Welcome back to another Thrive Themes update post!

First time here?

This is where we reveal to you all the new features, elements, options and updates we've just published to all the plugins and themes in Thrive Suite.

Needless to say, it's pretty exciting.

This week is no exception, and it includes one of the most highly requested features of the last 12 months.

Read on and I'll walk you through what's new.


1. WooCommerce Integration with Thrive Apprentice

Hold your hats... this is big.

Thrive Apprentice, our fast-growing online course plugin for WordPress, now integrates directly with WooCommerce.

So, why is this such a big deal?

Because it means you can sell your online courses for free... without paying for a membership plugin.

Let me repeat that.

You do not need a membership plugin to protect and sell online courses.

All you need is WooCommerce + Thrive Apprentice. That's it.

There is no need for an expensive, complicated 3rd party membership tool like Woo Memberships that would cost you $199 per year... just to protect your course (remember, the entire Thrive Suite is only $19 per month).

One caveat- if you want to sell courses with a recurring subscription, you'll need a premium extension like WooCommerce Subscriptions. And for that you will need to pay $199 per year.

But selling courses with a single payment? That's entirely free.

Thrive Apprentice lets you build your course and restrict access to the course only to customers that have purchased it through WooCommerce. And with Thrive Theme Builder, you can easily customize your WooCommerce website.

Free Thrive University course:
How to sell your online course with WooCommerce

To celebrate this epic, flexible and powerful integration, we've published an entire online course that is completely free and will walk you through the whole WooCommerce setup, end-to-end, including building your sales funnel.

It's completely free with Thrive University:

How to sell your online course with WooCommerce

Don't have a Thrive University account? Get one for free here.

Let me quickly show you the basics.

How To Setup WooCommerce + Thrive Apprentice

Once you have both WooCommerce and Thrive Apprentice installed on your WordPress website, and you have created a course in Thrive Apprentice, click 'Add new Product' in WooCommerce.

Under the product data settings, you'll see a new tab: Thrive Apprentice.

Find the new Thrive Apprentice tab in your WooCommerce product settings

From this tab, you'll be able to attach a Thrive Apprentice course to a WooCommerce product.

The WooCommerce product includes the price, details, and product information. A customer will buy the product and see that the purchase exists in their account.

Once they have purchased that product, they will be registered for an account on your website with the email address provided at checkout. That account will be given access to the course(s) that are selected in the Thrive Apprentice tab. 

If the customer is refunded or their purchase cancelled, Thrive Apprentice will see the change in order status and remove their access to the course.

Note that you can also pick Thrive Apprentice Bundles from the courses list. If a customer buys a bundle, they will have access to any new courses you add into the bundle at a later date. Combine that with a recurring subscription and you have yourself a membership tier.

Recommended WooCommerce Settings

WooCommerce is made to be flexible. There are a thousand ways to configure it, so here are a few tips we recommend.

1. Select 'Virtual' for your product type if you're selling a course.

If a customer adds only one product to their cart and it is a virtual product, WooCommerce won't ask for their shipping address at the checkout. Ticking that box is your way of saying "I don't need shipping info for this product".

2. Link to your Course Overview page in the Purchase Note

To help your customers easily access their course, we recommend adding a course link in the purchase note for the WooCommerce product.

Select 'Advanced' and add a link to the course overview page in the Purchase Note

Purchase notes will be included in the post-checkout purchase details page, the receipt email, and in your customer's 'My Account' settings.

We recommend using this format:

<a href="https://domain.com/courses/course-home">ACCESS YOUR COURSE HERE</a>

What you add in red will be the direct link to your course overview page, and the hyperlink text in green is what your visitors will see in their dashboard and emails (see the purchase flow below).

3. Don't let customers check out without an account

Under WooCommerce > Settings > Accounts & Privacy, you'll definitely want to change the default 'Guest checkout' settings. Set them to what you see in the red box below.

Configure your account settings in WooCommerce to ensure customers have an account at purchase

If you leave the first checkbox ticked, customers can buy a course without Thrive Apprentice ever knowing what user account to grant course access to! And if you leave the second one disabled, existing customers can't login at the checkout to purchase more courses on their account.

As for account creation, well... the options in the orange box are up to you.

We recommend enabling the first one for auto-generating an account username.

The second chooses whether or not there is a password field on the checkout. If there isn't, your customers will be emailed an auto-generated password anyway (see the purchase flow below).

The WooCommerce Course Purchase Flow

Put it all together and what do you get?

Your customers arrive at your eCommerce shop and add a product to cart right here:

The product page template created in Thrive Theme Builder for a WooCommerce product

You can also customize a WooCommerce sales funnel that will skip the cart entirely, which is much more optimized for linear sales funnels and single-product purchases.

Want to know how? That's what Christine teaches in the free How to Sell an Online Course with WooCommerce course.

Once your customer has the product in their cart and arrives at the checkout, they'll be prompted to enter their details.

