Review: Using Thinkific to Create and Sell Online Courses

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Updated: September 28, 2017

After searching for a course delivery platform that fit us just right, we recently selected and migrated to Thinkific.  As you’ve read in our prior blog posts, a health business has the potential to serve clients with a wide range of ways including digital products.  And developing an online course is the perfect solution if you’re looking to offer more than one-on-one services or consulting. In today’s digital marketing landscape many health professionals are creating their own online courses and other digital products for their customers.

The problem, however, is that many health entrepreneurs feel overwhelmed by the thought of creating and delivering an online course.  And I was too initially.  I think I researched every platform on the web when planning the launch of Whole Family Academy.  Everything seemed so complicated, and none of the options seemed to integrate with the tools I use to run my business online.  Talk about frustrating!  But I kept looking… and then I found Thinkific.  I might have even heard angels sing as I logged in to my free account for the first time.  Can I get a Hallelujah!

If you’ve thought about creating an online course, then allow me give you my thoughts from my first-hand experience using Thinkific.

My Honest Review of Thinkific

Thinkific is the perfect platform for online course creators who would rather focus on the content and providing value, rather than coding, integrations, or multiple workarounds to achieve the outcome.  With Thinkific, you have a fully hosted, all-in-one platform where you can easily set up a course in a matter of moments.  When I launched the Get on Track Program for Busy Families, it took me literally 2 hours from start to finish to get it all set up and I had my first enrollee the very next day!

The Thinkific platform eliminates all of the frustration, confusion, and hassle and keeps every thing very simple and straightforward so you can deliver your course and start enrolling students quickly.  You have the flexibility to create and launch a single couse, or create multiple courses or package your courses to sell as “bundles.”

If you are just starting out with online courses, rather than set up an over-the-top membership site that will take weeks or months to build out and launch, you might consider starting out (and even staying with) Thinkific.  I have no plans to switch anytime soon.  And for those of you who know how much we like to try out products and platforms, that speaks volumes of how I feel about Thinkific.

If you’ve already tried to go the WordPress membership site route and were just been plain frazzled, it’s time to give a simpler solution a try.

Are you ready to design, build, and launch your next course all in one platform (even if you don’t have a website yet)?  You can do this very easily with Thinkific.

Here are the 3 main lessons I feel every new course developer needs to learn:

  1. How you will market and sell the course
    You will need a way to create the relevant pages such as sales page, checkout pages, and other pages for the site.  You’ll also need a way to collect payments.
  2. How you will deliver the content
    You’ll have to figure out how to deliver the content which may include your lessons or content in various formats.  If you have video lessons, you’ll need hosting for those videos as well.  In addition, everything should be automated so your new enrollees can have immediate access once they purchase the course.  If you have a WordPress site, this can all be accomplished with a shopping cart and a few different plugins.
  3. How you will manage your students or members
    This will be how you manage member / student access to the content in your course.  You’ll also want a customer support solution where you can contact students and likewise they can contact you effortlessly if they ahve questions or require assistance.

Thinkific covers each of these beautifully.  Their platform provides everything you need to roll out a fully-hosted course and take payments in one solution.  No complicated customizations or integrations necessary.  You can provide digital downloads, video courses, and many other modalities for your students with this one solution.  By the way, if you’re doing a video course and worried about hosting your videos, Thinkific includes hosting with their plans (even the free one).  It’s all included so you don’t need to tinker with You Tube or setting up separate hosting accounts.

So if you’re ready to launch an online course and want to focus on the content, rather than the customizations then Thinkific is the solution I absolutely recommend.   Their onboarding is amazing and they walk you through every step of the set up process.  In a matter of no time, you’ll have your bright and shiny course ready to launch and sell.  Their time-saving built in features ensure that you’ll have your course polished off and ready to launch in no time. Thinkific is the course delivery solution if you’re ready to fast-track your business and get your message to the next level.

These are the main points I wanted to share with you but below I have a more comprehensive list of all the features that I think make Thinkific so effective, easy-to-use, and awesome.

If you’re interested to learn more, they’ve allowed me to offer my readers a $50 credit. So get started with your free account now.

Below I’ve compiled a list of my favorite features of the platform.  Remember that you may not need all of the features, and some features will only be available once you upgrade your plan to a paid account.

Overview of Thinkific Features

Creating Your Course on Thinkific
  • Quick Launch
  • Simple to set up
  • Self-hosted; no need for a separate website.
  • Multimedia content: audio, video, PDF’s, text, HTML, surveys, quizzes, downloadable attachments
  • Enjoy a smooth start with a platform simple enough to launch a course quickly, and yet powerful enough for the most demanding online schools.
  • Create as you go with the voice-over slide tool.
  • All hosting of your content included.
  • No coding.  No design skills needed.
  • Drag-and-drop course builder.

Selling and Marketing Your Course on Thinkific

  • Receive your funds instantly
  • Payments go directly to you.
  • Fully-integrated secure e-commerce (Stripe of PayPal)
  • Instant access to your funds
  • Offer free, paid, or sobscription courses.
  • Offer bundles of courses.
  • Can offer free trials.
  • Integrates with many email marketing providers for seamless follow-up (Aweber, ConvertKit, MailChimp, etc).
  • Can offer coupons and discounts.
  • Can offer payments plans.

Designing and Customizing Your Course on Thinkific

  • Use your own custom domain.
  • Use your logo, banner, and brand colors to make your site pretty.
  • Customize further with advanced CSS/HTML editing (if you’re into that sort of thing).
  • Option for “hidden” courses.
  • Built in landing pages for your courses.
  • Several pre-built landing page templates (or customize your own).
  • Can create additional pages for your course website.

Teaching Your Students on Thinkific

  • Build your community
  • Engage students with build-in discussion feature (or add Disqus or another third party tool).
  • Offer certificates and/or badges.
  • Use quizzes and surveys to boost engagement even further.
  • Drip content options.
  • Create various instructor profiles.
  • Send students emails from within your dashboard.
  • Monitor student progress.

For the complete overview, head to the Thinkific website to review their detailed plan comparison. Some of the featured mentioned above are only available on the paid plans, but you can get started on the free plan and upgrade to a paid plan once your course is built. This is the route I recommend as most other platforms will require you to start paying before your course is even built out.

If you’re ready to explore Thinkific, start for free now and get your $50 credit whenever you upgrade.