We all know the expression “Knowledge is Power” which has its roots in Latin: scientiapotentia est. It still holds true today as it did all those years ago.
Knowledge 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.
It is therefore beneficial to share the knowledge we have with others, so that this knowledge does not become a burden on our minds and make us forget. After all, for knowledge to grow and develop, it must be shared and evolved.
That said, while it is ideal for sharing your knowledge and ideas for free, there is nothing wrong with selling it. After all, Knowledge is Power, and power can be money. 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.
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.
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 Greg
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 was a great solution to creating, managing and marketing online courses. Thinkific was easy to use, so even people with no technical knowledge could use it.
Thinkific is a great tool for creating online courses. 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. 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. In fact, plenty of LMS and CMS do the job as well 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?
- Thinkific doesn’t take transaction fees, unlike many other platforms. 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
- 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.
- You can also play with the course engagement through Thinkific’s many capabilities. The platform allows you to organize cohorts, schedule your content, and deliver them by drip-feed, locking them through prerequisite lessons and many others.
- Thinkific also allows you to engage with your students through multiple channels. You can email your students their progresses and engage them in discussions. And even have them compete with the leaderboard.
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As for the features, Thinkific has more or less the same as that of the other course builders. There are some differences, but these are minor. This is mostly because they focus on certain sections of the entire experience. These features include:
- User-friendly course builder
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 site 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. 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. 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? Thinkific offers this feature to its users to make it easy for their users as to the direction their content should go.
Do they need to continue making tutorial videos that include direct examples? Or should they just give instructions? One cannot decide the best course of action without properly tracking revenues, engagements, and business performance.
- 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. 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. Selling and course building are two different things. Many people who try Thinkific may be unfamiliar with the process and will stumble around until they feel at ease.
These newbies, as well as veterans, have the opportunity to benefit from the tried-and-trued knowledge of Thinkific. In doing so, they can speed up the process of making courses and allow newer people to use the app more.
- Thinkific App Store
The Thinkific App store sells apps and programs that take your online courses to another level. 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.
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The Thinkific Course Builder: Is it Good?
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?
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.
Build Your First Course
You will receive a draft of “Your First Course” when you start your course.
Opening this file brings you to the first-course builder interface, wherein the layout is very easy to follow. 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.
Pick the Course Type
You can choose the course that Thinkific is currently building. For some of the choices, the service provides you with pre-formatted and good-looking templates that are structured for the appropriate course content.
While you can have perfect flexibility by using a blank template, these course templates can be extremely helpful when doing your job in a hurry or when you are just beginning to make courses.
Some of these premade course types include:
- Mini-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 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
- Membership Resource Library: You can use this template to create an archive of resources for your subscribers. This will encourage your audience to remain on your website even when looking at resources
- Webinar Replay: This is like the library template, except it is specially made for webinars and live lesson video recordings. This template is ideal for late enrollees or people who missed your seminars.
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.
You can even add a course description and image in the settings here.
This part also allows you to preview your lessons in the course player. This allows you to see the views of your students on your lessons. This allows you to see the problem through their eyes.
You can assign assignments and track progress
Assignments, quizzes, and surveys are super handy as an additional way to engage your students. You can also use it to rate your students. Thinkific Greg
That said, assignments are only available for the PRO plan.
Overall, Thinkific’s course builder is very user-friendly. Especially when you are just starting, they will provide you with enough guidance on approaching your course.
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How to build an online course website
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 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. Pick a Theme.
When building your website, the best place is to pick a theme.
For this reason, Thinkific has three pre-built theme templates. Each theme 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.
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. This tool can be combined with pre-made themes to create a professional-looking website.
This is only 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. 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. As such, we can take these pages and use them as the building blocks of your websites. Some pages of note include:
- Your website’s homepage is the face. Where most relevant things should be found
- 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: This is where your potential customers and students enroll for individual courses or memberships Thinkific Greg
- 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. 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.
