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 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.
Although the example is a bit extreme, you get the point. 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. Knowledge is power, and money can also be power. 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. 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. To get a comprehensive overview of Thinkific, you may still want to check out our article below.
Thinkific: an Online Course Platform Thinkific Sites
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.
Luckily, they were able to find an effective solution to their dilemma. Thinkific was a great solution to creating, managing and marketing online courses. Thinkific 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 users to concentrate on content. Students and teachers are motivated to engage when they have good content.
Thinkific offers many features to fulfill that promise. Later, we will look at these features and see if they really live up to the hype.
Thinkific isn’t the only platform capable of creating decent courses. Many LMS and CMS can do the same job as Thinkific. That said, we would be remiss if we gloss over Thinkific just because of this fact.
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. Thinkific instantly makes your funds available to withdraw 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.
- 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.
- Thinkific also allows you to engage with your students through multiple channels. You can email your students their progresses and engage them in discussions. You can even make them compete on the leaderboard.
As for the features, Thinkific has more or less the same as that of the other course builders. There are some differences, but these are minor. This is mostly because they focus on certain sections of the entire experience. These features include:
- User-friendly course builder
To be honest, this is not really a unique feature as most online course builders will already have this feature. It will be very difficult for a course builder to compete on the market if they don’t offer a user-friendly option.
- Drag-and-drop web page builder
Drag-and-drop page builders, like the course builder are common issues for these types of services. Course marketers need to promote their courses. It is essential that they have the tools and resources to market their courses. Similar to Thinkific.
- Promotion and marketing tools
Thinkific, a course builder, should also be able to offer coupons, as well as the necessary email and affiliate marketing tools.
- Flexible payment options
All of those marketing features will be for naught if there are not many payment options available for customers. It is ideal to have more than one payment option. This removes any friction for potential customers and makes it easier for them to pay you.
Analytics is key to content creation. How else can you find your approach without knowing your strengths and weaknesses? This feature is offered by Thinkific to help users decide the direction of their content.
Do they need to continue making tutorial videos that include direct examples? Or should they just give instructions? Without proper tracking of revenues, engagements, business performance, one cannot determine the best course.
- Support for students and student communities
A good way to increase your customer base is to have a strong community that uses your content. It is also a great way to brand your company and increase engagements. Remember, good customer support and community greatly improve customer retention. It is good that Thinkific provides the avenue to do so with these features.
- Training tools
While we are in the business of selling knowledge, it is not a bad thing to acquire our own in the meantime. Selling and course building are two different things. Many who try Thinkific might be new to the process and will tend to stumble around until they feel comfortable.
Thinkific gives these newbies and even veterans a chance to learn from what is tried and tested. In doing so, they can speed up the process of making courses and allow newer people to use the app more.
- Thinkific App store
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. It is a great place for fellow course creators and content creators to come together and have discussions 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.
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
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.
To begin creating lessons, you only need to click the aptly named “add Lesson” button and pick a content type.
You can choose from the following content types:
- Download PDF documents
- Slideshow presentations
- Webinars and live zoom lessons.
Any of these files can be uploaded as your lessons. If you want, you can add multiple course content and upload them using the Bulk Importer. Also, Thinkific makes you duplicate old lessons from previous ones by using the “Copy Lessons From” button.
Choose the Course Type
You can choose the course that Thinkific is 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-course: These are course templates designed to create short and fast courses such as tasters and freebies.
- Flagship Courses: These are the courses that make students and audiences take your courses or keep them always coming back. Every lesson is designed to be easy for students to follow and is simple to learn.
- Pre-sell course: Pre-sell courses help you sell your courses. These can be like testers and short courses. This will allow you to tell potential customers about your courses. Thinkific Sites
- This template can be used to create a membership resource library for your subscribers. This will encourage your audience stay on your site even when they are looking at resources.
- Webinar Replay: 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.
Your Students’ Course Design
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. 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. You can also use it to rate your students. Thinkific Sites
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.
Building 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.
