I was on a bus full of rowdy kids with a brand new leader sitting in the front seat. In a voice slightly above a whisper, the leader said, "If you can hear my voice, touch your nose with your thumb."
About five kids nearby put their thumbs on their noses.
Then, with the same voice she said, "If you can hear my voice, put your palm on your cheek." Another half dozen kids joined the first group.
Then, with a normal voice she said, "If you can hear my voice, clap your hands twice." About two-thirds of the bus clapped their hands twice. A few seconds later every voice on the bus went quiet and every child was paying attention.
She never once raised her voice. She never yelled, never cajoled, never forced anyone into being quiet. Instead she invited the kids into her world a few kids at a time. As some kids joined, more kids became interested. In no time at all, she had everyone's rapt attention.
Marketing works the same way.
You can yell and scream and force all the people into listening to your message. They might listen, but they will not hear. As soon as you are done yelling they will go back to what they were doing.
Or you can speak quietly to those closest to you and invite them in. Get them to commit and they will help you get others interested.
The lesson here is easy. First sell to your fans, your VIC's (very important customers). Speak to your current customers. Invite them in. Make them feel special. They will get other people interested in you.
It is a slower growth, but a far better return.
PS Yes, I'm talking about Word of Mouth. You do not get that just by being good. You have to give your customers something to talk about. First check out this free eBook - Main Street Marketing on a Shoestring Budget. There is a wonderful explanation of the four ways to generate word-of-mouth. Then download the free eBook Customer Service: From Weak to WOW! to see how you can raise your service to a talk-worthy level.