We are all familiar with the saying, “Knowledge is power.” Having its roots in the Latin: scientia potentia est, it holds just as true today as all those years ago.
Knowledge is what makes us more powerful than other creatures. Eagles and other sharp-eyed creatures might have better eyesight than humans, but we have learned to see further than them by understanding how the world works.
Although the example is a bit extreme, you get the point. The human race has won our place in the food chain due to our sheer knowledge and ingenuity.
As such, it is only beneficial for us to share what we know with our fellowmen, lest we let this knowledge consign only to our minds, rotten and forgotten. 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. 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.
The kinds of things being taught around have also been busted wide open. 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.
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 Founded
When it comes to online courses, Thinkific is among the best services to host your 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.
They were fortunate to find a solution to their problem. 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.
As such, Thinkific provides plenty of features to help facilitate 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.
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. Thinkific ensures that your sales are 100% yours.
- You can try Thinkific’s core features and have a feel for the environment through its free plan. 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. 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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Thinkific features are almost identical to 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. It will be very difficult for a course builder to compete on the market if they don’t offer a user-friendly option.
- Drag-and-drop web page builder
Like the course builder, drag-and-drop page builders are standard issues for these kinds of services. Course 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
All of those marketing features will be for naught if there are not many payment options available for customers. 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.
- Support for students and student 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. It is good that Thinkific provides the avenue to do so with these features.
- Tools to train the trainer
While we are in the business of selling knowledge, it is not a bad thing to acquire our own in the meantime. Selling and course building are two different things. Many who try Thinkific might be new to the process and will tend to stumble around until they feel comfortable.
Thinkific gives these newbies and even veterans a chance to learn from what is tried and tested. In doing so, they can speed up the process of making courses and allow newer people to use the app more.
- Thinkific App Store
Apps and programs can be purchased at the Thinkific App Store. The best thing about the AppStore is its community-made nature. 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.
A course builder service will only be as good as its main builder. 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.
This file opens the first-course builder interface. The layout is easy to follow. 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:
- PDF documents
- Slideshow presentations
- Webinars and live zoom lessons.
Any of these files can be uploaded 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.
Choose the Course Type
Thinkific allows you to pick what course you are currently building. For some of the choices, the service provides you with pre-formatted and good-looking templates that are structured for the appropriate course content.
Although you can still be flexible by using a template blank, they can be very helpful when you need to do your job quickly or are just starting to create 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: These are the courses that make students and audiences take your courses or keep them always coming back. Each lesson is constructed in a way that is easy to progress and navigate for students.
- Pre-sell course: Pre-sell courses help you sell your courses. These can be like testers and short courses. This will allow you to tell potential customers about your courses. Thinkific Founded
- 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 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. You can change the color scheme, fonts or add logos.
You can even add a course description and image in the settings here.
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 Founded
That said, assignments are only available for the PRO plan.
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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How to build an online course website
While the course builder is what you can consider the core of Thinkific, It is the Site Builder that serves as the foundation with which you can prop your courses.
The Thinkific Site builder shares the same characteristics as the other landing page builders. This allows you to sell courses directly from your website, even if your site isn’t yet online.
This website builder is also pretty easy to use. This website builder was created with non-techy people and newbies in mind.
Start building your website by:
1. Choose a theme.
Picking a theme is the best place to start when building your website.
Thinkific offers three pre-designed themes templates. Each theme 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. 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. This tool can be combined with pre-made themes to create a professional-looking website.
And that is just the beginning. Your website’s potential is limitless. Your creativity will only be your limit.
3. Make a Training website Entirely from Scratch.
We are already in the course-making business so it makes sense to build a website for training. For this matter, Thinkific provides a great selection of pages for your perusal.
These pages can be easily mapped to create a course or training website. These pages can be used as building blocks for your website. Some pages of note include:
- 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. 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 are where students and potential customers enroll in individual courses or join a membership Thinkific Founded
- Sign in Pages: This should be sued for subscribers of your website
- Your student’s dashboard will be your starting point for signing in to your site. It is possible to design a student dashboard that makes it easy for students to access all the content on your website.
- Checkout pages or payment page: This is where you place your payment options for subscribing or signing up for your class.
- 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.
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 Founded
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
To properly design a web page using Thinkific Site Builder, it helps to understand that the pages made with these site builders are made up of sections. These sections can easily be modified and moved around.
Pre-built pages come with suggestions sections that will help you choose the right ones for your page. 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 will allow potential students and customers to know how to sign-up or purchase.
- ‘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 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. Thinkific Founded
- ‘Social Proof’
These sections are akin to testimonials and show off client experiences, comments, and reviews. They make a statement to show off what they get in the lessons, which in turn entices other customers to avail of your product.
These 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 section is where you can put your instructor profiles in the courses. This gives students information as to the people who are teaching them.
- Pricing Options
You can place your pricing options here. This 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.
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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? Is the service providing enough tools and resources to enable users to make a living 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. The only difference is in the focus of each platform.
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 provides free plan users with the needed SEO options, which allows you to promote your lessons in the most basic ways by making your content capable of climbing up the top of the search engine results.
Another feature available for free users is the ability to build free trial courses. Think of it as giving your potential customers a free sample or a taste test. This is one of the best ways to show your audience who you are. Thinkific Founded
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.
