As your most powerful storytelling vehicle, your company’s investor relations (IR) website should tell your story to the investment community in a way that creates value for key shareholders and ultimately influences their decision to invest in your company.
Although it still serves as a way to communicate important information consistently and transparently in real time, the purpose and value of an effective IR website has evolved over the past few years as new technology continues to change how investors and financial analysts make their investment decisions. With stakeholder demands at an all-time high, new compliance requirements popping up regularly and various communication challenges to navigate, it can be difficult for public companies to keep up.
According to a 2016 survey by Rivel Research Group, 75% of buy-side professionals lose interest in a company whose website is poorly designed. With the vast availability of online tools to build interactive and compelling IR websites at our fingertips, it’s now easier than ever to leverage the power of the digital world to enhance corporate communications and engage investors.
These five best practices will help your company maximize the value of your IR website:
1. Showcase Your Company’s Investment Proposition
A compelling IR website should clearly showcase your investment proposition—or business statement that summarizes why your company is a good investment—front and center on its main landing page. This investment proposition will highlight your company’s strategic vision, current initiatives and any key performance indicators that help to demonstrate its strong track record.
To further communicate your company’s financial performance, you can supplement your investment proposition by incorporating visual elements like an interactive graph that breaks down your key financials. More detailed financial information—such as annual reports, news releases, regulatory filings and webcast presentations—can also help support your investment proposition.
An example of this is integrated energy leader BP’s IR website, which showcases a clear investment proposition that is backed by key financials and other investor information.
2. Create an Intuitive Design with Interactive Technology Features
In order to keep up with the latest changes in digital technology, an IR website should display a modern, intuitive design with a variety of interactive features, such as a live chatbot, email alerts, investment calculator, webcast replays and information download manager. These types of IR tools provide an interactive experience for investors, allowing them to access key data that can influence their investment decisions in real time.
In addition, IR websites should be easy to navigate, mobile friendly and organized in a way that helps investors and financial analysts to quickly find important information. This includes intuitive design elements like fewer menu options, less text and more visuals that guide the site user to compelling calls of action.
For example, RPM International Inc., a $5.5-billion global leader in specialty coatings and sealants, recently redesigned its website to incorporate a modern aesthetic, interactive features and improved functionality—including a chatbot driven by artificial intelligence.
3. Engage Investors by Displaying Your Social Media Icons
Especially in recent years, social media has become a key way that the investment community—namely, investors and financial analysts—gathers important information about a company and ultimately drives investment action among shareholders.
When it comes to communicating information, social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter can provide an edge up on the competition. By allowing market-moving news and corporate developments to be announced to investors in real time, social media is a clear winner compared to more traditional communication channels.
To help promote social engagement, your company’s social media icons should be prominently displayed on your IR website. An example of this is e-commerce leader Amazon, which showcases its social media channels in the footer of its IR website.
4. Integrate ESG Content into Your IR Website
As sustainability plays an increasingly important role in investment decisions, companies are bringing their environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives to the forefront of their IR websites. Over the past few years, there has been a considerable rise in shareholder demand for brands to clearly communicate where they stand on key environmental and social issues—and how their efforts are helping to effect change.
The very first place your current and potential investors will go to learn more about your company’s ESG initiatives is your IR website. A best practice is to create an ESG section on your website that contains individual pages detailing your company’s environmental sustainability, social responsibility and corporate governance. This section should include a brief, engaging overview of all ESG initiatives, along with specific, concrete examples of their impact on your communities, key stakeholders and the environment. In addition, supplement this section by adding an ESG report or annual report that provides investors with more detailed information on your company’s sustainability efforts.
A great illustration of this in action is home improvement giant Home Depot, which developed a microsite dedicated entirely to communicating its ESG strategy.
5. Facilitate Easy Access to Presentations & Events
An equally critical component of any effective IR website, company presentations and events are pertinent sources of information for the investment community. They help to tell your corporate story by informing investors and financial analysts about your company’s value as a long-term investment.
A best practice is to create a “one-stop shop” where all presentations, events and related media can be easily accessed by investors. This requires fewer clicks on the user’s end, which in turn increases post-event engagement among shareholders. In addition, aim to feature as many interactive elements as possible, including videos, downloadable information and slideshares.
For example, mobile communications leader T-Mobile’s IR website has an Events & Presentations page that features email alerts for upcoming events, as well as webcast replays, news releases and slide decks for each presentation.
The most compelling IR websites serve as the de-facto source of information about your public company—allowing the investment community to consume content in a way that is intuitive, multi-channel, visual and meaningful. By following these five best practices, your IR website will not only share a robust, compelling corporate narrative that fulfills regulatory requirements, but it will become a 24/7 extension of your IR team as well.
IR Campaign Engages Retail Base for NYSE-Listed Public Company
RPM International Inc., a $5 billion, NYSE-listed company, sought to enhance investor relations with its long-valued retail base. In order to determine an approach that would resonate best with retail investors, Roop & Co. surveyed 1,600 of RPM’s shareholders of record. Key findings of this survey shaped messaging, communication channels and a strategic investor communications plan.