Thinkific is the world’s leading online course platform, transforming the way people learn by offering a complete suite of tools to create, distribute and monetize courses. With the Thinkific App Store — a marketplace for Thinkific integrations and apps that can be used to enhance your course business — Thinkific is making the platform a lot more powerful.
The Thinkific App Store is designed for you to connect and create meaningful learning experiences, nurture relationships with a community, or grow your online course business.
As an online course creator, you are doing everything you can to create courses, promote your courses, grow your audience, and sell your courses.
To succeed, you’ll need all the help you can get. The Thinkific app store is a surefooted forward step in the right direction.
Online courses are an increasingly popular way to teach, and it’s easy for teachers/course creators to create a course with Thinkific. There is no need for them to build the interface or hosting platform from scratch.
No stitching together expensive WordPress LMS plugins and modules, no need to pay extra fees for hosting your videos, and there’s no need to do anything more than just create your courses and sell them.
Further, you can do a lot more with Thinkific now than ever (See below for some mind-blowing apps you can use, right off of the Thinkific App Store).
But, wait.. why even bother with online courses (let alone Thinkific?).
The growth of the Online Industry
The future belongs to creators.
The growth of the online industry in the last few years has been astounding.
According to the estimates, the global online education market is projected to witness a CAGR of 9.23% during the forecast period to reach a total market size of US$319.167 billion in 2025
There are more than 360 million people working from home today with more entering this space every year; according to the World Economic Forum (WEF), by this year (2021) this number will reach 400 million.
The future belongs to creators and there are more opportunities for you than ever before.
But forget the future and forget online learning itself. Let’s think about you, as an entrepreneur:
If you are a freelancer, self-employed professional, artist, or possess a skill, you might want to transition into teaching what you know.
Teaching online has relatively lower overheads (compared to teaching offline).
Online courses are a huge business, by themselves.
If you have a regular business, online courses can be a great way to build an authoritative brand.
Want to see how other brands do it to not only promote themselves but also build strong communities?
Convinced? Now let’s see how the Thinkific app store helps you grow your online course business with the brand new Thinkific App store by looking into 12+ specific apps and integrations you can use
Note: Using some of the apps in the Thinkific app store might require you to have accounts with any of the apps you want to use.
LessonSpace helps provide you with a collaborative space for teaching online, along with the tools you need to help maximize the teaching experience.
For example, you can teach using video conferencing, text, images, whiteboards, document editors, and even code.
You can teach math, science, and teach others how to code (by rending code) — all within the collaborative space that LessonSpace provides without you having to know anything remotely geeky.
Intercom is a conversational relationship management, conversational marketing, and conversational support platform.
You probably already know Intercom (and you must have interacted with other brands that use Intercom already).
Guess what? You can deploy Intercom for your own online course if you use Thinkific.
Intercom is a very useful collaboration and communication tool for your online course.
Using Intercom, you can communicate with students without the need to be in front of their screens.
It’s perfect if you want to provide personalized support at any time during the day. Make it easier for them to reach out to you.
Extend support in a non-intrusive way, and more.
Motrain is a powerful (yet simple) learning engagement solution and a marketing system rolled into one.
Motrain can help you with more enrollments, keep current students engaged, and also help skyrocket course completions.
Get access to the ability to create incentive programs, reward students based on milestones or achievements, customize reward values, automatically track course completions, and more.
PlaYah! made by the team at PowerUps (By Rob & Galvin) is an app that encourages course engagement by letting your students overcome course challenges by reminding them that they “can” succeed and is always willing to give a high five no matter what their current mood. It doubles as an awesome icebreaker, too!
Get ahead of course attrition with a most excellent sidekick to power up that student experience from one who knows how to encourage them and keep them highly engaged. With PlahYeah! by your side, learners will be able to complete your course with a smile on their faces.
Be there for your students just when they get stuck with something and give them a nudge to complete their course. Remind them of important actions they need to take for course fulfillment, and celebrate their success when they complete courses.
ActiveCampaign is a fast-growing, capable, and easy-to-use email marketing platform. It’s awesome as it were, but when you use it with your Thinkific courses, it gets that much more powerful.
Use all the email marketing automation power that ActiveCampaign provides to help grow your audience, boost customer experience, keep your students engaged, and use automation to send targeted emails to get various things done.
