Q4’s Darrell Heaps and Sheryl Joyce look into their crystal ball

Q4 Web Systems envisions that transparency and engagement will be the underlying philosophy of the IR website of the future.

A large part of this philosophy will be based on interacting via social channels with the company and other investors.

Futuristic touchscreen

Searching tools
A good IR website makes it easy to access content. One way to accomplish this is by using tools to help investors search, sort and organize data. For example, Daimler has a feature that lets users look up press releases by year and category. Other searchable information can include events by topic, month and year, which Adidas does.

Most popular content
Savvy investors are accessing company websites to gather information to make informed investment decisions. They are also increasingly signing up for and sharing ideas and information with other investors on social networks, so they will be interested in seeing what their friends are looking at on a company’s website and on social media channels. One way to help achieve this is to provide a snapshot of the most popular content being sought after, prominently displayed on the IR website.

Discussion section
Online conversations about companies are on the rise. A good way to stay apprised of these conversations is through an amalgamated discussion section. This section would incorporate a mash-up of conversations about your company (as well as your peers) on social networks. It would also track trending themes and sentiment analysis by providing analytics from the social web. This section would help IROs monitor the conversations as well as help mitigate potential rumors from misinformation and respond in a timely manner.

Interactive access
Access to the C-suite and transparency are two top concerns for investors. This section would list all public events available to all investors where they could interact face-to-face with management. For example, investors could sign up for an earnings call and be brought into a virtual meeting room like PGI’s iMeet. The same concept would apply to annual meetings and investor days. Similarly, there would be a private sign-up for institutional investors to book meetings with management.

Investor FAQs
FAQs are a useful way to reduce investor calls. The IR department should regularly add any new questions to this section and think outside the box to come up with other potential inclusions. Potash is an innovator in this area, segmenting questions by category. It also gives investors the option to filter and even the opportunity to suggest a question. Q4 also envisions a ‘real-time’ FAQs feature where investors can submit their questions and the most recent (provided it’s ‘new’) will stay on top so others can see it.

Reporting center
Financial information is a key metric investors use to decide whether they want to buy shares, so it is essential to make it easy to download and analyze this information. For example, Agnico-Eagle – a Q4 client – has a financial and operating database that gives analysts a full set of quarterly financials and fundamentals (delivered through a browser or as Excel downloads), customizable charts and the facility to share content from the model through email and social networks.

Email alerts
Investors today are more discerning and want to receive selected information. Offering segmented email alerts gives investors the opportunity to select the type of information they want. For example, TVI Pacific – another Q4 client – has a very comprehensive ‘Connect with us’ page with integrated RSS feeds so investors can sign up for news releases, events and presentations. This section would also allow investors to choose where they wanted this information sent: to Twitter, Facebook or other social media channels where they are active.

Comprehensive contact information
Companies are making themselves more accessible by providing comprehensive contact information. For example, in addition to direct phone numbers and email addresses for the IR team, companies like Bayer are providing headshots of the IR contacts. Companies will increasingly provide a link to their LinkedIn profile and those of each member of the IR department.

What’s new?
Whether a site visitor is a potential, new or long-term investor, providing links to recent news or events is typically highly sought-after information. One way companies highlight what’s new is by linking to the latest press releases, transcripts and upcoming events, or to the latest updates made on the IR website, like Danske Bank. This section would also use highly visual links to corporate video housed on YouTube or most recent presentations housed on SlideShare.