Automating Private Placements for the Digital Age

Dear Blender community,

Last week the Blender team unveiled an exciting collaboration: Our recent partnership with the TMX Group, owners of the Toronto Stock Exchange.

The project is centered on their new private placement automation platform, called TMX dealLINX.

More on that below

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TMX dealLINX is a new tool that digitizes and automates the end-to-end private placements process, making it easier and cheaper for issuers to offer financings, while making it simpler for investors to participate.

To share more information about TMX dealLINX, we’ve created a microsite that highlights why the innovation is so badly needed right now and the benefits for issuers and investors.

Click here to view the microsite and if you have any questions let me know!

 

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Over the coming weeks, we will be releasing a series of private placements-focused content, including:

  • Data pointing to the rise of the retail investor and their DIY (do-it-yourself) approach to investing
  • Tips for issuers raising capital aiming to meet investors where they are
  • The surge in non-brokered private placements
  • Content aimed at new investors looking to better understand private placements

So, don’t forget to check the microsite. If you’re an issuer and you’re interested in how you can streamline your private placement process, contact us and we can get you in touch with the dealLINX team.

Sincerely,

Arash Adnani
Founder & CEO
Blender Media

Full Disclosure: TMX Group Limited is a paid sponsor of PrivatePlacements.com. To learn more about : TMX Group Limited, you can visit its website at http://www.tmx.com/ and review its annual information and public disclosure documents on www.sedar.com.
Disclaimer: The service and the contents are provided by the sender and other information providers on an “as is” basis. The sender and any and all other information providers expressly disclaim any and all warranties, express or implied any information herein or on PrivatePlacements.com.
PrivatePlacements.com and its and its owner and its owner’s directors, employees, consultants, contractors, agents, and the like (“Representatives”), do not give any tax or investment advice; and do not advocate the purchase or sale of any security or investment. Contents are intended as general information. None of the contents constitutes an: (1) offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy by Blender Media and/or its representatives any security or other investment; (2) offer by PrivatePlacements.com or its owner and/or their representatives to provide investment services of any kind; and/or (3) invitation, inducement, or encouragement by Blender Media and/or its representatives to any person to make any kind of investment decision. You should not rely on the content for investment or trading purposes. Securities or other investments referred to in any of the contents may not be suitable for you, and you should not make any kind of investment decision in relation to them without first obtaining independent investment advice from a person authorized to give it. All communications by PrivatePlacements.com are subject to its terms of use and disclaimer, which can be viewed here and here

The Story Behind a Winning IR Website, Perfect for the Age of Digital Healthcare | CloudMD Case Study

CloudMD is a digital healthcare platform with an array of offerings for patients, healthcare practitioners, and enterprise operations. The company is constantly working to streamline the healthcare process, unifying the three categories into a single easy-to-use ecosystem.

When the company approached Blender with a need for a new IR website, we were immediately intrigued. CloudMD’s old platform really only conveyed one aspect of their complete, multi-part offering, employing an outdated model that was aimed more directly at individual patients.

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The challenge

The team at CloudMD hoped to totally overhaul their site, reworking the content and structure to focus on their new, up-to-date model with three distinct verticals: patients, providers, and enterprise solutions. They also wished to combine their corporate and investor relations sites, and to hone their IR site to better speak to their investors and prospects.

It can be a challenge to concisely convey the complex offerings of a company like CloudMD, but it’s the kind of challenge we at Blender love to take on. We knew that the company needed a truly standout IR website in order to compete in the rapidly growing digital healthcare space.

 

 

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The solution

To accomplish this, we communicated closely with the team at CloudMD. It was essential that we understood the ins and outs of the company. The first step was to establish a new site architecture, including an in-depth IA process with extensive client discovery, wireframing, and several rounds of revisions. 

Ultimately, we spent over half of the project in these initial steps, ensuring we had a strong grounding as we moved into the visual design phase. We then advised the team on the best way to present key elements of their site, where to improve their messaging, and what could stand to be eliminated. Again, this led to a fair amount of iterating, with our design team addressing every one of CloudMD’s concerns until arriving at a visual direction everyone felt truly enthusiastic about. Then we rolled that out across all of the site’s page designs.

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The CloudMD team was deeply involved in the process from the start and communication was open throughout, allowing us to tailor the site to their precise needs.

