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. Because of our knowledge and ingenuity, the human race has risen to the top in food chain.
It is therefore beneficial to share the knowledge we have with others, so that this knowledge does not become a burden on our minds and make us forget. Knowledge must be shared and developed in order to grow and develop.
That said, while it is ideal for sharing your knowledge and ideas for free, there is nothing wrong with selling it. After all, Knowledge is Power, and power can be money. The knowledge owner has the final say in what happens to it. And 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.
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.
For those of you who prefer a more visual experience, here is a video review from the YouTube channel SoftwarePundit. You can still read our article to get a complete overview of Thinkific.
Thinkific: An Online Course Platform Thinkific Issues
When it comes to online courses, Thinkific is among the best services to host your classes. Learning Management System (LMS), creates, promotes and sells your online courses.
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.
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.
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. 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?
- 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.
- Through the free plan, you can test Thinkific’s core features as well as get a feel of the environment. While you are limited to 3 courses upload, you can host unlimited core content and have unlimited students.
- As a commitment to their promise of letting content creators focus on the content, Thinkific makes it easy to build an online course through its drag and drop builder. Thinkific supports multiple types of content such as audio, video, PDFs and quizzes.
- 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. And even have them compete with the leaderboard.
As for the features, Thinkific has more or less the same as that of the other course builders. The only exceptions are a few differences here and there. This is mostly how they handle some specific sections of the whole experience. These features include:
- User-friendly course builder
To be honest, this is not really a unique feature as most online course builders will already have this feature. A course builder who doesn’t have a user-friendly one will find it very difficult to compete in the market.
- Drag-and-drop web page builder
Drag-and-drop page builders, like the course builder are common issues for these types 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
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
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.
For content creation, analytics is the name of the game. Analytics is the only way to discover your approach and your weaknesses. This feature is offered by Thinkific to help users decide the direction of their content.
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
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.
- Training tools
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.
Thinkific gives these newbies and even veterans a chance to learn from what is tried and tested. This allows them to speed up the creation of courses and makes it easier for new users to use the app.
- Thinkific App store
Apps and programs can be purchased at the Thinkific App Store. What is great about this AppStore is that most of it is community-made. It is a great place for fellow course creators and content creators to come together and have discussions with Thinkific developers.
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
Upon starting your first course, you will be presented with a draft called “Your First Course” for you to use.
Opening this file brings you to the first-course builder interface, wherein the layout is very easy to follow. The course content is divided into chapters and lessons.
You can create lessons by clicking the “add Lesson” button.
Content types can be either of the following:
- PDF documents
- Slideshow presentations
- Webinars and live zoom lessons.
You can upload any of these files as your lessons. You can upload multiple courses to the Bulk Importer. You can also copy old lessons from other courses using the “Copy Lessons From” button on Thinkific.
Choose the Course Type
Thinkific allows you to pick what course you are currently building. The service also provides pre-formatted, professional-looking templates which can be used to create the course content.
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-courses: These course templates are designed to make short, fast courses like tasters or freebies.
- Flagship Courses are courses that attract students and keep them coming back. Each lesson is constructed in a way that is easy to progress and navigate for students.
- Pre-sell course: Pre-sell courses help you sell your courses. These courses can serve as short tests or as a way to get your course noticed. This will allow you to tell potential customers about your courses. Thinkific Issues
- 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: This is like the library template, except it is specially made for webinars and live lesson video recordings. This is perfect for your students who are late enrollees and for people who missed your seminars.
Customizing The Look of Course for your Students
Students will be able use your learning materials in the Course Player. You can change the appearance of the course player in the “Settings tab” on the “Courses” page. Options include changing color schemes, fonts, or adding 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.
Set Assignments and Check Progress
As an extra way to engage students, assignments, quizzes and surveys can be very useful. Aside from that, you can use it as an added way to rate your students. Thinkific Issues
Assignments are not available for PRO plans.
All in all, Thinkific’s Course Builder is easy to use. They will give you enough guidance, especially if you’re just starting out with your course.
Building 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.
