 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. Sarah Cordiner Thinkific
- This template can be used to create a membership resource library for your subscribers. This will encourage your audience stay on your site even when they are looking at resources.
- Webinar Replay: This is like the library template, except it is specially made for webinars and live lesson video recordings. This is perfect for your students who are late enrollees and for people who missed your seminars.
Your Students’ Course Design
Students will be able use your learning materials in the Course Player. As such, you can customize how this course player looks in the “Settings” tab on the “Courses” page. Options include changing color schemes, fonts, or adding logos.
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 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
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. Sarah Cordiner Thinkific
Assignments are not available for PRO plans.
All in all, Thinkific’s Course Builder is easy to use. They will give you enough guidance, especially if you’re just starting out with your course.
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How to build 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.
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. Use Site Builder to Customize Your Online Course Site.
After picking a theme, you can customize it as you like. You can make your desired edits to the site builder and create an entire website. You can also create individual pages if you wish.
Site builders use drag-and-drop tools that make it simple to create a website from scratch. Combining this with pre-built themes, users can make a professional-looking web page from scratch.
This is only the beginning. Your website’s potential is limitless. Your imagination is limitless.
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. For this matter, Thinkific provides a great selection of pages for your perusal.
These pages are pre-designed and ready to be mapped into a complete course or training website. As such, we can take these pages and use them as the building blocks of your websites. These pages are worth mentioning:
- Your website’s homepage is the face. Where most relevant things should be found
- Course pages: These can swerve as landing pages for approaching courses. You can create a course page to serve as a landing page for all courses in your class.
- Sign-up pages are where students and potential customers enroll in individual courses or join a membership Sarah Cordiner Thinkific
- Sign in Pages: This should only be used for subscribers to your website
- Your student’s dashboard will be your starting point for signing in to your site. It is possible to design a student dashboard that makes it easy for students to access all the content on your website.
- You can find payment pages, or checkout pages: Here you can place your payment options to subscribe or sign up for your class.
- 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.
Of course, these types of pages are just some examples you can use with the website. 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. Sarah Cordiner 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
It is important to understand the structure of Thinkific Site Builder pages in order to properly design them. These sections can be customized easily and moved around.
Pre-built pages come with suggestions sections that will help you choose the right ones for your page. Simply click on “Add Section” to add more sections.
Thinkfic offers 23 pre-formatted pages sections. 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 lets your would-be students and customers know how to sign up or buy.
- Smart Product and Category
This section provides a list of information that can provide your customers with automatically listed summaries of available products you sell.
This section can be used for key messages and makes it easy to scan information with bullet points.
- Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions are a common scene on most websites. These are designed to answer all common questions from customers. Sarah Cordiner Thinkific
- ‘Social Proof’
These sections can be compared to testimonials. They show client reviews, comments, and experiences. 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 section is where you can put your instructor profiles in the courses. This section gives students information about the teachers.
- Pricing Options
You can place your pricing options here. This tells your students the cost of your courses and where you can pay for them. This is where you can also describe your bundles and what they include, as well as how much each one costs.
If you want to promote your courses with a video advertisement, you can add the section here.
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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. What is the Thnkific business side? 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 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
Thinkific comes with marketing tools to help you make money from your content. Even users who are utilizing the free plan can try these features, albeit they only have access to the most basic of functions and are pretty limited in their scope.
Among these tools include the ability for search engine optimization or SEO. Thinkific 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.
Another feature available for free users is the ability to build free trial courses. Think of it as giving your potential customers a free sample or a taste test. This is one of the best ways to show your audience who you are. Sarah Cordiner Thinkific
Customers and potential students can get a glimpse into your content by allowing them to see it. This will give customers and potential students a glimpse into the workings of your content before they pay for it.
These promotional materials can be a great way to promote your products. They can even be used to compete with products that have been promoted too much.
We are not talking about the stuff that is free. As you go up through Thinkific’s pricing plans, more marketing tools are unlocked for you. These tools will help you promote your course material in the market. Some of these include:
Coupons need no introduction. They have been used in many transactions for a long time. So it is no surprise that they are also being used in online business and online marketing.
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.
From a marketing standpoint, coupons can be set up and used to promote your bundles and courses. You can encourage potential customers to visit your courses by including a discount.
As a side note, Thinkific allows you to customize your coupons. The coupon can be customized by setting the dollar amount or percentage, as well as the expiration date and the number of times it can be used.
- Sales Widgets
You can use sales widgets to link to other websites or social media to share your purchase links. These 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.
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.
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. This includes social media sites. If you wish to market this way, these codes can be sent as messages. Sarah Cordiner 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. 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.
In the case of Thinkific, their email marketing tools do just this…….. And not much more. Unfortunately, only existing students can be emailed about your courses. You can also notify them about new products and courses.
You don’t have to like everything. However, if you need more features, there are other email marketing tools available such as Mailchimp or Mailerlite, AWeber and Constant Contact. ActiveCampaign is another option.
That said, it would have been miles better if Thinkific had a better local Email marketing tool for users to use.