We are deeply proud of the end result. CloudMD ended up with a modern look and feel for their 2022 audience, with a strong user experience that speaks to each of their three key verticals. 

The result

We believe the results speak for themselves. CloudMD’s IR website is now easy to navigate, visually distinct and inviting, with a clean aesthetic and clear site architecture. Both our team and theirs were thrilled with the finished product, and the cohesive experience it created for each of their unique audiences. 

“Working with Blender on our custom CloudMD website project was easy and efficient,” CloudMD’s VP of investor relations, Julia Becker, says of the new site. “The team is dedicated to providing best in class, unique design and collaborates and communicates very well. Our project team worked very closely with the Blender team on this multi-phase project, and their expertise and professionalism made what often can be a complex and overwhelming process easy to navigate, inspiring, and an exciting process from start to finish.”

“I have used Blender throughout my career, and one of their key differentiators is you have a dedicated team at your fingertips 24/7, when you need it and the turnaround time is always very fast, which is very important in my business. I am very impressed with the final outcome and feel very proud of our new website.”

Blender prides itself on building the best of the best investor-focused websites for public companies. We strive to get it right every time, working closely with all our clients to realize their specific vision. But of course, there are always a few sites every year that truly encapsulate what we are about, that we believe stand out in a crowded field.

CloudMD is just one of the many award-winning, unique platforms we’ve created for public companies over the years, but we felt it was too good not to share.

If you’d like to learn how the team at Blender can overhaul your own investor-centric site, contact us to start a project today!

Tech Pong: Blender Rallies for A Good Cause

It turns out that tech and ping pong go together like Beyonce and Jay-Z. Around the Blender headquarters, we enjoy a healthy dose of competition every now and then. If it’s for a good cause, all the better. That’s why when we heard about Tech Pong, a charity ping pong tournament put on by the folks at Charitable Impact, we knew we had to get on board. To enter the tournament, teams had to fulfil one objective: raise $2000 towards a charity of their choice. Naturally, we set out to do just that.

The fundraising was where the real fun began. We chose Covenant House Vancouver as our beneficiary because of the important work that they do to support at-risk youth in our community. Then we put our heads together and organized a number of charity events around the office. We channelled our inner 12-year-old with a classic jelly bean guessing contest, organized an office poker tournament, and put together a building-wide bake sale. The whole team came together to push past the fundraising finish line and place our donation. It felt good to give back. Now, it was time to focus on our game.

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Spirits were high on the day of the event. Matt and Dustin, two developers, represented us for the doubles division, while our accounts manager, Malcolm, represented us in singles. “This might be one of the coolest things we’ve ever done,” said Erica, one of our project managers, as the excitement mounted.

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In between matches, we tested our strength, endurance, and even our mind-control aptitude at the various retrofuturistic installations situated around the venue. Finally, it was our chance to shine. We gave it our best, but the competition was fierce. Even after our defeat, we shared smiles and popcorn all around, and our hearts were full. Congrats to the Copperleaf and Microsoft Vancouver teams for taking home the golden paddles. It was amazing to see their world-class skills in action.

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As the event began to wind down, we left, reflecting on the real prize: the small, but important, bit of good we’d done to give back to our local community. The Blender team managed to raise $2,187. Altogether, Tech Pong raised a whopping $65,000—and that is nothing to scoff at. We tip our hats to Charitable Impact for the vital work they are doing to serve the people of our city, and look forward to moving up the rankings at next year’s tournament!

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Getting Started with Piknic – Building an IR Website in 60 Days

You’re getting ready for IPO, and your website is in desperate need of a refresh (like – desperate). Quotes are piling into your inbox from website developers, agencies and contractors, but they’re steep. Not yet ready to write a cheque that would absorb nearly half of your marketing budget, you need a solution for your IR website – and you need it fast.

The story above is exactly why we started Piknic. We heard it time and time again from companies that we were so excited to partner with. They needed an impressive website with half the budget and within half the time of a custom build. To others, it might have seemed impossible – to us, we knew this meant that we needed to develop a solution for companies just like this.

Can you relate? If so, your next IR website could be built with Piknic – here’s why.


We make selecting a website easy.

