You can learn a lot from your competition and you should take advantage of the ease in which you can do so as an Internet marketer. It isn’t nearly as easy to know what your competition is up to in the brick and mortar world. All you have to do, however, is visit the websites of your competition to see how they are pricing their products and what is included in their offers. Do they offer free shipping? Discounts on bundled products? Digital and physical products? Digital only? You can spend hours perusing the websites of your competition and you should consider it time well spent.

Finding Your Competition

You can easily find your competition by typing your niche subject into Google and visiting some of the websites that come up. You can literally be a fly on the wall of your competition as you study their marketing and pricing strategies unnoticed. Be sure and read the fine print that accompanies any of their offers so you will completely understand all of the terms and conditions that apply.

What Else is Your Competition up To?

Once you find the websites of your competition, spend some time studying other aspects of their business besides pricing. In fact, study their entire website. What does it have that yours doesn’t? Is it attractively laid out and full of quality content? Is it user-friendly and easy to navigate? Does it inspire you to make improvements to your site?

While you should never copy anything from your competition’s websites, you can learn a lot by paying attention to what they have to offer. You could have the most successful Internet marketing business and you would still need to keep on top of market trends and cutting edge technology. Remember, if you are unable to provide your customers with what they want, they will have little trouble getting it elsewhere.

Another powerful learning strategy is to check out which advertising strategies your competition is making use of. What kinds of advertising are you seeing in your niche? Are you seeing banner ads? PPC ads? Are you seeing the same Internet marketers posting in forums? Have you joined any of your competition’s email opt-in lists?

Read About Your Competition

As you study your competition, you’re likely to come across forum posts or blog posts that mention your competition. What are they saying? Are they happy with the products or service or are they complaining? Whether or not they are satisfied customers, this is valuable information because it will also help you to define what makes your customers happy or unhappy. This kind of research can also open the door to holes in the market that you can fill. For example, if you come across several posts that lament the lack of customer support regarding your competition, this lets you know that this is an area where you can excel and fulfill a need in the market.

Bottom line: take advantage of how easy it is for you as an Internet marketer to learn from your competition and then apply what you learn to your own business.

Marketing, on the Internet or otherwise, is a psychological business. In the retail marketing sector, there are companies that study what colors consumers respond to and which music consumers will most likely positively respond to. They study everything about us and turn it into profits when we respond to their advertisements and buy their products. Companies that make television commercials employ a good bit of psychology in order to produce commercials that we will respond to.

Should You Charge $9.99 or $10?

Price, too, is often psychologically motivated. Even though there is only a one cent difference between $9.99 and $10, most Internet marketers and brick and mortar retailers will opt for the $9.99 price every time. Why is that? Simply put, because it looks more attractive and sounds cheaper to consumers. Many of us will see a $9.99 price tag and immediately fix $9.00 in our minds while some of us will immediately jump to the $10 price tag. Case in point: My favorite pizzeria has a special every Monday night. They offer a large, one-topping pizza for just $7. At least, that’s what I’ve been telling myself for months, even though I knew the real price. After going for several weeks without ordering the Monday night special, when I called to place my order last week, I asked if they still have their Monday night $7 special. The employee on the other end of the phone assured me that they did, only the price was $7.99.

As I said, I knew months ago, the price of the pizza was really $7.99 but that didn’t stop me from thinking Hey, it’s Monday night, think I’ll have the $7 pizza for supper. I’m embarrassed to admit I am a classic example of why marketers lose a penny a sale in order to gain more sales, and thus increase their profits substantially. Realize the power of smart pricing when you set your own prices and watch your profits grow!

Is it on Sale?

When Circuit City went out of business in February 2009, I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to buy something on sale so I visited the location in my city. To my dismay, the first round of price cuts, 25% off, didn’t seem to reflect a sale at all. Even with a 25% reduction in price, I could tell many of the items were still cheaper at other stores. Still, items flew off the shelves and continued to do so until the shelves were empty. A couple of days after my first visit to the now defunct retailer, I happened to catch a news broadcast where Circuit City executives admitted they had hiked their prices to MSRP (Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price) and then shaved off the sales percentage.

Call it a sale and some people will buy anything, regardless of the price. Be careful, though, because if you don’t really shave your prices and say you’re having a sale, it may backfire when savvy consumers catch on.