Thinkific Review 2020
Build, market, and sell your courses to a global audience. An easy-to-use teaching software platform, Thinkific provides each feature required to build an online education business.
What is Thinkific?
Thinkific is a cloud-based learning management platform that makes it easy to create and sell courses to students around the world. With this platform, you can design courses easily with its wide array of tools and offer them under your brand.
Marketing is a breeze too, as it integrates well with many third-party tools like Aweber and Zapier, and more importantly, you get to own your students’ data and have complete control over pricing.
To understand the true power of Thinkific and to help decide whether it is the right platform for you, let’s take a detailed look into its features.
Course Creation and Engagement
Thinkific’s course creation platform makes it easy to create courses and no technical or coding knowledge is required for it. Also, it takes care of hosting including unlimited videos through Wistia.
With Thinkific’s course creation platform, you can upload the entire course and organize it across different modules, depending on your preferences. You can add many types of content such as pdfs, audios, quizzes, surveys, videos, and more.
The drag and drop course builder ensures that you finish uploading and organizing your entire course within just a few hours. Also, the entire process is intuitive and customizable.
Moreover, you can set the pricing, schedule drip content, automate content delivery, and more through this builder.
Thinkific supports both Captivate and Storyline to give you more creative options.
Another handy feature is you can upload videos to Thinkific once and use it across multiple courses.
The downside of this platform is that you’ll have to go to individual lessons to change their settings and can’t do it in bulk for all the lessons. Also, you can’t upload your contents directly from Google Drive or Dropbox.
Thinkific has enhanced its course player to make it modern and sleek. With the new content delivery player, students can search through the course by lesson titles.
Also, its full-screen mode hides the sidebars, so students can focus on the course without any distractions.
Its content delivery engine gives you the option to deliver standalone content that is not associated with any course and this can come in handy when you want to build membership sites.
The downside is that Thinkific doesn’t have a native mobile app, so students can’t view your courses offline.
Thinkific allows you to create a separate community on your page using which students can discuss and interact with each other.
They can create a new post to start a new discussion or participate in existing discussions.
It has a handy feature called “Communities” that can be attached to specific courses, so you can provide limited and relevant access for your students.
In many ways, communities is like a Facebook Group and helps to build a community in the long-run.
Thinkific offers many marketing tools that make it easy to sell your course to different segments of people and track the performance of your marketing strategies.
It offers a unique feature called Groups to help sell your courses to large groups and organizations.
With this feature, you can sell your courses in bulk, enroll many students in one-go, track their progress, and generate the right reports. This is particularly helpful if you plan to reach out to organizations.
That said, this option is available only in the PRO plan and not in the growth package.
Every feature I have mentioned above is monitored and organized into a supplementary analytics page.
Performances of key elements like email campaigns, marketing page conversions, and video viewership are captured and displayed so you can see what areas need attention. It’s accurate too!
Thinkific makes it easy to add tests, assignments, surveys, and quizzes into your course.
It even offers advanced options like creating a randomized question bank, adding explanations to answers, and importing questions from other platforms to enhance the quality and ease of quiz creation.
You can add images and videos to your quiz too and this is another unique feature of Thinkific.
Besides, it integrates with a third-party app called Brillium which is a complete exam solution.
Thinkific also makes it easy to add assignments and accept submissions from students. You even have the choice to accept or reject every assignment.
Likewise, you can create surveys with Thinkific to collect feedback about the course.
Overall, Thinkific should be your choice of platform if quizzes, assignments, and surveys are an integral part of your course.
The checkout process in Thinkific is fairly complicated as it requires users to sign up on one page and make a payment on another page. Given the intense competition today, this can lead to a significant drop in the number of people signing up.
A simplified one-step process is something that Thinkific’s designers should consider.
The upside is you can add custom elements such as your awards and badges, testimonials, and more to the checkout page to enhance the appeal of your courses.
Also, you can customize the thank you page and add conversion elements like videos, texts, and more to upsell other courses.
When it comes to payments, the process is quick and direct. The money you earn comes into your account directly, but you’re responsible for computing taxes and paying them.
Thinkific offers free hosting and an SSL certificate and it handles security, backup, and maintenance for you.
You also get a free subdomain as a part of your subscription and can use a custom domain as well. Changing the site text or choosing a preferred language are some of the other things you can do.
One of Thinkific’s highlights is its website creation templates. There are seven templates to choose from, depending on the type of course you’re creating.
- Blank template – This is an empty template that builds your course from scratch
- Mini-course – In this template, you can offer a preview to a full online course or create a mini-course to give users a feel of your offering.
- Flagship course – In this template, you can build the full course with many types of content
- Pre-sell – This template is used to create a sales landing page and gauge the interest in your course before creating one.