Designing mockups of your perfect website takes a lot of time, with many variations often needed. We know you want it perfect (and our designers wouldn’t expect anything less). Yet, what makes Piknic different is that this hard work is already done for you. Our teams are always working on award winning designs that you can choose from. We’ll present to you a number of design options to choose from. No guessing, going back to the drawing board, or wondering what will work for your company. It’s all ready for you.

 

Our project process is simple.

Why make building a website confusing?

When you’ve decided to partner with Piknic, we’ll take you through a very simple project process. Our team will outline exactly what we need to get started – your website’s site map, branding files, like your logo, images and fonts, and page copy for your site. From the time we meet to the time our content phase is complete will be around 2-3 weeks.

 

We’ll keep you updated at every stage.

As soon as we receive your site copy and branding, we’ll start mocking up your website. We’ll put together your home page and ask for your feedback to incorporate within design edits. Our designs are built with your investors in mind, with a focus on website engagement to mobile-friendly integration from the very beginning.

 

We never skip a step.

Our team is focused on high quality, award winning websites for you- which is why we never skip a step. After you’ve approved the final website design, about 30 days into our work together, we’ll develop your website and truly bring it to life. We’ll go through quality assurance testing, make edits dependent on your feedback and integrate your service packages, newsletter feeds and introduce you to optimizing your website for search traffic. .

 

Your website is live! Now what?

Your website is live and your team is thrilled. You’re ready for IPO! Now what?

At Blender, we know that our work doesn’t end when we flip the switch. That’s why we’re here for you even after your site is live. We offer website hosting, a completely customized CMS, Google analytics and reporting, newsletter list management and more.

 

Did we mention it’s a fraction of the cost?

Our designers love creating new designs (you should see how many are circulated around the office each and every week) and we only choose the best of the best to offer our clients. Because we’ve completed the intricate design work before we partner with new clients, it makes the timeline and heavy lifting much easier. If you’re looking for an affordable, effective solution for your IR website, you’ve come to the right place.
We love talking about Piknic, and we can’t wait to share our new designs with you. We’ve built 90 websites and counting with Piknic, and we’re excited about the year ahead as we unveil brand new website designs. To get started on your own Piknic site, click here.

Getting Your Website Ready for IPO: 7 Investor Relations “To Do” Items

In the months leading up to IPO, your life has likely revolved around what lies ahead. You have spent countless late nights in the office, you’ve had far too many coffees with bankers, and you have your lawyer on speed dial. Yet, as you get closer and closer to IPO launch day, you’re starting to consider, “How can I now pivot and focus on investor relations?” and “Is that really what my website looks like?”  

We’ve heard it all before, believe us.

As soon as your company reaches the day of IPO, you need to hit the ground running with an IR-focused strategy, with your website being a primary focus. After all, your website is truly your 24/7 representation of your business.

That’s why we have put together the 7 things that you need to do in order to get your website ready for IPO.

1. Include messaging about your competitive advantage.

With a fresh new face on the scene, you need to differentiate yourself from your competition. What’s your competitive advantage? What makes you different, or better to invest with than your competition? Why should investors contact you?

2. Speaking of contact, don’t forget those contact forms.

Each and every page on your website – especially your investor relations page – should have a contact form or CTA to contact your business. Every single page on your website serves a purpose, whether informing the reader or attracting the investor. Make sure he or she can contact you, and that your information to contact is clear.

3. Highlight your projected growth.

Investors want to know what the future of your business is, or the very least, what they can expect from your project growth timeline. Highlight areas of opportunity, growth, quarterly projections and more. It’s important to show a track record of execution, such as milestones that the management team is capable of executing, then following up with future milestones as projects progress.

4. Internally, make sure you have a point of contact for website updates and changes.

If no one owns a project, it won’t be completed – that’s the case for any organization or project, regardless of the scope.

Assign the IR website to an individual or department within your organization. Whether it’s someone who has a very keen interest or perhaps a natural fit, such as your Marketing department.

5. Install Google Analytics.

Google Analytics measures your website data to gain insights, such as where your visitors are spending the most time on your site, or where your website visitors are coming from. Without Google Analytics, you won’t be aware of user patterns or potential changes to make to your IR site. Install Google Analytics before your website goes live.

6. Encourage email registrations.

How will your prospective investors stay connected with you? Through your email newsletter, of course! Encourage sign-ups of potential investors through regular email correspondence. Some companies send weekly newsletters, while others will offer updates through email only when press releases are sent, or major company events are released. This can act as a targeted investor database, something that is invaluable for your business.

