Thinkific Review – Is It The Best Online Course Platform in 2021?

Are you looking for a platform where you can create and sell an online course? If yes, we will discuss – Thinkific, one of the most advanced platforms which are beginner-friendly with a long list of features.

In this Thinkific review, you will learn about its use in designing courses for employees and online students.

Yes, Thinkific gives full control to Corporates and individual trainers in designing interactive courses with videos and other multimedia, quizzes, memberships, coupons, and a lot more.

If in hurry, you can read our bottom line upfront and take decision quickly.

Thinkific is a strong platform with a relatively long track record and strong backing from investors (the company received $22 million in 2020 from Rhino Ventures).

Here, I have captured a few reasons for recommending Thinkific:

  • A pricing plan which is actually FREE: The plan offers the business to create, market, and sell your courses, content hosting, basic integrations, Stripe/PayPal support, and instant access to all funds.
  • Ease of use: Thinkific is an easy and intuitive tool for designing. It supports most media types and one can include pictures, quizzes, surveys, different types of audio files, PDFs, and so many more.
  • Integrations: It offers a variety of integration options such as Ecommerce, email marketing, and analytics integration to take your course to the next level.
  • Reporting and analytics: You can segment and export different lists of users by using the filter section in the user report too. This will help you modify your content and gauge the success rate.
  • Promotional tools: Thinkific allows you to create schedules to send out automated emails (one of the most successful digital marketing tools). It also allows you to link courses to Facebook, Adwords, Google Analytics, and other types of social media account and analytics tools.
4.8/5
4.8/5

Do you know? By using the Thinkific platform, its clients were able to earn $650 million worth of revenue by marketing their courses.

If that is exciting news for you, let us share more of them below.

The global e-learning market is growing rapidly driven by demand for cost-effective training and learning techniques in corporate and academic sectors. This growth was further accelerated by Coronavirus pandemic.

The market is expected to grow at more than 10% annually, during 2020–2025. If not already operating in this industry, this is the best time to enter into the industry.

Now that you’ve finally made up your mind about creating an online school as a course creator, let us explore how Thinkific can be helpful in your journey.

thinkific review

In hurry? use the following table of content to jump straight to the specific section of this Thinkific review.

What is Thinkific?

Thinkific, founded in 2012 in Vancouver (Canada), is one of the most popular cloud-based online course platforms. In this Thinkific Review, you will discover how entrepreneurs create and market courses.

Thinkific homepage

Thinkific platform allows its users to create a course with videos, pictures, and text, and also include files that can be downloaded.

The company, established by Greg Smith and Matt Smith, along with co-founders Miranda Lievers and Matt Payne raised $22 million in 2020 from Rhino Ventures.

The start-up has helped more than 50,000 entrepreneurs and businesses create courses using the Thinkific platform — and there has been a 200% increase in courses during March–September 2020.

By using Thinkific platform, its clients were able to earn $650 million worth of revenue by marketing their courses.

Why use Thinkific?

Thinkific is an amazing choice if you are a newbie and/or want to keep the tech hassles to a minimum. The platform will allow you to focus on doing what you are best at i.e., creating more content.

It is also a good alternative if you want to avoid WordPress LMS plugins. WordPress plugins require more tech knowledge and involvement during the installation process apart from the regular maintenance.

Well, in this detailed Thinkific review, we have covered all important information about its features, pricing, benefits and a lot more.

Who is Thinkific Best For?

Entrepreneurs with less or no experience should choose Thinkific as one needs to have only an automated email marketing tool. Beginners can create all lessons directly on their site with Thinkific.

Additionally, it will be a good idea to route your Thinkific site to your domain name, as it will give your students a seamless experience.

You may not need all the features at the onset; however, Thinkific has all the features available to expand and enhance the course as and when needed.

How Does Thinkific Work?

Creating an online course is a simple process on Thinkific. Its intuitive interface (based on drag and drop) for building and designing courses makes it the best choice for a newcomer.

All files related to the customer’s course are hosted on Thinkific’s own servers, so the clients can get rid of the headache involved in hosting, maintaining or having enough space.

In our Thinkfic Review, we found that Logos, colour schemes, and banners, can be easily edited without ever reverting to CSS or HTML codes.

