I recently helped an entrepreneur who operates a hyper-local business, essentially providing a service to elderly and busy people in a 20 mile radius. He was getting about 1,000 visitors daily and calculated that if his traffic could grow to 5,000 a month, he will have a real solid business. He wanted to know what search engine optimization and other tricks he could employ to grow his traffic. To help him, first of all I discouraged him from getting bogged down with driving traffic alone and definitely advised him to stay away from SEO firms that may drive traffic to his web site in the short term using black hat techniques, but in the long run his website could be blacklisted by Google.
Instead, I emphasized the importance of reaching a targeted group of consumers in that specific area. How would it help him if he received 10,000 visitors daily from Nigeria or Bangladesh?
Contact local newspapers in the area that you cover to discuss how they can do a story on your business.
I know the feeling, but as reluctant as you might be as an entrepreneur with a tight budget, advertising is very effective for businesses like yours. Consider Google Adwords and Facebook ads, because what you want are not 5,000 visitors (they are worthless if they come from geographies that you don’t cover), but a very small number of potential customers, and that can be accomplished by local advertising. You probably already know about advertising in local newspapers, flyers, radio, etc.