When it comes to online course platforms, Thinkific is inevitably included in every discussion. It’s simply one of the best solutions available for selling online courses.
But how good is it really?
Those who are about to create and sell their first course are about to find out that you need the right marketing tools to be successful. Is Thinkific the right platform to use or should you consider looking into Thinkific alternatives?
In this Thinkific review, we’ll look at all the benefits and features that it has to offer as well as how much it costs. By the end of this post, you should have a better idea if this is the right platform for your online course business.
Let’s start with an introduction to Thinkific.
What is Thinkific?
Thinkific is a course creation and membership site platform that helps users of any background to share their knowledge while making a profit in the process. Being a cloud-based tool, it can host all of your content for you — that means you don’t have to find a third-party hosting solution.
Built into the system are features that not only help you create online courses, but it can also market, promote, and manage your digital products.
It also has a drag-and-drop website builder so you can customize the look and feel of your marketplace. The email marketing feature lets you connect with your students. You can also let students market and sell courses through affiliate marketing.
Essentially, you can use Thinkific to create an online store that specializes in selling courses.
Let’s dig deeper into the things that Thinkific allows you to do. What can you expect when you sign up for a Thinkific plan?
Build course landing pages
Your online learning journey starts with building a website where you can store all of your courses. Fortunately, this is easy with Thinkific. You don’t even need to use code to build your site. Just drag-and-drop elements and edit the site design as necessary.
If you don’t want to start from scratch, you have different templates to choose from — all of which look beautiful and professional.
Thinkific allows you to use a custom domain so you can let your site stand out through proper branding. Those who know how to code can further improve their landing pages using HTML and CSS.
Create course content
Just as with the landing pages, you can create courses on Thinkific using a drag-and-drop interface. And yes, that also means that you don’t have to code to set up your online courses.
Thinkific supports multiple formats so you can upload just about any type of document on your landing pages. You can add text, images, and videos. Speaking of videos, note that Thinkific lets you host videos for free.
You can even add quizzes, surveys, and downloads. You can customize your courses with some minor tweaks. For example, you can publish private or hidden courses. You can make lessons prerequisites for other courses. You can introduce multiple instructors.
If you want all of your students to learn at the same pace, you can introduce drip content.
Promote your products
You also have control over how you market your courses. You can offer coupons and free trials. There’s also an option to enable upselling. You can create different payment plans and custom first-month payments.
Make your courses more attractive by offering payment options in different currencies. There are over 100 currencies available on the site. Thinkific also accepts all credit cards thanks to its integration with Stripe. All payments made to your online school are 100% secure.
There are also tools to help you get more eyes on your Thinkific site. Perform email marketing by connecting your email provider to the platform. But email tools are not the only apps you could integrate as there are about 1,000 apps that you could connect.
You can also set up an affiliate marketing program to incentivize students to sell your courses on your behalf. You set the commission rates, so you don’t have to worry about your bottom line.
Support your students
There are different management systems in place that you could support your students. You have progress indicators, course replays, and language controls. And when they finish a course, you can customize a completion page and even offer completion certificates as proof.
You can monitor student progress using the tracking system that’s built into Thinkific. You can check in with students by sending reminder emails. Using the reporting system, you can view their current progress and export the data for further review.
Thinkific plans breakdown and pricing options
Here’s a breakdown of the features you get depending on the plan you select.
All Thinkific plans include the following features:
- Course Builder — Build a site from scratch without the need for coding knowledge.
- Communities — Create a community for your students. No need for external platforms.
- Fund Access — Get paid for your course sales instantly.
- Instructors — Set up multiple instructor profiles.
- SSL Certificate — Keeps your online school secure.
- Upsells — Generate additional revenue from upselling products before checkout.
- Forums — Discuss lessons with students or give feedback.
- Notifications — Notify students through the platform.
- Hosting — Host your content in the cloud.
- Language — Set the language of your website.
- Support — Contact the customer support team via email or phone if you run into issues.
The good news is that Thinkific does have a free plan. As you could expect, the free plan has a lot of limitations. However, it is still enough to give you a taste of everything the Thinkific experience.
So what do you get with the free plan?
You can create one limited course. But you can enroll an unlimited number of students. You can also give your students quizzes and surveys. You can upload PDF, audio, and video files.
This is a great option for anyone who is new to creating courses.
Thinkific Pricing: $99 per month (monthly billing) or $74 per month (annual billing)
The Start plan includes all the features under Free — only this time, you get 10 courses and 2,500 students at any time. Under this plan, you can start creating coupons to give students more reasons to sign up for online learning.
You can also email students though under this plan, you can only do so one at a time.
If you’re planning on using a custom domain, you’ll need to register for this plan or higher. You’ll also need this plan if you want to use drip content, affiliate reporting, email integrations, and Zapier triggers.