Let us understand how one can build a course and monetize it in 4 easy steps:

1. Create an Account & Setup It

Visit this link and create your Thinkific account.

The customer can either create a free account or buy a new plan. Upon signing up, you will get an invitation by email to watch a live webinar where you can ask any questions and get to know the platform.

Thinkific account creation form

Once in, you can access useful informational videos and important tips that will help you navigate through Thinkific much faster. This procedure helps to lower the learning curve and ensure that you can get your business up and running much faster.

Your school details in thinkific

Once the account is created, navigate to the side menu and go to the “Settings” tab to edit/rename school name. You can also set your custom course site URL.

Let us have a quick look at the Thinkific menu options:

Thinkific dashboard menu options

“Manage Learning Content” permits the user to handle the courses, monitor instructors, video library, and share revenue.

“Design Your Site” lets you create your course, select from many available themes, and preview the created pages.

“Market & Sell” tab permits the user to manage all financial information such as marketing integrations, orders and coupons.

“Advanced Reporting” tab helps the customer monitor income, enrolments, and student engagements.

“Support Your Students” tab helps the students by allowing them to track their assignments and progress through the course.

Next step is to select a theme. Thinkific provides a big theme library to select and customize themes, using the “Site Builder” tab.

Thinkific Theme Library

After finalising the theme, you need to create a plan about page designing. To give it a title, go to “Site Builder” then Pages and click on Custom Page > provide a title and hit “Add.”

Through the Section Type option, the user can add additional/advanced sections as per the requirement. It has several useful templates for things such as logos, CTAs and testimonials that are valuable for making an impactful home page.

Thinkific Site Builder

It is always advisable to create an “About us” page to familiarize yourself with the format prior to creating your course.

Another essential aspect is to finalize the instructor profile within the “Manage Learning Content” tab. Look for “Instructors” in this tab and provide critical details such as name and email.

Thinkific Instructor settings

If planning to monetize your course, this is the time to set up your payments under “Market & Sell” near the “Manage Learning Content” tab, and enter your Stripe or Paypal details.

2. Create Your First Course

For creating a course, one can select from many available Thinkific templates. Thinkific offers readymade templates, but one can also build the templates from scratch, if time permits.

Once you have named the course, you can add chapters by hitting “Add Chapters”. You can add multiple chapters, based on the requirement.

Adding course chapter in thinkific

You can create lessons within each chapter.

Thinkific allows you to upload lessons created on other programs by picking the required files via Thinkific.

Another option is to drag & drop them into the program through “Bulk Importer.” The imported lessons can be in video or multimedia formats.

Bulk importer in thinkific

After uploading the lessons and finalizing the courses, enter the descriptions/rename them. Thinkific also allows customers to provide links to other sources in the text description box under the “Downloads” section, for any lesson.

To assess students based on quizzes, go to the lessons, and press “Add Lesson.” There will be a large collection of lesson content from where you should pick “Quiz”. To design a quiz, one just needs to add the desired questions and answers.

Thinkific also allows you to build a large question pool and specify the number of questions that will be used in each quiz attempt.

Adding Quiz to the thinkific course lessons

Within the same tab, you will find many course creation options, such as make an informational video, record an audio file, or write an educational post, all you have to do is click “Add lesson”.

Customers can change the settings for the created courses using the “Settings” tab. This comprises modifying the URL and uploading the relevant picture from “Course Image and Description” option.

thinkific course settings

Here you will also enter the pricing information. By selecting “pricing”, you can finalize the pricing such that it is either made free or has a one-time payment option.

If you wish to create a paid plan, Thinkific provides the functionality to make the students pay a subscription fee upfront or build a monthly payment plan.

3. Customize The Course Homepage

The home page is what creates the first impression on your students and help them develop confidence in your course – the better the look and feel of the home page, the better are the chances of customer being able to sell the course.

You can do this from the “Build Landing Page” option on the top right corner.

build landing page button in thinkific

The following 7 components are critical for a strong home/landing page:

  • An appropriate banner
  • Course description
  • Curriculum display
  • Instructor biography
  • Commonly asked questions
  • Customer reviews
  • A call to action

Click on Site Builder, go to Courses, and pick the course you want to create the homepage for. Hit “Banner” followed by “Hero Image.” Upload the image that best suits your course description.