MailChimp has evolved from a popular email marketing platform into a complete customer management & engagement platform with several features baked into the platform as it is.
Just like you’d use ActiveCampaign (above) or ConvertKit (below), you can also use the user-friendly email marketing and email marketing automation features (not to mention MailChimp’s landing pages, MailChimp PostCards, and several other features) available to you.
Note: If you use ConvertKit, you can directly Integrate Convertkit with Thinkific and unleash the power of email marketing to manage your audiences and business growth as well.
For a while now, there was no way you could do any kind of “blogging” if you just had an online course storefront (single courses or multiple courses) on Thinkific.
All that will change now, thanks to DropInBlog. Use DropInBlog to create a fully-functioning blog page on any site within minutes (you don’t need to stitch and sew random WordPress things together anymore).
Want to capture leads on your Thinkific storefront, regardless of the Thinkific theme you use? Say hello to the Capture App (By Course Studio)
Use the Capture app to trigger pop-ups on exit intent, deploy pop-ups based on a timer, or on scroll.
You can control your customer journey, offer discounts, provide free courses as lead magnets (or giveaway any other lead magnet).
Rapidly test different offers and optimize your pop-up for your Thinkific site.
The pop-ups you create are mobile responsive, 100% customizable while you can brand your pop-up and make it yours.
While use Capture App to generate leads for your Online Course, the app also syncs directly with ActiveCampaign, MailChimp, ConvertKit, and Zapier.
Did you ever stop to think if you can use the popular Shopify platform to sell your online courses? Like me, did you find the whole approach a little disjointed (read: a big mess?) earlier?
Whether you felt that the Thinkific themes were too basic for you or if you felt that you need more control (but with the power of everything Shopify has under the hood), you can use Shopify to sell your online courses (which will live on Thinkific).
Sold on Shopify, powered by Thinkific. Now, how cool is that?
Boring forms are so out of fashion now. You’d want a way to create customizable forms, that reflect your brand. Yet, you’d want those forms to have a life of their own.
That’s when you look at Typeform. Create forms that are easy to create (for you) and easy to fill up (for others).
With Typeform available on the Thinkific App Store, you can bring the power (and fun) of Typeform into your Thinkific course experience.
Ask questions, take feedback, launch surveys. Do it in style.
Do you know who the typical Thinkific user is? The kind of a creator and/or entrepreneur who doesn’t want to spend the remaining days of his or her life with complex integrations, code, or any sort of techno mumbo-jumbo.
But not knowing tech or the mumbo-jumbo can cost a pretty penny such as shopping cart abandonment, lost sales, lost opportunities with retargeting, and more.
With CartStack (now available on the Thinkific App Store), you can recover lost customers, deploy multi-channel cart abandonment campaigns, and use in-site retention tools — all of them built to help you shame Amazon.
CartStack help you do this with email reminders, push notifications, SMS reminders, and more.
Teaching online courses and doing webinars — they are like inseparable twin sisters born together, joined at the hip. If you do webinars, you are well-poised to do online courses. Promoting online courses? Then webinars are a great way to generate leads, build trust, and grow your course business.
Let’s admit it though: Doing webinars is hard. It demands time, preparation, and your actual presence. How about automating webinars then? Yeah! Do it once and let it run like a machine that never stops?
What can do that?
Use eWebinar –It’s an automated webinar solution, set on a schedule, which combines pre-recorded video with real-time interactions and live chat to deliver a delightfully engaging experience for your customers.
However, don’t forget that Thinkific natively integrates with several more apps (outside of the Thinkific App store). Further, there’s also the swiss-army knife Zapier that can expand the possibilities of the technology stack you want to work with.
The real cost of using LearnDash is certainly not what you see on the tin. It’s slightly more and you should know about that. Note: If you are interested in self-hosted LMS tools, take a look at Podia and Thinkific
The whole world loves WordPress. In fact, WordPress powers 60.8% of the web (that’s a lot), according to Kinsta.
As such, when it comes to figuring out the best way to launch online courses or membership sites, your first thought would be to default to WordPress LMS (Learning Management Systems).
There are several WordPress LMS systems out there (from single but sophisticated plugins to complete LMS systems that you can use with WordPress). LearnDash is one of the best WordPress LMS tools you could use to create online courses?
