How important is your company’s IR website? Consider:
• More than 84% of investors visit a company’s IR website to conduct research before they decide to invest
• More than a quarter of investors visit IR websites at least once a day, and 71% visit at least weekly
• Earnings announcements prompt 70% of investors to visit the IR website immediately
It’s no surprise, then, that many forward-thinking CEOs are realizing how important it is to dedicate more time and effort to their IR websites. By using the same branding and features that have been developed for other areas of their business, these CEOs are looking to attract new users at the same time that they retain the interest of investors and analysts—something that has proven especially important after a number of recent IR data breaches.
To improve your company’s IR website for maximum benefit—and protection—here are 5 places to start.
1. Hone your message. Your company’s homepage is your opportunity to grab a visitor’s attention. With the average page visit at under a minute, your homepage clearly needs punch, not reams of text. Successful homepages summarize a company’s story using fewer words and more images—four paragraphs, max.
2. Design exceptionally. When a potential investor visits your website, what’s likely to be their first impression? Do you appear current and tech-savvy? Is the design inviting? Can they navigate easily? Does it offer the expected functionality? Can they find the information they’re looking for quickly and easily? Your IR website must embrace the principles used by successful businesses all across the web. It needs to create trust, instill investors with confidence, and build an emotional connection with your brand. Design elements such as icons and hero images are not just aesthetically pleasing; they’re visual cues to what your business offers. Photographs, videos and graphics help investors “see” your business model.
3. Go video. The exponential growth in YouTube, Dailymotion, Vimeo and other sites confirms that visitors prefer the entertaining and informative nature of video. Video on your homepage is an excellent way to deliver your corporate message. Mist Media suggests the average Internet user spends 88% more time on a website that has video. Other media experts note that video can boost website rankings. Corporate speeches on video are excellent for sharing and promotion. They show key leaders in action and help connect viewers to your company message.
4. Don’t forget mobile. With Google’s algorithm changes this year, mobile capability for a website is a necessity. The search engine now favors websites built to accommodate users on smaller screens and, if you do not provide this, it lowers your ranking. The most important thing is responsive design, which adjusts content to fit any device, no matter the shape or size, so investors and analysts can always view your information.
5. Check your security. Eye-catching design and a powerful message aren’t enough. You also need top-notch security. As hackers grow more sophisticated, security measures must match their efforts. Financial data leaks seriously damage credibility. IROs need to know that web hosts provide the protection they need to guard sensitive documents. For companies that manage their own disclosure, it’s imperative to regularly review your people, processes and technology.
To learn more about best practices in IR communications, including websites, click here to download the NASDAQ-sponsored guide Digital IR: 2016 Best Practices.