Intro Selling Courses
If You’re currently promoting Or considering selling online classes, you don’t have to do much searching to come up with a Thinkific review. There are plenty of Thinkific testimonials on the market. The main difference that this one provides is It Is written by someone with: Selling Courses
- Over 20 years experience in the e-learning industry, with a specific focus on businesses that sell schooling (compared to, for example, corporate training departments, That Don’t have to convince their learners to purchase )
- Extensive experience designing, developing, and implementing online course platforms (I was the founder and CEO of an e-learning platform and course development firm.)
- Over a decade of experience tracking and researching online class platforms and assisting individuals and organizations pick the Ideal platform for selling courses
I’ve been closely Monitoring Thinkific and other suppliers that have emerged as a new type of course platforms. These are platforms which are less costly and more user friendly or LMSes. They are a real blessing for solo edupreneurs and businesses that are looking to get into the online course business. As time passes, I believe they also have real potential to disrupt the learning management system marketplace that is conventional.
Thus, having said All that, let us begin.
Building and Branding Your Online Course Web Site
Any courses you Market need to”live” somewhere, and ideally that somewhere provides an attractive, user friendly for your students and potential students. Since the introduction of its Site Builder capabilities Thinkific is definitely up to the project. Selling Courses
Using Site Builder — that is only part of the admin panel for the stage — you have the capacity to set up an attractive home page for your course site and create as many custom pages as you need (e.g., to provide information about you and your other solutions ). Despite the fact that you don’t have complete control — you can not, for example, install your own style sheets (CSS) — you can possess really excellent capabilities for modifying branding components like font and colors styles and you can upload pretty much any type of pictures or media you would want to utilize.
Site Builder Comes with three topics to select from, and there are variants for each one of these themes. (The company says more topics are a part of the future development program.) Additionally, there are a selection of pre-fab”sections” that you can add and change on any page to provide for things like social proof (e.g. customer quotes or”as seen on” logos), calls to action, count down timer, and pricing choices — essentially, all of the critical tools you require for running a successful course or membership site. There is also a blank slate”Text & media” section that can be utilised to make pretty much whatever you want.
As is the case With just about any content management system, it took a while to figure out how to do some basic things like delete segments (the topics offer a home page pre-populated with sections) and add custom pages to the website menu. But support was readily available for them. Thinkific has a solid support site on which you can look for help, but I tend to only use a Google search along with the word”Thinkific” to discover whatever I want (e.g.,”create custom site pages Thinkific”). I’ve yet to not find good support by doing this, whether to the Thinkific website or from another user.
Some additional Features to note:
- Customized URL (under Settings > Website ) — By default, you’re assigned a thinkific.com address — e.g., learningrvolution.thinkific.com. Having a paid plan (beginning at $49 per month for Fundamental ) you can get a customized URL
- SSL (Under Settings > Site) — With any strategy you have the choice to turn on SSL (secure socket layer), a best practice for any Web site these days. (Google smiles on this)
- White tagging (under Settings > Website )– By jumping up to a Guru Plan ($99 a month) using the Development Add-on ($.10 per active student/per month) you can easily get rid of the”Powered by Thinkific” language on your website and courses.
- Text Changes (below Settings > Learning Content and several other areas) — It is possible to change a great deal of the default language that is used in navigation and other regions. For instance, Thinkific uses”Chapters” because the label for portions of a program. You might prefer to change this to”Lessons” Selling Courses
Thus, you may be asking,”Can I use Thinkific for the main Web website?”
For edupreneurs That are just starting off and don’t have an Internet presence the response is an emphatic”yes.” Using Thinkific is a great way to take a huge item off of your”to do” list (i.e.,”figure out how to find a decent Web site setup”) and concentrate on creating and launching your classes. It is possible to be concerned about a more complicated Web site after.
If you already Have an Internet site, however — particularly on a fuller-featured content management system like WordPress — I would not recommend relying on Thinkific (or any other route platform) for your main Internet website. Website Builder is great for what it does — and can create a great course website to match your main Web site — but ultimately it’s relatively limited. A few of the key present constraints include:
- All motifs are pillar. So, for instance, you can’t put e-mail sign-up types, promotions for class, or other items down the left or right side of your site.
