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Mar 01, 2017

Five low-cost ways to improve the IR section of your website

Improve your service for analysts, fund managers and investors at almost no cost

From interactive charting tools to slick video interviews, there are many ways to improve the IR section of your company’s website – if you’ve got money to burn. But there are also things you can do to dramatically improve your service for analysts, fund managers and private investors for practically nothing.

Here are five:

1. Put all results materials in one place

A surprisingly large number of companies put quarterly results webcasts in one part of their website’s IR section, and other results materials – like PDF financial reports – in another. This is a pain for analysts and other visitors, because it forces them to scramble between multiple sub-sections to gather all information about a particular quarter.

The solution is cheap and easy: create a results archive that pools together everything related to each quarter – financial release, results presentation, transcript, Excel data download and so on.

Best of all is a tabular results archive that uses tabs or expanding panels to provide quick access to all materials, for all quarters, across all years.

Visit Dutch financial services group ING’s quarterly results archive to see a good example of this – which in this case also works exceptionally well on a smartphone. 

2. Stop forcing users to register before they can watch your results webcasts

If you want to irritate analysts or investors, making them fill out a registration form before viewing a webcast is a good way of doing it.

Sure, it might be useful to harvest the names, job titles and other details of people watching your results events online. But the benefits are outweighed by the cost in time for the investors or analysts – who in some cases may not bother to watch the webcast at all if they first have to type in their personal details.  

Try viewing a webcast in UK banking group Barclays’ results archive.

No registration needed. Lovely.

3. Add photos to the IR contacts page

Conveying an impression of openness and accessibility is, of course, a goal of any IR director. Adding pictures of each member of the IR team is a quick and easy way of doing this. It also makes your website’s IR contacts page less visually dull, which is rarely a bad thing.

Energy giant Shell has photos of every member of its IR team on its website – as well as biographies of each IR officer and the languages he or she speaks. Useful.

4. Include comprehensive links on your IR section landing page

Another efficient way of irritating investors and analysts is forcing them to hunt around your website’s IR section for key information and tools. A test for your own site is this: when you visit your IR section landing page, can you immediately see links to all sub-sections without clicking or scrolling? If not, perhaps it’s time to ask your web team colleagues to do something about it.

5. Provide investor-focused overview information

Many major companies’ IR sections cover just the basics: results archive, presentations and the like. Surprisingly few provide an investor-focused overview of the company’s performance, strategy, approach to risk management and other topics of interest to analysts researching the company, perhaps for the first time.

It’s a myth that all people want from an IR section is the latest numbers and nothing else. Bowen Craggs has surveyed thousands of investors and analysts visiting many of the world’s largest company websites. Our findings show that these groups are most likely to visit to find out about the company – not to get financial results data. So adding an investor-focused company overview in the IR section is a sensible idea.

To see how this can be done in a simple way that won’t cost the earth, visit the ‘Nordea in brief’ area of this Nordic financial services group’s IR section.

Or if you really want to do this on the cheap, at least provide prominent links to relevant parts of your website’s ‘About us’ section from your IR pages.

Scott Payton is managing partner of Bowen Craggs