We’re bombarded with news, marketing emails, social media and DMs… and we’ve grown comfortable with the noise. In fact, we expect it as consumers and investors. With a quick split-second glance at a headline or thumbnail, we’re excellent arbiters of what’s essential or personally relevant and what’s not… we know what to instant-delete and what to view.
If you run a startup, specifically a publicly traded one here in Canada, what’s your strategy to get through the noise?
How are you staying relevant in the minds’ of investors?
Do you have a weekly newsletter?
Or do you view it as a hapless endeavour given all the other info investors are bombarded with?
If you’re the latter, I’m here to tell you you’re making a huge mistake... Huge!
The most professional, and not coincidentally the most liquid TSX Venture companies have email newsletters and a consistent, professional content game (active on social with educational and entertaining content).
Next to material news releases and regulatory filings, newsletters and short videos are the most impactful content for a TSX Venture company. They’re vital for shareholder retention and growth.
I know what you may think… there’s nothing new about email newsletters. They’ve been around for damn near 30 years. But that’s because they work. And yet, so few companies publish one.
A Newsletter Shouldn't Be Time Consuming… Just Be Clever
A weekly newsletter (even bi-weekly is effective) shouldn’t take hours to create. An hour or two, max.
Utilize an email newsletter to resend key points from press releases, provide additional commentary on material developments (ideally via a video link), or include a 45-second short video from the CEO on things you deem relevant and exciting within your industry. You can even utilize a newsletter to tell how the company came to be — the 'Genesis Story.'
You can also use it to highlight your latest social posts or videos about projects or products. The point is there are plenty of content ideas for a company newsletter.
If You Write It, They Will Read It
Your investors’ money is at stake with your company, so they’ll open your emails.
Investors appreciate consistent communication, particularly in the current market environment that is breeding more and more jittery shareholders. And an appreciative shareholder is a loyal shareholder.
I never miss a quarterly letter from one of the funds I’m invested in (they’re the only one who provides it every quarter!). I appreciate their market commentary and explanations of their investing theses. Every time I read one, I learn something new, further solidifying my confidence in the firm. If your newsletter can have the same impact on shareholders, you're golden.
Why Start A Company Newsletter?
- Trust and Retention: Regular communication builds trust, leading to better shareholder retention.
- Stand Out: 9 out of 10 of your competitors (other TSX Venture issuers) don’t have newsletters, so you’ll demonstrate a much higher level of professionalism. Newsletters are attractive to the ideal shareholder — one with patience and a desire to learn.
- Transparency: A weekly newsletter demonstrates transparency, which is especially important for micro-cap companies. Again, view your newsletter as a way to build confidence among investors.
- Education: Newsletters must educate investors about your company's industry, products or services, and most importantly, its growth strategy! Informed investors are more likely to make rational decisions and hold onto their investments during market volatility (volatility and the TSX Venture go hand-in-hand).
- Perceptions: A company that communicates regularly with investors is viewed as organized and investor-friendly, likely leading to a positive perception among shareholders.
- Engagement: Newsletters foster two-way communication with investors, encouraging them to reach out.
Compliance Is Crucial
A caveat to an email newsletter, of course, is to always ensure compliance with securities regulations. Make sure counsel reviews and/or provides content guidelines for your newsletter, and stick to them. Never use your email newsletter to disseminate non-public information about your company.
Drive Shareholder Appreciation
It’s no secret the TSX Venture and many of its issuers are starving for liquidity these days. For over a year now, we’ve seen near-historic lows in trading activity… the economy and inflation play a significant role. However, it’s more critical than ever that junior publicly traded companies differentiate themselves and stand out from the sea of illiquid companies.
Constant contact and finding numerous touchpoints for investors to learn about your company are vital if you’re to get a piece of the shrinking pool of speculative capital. Things like a strong social media game and a consistent newsletter are differentiators with no barrier to entry. Yet, it amazes me how so few companies have a newsletter.
Hack For Building Your Email Subscriber List
Are you afraid of wasting time with a newsletter because you don’t have an extensive email list? Start adding a prompt and a link within your news releases that leads to an attractive newsletter sign-up/landing page. You’ll be surprised how fast that subscriber list grows if done thoughtfully.
Pro tip: The larger that email subscriber list is, the easier it will be to close your next non-brokered financing.
To better shareholder engagement,