There is no feeling worse in business than sitting around and no business on the books or in the pipeline. This is the effect of the recession. There isn't a magic wand for getting customers although there are a few ideas to on how you can target your advertising.
Is is a wants or needs business? You need to put your services on offer right under their customers' noses, forget local newspapers, or other expensive listings such as telephone directories, these should have been in place before and obviously aren't working too well right now. It would be a bad investment to plough more in a dead area of advertising right now. You can use the media more constructively however by perhaps tyirng to get them to do a feature in your local paper such as promotion you might want to create or a new product or service which would be of interest.
Handing out business cards or promotional material always helps, perhaps yo have neglected that area recently. Hie a stand in a shopping areas and give you business a high local profile. Have a new drive to try and make everyone you know you are there and get the word around. Word-of-mouth is the best form of exposure. Whoever yo know load them up with business cards, it really works well as they will move on from there to a public that is probably targeted clients. Check out old work colleagues and invite them in for a coffee and let them know you are on a marketing drive and be upbeat. This will be infectious and they will in turn socialise with others and pass this on.
You have to remember that no advertising method is guaranteed to bring in customers but is does get your business in their face. Without a huge advertising budget you are not going to get customers within 24 hours, but your business will gradually get know through ever increasing circles. Therefore yo have to be patient and just keep piling the word out. It can take up to a year or more to get accountable customers from this, but never stop as the pipeline needs to be filled all the time