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.
Sure, that example might be overly dramatic, but you get the idea. 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. Knowledge is power, and money can also be power. The knowledge owner has the final say in what happens to 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. Even those who have no teaching license or do not know how to write books now have the ability to share their knowledge.
The kinds of things being taught around have also been busted wide open. People can share their knowledge on a variety of platforms, such as Youtube and TikTok, to teach others how they make or do the most common or absurd things.
Even formal education can have its niche platforms too. This is where online course platforms come in.
For those of you who prefer a more visual experience, here is a video review from the YouTube channel SoftwarePundit. To get a comprehensive overview of Thinkific, you may still want to check out our article below.
Thinkific: an Online Course Platform Thinkific Designer
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.
This ease of use makes Thinkific essential for online course creators. This allows users to concentrate on content. Students and teachers are motivated to engage when they have good content.
As such, Thinkific provides plenty of features to help facilitate that promise. Later, we will look at these features and see if they really live up to the hype.
Thinkific is not the only platform that is a decent course maker. Many LMS and CMS can do the same job as Thinkific. That said, we would be remiss if we gloss over Thinkific just because of this fact.
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
- Through the free plan, you can test Thinkific’s core features as well as get a feel of the environment. Although you are only limited to uploading 3 courses, you can have unlimited students enrolled in it as well as host most of the core content that Thinkific allows
- As a commitment to their promise of letting content creators focus on the content, Thinkific makes it easy to build an online course through its drag and drop builder. Thinkific 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 them their progressions, engage them in discussions, and give them awards. You can even make them compete on the leaderboard.
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
Like the course builder, drag-and-drop page builders are standard issues for these kinds of services. Course makers need to market their courses. It is essential that they have the tools and resources to market their courses. Just like with Thinkific.
- Promotion and marketing tools
In the same vein as selling courses, course builders like Thinkific should have the proper built-in email and affiliate marketing tools, sales widgets, and the ability to offer coupons to make it easy for users to sell their products in the platform.
- Flexible payment options
Without multiple payment options, all of your marketing tools will be useless. 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.
Analytics is key to content creation. 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.
Do they need to continue making tutorial videos that include direct examples? Or should they just give instructions? Without proper tracking of revenues, engagements, business performance, one cannot determine the best course.
- 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. Customer retention is greatly improved by having a strong community and customer support. 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. 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. As such, it is an excellent place where fellow content and course creators get together and discuss things along with Thinkific developers.
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. 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.
Create 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. 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.
Content types can be either of the following:
- Download PDF documents
- Slideshow presentations
- Webinars and live zoom lessons.
You can upload any of these files 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. 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.
These premade courses 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. Every lesson is designed to be easy for students to follow and is simple to learn.
- Pre-sell course: Pre-sell courses help you sell your courses. These can be like testers and short courses. This allows you to advertise to potential customers what your courses entail. Thinkific Designer
- 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.
Customizing The Look of Course for your Students
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. You can change the color scheme, fonts or add logos.
Here you can also add a description of the course and an image.
You can also preview your lessons in this section. 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
As an extra way to engage students, assignments, quizzes and surveys can be very useful. You can also use it to rate your students. Thinkific Designer
That said, assignments are only available for the PRO plan.
All in all, Thinkific’s Course Builder is easy to use. Especially when you are just starting, they will provide you with enough guidance on approaching your course.
How to build an online course website
The course builder can be considered the core of Thinkific. However, it is the Site Builder that provides the foundation on which your courses can be built.
The Thinkific Site builder shares the same characteristics as the other landing page builders. This allows you to sell your courses from your website or even if you don’t have a website yet.
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. Pick a Theme.
When building your website, the best place is to pick a theme.
Thinkific offers three pre-designed themes templates. Each theme has its own styles, color schemes, fonts, and tweaked layouts.
All in all, these websites have good and professional designs.
2. You can customize your online course site using the Site Builder.
You can modify the theme you have chosen after you’ve selected it. You can make your desired edits to the site builder and create an entire website. If you want, you can dig in and craft individual pages.
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. 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. These pages are worth mentioning:
- Home Page: The face of your website. The place where the most important things should be located
- Course pages: These can swerve as landing pages for approaching courses. You can create a course page to serve as a landing page for all courses in your class.
- Sign-up pages: This is where your potential customers and students enroll for individual courses or memberships Thinkific Designer
- 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. This skips the nitpicky part of choosing which to use on your website. Thinkific Designer
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.
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 pages are highly-converting and include but not limited to:
- Get involved.
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 contains information that will allow you to provide your customers with summaries of the products you offer.
This section can be used to highlight key messages, making it easy for the readers to scan information using bullet points.
- Frequently Asked Questions
Websites often feature Frequently Asked Question. These are designed to answer all common questions from customers. Thinkific Designer
- ‘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. If possible, this is also where you can describe your bundles, what you include in them, and how much they cost.
If you want to promote your courses with a video advertisement, you can add the section here.
Earning Profit Through Your Content with the Use of Your Online Course Platform
We now come to the part that is often the most anticipated. 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.
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. 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.
Another feature available for free users is the ability to build free trial courses. It’s like giving your customers a free taste or sample. This is one of the best ways to show your audience who you are. Thinkific Designer
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. In the right condition, they might even compete with some products that have been promoted to the extreme.
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. It is not surprising that they are being used in online marketing and business.
Thinkific’s coupon codes are digital codes that can be shared easily. They are utilized very well in Thinkific’s ecosystem. You can use a coupon at Thinkific’s checkout to instantly redeem it.
