Aug 27, 2021 / in Investor RelationsUS Blog / by Josef Bachmeier

Your company’s investor relations (IR) website hosts its most important news and financial information; therefore, you want to be sure you’re utilizing this resource to maximize its impact. Unfortunately, we often see companies make mistakes that dilute and muddle their message to investors – from overcommunicating unnecessary information to under-communicating important information. We're sharing the most common missteps we've seen on various IR websites and what can be done to fix them.

Mistake #1: Unnecessarily highlighting stock information and financial forecasts

The purpose of your IR website is to serve as a hub of information most valuable to your investors. This includes highlighting your company's value proposition and providing access to necessary documents and material information that fulfills disclosure requirements.

Despite what some companies believe is necessary, they're under no obligation to keep their site's audience informed about analyst forecasts. Public companies are also not obligated to provide third-party-sourced financial highlights that are already available via filings, earnings releases, and quarterly and annual reports. While stock information is present on most IR websites – and rightly so – it's unnecessary to make the stock price the focal point of the homepage or highlight the company's stock information on a single page or display.

At the time of writing, we reviewed 100 Cision-hosted IR websites that display stock information in various configurations. No matter where the stock information was placed or how it was displayed, there was virtually no engagement with stock data from end users. In this same review, the various stock pages did not rank above tenth in the site's most viewed pages. These pages also have the highest bounce rate.

However, do you know what does get a lot of traffic?

  • Quarterly reports
  • Earnings releases
  • Annual reports
  • Webcast links
  • Company revenue and operating metrics
  • Company history, including merger and acquisition activity
  • Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) or Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) information

And speaking of ESG…

Mistake #2:  Not effectively communicating your ESG initiatives

According to Morningstar, funds that have ESG as part of their principal investment strategy have increased by more than 70% since 2019. So it's no wonder that investors are increasingly demanding that companies report their ESG initiatives. In turn, regulatory bodies are devising uniform guidelines for companies to use when reporting their ESG initiatives. Thus, your ESG messaging is no longer optional.

Additionally, companies who post a PDF once a year describing their ESG initiatives cannot expect this to resonate with shareholders, prospective investors and analysts. While the IR website is an effective tool to provide general ESG highlights and messages, it can be much more than that. Your IR site should serve as the primary repository for all your organization's ESG content. Your success or failure in executing and communicating your ESG initiatives will have a material impact on your top and bottom line. You’re savvy enough to know that this information should live on your IR site, where it can be easily updated, redesigned and reconfigured by your IR site partner year after year.

Mistake #3: Failing to integrate your IR site with your company's main website

Your IR website should not exist on an island, unconnected from your main website's user experience and brand aesthetic. The IR site should be discoverable and linked from your main website, providing a seamless, integrated experience.

Some companies treat their IR site as an afterthought, which is a mistake. If your IR message is not cohesive with your company's overall message to customers, shareholders will view your company as disjointed or siloed.

You're offering best-in-class products and services and delivering ROI for your shareholders. For your IR website to deliver those same results, you need a truly seamless user experience with the rest of your website.

The takeaway

Your IR website is a reflection of your company's overall message. Companies should put as much thought and consideration into creating an informative and concise IR site as they do any other messaging. For better or worse, investors will make assumptions about your company based on how you present your IR message. You should ensure you're putting your best foot forward.

Need help creating an IR website that will impress your investors? Learn how Cision can help you share your company's most valuable IR information.

For insight into the latest IR trends, check out the State of Investor Relations in a Virtual World Report.

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About Josef Bachmeier

Josef is the subject matter expert and leader of Cision’s web development solutions, also known as Cision Rooms. Josef has been part of the Cision team for 12 years and has deep expertise in the creation, distribution, and engagement of owned content and the development of branded digital solutions that leverage custom web design, cutting edge dynamic functionality and social integration, and Cision’s first-to-market Cision ID technology. Josef helps Cision’s clients by providing this expertise through site audits, onsite consultations, and digital best practices sessions.