IPO Digital Readiness

03/09/2015

Karl Wiseman, Digital and Content

IPO Digital Readiness

Investis recently put on an interesting talk to highlight their findings on how corporates are, or rather aren’t, using their investor websites effectively, particularly during the IPO process. The research concluded that many corporates, particularly those that are newly listed, are neglecting their investor visits to their investor relations (IR) website and so are missing out on opportunities to gain new supporters. Essentially, we’re not applying to investors the knowledge we’ve gained from marketing to customers.

Although everyone’s individual in their approach to research and use of digital media, there are general points worth considering when putting together corporate communications materials. Why is having a good corporate site is important? How can it be done better without breaking the bank or being enormously distracting, since it’s already a stressful time for management teams?

Two stats to kick off why this is important:

  • 84% of institutional investors look at IR websites for research purposes [1]
  • 80% of institutional investors use social media as part of their regular work flow [2]

Corporate websites and social media pages are platforms from which you can deliver your key messages in your own words and style to investors. By not capitalising on this, that opportunity is wasted.

So what do you need to know?

Structure things better from the start

The first point is this (and we’ve been banging the drum about it for a while): put yourself into the shoes of your audience, in this case, those investors you want to target as they visit your corporate site. You can do this in conjunction with speaking to existing contacts. Plan the core elements each different type of investor will be looking for, and identify where the crossovers lie. For example, what is an institutional investor looking for versus a retail investor?  

Map out and identify the crucial pieces of information different visitors will be after, and make sure they’re all very easy to find.

Make the most of what you already have

It is remarkable how much time and effort can be dedicated to carefully preparing materials, only then for the ‘end product’ (reports, copy, research, etc.) not to be shared with all the possible audiences. During the process of admissions documents and legal formalities, ask the questions ‘how else can we use this?’ and ‘who else might be interested in this?’

By displaying materials on your website, particularly financial highlights and graphics, you make it easier for your investor audience to find this information. Moreover, your brand becomes better aligned across different mediums.

When you have multiple avenues with which to speak to audiences - via email marketing, social media, the press - having the points you want to make available to different audiences is a good idea. This is what’s dryly referred to as ‘syndicating content’ but more simply put, if you have a story to tell, tell it to everyone.

The earlier you can give the communications teams the information they need to start planning, the better. You don’t need to give them all of your insights if they’re still being thrashed out but some early direction is critical to maximising your voice in the market during the IPO process.

Aspire to be better

Most companies aspire to grow in size and strength. There were 8 new entrants to the FTSE 250 in Q2’15. As we glance up towards the most successful companies on the markets, there’s a clear trend toward improving investor communications. Aside from having bigger budgets and greater resources, these companies have learned the valuable lesson (some more painful than others): the importance of having a strong portal from which to engage investors.

As a company grows, so will their investor base. The greater needs of these investors will need to be met by online resources. To those companies aiming to enter the bracket above - look closely at the existing programmes of your potential new peers and compare them with your own (or your current plans). By all means steer away from the norm and drab, but be careful to ensure that the key elements you have identified are included.

In conclusion

Even though investors and corporate visitors are used to trawling documents for info, it doesn’t mean they enjoy it. By making the ‘journey’ through the website more straightforward and appealing, you will inevitably earn the approval of your visitor.


 

[1] Investis IQ Ranking, UK IPO Special Report 2015

[2] Investis IQ Ranking, UK IPO Special Report 2015

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