From a marketing standpoint, coupons can be set up and used to promote your bundles and courses. You can encourage potential customers to visit your courses by including a discount.
Thinkific also allows you to personalize your coupons. The coupon can be customized by setting the dollar amount or percentage, as well as the expiration date and the number of times it can be used.
- Sales Widgets
You can use sales widgets to link to other websites or social media to share your purchase links. These widgets are very useful given the amount of traffic required to get your course noticed. 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 is a given that almost everybody uses social media. You should find where most of the internet traffic comes from and try to divert some of those traffic to your website.
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. Aside from that, these codes can also be sent as messages if you want to market that way. Thinkific Designer
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 manage newsletters and send out targeted promotions to subscribers. In a way, this tool is used less to get new conversions and rather to retain them. After all, you can only send this to people you already have contact with.
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.
Not everything is bad, though, as if you want more features, you can use other email marketing tools such as Mailchimp, Mailerlite, AWeber, Constant Contact, ActiveCampaign, or ConvertKit.
However, it would have been a lot better if Thinkific had an even better local Email marketing tool available for its users.
- Affiliate Marketing
You can choose to use affiliate marketing to get influencers and experts to promote your courses if you feel your marketing skills are not sufficient.
Thinkific allows the process to be easy and straightforward. 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.
Thinkific tracks the sales of bundles or courses by affiliates to check their performance and status. It also records the revenue. Thinkific Designer
That said, paying the affiliates is done outside the system, so that’s a catch. The same applies to instructor revenue sharing.
All that marketing work will be for naught if you have no way of receiving payments or your courses. In this vein, Thinkific has Stripe as a card payment platform. You can also connect PayPal to make 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. However, this feature is not available to me at the moment as I only have a handful of courses created 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. Currently it only reports on four ares which include: Orders, Enrollments, Student Engagement, and Revenue. This feature is still in its infancy and is only available on the Start + Growth add-on package.
For what it’s worth, it is a step in the right direction as having it is much better than having nothing at all.
So how does it work?
Thinkific’s reporting and analytics collect the necessary data how they wish. 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. Take for example, the data on Student engagement.
This data will allow you to view things like course enrollments and completion rates. These metrics can be compared across all subjects. This allows you to see which subjects are having low completion rates.
You can then identify the reasons for these problems. Then it will be up to you to adjust accordingly. Thinkific Designer
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 have identified the problem, you will be able to find a solution that works without having to tear 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. As such, you can expect to have a price that is appropriate for their 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. If you are interested in learning more about Thinkific’s features or need to start your course-creating journey, you can always get a free plan.
|$0 per month||$74 per month||$149 pero month||$374 per month|
|-Create and launch your product with 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.
|With a platform that scales, optimize your workflow to create premium experiences.
The Free Plan
If you’re new to course management and course building, this is the plan that you should start with. 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.
The Free plan is only good for making one course. Making more than that requires you to sign up. This course is full of potential and you can enroll as many students as you wish.
The Start Plan
If you feel that Thinkific is something you would enjoy, you can take the next step. Upgrade to this plan and your limitations are gone. You can make unlimited courses.
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.
You also have the option of a custom domain to host 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. 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. You have priority email support and phone support. So you can have faster solutions given to you should different problems arise for your website. Thinkific Designer
The Expand Plan
The Expand plan is for bigger institutions and businesses. This plan allows you to streamline your workflow and provide a premium experience using a platform that can scale.
This plan is ideal for large institutions that want to establish an online presence. 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.
Some LMS services give clients and customers an option to create bespoke plans separate from the services’ basic plans. Their prices are not listed because customization may change the cost. The customization will affect the price.
This is Thinkific Plus. It’s a powerful, scalable and simple-to-use learning platform that is tailored to your students and team.
Contact the Thinkfic sales team to get Thinkific Plus. They 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%
- 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
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. Thinkific Designer
- 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.
- Thinkific’s designs and customizations are quite limited, given that the service only provides a few themes to play with. 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. 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. Thinkific Designer
I believe that offering a free startup plan to a service is a sign of confidence. They believe their product is of use and are willing to let the public try it.
Looking at Thinkific’s free plan, too, you can say that it is very bold, and the limitations are pretty understandable. This is not like other free plans of other products. However, there are still things you can do with it.
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. Thinkific has enough prompts to help you navigate the more complicated aspects of the world.
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. 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 is not like a standalone platform. However, in keeping with their philosophy, it is simple to use and can easily be grasped by beginners.
It has impressive editing capabilities, making it ideal for creating tutorial and training websites. It is also a great tool to add training pages to existing websites.
The only thing lacking is more themes to cater to more people and their different tastes.
Finally, I believe Thinkific is lacking in the marketing department. Just looking at the bare bones structure of their Email marketing can turn off marketers, and marketing Thinkific’s courses can be an uphill climb without resorting to third-party integrations.
It would be more convenient to have other payment options than Stripe or PayPal.
However, not everything is grim-looking though. Thinkfic still 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 Thinkific Designer
Is it possible to create a complete website with just Thinkfic?
Yes, you can!
Thinkfiic gives you the freedom to build your entire online education business. This means you can create both courses, websites, or your overall brand within one seamless platform. Thinkific offers builders that can be used to build, market, and sell online courses.
How can I allow my students to access my course content while offline?
It is up to you.
Bear in mind that your students will need help logging into 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. Everything published and built on the platform belongs to its creators.