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. 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.
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.
It is great to share your knowledge and ideas free of charge, but it is also fine to sell 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. And that is the beauty of it.
The only way to “sell” knowledge for years was to either directly or indirectly tutor the buyer.
This ability to share what you have learned has been made possible by the internet. Even those who have no teaching license or do not know how to write books now have the ability to share their knowledge.
It has also been revealed that there are many things being passed around. 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.
Here is a video review by SoftwarePundit for those who like a visual experience. You can still read our article to get a complete overview of Thinkific.
Thinkific: an Online Course Platform Thinkific Greg Smith
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.
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 the users to focus on one thing and one thing only: content. Good content is what drives students and teachers to engage.
Thinkific offers many features to fulfill that promise. Later, we will look at these features and see if they really live up to the hype.
Thinkific isn’t the only platform capable of creating decent courses. 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.
What is it that makes thinkific such a great platform?
- Unlike most other platforms, Thinkific does not take any transaction fees from your sales. As a bonus, Thinkific immediately makes your funds available for withdrawal whenever you make a sale. 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.
- You can also engage with students via Thinkific’s 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. There are some differences, but these are minor. 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. 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 marketers need to promote their courses. As such, giving them the proper tools to do so easier is a godsend. Similar to 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. Having more than one payment option is also optimal, as it removes friction from wannabe customers, and more payment options can make it easier for your leads to paying you.
Analytics is key to content creation. How else can you find your approach without knowing your strengths and 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
Having a good community that consumes your content is a good way to build up returning customers. Besides that, it is also good for branding as well as engagements. Remember, good customer support and community greatly improve customer retention. 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 who try Thinkific might be new to the process and will tend to stumble around until they feel comfortable.
These newbies, as well as veterans, have the opportunity to benefit from the tried-and-trued knowledge of Thinkific. 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. 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.
Thinkific Course Builder: How Good Is It?
At the end of the day, the only way to know how good a course builder is to test the crux of its service, which is the course builder itself.
A course builder service will only be as good as its main builder. 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.
Create 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. 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
- Live zoom lessons and webinars.
Any of these files can be uploaded as your lessons. You can upload multiple courses to the Bulk Importer. Also, Thinkific makes you duplicate old lessons from previous ones by using the “Copy Lessons From” button.
Pick 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.
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: These are the courses that make students and audiences take your courses or keep them always 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 courses can serve as short tests or as a way to get your course noticed. This allows you to advertise to potential customers what your courses entail. Thinkific Greg Smith
- Membership Resource Library: You can use this template to create an archive of resources 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.
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 Greg Smith
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
While the course builder is what you can consider the core of Thinkific, It is the Site Builder that serves as the foundation with which you can prop your courses.
The Thinkific Site builder shares the same characteristics as the other landing page builders. This allows you to sell courses directly from your website, even if your site isn’t yet online.
This website builder is also pretty easy to use. It was designed with newbies and non-tech people in mind.
Start building your website by:
1. Choose a theme.
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 comes with its own style, colors, fonts, layouts, and customized layouts.
These websites all have professional and good designs.
2. Use Site Builder to Customize Your Online Course Site.
After picking a theme, you can customize it as you like. 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. 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.
We are already in the course-making business so it makes sense to build a website for training. Thinkific offers a wide range of pages to help you choose from.
These pages can be easily mapped to create a course or training website. These pages can be used as building blocks for your website. These pages are worth mentioning:
- 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 are where students and potential customers enroll in individual courses or join a membership Thinkific Greg Smith
- Sign in Pages: This should only be used for subscribers to your website
- Student Dashboard: This will serve as your student’s starting point when signing in to your website. A good student dashboard can be designed in a way that makes everything on your website accessible.
- Checkout pages or payment page: This is where you place your payment options for subscribing or signing up for your class.
- 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. Thinkific Greg Smith
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 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. Most of these pre-formatted pages are focused on building high conversions. These high-converting pages include, but are not limited to:
- Call to Action.
This is a crucial part of selling. This will allow potential students and customers to know how to sign-up or purchase.
- ‘Smart’ Product and Category
This section provides a list of information that can provide your customers with automatically listed summaries of available products you sell.
This section can be used for key messages and makes it easy to scan information with bullet points.
- Most Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions are a common scene on most websites. These are designed to answer all common questions from customers. Thinkific Greg Smith
- ‘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. This section is often found on the checkout page for one of your courses.
This is where your instructors profiles can be added to the courses. This 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.
You can add this section to your course promotion page to make a video advertisement.
Earning Profit Through Your Content with the Use of Your Online Course Platform
Now we come to what is known as among the most anticipated parts of the review. How does the business side of Thnkific work? 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. They only differ on how much that platform focuses on.
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 see how Thinkific handles promotion and business.
Promote Your Courses
By default, Thinkific has marketing tools that help you sell your content for cash. 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 among the most efficient ways to show your audience what you are capable of. Thinkific Greg Smith
Customers and potential students can get a glimpse into your content by allowing them to see it. This will give customers and potential students a glimpse into the workings of your content before they pay for it.
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. As you go up through Thinkific’s pricing plans, more marketing tools are unlocked for you. These tools will help you promote your course material in the market. 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 coupon codes are digital codes that can be shared easily. They are utilized very well in Thinkific’s ecosystem. Using a coupon on Thinkific’s checkout will automatically use it with little to no hassle.
