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. 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.
It is great to share your knowledge and ideas free of charge, but it is also fine to sell 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. 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. You can still read our article to get a complete overview of Thinkific.
Thinkific: An Online Course Platform Shopify Versus Thinkific
Thinkific is a top choice for hosting your online classes. Learning Management System (LMS), creates, promotes and sells your online courses.
Thinkific was founded in 2012 by a group entrepreneurs who wanted to create an environment that would allow students and instructors to learn and teach.
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.
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.
Enjoy the Thinkific Benefits
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. We would be remiss if this were not mentioned.
So what is it about thinkific that makes us prefer it as a platform overall?
- Unlike most other platforms, Thinkific does not take any transaction fees from your sales. 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
- You can try Thinkific’s core features and have a feel for the environment through its free plan. Although you are only limited to uploading 3 courses, you can have unlimited students enrolled in it as well as host most of the core content that Thinkific allows
- Thinkific’s drag-and-drop builder makes it simple to create an online course. This is in keeping with their commitment to letting content creators concentrate on the content. Thinkific supports multiple types of content such as audio, video, PDFs and quizzes.
- You can also play with the course engagement through Thinkific’s many capabilities. The platform allows you to organize cohorts, schedule your content, and deliver them by drip-feed, locking them through prerequisite lessons and many others.
- Thinkific also allows you to engage with your students through multiple channels. You can email them their progressions, engage them in discussions, and give them awards. And even have them compete with the leaderboard.
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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 page builder
Drag-and-drop page builders, like the course builder are common issues for these types of services. Course makers need to market their courses. As such, giving them the proper tools to do so easier is a godsend. Similar to Thinkific.
- Marketing and promotion tools
Thinkific, a course builder, should also be able to offer coupons, as well as the necessary email and affiliate marketing tools.
- Flexible payment options
All of those marketing features will be for naught if there are not many payment options available for customers. 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.
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.
- Student support and communities
A good way to increase your customer base is to have a strong community that uses your content. Besides that, it is also good for branding as well as engagements. Remember, good customer support and community greatly improve customer retention. It is good that Thinkific provides the avenue to do so with these features.
- 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 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. In doing so, they can speed up the process of making courses and allow newer people to use the app more.
- Thinkific App Store
The Thinkific App store sells apps and programs that take your online courses to another level. The best thing about the AppStore is its community-made nature. As such, it is an excellent place where fellow content and course creators get together and discuss things along with Thinkific developers.
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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.
Create Your First Course
Upon starting your first course, you will be presented with a draft called “Your First Course” for you to use.
Opening this file brings you to the first-course builder interface, wherein the layout is very easy to follow. The course content is divided into chapters and lessons.
You can create lessons by clicking the “add Lesson” button.
You can choose from the following content types:
- Download PDF documents
- Slideshow presentations
- Live zoom lessons and webinars.
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.
Pick 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. 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. Shopify Versus 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 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.
Your Students’ Course Design
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. Options include changing color schemes, fonts, or adding logos.
Here you can also add a description of the course and an image.
This part also allows you to preview your lessons in the course player. This is convenient since you can see how your students view your lessons. As such, you can put yourself in their shoes and see the problem from their perspective.
You can assign assignments and track progress
Assignments, quizzes, and surveys are super handy as an additional way to engage your students. You can also use it to rate your students. Shopify Versus Thinkific
Assignments are not available for PRO plans.
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
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. It was designed with newbies and non-tech people in mind.
Start building your website by:
1. Choose a theme.
When building your website, the best place is to pick a theme.
For this reason, Thinkific has three pre-built theme templates. Each theme has its own styles, color schemes, fonts, and tweaked layouts.
These websites all have professional and good designs.
2. Use Site Builder to Customize Your Online Course Site.
After picking a theme, you can customize it as you like. Through the site builder, you can do your preferred edits and make out an entire website. If you want, you can dig in and craft individual pages.
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. Your website’s potential is limitless. Your creativity will only be your limit.
