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Launch Your Online Business in Just 7 Days

The eLearning industry is growing at a rapid pace — since the year 2000, it has grown by 900% with a projected market worth $1 trillion by 2027!


With more and more people choosing online education, this is the perfect opportunity to jump in and sell your online courses.


In this in-depth Thinkific review, we’ll help you decide if this is the tool you need — and if it isn’t, we’ve got you covered with a great alternative.


Let’s get started.

1. What is Thinkific?

Thinkific is an online course platform and web-based Learning Management System (LMS) that allows you to create, market, and sell online courses and membership sites.


With a Capterra rating of 4.6/5 and more than 50,000 course creators, it’s no surprise that they’re popular with brands like Samsung, Hootsuite, and HBO.


Tools like Thinkific allow you to provide training and educational course material in PDF presentations (with text or voice-overs) and video formats.


Thinkific’s software is easy enough to use for users with no coding experience or those who aren’t very tech-savvy.

2. Thinkific’s features

Thinkific’s student experience features

Thinkific’s student experience features

Not only will Thinkific’s features let you create and publish great courses, but you can also price and promote your educational business.


Let’s discuss these features in more detail.

2.1. Build your online courses

Thinkific’s course site features

Thinkific’s course site features

Thinkific uses multiple tools and features to help you create and customize your online courses and content, such as:

  • Custom quizzes
  • Surveys
  • Student discussions
  • Required progression lessons
  • Completion certificates
  • Custom course pricing — You can pick between subscription or monthly payments (on paid plans)

Their multimedia content supports all formats, including video, text, and audio formats, plus:

  • Downloadable content — provide your students with links to external resources
  • Typeform
  • Google Docs
  • Adobe Captivate
  • Articulate Storyline

Thinkific knows that you can’t have a product without a brand behind it, which is why they’ve also turned their attention to web design.

2.2. Design your website

Thinkific’s web design features

Thinkific’s web design features

Thinkific gives you full customization functionality with its drag-and-drop website editor.


They offer built-in customizable templates, but you can only choose from 3 main template styles — so your website might look similar to others out there.


The website tools include:

  • Pre-built instructor assistance to help you create courses
  • Curriculum templates to make course design easier
  • Key learning resources and how-to’s for creators that are struggling to upload content
  • Course preview so you can do final checks before you publish your course

Thinkific has 7 main components in their online course creation software to help users create a well-structured landing page, these include:

  • Banner creation
  • Course description
  • Test display of the curriculum
  • Instructor biography section
  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
  • Testimonials and social proof
  • A call-to-action button

The customization features are very easy to understand, and if you’re more tech-savvy, you can modify the HTML and CSS code.


This means you can change the URL and cover image of your courses for added personalization.


Thinkific also lets you use a personal domain name. This means that you can create a new Thinkific website or link your existing website without hassle!

2.3. Market and sell online courses

Thinkific allows you to set custom pricing options per course.


Courses can either be free, or you can offer once-off or subscription-based payment models.


Thinkific also helps you attract a wider audience through:

  • Free trials to add value to the contents of your courses
  • Upsells that could help you sell more expensive courses easier
  • Coupons that add more value to your students through limited discount offers
  • Customizable first-month payments for students on a budget

Additionally, you can:

  • Reward affiliates for sharing your courses — Incentivize your associates with customized commission rates and direct tracking
  • Connect your email provider — Create highly targeted campaigns that send emails to your email list
  • Improve campaigns with advanced data tracking — Comprehensive support, analytics, and ad tracking (including Google Adwords, Facebook, and retargeting campaigns)

For any features that aren’t built-in, you can take advantage of the many integrations that Thinkific offers — with platforms like Mailchimp, Shopify, Stripe, and Keap (to name a few).


If a 3rd party isn’t already integrated, Thinkific has also teamed up with Zapier for any additional tools that you may need.


Unfortunately, Thinkific doesn’t have a marketplace to help you market and sell your courses. This can make marketing more difficult if you don’t have the experience.


