Your IR website is where your company tells its story to key audiences, including shareholders, analysts and potential investors. Good IR websites feature clear, up-to-date information and compelling narratives. But great IR websites are about more than just compliance: they’re about maintaining transparent and accessible communication between your company and the public.
Consider the following best practices for effective IR websites below and see how yours stacks up.
Lead with the most important information
The majority of your company’s IR audience arrives at your IR website in search of a few critical pieces of information – most often, your latest quarterly earnings announcement, earnings call recording and SEC filing. To ensure this information is readily available to your stakeholders and shareholders, collect and display your key quarterly materials in a single, prominent feature box at the top of your IR website home page.
Prioritize user experience and accessibility
Design matters, and intuitive IR site design begins with your IR website’s home page. The home page is premium real estate: it’s where you can center your company’s value proposition and communicate key information in a clear and compelling way.
Keep your company description concise. Remove or reduce the size of the stock display to avoid cluttering the page and provide quick links to essential IR content, such as recent financial filings, press releases and events. From the home page, users should be able to find what they need in no more than two or three clicks.
It’s also important to ensure all members of your investor audience can access your site’s materials. A site built in adherence with Americans with Disabilities guidelines and web content accessibility guidelines from the WC3 will accommodate individuals who may use screen readers or other accessibility tools.
If seeking external resources to build a new IR website or modify an existing one, select a service provider with the experience and expertise to incorporate necessary accessibility standards into your site’s design and functionality.
Keep design and messaging consistent across your website
Your IR site’s design and messaging should closely align with your corporate website’s design and your company’s overall message. To provide a seamless user experience, incorporate the same fonts and colors and similar placement for navigation options that you employ on your company’s corporate site.
You should integrate the corporate site navigation and use a sub-navigation specifically for the IR site to allow for easy access to information across both the corporate and the IR site.
Your IR website is also an ideal place to present regular updates on financials, shareholder meetings and Wall Street roadshows. Automated postings of press releases and earnings reports can ensure the timely release of valuable information to your IR audience and to those using search engines to access data and information about your company.
Highlight social initiatives
Bankrate reports that about 89 percent of investors considered ESG issues in some form as part of their investment approach in 2022. Your IR site audience needs easy access to updates and information on your company’s initiatives for ESG, diversity, equity & inclusion and sustainability.
You can increase traffic and engagement to web pages dedicated to ESG by including a clear call to action on your IR site’s home page.
Your ESG messaging is part of your company’s overall goals, values and market position and your IR website can act as the primary vehicle for broadcasting relevant and valuable ESG content to your current and potential shareholders.
And as your organization develops and evolves ESG and corporate responsibility initiatives, your IR site will be a prime location to publish germane information and increase content discoverability.
Display your company’s financial information in a clear and organized way
Investors and analysts want financial information in plain sight. When earnings releases, webcasts, filings and other essential information are spread out across multiple areas of your site, user experience suffers. Create an engaging and easy-to-use home page where users can quickly access your company’s current and past financial data.
Remember, key performance metrics are important to prospective shareholders, too – and by incorporating visual elements to highlight your company’s financial performance, you can draw attention and drive engagement.
Jargon and overly technical language can hinder open, transparent communication with investors – particularly as more retail investors participate in the market. The general public may not be familiar with industry-specific terms and acronyms like CAGR (compound annual growth rate) and Ebitda (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization). A straightforward and digestible message is key to communicating effectively with professionals and everyday investors alike.
Granular detail can also bog down investors looking for specific information on your IR site. Effective IR websites balance comprehensive information with straightforward messaging.
Of course, in some circumstances, your company might need to provide in-depth information that may not be relevant to individual investors. Dedicated branches of your IR site can house more specialist data and other content.
Tell a compelling and future-centric story
IR websites should provide users with a clear and comprehensive picture of your company’s corporate narrative, including short-term objectives and the vision for the future. While many investors want to find information about how a company’s decisions will affect results in the short term, companies should be sure to communicate long-term initiatives as well. Any announcements of short-term planning should connect logically with information about the company’s long-term goals and strategies.
If it’s been years since you’ve reviewed the messaging and functionality of your IR content, it might be time to revamp your IR web presence. An effective IR website is one of the most powerful tools for communicating your company’s core narratives and financial information.
As you consider your IR website’s needs, look for experienced service providers that can provide consolidated solutions to streamline your IR workflow, alleviate the stress of earnings day and manage all core IR services, such as press release distribution and earnings call production.
It is also critical to work with a provider that maintains a proven track record of unfettered support of your IR site. A dedicated IR support and customer experience team can make or break a successful earnings season.
Investor relations professionals, like those in public relations and integrated marketing, are storytellers, and a corporate IR website is the ideal platform to promote the brand’s truth and narrative verbally and visually, speaking to current and potential customers and partners.
Ben Brown is director of customer engagement at Cision
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