Is Thinkific the Right Course Platform for Your Business?
As of December 2020, Thinkific passed 100 million course enrollments on its platform. A ton of big course creators use this platform. If you’ve taken any courses created by fellow online business owners, you might have even noticed that they use Thinkific, too.
We’ll be honest: Thinkific is one of the most popular course platforms for people who are creating courses and launching and promoting them online. Why is that? It’s one of the first course platforms to come on the scene, for one. But there’s a lot that this platform has to offer, making it really enticing to folks who are wanting to grow a passive income stream with courses.
But just because your friends jump off a cliff doesn’t mean you would, right? The old adage applies to finding your course tech, too. You don’t want to do what everyone else is doing. You want to do what’s right for you, your business, and your students.
With that said, let’s jump into a review of Thinkific. What’s great about it, what’s not so great, and how to know if it’s right for you. Let’s go!
What is Thinkific?
Thinkific is an online course platform to create, market, and sell online courses. Pretty simple, right?
Like Podia and Teachable, courses are basically what Thinkific is known for — it’s a course platform. Unlike ClickFunnels (known for sales funnels and marketing) or Kajabi (known for being an all-in-one product hosting and marketing tool), Thinkific is pretty specific to course creators.
But unlike Podia and Teachable, their accounts come with more elevated marketing, branding, and content options. In our opinion, Thinkific is great for course creators, entrepreneurs, educators, and coaches — but it is definitely encroaching on “expensive” for beginners. One of the coolest features of Thinkific is their native course-selling funnels. You can build a sales funnel on Thinkific that pushes people to buy your course. Yay for passive sales, right?
Thinkific has also done a lot with their site-building tool, which means you can make your course sales pages and actual content look on-brand and professional. Of course, with more power comes more responsibility — you’ll need to know how to use all these features if you want to benefit from them. That can take time.
Of course, that’s not the only info you need to make a decision on Thinkific for your course(s). So, let’s break it all down, shall we?
Pros of using Thinkific
Thinkific definitely knows their stuff. Similar to Teachable, their course creator tool is almost dummy-proof.
Simply login, click “Manage Learning Content,” click “Courses” in the dropdown menu, and then hit “New Course” over on the top right. Then you can start filling in your course name, module details, and all that good stuff.
Of course, that’s just one of the cool parts of Thinkific. The others include things like:
- The use of multimedia in your courses. You can integrate quizzes, surveys, Google docs, video, voiceovers, and more. This supports all kinds of learning and we love to see it.
- Building your course or landing pages is easy. You can create sales funnels, from landing page to checkout, and customize the pages to your liking. (See the cons section for more info on this)
- You can easily integrate your existing site with your Thinkific course, or build your course exclusively on their platform.
- The ability to create multiple payment options. Easily update payments for each course to be single payment, multiple payments, etc. There are also multiple payment integrations, making it even easier for people to buy (and for you to get paid).
- Student data collection. Thinkific lets you track a number of different elements of student data, from online course activation date to course completion date, test scores, and more. You also get unrestricted access to this data.
- Boosted selling & marketing features. Thinkific is really focused on helping creators sell more, so they have a sales widget that directs leads to your course. They also offer coupons and affiliate support, and tools to update SEO for your course pages.
One of the reasons many experienced business owners like Thinkific is because of its customer experience and support features.
With certain plans, you can group students by course or “source,” allowing you to see how one subset of people are doing as they go through your course. This is especially wonderful if you’ve recently had a launch and want to see how people move through your program, or if you’ve taken part in a bundle and want to see if bundle purchasers are using your course differently than full-pay students.
You can also allow general discussions on courses and you can also enable feedback features to let students leave reviews.
See what we mean when we say Thinkific is “robust” now? Don’t worry, though. It’s not perfect. Keep reading to hear about the cons.
Cons of Thinkific
The biggest downside of Thinkific for many a new course creator is the price. While there are a few pricing plans to choose from, it’s still on the higher end compared to other tools like Podia and Teachable.
Remember that stronger site-building pro we mentioned earlier? It is pretty great, but it comes at a cost. You’re going to need some more advanced coding knowledge if you want to override some of the defaults of their page editor. Not impossible, but not a totally easy lift, either.
Speaking of features we listed in the pro section, let’s talk about the student discussions. This is great because you can have students engage with each other and share info. But it’s also not great because you can’t enable or disable discussions by course. It’s all or nada.
And while you can look at student data, there is no advanced analytics tool to assess how your course funnel is converting. It also doesn’t provide an email marketing tool, so you’ll need a separate tool for that (and yup, that’s more money per month!).
The last thing we don’t love? Thiinkific only offers email support if you run into an issue. Sometimes, you need to talk it out — and email doesn’t offer an immediate response. That can be a problem for folks who are new to course creation and need help ASAP!
So… is Thinkific right for you?
Thinkific is a really robust course tool if what you’re looking for is a tool really designed to elevate your content and your student experience. If you have some coding knowledge and you’re OK using multiple tools to market your courses and other offers, then this platform’s limitations may not really be limitations to you at all.
But if you’re in the market for a tool that’s more affordable and easier to use, we’d recommend going the way of Podia or Teachable. Teachable even offers a free plan so you can host one course with the basics of their platform. Can’t beat that.
Of course, some of you reading this fall somewhere in the middle: You’re not totally new and you’re ready to elevate your brand with a hosting platform that is easy to design. You don’t have time to code everything yourself so you want themes and templates that make it easy. And it would be pretty great if you could do everything in one place — from creating your course sales funnel to hosting your course and even housing the rest of your website.
That’s not too tall of an order, friends. That’s why we love Kajabi. It’s an all-in-one tool that lets you build a variety of offers (from courses and memberships to podcasts and more), market them through their robust email marketing and pipeline features, and more.
If you’re ready to scale with your courses, but courses aren’t all you want to do, we’d recommend a tool like Kajabi over Thinkific.
If you’re still curious about Thinkific, though, there’s good news: You can try their platform FREE for 30 days.
Decided to go the Kajabi route? We can make it even easier for you!
So… are you leaning more towards Kajabi? We love to see it. But if you’re wondering how to create a sales funnel for your course without designing it all yourself in a tool, we’ve got your back! Check out our sales page kits.
Our Sarah Collection is perfect for an earthy, natural-toned brand — and it’s super simple to customize to your colors and fonts.
When you grab the Sarah Collection (or any of our other collections), you’re not just getting a well-designed template. You’re getting a done-for-you (yet extremely customizable) Kajabi sales page that will turn visitors into loyal customers in just a few clicks.
You’ll get a Sales Page, Checkout Page, and Thank You Page template that will have your course sales funnel up and running in no time. All of our templates offer customizable fonts, colors, copy, and images & graphics — no code or design degree required. They are also mobile-friendly and easy to customize for any device.
Want to sell your new course on a platform that works for you? Check out the Sarah Collection Sales Page Kit here. Oh, and you can use these templates for ClickFunnels and Showit, too. Just select the right platform before checking out!