With widespread anticipation that MiFID II will result in a fall-off in sell side research equity research for small cap stocks, the corporate website is becoming an increasingly important channel for investors. In fact, 74% of fund managers believe that MiFID II will directly lead to company websites becoming more important sources of information for investors (source: The QCA/Peel Hunt Mid & Small Cap Investor Survey 2018).
Now more than ever, listed companies will need to ensure that their corporate website – and especially the investor section – not only presents their ‘shop window’ clearly and compellingly, but that it is also easy to find. Search engine optimisation (SEO) will play an increasingly important role, as well as best-in-class investor relations pages on the website.
Where third party information about a company may be difficult to find, investors are likely to look increasingly to company websites as a primary source of information and so getting the basics right will be more important than ever. Some initial pointers are as follows:
- Get found
With investors and the media expecting to rely increasingly on a company’s digital presence to find out the information they need, you need to make sure that yours can be easily found. SEO performance is sometimes overlooked on corporate websites. A quick analysis using one of many industry standard SEO checker tools will quickly tell you how your site is currently performing and what can be improved. If you do not have the time or resources to implement all recommendations, focus on quick wins - it will probably be where you’ll get the most gains anyway.
- Tell a story
Your investor relations website is your primary communications channel and opportunity to tell the corporate story and set out your investment case.
- Don’t re-invent (but do make it better)
The use of rich media such as video, infographics and webcasts can be valuable. Using these formats will ensure that investors consume more of the content they’re looking for and stay on the website longer.
Interactive share price tools, RNS feeds, and data visualisation tools should also be available to analysts and investors. Providing up-to-date and easily downloadable data can save you and the investment community time.
What’s more, repurposing rich content from IR materials, presentations and the Annual Report, as well as the Sustainability Report for those companies publishing one, will result in strong, consistent messaging.
- Manage your inbound
As investor relations officers begin to be more proactive in their communications to compensate for the effects – or potential effects – of MiFID II, they can expect to receive more inbound enquiries and setting up a standard enquiry form on your website, possibly indicating an anticipated response time, can help with that.
- Track, measure, evaluate
Post MiFID II, IR teams may find they have more direct contact with investors and tracking tools to help you build a picture of who is coming to the website, from where, and what they are looking for may help to optimise your approach (albeit that other aspects of EU regulation may limit how forensic you can be).
- Spread the word
Social media is a powerful way to build brand awareness, engage with your audiences, improve SEO and increase traffic to your website. Use it to communicate regular updates to your website and other relevant information.
- Finally… test your site on some real users
Do not assume all visitors are familiar with your website content and where to find key information about your investment proposition, competitive landscape and advantage. Create some simple tasks for a few willing test subjects such as, ‘Find our investment case’. A few clicks will reveal if your navigation, content and experience are meeting the needs of your investors.
You can learn more about the implications of MiFID II on investor relations by reading our special edition of ‘Reporting Matters: Making sense of MiFID II’. The e-mag can be accessed using the link below or alternatively if you’d like a hard copy, please email firstname.lastname@example.org