Text less, call more: How to get millennials to pick up the phone

by: Shannon Givens , April 2, 2019

Millennials themselves admit it: Many would rather not talk on the phone at all if they could help it.

That’s ironic, given that many constantly use their smartphones for other purposes. But texting, not calling, is the dominant form of communication among that age group, says a Gallup poll. Why? Analysts say millennials dislike the vulnerability that comes with speaking off the cuff without options for self-editing. And a Wall Street Journal article notes members of that generation tend to see a ringing phone as an unwanted interruption sending the message “Pick up — my needs are more pressing than yours.”

“Most workers — particularly those under 40 — have long relied on email, text messaging, instant messaging or social media to reach others on the job and in their daily lives,” notes Neil Howe in Forbes. “These technologies have ushered in a new era of communication — redefining standards of etiquette, introducing new tensions between generations, and prompting concerns that the timbre of our voices will soon be drowned out by the click-clack of keyboards.”

What does all that mean for businesses relying on their phones for sales and marketing campaigns? They must apply strategy toward motivating millennials to talk by phone. A few tips to that effect:

Optimize call marketing by posting engaging ads through text or email asking prospects to call you in response. “If you are soliciting me with a service or product I didn’t specifically choose to be contacted about, you’re intruding on my time,” advises Carlo Barajas on QuoteWizard.com.

Create content marketing campaigns that offer potential customers valuable information or news, then somewhat subtly suggest they contact you to act on it or find out more. “Inbound marketing is going to be the way to reach millennials,” Barajas says. “We want to see value up front before we spend money, and we want to do it (or at least feel like we’re doing it) on our own terms.”

Use social media to create conversations with your customers before asking them to call you.

Make the calling process patently easy by using call buttons, easy-to-remember phone numbers, plain text and lots of white space in your ads. Customers should be able to react without overthinking it; once they call, the transaction should be brief and friction-free. “(Millennials) default to whichever communication method will help them complete their to-do list as efficiently as possible,” advises Howe.

Use data-generating tools to create customer profiles that can help you determine which of your customers prefer phone communications to text.

Ask Custom Toll Free how an inbound marketing campaign can help you reach customers of any age.


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