3. Make a Training website Entirely from Scratch.
Since we are already in the business of making courses, it would be a very good idea to proceed and build a training website to house your created courses. 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. 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
- 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 are where students and potential customers enroll in individual courses or join a membership Shopify Versus Thinkific
- 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. A good student dashboard can be designed in a way that makes everything on your website accessible.
- Checkout pages or payment page: This is where you place your payment options for subscribing or signing up for your class.
- 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.
Of course, these types of pages are just some examples you can use with the website. These templates can also be used to quickly create a website. This skips the nitpicky part of choosing which to use on your website. Shopify Versus 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 easily be modified 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. Adding more sections is just as simple as clicking on the “Add Section”
All in all, Thinkfic provides users with 23 pre-formatted page sections available. These pages are geared towards building high-converting pages. These high-converting pages include, but are not limited to:
- Get involved.
This is a crucial part of selling. 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.
- Most Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions are a common scene on most websites. These aim to answer all the commonly asked questions by the customer base. Shopify Versus Thinkific
- ‘Social Proof’
These sections are akin to testimonials and show off client experiences, comments, and reviews. These sections are like testimonials and show what the clients get from the lessons. This in turn encourages others to use your product.
These are sections that help promote other courses that you are selling. This section is often found on the checkout page for one of your courses.
This is where your instructors profiles can be added to the courses. This section gives students information about the teachers.
- Pricing Options
Here you can submit your pricing options. This will inform your students about the cost of your courses as well as where they can be paid. If possible, this is also where you can describe your bundles, what you include in them, and how much they cost.
You can add this section to your course promotion page to make a video advertisement.
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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? Does the service provide enough and proper tools to allow users to make money from their hard work?
It is a fact that all online course builders and platforms today offer tools to allow teachers and students to promote their courses. 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.
Which side is Thinkific on? Let’s see how Thinkific handles promotion and business.
Promote Your Courses
Thinkific comes with marketing tools to help you make money from your content. These features are available to all users, even those who use the free plan. However, they are very limited and only allow for the most basic functions.
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is one of these tools. Thinkific 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. It’s like giving your customers a free taste or sample. This is among the most efficient ways to show your audience what you are capable of. Shopify Versus Thinkific
By allowing customers and potential students a taste of your content, you will allow them a peek into the curtains and how classes are done. This will give customers and potential students a glimpse into the workings of your content before they pay for it.
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. You will unlock more marketing tools as you move up in the Thinkific pricing plans. These tools will help you promote your course material in the market. Some of these include:
Coupons don’t need 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. 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.
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
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. And let’s face it, you will need a lot of traffic.
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’s a fact that social media is used by almost everyone. You should find where most of the internet traffic comes from and try to divert some of those traffic to your website.
This is possible by using sales widgets that generate HTML code which can be easily pasted onto existing websites. Of course, this includes social media sites. If you wish to market this way, these codes can be sent as messages. Shopify Versus 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. After all, you can only send this to people you already have contact with.
In the case of Thinkific, their email marketing tools do just this…….. And not much more. Unfortunately, only existing students can be emailed about your courses. Notifying them about new products or courses is another option.
You don’t have to like everything. However, if you need more features, there are other email marketing tools available such as Mailchimp or Mailerlite, AWeber and Constant Contact. ActiveCampaign is another option.
That said, it would have been miles better if Thinkific had a better local Email marketing tool for users to use.
- Affiliate Marketing
You can choose to use affiliate marketing to get influencers and experts to promote your courses if you feel your marketing skills are not sufficient.
The process is simple and straightforward with Thinkific. You will need to add the associated person as a user, and make him an “Affiliate”. This information can be found under “User Roles” within the Process.
You can also convert Thinkfiic users into affiliates by finding them through the same process.
As for checking the status and performance of your affiliates, Thinkific will track the courses or bundles your affiliate sells and record the corresponding revenue. Shopify Versus 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. Thinkific offers Stripe as a payment platform for cards. Other ways include connecting PayPal for one-off payments.