- As noted, you can not use your own CSS (cascading style sheets), mostly a limitation if you truly want to mirror the branding of an existing Web website.
- There’s no control over search engine optimization settings on Web pages — e.g., you can’t specify the title tags or meta descriptions. You can, however, do so on track landing pages, which is possibly more significant for the average edupreneur.
- Thinkific lacks the wealth of plug-ins and the extensive network of seasoned contractors that are available to support platforms like WordPress.
Regardless of these Limitations, Site Builder is very likely to perform the work well for most edupreneurs and is quite a little better than what most online course platforms supply.
Creating Online Courses with Thinkific
While you Definitely want an attractive, user-friendly site to house your courses, the classes themselves are the primary attraction. As you may expect, this is an area where Thinkific really shines.
To start with, the Platform provides a variety of pre-configured templates which can be quite beneficial to track builders searching for help with how to arrange their content. The templates cover the range of standard scenarios you’d be likely to consider for supplying an educational product. All these are:
- Blank — Start new and build your own course to match your particular curriculum needs.
- Mini-course — Use a free or low-cost mini-course to create prospects for a complete flagship course or service.
- Flagship Course — Build a full online class employing a robust curriculum outline created with best practices in your mind.
- Pre-sell — Create a pre-sell landing page and start constructing a waitlist to judge interest on your course.
- Digital Download — Host downloadable documents in an online course to generate earnings or collect email addresses.
- Membership Resource Library — Host downloadable tools to be included in a membership bundle with this template.
- Webinar Replay — Host your webinar replay video to permit registrants to review your presentation and provide.
All these can Be modified extensively — you can change the content from the sections that are supplied, delete segments, or add new segments to arrive at the strategy that’s right for your content. All throughout the process, Thinkific provides”smart mentor course construction hints” to help you. (I found these helpful, but they may be easily switched off, if you prefer.) Selling Courses
In Case You Have zero Experience working with Web content, there will inevitably be a bit of a learning curve, but my opinion is that Thinkific has done a good job making that curve as manageable as possible. Invest in earning your way up it, and you will reap the rewards.
And, if You’re Comfortable using other Web content programs — such as, by way of a different course platform, WordPress or instance — I think you will find working in Thinkific to be a breeze.
Overall, the logic Of putting together a class in Thinkific makes sense from my standpoint. After selecting”New Course,” choosing your path type, naming it (which you can change at any point), and saving it, you include”Chapters” (or modify ones already in the template) to produce the structure of the program. As noted above, if you do not like the term”Chapters,” you can change it to anything you would like.
You fill the Chapters with articles in a way very similar to how I described using Site Builder above. There are 11 choices:
- Video classes — Upload a file. (This has stored in a video library for re-use in different courses. Videos stored in this library are protected from access by anyone who is not a registered user of your site.)
- Lessons — Create a quiz for the students. (More information on quizzes below)
- Multimedia lessons — This is a way to link out to content not hosted on Thinkific and make it an integrated part of your course. A Few of the possibilities include:
- Webinar tools (supply the URL to a live Zoom session, for example)
- Surveys (e.g. Typeform)
- Appointment booking tools (e.g. Calendly)
- Presentations (e.g. Prezi)
- Google Docs
- Articulate Storyline and Adobe Captivate files (Requires Pro or Enterprise license. More on this below)
- Text lessons — Combine text, pictures, videos, etc. into one lesson. This is essentially the equivalent to”Text & Media” Site Builder option discussed previously.
- Research lessons — Collect information/feedback from your pupils by building a survey in Thinkific.
- PDF lessons — Publish a PDF file to be viewed within the program player.
- Disqus classes Disqus discussion boards into your program. (Note: there’s also a discussion alternative built into Thinkific which you may turn on or off under Support Your Students > Discussions.)
- Audio lessons — Upload an audio file.
- Downloads resources to be available for downloading from inside the course participant.
- Presentation lessons — Upload a demonstration as record sound and a PDF document for each slide.
- Classes — Include a Brillium examination in your program. (A Brillium license is separate from Thinkific and begins at $49 per month. More on this below.)