You can manually enroll students and export the data for analysis.
Thinkific Pricing: $199 per month (monthly billing) or $149 per month (annual billing)
The Grow plan includes all the features under Start. Here you can add two site admin accounts and five course admins/authors. You can introduce private and hidden courses.
This is the plan you want if you want more flexible pricing options. You can offer one-time payments, subscriptions, payment plans, or additional course prices. There’s also an option to offer your courses for free if that’s part of your strategy.
You can also bundle courses under this plan.
In this plan, you can offer completion certificates for students who finish the course. You can create assignments, start a community, and do live sessions using Zoom (you’ll need a separate Zoom account).
Advanced customization is also unlocked for those who want to edit their CSS or HTML.
Best of all, you get priority support when you sign up for the Grow plan.
This plan also removes Thinkific branding so it’s ideal for those of you who need a white labeling feature.
Thinkific Pricing: $399 per month (monthly billing) or $299 per month (annual billing)
The Expand plan includes all Grow features plus groups, advanced segmentation, public API, Webhooks (for developers), and integrations like Infusionsoft, Brillium, ActiveCampaign, and Zapier.
Expand also lets you build more communities; import students; and enroll students and send emails in bulk.
Thinkific Pricing: Contact Thinkific for a quote
This is the plan for those of you with custom needs. This plan allows you to scale your online course.
You get a dedicated customer success manager, migration planning, unlimited admins and analysts, more than three separate Thinkific sites, a sandbox site, enterprise API access, 24/7 monitoring, advanced security features, and more.
It’s the best option for big businesses that are looking to grow.
Regardless of what plan you go for, there will be a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can avail of any plan with confidence.
Thinkific online course platform transaction fees
Here’s the good news:
At this time, Thinkific does not charge transaction fees. It does not take commissions from course sales either.
That is a good thing since an online course platform like Teachable—one of Thinkific’s main competitors—will charge a transaction fee (if you subscribe to its Basic plan).
Thinkific review: pros and cons
Here are the things that we like about the Thinkific online course platform and what we think they could improve on.
- Free Plan — You can explore everything that Thinkific offers without having to worry about your free trial period expiring.
- Zero Transaction Fees — This online course builder won’t take a cut from your profits.
- Community builder — You can create a community for your students regardless of which plan you’re on. This feature is available on the free plan too.
- Customization — You can make your course content match your branding.
- Payment Options — How you get paid is completely up to you.
- Payouts — You’ll get immediate access to your earnings.
- Email Marketing — You’ll have to integrate a third-party email provider to build your email list.
- VAT payments – You would need to integrate with a third-party tool to automate VAT payments. Alternatively, you could integrate Zapier with a dedicated shopping cart like ThriveCart instead.
How much does Thinkific cost?
Excluding the Free plan, there are three main plans to choose from. If paid annually, Basic costs $39/month, Pro costs $79/month, and Premier is $399/month.
Does Thinkific have transaction fees?
No, Thinkific does not take a cut from your sales.
Does Thinkific have customer support?
Yes. You can contact Thinkific by phone at 1-888-832-2409 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thinkific, however, does not have live chat support as of this writing.
Does Thinkific offer training?
Yes. Those who are subscribed to the Premier plan will receive a 30-minute onboarding training. But those on lower plans can use other Thinkific resources such as its training courses, help center, blog, and articles.
Do I need to give my credit card information during sign-up?
No. You don’t have to provide your credit card information during the registration process. You can start with the Free plan and give your details when you’re ready to move to a higher plan.
Will Thinkific own my online courses?
No. You will always be the owner of all the resources that you upload on Thinkific.
Can I move to Thinkific from another platform?
Yes. The support team can help you migrate your content from one learning management system to Thinkific.
Can non-profit organizations apply for a discount?
Yes. You can get a 50% lifetime discount for the Basic or Pro plan. You just need to be eligible to get it.
Is there a money-back guarantee?
Yes. Thinkific offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Can I live stream my content?
Yes. You can use Zoom, YouTube Live, and Live Stream to broadcast your content in real-time. You can also embed these videos into your courses for posterity.
Can students download content to their devices?
Yes. You have the option to offer downloadable content so students can still access your courses while they’re offline.
Is Thinkific the course platform for you?
Now, it’s time to wrap up this Thinkific review.
There’s no doubt. Thinkific is one of the best course platforms on the market right now.
It’s flexible, affordable, and packed with features. Their free account allows new course creators to get started without paying out any money.
But, is Thinkific right for you? Only you will know for sure. So, I recommend signing up for an account and trying out the platform for yourself.
Disclosure: If you buy through links on our site, we may make a commission.