But wait: What’s the cost of LearnDash? No, Like what’s the real cost of using LearnDash.
WordPress fanboys can’t have enough of talking about the best WordPress LMS plugins. Others who aren’t willing to write their lifetime away for WordPress try to seek out other venues (such as hosted LMS systems, third-party standalone LMS systems, and more).
I love LearnDash and I’ve used it when I had to manage a client’s online course program. But you should know the exact costs involved when working with LearnDash.
Additionally, you should also know about LearnDash Alternatives (and no, it’s not LifterLMS or some other WordPress LMS).
LearnDash WordPress LMS: A Complicated Mess or a Potential Investment?
What you do with WordPress LMS, how you use it, and what you make of it really depends on who you are, the resources you have access to, your mindset, and how you approach things.
If you are a WordPress expert, you don’t even have to read this.
Are you a WordPress power user (but don’t necessarily code or fiddle with geeky stuff)? Maybe you can experiment a bit.
Are you an entrepreneur who wants to teach online courses but doesn’t want to get bogged down by the complexity of making 9 different plugins, 1 WordPress LMS theme, and several other services together?
You should not take the WordPress LMS route.
Now, one thing I noticed (when I wanted to launch online courses and I went about breaking my head as to which route to take and the investment costs of the choices I make) is that almost “no one” — company or individual (including those who reviews) — did not completely reveal the costs of going for the WordPress LMS route.
As far as LearnDash was concerned, I decided to make a list of possible expenses (will change based on whether or not you choose to invest in any of these, depending on your needs).
How Much Does LearnDash Cost? The Real Cost Please
Here’s what the real cost of using LearnDash would look like (with a few assumptions):
I don’t talk about WordPress LMS, teaching online courses, starting membership sites, or anything else from a design standpoint.
My approach to anything is first from a marketing standpoint which then leads me to design (in a way that it meets marketing needs).
Assumptions (from a marketing and future-proof perspective):
We start with reliable, fast WordPress hosting: You can’t run a proper online course business with cheap web hosting or inexpensive WordPress Managed hosting. For this, you’d want to use the likes of Kinsta, WPEngine, and FlyWheel. The costs for hosting will start at $15 and go upto $30 or so.
Pick a dependable, reliable WordPress Plugin: Is the WordPress LMS (LearnDash, in this case) managed, maintained, and updated enough? Will it last? Does it have the mojo? Is it dependable? LearnDash is all of that. That’s why we choose it here and that’s why I am writing this post.
Design Control: One of the major advantages of using a WordPress LMS (in lieu of hosted LMS such as Podia or Thinkific) is that you have absolute control over design and presentation. In that case, does LearnDash work well with the likes of Elementor, Divi, and Beaver Builder?
WordPress LMS payment gateway Integration: It’s one thing if you want to use online courses as lead magnets and use them for growing your email list. Normally, though, you aren’t selling online courses for free. You want to get paid for your online courses. Hence, you’d need a WordPress LMS plugin that can handle payments (and not nickel-and-dime you for something as basic as the ability to accept payments).
Video hosting for online courses: Online courses without videos are passe — you’ll have a hard time convincing anyone to buy your course with just text and images for $297 (you know what I mean?). If you have to use videos as lessons for your courses on LearnDash, you’d have to have a way to host those videos somewhere (and no, YouTube doesn’t count. Don’t even go down that route). This means that you’d have to invest in tools such as Vimeo or Wistia.
Email Marketing Tools Integration: You’d need a reliable and functional email marketing system to help sell your courses. So, LearnDash Integrations with tools like MailChimp, ConvertKit, or Drip is a must.
The table above still doesn’t include a specific WordPress LMS theme.
What other costs will creep in?
Note: Using tools like Elementor or Divi usually gives you a way to build your online course website completely on your own or use Templates (could cost you $59 to $79, one time).
The total assumed cost of creating an online course on WordPress, using WordPress LMS such as LearnDash, works out to be around $150 per month or approximately $1785 per year.
This doesn’t include:
Any other WordPress plugins (such as membership plugins, GeoIP redirect plugins, WooCommerce extensions, and others that you might invest in).
Ongoing costs for marketing (blog posts, content, social media management, paid ads, landing pages, and more)
Staff, teams, and resources
The cost of equipment to create online courses such as Cameras, tripods, green screen, video tools or video editing software, and more.