The above options Will get the work done for all but the most complex edupreneurs. The main places they fall short is in
- Providing for branching scenarios — i.e., enabling learners to go down different paths depending on their performances from the course or information you collect about them — and
- Like learning games, Adding elements.
If those are Options you genuinely want, you’d be better off with a full size course authoring tool like iSpring or even Articulate Storyline (see more about these kinds of programs here). Selling Courses
Use of Articulate and Captivate in Thinkific
Many course Founders will be perfectly content with using the resources in Thinkific to make courses, but some might prefer the option of creating their courses with third-party e-learning course creation software like Articulate Storyline or Adobe Captivate.
Basically, using a Third party tool is an alternative to seriously consider if you (a) currently have a significant number of classes built out in these tools (in which you case you probably do not want to have to re-create them using Thinkific course production tools), or (b) you anticipate developing a significant catalog of lessons with a relatively long”shelf life” — in which case you may not want your classes locked to a particular delivery stage.
These can be used by you Kinds of tools with Thinkific — Articulate Storyline and Captivate are encouraged — however there are a few limitations you should be aware of if you go this path.
First, Thinkific (like the rest of the platforms in its course ) has not implemented SCORM, which stands for the Shareable Content Object Reference Model. There’s a whole lot to SCORM, but the main thing for edupreneurs to know is that it provides standards for how an online course can communicate using a learning platform to deliver it data like how long a learner has invested in a program, or if specific areas of the course have been completed successfully. Thinkific monitors this kind of data with its own methods. (More about SCORM here.)
Secondly, you cannot Import an Captivate or Articulate route into Thinkific all on your own. These classes comprise of more than a single file (such as, for instance, a video file), so to get them inside the platform, you have to zip up the files and send them into Thinkific customer service.
The Features and How They Benefit You
A great Online course building platform typically offers you. Including the selling, the marketing, the course building, and also also the management.
Systems like Thinkific do not host courses on your own website. Your articles is actually hosted with Thinkific (so that you do not need to go outside and find your own hosting,) but it gives you complete control over what your website looks like.
When compared to Systems like Udemy, Thinkific certainly provides control that is branding and more freedom. Let us explore a few of the other standout features.
Outstanding Student Management and Communication Modules
During my Thinkific review, I noticed that the smoothness of the pupil communication tools. It is a visual student management area, with pictures of your students, names, contact information, and details for how far they are in your program.
You’ve got the Choice create a conversation or to send emails that are customized to every one of the students. Selling Courses
Incentives are A part of this learning environment because Thinkific offers report cards, conclusion certificates, and of course, the mails for sending out just about whatever you want during courses.
In addition to Replays of language controls, course material, pupils, and optimization working together with the Thinkific platform should feel right at home.
A Mostly Drag and Drop Editor for Quick Course Design
Section of this Motive Thinkific looks great in contrast to this rivalry is that of its class designer. If you don’t need to, you do not need to mess with any code.
In fact Your content is coordinated using an easy drag and drop editor, in which you move it around and pile the class content.
Talking of Content, Thinkific supports uploads of media forms. By PDFs to audio files, and surveys to quizzes, the platform is fantastic for offering up a wide assortment of learning resources for the students.
As we mentioned Before, every one these documents are hosted on the Thinkific servers. You should not have to worry running slowly on your own servers or being too big.
When you customize Your course site it features some editing tools to the beginners on the market. As an example, you can correct items like colour schemes, banners, and logos without touching any code.
The more, however Advanced programmers have complete control over the HTML and CSS. Consequently, if you would like to make your site unique, the option is there for you.
Promotions on Autopilot
Some online course Platforms fail in the promotions arena. This is unfortunate since there’s no way.
Thinkific does It the way, with marketing and promotional tools built into the program. Much of this is automated as well. So, if you’d like to trickle articles to your students–in which particular courses would be released over the years –Thinkific has this operation. Selling Courses
Furthermore, you Have the ability to target the right people and send out automated emails based on a schedule. Pricing can be done through Thinkific, along with the choice to get paid immediately when somebody signs up for your course.
