Growing out of a need, Thinkific (opens in new tab) came out of CEO and co-founder Greg Smith making the decision to take an LSAT review course online with his brother, Matt Smith. This opportunity for side income soon took on a life of its own, and Greg realized that the income was surpassing his corporate legal practice. Subsequently, there was opportunity for additional growth as other entrepreneurs reached out to create and distribute courses of their own, and the Thinkific platform grew to accommodate them, with over 290 employees currently.
- Interested in Thinkific? Check out the website here (opens in new tab)
Thinkific is home to over 50K content creators, with over 100 million courses taken since 2020. Also impressive is that these course creators have made over 650 million dollars in revenue.
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Thinkific is designed to allow an educator to create an online educational business. It does not require coding, and will both launch, and then grow with the educational business. Users can choose an economic model of their choosing, with options to charge for courses with monthly payments or subscriptions, and also to provide coupons to students. There are also 0% transaction fees, and payments can be accepted from over 100 countries.
Courses can also be created flexibly. This means that content can be conveyed via a standalone course, a bundle of courses, or through a membership.
Integrated into Thinkific is an easy website builder (opens in new tab). This allows the educator to make a “Personalized storefront,” or even a school that can showcase the value of your courses to encourage sales. For those that are novices at building websites, Thinkific supplies website themes to streamline the process. There are also advanced customizations that can create a consistent brand to better connect with potential students. You can even make it your own professional website domain (opens in new tab), and not have any Thinkific branding for the ultimate professional website appearance.
Plans and pricing
Thinkific offers a choice of four plans. Each is available with a 30-day money back guarantee.
The lowest tier is a free tier (opens in new tab), to try the service out. While it does allow for unlimited students, it has limited courses that the educator can post. There is support, but it is only email. It can host a variety of content, including PDFs, audio and video. It also supports quizzes and surveys.
The next step up is the Basic tier (opens in new tab), which has a cost of $39 per month, and builds upon the features of the previous tier. A major upgrade is that unlimited courses are supported. Additionally, there is live chat for support. Advanced features cover coupons to promote the courses, integration with email to contact students one at a time, and the ability to schedule content.
Moving up a tier takes us to the Pro plan (opens in new tab), which has a monthly cost of $79. It adds some key functions, such as live courses via Zoom, the ability to issue certificates, and two site administrator accounts. Also, the support is priority, and it allows for private and hidden courses.
Finally, at the top is the Premier Plan (opens in new tab), which has a significantly higher cost of $399 monthly, but has no limitations. It adds neat features such as an onboarding package, single-sign-on (SSO (opens in new tab)), and five site admin accounts.
Support is offered through the Thinkific Help Center. Starting with the software the first time is done via a demo video for a smooth transition. There is also a FAQ, with an assortment of predone questions and answers, that range from “How can I set up a custom domain?” and “Why can’t I login to my Thinkific site?” Delving more deeply, there are also topics to explore such as “Getting Started,” “Your Account” and “Support Your Students.”
While the predone contact is well done, the direct support options are lacking. We did not find a direct phone number, fax number, or a direct email address. Chat is available on the higher tiers, but not with every plan. The one method we did locate is an email portal, and it does support having attachments.
A serious shortcoming of Thinkific is that it does not have any apps for either iOS, nor for Android. As such, there are no user reviews for the app.
We also looked at the social media accounts for Thinkific. The Facebook account is private, and the Twitter account did not have any reviews either.
Over at SoftwareAdvice, Thinkific has a 4.58 out of 5 stars review, with users generally satisfied. Users praise the timely support received, the ability to upload documents for students, and the ease of use, especially the ease to issue a certificate of completion. However, the cons pointed out cover the less than modern interface, that the certificates created are too basic, and the quizzes are too basic, without time limits, or placing a limit on the number of retries a student may attempt.
Thinkific is a platform that focuses on getting individuals up and running to have an online presence with a website, and then to provide their content to learners. Useful tools include templates to start the website, a choice of plan tiers with a 30-day money back guarantee, and payments accepted from learners without transaction fees. However, holding Thinkific back is the lack of direct support options like a phone number or email, the lack of smartphone apps that most competitors have, and we would like to see more user reviews. Overall, Thinkific is a worthy entry into this segment, and we can see why it has enjoyed this early success.
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