Thinkific landing page builder

Don’t forget to hit Save after completing this activity.

One can also add a call to action (CTA button) by clicking “Add Button”, follow it by hitting “Button” and modifying the text to the desired CTA.

You can also establish linkages to help students move to the desired location.

Go to the course home page and add a course description. Follow the same procedure to add information in Instructor Section, commonly asked questions, testimonials, and CTAs – hit “Add Section”, choose from available options in “Section Type” menu dropdown.

A template for various items such as commonly asked questions and instructor biographies is available on Thinkific.

4. Publish The Course

Visit Manage Learning Content and click on Courses after you have created a strong home page for the course. Pick the course that needs to be published, review the information and then go to the Publish tab.

Select the “Published” option to finalize and finally click Save button.

Publish course in Thinkific

To market the courses, Thinkific provides an instruction manual. The customer should also add the Thinkific course link in their social media accounts to promote it further.

If you have a paid subscription, you can build a list of user emails.

Once published, one can also preview the course to evaluate it from the student’s perspective. 

The preview option offers an overview of the lessons included in a chapter. It also reflects the student’s progress through the course in the sidebar on the left.

Upon completing all the lessons and chapters, start sharing details on your social media to attract attention to your course.

Thinkific Review of Pricing

Thinkific has the most pricing tiers out of all the online course providers, additionally, it has a plan that is truly free – the plan allows the users to add unlimited students to a limited set of courses as compared with other companies that allow only limited students to be added.

Thinkific’s Basic Plan

Thinkific’s Basic plan ($49/month) has a few more features like unlimited courses and the option to integrate with your preferred email provider or any other 3rd party programs through Zapier.

Pro Plan

The Pro plan ($99/month) opens up advanced pricing like payment plans and subscriptions. The Pro plan’s affiliate tool module allows you to have a team of marketers selling your course for you. 

The Thinkific Pro plan also allows the customers to award completion certificates from Accredible.

pricing of Thinkific

Growth Package

This is an additional benefit that comes at the Pro plan stage. Once you go beyond hundred active users, Thinkific starts charging extra for added users.

The growth plan offers these advantages – groups, advanced segmentation, Zapier actions, Brillium exams integration, bulk emails, Active Campaign integration, public API, Infusionsoft integration and white labelling.

Review of Thinkific’s Features

We discussed the pricing first to show its affordability and a basic difference between the products. Now, we will get in to more detail about its core features, product wise and also compare them with each other.

Course Creation Features

FeaturesFree ($0)Basic ($49)Pro ($99)Growth ($99)Premier ($499)Plus
No design and technical experience requiredYesYesYesYesYesYes
Full video and content hostingYesYesYesYesYesYes
Create courses with any content typesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Import existing contentYesYesYesYesYesYes
Retain ownership of contentYesYesYesYesYesYes
Built-in content creation toolsYesYesYesYesYesYes
Downloadable contentYesYesYesYesYesYes
Embed 3rd party tools and sitesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Student course reviewsYesYesYesYesYesYes
Student discussionsYesYesYesYesYesYes
QuizzesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Student surveysYesYesYesYesYesYes
Voice over PPTYesYesYesYesYesYes
Unlimited coursesNoYesYesYesYesYes
Randomized quiz question bankNoNoYesYesYesYes
Prerequisite lessonsNoNoYesYesYesYes
Require video completionNoNoYesYesYesYes
Host storyline, captivate and moreNoNoYesYesYesYes
AssignmentsNoNoYesYesYesYes
Live lessons with ZoomNoNoYesYesYesYes
Brillium exams integrationNoNoNoYesYesYes