Of course, we are only talking about the free stuff. You will unlock more marketing tools as you move up in the Thinkific pricing plans. Many of these enhance your ability to promote your course materials 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. The coupon can be customized by setting the dollar amount or percentage, as well as the expiration date and the number of times it can be used.
- Sales Widgets
You can use sales widgets to link to other websites or social media to share your purchase links. These are extremely useful, given how much traffic you need to get your courses noticed in the first place. 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 you have a built-in audience, you need a fast and convenient way to link your courses and classes from 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. If you wish to market this way, these codes can be sent as messages. Thinkific Founded
You can also customize the widget’s appearance. You have the option to show a button or a button with a product picture. Or you can add text to match it.
- Email Marketing Tools
Email Marketing tools manage newsletters and send out targeted promotions to subscribers. This tool is not used to convert new subscribers but to keep them. This tool can only be sent to those you already know.
In the case of Thinkific, their email marketing tools do just this…….. And not much more. Unfortunately, you can only email existing students enrolled in your courses. Notifying them about new products or courses is another option.
Not everything is bad, though, as if you want more features, you can use other email marketing tools such as Mailchimp, Mailerlite, AWeber, Constant Contact, ActiveCampaign, or ConvertKit.
However, it would have been a lot better if Thinkific had an even better local Email marketing tool available for its users.
- Affiliate Marketing
If you think your own marketing skills are insufficient, then you can opt to go the Affiliate marketing route and get experts and influencers to promote your courses.
Thinkific allows the process to be easy and straightforward. 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.
If you find some current users of Thinkfiic or your course, you can convert them into affiliates through the same process.
As for checking the status and performance of your affiliates, Thinkific will track the courses or bundles your affiliate sells and record the corresponding revenue. Thinkific Founded
That said, paying the affiliates is done outside the system, so that’s a catch. It’s the same with instructor revenue sharing.
All that marketing work will be for naught if you have no way of receiving payments or your courses. In this vein, Thinkific has Stripe as a card payment platform. 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. You can also sell courses for a one-off fee.
You can also offer membership subscriptions, and charge accordingly. You can also sell your course as a bundle if you wish. 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!
Analytics and reporting
A good website selling products should have a Reports and Analytics section. This feature will help users identify which areas they excel at and which ones they should focus on to improve.
Thankfully, Thinkific has one, but it is a relatively new feature. Currently it only reports on four ares which include: Orders, Enrollments, Student Engagement, and Revenue. This feature is currently in its infancy, and only the Start + Growth package has it.
For what it’s worth, it is a step in the right direction as having it is much better than having nothing at all.
How does it all work?
Thinkific’s 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.
Having this data allows you to see things such as course enrolments as well as there 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. Thinkific Founded
For example, for courses with low completion rates, students might find the course extremely hard. Still, it might be a problem with the way you are presenting the information or instructions. Once you find the problem, you can then find an applicable solution without tearing your hair out.
This data is then shown as a chart and graph that makes it a lot easier to read and understand.
Thinkific Pricing and Plans
Thinkific is one of the leading platforms on course building, 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.
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
|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
If you’re new to course management and course building, this is the plan that you should start with. This is the best way for you to get to know the service and test it out. 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. To make more courses, you will need 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.
Thinkific also offers a variety of course options. You can even live-stream your lessons for as long as you have the time.
Furthermore, the Start plan opens up more marketing tools and gives 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. It might seem simple, but it does a lot in terms of branding, marketing, and making your courses look more professional.
This allows you to access bulk enrollments, making the enrollment process easier and quicker. In terms of support, you are given priority email and phone support. You can get faster solutions if you have different issues with your website. Thinkific Founded
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.
LMS services offer clients and customers the option to create custom plans that are separate from their basic plans. Most of the time, their prices are unlisted as the customization might change the cost, and that cost will depend on the customization.
This is Thinkific Plus. It is a powerful, scalable, and easy-to-use learning platform geared toward your team and students.
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 will provide you with education experts who can inspire and give you the confidence to grow beyond what you 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
- 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. When a sale occurs from your products, courses or memberships, funds are immediately available for withdrawal.
- 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. Thinkific Founded
- Thinkkific’s drag-and-drop builder is super easy to use, and even non-tech-savvy people can use it. You can upload multiple media types to create different and exciting lessons and courses.
- 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. It is difficult to make a website that stands out from the competition with these options.
The Thinkific Verdict
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.
For those who are just starting out, the free startup plan will be a great help. It will allow them to get a feel for how things work. Thinkific Founded
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. With just a glance, you can easily know what to do and what functions as what. Thinkific has enough prompts to help you navigate the more complicated aspects of the world.
This is a difficult side to balance, too, as giving too many prompts away can usually overwhelm the beginner user and may irritate those who already have a handle on things.
One thing to note, however, is that some experienced users might find Thinkific too simple for their taste. But that is just nitpicking. 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’s not 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.
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.
It would be more convenient to have other payment options than Stripe or PayPal.
However, not everything is grim-looking though. Thinkfic still offers some useful tools to help you make money from your courses. You can sell products and courses with a little creativity. This requires more effort than normal, but it is possible.
Thinkific’s Frequently Asked Questions Thinkific Founded
Can You Build an Entire Website with Just Thinkfic?
Yes, you can!
Thinkfiic allows you to create your entire online education company. 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. 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.