Thinkific Site Builder shares many of the same features as other landing page builders. This allows you to sell your courses from your website or even if you don’t have a website yet.
The website builder is easy to use. It was designed with newbies and non-tech people in mind.
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 has its own styles, color schemes, fonts, and tweaked layouts.
All in all, these websites have good and professional designs.
2. Use Site Builder to Customize Your Online Course Site.
You can modify the theme you have chosen after you’ve selected it. Through the site builder, you can do your preferred edits and make out an entire website. If you want, you can dig in and craft individual pages.
The Site builder uses drag-and-drop tools, making it easy for users to build your 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 imagination is limitless.
3. Start a Training Website from Scratch.
Since we are already in the business of making courses, it would be a very good idea to proceed and build a training website to house your created courses. 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. These pages are worth mentioning:
- Home Page: The face of your website. 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 are where students and potential customers enroll in individual courses or join a membership Thinkific Issues
- Sign in Pages: This should only be used for subscribers to your website
- Your student’s dashboard will be your starting point for signing in to your site. A good student dashboard can be designed in a way that makes everything on your website accessible.
- You can find payment pages, or checkout pages: Here you can place your payment options to subscribe or sign 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 Issues
If you want something entirely different, you can create a custom page by simply clicking on the Custom page in the menus and then designing your page to suit your needs.
4. Edit individual pages
It is important to understand the structure of Thinkific Site Builder pages in order to properly design them. These sections can be customized easily and moved around.
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.
Thinkfic offers 23 pre-formatted pages sections. These pages are geared towards building high-converting pages. These pages are highly-converting and include but not limited to:
- Get involved.
This is an essential part, especially when you aim to sell. This lets your would-be students and customers know how to sign up or buy.
- ‘Smart’ Product and Category
This section 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.
- Frequently Asked Questions
Websites often feature Frequently Asked Question. These are designed to answer all common questions from customers. Thinkific Issues
- ‘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 section gives students information about the teachers.
- Pricing Options
You can place your pricing options here. This tells your students the cost of your courses and where you can pay for them. This is where you can also describe your bundles and what they include, as well as how much each one costs.
You can add this section to your course promotion page to make a video advertisement.
You can earn profit through your content by using your online course platform
We now come to the part that is often the most anticipated. What is the Thnkific business side? Does the service provide enough and proper tools to allow users to make money from their hard work?
The thing of the matter is that nowadays, all online course builders and course platforms include inherent tools to give users and teachers the ability to promote their courses and products. 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. Others, on the other hand, focus more on the business and promotion side of things and rely heavily upon integrations.
So on which side does Thinkific fall on? Let’s see how Thinkific handles promotion and business.
Promote Your Courses
By default, Thinkific has marketing tools that help you sell your content for cash. 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. 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 Issues
Customers and potential students can get a glimpse into your content by allowing them to see it. That way, once they dive into your paid content, they already have at least a small idea of how things work out.
While these promotional materials may seem lacking at first, in skillful hands, these can go a very long way as promotional materials. They can even be used to compete with products that have been promoted too much.
Of course, we are only talking about the free stuff. As you go up through Thinkific’s pricing plans, more marketing tools are unlocked for you. Many of these enhance your ability to promote your course materials in the market. These include:
Coupons need no introduction. They 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.
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. From setting the dollar or percentage amount for the coupon to setting an expiration date and setting the number of times, the coupon can be redeemed.
- Sales Widgets
Sales widgets are a feature that allows you to post purchasing links to other websites and social media. These are extremely useful, given how much traffic you need to get your courses noticed in the first place. You will need lots of traffic, let’s face the facts.
It’s the truth, you can’t expect to have any traffic at all if you are just new to creating courses and if you do not have a built-in audience. Even if your audience is already established, you still need a quick and easy way to link your courses with classes on other websites.
This is where social media comes into play. It is a given that almost everybody uses social media. You should find where most of the internet traffic comes from and try to divert some of those traffic to your website.
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 Issues
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. This tool is not used to convert new subscribers but to keep 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. You can also notify them about new products and courses.