They do offer an Expert Marketplace, but this is only to get professional advice from experts to improve your courses.

2.4. Support your students

Thinkific’s support structure

Thinkific’s support structure

According to Thinkific, they've collected data from over 36 million students to help their users create effective courses that students enjoy and benefit from.


This is key to creating a long-lasting eLearning business. Thinkific gives you the following features to help you support your students:

  • Goal setting
  • Data tracking and exporting
  • Automated progress indicators and reminder emails
  • Customizable learning environments and completion pages
  • Language controls
  • Student segmentation

They also feature different completion certificate templates to add more value to your courses by giving your students a sense of accomplishment.

2.5. Website security

Thinkific’s security features

Thinkific’s security features

Thinkific optimizes secure cloud hosting for websites and courses through SSL (Secure Socket Layer) certificates.


This means that you can keep your internet connection secure and prevent your data from being intercepted when it’s sent between two systems.


Thinkific allows you to disable copying and pasting text from your courses, and downloading PDF content is allowed but is disabled by default.


This prevents users from sharing your courses without permission.


Lastly, Thinkific offers 24/7 website monitoring and guarantees a 99.9% uptime.


This means that they ensure your website works optimally and is almost always available to you and your students.


Let’s see how their pricing system works.

3. Thinkific’s pricing

Thinkific’s pricing options

Thinkific’s pricing options

Thinkific offers 5 pricing packages:

  • Free — $0/month
  • Basic — $49/month
  • Pro — $99/month
  • Premier — $499/month
  • Enterprise/Thinkific Plus — Custom quote

Thinkific’s Free plan only allows you to create 1 course with 1 site admin account.


There are no integration options on this plan, but you are given the space for unlimited students.


No credit card information is required, and there are no hidden transaction fees.


Thinkific’s paid plans are billed annually (save 20%) or monthly (except the Enterprise plan) and come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.


Each plan (including the Free plan) comes with these core features:

  • Full website-building tools
  • Drag-and-drop course builder
  • Quizzes and surveys
  • Site language options for translations
  • Discussion forums
  • Unlimited students and student notifications
  • Multiple instructor profiles
  • Built-in SSL certificates for secure content hosting (video, audio, and PDF)
  • Email and phone support
  • Full ecommerce features, help which includes upsells, sales on additional marketplaces, and instant access to your funds

Let’s take a closer look at what each plan has to offer.

3.1. Thinkific’s Basic plan

Thinkific’s Basic plan is billed at $49/month or $39/month annually and includes all the core features, as well as:

And more.


The Basic plan also gives you access to the Thinkific App Store (integrated through Zapier).


With this feature, you can send your Thinkific data to other tools to improve your business’ automation.


Unfortunately, Thinkific’s email marketing features are like a double-edged sword:

3.2. Thinkific’s Pro plan

  • On the one side, you get nifty features to include coupons with your emails and to integrate your chosen email provider (like AWeber, ConvertKit, Constant Contact, and Mailchimp)
  • On the flip side, you’re limited to manually sending emails one by one, which wastes time — especially if you have a large email list

The Pro plan is Thinkific’s most popular option, and it costs $99/month or $79/month annually.


This plan is aimed at course creators who want to build a successful online course business, with a complete suite of tools.


The Pro plan offers everything from the Basic plan, plus:

  • 2 website administration accounts
  • Private and hidden courses
  • Advanced course pricing options — Subscriptions, free courses, one-time purchases, and payment plans
  • Assignments and course completion certificates
  • Advanced customization — Custom themes, edit your HTML/CSS, create custom “members-only” pages, customize student experience, etc.
  • Priority support
  • Single community — Build a single community around your content to improve customer loyalty
  • Live lessons with your students on Zoom (separate Zoom account required)

And more.

3.2.1. Pro plan add-on: Growth package

Some of the features from Thinkific’s Growth add-on

Some of the features from Thinkific’s Growth add-on

The Growth package is an effective add-on to the Pro plan that allows you to grow the number of active students you have.


