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If you’ve been studying affiliate marketing for any length of time, you’ll know that there are about 4 billion ways to do affiliate marketing. Okay, maybe not that many, but I bet it’s close.

An affiliate marketing business model has a ton of variables, so I could never list them all, but I’m going to cover a few of them here for you, so you can at least see some of your options. Hopefully this will better help you pick the best affiliate marketing business model for you.

First let’s get started by understanding what a business model is. Dictionary.com defines it as: a design for the successful operation of a business, identifying revenue sources, customer base, products, and details of financing.

So, an affiliate marketing business model would be the way you do affiliate marketing. You’ll need to look at things like: What niche are you going in? How will you build a website or whatever online presence you choose? How will you get traffic to it? How much money will you need to get it up and running?

To help you answer these questions and more, here are some example affiliate marketing business models for you to wrap your head around.

Content Sites – A content site is what the name implies. A site full of content. Generally, it’s on one topic, but now with people building personal brands and lifestyle blogs, you could have several topics if you’ve built an audience who follows YOU. With this business model you’ll build a site, fill it with content, and that content will have your affiliate links in it. Maybe even other places on your site will have ads for products you’re an affiliate for.

Usually content sites rely on SEO (search engine optimization) for traffic, but you can also use any other traffic tactic you want. Social traffic, paid traffic, etc.

Funnel Sites – There are a few ways to do this business model too. Generally though you setup a squeeze page giving away something that solves a problem in your niche. This gets people on your list. Then you use email marketing to get your affiliate links in front of those people by emailing your list.

When it comes to traffic, SEO is generally not an option here, so you’re left with organic social marketing, other organic marketing methods or paid ads.

Marketplace Store – I’ve never been a fan of this business model myself for affiliate marketing, but a lot of affiliate marketers do very well with it.

What you’ll do here is find a niche that has A LOT of products you can be an affiliate for and setup a “marketplace” for those products. All the products are clickable via your affiliate links. Like a niche Amazon site. If you do a quick Google search you will find scripts and WordPress themes/plugins that will allow you to build sites like this.

The key to being successful with this business model is to be very niche specific. I don’t suggest going into a broad niche and having hundreds or thousands of products in your store.

When it comes to getting traffic, you can use ALL the traffic tactics on these kinds of sites but ranking in the search engines (SEO) proves to be your best bet. These take a lot of time to see income from because of needing that coveted SEO traffic.

Coupon Sites – We’ve all seen coupon sites, but did you know they are full of the owner’s affiliate links? Surprise! This is another business model I would go very niche on and you’ll definitely need a “catchy idea” to stand out.

You have a lot of options when it comes to building these sites and you’ll also be able to find software and scripts that will create these for you. Or you could simply setup a blog and post about coupons you find, or coupon deals you work out with different companies you can be an affiliate for.

This is another “use all the traffic tactics” kind of site. SEO, organic traffic from social sites, paid ads, etc.

Review Sites – I love this affiliate marketing business model when it’s done correctly. Most review sites are full of good reviews because the owners want you to buy the product so they make money. However, a review site filled with honest reviews (both good and bad) will make you more money because people will SEE that you’re honest.

WordPress which is used to build all of my sites would be great to build a review site on. You can find tons of themes and plugins that will allow you to build a review site very easily.
This is another affiliate marketing business model that will rely on a lot of SEO. Throwing paid ads into the mix would be a great idea too because reviews convert readers into buyers, so your money would be well spent.

Apps – Not a lot of people think about creating their own app and putting their affiliate links in the app, but there are many people out there making a killing with their apps and all of their income is affiliate income.

This is probably the most expensive affiliate marketing business model you could go after because of development costs, but a free app with lots of demand could put a lot of eyeballs in front of your affiliate links.

In my opinion the best way to get traffic with this option is to use paid ads. That makes this business model even more expensive, but in the long run it could really pay off for you!

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Cool Ideas – Got a cool idea for something? Something that could go viral? Then why not make money with it with affiliate marketing? One of my favorite sites is called ThisIsWhyImBroke .com and they just feature products they love. It’s literally just lists of cool products, and all the links are affiliate links for the owner.

It’s what I call a “shot in the dark” business model, but probably the most fun of all the business models I’ve talked about here. And depending on what your “cool idea” is, it could make you a ton of money too.

 Again, I would use paid traffic with something like this, but all the other traffic tactics I’ve mentioned before would work well too.

So, I’ve just given 7 different affiliate marketing business models to get your mind going as you start on your affiliate marketing journey. I’ve provided a short plan for each of them to help you get an idea of what you’d be getting into with them. There’s a ton of ways to do each one, but what you need to think about is what is your affiliate marketing business model going to be.

Sit down, grab a pen and paper, and map it out. Use Google and go see what others are doing and get ideas for your own affiliate marketing business model, and then take those notes and go do it.