If you are using an external payment solution, you'll need to enroll students into your Thinkific course after they make a purchase. You'll also need a way to manage enrollments in the case of a cancellation or failed payment.
This article is only for course creators using a payment gateway that we do not have a direct integration with. Check out Thinkific Payments, Stripe, and Paypal for built-in payment solutions.
In this article:
How to Enroll Students After Purchase
If a student makes a purchase on your external payment solution, you will need to enroll them into your Thinkific course after accepting payment. Since your external solution does not have a built-in integration with Thinkific to enroll students after purchase, we have a few options for managing your enrollments:
- Use Zapier to Automate Enrollments
- Manually Enroll Students
- Bulk Enroll Students
- Issue Coupon Codes
- Build a Custom Solution Using Our Public API
Use Zapier to Automate Enrollments
If you are looking for an automated solution for handling enrollments that don't require developer support, we highly recommend looking into Zapier! Zapier is a tool that allows you to connect applications without a built-in integration together through actions and triggers.
For example; a student purchases your course on an external payment solution like Clickfunnels (trigger) and then that student is enrolled in your Thinkific course (action).
Learn more about Zapier here: Integrate with Zapier
Manually Enroll Students
If you are not managing large numbers of students, you can always manually enroll each student after they make a purchase on your external payment solution.
Learn how to manually enroll students here: Create and Enroll Students
Bulk Enroll Students
Issue Coupon Codes
Another option for enrolling students is to issue coupon codes. With this option, you will still need to integrate with one of our built-in payment integrations and price your course. You can then issue 100% off coupon codes to allow students who already purchased outside of Thinkific to enroll for free.
Learn about coupons here: Create Coupons
Build a Custom Solution Using Our Public API
If you are looking to set up an automated solution without using Zapier, another option is to build a custom solution using our Public API. We do not provide support for custom solutions however if you are looking for developer support, check out our Thinkific Experts Marketplace!
When enrolling students with one of the options listed above, make sure to consider if you would like to set an enrollment duration or expiry date. This means that instead of providing forever access, your students will automatically lose access to your course at a specified date.
- When Manually Enrolling Students, you can set an expiry date at the time of enrollment.
- If you Bulk Enroll Students, you can later Bulk Unenroll when they should lose access to the course.
- If you Issue Coupon Codes, students will be using our default checkout, so the enrollment duration set in your course pricing will apply.
- If you are using our Public API or Zapier to Automate Enrollments, this can be defined when you create the enrollment. Learn how to set this up using Zapier here: Zapier: Add an Enrollment Expiry Date
Enrollment Duration for Subscription Pricing
Enrollment duration is particularly important if you have subscription pricing. This way students will only have access to the billing period they have paid for. When you have subscription pricing and are using our Public API or Zapier to Automate Enrollments, you will need to set up the following:
- Set an enrollment duration/expiry date on the initial enrollment
- Update the expiry date for each subsequent subscription payment
For example, if you have a monthly subscription and a student signs up on Jan 1st, then their course expiry date in Thinkific should be Feb 1st. When the next payment goes through successfully on Feb 1st, the expiry date should be updated to Mar 1st, and so on.
If you are using Zapier, you can see how to set that up here: Zapier: Add an Enrollment Expiry Date
If you have used any of the other more manual enrollment options listed above (Manual Enrollments, Bulk Enrollments, or Coupon Codes), then expiry dates will need to be updated manually: How to Edit a Student's Course Expiry Date
How to Manage Cancellations
If you have set up a payment plan or subscription in your external payment solution, you'll need a way to remove course access if your student wants to cancel.
Since you are using an external solution, students will not have the option to cancel their Thinkific account. If your student would like to cancel, they will need to reach out to you directly to request a cancellation.
Some options to consider that can help with this include adding custom code to your site to:
- Remove the Billings section from the My Account menu as this will not be linked to your external solution
- Include a link to contact a help email for any billing inquiries
- Include buttons back to your external payment solution to manipulate payment details
These options will require a developer. We do not provide support for code customizations however, we have some wonderful freelance web developers on our Thinkific Experts page who you can reach out to if you need! Many course creators also use upwork.com or fiverr.com for hiring developers.
You can see more details on editing theme code here: Custom Themes (For Developers)
Completing the Cancellation
Once a student has requested a cancellation, you'll need to make sure to:
- Cancel their payment plan or subscription in your external payment solution
- Set an expiry date on their enrollment in Thinkific
In the case of a subscription, typically you'll want to set the expiry date in Thinkific to match the date of the student's next billing date would be. This way they will still have access to their course until the end of their current billing cycle. Alternatively, if the student should lose access to the course right away, you can simply unenroll them from the course.
If you are looking for a more automated way to unenroll students, also check out Zapier! Depending on what triggers are supported in your payment solution, you can set up a zap to unenroll a student if their subscription is canceled.
Learn more about Zapier here: Integrate with Zapier
How to Manage Failed Payments
If you have a payment plan or subscription in your external payment solution, we recommend applying course expiry dates to ensure that students will automatically lose access to your course in the case of a failed payment.
To help automate this, we recommend using Zapier. With Zapier, you can add an expiry date to the enrollment. Essentially you will want each recurring payment to trigger a zap that re-enrolls the student with a new expiry date.
For example, if you have a monthly subscription and your student pays on Jan 1st, you would set up a zap that enrolls the student with an expiry date of 31 days from payment. After each new payment, the student's enrollment would be extended another 31 days. If a payment ever failed, they will simply lose access to the course at the end of the billing cycle.
Learn how to set that up here: Zapier: Add an Enrollment Expiry Date
Looking to set up an automated solution without using Zapier? Many of our course creators have built custom solutions using our Public API. If you are looking for developer support, check out our Thinkific Experts Marketplace!