You’ll be billed $0.10/month per active student, with the first 100 students free of charge.


The Growth package includes all the Pro plan features plus the option to remove Thinkific branding.


Its advanced segmentation and Group features also work hand-in-hand.


The segmentation allows you to organize student communications, reporting, and progress tracking.


This complements Groups where you can sell your courses to cohorts or organizations and assign analysts for reporting.


The Growth package works with public API software, allowing software developers to access and manage your Thinkific school and website.


You can make use of webhooks that allow developers to send Thinkific course data to any external tools — with your permission, of course.


You can also import students from other platforms or databases using XLSX (Microsoft Excel) or CSV files.


Alternatively, you can enroll students in your Thinkific courses based on actions in your other tools (Zapier subscription required).


The Growth package also allows for bulk emailing and student enrolment (so that you can add or remove students in bulk).


This is quite handy at the start, but it can become expensive in the long run.


The Growth package comes with some additional integrations that allow you to use these tools with Thinkific if you’ve got the subscriptions:

  • Infusionsoft — Boost course sales with automated end-to-end sales and marketing
  • ActiveCampaign — Email marketing and CRM tool to help manage contacts for sales and marketing
  • Brillium — Build customized exams with features like time limits and attempt caps

Lastly, you can also build unlimited communities which help improve communication with your students.


You can build a community around your content to add more value to your online courses or create a Community as a higher-tiered offering.


This allows you to drive engagement, build trust, connect globally, and keep your students around longer!

3.3. Thinkific’s Premier plan

Thinkific offers a Premier plan with no limitations.


This plan is priced at $499/month or $399/month annually and includes all the Pro plan features plus:

  • 5 website administration accounts
  • 15 group analysts
  • An onboarding package that includes a 30-minute onboarding call, an online training package, and a 30-minute launch preparedness review

And more.


To get more admins or group analysts for your website and courses, you’ll need to contact Thinkific’s sales team.


This plan also offers the option to remove Thinkific branding on your emails, website, and course-player (if you decide not to use the Growth add-on).

3.4. Enterprise plan/Thinkific Plus

Thinkific’s recently added Plus plan focuses on providing the necessary infrastructure to manage more students.


Because this plan is aimed at larger enterprises, you’ll need to contact Thinkific’s sales team on their website for a custom quote.


The Plus plan aims to cover your business from every angle, using features like 24/7 monitoring and a Launch Preparedness Review (LPR).


The LPR is a review of your Thinkific website and course settings, followed by a 30-minute call to recap the results of the review.


The Plus plan includes all of the Premier plan features, as well as:

  • 3+ separate Thinkific websites and a sandbox website
  • Course duplication
  • A Customer Success Team
  • Custom migration planning
  • Unlimited course admins, group analysts, and revenue partners
  • Advanced CSS customization and Enterprise API access
  • Salesforce integration

And more.


Thinkific isn’t afraid to raise the stakes when it comes to their security, and your website’s safety is a top priority with their Plus plan.


The Plus plan also lets you secure your online course and traffic with Google’s reCAPTCHA software to get more advanced and secure passwords.


Thinkific has a lot to offer course creators, but it comes with a hefty price tag — let's weigh up its pros and cons to see if it’s worth it.

4. Thinkific’s pros and cons

Pros

  • Unlimited students (even with the Free plan)
  • No coding experience required
  • Offers multiple course payment options to students
  • Offers multiple integration tools to grow your business
  • Instant access to your funds with no transaction fees

Cons

  • No course marketplace to promote and sell your courses
  • Only offers 3 main customizable templates for website design
  • Bulk emailing is only available with the Growth package
  • No integrated email marketing or sales funnel builder
  • Only offers phone (available 9-5 PST, Mon-Fri) and email support
  • Requires external Zoom subscription for live lessons
  • Limited Free plan and expensive top-tier plans

4.1. Recommended if . . .

We recommend Thinkific if you’re:

