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 makes us superior to the other more powerful creatures in the world. 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. Because of our knowledge and ingenuity, the human race has risen to the top in food chain.
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. The knowledge owner has the final say in what happens to 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.
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. Whether for good or for bad, people can teach others how to make or do the most mundane or nonsense of things through multiple platforms like Youtube or TikTok.
Even formal education can have its niche platforms too. 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 Online Course Platform
Thinkific is a top choice for hosting your online classes. A Learning Management System (LMS) creates, promotes, and sells your courses online.
Thinkific was founded in 2012 by a group entrepreneurs who wanted to create an environment that would allow students and instructors to learn and teach.
They were fortunate to find a solution to their problem. Thinkific became an effective solution for 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. Students and teachers are motivated to engage when they have good content.
Thinkific offers many features to fulfill that promise. We will examine these features later to see if the promises are true.
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.
So what is it about thinkific that makes us prefer it as a platform overall?
- Unlike most other platforms, Thinkific does not take any transaction fees from your sales. As a bonus, Thinkific immediately makes your funds available for withdrawal whenever you make a sale. Thinkific ensures that your sales are 100% yours.
- You can try Thinkific’s core features and have a feel for the environment through its free plan. 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Thinkific features are almost identical to other course builders. There are some differences, but these are minor. This is mostly how they handle some specific sections of the whole experience. These features include:
- Easy to use course creator
To be honest, this is not really a unique feature as most online course builders will already have this feature. A course builder who doesn’t have a user-friendly one will find it very difficult to compete in the market.
- Drag-and-drop web page builder
Like the course builder, drag-and-drop page builders are standard issues for these kinds of services. Course makers need to market their courses. As such, giving them the proper tools to do so easier is a godsend. Just like with Thinkific.
- Promotion and marketing tools
Thinkific, a course builder, should also be able to offer coupons, as well as the necessary email and affiliate marketing tools.
- Flexible payment options
All of those marketing features will be for naught if there are not many payment options available for customers. 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.
Should they continue doing tutorial videos with direct samples, the best way to go about things, or just plain instructions would be better? Without proper tracking of revenues, engagements, business performance, one cannot determine the best course.
- Student support and communities
A good way to increase your customer base is to have a strong community that uses your content. Besides that, it is also good for branding as well as engagements. Customer retention is greatly improved by having a strong community and customer support. These features are a great way to get it done at Thinkific.
- Tools to train the trainer
While we are in the business of selling knowledge, it is not a bad thing to acquire our own in the meantime. 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.
Thinkific gives these newbies and even veterans a chance to learn from what is tried and tested. In doing so, they can speed up the process of making courses and allow newer people to use the app more.
- Thinkific App store
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. As such, it is an excellent place where fellow content and course creators get together and discuss things along with Thinkific developers.
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.
The main course builder will determine how good a course builder service is. After all, what are we supposed to expect about their secondary and additional features if they can’t be bothered having a good and well-functioning course builder?
In the case of their course builder, Thinkific provides a handy “Get Started” checklist that guides you on what to do at your first foray into course building.
Create Your First Course
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.
You can create lessons by clicking the “add Lesson” button.
Content types can be either of the following:
- Download PDF documents
- Slideshow presentations
- Webinars and live zoom lessons.
You can upload any of these files as your lessons. 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.
Choose the Course Type
Thinkific allows you to pick what course you are currently building. The service also provides pre-formatted, professional-looking templates which can be used to create the course content.
While you can have perfect flexibility by using a blank template, these course templates can be extremely helpful when doing your job in a hurry or when you are just beginning to make courses.
These premade courses include:
- Mini-course: These are course templates designed to create short and fast courses such as tasters and freebies.
- Flagship Courses: These are the courses that make students and audiences take your courses or keep them always coming back. Each lesson is constructed in a way that is easy to progress and navigate for students.
- Pre-sell course: Pre-sell courses help you sell your courses. These 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 Online Course Platform
- 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 is a similar template to the library template but it is specifically designed for webinars or live lesson videos. This template is ideal for late enrollees or people who missed your seminars.
Your Students’ Course Design
Your students will be able to consume your learning resources in the Course Player. As such, you can customize how this course player looks in the “Settings” tab on the “Courses” page. You can change the color scheme, fonts or add logos.
You can even add a course description and image in the settings here.
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.