Being CASL compliant is now more important than ever. CASL is the Canada Anti-Spam Legislation. It essentially means that anyone on your mailing list must have provided expressed consent for being part of your list. There are two ways for recipients to opt-in to receive emails from you, which CASL calls express and implied consent:

  • Express consent = They clearly, actively told you that it is OK to send them email
  • Implied consent = They didn’t specifically tell you that it’s OK to send them email, but what they did (purchase, an inquiry, a donation, etc.) implies that it is okay for your company to email them

We’re always happy to talk CASL. Contact us if you have any questions!

7. Ensure your site is mobile friendly.

We are well past the tipping point of mobile usage exceeding that of desktop usage. Mobile usage exceeded that of desktop usage a few years ago, though a large percentage of companies have yet to catch-up. Before you launch your website, ensure it is mobile friendly – that is, you can browse freely on your smartphone device without having interruptions in functionality.

Getting your website ready for IPO is only one of the many tasks you need to complete before you go public, yet it can be one of the most important in creating awareness of your business and turning prospects into investors.

 

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2018 Website Trends – 5 Trends To Help You Prepare

With 2018 upon us companies are coming to us with plenty of questions – “Blender, what’s in store for next year? What are the 2018 website trends that I need to know about now? How can I get my website ready for the year ahead?” – so if these questions have been percolating in your mind as you prepare for 2018, you’ve landed at the right place.

Last year we shared our digital trends and predictions for 2017, packed with tips like the importance of video, mobile marketing, social integration and more. This year, it’s all about website design – and what you can do to get your website ready for the year ahead.

With this in mind, here are the top 2018 website trends you need to watch for.

1. Investment Highlights pages are more important that ever.

Every website has a purpose. While some are meant to attract customers, others – like yours – are meant to tell investors who you are and what you’ve accomplished. Your website should include investment highlights and initiatives should clearly outline who your company is and how you create change within your industry.

Investors – especially millennial investors – are becoming increasingly focused on transparency. Transparency from companies just like yours. White Gold Corp has done a tremendous job in sharing their exploration highlights on a dedicated page here, while Uranium Energy specifically tells investors why they should invest in UEC on their highlights page.

2. Bold fonts, engaging colours.

We’ve seen plenty of changes and trends within design over the years, yet one thing has truly stuck – the focus on clean lines and modern designs. With this comes the complement of bold fonts and engaging colours, ones that encourage users to focus on your content. In 2018, we expect to see such fonts and colours take the place of some images on websites. This is because images tend to slow pages down, especially when viewing on mobile or tablet devices. Typography, on the other hand, doesn’t impact performance. Faster sites, happier web visitors. Easy as pie.

3. Mobile as primary.

We’ve talked at length about the need to integrate mobile into your website strategy and build, though 2018 is all about mobile – meaning, mobile first.

The truth is in the data. Google says that 61% of users will not return to a mobile site that they had difficulty accessing, while 40% of these users will visit a competitor’s site instead. This should be a shock for those in the IR space. If your target investors don’t love your website, or if it’s not mobile friendly, they won’t come back – and they’ll end up in the hands of a competitor.

4. Video is integrated everywhere.

Website development is certainly moving in a direction that focuses on video; in fact, video accounts for nearly 70% of all internet traffic. When it comes to web design and integration of video, this form of content is increasingly being used everywhere, from corporate pages to investment pages, and CSR sites in between. Does your business have a video strategy in 2018?

5. SEO has become a necessity.

Online experiences start with a search engine. In fact, 93% of all online experiences begin with a prospect or potential investor heading to Google and typing in keywords that are related to your business. If your website isn’t optimized for search, you’re missing on a plethora of traffic opportunities that are available to you. In 2018, websites will be optimized – we’re talking meta tags, meta descriptions, meta titles. With 61% of people performing an online search before deciding to partner with a business or make a purchase, this is more important than ever.

These 2018 website trends are the focus for those of us in the IR space as we prepare for the year ahead. From CSR to bold fonts, mobile-focused to video, we are preparing each and every one of our clients for a brand new year. From all of us at Blender Media, Happy New Year!

