For many small businesses, their best source of new business comes from their existing customer base.

People have always preferred to do business with those that they know, like and trust. Because people are already subscribing to your mailing list, you’ve won half the battle.

The next step to continue engagement with your subscribers lies in your plan for communication.

It’s vital to create a “stay connected” plan to remain top of mind with your subscribers. Having a plan will increase the likelihood that your subscribers will tell their friends about you, and it’s easier than you might think to create word-of-mouth.

Here are a few things you can do to keep your contacts connected and get them to spread the word.

1. Follow the 80/20 rule

As you generate a plan for the types of content you want to deliver to your subscribers, consider using the 80/20 rule.

80 percent of the messages you send should inform your audience, build loyalty and maintain their interest. It’s these messages that help you build relationships with your subscribers, developing trust with those that are best positioned to send referrals your way.

If you’ve worked to build those relationships, your audience will be energized and willing to buy, schedule an appointment or attend your next event when you send promotional communications. Try to only send this promotional content about 20% of the time.

2. Check-in regularly

It’s always a good idea to get a pulse on your subscribers.

Surveying your customers quarterly will help you understand how they’re feeling about your business, the products or services you offer and the service they’ve received.

Adding a survey to your website will give those not already on your mailing list a way to provide the feedback that’s so important to the success of your business. If you’d like to take your marketing one step further, use a survey to determine your subscribers’ interests to ensure you’re sending them information that’s relevant to them.

3. Integrate feedback

As you listen to what your subscribers love about your business you’ll uncover the things that are creating dissatisfaction as well.

Use this feedback to improve in the areas where you’re lacking, and be sure to tell your subscribers that you’ve made changes based on their feedback. Not only will this create a stronger relationship, it will also keep the feedback coming in the future.

In addition to the feedback you receive from customers, you can also use your campaign reports to determine which content your contacts are most interested in receiving. Within your reports, you can view the total number of clicks each link within your email received and also see which contacts clicked on the link.

If you’re seeing a certain type of content or offer is getting a lot of engagement, look to share similar assets in future emails!

Keeping your customers connected may begin with the right mix of content and creating mechanisms to check in regularly, but it ends with a positive customer experience that will fuel the referral engine and keep new customers walking through your door!

Choose one thing you can do this week to improve communication with your customers.

That could mean implementing one of these tips, or it could be a small improvement somewhere else in your business that helps you stay connected with customers.

Choose one thing, see how it works, and look to try something else the next week. Before long, you’ll not only have more people reading your emails and interacting with your business, but you’ll also have more repeat business and more new customers coming through your door!

What’s the one thing you’re going to do to improve communication with your customers? We want to know! Tell us in the comments below.