- Affiliate Marketing
You can choose to use affiliate marketing to get influencers and experts to promote your courses if you feel your marketing skills are not sufficient.
The process is simple and straightforward with Thinkific. The steps include adding the affiliated person as a user and making him an “Affiliate” which you can find under “User Roles” in the Process.
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. Sarah Cordiner Thinkific
However, affiliates are not paid within the system. It’s the same with instructor revenue sharing.
All that marketing work will be for naught if you have no way of receiving payments or your courses. In this vein, Thinkific has Stripe as a card payment platform. You can also connect PayPal to make one-off payments.
Lastly, there is also an option to link your courses to a Shopify site. 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 even make membership subscriptions and charge accordingly. You can also sell your course as a bundle if you wish. But right now, I haven’t tried that feature as I have only a few courses made with their system.
Thinkific is unique in that you don’t have to pay a commission for any courses they sell.
Reporting and Analytics
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.
For what it’s worth, it is a step in the right direction as having it is much better than having nothing at all.
How does it all work?
Thinkific’s analytics and reporting collect the data they need. Filtering data can be done by date, product type, or course, as well as by recency of customers (whether new or old).
These data can give you multiple insights into how your courses perform. Let’s take, for instance, data about student engagement.
Having this data allows you to see things such as course enrolments as well as there completion rates. 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. Then it will be up to you to adjust accordingly. Sarah Cordiner Thinkific
For example, for courses with low completion rates, students might find the course extremely hard. Still, it might be a problem with the way you are presenting the information or instructions. Once you find the problem, you can then find an applicable solution without tearing your hair out.
This data is then shown as a chart and graph that makes it a lot easier to read and understand.
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 using a website and checkout experience
|-Add products to your business and create a cohesive learning experience for your students
|-Build successful business with a complete suite of tools to help you sell more
|-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. This is the best way for you to get to know the service and test it out. You can do all the services offered by the free plan, but only in a limited capacity.
Only one course is allowed under the Free plan. 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. The main benefit of upgrading to this plan is your limiters are removed, and you are free to 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.
Furthermore, the Start plan opens up more marketing tools and gives 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
The Grow plan is for you if you are serious about selling and making courses. First, you will be able to remove the Thinkific branding. Although it may seem easy, it has a significant impact on branding, marketing, and professionalizing your courses.
This allows you to access bulk enrollments, making the enrollment process easier and quicker. In terms of support, you are given priority email and phone support. You can get faster solutions if you have different issues with your website. Sarah Cordiner Thinkific
The Expand Plan
The Expand plan is designed for larger businesses and institutions. This plan allows you to streamline your workflow and provide a premium experience using a platform that can scale.
This plan is 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. Most of the time, their prices are unlisted as the customization might change the cost, and that cost will depend on the customization.
This is Thinkific Plus. It is a powerful, scalable, and easy-to-use learning platform geared toward your team and students.
To get Thinkific Plus, you must contact the Thinkfic sales team. They will help you understand the tools you need to optimize your platform. They can connect you with education experts who will inspire you and give you the confidence you need to achieve more than you could ever imagine.
Thinkific Plus will give you all the features from the Expand plans while also adding in these features:
- 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. 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 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. Sarah Cordiner Thinkific
- Thinkkific’s drag-and-drop builder is super easy to use, and even non-tech-savvy people can use it. It even allows you to upload multiple types of media content to create varied and interesting courses and lessons.
- There are some aspects of Thinkific that are not really that are not as user-friendly as expected. This is something that some creators of the service have expressed.
- There is a huge lack of marketing features in the service. Their email marketing capabilities are very basic and far behind those of the competition.
- The customization options and designs available through Thinkific are very limited. There are only a handful of themes that you can choose from. It is difficult to make a website that stands out from the competition with these options.
Overall, Thinkific is a good choice for course creation as well as course promotion. It is affordable and features are just as easy as those of its rivals.
For those who are just starting out, the free startup plan will be a great help. It will allow them to get a feel for how things work. Sarah Cordiner 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. It is unlike the other “free plans” of the other products where they only masquerade as free, but there isn’t you can do with the service.
Thinkific’s Course Builder is very intuitive and easy to use. With just a glance, you can easily know what to do and what functions as what. Thinkific has enough prompts to help you navigate the more complicated aspects of the world.
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.
Thinkific’s Site Builder is also 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. Aside from that, it is an excellent tool for adding 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. Marketers can feel disillusioned by the Email marketing structure. Marketing Thinkific’s courses are difficult to market without 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 has some clever tools that help you monetize 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 Sarah Cordiner 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. 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.
I Want to Allow my Students Access to my Course Content while Offline; How Do I Do that?
It is up to you.
Remember that students may need assistance logging in to your courses offline. That said, you can offer your courses to be downloadable. You can do this on content such as video files, audio files, and PDFs. These files can be downloaded to students’ devices so they can access them offline.
Who Owns the Content Published on Thinkific?
Any content built into the Thinkific Platform is the sole and exclusive property of the creators.
Thinkific does not, and will not, claim any intellectual property rights over materials made by the course creators and builders. Everything published and built on the platform belongs to its creators.