From a marketing standpoint, coupons can be set up and used to promote your bundles and courses. You can encourage potential customers to visit your courses by including a discount.
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
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.
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.
That’s where social media comes in. It’s a fact that social media is used by almost everyone. It is important to determine where the majority of internet traffic comes and redirect some traffic to your site.
This is possible by using sales widgets that generate HTML code which can be easily pasted onto existing websites. Of course, this includes social media sites. Aside from that, these codes can also be sent as messages if you want to market that way. Thinkific Greg Smith
Another customization you can do with this widget is how it looks. 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. This tool can only be sent to those you already know.
Thinkific’s email marketing tools are limited to this ……… Unfortunately, only existing students can be emailed about your courses. Notifying them about new products or courses is another option.
You don’t have to like everything. However, if you need more features, there are other email marketing tools available such as Mailchimp or Mailerlite, AWeber and Constant Contact. ActiveCampaign is another option.
That said, it would have been miles better if Thinkific had a better local Email marketing tool for users to use.
- Affiliate Marketing
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.
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 Greg Smith
That said, paying the affiliates is done outside the system, so that’s a catch. It’s the same with 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 let you customize the price of your products. Customers can be charged with different payment options. You can also sell courses for a one-off fee.
You can even make membership subscriptions and charge accordingly. If you want, you can sell your course in a bundle. 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
Any good website that is selling something should include a Reports and Analytics feature. This will allow users to figure out which stuff they are doing well on and which ones they need to focus on and improve.
Though it’s a new feature, Thinkific does have one. 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. Filtering data can be done by date, product type, or course, as well as by recency of customers (whether new or old).
These data can give you multiple insights into how your courses perform. Let’s take, for instance, data about student engagement.
This data will allow you to view things like course enrollments and completion rates. You can then compare these metrics across the board. This allows you to see which subjects are having low completion rates.
From there you can find out the problems as to why such things are. It is up to you then to make the necessary adjustments. Thinkific Greg Smith
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.
Thinkific Pricing and Plans
Thinkific is a leading platform for course development and marketing. As such, you can expect to have a price that is appropriate for their standing.
However, what you pay is what you get with Thinkfiic, with all the features it provides, you will hardly find yourself being ripped off by the product.
Thinkific also offers a free plan that you can use to try their products. 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 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. This is the best way for you to get to know the service and test it out. You can do all the services offered by the free plan, but only in a limited capacity.
Only one course is allowed under the Free plan. 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. The main benefit of upgrading to this plan is your limiters are removed, and you are free to make unlimited courses.
Thinkific also offers a variety of course options. For example, you can begin to live-stream your lessons as long as time permits it.
The Start plan also opens up additional marketing tools and grants you access to the Thinkific App Store.
Lastly, you also have the option to have a custom domain for your course website.
The Grow Plan
The Grow plan is for you if you are serious about selling and making courses. First, you will be able to remove 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. You have priority email support and phone support. You can get faster solutions if you have different issues with your website. Thinkific Greg Smith
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 especially good for huge institutions wanting to create an online presence. Aside from providing the usual features of the other Thinkific plans, it provides unprecedented 10 Communities to keep students easier to manage.
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.
For Thinkific, this is called Thinkific Plus. It’s a powerful, scalable and simple-to-use learning platform that is tailored to your students and team.
To get Thinkific Plus, you must contact the Thinkfic sales team. They will help you understand the tools you need to optimize your platform. They will provide you with education experts who can inspire and give you the confidence to grow beyond what you imagine.
Thinkific Plus will give you all the features from the Expand plans while also adding in these features:
- Unlimitted Products
- Unlimited Administrators
- 3+ 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. 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 Greg Smith
- Thinkkific’s drag and drop builder is easy to use by even non-tech-savvy users. 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.
- The customization options and designs available through Thinkific are very limited. There are only a handful of themes that you can choose from. It is difficult to make a website that stands out from the competition with these options.
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.
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 Greg Smith
I believe that offering a free startup plan to a service is a sign of confidence. 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.
However, it is important to remember that Thinkific might be too easy for some users. This is just my nitpicking. Thinkific’s course creator is responsive, fast, and easy to use, which is what most people want.
For their Site Builder, Thinkific also chooses to keep it simple. It’s not a standalone platform. It is easy to use, and it fits their philosophy.
It does offer impressive editing options, which makes it ideal for creating training and tutorial websites. It is also a great tool to add training pages to existing websites.
There aren’t enough themes to suit all tastes and demographics.
Finally, I believe Thinkific is lacking in the marketing department. Marketers can feel disillusioned by the Email marketing structure. Marketing Thinkific’s courses are difficult to market without third-party integrations.
It would be more convenient to have other payment options than Stripe or PayPal.
However, not everything is grim-looking though. Thinkfic still has some clever tools that help you monetize your courses. You can sell products and courses with a little creativity. It does require more effort than usual, however.
Thinkific’s Frequently Asked Questions Thinkific Greg Smith
Can You Build an Entire 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 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 will be at your discretion.
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. Your students can download these to their devices and access them even offline.
Who Owns the Content Published on Thinkific?
Any content built into the Thinkific Platform is the sole and exclusive property of the creators.
Thinkific does not, and will not, claim any intellectual property rights over materials made by the course creators and builders. Everything published and built on the platform belongs to its creators.