( Originally Published 1898 )
The down-town terminus of a Third avenue elevated road is exactly opposite the entrance to an East River bridge. As one comes down the stairway from the elevated, or comes out of the bridge entrance, he is met by a number of newsboys, each one crying his papers, and at the same time holding out his hand in the hope of receiving the paper with which you are through. These papers are either sold again or are returned to the newspaper offices as unsold copies.
There is as much difference in the methods of these newsboys as there is in those of business men who advertise. Some of the boys push to the front and seem to catch the eye of almost everybody. There is an-other kind of boy, who stands a little in the background, but who still reaches out his hand. Out on the edge are some of the smaller, weaker and less energetic boys, and beyond them are some who take no interest in the proceedings at all, who receive few papers and sell few. The boy who asks oftenest and keeps most persistently in the foreground is the boy who gets the most papers.
The advertiser who keeps his business prominently before people and asks persistently and often for their trade is the one who will get the most business. The man who is nearly as energetic will get the business that is left, and the one who stands around on the edge, with his hands in his pockets, may very reasonably and justly expect to get "what the boy shot at."
Advertising, reduced to its lowest terms, is merely asking people for their trade. That's all there is of it.
A business man wants trade in some particular line. If it is a good line, and if he understands it and runs his business properly, it is only a question of asking enough people and asking them often. In the dull season, when only comparatively few people are buying anything, the advertising effort should be increased as the number of possible buyers decreases. It is easier to sell $10 worth of goods among a thousand people than it is to sell that much among one hundred people. If there are only one hundred to work on, work them hard.