I have been at this game for over 30 years now, and have promoted business in the old days by calling potential clients and trying to arrange a portfolio review. I still do this, but more often now I email relevant jpegs to potential clients. A successful insurance agent I know once told me that the primary goal of anyone in sales was to meet in person, and I think that is still good advice.
Things have changed drastically, of course. In the 1980s I had a few clients giving me a lot of work over the year. Now I have a lot more clients, some of which only call once or twice per year. I have good clients, interesting assignments and I am happy with the fees. Despite this, there have been very few years when I couldn't have used more volume. If I could get another ten solid years in I would be happy to slow down at that point and do more personal work etc.
I want to streamline the marketing efforts so I promote business in the most efficient manner, and increase volume. Any advice would be much appreciated on how you guys and gals go about getting new clients. Do you use directories, how often do you follow up, etc.
I do a lot of architecture, and that basically involves contacting architects, pretty simple. Architecture is seasonal here though, so I need corporate and industrial projects in the winter. Many of these people are now adherents of the "receptionist who just got a new camera" school of photography, so the trick is to find the ones who have potential as clients.
I look forward to your thoughts, I suspect many of us are in the same boat. You can have a look at what I do here: www.haroldclark.com
Also, I have photos posted on ASMP Find a Photographer, if you search under Toronto.