Fred Schebesta started his first business back in his university days when he co-founded Freestyle Media with Frank Restuccia. Now the pair has started a new business called Finder.com.au that compares financial products and mobile phone plans.
How did the idea for Finder come about?
When Frank and I were running Freestyle, we felt that there was an easier way for consumers to get the information that they need to make a decision about their financial products. So, we set up CreditCardFinder.com.au and focused on making it super easy to compare and save money on your credit cards. We then went ahead and started sites in other niches – home loans, savings accounts, personal loans, life insurance, mobile phones, broadband, and forex trading – as the sites really helped Australians to save some money.
What was the most effective form of advertising for your site?
We have found that internet marketing has been the most effective, especially search engine marketing. Although, over time we have expanded to use other channels and this has been great to bring in new customers.
How effective has search engine marketing been for you?
Extremely effective. It’s in the top three in terms of the highest converting forms of traffic on the site. We focus the majority of our time on search engine marketing because it works and we know there is more traffic to get.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome when starting out?
The biggest challenge has always been finding passionate and savvy internet marketers to join us. We only want the top guns in our business, and we work hard to find people who share our passion for internet marketing and want to build websites that actually help Australians.
How important is social media to your business?
At present, it isn’t that important. We interact with it, but financial services have traditionally been fairly unsocial topics to discuss. MobilePhoneFinder.com.au, on the other hand, has been quite popular social media-wise, especially with the new iPhone 5 about to launch.
How does your business model make money?
Consumers aren’t charged a cent when using our site – it’s a free service. We are a commercial business and have significant costs in keeping all of the deals and product information up to date, and we pass these on to providers. The main thing is that consumers don’t get charged anything.