What Makes an IR Website Best-In-Class?

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Any company looking to attract market attention today should not underestimate the importance of a sophisticated corporate website with a high-quality investor relations section. We often tell clients that while a great website doesn’t make your company high-quality, all high-quality companies have great websites. Your website is often the very first place potential investors will look to learn information about your company, so put your best foot forward by making your IR website appealing and its pages informative and easy to navigate.

The most powerful investor relations websites are the ones that successfully tell your investment story by providing investors with compelling and informative context that ultimately influences their decision to invest. While providing the basics–press releases, financial data and reports, investor events–is important, what separates the truly exemplary sites from the mediocre is a focus on providing context on the company’s strategy and clarity, as well as execution and vision.

Over the years, we have seen some great IR websites—as well as some not-so-great ones. Here are several best practices to keep in mind when developing a best-in-class IR website.

Navigation & Ease of Use
Nowadays, so much of our time is spent on the internet and we are accustomed to quickly navigating to desired information. This means that website user experience is more important than ever. Before potential investors read the information on your website, they will need to navigate to the appropriate section for your corporate homepage. So, first and foremost, make your IR section easy to find. Otherwise, you could leave potential investors frustrated and—even worse—with a negative first impression of your company.

The menu should be intuitive and easy to maneuver. An IR website should drive a compelling narrative that will resonate with the investor and hold their attention. The best websites are ones that seamlessly move users through its flow—investors should be able to move through your IR website so that they leave knowing the essential elements of your brand story, objectives, and vision.

Most public companies have their IR site hosted by a third-party vendor with templates that automatically pull filing information, stock performance, and press releases. Because IR sites are often hosted separately, it is important to ensure that the design of your IR site mirrors the branding of your corporate website. Offering a simple design and a coherent story about the company is better than drowning users in incomprehensible data.

Mobile Access
It is no surprise that we consume more information on our mobile devices and tablets than our desktop computers. This means it is critical to consider how information is conveyed on these mediums. Additionally, different elements of your IR website should be prioritized differently on mobile versus desktop. For instance, you may prioritize events on your mobile site over reports, since you know based on website analytics that your users view your calendar on mobile, but they aren’t so keen to view a PDF. As with the desktop view, your main goal is to ensure your investors walk away knowing more about your company, so it’s essential to know what types of information your audience is gravitating towards on each device.

As your primary storytelling vehicle, investor relations websites are most effective when investors are able to consume content in ways that are intuitive, multi-channel, visual, and meaningful. The key components of a successful IR site include:

  • Investment thesis
  • Press releases & financial news
  • Regulatory filings & financial data
  • IR event calendar
  • Stock quote/chart
  • ESG

Your company information and strategy sections make up the narrative of your corporate story. Potential investors look to this content to gain a sense of your company’s strategy, values, goals, and accomplishments. You want to ensure these areas showcase your company brand and story with compelling text and visual elements. 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.

Access to Financial Data
While compliance requires the inclusion of regulatory filings and some governance information, providing access to financial information is more than just about remaining compliant. Your financial information provides investors with vital context that will help them make decisions about investing in your company. The following are best practices that serve to tell your past and present corporate story while enhancing communication with investors:

  • Archived financial reports
  • SEC filings (U.S.) / SEDAR (Canada) / Regulatory News (Europe)
  • Online annual reports

In addition, many companies will package information on quarterly results, including earnings press releases, prepared remarks, 10-Q, conference call replays and supplementary information for easy access.

Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG)
For those unfamiliar, Environmental, Social and Governance, or ESG, refers to the three central factors in measuring the sustainability and societal impact of an investment in a company or business. (For more information on the basics of  ESG, take a look at our two-part blog series—part 1 and part 2.)

Many investors believe these criteria can help to better determine the future financial performance of companies, and, as such, ESG is increasingly becoming an important investment consideration for institutional investors. Like other elements of your corporate story, ESG demonstrates your company’s core values, goals, and position within your market—all elements that investors consider when assessing your company’s future revenue potential. Your IR site is a great place to package information on the practices and policies your company has related to ESG in order to make them easy to find for interested investors.

For more information…
Over the years, our team has developed hundreds of IR websites for every type of company in healthcare. Contact us to learn how we can help guide you in developing and executing an effective IR site to best support your investor relations program.

Carrie Mendivil, Principal

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