Sales and Marketing Features

FeaturesFree ($0)Basic ($49)Pro ($99)Growth ($99)Premier ($499)Plus
Create free, paid, and time-limited coursesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Instant access to your fundsYesYesYesYesYesYes
Offer free trials of your coursesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Javascript trackingYesYesYesYesYesYes
Order tracking, conversion tracking, and retargeting pixel supportYesYesYesYesYesYes
Search engine optimization (SEO)YesYesYesYesYesYes
Multiple payment methods & currenciesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Shopify AppYesYesYesYesYesYes
Aweber integrationNoYesYesYesYesYes
Constant ContactNoYesYesYesYesYes
Convertkit integrationNoYesYesYesYesYes
Mailchimp integrationNoYesYesYesYesYes
Marketing analytics integrationsNoYesYesYesYesYes
Affiliate reportingNoYesYesYesYesYes
Coupons & promotionsNoYesYesYesYesYes
Drip (scheduled) contentNoYesYesYesYesYes
Additional course pricesNoNoYesYesYesYes
Offer payment plansNoNoYesYesYesYes
Bundles & membershipsNoNoYesYesYesYes
Add-onsNoNoYesYesYesYes
GroupsDirect ActiveCampaign integrationNoNoNoYesYesYes
Direct Infusionsoft integrationNoNoNoYesYesYes
3 Thinkific InstancesNoNoNoYesYesYes

Teaching Features

FeaturesFree ($0)Basic ($49)Pro ($99)Growth ($99)Premier ($499)Plus
Deliver self-directed, group, and hybrid coursesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Build a communityYesYesYesYesYesYes
Student knowledge assessmentYesYesYesYesYesYes
Student progress trackingYesYesYesYesYesYes
Deliver evergreen classesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Multiple instructor profilesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Scheduled classesNoYesYesYesYesYes
Completion certificatesNoNoYesYesYesYes

Student Experience Features

FeaturesFree ($0)Basic ($49)Pro ($99)Growth ($99)Premier ($499)Plus
Rich student environmentYesYesYesYesYesYes
Resume on any deviceYesYesYesYesYesYes
Optimized for all devicesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Easy course navigationYesYesYesYesYesYes
Industry leading completion ratesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Choose your site languageYesYesYesYesYesYes
CommunitiesNoNo1UnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited

Pricing Features

FeaturesFreeBasicPro Growth Premier
No transaction fees0%0%0%0%0%
Price per month (billed monthly)04999$0.10 monthly per active student499
Price per month (billed annually)03979$0.10 monthly per active student399
  • All prices in USD. Prices are set per month on an annual subscription
  • Plus $0.10 USD per active student. First 100 students are free

There are many pricing options and which one you chose eventually depends on your individual needs and how many courses you expect to sell.

One can always test the waters with the free plan and upgrade to one of the paid plans as the requirements evolve.

Pros and Cons of Thinkific:

Here is what I think are the distinct advantages of using Thinkific:

  • It is the only course with a ‘Free plan’ – the plan allows the user to add unlimited students to a limited set of courses, apart from content hosting in the video, audio, and pdf format. It provides instant access to funds and allows customers to use the quizzes and survey feature.
  • Ease of customization: It allows the user to match the look and feel of the course with their website.
  • Flexibility: It allows full access to modify HTML and CSS content as well. Additionally, one can take advantage of many existing integrations with platforms like MailChimp, Infusionsoft, and Brillium Exams. One can also use “zaps” through Zapier integration to easily connect to almost any 3rd party platform.
  • Custom domain: While Thinkific will host your course, you can set the domain to make it appear as part of your website.
  • Voice-over PowerPoint presentation tool that makes video production easy.
  • Student progress reports: Thinkific offers 3 options – progress reports, cohort reports, and group reports.

Here are a few things that can be improved by Thinkific:

  • Absence of integrated email marketing, however, one can easily tie into 3rd party email providers like MailChimp and Aweber.
  • Lack of integrated sales funnel builder, but the ability to easily tie-up with 3rd party sales funnel builders like Clickfunnels and LeadPages help users to overcome this.

Why should I choose Thinkific?

Now that you have learned how to create and monetize your course on Thinkific, let us see how it stacks up against its key competitors.

Thinkific permits users to expand their course offerings and expand beyond basics such as uploading multimedia content (e.g., unlimited video hosting), creating lessons, as well as creating quizzes and assessments to determine successful completion of the course by students. 

It also enables one to create surveys and polls to conduct assessments and collect feedback about the course.

Another striking advantage of using Thinkific is that it allows one to import content from widely-used course authoring platforms such as Articulate Storyline and Adobe Captivate.