Agreed that these other costs (such as marketing, video tools, etc.) are the same regardless of which WordPress LMS you’d use or whether you’d go for other solutions available for teaching online courses.
This post was only to let you know about the real costs of using LearnDash (or any other WordPress LMS plugin).
It’s not to say that you shouldn’t go down this route at all.
In fact, LearnDash comes with some very powerful partnerships too and loads of specific information related to it.
Or you could create, teach, and sell online courses (or digital downloads or memberships) just for the business model it is.
You can take any route you want but the numbers don’t lie.
Note: If you can’t wait, just start free trials with either Podia or Thinkific to get cracking right away.
How Big Is The Online Course Industry?
Did you know that the online courses market is projected to be a $325 billion market by 2025? TechJury has a few online learning stats that’ll make you fall off the seat.
Here are a few of them:
In 2017, approximately 77% of US corporations used online learning, but 98% planned to incorporate it in their program by 2020.
The US e-learning market could grow by $12.81 billion between 2020 and 2024.
E-learning increases retention rates by 25% to 60%.
The corporate e-learning market could increase by $38.09 billion between 2020 and 2024.
E-learning has led to an increase in income for 42% of US organizations.
A survey of 2,500 companies found that those with “comprehensive training programs” have 218% higher revenue per employee and 24% higher profit margins.
IBM saved approximately $200 million after switching to e-learning.
According to Thinkific, more than 63 million courses were taken online in the year 2020. On average, there are more than 1.5 million new courses taken each week.
Pandemic? Yeah, right. Opportunity to make an impact? Hell yeah!
So, why create and sell courses? Here’s why:
Teach Online & You are a certified hustler
Most of us just do what we do even if you ignore the fact that it also takes a bold decision, huge momentum, guts, and a leap of faith. You’d need a whole new set of skills just to teach courses online. For one, there’s the anxiety of showing up on camera.
Moreover, there’s the work of putting together everything you know into little modules and chapters. You might have to dumb down a bit. You’d have to practice speaking slower. You’d have to be more organized.
Teaching online is no joke. It’s a bonafide hustle. If it doesn’t kill you, it makes you so much more better as a person.
Notwithstanding the time and effort it takes to teach online, it’s a call for something new that you might not have thought about.
Online courses make you money
There’s no skirting around this fact. Teaching online courses is profitable. Period.
Besides, there’s no dearth of case studies and success stories of online course creators.
Josh Kauffman was strictly instructed by his father to NOT get into education. For a while, he complied. But it wasn’t until he started his site at PersonalMBA that he saw his business exploding.
Thinkific course creators clocked an estimated $US 650 million in total so far. John Saunders made $100,000 with a single online course.
Let’s say you already have a business. Like most entrepreneurs, you don’t have any more time left to actually launch another business teaching or selling courses online.
Contrary to the usual song-and-dance about “not having enough time”, you should make it a priority. In fact, teaching online should be a marketing strategy.
Further, you don’t have to treat online training or online teaching as another “business”. However, you can certainly think of it as a marketing tool.
How Online Courses Can Work as a Business Growth tool
To illustrate, let’s take a few companies and see what they are doing (you can do this on an individual level too, of course):
Webflow kills it with Webflow University — you should just see how much traction, love, and engagement (not to mention a true community) that the Webflow Academy helps build. Moreover, the training is awesome (not the boring, “duh” kind..).
Astra Theme — the same team that also makes other tools such as Convert Pro and Schema Pro — drive up engagement with their SkillJet Academy.
LeadPages has a series of regular webinars, The Converted Series, and several resources made available for you to learn everything about landing pages, conversions, and more.
If you notice, each of the brands above specifically teach or train in domains that their business is relevant for.
There are several individuals, entrepreneurs, freelancers, creative professionals, and others who do the exact same thing. They teach to establish their credibility, grow their personal brand, and improve their image for potential or existing customers.
In conclusion: Teach it to make it.
Interested in teaching online, start with Podia or Thinkific and get into the groove now.
Were you thinking of generating leads with email course lead magnets?
While the whole world thinks that it’s one of the best types of lead magnets around, it really isn’t (at least not entirely). There’s a twist to creating email course lead magnets for it to work well. There’s a way to future-proof your email course lead magnet strategy (Read on to the end to find out).
