In every business, there comes a certain point where you need to scale up. In your early days as a course creator, you may get away with being a one-person show, but as you enroll more students, as Tim Ferriss says: “You need to either eliminate, automate, or outsource your tasks, or you just won’t have time for the nicer things in life.”
We’ve already written about outsourcing, and we have Experts to help you with your business, but automation is another popular way of scaling up. With all the tools out there today, you can literally flick the switch on an ad campaign and have students come in, buy your course, watch the whole thing, get regular emails from you, and complete it with a certification while you sleep.
Aside from all the integrations built into Thinkific, another popular way to connect just about anything to your Thinkific site is with Zapier. It allows you to automatically move info between web apps you already use, so you can focus on your most important work (like creating more courses)!
We’re constantly evolving to provide you with the best user experience possible by building out new features and integrations. Building out all the integrations you need one by one would take years—with Zapier, we can provide you access to 750+ other systems with just one integration. It is simply the fastest way to accommodate as many of your diverse business needs as possible.
Whether you’re looking to pre-sell your course, keep your current students engaged, or simplify your checkout process, Zapier lets you connect to the tools you already have so you can run flawless, sophisticated marketing campaigns.
We’ve recently updated our Zapier integration with improved outgoing Triggers and new incoming Actions that will allow you to grow your business faster, for less.
Let’s dig into the changes and see how you can use Zapier to save money and truly unlock your full potential as a Thinkific course creator:
Further Automate Your Course Sales
Zapier has always been available on our Essentials Plan and higher, and is now more robust. The biggest change is that we’ve improved our outgoing Triggers, so you can now drill down to specific courses/bundles when setting up your zap, without the need for filters on the Zapier side.
This means that free account holders with Zapier can access much deeper functionality, and will find it easier to configure zaps. For anyone who has used it to date, you’ll also be happy to know we now split First Name & Last Name into separate data fields. Woohoo!
Whether you’re new to Thinkific or an existing course creator, here’s how you can use these changes to your advantage:
- Save money by being able to connect more of your existing tools while remaining on Zapier’s free plan (select new enrollments for specific courses or bundles to send to designated customer database lists)
- Save time by having more control over the way student data is automatically sent to your data management tools (we’ve split up the First Name and Last Name fields so you can personalize your targeted marketing messages)
Automate Your Marketing with Triggers
Many of our course creators are working with some of the top email service providers (ESPs) out there to deliver email nurturing sequences for their online courses. You might send out an email campaign if you’re launching a new course, promoting an existing one, or trying to up-sell your students.
You might even send out reminders and engagement prompts for courses that already have students enrolled. This is one of the top ways to send out your marketing messages to a highly targeted group.
On our Essentials Plan or higher, our Zapier integration allows you to connect your online course site with every major email service provider out there by making use of Triggers. If you have multiple courses or bundles in Thinkific, you can now choose to send new enrollments from a specific course directly to a list in MailChimp as a subscriber or other ESP.
Want to personalize each message you send with your students’ first names? We’ve created separate fields for First Name and Last Name so you can enhance your campaigns.
A few of the email services commonly used by our course creators are:
Using something else to deliver emails? See more apps in the Zapbook here.
It takes a lot of work to earn a new enrollment! Once you’ve got a student to sign up, it’s important to continue to strengthen that relationship. While Thinkific has basic built-in functions that allow you to manage your users, you may need a third-party solution if you’re trying to sync contacts across multiple systems, or once your student base becomes quite larger (which is an awesome problem to have)!
The Zapier integration will allow you to automatically send new students to your CRM system, and you can even use a multi-step zap to pass them again into another tool when needed. So, for example, after Zapier syncs your student into your CRM, it can then pass it along to a data enrichment tool that searches the web for their social media profiles.
Examples of CRM tools we can connect to with Zapier include:
Using something else as your CRM? See more apps in the Zapbook here.
Marketing Automation Triggers
When basic emails don’t fully do the trick on their own anymore, you can use marketing automation to go one step further and develop unique user experiences for your students.
Using these types of tools, you can get to know your students intimately—from tracking their behaviour before they sign up, to sending highly customized automated messages after they’ve converted so your messages are sent to the right people at the right time.
Systematizing processes that help move your students through your sales funnel faster will be a life saver—build your business faster with less effort using marketing automation tools like:
Using something else for marketing automation? See more apps in the Zapbook here.
Sell More, Faster with Actions
And, for our Business Plan course creators, you have even more functionality! If you’re using an external sign up and checkout system like SamCart, Shopify or Gumroad, you can now send those registrations straight into Thinkific as new enrollments! Completely customize the look and feel of your sales process without worrying about the headache of importing those users.
Zapier makes it super simple to get access to API functionality without the need for a developer—and it comes in at a much lower overall cost.
Curious about what other features you can get on our Business Plan? Check out our pricing page!
Putting It All Together
Okay, so let’s say you’re an experienced course creator and you have some really complex funnels. How does this help you? Well, here’s an extreme example to show you the extent of the possibilities:
Let’s say your funnel starts with some Facebook Ads. Visitors then go to your funnel software like ClickFunnels or LeadPages and enter their email addresses to download a PDF or whatever free thing you want to give them. The email addresses get synced to your email software, like MailChimp. The next page is a checkout page, asking them to buy your super cheap $9.99 course.
The next page is a checkout page asking them to buy your super cheap $9.99 course. This could be in your funnel software, or on a checkout software like SamCart or Gumroad. After your leads purchase, a zap automatically enrolls them in the corresponding course.
Then your student gets an automated email from Thinkific welcoming them to the course and giving them instructions to log in. At the same time, a zap syncs the student back to your email software so it now knows who bought your course, and who didn’t buy from the list of people who downloaded your PDF.
Your email software can then kick off custom email sequences to purchasers to get them to buy higher-priced courses, and to non-purchasers to remind them to buy your lower-priced course. The end result: you have more people purchasing than you did when you weren’t doing all this.
Notice how, once you’ve set the funnel up, there’s no manual work required. It’s all automated!
Now, as mentioned, this is an extreme case and you definitely don’t always need all the other tools and software. In fact, you can set this all up in Thinkific if you want and the whole funnel would work the same way. But I just used this example to illustrate the power of Zapier and how it connects different types of software to maintain a consistent user experience for students.
Say Goodbye to Complicated Integrations
Want to see what other tools Zapier can connect to Thinkific? Check out some of the most commonly used zaps that can help automate your business with just a few clicks:
Or if you’re already a Thinkific course creator, learn how to set up Zapier!