Corporate Eye

Satisfaction for All Comers on IR Websites

We’ve discussed the idea of who the target audience of an Investor Relations website is before.  From employee and retiree shareholders, to retail investors, to analysts, and the financial media, an IR website can be expected to cover a lot of ground.  That is why Investor Relations departments try to mash so much information onto a single webpage.

Quick Investor Relations

Cisco is one of the world’s leading networking companies.  Its hardware runs inside the networks of companies big and small.  That means that it is on the minds of many people both in the technology industry and not.  Interest can jump quickly based on numerous events including media coverage that concerns the company either directly and tangentially.

The Cisco corporation can also be considered a fit for numerous investment categories, technology, networking, hardware, telecommunications, and even plain old large cap U.S., which means that in addition to a spot on the public’s awareness radar, it also commands a spot in many stock screeners or other investing tools that return companies based on various criteria.

Just how to provide useful investor information at once to the savvy retail investor or professional analyst, and the event driven investor, or investors looking for “a technology company”, can be a design and logistics nightmare.  Those who come to a company’s IR site frequently, don’t want to be bogged down with a long list of links burying the specific information they came to get, while those who are new to the site don’t want to have to figure out which menu has what, just to get a quick look at the company.

Company Fact Sheets
Cisco Systems - Overview The investor relations webpage is accessible from the Cisco homepage, though it is not visible until one clicks on Quick Links (tsk, tsk).  From there, an information packed and useful IR landing page greets potential and current investors.  All the usual information is readily accessible, stock quote, regulatory filings, financials, even events and presentations.  Additionally, a Fact Sheet link commands a prominent space in the left side menu.

The fact sheet at Cisco is, like many other companies, actually an offering of the “news” section of the Cisco website, but it contains a treasure trove of information for new investors who want to take a quick look at Cisco and decide if it is an idea they wish to pursue further.  But, since those investors are likely to arrive via the IR site, they may never find this source of information which may fit their needs better.

The easy to find link on the IR menu ensures that all arrivals have the opportunity to decide that their needs might be best served by a fact sheet rather than fully navigating the information available on the IR side.  By offloading these potential investors to this one-stop shopping style information page, the Cisco IR department can focus on building its Investor Relations web pages and navigation to suit those investors who may be making one of many returns to the Cisco IR information.

IR Best Practices

For the fact sheet to be a useful way to provide “at a glance” information to potential investors, it needs to contain links to the most commonly requested information.  Use your own experience by leveraging the knowledge of those who serve as investor contacts at your company.  They will likely be able to rattle off a small laundry list of items which are the most frequently requested by callers and email.  Position those items on the company fact sheet as well as other information that you would like quick hitting information seekers to find.  On the Cisco fact sheet for example, the company lists its many awards so that anyone viewing the sheet will see them regardless of their intention to seek out a list of such kudos.

By creating a quick and easy way for users looking to go through a lot of information one click after another, you make life easier for them.  At the same time, you relive the burden of sifting through a unruly stack of links from frequent IR visitors, creating a win-win situation for all potential and current investors.

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Brian is a small business owner, consultant and freelance writer. Brian began his professional career in the computer industry as a consultant where he became keenly aware of the internal workings of companies from Fortune 100 giants to small two-man shops. While working with a mutual fund company, Brian developed a strong interest in finance and became a Certified Financial Planner. As a financial professional, Brian specialized in working with small business owners. Brian is the co-founder of ArcticLlama, LLC a premier business writing and consulting firm. He also runs a real world personal finance blog. Brian lives in Denver with his wife and daughter.