As for becoming People beyond your website to come try it out, Thinkific includes an affiliate marketing program to reward other people who advocate your program and bloggers. Coupons are also provided through Thinkific, giving you a chance convince novices your course is well worth investing in and to create ads.
Everything from Vouchers to affiliates is tracked right in the dashboard, and you could also join Facebook, your Adwords, and other accounts to determine where students are coming from.
Managing, Engaging, and Supporting Students
Aside from One of the reasons for utilizing a online class platform is that it makes tracking and managing your customers and their data much simpler.
Communicating with Learners
In addition to Assisting you to organize your students, Thinkific also enables a number of ways for them to give feedback on the course and for you to communicate with your students. Selling Courses
As noted, For instance, you can enable discussion to your courses and manage your pupils gifts under Service Your Students > Discussions, where you can sort talks by course, react to students, and — if desired –“Disapprove” contributions that you don’t want to show up in the course. (Note: Enabling talks is now a nothing option in Thinkific — i.e., possibly all courses have it or no courses have it. The workaround for this would be to utilize the Disqus alternative on a course-by-course basis.)
You can also Enable your student to submit reviews for your courses. You then have the ability to approve these reviews (they aren’t published automatically) and use them as social evidence on your earnings page to your course. Unlike discussions, this feature can be enabled on a course-by-course basis.
Ultimately, there are Numerous notifications that could be enabled or disabled at the Thinkific platform, some of which can be personalized. You register in a specific course can send a customized message when they register for your site to students, or complete a program. It is also possible to send out reminder messages. (Note: Reminders are site-wide, maybe not course-specific.)
Managing and Organizing Learners
To start with, When an individual signs up in your site, Thinkific captures all of their key contact data (e.g., first name, last name, e-mail) and using custom sign-up fields (under Preferences > Orders & accounts) you can easily add areas to catch whatever special information you want from your own users. (Notice that, unlike programs like Udemy, you receive full access to the user data you collect.)
You can also Organize users into groups. This feature may have a big impact on your business model by making it possible for you to sell courses in bulk to organizations — one of the best ways for course sellers to induce revenue development that is significant , in my experience.
Using groups, you Can also organize your learners by other factors, or organization, or cohort, time, enrollment, job-type, making it feasible to refine your marketing and to track the efficacy of your own offerings with each group. (Note: Use of the Groups feature requires a Pro plan license with the Growth Add-on.) Find out more about the Thinkific Groups performance Selling Courses
Tracking and Reporting
A Vital motive to Have a online class platform — as opposed to just posting content supporting a password on a Web site — is that it will monitor quiz and survey data as well as things like path progress and conclusion.
Thinkific’s Progress tracking (under Support Your Students > Progress) enables you to pick a specific student and track numerous factors for every class in which the student is enrolled. For each class you may see:
- Percentage of Course of Viewed
- Percentage of Course Completed
- Student Name
- Student Email
- Course Completed at (date)
- Course Started at (date)
- Course Activated at (date)
- Last sign (date)
I enjoy this you May also choose to reset a student’s completion percentage at any time, for example if you’re adding new classes.
Overall, the Course coverage is rather basic, but I suspect it will serve the needs of the huge majority of course entrepreneurs.
Unlike the course Reporting, the quiz and survey reporting is exported to a .CSV document (instead of displayed on display ) and emailed to you. The .csv file includes the responses from all students who’ve taken a survey a quiz email address, together with their name, and when they shot it. For quizzes, it also supplies the number and percentage .
Overall, reporting For both courses and quizzes/surveys is one of the chief areas in which the Thinkific system could be stronger. In fairness, this has a tendency to be true for pretty much the platforms of the all in this class of platforms. Ideally, over time, it would be possible to access course completion and quiz/survey data via a single Web interface. Even better, it might be great to have the ability to see a student transcript that shows hours related to a program, any credit earned (not now captured at all at Thinkific), and a URL to obtain the certificate associated with the course. Selling Courses
What Thinkific is Missing
Anyone who has Been working in the e-learning sector for the past few decades (as I have) will realize that Thinkific provides a remarkable selection of features at a really affordable price. It wasn’t that long ago a system with these capacities could have easily cost thousands of dollars.