  • Looking for a course creation tool that allows for unlimited students
  • Planning to sell courses in multiple countries, as Thinkific allows for different currencies, credit cards, and payment options
  • A course creator with no experience writing code or building websites from scratch and you want to use customizable templates

4.2. Not recommended if . . .

We don’t recommend Thinkific if you:

  • Are looking for an all-in-one course creation platform and you’re not willing to pay for all the extra necessary integrations
  • Want unique designs for your website and courses that aren’t made from a set of limited templates
  • Have a large email list — It can be tedious to have to send out individual emails since bulk emailing is only available with the Growth add-on
  • Have little marketing experience and would benefit from using a tool with a marketplace to promote your courses
  • Are on a tight budget — Thinkific has some expensive plans

5. The best online course platform: systeme.io

systeme.io logo

systeme.io logo

Thinkific is a good online course platform to help you get started, but if you want to be miles ahead of your competitors, choose systeme.io!


Systeme.io is an all-in-one Software as a Service (SaaS) platform that provides users with all the tools they need to launch, scale, and grow their online business with ease.


We help our customers focus on what’s important — growing their business and making money.


Let’s see how systeme.io’s features can help you create and sell your courses, and much more!

5.1. Systeme.io’s features

systeme.io’s features

systeme.io’s features

Systeme.io is the perfect all-in-one tool, meaning that there’s no need for any 3rd party integrations.


Right off the bat, this puts systeme.io way ahead of Thinkific.


We offer built-in email marketing and automation features to promote your offers and get your emails and course notifications to your students in bulk.


Systeme.io also has some course features that allow you to:

  • Create a website, landing page, or online course with our simple drag-and-drop builder
  • Create membership sites to help you generate a steady income
  • Create a commission-based affiliate program to market your courses and make a passive income with the help of your students and patrons
  • Run evergreen webinars to create timeless, on-demand content for your students quickly and effectively
  • Sell your courses and products on our marketplace

Systeme.io also offers some additional features that include:

  • Building sales funnels to guide students to purchase your courses
  • Creating blogs to increase traffic to your website and tell your students about yourself
  • Automating your entire online business
  • Creating deadline funnels to push prospects to convert into leads
  • Being integrated with Paypal and Stripe for easy and effective pricing usage

Because our interface is so simple to use, you can do all of this with little to no tech knowledge!


We also offer 24/7 online support that has a turnaround time of under 2 hours — if you’d like to read about our features in detail, click here.

5.2. Systeme.io’s pricing

systeme.io’s pricing plans

systeme.io’s pricing plans

Systeme.io has 4 pricing plans:

  • Freemium plan — $0/month
  • Startup plan — $27/month
  • Webinar plan — $47/month
  • Enterprise plan — $97/month

Each paid plan can be billed monthly or yearly, with the latter saving you 30% a month.


All of systeme.io’s plans come with unlimited emailing, file storage space, membership site members or students, and blog posts.


Our Freemium plan supports up to 2,000 contacts, and it includes:

  • 3 sales funnels and 10 sales funnel steps
  • 1 blog and 1 membership site
  • 1 automation rule and 1 workflow — A sequence of tasks that process a set of data
  • 1 tag
  • 1 email campaign
  • 1 one-click upsell and 1 order bump
  • 1 A/B test
  • 1 coupon code

Our Freemium plan doesn’t require any card information when you subscribe, and it’s also free forever!


It’ll provide you with everything you need to launch your online business.


If you’re looking for more to power and scale your business, we’ve got you covered — click here for a detailed look at our pricing plans.

6. Conclusion

Thinkific is a good tool for online course creators to build and sell courses.


But if you’re looking for an all-in-one platform that’ll take care of all your business needs (including selling courses at one central place), then systeme.io is the tool for you.


Not only are we more affordable, but we also offer far more features (our most expensive plan is only $97/month and offers unlimited everything).


Our superior built-in email marketing and automation features let us do most of the work so that you can focus on growing your business.


What are you waiting for? Sign up today! It’ll literally cost you nothing.

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