Notice in the checkout below that existing customers can login to their accounts. But if they haven't got an account yet, then an account will be generated for the email address they provided.

Your WooCommerce checkout will allow users to login or create an account with their email address

After a customer enters their credit cart details and places their order, they'll be taken to the default WooCommerce thank you page where they'll see their order details.

Notice how the purchase note has been included, with a direct link to their course?

The thank you page will include your Purchase note linking to the course.

The customer will receive a receipt email sent from your WordPress site that includes their order details and, if you've added it, the direct link to the course as part of the purchase note.

If they created a new account at the checkout and a password was automatically generated, then they'll receive a second email with their password too. 

The receipt email your customers will get.

The account password email your new customers will recieve.

Then if your customers ever return to the website and get lost, they can navigate to their WooCommerce 'My account' dashboard, head into 'Orders', and they'll see a list of their purchases.

One click on their purchase and voila, there's all their information including the link to their online course.

Customers can visit their WooCommerce dashboard to find the order details and course link.

Learn more about this integration in our WooCommerce and Thrive Apprentice quick start tutorial.

2. New Visually Editable Resources Element

In our last release just over 3 weeks ago, we added a brand new Resources element to Thrive Apprentice, only to immediately follow it up with a significant improvement in this latest release.

Let's cover the basics first.

Since last month's release, you've been able to go into the backend of Thrive Apprentice and add resources to specific lessons in your course.

Look for the 'Edit resources' button on your Thrive Apprentice lessons.

Clicking the button you see above would launch a lightbox that lets you attach any resource you can think of, from images, to PDFs, to internal links on your website, external links, documents, files, and more.

Add and edit your lesson resources, title, link and descriptions.

Once resources have been added to a lesson, they'll appear as part of the lesson template in the frontend.

That means that when a student opens a lesson with resources attached, they'll see them attached at the bottom of the lesson area, above the comments, like you can see in the image below.

Lessons with resources will display the Resources box at the bottom of the content area.

However, the list of resources is what we call 'hard-coded'.

Hard-coded means the appearance of the resources list is defined by the code our developers have written. Yes, it will inherit your Thrive Apprentice default fonts and topic colors, but that's all.

In our latest release, we've now created a visually editable resources element that replaces the hard-coded resources list with one that is both cloud-template driven, and that you can style endlessly.

How The Resources Element Works

When you are editing a Thrive Apprentice lesson area or if you have Thrive Architect installed and are editing anything in Thrive Architect, look for the new Lesson Resources element in your element tray.

The new Lesson Resources element!

If you drag and drop this into the lesson area on a course with resources, then the hard-coded version will be magically hidden... and replaced by the new one.

Now you can edit colors, fonts, border, corners, paddings, margins- anything!

Full visually editable. Click on anything in resources and edit away!

From the Main Options area of the Resources element, you can enable or disable the heading, the file type icon, description, and download button. You can also change the colors and the vertical alignment of both the icon and the button.

The Main Options area for Lesson Resources, including the template picker.

The element is template driven, so don't forget to click on the template picker (pictured above). Doing so will open the template lightbox, where you'll find designer-made templates ready to inherit your colors.

Choose from 15 designer-made templates!

Our goal when we release new elements is to give you a broad selection of designs that will meet the design aesthetic you prefer for your brand, and to have them inherit your colors and fonts to blend in with your website seamlessly.

Here's an example template up close:

Out of the box, these designer-made resource elements look professional and clean.

One more thing... The Resources element can be used outside of Thrive Apprentice courses.

If it's used on a lesson, it will auto-detect which resources are connected to that lesson. But if you use it elsewhere on your website, you'll be prompted to pick which course and which lesson you'd like the resources element to read from.

The example I have below is giving a customer access to the 3 resources attached to lesson one on the thank you page of a sales funnel- a great way to deliver immediate value to reward your customer for their purchase.

Add your lesson resources outside of a Thrive Apprentice lesson as well!

3. Integrations with FluentCRM

FluentCRM has quickly become a buzzing brand in the email marketing space over the last 6+ months.

Unlike most SaaS (software-as-a-service) email tools, FluentCRM has taken off because of their unique approach to email marketing: They are hosted on your WordPress site.

That means instead of connecting to Mailchimp or ActiveCampaign externally, FluentCRM lives inside your WordPress site as a plugin, which opens some interesting doors.

In our latest release, we have built both an email integration and a Thrive Ultimatum integration with FluentCRM.

FluentCRM for Lead Generation

To connect, you'll need the plugin installed and activated on your website first before you visit the Thrive Dashboard and enable the API connection.

If the FluentCRM plugin is active, then you can add your API connection from the Thrive Dashboard.

Once enabled, you'll be able to add subscribers to your FluentCRM mailing list from the lead generation form, or from our Registration form element.

Easily add new contacts to your FluentCRM mailing list.

FluentCRM with Thrive Ultimatum

In December last year, we added a new feature to Thrive Ultimatum that blew the door wide open for powerful scarcity marketing campaigns: Webhook triggers.