To start building your website, you start with:
1. Pick a Theme.
Picking a theme is the best place to start when building your website.
Thinkific offers three pre-designed themes templates. Each theme comes with its own style, colors, fonts, layouts, and customized 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. You can make your desired edits to the site builder and create an entire website. You can also create individual pages if you wish.
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. Your website’s potential is limitless. Your creativity will only be your limit.
3. Make a Training website Entirely 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. 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 Sites
- Sign in Pages: This should be sued for subscribers of your website
- Student Dashboard: This will serve as your student’s starting point when signing in to your website. A good student dashboard can be designed in a way that makes everything on your website accessible.
- You can find payment pages, or checkout pages: Here you can place your payment options to subscribe or sign 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 Sites
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 easily be modified 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. Most of these pre-formatted pages are focused on building high conversions. These pages are highly-converting and include but not limited to:
- Get involved.
This is a crucial part of selling. This will allow potential students and customers to know how to sign-up or purchase.
- ‘Smart’ Product and Category
This section provides a list of information that can provide your customers with automatically listed summaries of available products you sell.
This section can be used for key messages and makes it easy to scan information with bullet points.
- Most Frequently Asked Questions
Websites often feature Frequently Asked Question. These are designed to answer all common questions from customers. Thinkific Sites
- ‘Social Proof’
These sections are akin to testimonials and show off client experiences, comments, and reviews. These sections are like testimonials and show what the clients get from the lessons. This in turn encourages others to use your product.
These are sections that help promote other courses that you are selling. You can often find this section on the checkout page of 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
Here you can submit your pricing options. This tells your students the cost of your courses and where you can pay for them. If possible, this is also where you can describe your bundles, what you include in them, and how much they cost.
If you want to promote your courses with a video advertisement, you can add the section here.
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. How does the business side of Thnkific work? 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.
Which side is Thinkific on? Let’s see how Thinkific handles promotion and business.
Promote Your Courses
By default, Thinkific has marketing tools that help you sell your content for cash. Even users who are utilizing the free plan can try these features, albeit they only have access to the most basic of functions and are pretty limited in their scope.
Among these tools include the ability for search engine optimization or SEO. 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 among the most efficient ways to show your audience what you are capable of. Thinkific Sites
By allowing customers and potential students a taste of your content, you will allow them a peek into the curtains and how classes are done. That way, once they dive into your paid content, they already have at least a small idea of how things work out.
These promotional materials can be a great way to promote your products. In the right condition, they might even compete with some products that have been promoted to the extreme.
Of course, we are only talking about the free stuff. You will unlock more marketing tools as you move up in the Thinkific pricing plans. Many of these enhance your ability to promote your course materials in the market. Some of these include:
Coupons need no introduction. They’ve been in use for many transactions for a long period of time. It is not surprising that they are being used in online marketing and business.
Thinkific’s coupon codes are digital codes that can be shared easily. These codes can be used in Thinkific’s ecosystem very well. 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
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.
You can’t expect traffic if your courses are new and you don’t have an 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.
The easiest way to do this is through sales widgets which generate HTML code that can easily be pasted on existing websites. This includes social media sites. If you wish to market this way, these codes can be sent as messages. Thinkific Sites
You can also customize the widget’s appearance. You have the option to show a button or a button with a product picture. Or you can add text to match it.
- Email Marketing Tools
Email marketing tools 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. This tool can only be sent to those you already know.
In the case of Thinkific, their email marketing tools do just this…….. And not much more. Unfortunately, you can only email existing students enrolled in your courses. 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.
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.
The process is simple and straightforward with Thinkific. 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.
You can also convert Thinkfiic users into affiliates by finding them through the same process.
Thinkific tracks the sales of bundles or courses by affiliates to check their performance and status. It also records the revenue. Thinkific Sites
However, affiliates are not paid within the system. It’s the same with instructor revenue sharing.
All that marketing work will be for naught if you have no way of receiving payments or your courses. In this vein, Thinkific has Stripe as a card payment platform. Other ways include connecting PayPal for one-off payments.
