We all know the expression “Knowledge is Power” which has its roots in Latin: scientiapotentia est. It still holds true today as it did all those years ago.
Knowledge makes us superior to the other more powerful creatures in the world. While eagles and other intelligent creatures may have better vision than humans, we have been able to see more by understanding the workings of the world.
Although the example is a bit extreme, you get the point. Because of our knowledge and ingenuity, the human race has risen to the top in food chain.
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. After all, Knowledge is Power, and power can be money. 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.
The kinds of things being taught around have also been busted wide open. People can share their knowledge on a variety of platforms, such as Youtube and TikTok, to teach others how they make or do the most common or absurd things.
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 Small Business Sarah Thinkific
Thinkific is a top choice for hosting your online classes. A Learning Management System (LMS) creates, promotes, and sells your courses online.
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 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. Students and teachers are motivated to engage when they have good content.
Thinkific offers many features to fulfill that promise. We will examine these features later to see if the promises are true.
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.
What is it that makes thinkific such a great platform?
- Thinkific doesn’t take transaction fees, unlike many other platforms. Thinkific instantly makes your funds available to withdraw whenever you make a sale. So when it comes to sales, Thinkific makes sure that whatever is yours is absolutely yours
- Through the free plan, you can test Thinkific’s core features as well as get a feel of the environment. 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.
- Thinkific also allows you to play with your course engagement by giving you various capabilities. You can organize groups, schedule content and send them via drip-feed. They also lock them with prerequisite lessons.
- Thinkific also allows you to engage with your students through 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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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 site builder
Like the course builder, drag-and-drop page builders are standard issues for these kinds of services. Course makers need to market their courses. As such, giving them the proper tools to do so easier is a godsend. Just like with Thinkific.
- Promotion and marketing tools
Thinkific, a course builder, should also be able to offer coupons, as well as the necessary email and affiliate marketing tools.
- Flexible payment options
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. This feature is offered by Thinkific to help users decide the direction of their content.
Should they continue doing tutorial videos with direct samples, the best way to go about things, or just plain instructions would be better? One cannot decide the best course of action without properly tracking revenues, engagements, and business performance.
- Support for students and student communities
Having a good community that consumes your content is a good way to build up returning customers. It is also a great way to brand your company and increase 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.
- Tools to train the trainer
Although we are in the business selling knowledge, it’s a good idea to have our own. Course building and selling are different disciplines altogether. Many people who try Thinkific may be unfamiliar with the process and will stumble around until they feel at ease.
Thinkific gives these newbies and even veterans a chance to learn from what is tried and tested. This allows them to speed up the creation of courses and makes it easier for new users to use the app.
- Thinkific App store
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. It is a great place for fellow course creators and content creators to come together and have discussions 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?
Thinkific offers a “Get Started” checklist to help you get started with course building.
Build Your First Course
You will receive a draft of “Your First Course” when you start your course.
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.
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. You can also copy old lessons from other courses using the “Copy Lessons From” button on Thinkific.
Pick the Course Type
Thinkific allows you to pick what course you are currently building. The service also provides pre-formatted, professional-looking templates which can be used to create the course content.
While you can have perfect flexibility by using a blank template, these course templates can be extremely helpful when doing your job in a hurry or when you are just beginning to make courses.
Some of these premade course types include:
- Mini-course: These are course templates designed to create short and fast courses such as tasters and freebies.
- Flagship Courses are courses that attract students and keep them coming back. 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 will allow you to tell potential customers about your courses. Small Business Sarah Thinkific
- This template can be used to create a membership resource library for your subscribers. This will encourage your audience to remain on your website even when looking at resources
- Webinar Replay: This is like the library template, except it is specially made for webinars and live lesson video recordings. This template is ideal for late enrollees or people who missed your seminars.
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.
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 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.
You can assign assignments and track progress
As an extra way to engage students, assignments, quizzes and surveys can be very useful. Aside from that, you can use it as an added way to rate your students. Small Business Sarah Thinkific
Assignments are not available for PRO plans.
