Online Touchpoints in the Investor Journey

Information and impressions gained at various online touchpoints is used by investors as they progress on their journey from identifying needs to becoming a shareholder that will recommend the stock to others.

In an earlier post in IRMatters, we discussed the Investor Journey and how it is important for the IR communication strategy to understand the journey the investor takes, and the touchpoints investors use.

All touchpoints (such as the company website) will deliver a variety of messages that will communicate both facts and impressions about the company.

An effective online IR strategy delivers the messages in the medium investors want, using the touchpoints they choose.

In today’s post, we present a high level discussion of the touchpoints. If you would like to take a little longer to examine our thoughts on it, feel free to visit our website to download our Touchpoints White Paper, here.

Different Messages

Messages are usually a mixture of facts and impressions. Sometimes a great fact, delivered poorly, can be less effective than an ordinary fact delivered well.

This is because investors don’t always make entirely rational decisions – particularly when they are in the early stages of their journey and know that they haven’t yet attempted to consider all the facts.

Those facts and impressions will be interpreted differently, by different investors, different types of investors, and investors at different stages of the journey. This detail will help investors make decisions, both rational and emotional, about whether or not they will move to the next stage of their journey on the buying process.


Different touchpoints at different stages

Some touchpoints will tend to be used earlier in the investor journey, others later. Some touchpoints are suited to some types of media, others best suited to different types.

At any stage of the investor journey the investor can choose which touchpoint they want to use. They will base their decision to progress to the next stage based on what they find at that time at that touchpoint.

Consistency and timeliness of messages and impressions given is therefore very important.

We don’t know what stage an investor is at when a message is delivered to a Touchpoint. So impressions matter at every Touchpoint, and quick navigation to successively more detailed facts is needed for later stage investors.

Early Stage Touchpoints

At the early stages of the investor journey, the potential investor may not even know our company name or ticker code.

The touchpoints they will use are places where there is general information about the industry or the opportunity. They may look at a list of recommendations from a broker or adviser, an article in an online newspaper, membership of an online forum or industry website, a tweet on a related subject, or a post in an online forum.

The big one is Google search.

Once they know our company name or ticker code, they should be easily able to find us on page 1 of Google search – preferably sitting at the top of the page. If achievable, other search terms relating to our industry, the executives’ names, the names or geographical regions of projects or services, should all rank highly.

The investor website

The investor home page should create a great impression (for first time visitors) and provide simple and effective navigation to what investors want (for returning visitors).

The investor website should be the authority on everything relating to the company. Easily and readily searchable.

It should be up to date to the minute.


Mobile and responsive

Investors are participating in this trend as much as others.

The entire investor website should respond well to all different form factors. It’s called Responsive Design.

Having said that, the desktop version is far from dead. Around 70% of investor website visits are still from desktops. Investors might have a glance on their phone, but they will do their deeper thinking at a desktop or laptop.


Notifications and Alerts

Investors will not wake up in the morning and rush to your website to see if you have some news.

Investors need to be alerted to your news. Many third parties have notification services, that suit their objectives not yours. Most investor websites offer the ability to subscribe for an email notification service.

It’s up to the company to embrace investors wanting a notification to provide it as soon as the announcement is released.


Social Media

Investors are increasingly turning to social media. Twitter seems to be the main one, probably driven by the trend in the US for companies to make their earnings calls on twitter.

Other social media channels to consider are LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, Slideshare, Flickr, Wikipedia and others.

Social media strategies range from “hide” to “fully embrace”. Few companies can afford to hide, particularly with Twitter which, with the advent of $Cashtags, provides nowhere to hide.


Budget impact

Different media types, delivered through more touchpoints, come with increased effort and resulting cost.  Automation of processes can help, and can also help improved timeliness.


Summary

Many online touchpoints, and third party touchpoints, are transitory. News comes and goes, sometimes before it’s noticed.

So we relate the content back to the investor website. The investor website is the baseline. The rock. The source of truth. The pervasive, responsive, complete, and up to date repository for all information about the company.

Where we are in complete control of the messages, if not the audience.


Success Factors

What does all this mean for an online IR strategy?

Success is when the IR communications strategy delivers the appropriate messages through the right touchpoints to suit the investors’ needs for their current stage of the investor journey.

On our website, and in more detail in a separate IRMatters post we present IRM’s views on the ten best practice principles.

IRM and the Touchpoints on the Investor Journey

At IRM, we are online investor communications specialists. We understand the investor journey and how the online touchpoints work, particularly the online touchpoints that are available to listed companies.

We help listed companies with the online touchpoints and message distribution.

Of course the company needs a good story and good messages. IRM helps deliver them to the touchpoints that investors are using at the time that they need to see them.

IRM has prepared a white paper on Touchpoints. Read more about touchpoints on our website, here, or for a full discussion download the white paper, here.

If you would like to chat about this with our CEO, Martin Spry, be cautious – it’s his favourite subject, and the conversation might not be short! He does coffee on the subject, and can be reached by email on martin.spry@irmau.com, or by phone on +61 2 8705 5444.