Set Assignments and Check Progress
Assignments, quizzes, and surveys are super handy as an additional way to engage your students. Aside from that, you can use it as an added way to rate your students. Thinkific Online Course Platform
Assignments are not available for PRO plans.
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.
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.
Thinkific Site Builder shares many of the same features as other landing page builders. This allows you to sell courses directly from your website, even if your site isn’t yet online.
The website builder is easy to use. This website builder was created with non-techy people and newbies in mind.
Start building your website by:
1. Choose a theme.
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.
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. 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. Combining this with pre-built themes, users can make a professional-looking web page from scratch.
This is only the beginning. The potential your website can take will be up to you. Your creativity will only be your limit.
3. Start a Training Website 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 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. These pages are worth mentioning:
- Home Page: The face of your website. The place where the most important things should be located
- Course pages: These can swerve as landing pages for approaching courses. You can create a course page to serve as a landing page for all courses in your class.
- Sign-up pages: This is where your potential customers and students enroll for individual courses or memberships Thinkific Online Course Platform
- 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.
Of course, these types of pages are just some examples you can use with the website. These templates can also be used to quickly create a website. This skips the nitpicky part of choosing which to use on your website. Thinkific Online Course Platform
You can also create a customized page by clicking on the Custom Page link in the menus. This will allow you to design your page according to your requirements.
4. Edit individual pages
It is important to understand the structure of Thinkific Site Builder pages in order to properly design them. These sections can be customized easily and moved around.
The provided pre-built pages even come with suggested sections to easily allow you to pick which ones you need for your page. Adding more sections is just as simple as clicking on the “Add Section”
All in all, Thinkfic provides users with 23 pre-formatted page sections available. These pages are geared towards building high-converting pages. These pages are highly-converting and include but not limited to:
- Get involved.
This is a crucial part of selling. This lets your would-be students and customers know how to sign up or buy.
- Smart Product and Category
This section contains information that will allow you to provide your customers with summaries of the products you offer.
This section can be used to highlight key messages, making it easy for the readers to scan information using bullet points.
- Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions are a common scene on most websites. These aim to answer all the commonly asked questions by the customer base. Thinkific Online Course Platform
- ‘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
Here you can submit your pricing options. This will inform your students about the cost of your courses as well as where they can be paid. 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.
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. What is the Thnkific business side? Does the service provide enough and proper tools to allow users to make money from their hard work?
The thing of the matter is that nowadays, all online course builders and course platforms include inherent tools to give users and teachers the ability to promote their courses and products. The only difference is in the focus of each platform.
Yep, that’s right. Some platforms are more focused on the conversion side of selling courses and creating content. Others, on the other hand, focus more on the business and promotion side of things and rely heavily upon integrations.
So on which side does Thinkific fall on? Let’s find out as we try the business, promotion, and marketing features of Thinkific.
Promote Your Courses
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 provides free plan users with the needed SEO options, which allows you to promote your lessons in the most basic ways by making your content capable of climbing up the top of the search engine results.
Another feature available for free users is the ability to build free trial courses. Think of it as giving your potential customers a free sample or a taste test. This is one of the best ways to show your audience who you are. Thinkific Online Course Platform
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. In the right condition, they might even compete with some products that have been promoted to the extreme.
Of course, we are only talking about the free stuff. You will unlock more marketing tools as you move up in the Thinkific pricing plans. Many of these enhance your ability to promote your course materials in the market. These include:
Coupons don’t need introduction. They have been used in many transactions for a long time. It is not surprising that they are being used in online marketing and business.
Thinkific’s 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. 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 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.
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. This includes social media sites. If you wish to market this way, these codes can be sent as messages. Thinkific Online Course Platform
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 allow you to manage your newsletters and send targeted messages 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.
However, it would have been a lot better if Thinkific had an even better local Email marketing tool available for its users.
- Affiliate Marketing
You can choose to use affiliate marketing to get influencers and experts to promote your courses if you feel your marketing skills are not sufficient.
Thinkific allows the process to be easy and straightforward. The steps include adding the affiliated person as a user and making him an “Affiliate” which you can find under “User Roles” in 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 Online Course Platform
However, affiliates are not paid within the system. The same applies to instructor revenue sharing.
All that marketing work will be for naught if you have no way of receiving payments or your courses. 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 let you customize the price of your products. You can even charge customers with different payment plans. For example, you can sell courses for a one off fee.
You can even make 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.