With that in mind, It’s hard to assert that Thinkific is”missing” much. There are gaps that will rule it out to some class sellers — and all of these tend to be gaps that are characteristic of the class of platforms. The main ones that I see are:
No support for xAPI/TinCan or SCORM
As noted above, While Thinkific may host and deliver classes created in shared authoring tools like Articulate and Captivate, it does not actually make use of the SCORM (or xAPI/TInCan) packaging capacities of these applications. In case you have a reason for using one of the major e-learning criteria, then Thinkific would not be the thing to do.
Like I said, these Are areas which aren’t served well by additional programs that are in Thinkific’s course. To get a platform which supports all three means a price point three to four times greater than Thinkific — and it can go a lot from there . So, be sure these are gaps for you before ruling out Thinkific.
No continuing education credit capabilities
While you can Indicate the estimated variety of hours for completing a course in Thinkific, you can’t define the amount of education accessible for a program. While there may be work-arounds, for most course suppliers that focus on providing continuing education credit, this will be a significant barrier to using Thinkific, Selling Courses
No multi-tenancy alternative
Multi-tenancy Means that you can create and handle a number of instances of a stage. This can be really handy if you are a training company with corporate clients and those clients want their very own branded instance of this platform for managing and serving their own users. While the Group functionality in Thinkific gets you a part of the way there, it isn’t the exact same matter as multi-tenancy.
Although I To find an internet course platform that has many hidden fees, Thinkific advertises that it too has no hidden fees or contracts. That is good to know, however, nothing special.
However, Thinkific Does provide a program for those who wish to test out the platform but not get bogged down from limitations. In theory, it helps you launch your store and begin building a student base. There is also a free trial if you would rather give a whirl to one of those plans.
The pricing is Broken up into four simple strategies:
Starter — $0 for all core Thinkific features. This plan has a 10% transaction fee, all you need to create, market, and sell Stripe/PayPal service courses, class upsells, content hosting, fundamental integrations, your classes, and immediate access to all capital.
Essentials — For $49 per month you get all center and starter features, together with a 5% transaction fee, coupons and promotions, monthly subscriptions, course packages, intermediate integrations, fundamental Zapier, drip content, affiliate reporting, a bulk student emailer, custom domainname, along with additional course prices. Selling Courses
Business — For $99 per month you get the attributes from all prior programs, no transaction fees, completion certificates, personal and concealed courses, website white labeling, a host storyline, intermediate Zapier, webhooks, three-course admin accounts, innovative HTML/CSS editing, priority service, instructor payout reporting, an onboarding telephone, payment plans, and a direct Infusionsoft integration.
Advanced — For $279 a month you get all features from prior programs, no transaction fees, a single sign-on (SSO), three website admin accounts, 10-course admin accounts, an onboarding specialist, onboarding bundle, public API, innovative integrations, and advanced Zapier.
Thinkific has some Fantastic advantages to its pricing layout. Not only can you begin your course at no cost (something that is not offered with competitors like Teachable,) however, the additional three plans are broken down into a reasonable manner.
After all, you Most likely don’t need API accessibility until you start getting advanced with your course selling.
I wouldn’t mind Seeing the completion certificates and also the HTML editing at the Essentials plan, however $99 a month still is not that bad.
As you can see, The trade fees are 10% for the free plan. That is high, but it creates an superb atmosphere for people who do not have the funds or anyone who have low quantity. Once you get started making money you’ll be able to cut that transaction fee down.
You can By paying on an yearly basis Save money. If you cover it all upfront, so, the snowball strategy goes down to $39 a month. The company program is $79 per month and also the Advanced plan is $219. This makes the pricing programs much like Teachable.
I will end this Thinkific review at which I started: this really is a stage I highly recommend. Hopefully it is evident by now that it offers a full range of the most essential features to encourage your average edupreneur in selling courses that are online.
I think it is also Important to replicate as I wrap up that Thinkific is a business with a lot of momentum. This is definitely not a trivial point: the marketplace for online course platforms like Thinkific is noisy and crowded. You can be sure that a lot of the platforms which are here today is going to be gone tomorrow. I’m confident that Thinkific will be around, and the company is clearly growing and continually investing to boost its platform. Selling Courses