Have you ever googled the term "More traffic to my website"? No? Never do it. The internet is full of unserious offers and dubious advice on how to attract traffic to a website.
But you and your company have invested a great deal of work, time, and resources into your IR website and certainly hope to garner the interest of investors, analysts and other target groups. How can you increase and then sustain strong and consistent traffic to your IR website?
Being Current is a Given, but You Also Have to be Interesting
It sounds so obvious but the inability to arouse interest is often the biggest weakness of IR sites. It is widely accepted that an IR website should soberly show figures, the 200+ page annual report in PDF form and the latest ad-hoc announcements. Totally wrong! Investors and analysts want to be addressed with an emotional angle, as well. They want to read stories of a company’s journey, see where the company is headed and understand the vision of its management. Stock prices represent the future, so explaining and showing how your company wants to shape the future is key. Work with crisp claims and arguments, expressive graphics, and inspiring videos. You may already be doing this with your annual report but far fewer people read annual reports than IR websites.
A basic principle of the “customer experience" is to not only meet the expectations of your customers, but to surpass them. As an IR manager, you need to surprise your target audience. Interactive graphics, indexing tools, chart analysis, video content on the website achieve this when done tastefully and in the right dose. Nothing is duller than one large chunks of text after another.
Interactive price charts on Vonovia SE IR Website
Virtually every IR conference includes a now almost cliché lecture on the topic of "IR and Social Media.” But few IR managers are really convinced that more social media presence increases company relevance. Instead, it’s how social media is used that proves to be the key factor. Posting photos of your CEO with rabbit ears on Snapchat? No. But a carefully crafted graph on LinkedIn showing an increase in EBIT, with link to your online annual report? Bull’s eye. If colleagues and multipliers from your network share your post, all the better.
The Technological Minimum
Many companies still have IR websites that aren’t responsive and can’t automatically adapt to different display sizes. This is a non-starter in the age of mobile internet. Navigating an IR website should be as easy on a smartphone as on a desktop computer. The same content should be available, adapted to the respective device. Flash, Java or other plug-ins should be minimized in order to avoid long loading times. Users quickly disappear — and they rarely come back— when a site is dull.
Responsive design of Tom Tailor IR Website
SEO and Analysis Tools
CEOs are a part of your daily work but SEO is equally important for your IR website. SEO, or "Search Engine Optimization,” is now a science in and of itself and should be a key factor to your website’s IR section. Search engines read “normal" text on a website much better than PDF files. Likewise, search engines can’t read image files, making it vital to provide graphics with appropriate descriptions. Search engines reward companies who regularly update their content. Because every website has optimization potential, it generally pays off to go through an IR website with an SEO expert.
Just as important as SEO is analysis of your traffic. What is being searched in your IR area? Where are visitors to your site from? How long do they stay on your site and on which sub-pages? These data help you improve your IR website, thus increasing traffic.
What is the Point of All This?
The question remains: What's the point? Why invest money and time? Just to improve traffic statistics? In short, the basic goal of IR is to reduce capital costs. The more investors and analysts are inspired by your company, the greater the chances for accomplishing IR’s goal.
The IR website is a key building block to this goal. What do your (potential) investors and analysts do when they first hear about your company or are looking for more detailed content? Exactly: they go to your website. And their experience of your website has a direct impact on whether they go a step further and call your IR manager and invest. It pays off to offer your target groups an impactful first experience on your IR website.