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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    8-31-17 Three basic marketing ideas to help increase business

    When you’re thinking about how to best use your dollars for marketing, here are the three concepts that I believe can guide you:

     1)      It is always easiest to sell more to those who are already buying your product or service;

    2)      You are more likely to sell to new customers who are much like the customers you already have or who have been referred to you by current customers; and

    3)      It is hardest to sell to new people who know little or nothing about you or your business.

    Item 1 assumes that you do everything to keep your customers happy so they’ll want to keep coming back to you.

    Item 2 is based on the idea that the kinds of people who really appreciate you, what you sell, and how you do business are likely to want to do business with you….once they know who you are….and especially if they have heard good things about you from their friends.

    Item 3 means it can be very expensive to simply place an advertisement without knowing details about the audience that will see the advertisement.

    In a small community, like Whidbey, word-of-mouth can often be more valuable than any paid advertising.

    The most effective ways to use your advertising dollars are to promote your business to current satisfied customers, and let your customers know how much you appreciate having them refer others to you.

    And, remember….a satisfied customer may tell many people.  A dissatisfied customer often tells everyone they meet.



    8-24-17 Clinton Chamber of Commerce is all about collaboration

    One of my major themes is the power of collaboration. Two women are now heading the Clinton Chamber of Commerce, and they are helping to build the Clinton business community by encouraging members to support and promote each other.

    Chamber President, Stephanie Cook, and Vice President, Janae Cameron, share a vision for growing the Clinton business community.

    Stephanie and her business partner and husband, Troy, have been the owners of Cozy’s Roadhouse since 2006 (Business Spotlight story just published); Janae opened Make Whidbey two years ago (see the recent story in the Whidbey Local Business Spotlight.

    Both businesses are doing well, and the Chamber is doing well, in part because Stephanie and Janae found that they got along well when they first met. They both have a deep understanding of the passion, courage and hard work it takes to run a retail business.

    They also are committed to having the members of the Chamber care about each other’s success. They know the importance of having businesses work together to attract tourists and locals to the businesses in the community: “The sense of community is strong in Clinton, and we each care about the success of every business here.”

    The Clinton Chamber is getting input from all of its members about how to grow the business community, and how community events can bring more visitors and customers to Clinton.

    As I have said many times before, collaboration is one of the most powerful ways to build the success of a business.


    8-17-17 How is a statistically valid survey done?

    We are hearing a lot of reports on surveys of public opinion right now, especially with all that is surrounding President Trump and the recent White Supremacist (that word is now being used instead of simply "racism") actions in Charlottesville. How do you know if the survey results are valid?

    How a sample is chosen and how a question is asked determine if a survey result will truly be providing projectable statistically valid data.

    A random sample means that everyone in a given population has an equal chance of being selected. Anything that alters this concept biases the results.

    If you sample everyone who is registered to vote—this will include a lot of people who will not vote.

    If you sample likely voters in a way that excludes certain elements of the population (such as neighborhoods with a lot of low-income or minority populations, or that will exclude many people who may be likely to vote, but were not included in the sample.

    If you sample using a self-select method (such as a Survey Monkey) it will exclude people who simply have no interest in responding.

    As part of the survey methodology, the survey company will want to have a screening question, (assuming they are using a list of registered voters) such as: “Are you planning to vote in the next election in your community?”

    And, surveys are a snapshot of the moment. If a major event happens that is widely reported in the news a few days before the polling is done, that will definitely affect the results.



    8-10-17 Blue Sound Music has a great marketing strategy: Fill a much-needed niche

    Many of the successful business on Whidbey are one-of-a-kind, selling products or services that are unique in the community.

    When a business that filled a niche leaves and a new business comes in to fill that void, there is often a customer base eager to respond.

    When Joe’s Music in Langley closed, many professional and amateur musicians were forced to travel off-island or up to Oak Harbor for their instruments and supplies.

    In May, Keegan Harshman opened Blue Sound Music on First Street in Langley, and if his first months in business are any indication, word has gotten around quickly to those who want to purchase instruments or supplies. He reports that people are coming by frequently to thank him for what he has done.

    Go to Whidbey Local to read the full story: Keegan Harshman brings a full service music store back to South Whidbey.



    8-3-17 On Whidbey Island, Word-of-Mouth is the Most Effective Advertising 

    If the source of most of your business is coming from the Whidbey community, providing good, friendly customer service is likely to grow your business better than any paid advertising.

    That’s why it is so important to do what you can to be sure that every customer, and potential customer, feels they have are noticed and have their questions and concerns addressed.

    I remember reading that if someone has a good experience they will tell a few friends; if they have a bad experience, they will tell everyone they cross paths with for days after that experience.

    The best form of promotion for your business is to be sure each customer will be singing your praises. Those songs will bring more people to you. Maybe even people from off-island.

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