Thinkific is unique in that you don’t have to pay a commission for any courses they sell.
Analytics and reporting
A good website selling products should have a Reports and Analytics section. This feature will help users identify which areas they excel at and which ones they should focus on to improve.
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 currently in its infancy, and only the Start + Growth package has it.
For what it’s worth, it is a step in the right direction as having it is much better than having nothing at all.
So how does it work?
Thinkific’s reporting and analytics collect the necessary data how they wish. Some selections include filtering data by date, course or product type, by recency of customers (whether they are new or existing), and more.
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.
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.
You can then identify the reasons for these problems. Then it will be up to you to adjust accordingly. Thinkific Online Course Platform
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 one of the leading platforms on course building, and marketing. As such, you can expect to have a price that is appropriate for their standing.
However, what you pay is what you get with Thinkfiic, with all the features it provides, you will hardly find yourself being ripped off by the product.
Besides that, Thinkific has a free plan which you can use to test their products. You can always start your course-creating journey for free before moving to a paid plan if you need it or want more of Thinkific’s features.
|$0 per month
|$74 per month
|$149 pero month
|$374 per month
|Create and launch your product using a website and checkout experience
|-Add products to your business and create a cohesive learning experience for your students
|A complete set of tools is available to help you increase your sales.
|With a platform that scales, optimize your workflow to create premium experiences.
The Free Plan
If you’re new to course management and course building, this is the plan that you should start with. It is the best way to get a feel of the service and to test drive what it is capable of. The free plan allows you to do everything the service offers, albeit at a limited capacity.
The Free plan is only good for making one course. Making more than that requires you to sign up. 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 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. You can even live-stream your lessons for as long as you have the time.
The Start plan also opens up additional marketing tools and grants you access to the Thinkific App Store.
You also have the option of a custom domain to host your course website.
The Grow Plan
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. 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. So you can have faster solutions given to you should different problems arise for your website. Thinkific Online Course Platform
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. It provides the same features as the other Thinkific plans but also offers 10 Communities that make it easier for students 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 is a powerful, scalable, and easy-to-use learning platform geared toward your team and students.
Contact the Thinkfic sales team to get Thinkific Plus. They will help you understand the tools you need to optimize your platform. They can connect you with education experts who will inspire you and give you the confidence you need to achieve more than you could ever imagine.
Thinkific Plus offers all the Expand features, but also adds these additional features to the plan:
- Unlimitted Products
- Unlimited Administrators
- 3+ Separate Thinkific sites
- Service Level Agreement 99.9%
- Build a 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 Online Course Platform
- Thinkkific’s drag and drop builder is easy to use by even non-tech-savvy users. It even allows you to upload multiple types of media content to create varied and interesting courses and lessons.
- There are some aspects of Thinkific that are not really that are not as user-friendly as expected. Some creators have acknowledged this.
- 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. With these options, it is hard to create a website that stands out among the rest.
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 Online Course Platform
I believe that offering a free startup plan to a service is a sign of confidence. They believe their product is of use and are willing to let the public try it.
Looking at Thinkific’s free plan, too, you can say that it is very bold, and the limitations are pretty understandable. This is not like other free plans of other products. However, there are still things you can do with it.
For the Course Builder, Thinkific is pretty easy and intuitive to use. With just a glance, you can easily know what to do and what functions as what. As for the more complex side of things, Thinkific provides enough prompts to guide you through the process.
This can be a tricky side. Too many prompts can overwhelm novice users and cause frustration for those who are already proficient.
One thing to note, however, is that some experienced users might find Thinkific too simple for their taste. 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. However, in keeping with their philosophy, it is simple to use and can easily be grasped by beginners.
It has impressive editing capabilities, making it ideal for creating tutorial and training websites. It is also a great tool to add training pages to existing websites.
The only thing lacking is more themes to cater to more people and their different tastes.
Lastly, on the marketing side of things, this is where I feel Thinkific falls short. 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 Online Course Platform
Is it possible to create a complete website with just Thinkfic?
Yes, you can!
Thinkfiic gives you the freedom to build your entire online education business. This means you can create both courses, websites, or your overall brand within one seamless platform. Thinkific 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 is up to you.
Remember that students may need assistance logging in to your courses offline. You can make your courses downloadable. This can be done for content such as audio files, video files, and PDFs. 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 has no intellectual property rights and will not claim them. Therefore, anything built and published on the platform is 100% to the creators.