Let’s have a look what Thinkific has to offer compare to its competitors.

Comparative Analysis : Thinkific vs Teachable vs Podia

FeaturesThinkificTeachablePodia
Custom brandingYesYesYes
Website design and customizabilityThinkific offers a site builder that provides multiple themes with multiple stylesTeachable has one site theme; however, it does allow you to customize your logo, background, colors, and fontPodia offers light and dark theme option along with “no theme” (this is essentially a blank draft) and custom theme (with customized color options)
IntegrationsInfusionsoft, Zapier, Mailchimp, ConvertKit, Brillium Accredible, Google Analytics, and othersMailChimp, Google Analytics, Segment, Deadline Funnel, Zapier, and othersIntegrations with Google Analytics, ConvertKit, Zapier, Mailchimp, and others
E-commerce integrationsPayPal and StripePayPal and stripeStripe, and PayPal.
Course ratingsYesYesYes
BlogsYesNoYes
Transaction feesZero fees for all plans5% transaction fees for the basic plan onlyZero fees for all plans
Live customer supportNoYesYes
Affiliate programYesYesYes
Course limitUnlimited; the free plan allows you to include unlimited students Unlimited; the free plan allows the user to add only up to 10 studentsUnlimited; it only allows a 14-day trial period
Video lecturesYesYesYes
Survey and pollsYesNoNo
Quiz and assessmentYesYesYes
Course completion certificate and course reviewCompletion: YesCourse review: YesCompletion: YesCourse review: NoCompletion: YesCourse review: No

Conclusion: Thinkific Review 2021

Hope you will find this Thinkific review your go to solution for all the queries related to an online course platform.

Reviewing Thinkific’s features and comparing it is honestly not a easy task as there is a lot of ground to cover about this wonderful course creation software.

As someone who closely studied the offerings of Thinkific and its competitors, I would confidently suggest Thinkific to anyone interested in making a completely new online course selling store.

The interface is clean and powerful, and the customer gets all the tools needed to build your course without the requirements of your own hosting or website.

What caught my attention while studying Thinkific’s offerings and comparing it with closest competitors was the “zero pricing” (as discussed earlier, the customer pays “zero” to add unlimited students to 3 courses).

The pricing allows any entrepreneur to start online teaching with no investment (except time of course 😊) and scale up using anyone of the many pricing options, as and when the customer develops a greater understanding of its audience and their demands.

Additionally, as your content is hosted on Thinkific, the customer is freed of any tech hassles such as coding, testing, and maintaining it. While some platforms only provide a space on an existing membership platform,

Thinkific allows the customer to build an entire online site from scratch. The customer gets everything they need in one platform.

If you do have technical expertise, you can use it more meaningfully and leverage it with things like website personalization elements and marketing.

Additionally, Thinkific is flexible not only in terms of content, but also in terms of formats available (some of the formats include video, audio, images and pdfs).

The ease with which one can add things such as lessons, chapters, quizzes and assignments are icing on the cake.

Thinkific offers as seamless transition process for people migrating from a custom-built website, or a learning management system.

Its support team ensures that all critical student-related information such as enrolment dates, student progress, and login information remain intact when transitioning to the Thinkific platform.

Thinkific: FAQs

What is Thinkific platform?

Thinkific is a cloud-based course creation platform which allows you to create your own courses and sell it online.

Is Thinkfic free?

Yes. Thinkific offers a free plan without requiring any credit card.

How much does Thinkific cost?

Thinkific pricing plan starts from $49 per month.

Is Thinkific better than Teachable?

Both are good platforms. Thinkific offers better design & customization while Teachable provides better marketing features.

Is Thinkific mobile friendly?

Yes. Thinkific is fully mobile responsive. But they don’t offer mobile app right now.

Is Thinkific a good platform?

Yes, Thinkfic is good choice and very beginner-friendly with amazing features.

About Author

Hi, I am Nazim Ansari, founder of “Lead The Business”. A Web Developer by heart who loves playing with codes to create great websites. I love reviewing tech products, business tools, SaaS applications, and various other products. Through this blog I aim to educate my readers about the products that are right for them.

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