Many investors, both individual as well as institutional, use a company’s investor relations (IR) website as their source of primary information. An effective IR website helps generate interest and build an active shareholder base, which is achieved through the effective delivery and execution of targeted investor communications. Strong design, website practices, and meaningful content that differentiates your company from competitors will create the go-to space for investors to understand your company’s story. The best IR websites provide investors both qualitative and quantitative data that can provide sufficient ground for investment decision-making processes.
In this article, we’ll discuss best practices for your IR website to effectively tell your corporate story, while enhancing communication with investors:
According to Rivel Research, of 404 institutional investors interviewed globally, 77% believe that a poorly designed or incomplete website has an unfavorable impact on the investment interest in the company (Rivel Intelligence Council 2017 report, The Power of the Corporate Website). Thus, depth in content and clear communication on your corporate site is crucial. Media like pictures, graphics, charts, as well as videos and podcasts are powerful ways to communicate complex information, and enhance messaging.
It’s also important that your company’s narrative is aligned on your corporate website and IR website. Investors look to the content of your corporate website to gain a sense of your company’s platform, and they rely on your IR website to gather more in-depth diligence materials. Your IR website should keep in line with your company’s corporate brand identity – from colors and logos to the general look and feel. This will ensure a seamless experience for the reader. Remember – the IR section should be easy to find through the company’s corporate home page.
You IR website should have an easy-to-follow structure. When executed properly, good user flow can lower your site’s bounce rate (the rate at which people exit your site without visiting other pages) by allowing for a seamless transition from one web page to another. You can accomplish this by providing the tab content both on the top menu as well as on the side panel. In addition, emphasizing headlines, key points, and relevant information can make for better site traffic. Investors have only a limited amount of time to consume your content, making it important to showcase impactful and descriptive content that’s easy to understand.
The landing page should feature a brief overview of your company. The key is to keep your story engaging and concise, so that your investors can get a sense of who you are at a quick glance. It is recommended to include an easily downloadable investor presentation on your landing page, and showcase links to recent press releases and events as well as a stock evolution chart.
It is crucial for your IR website to provide detailed contact information (i.e. name of dedicated person or department, e-mail address, and phone number) for the IR officer or team responsible for shareholder communication. In addition, ensure that the visitor can leave personal contact information to opt into an email distribution list to receive regular company news and updates.
Some companies provide information for their covered analysts, such as their individual reports, forecast estimates, or contact details. If you decide to provide this information for your investors, remember to keep these details up-to-date.
The press section of your IR website should provide information about your company’s corporate activity (i.e. conference or industry event attendance), recent launches, or any other projects or developments that would be of interest to an investor. Press releases titles embedded with the link to the complete article should be easily visible and categorized by year with the most recent releases appearing first. We suggest archiving press releases for three to five years.
Brevity and clarity are keys to an informative press release, and each should highlight who you are, what you do, what just happened, and key quotes. Each press release should include the contact details for your company’s IR professional. When issuing a press release with a wire service, make sure these releases feed onto the press release page automatically, which will ensure the IR website is always in sync with the information that is available publicly. This will also reduce the risk of posting information prematurely through a manual process.
Corporate events, such as investment banking or industry conferences, as well as quarterly conference calls, are a critical component of telling your story and informing investors of your company’s value. Your website is an opportunity to capture these events, so it’s important to include interactive elements of your presentation, such as video, downloadable information, and interactive slides. Your investor presentation deck should be updated after each corporate presentation and, at a minimum, on a quarterly basis. Apart from the latest financial figures, your investor presentation should also provide insight into your company, business model, strategy, and latest accomplishments.
All quarterly conference call webcasts as well as conference presentation webcasts should be recorded and made available on your website either for download or for listening on the company’s page. Make an archive of these events available on your IR website. We recommend archiving quarterly conference call webcasts for the last four quarters, and conference presentation webcasts for 90 days. Remember, much like press releases, events should be easy to find and categorized by year with the most recent events appearing first.
Financials / SEC Filings:
While federal governments require the inclusion of regulatory filings and governance information, providing access to financial information is about more than just compliance. Your financial information provides investors with vital context that will help them make decisions about investing in your company. While your corporate narrative is more than just the numbers, your financials – and the tools you use to provide investors with quantitative information – can help map out your company’s achievements, goals, and challenges.
Keeping up with regulations and disclosure requires the posting of regulatory filings, financial reports, press releases, and investor presentations and ensuring that they are categorized and easy to locate. Archived financial and regulatory data dating back a minimum of three to five years should be accessible. In addition, it is recommended to put older data in a dedicated archive. The inclusion of an easy-to-find download center with historical and filter options as well as interactive tools for financial data will make it seamless for investors to perform the necessary diligence on your company.
Financial and regulatory information that is an absolute must for all companies includes: financial press releases, annual reports and commentary, regulatory filings (10Q, 8-K, etc.), historical stock data and detailed share price (see below), supplemental earnings materials (webcasts, presentations, etc.), proxy materials, and governance charters and documents (see below). All SEC filings must remain posted for a minimum of 12 months.
Corporate governance is often overlooked, but a critical piece of your IR website. Evaluating your company’s leadership, including the management team and board of directors, is an important component of an investor’s diligence process. Shareholders are always going to look for a good return on their investment, but a key factor in one’s investment is confidence in the management team and the principles that guide the company. Thus, it is important that your corporate governance section not only provide investors with committee charters and guidelines, but also highlight your company’s management team and board of directors (even if this section is linked to your corporate website). Remember to keep this information up-to-date and team members consistent across your marketing mediums.
It is standard to include a FAQ section which details corporate, shareholder, and financial information of your company.
Stock Quote & Chart:
General information about your company’s stock, such as symbol, exchange, price evolution, as well as daily volume and price are some examples of the relevant data that should be provided on your IR website.
Have any questions on creating an investor relations website? Contact our team and we’d be happy to help.
Audrey Gibson, Analyst