Overall, Thinkific’s course builder is very user-friendly. They will give you enough guidance, especially if you’re just starting out with your course.
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Building an Online Course Website
The course builder can be considered the core of Thinkific. However, it is the Site Builder that provides the foundation on which your courses can be built.
Thinkific Site Builder shares many of the same features as other landing page builders. This allows you to sell your courses from your website or even if you don’t have a website yet.
The website builder is easy to use. It was designed with newbies and non-tech people in mind.
To start building your website, you start with:
1. Choose a theme.
Picking a theme is the best place to start when building your website.
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. You can customize your online course site using the Site Builder.
After picking a theme, you can customize it as you like. You can make your desired edits to the site builder and create an entire website. You can also create individual pages if you wish.
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.
And that is just the beginning. The potential your website can take will be up to you. Your creativity will only be your limit.
3. Start a Training Website from Scratch.
Since we are already in the business of making courses, it would be a very good idea to proceed and build a training website to house your created courses. Thinkific offers a wide range of pages to help you choose from.
These pages 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. Some pages of note include:
- Your website’s homepage is the face. The place where the most important things should be located
- Course pages: These can swerve as landing pages for approaching courses. If you want, you can also make a course page that serves as a landing page for all the courses you offer in your “class”
- Sign-up pages: This is where your potential customers and students enroll for individual courses or memberships Small Business Sarah 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. 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.
These pages can be used with your website in many ways. These templates are also a good utility for making a website and needing it fast. These templates are a great way to skip the tedious part of selecting which template you want for your website. Small Business Sarah 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
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.
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
Websites often feature Frequently Asked Question. These are designed to answer all common questions from customers. Small Business Sarah 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 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 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
Now we come to what is known as among the most anticipated parts of the review. What is the Thnkific business side? Does the service provide enough and proper tools to allow users to make money from their hard work?
The thing of the matter is that nowadays, all online course builders and course platforms include inherent tools to give users and teachers the ability to promote their courses and products. The only difference is in the focus of each platform.
Yep, that’s right. Some platforms are more focused on the conversion side of selling courses and creating content. 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 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.
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 one of the best ways to show your audience who you are. Small Business Sarah 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. That way, once they dive into your paid content, they already have at least a small idea of how things work out.
While these promotional materials may seem lacking at first, in skillful hands, these can go a very long way as promotional materials. They can even be used to compete with products that have been promoted too much.
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. Many of these enhance your ability to promote your course materials in the market. These include:
Coupons need no introduction. They’ve been in use for many transactions for a long period of time. So it is no surprise that they are also being used in online business and online marketing.
Thinkific’s 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.
Thinkific also allows you to personalize 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.
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 is a given that almost everybody uses social media. It is important to determine where the majority of internet traffic comes and redirect some traffic to your site.
This is possible by using sales widgets that generate HTML code which can be easily pasted onto existing websites. This includes social media sites. Aside from that, these codes can also be sent as messages if you want to market that way. Small Business Sarah Thinkific
Another customization you can do with this widget is how it looks. 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. This tool is not used to convert new subscribers but to keep 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.
Not everything is bad, though, as if you want more features, you can use other email marketing tools such as Mailchimp, Mailerlite, AWeber, Constant Contact, ActiveCampaign, or ConvertKit.
That said, it would have been miles better if Thinkific had a better local Email marketing tool for users to use.
- Affiliate Marketing
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.
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.
If you find some current users of Thinkfiic or your course, you can convert them into affiliates through the same process.
Thinkific tracks the sales of bundles or courses by affiliates to check their performance and status. It also records the revenue. Small Business Sarah Thinkific
However, affiliates are not paid within the system. The same applies to instructor revenue sharing.
If you don’t have a way to receive payments or enroll in your courses, all that marketing effort will go sour. Thinkific offers Stripe as a payment platform for cards. Other ways include connecting PayPal for one-off payments.
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.
One thing to note about Thinkific though is that they do not charge you any commission fee for any of your courses sold!
