Slowly but surely the world is beginning to recover from pandemic related travel restrictions, but with no certain plans many companies are leaning towards a hybrid model for investor roadshows. This hybrid model includes an in-person and virtual component. This article will discuss some of the benefits of the hybrid investor roadshow as well as some tips for success.
Among the most compelling reasons to supplement your roadshow with a virtual investor conference or webcast is the uncertainty of travel in some parts of the world. While things are transitioning back to normal in the US, the looming threat of a Coronavirus variant hasn’t gone away yet, and neither have restrictions on travel and social distancing. Even if your focus is on an in-person roadshow, having a contingency plan that includes a webcast or recording ensures that your reach isn’t compromised by events outside your control.
The main benefit of a hybrid virtual roadshow is that you’re able to maximize your reach with minimal effort. Investor webcast technologies have become ubiquitous over the past few years, and their popularity among investors and analysts has grown as well. The recent popularity of webinars means you could even include attendees you previously wouldn’t be able to invite such as smaller investment offices or retail investors as attendees. You could even invite key leaders within your business, such as scientists and product managers, to speak on the technical aspects of your business as industry experts. Furthermore, a Zoom roadshow presentation transcends geographical boundaries, meaning that you have the opportunity to engage with international investors. All of these benefits can be achieved without diminishing the efforts spent on engaging investors in person.
While the best practices for in-person roadshows have been well established for decades, hybrid and virtual roadshows are still new territory. The following best practices for digital investor relations will help you prepare for your virtual roadshow:
Consider the format that will work best for your event. While a webcast can be helpful for reaching large audiences with little up-front effort, you may want to woo your VIP guests with one-on-one sessions that allow more room for questions, dialogue, and relationship building. Virtual one-on-one calls are an excellent opportunity to engage investors outside of your usual roadshow destinations.
Don’t be afraid to try out new tools and technology to make digital roadshows easier to manage. In addition to the obvious broadcasting tools like webcams and conferencing software, there are tools that can make finding and connecting with investors easier. With the rapid digital uptake seen in 2020-2021, it’s easier than ever to find solutions to streamline even the most mundane tasks. For example, Calendly is a free tool that simplifies booking meetings with guests in other timezones. There are plenty of tools, designed both for capital markets and general use, that can help save you time when planning a virtual roadshow.
Even if your focus is your in-person investor roadshow, don’t leave the planning and preparation for your virtual event until the last minute. You should aim to create the best experience possible for your digital attendees. Take the time to do a dry run to ensure that all presenters are comfortable with the software so that production goes smoothly.
You may also consider pre-recording an IR presentation for digital distribution. A recorded presentation that answers frequently asked questions can be sent to invited attendees who couldn’t meet your schedule as well as retail investors and smaller brokers. You can even solicit questions from digital attendees in advance to ensure you address everything you need to in your recording.
Since one of the main benefits of a hybrid roadshow is the opportunity to increase your guest list, be sure to do your homework when it comes to inviting attendees. While you may be reserving in-person tickets for relationships, a digital webcast gives you the opportunity to expand your reach to a much wider audience which is a starting ground for building a differentiated shareholder base.
Use your investor database to pinpoint investors that would be a good fit for your company. A good way to do this is to target investors who have positions in companies with a similar market cap, geographical location, or industry focus. You can use tools like Irwin to find investors that hold your peers. From there, you can choose your targets and prioritize how you want to plan your meetings. You may wish to meet VIP investors in person or to schedule one-on-one calls with them, but don’t discount the opportunity to host a group webinar for smaller investors and sales desks. The advantage of virtual roadshows here is that you can get in front of investors you might not otherwise have met in person without spending time or expense on travelling.
Regardless of whether your attendees came to your roadshow in person or RSVP'd digitally, be sure to send a follow up email to thank them for their time. If you recorded your roadshow, be sure to include instructions on how to access the recording in this email as well.