From a strategic point of view, email course lead magnets do make sense. They are easier to create, quick to launch, and you can go to market faster than anything else. Perhaps they make more sense than creating short (one-page) PDFs, checklists, or other types of lead magnets.
Email courses — which you’d focus on a single topic with the aim of enabling learning through emails dripped in sequence, spread out over a period of few days (such as 7 days email course, 14 days email course, or a 28 days email course) — will include only text, text + visuals, or text + videos.
From a digital marketing perspective, email courses as lead magnets not only make sense from a lead magnet point of view but also from the point of view of lead nurturing. Just the fact that you’d continuously send emails to your subscribers allows an open communication window with built-in nurturing over the next few days as soon as your subscribers sign up for the course.
Thinking into the future though, email course lead magnets will lose their sheen.
If all that you’d send is a bunch of emails with just text and/or images, there are problems that you’d need to think through:
The Email — As a Medium — Is not for Teaching or Training
There’s only so much value you can provide with 7 different emails (with text and images) sent out over a period of time. The nature of email is such that there’s no space for you to train or teach in an email. Sending out an email with 250+ words is already too much.
Visuals barely make it through the Gmail (or other email clients) filter.
Teaching and training — especially for online course creators, bloggers, and even businesses — need more words, more space, and a lot more wiggle room. Whereas some of the best emails in the world are short, crisp, succinct, and straight, your emails will be unwieldy if you send in 1600 words (along with visuals) in an email body.
Purely from a “method of teaching” perspective, emails sent as lessons are risky.There are considerable risks that regular emails already carry on their shoulders as Kayla Carmichael of HubSpot points out.
For instance, chances are that you’d not be using personalization within your emails and that already puts up your email marketing to fail. On top of that, there are other risks such as not complying with GDPR standards, sending out emails without proper thought to UX/UI, poor email design, and more.
Email Courses Aren’t a Complete Learning experience
You have a personality and that’s what really makes your courses unique. If there were 10 different courses on Quora Ads, the only reason why my Quora Ads course can sell is only attributed to how I teach the course, the examples I use (which come from my own experiences in life and in business), and my unique style of teaching.
TL;DR: This Podia review will prove that Podia is a slick, inexpensive, and all-inclusive choice when it comes to a comprehensive platform for launching your online courses, digital downloads, or membership sites.
There’s nothing else like it in the market. I already did the research for several years before I wrote this Podia Review.
I tried everything (almost).
Pick your options from among third-party sites such as Udemy (not recommended although I do have my courses there as well).
I explored self-hosted options such as WordPress + LMS or creative options such as Shopify+ EDD (easy digital downloads) or Webflow — Podia beats them all both in terms of features available and in terms of cost as far as online courses, membership sites, and selling digital downloads is concerned.
Podia was built from scratch for online creators. Looking for hosting your online courses? Want to start a membership site? Want to sell digital downloads? Podia is your answer.
Podia comes with LMS. The LMS itself is Podia.
There’s no need for subscribing to some other LMS and then dig your head deep in the sand trying to make it work. Just work on creating courses, upload your content, and you are ready to sell online courses.
There’s no need for you to worry about hosting (Podia comes with hosting included for your main Podia storefront, for each of your product landing pages, and also for the pre-launch landing pages).
Of course, you can add any kind of page you want, including a storefront, sales pages, contact page, about page, product pages, and any other custom pages — there’s no limit! You’d never have to worry about hosting, space limitations, bandwidth, or anything of that sort.
The Podia platform also optimizes your sales funnel by connecting your website, products, email marketing, customer lists, and sales in one place.
Note: At the time of reading this, you might be looking for a new home for your existing online courses, memberships, and digital downloads. Or you could be looking to migrate from Kajabi, Thinkific, Teachable, or any other platform. Podia makes migrations easy (you can do it yourself or you can ask for the ever-so-helpful folks at Podia support to do it for you.
Podia Storefront: A home For your online courses, Digital Downloads, & Memberships
Podia provides you with a proper store-front for your online courses, memberships, and digital downloads. You have the ability to edit your storefront and to design it based on your brand and how you’d like it to be.
There’s no need to design anything new (except for editing your Podia storefront to match your brand or to create a layout — at the click of a few buttons — as you deem fit).