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
You can choose to use affiliate marketing to get influencers and experts to promote your courses if you feel your marketing skills are not sufficient.
Thinkific allows the process to be easy and straightforward. You will need to add the associated person as a user, and make him an “Affiliate”. This information can be found under “User Roles” within the Process.
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 Issues
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. Thinkific offers Stripe as a payment platform for cards. 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. Customers can be charged with different payment options. For example, you can sell courses for a one off fee.
You can also offer membership subscriptions, and charge accordingly. You can also sell your course as a bundle if you wish. 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 will allow users to figure out which stuff they are doing well on and which ones they need to focus on and improve.
Thankfully, Thinkific has one, but it is a relatively new feature. It currently reports only on four areas, which are: Enrollments and Student Engagement, Revenue, Orders, Enrollments, and Student Engagement. 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. You can then compare these metrics across the board. This allows you to see which subjects are having low completion rates.
You can then identify the reasons for these problems. Then it will be up to you to adjust accordingly. Thinkific Issues
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.
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 a leading platform for course development and marketing. You can expect a price that’s appropriate for your 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 using a website and checkout experience
|Add products to your company and create a cohesive learning experience.
|-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. Making more than that requires you to sign up. This course is full of potential and you can enroll as many students as you wish.
The Start Plan
If you feel that Thinkific is something you would enjoy, you can take the next step. Upgrade to this plan and your limitations are gone. You can make unlimited courses.
Aside from that, Thinkific affords you a few more options in the type of courses you can make. For example, you can begin to live-stream your lessons as long as time permits it.
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. First, you will be able to remove the Thinkific branding. Although it may seem easy, it has a significant impact on branding, marketing, and professionalizing your courses.
This gives you access to bulk enrollments so that the enrollment process can be done easier and faster. 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 Issues
The Expand Plan
The Expand plan is designed for larger businesses and institutions. 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. Aside from providing the usual features of the other Thinkific plans, it provides unprecedented 10 Communities to keep students easier to manage.
Speaking of management, this plan also provides 5 administrators to help with running things.
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.
This is Thinkific Plus. It’s a powerful, scalable and simple-to-use learning platform that is tailored to your students and team.
Contact the Thinkfic sales team to get Thinkific Plus. They can help you to understand the tools that you need in order to optimize your platform. They 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
- Check out multiple seats or a tiered pricing option
- Email White-labeling
- Only one sign on
- Bulk Selling App
- Enterprise API Access
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 offers a fully implemented 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 Issues
- 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.
- 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.
- The service lacks many marketing features. 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
Overall, Thinkific is a good choice for course creation as well as course promotion. It is affordable and features are just as easy as those of its rivals.
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 Issues
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. 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.
For the Course Builder, Thinkific is pretty easy and intuitive to use. With just a glance, you can easily know what to do and what functions as what. Thinkific has enough prompts to help you navigate the more complicated aspects of the world.
This 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. But that is just 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 has impressive editing capabilities, making it ideal for creating tutorial and training websites. It is also a great tool to add training pages to existing websites.
The only thing lacking is more themes to cater to more people and their different tastes.
Lastly, on the marketing side of things, this is where I feel Thinkific falls short. Just looking at the bare bones structure of their Email marketing can turn off marketers, and marketing Thinkific’s courses can be an uphill climb without resorting to third-party integrations.
As for their payment options, it would be better to have more options other than Stripe and PayPal.
Not everything is bad. Thinkfic still has some clever tools that help you monetize your courses. You can sell products and courses with a little creativity. This requires more effort than normal, but it is possible.
Thinkific Frequently Asked Questions Thinkific Issues
Can You Build an Entire Website with Just Thinkfic?
Yes, you can!
Thinkfiic gives you the freedom to build your entire online education business. You can easily create courses, websites, and your entire brand on one platform. Thinkific offers builders that can be used to build, market, and sell 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.
Bear in mind that your students will need help logging into your courses offline. You can make your courses downloadable. You can do this on content such as video files, audio 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.