You can also link your courses with a Shopify website. This allows you to access all of the eCommerce platform’s tools.
Thinkific’s payment options allow you to customize how you price your products. You can even charge customers with different payment plans. For example, you can sell courses for a one off fee.
You can also offer membership subscriptions, and charge accordingly. 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
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 currently in its infancy, and only the Start + Growth package has it.
It is a good step in the right direction. Having it is better than nothing.
How does it all work?
Thinkific’s analytics and reporting collect the data they need. 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. Take for example, the data on Student engagement.
This data will allow you to view things like course enrollments and completion rates. You can then compare these metrics across the board. This allows you to see which subjects are having low completion rates.
From there you can find out the problems as to why such things are. It is up to you then to make the necessary adjustments. Shopify Versus Thinkific
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 have identified the problem, you will be able to find a solution that works without having to tear your hair out.
The data is displayed as a graph and chart, which makes it much easier to understand and read.
Thinkific Pricing and Plans
Thinkific is a leading platform for course development and marketing. 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.
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 company and create a cohesive learning experience.
|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. To make more courses, you will need to sign up. That said, this course has a lot of potential, allowing you to enroll an unlimited number of students you want.
The Start Plan
If you feel that Thinkific is something you would enjoy, you can take the next step. Upgrade to this plan and your limitations are gone. You can make unlimited courses.
Aside from that, Thinkific affords you a few more options in the type of courses you can make. 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
The Grow plan is for you if you are serious about selling and making courses. The first benefit you get is removing the Thinkific branding. Although it may seem easy, it has a significant impact on branding, marketing, and professionalizing your courses.
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. Shopify Versus 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. Aside from providing the usual features of the other Thinkific plans, it provides unprecedented 10 Communities to keep students easier to manage.
Speaking of management, this plan also provides 5 administrators to help with running things.
Some LMS services give clients and customers an option to create bespoke plans separate from the services’ basic plans. Most of the time, their prices are unlisted as the customization might change the cost, and that cost will depend on the customization.
This is Thinkific Plus. It 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 can help you to understand the tools that you need in order to optimize your platform. They can connect you with education experts who will inspire you and give you the confidence you need to achieve more than you could ever imagine.
Thinkific Plus offers all the Expand features, but also adds these additional features to the plan:
- Unlimitted Products
- Unlimited Administrators
- Three+ separate Thinkific sites
- Service Level Agreement 99.9%
- Build a Customer Success Team
- Multiple seats and Tiered pricing checkout
- Email white-labeling
- Only one sign on
- Bulk Selling App
- Enterprise API Access
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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 has a fully realized free plan. It has all the core features available and acts like a paid plan. Although there are no limitations, if you are serious enough, you can start selling courses through the services with no upfront monetary investment. Shopify Versus 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.
- Some aspects of Thinkific aren’t as user-friendly than expected. Some creators have acknowledged this.
- The service lacks many marketing features. Their email marketing 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.
Thinkific is an excellent choice for course promotion and course creation. 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. Shopify Versus 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.
For the Course Builder, Thinkific is pretty easy and intuitive 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.
One thing to note, however, is that some experienced users might find Thinkific too simple for their taste. This is just my nitpicking. At the end of the day, Thinkific’s course builder is fast, easy, and responsive, and that’s what most people need.
For their Site Builder, Thinkific also chooses to keep it simple. It 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. 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.
Lastly, on the marketing side of things, this is where I feel Thinkific falls short. Just looking at the bare bones structure of their Email marketing can turn off marketers, and marketing Thinkific’s courses can be an uphill climb without resorting to third-party integrations.
As for their payment options, it would be better to have more options other than Stripe and PayPal.
Not everything is bad. Thinkfic still has some clever tools that help you monetize your courses. You can sell products and courses with a little creativity. It does require more effort than usual, however.
Thinkific Frequently Asked Questions Shopify Versus 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. You can make your courses 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?
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. Therefore, anything built and published on the platform is 100% to the creators.