As you keep creating courses, memberships, and digital downloads, your storefront is automatically populated in grid-style (one course next to the other) or in a list format (as above). Of course, you can edit your storefront to make it look like it’s your own.
By using several pre-built blocks, you can add intermittent layers of blocks within your storefront too (such as testimonials, images, and more).
You can keep your Podia storefront as a standalone website (connect your domain with Podia) or you can have your existing site (on WordPress, for instance) and just connect a subdomain to your actual website as shown below:
By doing it this way, you get to keep your Podia storefront for all the good stuff such as:
Hosting & showcasing your digital products on a storefront (which can be created on-brand and is completely editable).
Deploy landing pages for each digital product.
Create pre-launch landing pages for digital products that you are still working on.
Have a branded domain (like Fetchprofits Academy) for better marketing.
Meanwhile, you can keep the rest of your website on WordPress that has advantages as follows:
Your WordPress website remains as your central, marketing hub. Use the right hosting partners such as WPEngine, FlyWheel, Pressidium, 10Web, or Kinsta and your WordPress website can remain bullet-proof while loading fast.
Use tools like OptinMonster, ConvertPro, or several others to generate leads on your site or to start growing your email list.
Take advantage of the familiar and powerful tools such as SEMrush to make your WordPress website rank well on search.
Use Podia embeds as Calls to action within every post
If you’ve been reading my posts for a while, you’ll recollect seeing Podia embeds in the middle and at the end of my posts. For each product (or even pre-launch pages) you create, you can easily create product embeds which look like this:
Podia allows you to embed a tiny custom HTML code that will automatically pull in some information (such as the image, the title of your product, and a call to action button). This works as a cool call to action button that you can place in the middle or at the end of your blog posts as you set out to do some regular blogging as a part of your SEO or content marketing strategy.
At the time of writing this, Podia is the only platform that has this cool feature — something that can help you tie in all your content marketing efforts with actual results that you can measure.
Use Dedicated Landing Pages (For each of your digital products)
If you were to use WordPress for creating and launching your online courses, you’d have to resort to plugins or ninja-level WordPress skills to create landing pages on WordPress.
Or, you’ll need access to robust WordPress page builders such as Divi or Elementor. Another option is to use landing page builders such as Unbounce or LeadPages.
Podia, however, allows you to create dedicated & individual landing pages for each product (online courses, memberships, or digital downloads).
Plus, each of these landing pages can be edited for design, layout, colors, etc., as well.
Pre-sell Courses With Pre-launch Landing Pages
When you run a business of any kind, waiting for the results to kick is an agonizing wait.
If you don’t like waiting, you should start earlier than others. Normally, you’d want to launch landing pages, build sales funnels for your online courses, dedicated Facebook ads campaigns and then wait to see results.
Instead, you could utilize the power of pre-launch campaigns which will make use of pre-launch landing pages, sales funnels, and the power of email marketing.
All that, plus FOMO.
56% of surveyed adults admit that FOMO impacts their media usage habits, for example, compelling them to look at social media again and again.
Marketers can harness FOMO by creating an impression of exclusivity through the use of waitlists, limited supply, and time limits.
FOMO is the principle that makes giving early access to users so important on pre-launch campaigns.
Even before you launch your online courses, you can create pre-launch landing pages to start building up traction (without having to wait for your launch day).
Talking about FOMO, check out this social proof app (aff link: get 50% off your first month) that you can use to use the power of influence and social proof to grow your business.
As you create your course on Podia, you’ll have an option to create a pre-launch landing page which will allow people to enroll in your course (even before you actually create anything at all).
Email Marketing: Baked right into the platform
By the year 2022, the number of email users is pegged at 4.3 billion users (about half of the world’s population) and more than 333 billion emails will be sent daily by 2022. The average ROI of email marketing is at $32 for every $1 spent, according to Maryam Mohsin of Oberlo
The single best way to make sales happen with your Podia storefront (and for your digital courses, memberships, and digital downloads) is to use the power of email marketing.
Use email marketing to send out well-timed broadcast messages to keep your potential students engaged, send out drip emails, or send out automated sequences to bring in the money.
The Podia advantage is that you can send out Drip messages (in a sequence) or broadcast messages (to everyone or to pre-segmented lists).
