Carolyn Browne Tamler

has helped hundreds of businesses and organizations with her thoughtful facilitation and research services. She also writes colorful and compelling articles about new business initiatives! Would this help you? Call Carolyn today!

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    2055 Pheasant Farm Lane
    Freeland, WA 98249

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    6-12-14 The Langley Merchants Survey – The biggest take-away from this survey

    Doing a business survey has value if there are some key findings that can be used for planning future marketing.

    Looking at the major finding that people learned about Langley businesses from just walking by a store gives a strong message that the value of promoting Langley as a whole, rather than individual businesses, will benefit everyone in the business community.

    As more people are encouraged to “Visit Langley,” the economy of the community will reflect the increase in visitors.  It’s also likely that there is funding already available that can be used for promoting the community.

    It’s also more fun and rewarding to participate in a collaborative effort.

    Note: For a copy of the survey report, contact Marc Esterly at the Langley Chamber of Commerce.


    6-5-14 The Langley Merchants Survey – What are some of the other major reasons given for choosing to shop at a particular business?

    As I mentioned in the previous Blog, “Just saw it walking by” was the reason marked by the largest number of respondents (47%).

    The next two most repeated responses to the question were: returning customer (37%) and learned from a friend or relative (18% word-of-mouth).

    These second and third most common choices are basically responses to good customer service.  If you like a business, you’ll come back again, and you’ll tell others about your positive experience.

    Excellent customer service begins very simply with eye contact, a smile and a friendly “Hello.”  Once someone feels welcome, they want to stay and look around.  Most people appreciate this basic process of feeling welcomed.

    Note: You may obtain a copy of this report by contacting Marc Esterly at the Langley Chamber of Commerce.


    5-29-14 The Langley Merchants Survey – What is the biggest reason someone chooses to shop at a particular business?

    The most amazing finding to me that came out of the Langley Merchants Survey was the response to the question, “How did you learn about this particular business?”

    The answer that was marked by half of the respondents was: “Just saw it walking by.”

    What this tells me is that what is most important for the businesses in Langley is to promote “Visit Langley” above all else.  People come into town as visitors (and many are local visitors), walk around and are drawn into certain businesses.

    Having an appealing window display or interesting  materials at the entrance to the store, or something else that attracts the senses (some noted the smells from Sweet Mona’s Chocolate or Whidbey Island Soap Company* that lured them in) is a key factor in a village community like Langley.

     *Now Whidbey Island Natural.



    5-22-14 The Langley Merchants Survey – Who comes to Langley businesses?

    The City of Langley is an iconic little town.  There are nearly 100 business in Downtown Langley, all of them small independently-owned ones.  There are no chain stores.  Like all business communities, Langley wants to thrive economically.

    In previous blogs I’ve written a lot about knowing your target market, catering to that market and keeping track of who comes to your business and how they learned about you.

    I recently conducted the Langley Merchants Survey as a pilot project for the City of Langley to see if an inexpensive self-administered survey could get useful information for the business community as a whole, as well as for individual merchants.

    In my opinion, a lot was learned.  At a meeting at Ott & Murphy on May 22, 19 members of the business community attended a presentation I did describing the survey process and the results.  Those attending were overwhelmingly positive that the survey generated a lot of useful information and provided good ideas for ways the business community can promote itself.

    In future blogs I’ll share my observations about what was learned.  For now, I’ll just say you’ve heard a lot of it from me before: collaboration and customer service benefits all businesses.

    If you would like to have a copy of the survey report, contact Marc Esterly at the Langley Chamber of Commerce:


    5-15-14 It's important to ask, "How did you learn about my business?"

    When someone comes into your store, or contacts you to purchase your product or service, be sure to ask how they found out about your business---and, keep track of what you learn.

    If you are already doing this…..that’s great! 

    Are you keeping a record of what you learn?

    Asking this question and keeping a record of the responses is important, so that you can see where to place your energy and dollars to promote your business. 

    On South Whidbey, word-of-mouth seems to be one of the most important sources of business, but we also have newspapers, emails, Drew’s List, bulletin boards, brochures, and promotions for non-profits (hopefully, you’ve heard me mention businesses that support the Whidbey Children’s Theater, for example).

    When you have a sale or any kind of special promotion, it is especially important to keep track of what brings potential customers to you.

    Be aware also, that advertising and promotion that works well may vary.  It is not uncommon for something to work great for a while, and then suddenly not be as effective in generating business for you. 

    That’s why it’s so important to continue to check on what works, and if something isn’t working as well as it used to, try something new.