For 15 years or so, I worked at various graphic design firms as a production artist. Two years ago I left "Design Firm" in "Big City* and started working freelance from home in "Rural Area" about 90 minutes away.
For the last two years I have done well enough with freelance work from two former employers, and a few referrals on the side. I would like to increase this volume. (I do website design/basic programming, corporate ID, basic print design, and proofreading.)
Generally, when you want more work, you advertise for it. What are some successful, reasonably cost-effective methods of advertising I could pursue? I am looking to build business in my area, not in "Big City." I am also a work-at-home-parent, so one of the things I can't do is drive around for hours beating the bushes for work.
(I browsed through marketing and advertising tags here and was completely overwhelmed. I'm trying to break down this task into more manageable chunks. "Redesign my website" is manageable, but time-consuming.)
ETA: no one thinks newspapers or Google Ad words are viable? Just checking.
One way to get your name out locally is you could volunteer to do free design work for local charities or charity events which have a high profile in your area in exchange for advertising on their pages or publications.
You could also do search engine optimization on your site and include a lot of the local community names so that you come up in searches for your location + the words graphic designer, etc.
Find a "pimp."
I have a friend who is an editor/proofreader. Instead of trying to build their own business, they've signed on with a very reputable supplier of such services. That company finds the clients and takes a cut. So you spend time on what you know, your craft, not on selling yourself, which you could either not know or not enjoy doing.