When you use Podia’s email marketing function, you don’t need to pay extra for third-party email marketing tools such as Drip, Convertkit, Mailchimp (and that saves you several hundreds of dollars).
However, if you do want to use a robust email marketing tool such as Drip or Converkit, you certainly can. Podia integrates well with Drip and Converkit. If Podia doesn’t integrate with something just yet, you can use Zapier, of course.
Sell More With Built-in LiveChat
Did you know that over 97% of global consumers say customer service is important in their choice of a brand? More than 95% of customers rate high-quality support over speed. At least 47.5% of US internet users feel the greatest challenge with chatbots is they provide too many unhelpful responses.
According to Forrester, channel preferences are changing rapidly. More customers (about 24% of them) prefer live chat usage.
Make the power of high-impact selling work for your business. A LiveChat widget comes with your podia account so that you can engage with visitors and make sales.
They don’t come for free and they have an ongoing cost associated with each of them. They are a great fit for you if you were a physical product-based business, a productized-service business, a SaaS business, etc.
You are an online creator without precious money or resources and you are just starting out. For creators, online trainers, and new entrepreneurs, starting an affiliate program could be an expensive proposition.
Once you start getting your own raving fans as customers, use the built-in affiliate Marketing tool to launch your own affiliate program to multiply your profits, scale-up revenue, and grow your business.
Fabulous Podia Support
This Podia review won’t be complete if I don’t mention the extraordinary support you get at Podia. At the time of writing this, there are several others who are now responsible to make Podia customer-friendly with a whopping 2-minutes TAT for support.
I still remember the friendly chats I’ve had with Spencer Fry who is the founder of Podia. Spencer would actually talk to you, help you out with your questions, and even give you ideas for product launches.
That was several years ago (when Podia was called Coach). Even today, Spencer actually talks to his customers. So do several others on their team. When a founder (or co-founder) takes the trouble to actually talk to potential customers (and really care), you can imagine how well they serve paying customers.
Choosing online course platforms is no fun. So, instead of thinking about Podia Vs WordPress Vs Webflow Vs Shopify, think about how you can make use of the best of what each platform does for you.
Teaching an online course is an incredibly exciting business model. Choosing online course platforms? It’s a sad job.
According to TJ McCue of Forbes, the market research firm Global Industry Analysts projected that the e-learning market would reach $107 Billion in 2015 and it did. Now, Research and Markets forecasts show triple the revenue of 2015 – e-learning will grow to $325 Billion by 2025.
Let that sink in for a while. It’s $325 billion.
Here’s what you’ll actually need to succeed with online courses, memberships, or digital downloads:
Ways to engage with your customers — potential and existing customers — such as email marketing, Live Chat, a way for you to receive feedback or comments on your digital products, and an internal, subscribers-only blog with exclusive content for your members.
Ability to do marketing easily (and for the platform to connect with the marketing tools you’ll end up using). You can’t have a platform that’s closed off in a forced eco-system or with proprietary tools (that may or may not work). For instance, Wix is almost closed off and only works with its own email marketing software, appointment booking widgets, and other apps. Squarespace and Weebly offer proprietary marketing software (and I can’t vouch for that).
Look for platforms that provide excellent, genuine, and all-round support. You don’t need companies that tell you that your support is “email only”. Or you don’t want companies that don’t take a genuine interest in the success of your business.
Here’s a detailed rundown of standalone and primary online course platform options and it looks like when it comes to creating online courses. This could be a good starting point for you to decide better when it comes to choosing online platforms:
Building Online Courses With WordPress + LMS: Expensive & It’s an UnGodly Mess
WordPress is extremely popular. It’s the default when creators go on to choosing online platforms, and there’s a good reason for that.
However, most people stop thinking about just how expensive, messy, and all-consuming WordPress can get when it comes to managing sites. That’s just the regular sites.
Bring in anything complicated like eCommerce with WordPress or selling online courses, membership sites, and digital downloads with WordPress and it gets even more complicated.
Want to sell digital downloads, online courses, or memberships using WordPress? It’s a tough call for those who aren’t into the tech side of things. Thought about using WordPress along with LMS or membership plugins or something like EDD (Easy Digital Downloads)?
