It seems like everyone is glued to their phones and tablets these days. People cross busy city streets with their eyes stuck to a screen. They drive with one hand on the wheel and the other sending a text. They’ve got their phone in their pocket at all times, and can’t go one minute without checking it.

Whether you’re addicted to mobile yourself, or the ubiquitous sight of phones drives you crazy, one thing is certain: mobile use is only going to grow bigger.

How you decide to approach mobile will directly affect the success of your online courses. If you ignore it, you run the risk of becoming a Technology Dinosaur and seeing your business become extinct. If you embrace it, your business will be better equipped to grow and flourish.

We want you to be the most successful you can be, so we’ve put together a guide to making your business mobile-friendly. Here are 15 vital statistics everyone should know, and our favorite tips to help you do better business in this world of Mobile Madness. (Bonus points if you’re reading this on your smartphone or tablet!)

58% of all US consumers own a smartphone. (comScore)

50% of all US consumers own a tablet or e-reader. (Pew Internet Research)

What this means for you:

The majority of Americans have invested in these devices. It’s up to you to meet them halfway by investing in making your online course mobile friendly. We’re talking every aspect of your course: from marketing to sales pages to emails to course content. As more and more people go mobile, their expectation of having a fantastic experience rises. Are you ready to meet those expectations?

90% of people move between devices: smartphones, PCs, tablets, TV, etc. (Google)

34% of cell internet users go online mostly using their phones, and not using some other device such as a desktop or laptop computer. (Pew Internet Research)

What this means for you:

Back in the old days (even just a few years ago), the desktop computer was the king of the castle. Every business designed their desktop website first, before even thinking about mobile. Heck, some businesses didn’t think about mobile at all. Desktop was everything. All other platforms were secondary.

But the times, they are a-changin’.

With so many devices in play, you can’t assume your desktop website will do all of your heavy lifting anymore. People are hopping from device to device, all with variable screen sizes and specs and features. And that’s nothing new. The size of car phones (remember those?) shrunk from the size of a briefcase-size to the size of a cordless phone. Computers progressed from the size of a room to the size of your wallet.

Technology changes all the time, and it’s up to you to keep up with the latest. Whatever device your students are using, you need to be prepared to give them the best experience possible.

And as more people than ever are treating their phone or tablet as their primary Internet device, we recommend you adopt this mantra:

Think Mobile First.

When it comes to designing your website, building out your course content, or sending sales emails, figure out how it will work on mobile first. Move on to desktop second. That’s how your students are thinking about things, and you should follow suit.

Americans spend an average of 158 minutes every day on their smartphones and tablets. (Flurry)

Over 30% of all web traffic comes from mobile, and rising. (This number seems low, but it includes SAP research websites and other enterprise sites dominated by desktop.) (Walker Sands Digital)

60% of Summit Evergreen web traffic comes from mobile. (Summit Evergreen)

What this means for you:

The amount of time people spend on their mobile devices is increasing, and a lot of that time is spent connected to the Internet. What are people DOING with all that time? Reading e-books, checking email, using apps, connecting with social media, watching video, taking photos, texting… some people are even making regular old phone calls. The list goes on and on. Some people even are information hoarders. Check out our article to see if you’re one of them.

Mobile users expect to be able to do just about anything on their devices, including take an online course. Ask yourself — are you helping to make that possible? Or do your students think of your course as an old-fashioned tool that only works on desktop…a Technology Dinosaur?

91% of adults have their mobile phone within arms reach 24/7. (Nielsen)

75% of Americans bring their phones to the bathroom. (11 Mark)

44% of cell owners have slept with their phone next to their bed. (Pew Internet Research)

29% of Americans say their phone is the first and last thing they look at every day. (Qualcomm)

What this means for you:

While desktop computers feel like “work,” mobile devices feel like “life.” Users take their phones with them everywhere they go. And if your course isn’t able to go with them, you’re missing out on big opportunities.

Imagine you have a student who’s pressed for time. At the end of a long day, the last thing he wants to do is sit in front of his laptop and feel like he’s back on Work Time. He’d rather curl up in bed with his tablet or e-reader and enjoy some Me Time.

Your course can be an enjoyable part of that Me Time — but only if it’s mobile optimized. Think of the deeper connection you’ll forge with your students if they regard your course as a special treat after a long day, instead of another piece of work to complete.

80% of all US commuters drive to work. (US Census 2011)

5% of all US commuters take public transit to work — and that jumps to 23% of people with a commute of an hour+. (US Census 2011)

Among people who have recently bought audiobooks, 47% listen while commuting in a car. (The New York Times)

What this means for you:

Without something to do, rush hour is wasted time. People are desperate for distraction, excitement, entertainment. This is the perfect chunk of uninterrupted time to engage your students and command their attention.

Video clips are the perfect content for public transit commuters who have nothing to do for an extended period of time. (We recommend that you include a text transcript for those students who would rather read than watch.)

Commuting drivers shouldn’t be watching videos — hello, traffic accidents! — but there’s no better place for solid audio content. Give them a better alternative to the same old morning radio schtick by offering course lessons via sound files.

61% of people have a better opinion of brands when they offer a good mobile experience. (Latitude)

48% said that if a site didn’t work well on their smartphones, it made them feel like the company didn’t care about their business. (Google)

What this means for you:

Optimizing for mobile is a clear way to show your customers you care about them. It demonstrates that you understand their lifestyle and you’ve made an effort to make their life easier. If you don’t make that effort, you might lose their trust — and their business.

Becoming mobile friendly doesn’t only help your students. It helps you, too.

  • You’ll see higher engagement, increased satisfaction, and more returning students, which equals more long-term revenue for you.
  • The perceived value of your courses will go up, because you’re offering a high quality experience across multiple devices.
  • This is important: by keeping up with mobile technology, you’ll be better equipped to accommodate future digital trends. Basically, if you drag your feet on mobile, you’ll find yourself ten steps behind on the Next Big Thing. Foot-dragging is a solid step in the direction of becoming a Technology Dinosaur, which puts your business at risk for extinction.

Don’t go extinct!

Summit Evergreen is working hard to keep you on the cutting edge of mobile optimization. Within our platform, you’ll find course themes and email templates that are mobile friendly right out of the box with no effort needed from you. And we’re continuing to explore new tools and ideas to make sure your students will get the experience they want, no matter what device they’re on.

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