12 Online Business Models To Consider for Growth

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published April 14, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Many companies pursue online business ventures to expand their consumer market or grow their business. Online business models can help a company effectively grow and gain the attention of potential customers. Learning more about online business models can help you develop an online business strategy for your organization. In this article, we discuss what online business models are and explore 12 to consider for your company.

What are online business models?

Online business models are business structures that a company uses to advertise and sell its products or services over an internet platform. This can help a new company expand its consumer interest and improve its brand awareness. Online business models for medium or large companies can help an organization reach niche markets or improve its reputation.

Related: What Is a Business Model? Definition and Examples

12 online business models

Using multiple online business models can help you organically grow traffic and interest in your organization's website. Managers and business executives often actively oversee online business models and their performance to help optimize the company's overall online operation. Here are 12 online business models to consider for your organization's online platform:

1. Advertisement exposure

Driving traffic through paid or free advertising can help increase web traffic and consumer interest. Running advertisements on platforms that your target market has an interest in can help direct the right consumers to your organization's website. Each time that consumers click on your advertisement can also help generate a small revenue from these clicks. One way to help internet consumers find your website is by creating a content-rich site that has helpful products, services and advice. Some tips to consider when using this business model include:

  • Read advertisement terms and conditions

  • Create niche websites

  • Test ad placements

  • Develop unique website content

Related: Business Models and Business Plans: How They Differ

2. Affiliate programs

Affiliate programs involve your company selling its products through a third party. This enables an organization to benefit from a third-party company's reputation or larger consumer base. Getting involved with affiliate programs is useful for smaller or newer companies because they can advertise their products to a large or niche consumer base. This type of business model often includes:

  • A target consumer market

  • Outsourced products

  • Affiliate program fees

  • Products shipped to a third-party warehouse

  • Restocking requirements

3. E-commerce

E-commerce platforms enable you to sell your organization's products through a digital platform. This business platform can enable you to reach a niche market or a larger market than traditional in-person shopping models. This type of platform can decrease overhead costs and increase the timeframe in which customers can search for products from your organization. E-commerce business platforms often rely on five key components, which include:

  • Products to sell

  • Marketing strategies

  • Shopping platform

  • Company website

  • Permits and licenses

4. Affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing enables you to sell another company's products on your organization's webpage. This allows your organization to collect a small profit from items sold through these advertisements. Affiliate marketing can help increase internet traffic to your site and the affiliate company's site, which can increase consumer interest and sales. To establish an affiliate campaign, you might:

  • Find a product or company to promote

  • Create a squeeze page

  • Link to the affiliate product or company

  • Develop a download page

  • Add autoresponse emails

5. Software as a Service (SaaS)

Offering SaaS products to consumers can help your company improve its short-term and long-term profits. Using SaaS products in your organization can also reduce IT-related costs and improve their capabilities. Some SaaS product types to consider for your organization include:

  • Accounting products

  • Customer relationship management software

  • Employee management software

6. Infoproducts

Having an online business model that sells infoproducts allows a company to educate consumers about certain products, services, training information or other niche information. Companies can easily scale infoproducts to meet changing or developing consumer needs. To start developing infoproducts for your organization, it's important to consider:

  • Target audience

  • Knowledge base

  • Content creation timelines

  • Marketing requirements

  • Scaling capabilities

Related: 42 Online Business Ideas To Explore

7. Applications

Developing applications for your company can help consumers solve problems or increase their access to company products. Charging a price for the app or having a sponsor can help your company gain a profit from the application. Adding advertisements to the application can also help generate a profit. Some applications to consider developing include:

  • Games

  • Productivity application

  • Educational application

  • Company sales application

8. Productized services

Productized services can help a company create custom digital solutions for its customers. This can help professionals maintain their efficiency and have set solutions for a customer. These types of services can help a company establish a custom solution for each of its customers that addresses all of their current and future needs. This can help a consumer resolve all of its concerns at a single time rather than returning for new requirements.

9. Lead generation

Online business models that use lead generation can help you find sales leads for domestic and international consumer markets. This type of model combines internet marketing strategies with other models, such as affiliate programs, to gain the interest of potential consumers. Leads can also help you understand more about a potential customer before even contacting them because they often show specific interest in a product, solution or program.

10. Consulting

Offering online consulting or coaching services can help your organization provide advice and support to its customers. Email and video conferencing tools can help you maintain a fully online format when providing consulting services, which also enable you to host individual or group consulting sessions. Some considerations for developing a consulting online business include:

  • Having a problem your company can solve

  • Developing an extensive knowledge base

  • Creating a sales page

  • Making a calendar booking system

  • Finding a payment processor

  • Installing video conferencing software

11. Dropshipping

Dropshipping involves using another company to package and ship your products. Many organizations use this method to allocate their time to tasks outside of packing and shipping their products. When the third-party company ships the product, the package often has your organization's name listed as the shipper instead of the third-party company. Using this method is useful for small companies that are still developing their supply chain network.

Related: What Is a Dropshipping Business?

12. Podcasting

Podcasting is a useful passive income source for your organization. This can help you educate your organization's consumers about company products or specific niche information. Interviews and weekly content can help you grow a podcast for your organization. Sponsorship and affiliate programs can also help you grow awareness of your company and its podcast.

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