In todays ever-growing and fast,almost changing everyday online business environment it is no secret that business owners are constantly in direct competition with other businesses offering similar products or services. Whether the advertising and sale of these products or services takes place online or offline is irrelevent , and those who are truly successful in their respective business, are acutely aware of the need to continually study their competition. This article will explain why studying the competition is absolutly necessary to the success of any business and will offer insight into how just one website called Craigslist can simplify this process for Internet marketers.

Why is it Necessary to Study the Competition?

Studying the competition is one of the most critical aspects to succeeding in any business. Whether you are marketing products or services makes no difference, it is important and really vital to your businesses success and long term longevity to know what types of products are available on the market and just how your products or services stack-up against them.

This is necessary to ensure the products and services you are offering to your customers is not only quality and price comparable to the products or services offered by your competitors, but also allows you to formulate a strategy that will differentiate your business from the others, which in-turn will become your USP ( Unique Selling Point ) used in your marketing efforts to show prospective customers that your business is the best choice.

This is important because customers are not likely to either select your products or services or remain loyal to your business if the competitors are offering better products or better prices. Always search your competition for whatever they are lacking or not supplying and then provide that to those customers via your USP.

Consider a new lawn care business as an example in why studying the competition is worthwhile. Suppose this new lawn care company in a particular geographical region begins offering lawn trimmings at a price $40 for an average sized yard with an additional fee of $25 for edging the lawn. If there are three other existing lawn care businesses in the same region offering lawn trimmings and edging services combined for one fee of $35, it is not very likely at all that the first lawn care business will thrive in this situation.

Any business owner who is not continually evaluating the competition and applying the results to his business strategy may be confused by the lack of business. However, if he were to spend some time studying the competition, he would clearly see business is being lost because the other businesses are more affordable and offer a greater range of services for a comparable price.

The above example clearly illustrates how a new business can suffer by failure to evaluate the competition before officially opening for business, this one failure alone can and in most cases will kill your new business very quickly if not even before it begins. Existing businesses can also suffer by not evaluating the competition on a continual basis. Failure to do so may result in the business either offering inferior products or services or offering these products or services at inappropriate prices. When this happens it is not very likely that the company or business will remain financially successful.

How does Craigslist make it Easy to Study the Competition?

Those who market their products or services via the Internet can use Craigslist in a number of ways. Craigslist is a popular advertising option because most advertisement postings are offered free of charge. Additionally, Craigslist receives approximately four billion page views per month and growing, making it possible to reach a large audience with minimal effort and time plus no dollar expense. While Craigslist makes a great deal of advertising sense, just from the few valuable points made above, it is important to realize that your competitors will also realize the massive and growing value of advertising on Craigslist.

While competitors advertising on Craigslist increase the competition level for the loyalty of customers, it also gives savvy business owners an easy way to study the competition. One way to study the competition is to do a search for your own products or services by using relevant keywords. In doing this you are going to encounter other businesses offering comparable products and services.

This instantly puts you in contact with the competition, now this is a fantastic place to be, Why ?, well research has proven that the more competition there is means that there must be plenty of consumers spending money, so study that competition closely and then make your business better than theirs and make sure that the consumers know, then watch them come and purchase your products or services.

Once you realize who the competition is, you can carefully evaluate their advertisements to learn more and everything about them. There is a reason/s why they are doing well and making sales, find what they are and then apply them to your business and even if possible in a better way will lead to success. The key information which may be gleaned from studying competitors’ advertisements may include the quality and type of the products and services they are offering, the prices they are charging and the relevant keywords they are using to gain website traffic from search engines to promote their products or services. But you must always keep on revisiting your competition constantly to keep yourself on-top.

Internet marketing is driven by content and keywords. It is definitely worthwhile to hire a consultant with search engine (SEO) skills to evaluate the competitors’ advertisements and tailor your own advertisement to be optimized for these keywords as well, however if you can not afford to hire a consultant, you will find plenty of free information just by using google and searching for free seo tips, tricks, information. This will help to ensure potential customers looking for information on products or services you offer are directed to your advertisement and not just the competitions’.

In short, Craigslist is not only a massive and ever growing website for your business and it's advertisements, but an even bigger better and more resourceful free place to check out your competition on a constant basis. Being able to scope out your competition can place big bucks in your pocket if the information gathered is used properly.