- Digital download templates – In this template, you can have downloadable files that are a part of a course or can be a standalone one to collect email addresses or to generate another revenue stream
- Membership resource library – This template allows you to create content that is bundled with membership options.
- Webinar – Though live webinars are not supported, this template allows you to replay webinars.
All these templates are well-designed and at the same time, give the flexibility to add, remove, or modify sections easily.
Finally, Thinkific offers tips every step of the way to help you, but you can turn them off at any time too.
Thinkific integrates well with many third-party tools to offer extended functionality.
It enhances email marketing by directly integrating with well-known email marketing platforms like Aweber, MailChimp, and ConvertKit.
Likewise, Thinkific integrates directly with popular marketing platforms like Shopify and Stunning to ease your marketing efforts.
Further, Thinkific integrates with Zapier that in turn connects with thousands of apps.
Due to these integrations, Thinkific is undoubtedly well-poised to give you access to different functionalities.
Affiliate Marketing and Capabilities
Thinkific makes it easy to partner with affiliates to promote your courses. You can select what courses can be promoted and a custom commission percentage for each affiliate. However, you can’t set a custom percentage for each course.
Affiliates also find it easy to track their performance and earning as they have access to a custom dashboard.
Also, automatic affiliate payouts are not available and this can be a bit of a hassle when you work with many affiliates.
Course Reporting and Analytics
Thinkific integrates well with Google Analytics, Facebook Pixel, Segment, and other analytics tools to help you better understand your traffic and user behavior.
The dashboard is also well-developed to give you pertinent information about students, their performance, video watching rates, and more.
This information can help you to understand your students’ needs and customize your offering to meet their expectations, thereby boosting your user base and the resultant revenue.
Ease of Use
Thinkific scores high on ease of use. As a course creator, you can access different elements and customize your site the way you want.
Also, it is easy for students to navigate through the course and find the information they want.
The design elements and navigation are intuitive and user-friendly.
Thinkific has good and responsive customer support, so you can get answers to all your doubts and questions.
However, all queries can be raised only through emails as there are no real-time communication channels.
An extensive knowledge base is available to get answers to most common doubts and the presence of an active community, including a large Facebook group, makes it easy to get the right suggestions and answers to your questions.
Besides the free plan that allows you to explore a limited set of Thinkific’s features, three other plans offer more advanced features in the Thinkific pricing structure.. All the below plans can also be paid by an annual once payment which saves you 20%. They are:
- Basic ($49/month) – Ideal for those who are exploring Thinkific with basic features and tools
- Pro ($99/month) – Ideal for those who are ready to build a successful online content and course delivery business. It also comes with an add-on Growth package that gives access to many advanced features to scale up as your business grows.
- Premier ($499/month) – Ideal for companies and individuals who want to build an education empire.
Overall, Thinkific is a highly intuitive and user-friendly platform that comes with advanced capabilities to create and sell your courses to audiences around the world.
Thinkific is the right platform if you want to
- Include quizzes, assignments, and other advanced features to your course
- Create a standalone community
- Own student data and have complete control over pricing
- Offer flexible pricing for different content
- Bulk sell courses and manage students from the same organization
- Explore the course creation business before taking the plunge, thanks to its free plan.
- Pay no transaction fees
- Upload videos and use it across many courses
- Have a powerful site builder that requires little to no technical knowledge
On the other hand, look for other platforms if you want
- An optimized one-step checkout process to enhance your sign-up rate
- A native iOS/Android mobile app
- To add multiple content types such as videos, pdf, embedded comments, and more to the same lecture.
- Automated affiliate payouts and a system that can automatically handle your taxes.
- Live chat or other real-time support channels
- To directly import files from your Dropbox or Google Drive
Thus, based on your needs, decide if Thinkific is the right platform for you.
Alternatives to Thinkific
Though Thinkific is a comprehensive platform for course creation and marketing, it may not be ideal for all course creators. If you happen to be one of them, you can always choose from other similar platforms such as
- Teachable – A comprehensive platform, similar to Thinkific, but it comes with a few other features missing in Thinkific. Check out our Thinkific vs Teachable article for more info.
- Udemy – An online marketplace for courses where you don’t own student data and have little control over pricing. We cover the differences between the two providers in our Thinkific vs Udemy piece.
- Podia – An all-in-one digital store to sell online courses and content membership plans.
- Kajabi – A platform that is similar to Thinkific, but comes with more powerful marketing features. We assessed these differences in our Thinkific vs Kajabi article.
These platforms come with many unique features too and the key is to decide what features are most important for you and which platform offers them for you. That’s the best way to zero-in on the platform that works best for you.