Until quite recently, investor relations websites were seen primarily as tick-the-box exercises: a necessity for staying compliant and conveying basic information, but not an opportunity for attracting new investors or expressing a corporate identity.
That’s all changing as public companies awaken to the importance of the retail audience - and to targeting a wider array of investors and stakeholders more generally.
An IR website, it just so happens, is one of the best ways to communicate broadly without overtaxing IR teams, many of which are already stretched to the limit. For this reason, IROs are increasingly interested in using their IR sites for everything from telling their Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) stories to encouraging direct engagement.
By going through the seven-question checklist below, you can determine whether it’s time to breathe new life into your IR site!
Latest Trends in IR Website Design
Today’s best-in-class IR websites are visually arresting and focus on storytelling rather than bombarding the user with income statements and other text-heavy elements.
In other words, the best IR websites today are very different from those of the past.
“Out” is boilerplate. “In” are infographics, videos, and metrics on ESG initiatives.
Increasingly, it’s become clear that strong IR storytelling rests on supplementing stock tickers, Twitter feeds, and other features that institutional investors turn to websites to find with information that can make a corporate story memorable.
Quiz Yourself: IR Website Checklist
Is your IR website effectively telling your company’s story, reeling in new prospects, and providing the types of data-driven insights today’s investors want?
Below is a checklist to make sure you’re asking the right questions for optimizing your IR website:
1. Is your IR website as attractive as your corporate site?
Ideally, your corporate and IR websites will work in tandem and should be similarly branded. The more appealing, the more attention both sites will get, and the more cohesive your corporate story will be.
Remember that your homepage is prime real estate; make sure that it’s eye-catching and highlights the most important aspects of your story.
2. Are you telling your story memorably and with verve?
Companies like Tesla have such familiar stories that they don’t need to expend time and energy stating the obvious.
Smaller and mid-sized companies—and even larger companies in less sexy businesses—do need to explain their investment theses.
Remember that your IR website is reaching everyone from sophisticated investors to those just dipping a toe into the equities market for the first time. That’s why starting your audience off with your “elevator pitch” is an excellent beginning.
When it comes to storytelling, video, infographics, and embedded presentations are all great ideas.
In addition, discussing your future targets and how you plan to hit them can make a lasting impression. After all, investors of all knowledge levels want to learn what metrics you think they should be using to gauge your success.
3. Are you paying enough attention to your retail audience?
Retail investors come in all shapes and sizes. While they’re hard to categorize, it’s easy to show that this is an audience you should not ignore.
Despite a wildly fluctuating market in 2022, the average net flow from retail investors into the market was $1.3 billion a day for the first half of the year, according to Vanda Research.
In addition, a Bloomberg Intelligence study found that during the first six months of 2020, retail investors made up 19.5% of all stock market shares traded—nearly double the amount of retail trades a decade earlier, in 2010.
With this influx of retail investors come some new informational needs.
A recent report found that investors who opened their first accounts in 2020 are more racially diverse than ever. These newbies also tend to seek advice from financial professionals half as often as more experienced investors.
These nuggets of data suggest that providing relevant information – perhaps alongside some necessary context — is a winning strategy.
4. Is your ESG story prominently displayed?
Showing investors that you care about society and sustainability matters now more than ever. By 2026, 21.5% of all assets under management—or more than $1 out of every $5—will be invested using ESG criteria, according to a new report by PwC.
The jury is still out on how best to reach ESG-conscious investors. Some want environmental and social information integrated into a company’s broader story. Others prefer standalone navigation or even a microsite housing ESG topics.
When it comes to deciding what types of information are most in demand, IROs enjoy a wealth of guidance. Good sources include the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), the Sustainable Accounting Standards Board (SASB), the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investing (PRI), and CDP Global (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project).
5. Is your key content easy to find?
A stellar IR site will engage visitors within nanoseconds and so the best designs are created in response to analytics.
Today’s IROs have access to information about where visitors are spending the most time on a site and what content is being consumed. Knowing precisely what your Internet guests want allows you to put the most desirable information on your homepage, where it can’t be missed.
6. Are you taking shorter attention spans into consideration?
People today scroll through dozens of apps in a morning, so the time they spend on your IR website is likely to be brief. In fact, experts say you have no more than six or seven seconds to capture an individual’s attention before the scrolling begins!
One way to make the most of your visitors’ attention is to display sales or inventory numbers, customer satisfaction ratings, or whichever key performance indicators (KPIs) matter most to your success in a prominent place. Remember that both institutional and retail investors are interested in KPIs, and so they’re a great way to highlight your priorities quickly and memorably.
While KPIs are popular, presentation counts. Make sure that any numbers you supply pop by standing alone and/or being provided in charts and pictographs.
7. Are you using your IR website to promote direct engagement?
Do you know who’s visiting your IR site on a regular basis? And do you know how these repeat visitors are engaging with content?
Someone who is reading your press releases, subscribing to your email alerts, and returning to the site multiple times a week is an individual or institution you should try to get to know better.
Since the pandemic, there has been a sea change in how companies and investors interact.
The relatively slow process of organizing a physical roadshow is sometimes giving way to more direct engagement, or a preference for less formal online meetings that can be arranged on the fly.
For IROs, a best-in-class IR website represents more than a way to foster ongoing communication with investors. It can be a window into who’s interested in your company – as well as a way to continue stoking interest and grow it over time.
Learn About Our IR Website Services
Notified can help tell your unique investment story with an IR website that drives stakeholder engagement, increases shareholder confidence and showcases your brand. We’re an IR leader, hosting more than 3,100 websites globally and supporting 88% of the Fortune 100.
With an IR website designed by Notified, you can effectively present your financials, events, and ESG initiatives while providing easy access to critical information, improving transparency and accessibility for investors.
With a dedicated website service manager and customer support that’s always available, you’ll have the resources and expertise you need. Learn more today.
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