Reporting and Analytics
A good website selling products should have a Reports and Analytics section. 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. Currently it only reports on four ares which include: Orders, Enrollments, Student Engagement, and Revenue. This feature is still in its infancy and is only available on the Start + Growth add-on package.
For what it’s worth, it is a step in the right direction as having it is much better than having nothing at all.
How does it all work?
Thinkific’s analytics and reporting collect the data they need. Some selections include filtering data by date, course or product type, by recency of customers (whether they are new or existing), and more.
These data can give you multiple insights into how your courses perform. Let’s take, for instance, data about 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 will allow you to identify subjects with low completion rates.
You can then identify the reasons for these problems. It is up to you then to make the necessary adjustments. Small Business Sarah Thinkific
Students might find it difficult to complete courses that have low completion rates. 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 one of the leading platforms on course building, and marketing. You can expect a price that’s appropriate for your standing.
Thinkfiic is a product that you pay for. With all its features, you won’t be ripped off.
Besides that, Thinkific has a free plan which you can use to test their products. 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
If you’re new to course management and course building, this is the plan that you should start with. It is the best way to get a feel of the service and to test drive what it is capable of. The free plan allows you to do everything the service offers, albeit at 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. Upgrade to this plan and your limitations are gone. You can make unlimited courses.
Thinkific also offers a variety of course options. For example, you can begin to live-stream your lessons as long as time permits it.
The Start plan also opens up additional marketing tools and grants you access to the Thinkific App Store.
Lastly, you also have the option to have a custom domain for your course website.
The Grow Plan
If you’re serious about making sales and selling courses, the Grow plan is right for you. The first benefit you get is removing 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. So you can have faster solutions given to you should different problems arise for your website. Small Business Sarah Thinkific
The Expand Plan
The Expand plan is for bigger institutions and businesses. It allows you to optimize your workflow and create a premium experience with a platform that is designed to scale.
This plan is ideal for large institutions that want to establish an online presence. It provides the same features as the other Thinkific plans but also offers 10 Communities that make it easier for students to manage.
This plan provides five administrators who will help you manage your business.
LMS services offer clients and customers the option to create custom plans that are separate from their basic plans. Their prices are not listed because customization may change the cost. The customization will affect the price.
This is Thinkific Plus. It is a powerful, scalable, and easy-to-use learning platform geared toward your team and students.
Contact the Thinkfic sales team to get Thinkific Plus. 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:
- Unlimitted Products
- Unlimited Administrators
- Three+ separate Thinkific sites
- Service Level Agreement 99.9%
- Dedicate Customer Success Team
- Check out multiple seats or a tiered pricing option
- Email white-labeling
- Only one sign on
- Bulk Selling App
- Enterprise API Access
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Thoughtific 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. There are no restrictions, but if you’re serious enough you can sell courses through the service with no upfront investment. Small Business Sarah 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.
- There is a huge lack of marketing features in the service. Their email marketing capability is quite basic and is miles behind the competition.
- Thinkific’s designs and customizations are quite limited, given that the service only provides a few themes to play with. With these options, it is hard to create a website that stands out among the rest.
Overall, Thinkific is a good choice for course creation as well as course promotion. It is affordable and features are just as easy as those of its rivals.
The free startup plan is a godsend for those just starting, as it will give them a feel of how things are with the service. Small Business Sarah Thinkific
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. 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. You can quickly see what you need to do and which functions are what. As for the more complex side of things, Thinkific provides enough prompts to guide you through the process.
This is a difficult side to balance, too, as giving too many prompts away can usually overwhelm the beginner user and may irritate those who already have a handle on things.
One thing to note, however, is that some experienced users might find Thinkific too simple for their taste. But that is just nitpicking. 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. It is easy to use, and it fits their philosophy.
It has impressive editing capabilities, making it ideal for creating tutorial and training websites. It is also a great tool to add training pages to existing websites.
The only thing lacking is more themes to cater to more people and their different tastes.
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. This requires more effort than normal, but it is possible.
Thinkific Frequently Asked Questions Small Business Sarah Thinkific
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 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. This can be done for content such as audio files, video 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. Therefore, anything built and published on the platform is 100% to the creators.