How to Create a Mobile User Persona

How to Create a Mobile User Persona

Where should you start with mobile content marketing? With all the pressure to deliver results and so many options available, you may feel tempted to dive right in immediately with a new app, SMS campaign, or reworked mobile-friendly website.

Don’t do it. If you truly want your campaign to succeed you first need to have a good understanding of what mobile user persona you’re marketing to. Creating this persona doesn’t have to be a long, laborious effort, but it should be done thoughtfully and in advance of launch.

So, how do you create this mobile user persona? Here are three steps to get you started:

Step 1. Create a Buyer Persona

Before you can create a mobile persona you need to create a buyer persona. Unfortunately, this exercise is often misunderstood. It isn’t all about determining the exact age or gender breakdown of your audience (though that helps), nor is about finding the right generic image to use on a “persona” slide in a presentation.

Instead, sit down with actual consumers (existing or potential) to find out what their motivations and challenges are. The “5 Rings” method has become popular recently, and it’s a good starting point, as are the templates associated with it. Even if you don’t follow the exact methodology, find a way to answer the same fundamental questions: What does my audience want? How do they define success? What’s stopping them from purchasing my product? What do they need in order to make a decision?

Step 2. Establish the Optimal Content Types

Once you’ve created a buyer persona the next step is to determine what types of content will best help you achieve your goals. Often content marketers pick the formats they personally like, rather than what’s best for their audience.

Avoid this trap by going back and examining your persona research: Do your buyers need to be educated about the space? If so, a whitepaper could be a good option. Is your audience price sensitive? Perhaps you simply need effective coupons. Or do you need to make a strong emotional connection using videos or interactive offerings?

If you’re struggling with this part, this matrix can be a good starting point.

Step 3. Determine What Mobile Platforms Are Best

Now we get to the mobile component. Once you know what motivates your persona and the types of content they engage with, you can determine which mobile channels to use. Are you trying to reach younger buyers with text/image content? Then a mobile-friendly responsive design for your web offerings is essential. Do you want to make an impact with special price offers and coupons? Then consider an SMS campaign and/or QR codes.

Of course, “mobile” encompasses a broad range of offerings. Some, such as video, span all sorts of platforms but are primarily consumed by certain demographics. Others, such as GPS-based local search or apps, are limited by device capabilities.

This guide and heatmap from Sparksheet is a good place to start when trying to map your personas and content types to the appropriate mobile channels. However, keep in mind that the usage patterns of mobile platforms are changing rapidly, so make sure to supplement it with your own research.

mobile user persona_Bruce Hershey's mobile personas

Bruce Hershey, senior director of mobile at Merkle, created three different profiles for mobile customer usage behavior showing hat mobile device users are separated into touch screeners, green thumbs and straight talkers.

Ultimately, if you take the time to follow each of these steps, you should emerge with a robust mobile persona. Thanks to your buyer research you’ll know what your audience needs; your content review will reveal the best offerings; and your mobile analysis should establish the best ways to reach (and convert) them.

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