Lastly, there is also an option to link your courses to a Shopify site. That way, you can get all the tools the eCommerce platform offers its users.
Thinkific’s payment options allow you to customize how you price your products. Customers can be charged with different payment options. You can also sell courses for a one-off fee.
You can even make membership subscriptions and charge accordingly. 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 will allow users to figure out which stuff they are doing well on and which ones they need to focus on and improve.
Though it’s a new feature, Thinkific does have one. Currently it only reports on four ares which include: Orders, Enrollments, Student Engagement, and Revenue. This feature is 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. Filtering data can be done by date, product type, or course, as well as by recency of customers (whether new or old).
These data can give you multiple insights into how your courses perform. Take for example, the data on Student engagement.
Having this data allows you to see things such as course enrolments as well as there completion rates. You can then compare these metrics across the board. This allows you to see which subjects are having low completion rates.
From there you can find out the problems as to why such things are. It is up to you then to make the necessary adjustments. Thinkific Sites
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 one of the leading platforms on course building, 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.
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 company and create a cohesive learning experience.
|-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.
The Free plan is only good for making one course. To make more courses, you will need to sign up. This course is full of potential and you can enroll as many students as you wish.
The Start Plan
If you think you like using Thinkific and would like to proceed with the next big step in the right direction. The main benefit of upgrading to this plan is your limiters are removed, and you are free to make unlimited courses.
Thinkific also offers a variety of course options. For example, you can begin to live-stream your lessons as long as time permits it.
Furthermore, the Start plan opens up more marketing tools and gives 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
If you’re serious about making sales and selling courses, the Grow plan is right for you. The first benefit you get is removing the Thinkific branding. 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 Sites
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 especially good for huge institutions wanting to create an online presence. Aside from providing the usual features of the other Thinkific plans, it provides unprecedented 10 Communities to keep students easier to manage.
This plan provides five administrators who will help you manage your business.
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 is a powerful, scalable, and easy-to-use learning platform geared toward your team and students.
Contact the Thinkfic sales team to get Thinkific Plus. They can help you to understand the tools that you need in order to optimize your platform. They 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
- Three+ 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
Thinkific Pros and Cons
- Thinkific does not take any transaction fees. When a sale occurs from your products, courses or memberships, funds are immediately available for withdrawal.
- Thinkific has a fully realized free plan. It has all the core features available and acts like a paid plan. There are no restrictions, but if you’re serious enough you can sell courses through the service with no upfront investment. Thinkific Sites
- 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. Some creators have acknowledged this.
- There is a huge lack of marketing features in the service. Their email marketing capability is quite basic and is miles behind the competition.
- Thinkific’s designs and customizations are quite limited, given that the service only provides a few themes to play with. 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 Sites
In my opinion, providing a free startup plan is actually a mark of confidence on the side of the service. They are confident in their product and willing to allow the public to try it.
You can see that Thinkific’s free plan is bold and understandable. It is unlike the other “free plans” of the other products where they only masquerade as free, but there isn’t you can do with the service.
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 can be a tricky side. Too many prompts can overwhelm novice users and cause frustration for those who are already proficient.
However, it is important to remember that Thinkific might be too easy for some users. This is just my nitpicking. Thinkific’s course creator is responsive, fast, and easy to use, which is what most people want.
Thinkific’s Site Builder is also simple. It’s not a standalone platform. It is easy to use, and it fits their philosophy.
It does offer impressive editing options, which makes it ideal for creating training and tutorial websites. It is also a great tool to add training pages to existing websites.
The only thing lacking is more themes to cater to more people and their different tastes.
Finally, I believe Thinkific is lacking in the marketing department. 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.
However, not everything is grim-looking though. Thinkfic still offers some useful tools to help you make money from your courses. You can sell products and courses with a little creativity. This requires more effort than normal, but it is possible.
Thinkific Frequently Asked Questions Thinkific Sites
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. 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.
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. 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 does not, and will not, claim any intellectual property rights over materials made by the course creators and builders. Therefore, anything built and published on the platform is 100% to the creators.