Understanding the key success factors for online investor relations will assist companies to make sure their online IR strategy is best helping investors move through their investor journey.
In earlier posts in IRMatters, we discussed the Investor Journey, and the touchpoints investors use.
Here we present a high level discussion of the success factors. If you would like to take a little longer to examine our thoughts on it, feel free to download our fuller discussion in the white paper, here.
Understanding what works best online and why, leads to “best practice online investor communications”.
“Best” practice is budget – based. Every marketing campaign has a cost-benefit. Investors expect larger companies to be better, and smaller companies to be more circumspect. There’s no absolute measure of best practice, but the same principles apply to all.
Here we discuss ten success factors for online investor relations – to be more successful in helping investors through their journey to becoming a committed recommending shareholder. Progressing through the stages of their journey – a progression rate at each stage.
You can also think of them as best practice principles.
Maximising progression at the early buying stages means drawing the right traffic to the website.
Many potential investors don’t even know our name. If they do, then make sure every variation of the name, ticker code, domain etc ranks at or enar the top of Google search. Also names of projects and senior executives.
Where to bury a dead body? Page 2 of Google search.
Much harder is attracting relevant investor traffic that don’t know us. What’s in their mind when searching? Measure search results, and improve. Every marketing campaign is about beating competitors. Where else can investors go? Look at how competitors rank on our keywords, and beat them.
Appeal to the emotional or irrational side with the impressions left by the messages. Design, imagery and style are key for about half of early phase visitors. Details, facts and numbers are for later.
Make the style confident, approachable, knowledgeable and up to date. We know the subject, say so. Make it better than they expect. Make it consistent across all touchpoints, all media, desktop or mobile.
Make sure the website home page says what we do, easily understood, within a few seconds. Remind visitors on subsequent pages.
Make your social media posts informative, easy to read, and interesting.
Use images, videos, infographics, maps and thumbnails throughout to reinforce messages. Include an image / video gallery on the website, link to it from other places.
Make messages great, deliver them well. Have a powerful investment proposition, clearly presented.
Avoid clichés, corporate speak, motherhood and meaningless trendy icons.
Investors arrive at the website knowing what they want. They have only two clicks for us. And we have to sell the second one, we’re not entitled to it. A “scroll down” is the same as a click. If the site doesn’t deliver here, it’s a bounce. They’re off, no progression.
Navigation is critical, particularly on the top part of the home page. Provide a link to every page right there. A “hover over” doesn’t count as a click. Don’t be cute about navigation. Investors have been to plenty of other sites, and “know” how to navigate. If it’s too different, they just won’t find it.
On internal pages, remind them where they are, provide full nav, a breadcrumb trail, accessibility and more.
Know which pages are most visited. Provide additional ways to get to what they want and what we want to promote. Use promo boxes or infographics as nav buttons. Everywhere, clear messages will sell the next click, and progression.
Content needs to be great quality, complete, and up to date. Well written, well presented and easy to understand, regardless of touchpoint and media. Deliver value for that second click, try for another.
Ensure ASX Announcements are on the website and posted to social media immediately they are released. Ten minutes later worsens progression rates. Provide the share price and a chart. Show headline news on the home page.
Appeal strongly to the utilitarian, logical mind. Be the authority on all of the company information, good bad or indifferent. This invites respect. Provide all of the historical ASX announcements, easily found by type on multiple pages, nicely archived, and searchable. Also access them in sections. For analysts, have a download centre. Address specific needs of other target audiences.
Fully explain the business. Don’t expect searching the latest quarterly report to be how to really understand.
A website that is not responsive is putting off around half of its visitors. It says we don’t care. It’s just too hard to look at.
It must look great on every phone or tablet, landscape or portrait, and on any screen size. Don’t compromise. Mobile also means fast, without huge downloads.Provider all website information responsively and the need for an App becomes secondary.
We are the expert in the industry and the company. Understand the educational needs of visitors and take them further. If they choose to learn more, that improves progression rates.
Make offline contact easy if they want it. Then be sure to respond.
Blog, tweet, share, like, and post. Provide capabilities for visitors to do the same right there from our content. If they are inclined to share, help them. Show the twitter feed and blog posts right there on the website.
Other online touchpoints sooner or later come back to the website. Provide the content the social media relates to.
Progression to the final phases means being kept informed, right when we have something to say. That’s immediately an announcement is released. Invite “registration” through whatever touchpoint they choose, provide immediate updates and invite feedback. Email alerts are essential, and social media is becoming as important. Make sure email alert messages are responsive.
Not measured is not managed. Examine analytics and SEO results. Wonder why, and respond to trends. Refine messaging, navigation, images, and style. Then measure again.Compare the website with peers by these measures.
Make it easy to update and maintain and move to new technology. Update content navigation and messages using admin people. Remember the typing pool? Now everyone does their own. Get rid of the website typing pool, update it just like a document.
A website which is hard to maintain will fall behind, and progression rates worsen.
IRM and the Success Factors for Online Investor Relations
At IRM, we are online investor communications specialists. We understand the investor journey and touchpoints, and the success factors for online investor relations to pull it all together.
We know how to help listed companies with the touchpoints and message distribution.
Each company has its story and its messages. Understanding the success factors reduces the cost and improves the efficiency of the IR communications strategy.
IRM has prepared a white paper on Success Factors. Read more about success factors on our website, here, or for a full discussion download the white paper, here.
If you would like to chat about this with our CEO, Martin Spry, be cautious – it’s his favourite subject, and the conversation might not be short! He does coffee on the subject, and can be reached by email on firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone on +61 2 8705 5444.