- 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 Greg
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. Simply click on “Add Section” to add more sections.
All in all, Thinkfic provides users with 23 pre-formatted page sections available. These pages are geared towards building high-converting pages. These high-converting pages include, but are not limited to:
- Call to Action.
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.
- 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
- ‘Social Proof’
These sections can be compared to testimonials. They show client reviews, comments, and experiences. 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 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 will inform your students about the cost of your courses as well as where they can be paid. If possible, this is also where you can describe your bundles, what you include in them, and how much they cost.
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?
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. They only differ on how much that platform focuses on.
Yep, that’s right. Some course platforms focus more on selling and turning conversion than the creation side. While others are the opposite and mostly rely on integrations to carry forth the promotion and business side of things.
Which side is Thinkific on? Let’s 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.
Free users also have the option to create 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 Greg
By allowing customers and potential students a taste of your content, you will allow them a peek into the curtains and how classes are done. This will give customers and potential students a glimpse into the workings of your content before they pay for it.
While these promotional materials may seem lacking at first, in skillful hands, these can go a very long way as promotional materials. 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. Many of these enhance your ability to promote your course materials in the market. These include:
Coupons don’t need introduction. They’ve been in use for many transactions for a long period of time. So it is no surprise that they are also being used in online business and online marketing.
Thinkific’s coupons come from digital codes that are very easy to share. They are utilized very well in Thinkific’s ecosystem. Using a coupon on Thinkific’s checkout will automatically use it with little to no hassle.
Coupons can be used to promote bundles or courses from a marketing perspective. You can encourage potential customers to visit your courses by including a discount.
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
Sales widgets are a feature that allows you to post purchasing links to other websites and social media. These are extremely useful, given how much traffic you need to get your courses noticed in the first place. And let’s face it, you will need a lot of traffic.
You can’t expect traffic if your courses are new and you don’t have an audience. Even if 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. Of course, this includes social media sites. If you wish to market this way, these codes can be sent as messages. Thinkific Greg
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, 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.
That said, it would have been miles better if Thinkific had a better local Email marketing tool for users to use.
- Affiliate Marketing
You can choose to use affiliate marketing to get influencers and experts to promote your courses if you feel your marketing skills are not sufficient.
The process is simple and straightforward with Thinkific. You will need to add the associated person as a user, and make him an “Affiliate”. This information can be found under “User Roles” within the Process.
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 Greg
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. You can also connect PayPal to make one-off payments.
You can also link your courses with a Shopify website. 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 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.
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.
It is a good step in the right direction. Having it is better than nothing.
So how does it work?
Thinkific’s analytics and reporting collect the data they need. Some selections include filtering data by date, course or product type, by recency of customers (whether they are new or existing), and more.
Of course, these different data can provide multiple insight as to how your courses are performing. Let’s take, for instance, data about student engagement.
Having this data allows you to see things such as course enrolments as well as there completion rates. These metrics can be compared across all subjects. 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 Greg
For example, for courses with low completion rates, students might find the course extremely hard. It could be an issue with how you present the information. Once you have identified the problem, you will be able to find a solution that works without having to tear your hair out.
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.
However, what you pay is what you get with Thinkfiic, with all the features it provides, you will hardly find yourself being ripped off by the product.
Thinkific also offers a free plan that you can use to try their products. You can always start your course-creating journey for free before moving to a paid plan if you need it or want more of Thinkific’s features.
|$0 per month||$74 per month||$149 pero month||$374 per month|
|-Create and launch your product with 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
|With a platform that scales, optimize your workflow to create premium experiences.
The Free Plan
Is the first plan you should take if you are new to all this course building and course management stuff. It is the best way to get a feel of the service and to test drive what it is capable of. You can do all the services offered by the free plan, but only in a limited capacity.
Only one course is allowed under the Free plan. To make more courses, you will need to sign up. That said, this course has a lot of potential, allowing you to enroll an unlimited number of students you want.
