I keep a few little flyers in my handbag - each one in an envelope. It says some thing like this:
Hi, I noticed how lovely your hands & nails are, and as a professional nail technician I particularly enjoy working with beautiful hands & nails. Please accept this voucher to tempt you into letting me look after them for you. If you do not want the voucher, please pass it onto a friend who would like nails as beautiful as yours.
Then put a £5 off deluxe mani / new set enhancements voucher on the bottom with a 28day time limit.
Then list your services:
Manicure - Pedicure - Enhancements - Nail Art - Gift Vouchers - Bridal etc. etc.
Give this envelope to women who obviously take pride in their appearance as you walk around the supermarket, do the school run, are in the pub etc.
I have found this really successful. You are targeting the right people only (most of the time) and flattery WILL get you everywhere.
It takes a bit of guts to hand it over, but you get over this after one or two.
I also wear a uniform whenever I can in public, with ANT badge etc. and sometimes a product apron. I even do this on days when I am not working (yes this is true). Then when the woman in the corner shop asks what it is you are wearing - you can have a chat, give har a voucher and voila - new customer (or mother of customer or buyer of gift voucher) Sometimes you just sell them some cuticle oil or other product you just happen to have in your car.
Ask Local pub (if their clientelle are your sort of client) if you can pin up posters in the ladies. Check them regularly in case of vandalism.
Give every client 5 business cards. Ask them to put their name on the back, and say that if any come back to you with a new customer, you will reward them. I have a few retail items which I mark up vastly for this purpose. They cost me less than £2, but I mark them at £10. I know noone will buy them at that (well some do) but then when you give it as a reward, you are giving a £10 value (or so the happy client thinks) reward that actually costs you less than £2 and everyone is happy.
Last point - knowledge is power. If anyone calls you to get prices. get their address and say you will send them a price list / voucher etc. Answer their question, but you need their address for direct marketing at Christmas / valentines / etc. This is far more cost efficient than blanket marketing in the press.
Decide who your market is, then get the right product to tempt them and only them, price it right (too low can be offputting sometimes!) and figure out how to get to them directly. Where do they eat, shop, play, work. You can use your own computer for flyers if you like. You do not need to get things printed in large quantities if you use targeted marketing.
Then when you have done all this and find yourself turning away customers - put your prices up!!(LOL)
I have used similar tecniques to these in other businesses with huge success - in fact I built a very large company selling directly to parents based on these ideas. You can apply them to any business.