Here’s a complete list of plugins that Raymmar points out:
Here is a list of what those plugins do… 1/2
Anti-Spam plugin Classic Editor (Reverts back from Gutenberg) Custom Facebook feed Facebook like box Google Analytics Gravity Forms Gravity Forms Mailchimp Add on Insert headers and footers Intercom ManageWP Custom Instagram Feed
While WordPress the most popular option at the moment, you’ll first need high-speed and secure managed WordPress hosting (your cheap hosting won’t do).
Then, you’ll need a relevant WordPress theme, and an LMS subscription and/or a membership plugin. You might also need special plugins to build better checkout flows, for email marketing, for LiveChat, and more.
Creating Online Courses With Podia: Online Education, Made Possible for Everyone
Podia was built from the ground up for online courses (the platform also allows you to create membership sites and make digital downloads available for sale).
Podia is, by far, the most cost-effective, clean, and the simplest way to start your online courses when compared with any other options you might have available at the moment.
With Podia, you don’t tinker with website design, stitching tools together, or trying to figure out how to make things work.
You just create courses, memberships, and digital downloads. Connect with PayPal or Stripe and you then upload your content to Podia and you are good to go.
You get the following with Podia (and as you can see, it’s all created with a few clicks):
Podia comes with LMS. The LMS itself is Podia. There’s no need for subscribing to some other LMS and then dig your head deep in the sand trying to make it work. Just work on creating courses, upload your content, and you are ready to sell online courses.
Individual landing pages for each product (online courses, memberships, or digital downloads). Plus, each of these landing pages can be edited for design, layout, colors, etc., as well.
Even before you launch your online courses, you can create pre-launch landing pages to start building up traction (without having to wait for your launch day).
Built-in email marketing system. Use email marketing to send out well-timed broadcast messages to keep your potential students engaged, send out drip emails, or send out automated sequences to bring in the money.
Built-in LiveChat: Make the power of high-impact selling work for your business. A LiveChat widget comes with your podia account so that you can engage with visitors and make sales (do some things that don’t scale).
Once you start getting your own raving fans as customers, use the built-in affiliate Marketing tool to launch your own affiliate program to multiply your profits, scale-up revenue, and grow your business.
Podia is also ready for you to start marketing the right way. Podia provides you with opt-in widgets or cards for each of your online courses (or products). You can embed these cards or widgets right in the middle of your blog posts or under the blog posts.
Tracking and analytics is enabled on all podia storefronts, landing pages, and pre-launch landing pages.
You can integrate with Google Analytics (or use Google Tag Manager). You can add your important tracking pixels such as Facebook Pixel, the Quora Pixel, and more.
Creating Online Courses With Webflow: Control & Slick Interface But Lacking In Options
Webflow is at the head of the #nocode movement. It’s possible to build really fast-loading, beautiful, and absolutely fantastic websites with Webflow. I mean, you could build a simple website. Or you could build a website with a blog. Or perhaps launch an online magazine. How about a portfolio website?
Webflow can do a lot. However, it’s still a little bit of work trying to build online courses with Webflow.
It’s not to say you cannot build online courses with Webflow, because you can. It’s just that selling online courses, memberships, and digital downloads is a bit too much of an ask from Webflow at the moment.
You’ll be able to design courses in a way that you have a way for people to subscribe and log in on the front end and then build the course pages individually before uploading content (such as videos) to YouTube, Wistia, or Vimeo to make this work.
Still not a straightforward use case and you’ll have quite a bit of a learning curve, even though anyone can use Webflow.
For memberships using Webflow, just integrate with MemberStack. As for the courses, you’ll need to figure out how to deliver your courses (and that’s where it gets messy with Webflow at the moment).
If you just want to use Shopify to host online courses and deliver, you can simply do that by using Shopify along with Easy Digital Downloads or FetchApp or maybe just email. But that’s a crappy experience.
Thankfully, there’s an app called Courses on the Shopify App store that comes very close to the kind of online courses you should build.
You can create and sell online courses on Shopify with TalentLMS — and there are direct integrations available with Shopify if you want to deliver a complete online learning experience (with a way for your students to log in, take courses, take quizzes, and more).
There are few more apps that can help with a few aspects of hosting, launching, and building online courses with Shopify.
For instance, Locksmith for the Affiliate locked pages allows you to lock pages and content on your store so that only the customer/affiliate with the credentials to see that page will have access to it.