With this new feature, you could trigger an evergreen scarcity campaign that remains locked and unique to a specific email address simply by sending contact information to Thrive Ultimatum with a webhook.

The main use case is to set up email automations that trigger a countdown on your website at a specific moment.

Since FluentCRM lives inside your website, there is no need for a webhook to send the contact information from an external site.

So instead, we've built an integration that lets you trigger a countdown timer by simply adding a tag to a contact in your FluentCRM mailing list.

How to Trigger a Scarcity Campaign with a FluentCRM Tag

1. In Thrive Ultimatum, create an evergreen campaign and enable Lockdown

2. Select '3rd party event' for the trigger. This includes webhooks and other events.

3. Choose the FluentCRM tag you want to use to trigger the evergreen campaign.

4. Over in FluentCRM, configure an automation to add a tag to a user or simply add that tag when they fill out a lead generation form. 

In a FluentCRM automation, add a tag and that will trigger the scarcity campaign for that subscriber.

Now when the contact receives that tag, Fluent and Thrive Ultimatum will talk to each other and a unique scarcity countdown campaign will launch just for that contact.

Magic, eh?

4. ACF Support for Dynamic Background Images

ACF, or Advanced Custom Fields, is a plugin that allows you to attach different types of data to a WordPress post, page or custom post type.

Once that data exists, you can dynamically load it into your templates built with Thrive Theme Builder. That means you can create one template that governs a whole set of posts, but that content in those posts will be dynamically replaced with the values set in ACF.

In the example below, I've created a Custom Post Type called 'Movies', as part of a movie review website. You can see that with ACF I've added an 'Actor picture' field that loads an image from the WordPress Media Library, along with a star rating, trailer link, and other fields.

ACF fields visible in the backend of a WordPress post

In our latest update, we've added support for dynamically generated ACF images to load as background images.

In the world of website building, there are 2 ways to load images: A direct image loaded onto the page (which technically uses HTML), or a background image added to content boxes or background sections (which is technically just CSS).

Now if you're using ACF, you'll find a dynamic image option for backgrounds.

Select 'Dynamic' as a background image type, and pick your custom field as the source.

Our integration is clever enough that you can set a default image to display if you haven't saved a file in the ACF field for a specific post, or you can make it intelligently hide the whole element if the field is empty.

The result is that you can load multiple image types to your templates.

An example Thrive Theme Builder template loading an ACF image into a content box.

Background images are preferable to regular images if you ever want to add content over the top, such as layers, text, buttons or other elements.

5. Welcome Dashboard in Thrive Theme Builder + Improvements

When you first load Thrive Theme Builder, there is a fantastic site-setup wizard that helps you set your templates, colors, logos, headers and footers website-wide in under 15 minutes.

But once you've already gone through the wizard, you may not need to revisit it.

So we've added a new welcome dashboard.

The new Thrive Theme Builder dashboard gives you an overview of what you can do next. 

Beyond that, there are a bunch of under-the-hood improvements to Thrive Theme Builder that are necessary to clear the path for some future improvements coming soon.

The biggest of which is that we've moved theme templates to the cloud. This means that Thrive Theme Builder will only download the templates you require during installation and nothing more. Simply put, it's more efficient.

Stay tuned for more Thrive Theme Builder updates coming shortly.

6. More Help Articles Available

A few months ago, we began to incorporate our growing knowledge base directly into the Thrive editor.

We did this because, well - it's a beast.

We don't expect you to learn every single element, feature or part of the editor interface.

Instead, our approach is: Learn what you need when you need it.

In the latest release, we've added many, many more links to knowledge base articles so it's super easy to find tutorials and training whenever you want it.

When you are editing an element on the canvas, if you're unsure about how it works, simply click the small grey question mark icon next to the element title.

Look for the grey question mark at the top of the left hand sidebar.

Once you click that, right on the screen we'll load up the most recommended knowledge base article and/or video that will show you exactly how to use that feature.

Once clicked, the question mark will load a knowledge base article inside of the Thrive editor.

We've rolled this out to 50+ elements available in the Thrive editor element tray that now all have direct lightbox links.

Our documentation team are constantly publishing incredible tutorial videos and information docs over at help.thrivethemes.com too.

Before you go... Become a Thrive expert!

Our documentation team, the very same ones writing our super-helpful knowledge base articles, are actively publishing video tutorials based on what you've been asking for help with.

These aren't bland 'click here' tutorials. Many of them are outcome focussed, showing how to use multiple Thrive features together for expert effect.

If you want to learn how to build better websites and use our tools like an expert, then sign up for our monthly Tutorials newsletter.

In this newsletter, our documentation team will share their brand-new tutorials on the last Wednesday of every month.

As always, we love hearing your feedback on our latest round of updates.

Drop a comment below!

About the Author Bradley Stevens

Brad is the CEO at Thrive Themes, and a serious marketing nerd. He’s been a videographer on top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, a drummer in a rock band, an actor in independent films, and he’s created and sold his own online courses.

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