The Start Plan
If you think you like using Thinkific and would like to proceed with the next big step in the right direction. Upgrade to this plan and your limitations are gone. You can make unlimited courses.
Thinkific also offers a variety of course options. For example, you can begin to live-stream your lessons as long as time permits it.
The Start plan also opens up additional marketing tools and grants you access to the Thinkific App Store.
Lastly, you also have the option to have a custom domain for your course website.
The Grow Plan
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
The Expand Plan
The Expand plan is designed for larger businesses and institutions. It allows you to optimize your workflow and create a premium experience with a platform that is designed to scale.
This plan is ideal for large institutions that want to establish an online presence. It provides the same features as the other Thinkific plans but also offers 10 Communities that make it easier for students to manage.
This plan provides five administrators who will help you manage your business.
Some LMS services give clients and customers an option to create bespoke plans separate from the services’ basic plans. Most of the time, their prices are unlisted as the customization might change the cost, and that cost will depend on the customization.
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 offers all the Expand features, but also adds these additional features to the plan:
- Unlimitted Products
- Unlimited Administrators
- 3+ Separate Thinkific sites
- Service Level Agreement 99.9%
- Dedicate Customer Success Team
- Multiple seats and Tiered pricing checkout
- Email white-labeling
- Single Sign on
- Bulk Selling App
- Enterprise API Access
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Thoughtific Pros and Cons
- Thinkific does NOT charge transaction fees. Funds are immediately available for withdrawal whenever a sale is made from your products, courses, or memberships.
- Thinkific has a fully realized free plan. It includes all core features and functions 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
- 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.
- There are some aspects of Thinkific that are not really that are not as user-friendly as expected. This is something that some creators of the service have expressed.
- There is a huge lack of marketing features in the service. Their email marketing capabilities are very basic and far behind those of the competition.
- The customization options and designs available through Thinkific are very limited. There are only a handful of themes that you can choose from. It is difficult to make a website that stands out from the competition with these options.
The Thinkific Verdict
Overall, Thinkific is a good choice for course creation as well as course promotion. Its price is entirely reasonable, and the features are as good and easy to use as most of its competitors.
The free startup plan is a godsend for those just starting, as it will give them a feel of how things are with the service. Thinkific Greg
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.
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. You can quickly see what you need to do and which functions are what. As for the more complex side of things, Thinkific provides enough prompts to guide you through the process.
This is a difficult side to balance, too, as giving too many prompts away can usually overwhelm the beginner user and may irritate those who already have a handle on things.
One thing to note, however, is that some experienced users might find Thinkific too simple for their taste. This is just my nitpicking. At the end of the day, Thinkific’s course builder is fast, easy, and responsive, and that’s what most people need.
Thinkific’s Site Builder is also simple. It is not like a standalone platform. It is easy to use, and it fits their philosophy.
It has impressive editing capabilities, making it ideal for creating tutorial and training websites. Aside from that, it is an excellent tool for adding training pages to existing websites.
The only thing lacking is more themes to cater to more people and their different tastes.
Lastly, on the marketing side of things, this is where I feel Thinkific falls short. Marketers can feel disillusioned by the Email marketing structure. Marketing Thinkific’s courses are difficult to market without third-party integrations.
As for their payment options, it would be better to have more options other than Stripe and PayPal.
Not everything is bad. Thinkfic still offers some useful tools to help you make money from your courses. You can sell products and courses with a little creativity. It does require more effort than usual, however.
Thinkific Frequently Asked Questions Thinkific Greg
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.
How can I allow my students to access my course content while offline?
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. You can do this on content such as video files, audio files, and PDFs. These files can be downloaded to students’ devices so they can access them offline.
Who owns the content published on Thinkific?
The creators are the complete and sole owners of any content that is built into the Thinkific Platform.
Thinkific has no intellectual property rights and will not claim them. Everything published and built on the platform belongs to its creators.