Is Inbound Investor Relations Right for You?
Build on a solid foundation, set a clear path and don’t allow confusion. Leverage inbound investor relations to provide a clear message and open a dialogue with your investors. Earning long-term support from your investors eases pressure on your stock price through all market trends. Engaging investors on their terms across multiple distribution channels is the new normal. Is inbound investor relations right for you?
Is your investor relations (“IR”) message instantly welcoming?
With more and more online-only communication and business connections, it’s increasingly important that your investor relations program delivers a stellar first impression. For investors to support you over the long-term they need to know your business and understand its value drivers, like the way you are running it and trust you will succeed in the long-run.
You want your investor relations program to provide everyone an experience akin to an exclusive one-on-one meeting with your CEO and CFO that makes them feel important and taken care of. Sadly, many of today’s public companies embrace traditional investor relations programs that neglect to engage investors, avoid relevant business facts and broadcast often confusing information masked as noteworthy, usually out of context.
Burdening your investors, or worse: prospective investors, with the job of getting to know your business, determining whether they like the way you are running it and trusting you will succeed in the long-run is the wrong strategy. It’s your job to demonstrate your commitment to success and encourage them to join you on the journey.
There are thousands of other public companies doing that
It’s 2018, it’s not enough to put out another press release. There are thousands of other public companies doing that. You need to go beyond broadcasting distracting press releases to providing a seamless investor experience (“IX”) in the process as well. Check out 7 ways a public company can use social media resources wisely to learn how to incorporate social media to build your inbound investor relations progam.
At the very least you need to ensure that your investor relations content is useful, usable, desirable, findable, accessible and credible.
Address the following basics and you’ll be well on your way there.
Define superior strategies, enable disciplined financial management and create operational processes that are grounded in building lasting shareholder value
Build on a solid foundation
For an investor experience that delivers, your investor relations program needs a strong foundation to match. Your IR program needs to reliably deliver an engaging experience, regardless of the distribution channel, device and operating system people use to access it. Make sure you design and implement your IR program on a solid website and for distribution across multiple social media platforms to engage investors with reliable insights to organizational achievements that affect your stock price, or people will go elsewhere.
Build a solid investor relations website that truly welcomes people to understand your business, to know your goals and strategy to achieve them.
Your IX should allow investors access to dialog with your CEO and CFO openly and publicly in a community forum setting. Lead the dialog by encouraging interaction.
Use trusted social media platforms that investors are on regularly anyhow; think Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter for starters. Make it worth their time to follow you. This means you must consistently post original content that is relevant to investors. Do this and you will be on your way to building a solid foundation and attract investors.
You must consistently post original content that is relevant to investors
Every element of your investor relations program needs to be accessible and adapt to small screens as seamlessly as it does to a desktop computer. And this is so much more than press releases. I’m talking about all of your social media posts, online community forum discussions, presentations, audio and video recordings – inbound investor relations is about the investor.
Traditional Investor Relations is interruptive and Executive-centric. The traditional method of investor relations may be convenient to Executive management because they can push messages to the market whenever they want. Even when investors aren’t paying attention or want to read the press release. But it’s not such a great experience for investors. If it’s not a great experience for investors, what makes Executive management believe it’ll work? Inbound Investor Relations is about the investor.
Clear journey paths
The ways in which investors can interact with your brand online are constantly changing and you need to be prepared for all of it. Build an engaging, scalable IX across multiple channels before anything else. After all, relevant business achievements that nobody knows about and can’t share on your behalf aren’t going to do much for your stock price. Is inbound investor relations right for you?
Once your IX foundation is strong it’s time to optimize the content distributed over it. Take a look at how your content strategy is organized – yes, a press release is a content strategy, just not a very good one (but it is the most expensive). Take a look at your fiscal calendar and reconcile that with the ideal journey you want investors to take when they engage with your investor relations message across all your social media channels. What are the possible directions they could take? Are paths for those clearly drawn?
Whether you offer one option or a few, investors first taking in your messaging, whether on your website or social media, should see clear choices laid out for them, guiding them with ways to engage with other investors, company management and/or investor relations contacts.
Everything should be organized to help investors achieve their end goals. The language, navigation, design – everything. Focus on generating investor support, whether keeping current investors informed or providing prospective investors with a journey they want to join. Either way, this experience should be framed by the improved lives they’ll lead once they’re invested in you.
Don’t allow confusion
Finally, if you have a clear path to completing a goal paved out for your investors and prospects, don’t distract them with confusion.
Sticking with the popularity of traditional investor relations, few businesses today can pull off success with press releases, a distribution channel that not only is outdated but also expensive. When you use a traditional investor relations agency, stuck in their own outdated ways you limit the reach of your investor relations message, and pay dearly for it. Investors pay too by receiving confusing “news” about what matters…at the time of the press release. Consider Apple – it’s a huge organization with all kinds of technology development happening all day every day, yet every investor knows exactly what matters at earnings time: revenues, unit sales and earnings from a few high profile products.
Informed investors need to know, like and trust your team
The same should be true of your inbound investor relations program, so don’t even bother with press releases – let the press redistribute your investor relations message by following you on social media. Let others spread the news about you – no medium beats relevant social referrals. All of your other investor followers have the opportunity to share your message with all of their contacts – it’s how things go viral.
The good news is, once you have your investors’ main goals defined and the paths to them laid out through strategic journeys, it’s far easier to determine which channels support that and which are expendable.
Your investor relations program doesn’t need to broadcast context questionable, one-sided and inconsistent press releases for a big fee anymore. Removing anything that’s not actively moving people towards the end goal decreases distractions and makes the ideal journey even more clear to investors.
Help investors accomplish their goals
IX is ultimately about making it as clear and easy as possible for investors to support who they want to, who they believe in. Remember that your IX is your portal to the future of your market cap, and your content channels are like employees. They each need to actively work for you, and they need to function well as a team. This calls for training and designing them carefully.
Using the above tips, start molding your inbound investor relations program to better help your investors.