 

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IR Resolutions for 2017

When it comes to resolutions for the New Year, we all have various personal and professional goals that we are seeking to accomplish. Whether it’s a personal goal that will work to make you a stronger leader in your workplace or community, or a professional goal, like creating and launching an optimized online IR strategy for your company, this is time of the year when we are ready to get started on our New Year Resolutions. And if IR Resolutions are what you’re making, this blog is for you.

We’re excited about what is to come in IR for 2017. So excited, in fact, that we’ve compiled the IR resolutions that you need to know about now for this New Year. With a compilation of trends and insights we’re ready to see unfold, you’ll want to bookmark this blog and review in the upcoming quarters.

Here are the IR Resolutions for 2017 you need to know now.

 

Review and determine if your website needs a refresh.

39% of people will stop engaging with a website if images won’t load or take too long to load, so it’s time to ask yourself – does your website need a refresh? Furthermore, given 15 minutes to consume content, two-thirds of people would rather read something well designed than something plain, and a bore to view.

Given the fact that visitors to your website are unlikely to spend 15 minutes on any given page, you have a limited amount of time to make an impression on your IR visitors.

In 2017, it’s time to review and determine if your website needs a refresh.

 

Video is King.

We’ve spoken about this at length, but 2017 is the year when it truly comes into play

59 percent of executives admit that they would rather watch video than read text, which means that your IR decision makers are looking for video content in the New Year. It should be an integral part of your website’s infrastructure, and can no longer be considered an addition to your IR strategy.

Integrate video content on your home page, your company’s about us page, your contact page and more. Ensure it is engaging content – and short! Aim for a video length of 0:30 to one minute in length.

IR Resolutions Video

 

Do you need to update your CSR strategy?

Although we have seen a great number of companies who have an understanding of how CSR can impact their IR strategy, showcasing your efforts will soon be the norm. CSR has been more of a trend seen in the European and Asia-Pacific regions, but 2017 will be the year that it becomes increasingly relevant in North America.

With this in mind, it’s time to review your CSR strategy and online presence in this New Year. Ask yourself – does the CSR section of my website accurately reflect our internal efforts?

 

Use social media to tell your story.

Although you very likely have presence online, and perhaps even use Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram every single day, this is the time to review how you are telling your company’s story through social media. 62 percent of adults in the United States get their news on social networks, which is up from 49 percent in 2012. It’s clear that this trend will only continue in 2017.

As you are making company announcements or CSR initiates in this New Year, consider how social media can compliment your strategy.

 

From a website refresh to video, CSR to social media, your IR resolutions for 2017 range in topic, but will all play a significant impact on your business within this New Year. Take time this month to review your strategies currently in place, and consider the benefits of making optimizations now.

Connecting With Your On-The-Go Investors: Why We Created This Resource

When we first sat down to brainstorm the resource, Connecting With Your On-The-Go Investors, we had one goal in mind: to better educate you – an individual working within investor relations – so that you feel more informed on the mobile landscape, including how being mobile-friendly impacts your SEO rankings and user experience, and how your competition – or other Canadian issuers – are adapting within this new landscape.

With the frequency of change in the mobile and web space, it was clear that we needed to be proactive instead of reactive, and issue a resource now that could be used not only throughout this year of 2016, but into 2017 as well. As the resource is online, it’s fluid in nature, meaning that we will be constantly evolving and updating with the latest updates so that you feel more confident within the mobile landscape.

As you’ve likely taken a look at a few of our blog overviews (like some of our favourite IR website examples), we wanted to rewind and share with you why we created this resource in collaboration with CIRI.

 

Here’s why we created Connecting On-The-Go Investors…

 

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We wanted to educate those working within investor relations.

You’re so focused on your day-to-day, so your website is often the least of your concerns. We’re here to tell you that it should be at the top of your list, at least one per week.

Why?

In America, 64% of adults now own a smartphone of some kind, up from 35% in the spring of 2011. What’s most interesting is that smartphone ownership is especially high among younger Americans. This demographic across America, Canada and other countries will be your target persona in years to come. It’s more important than ever to leverage today’s technologies in order to engage more effectively with the future IR community.

 

We want you to reach your goals for 2017.

With the New Year right around the corner, it’s more important than ever to set goals that will impact your business in 2017.

If a potential investor or business visits your website and they bounce off before letting it load, for example, this could be because your website isn’t mobile friendly.

And bounce rates significantly impact your business. Overall, they will impact your search rankings within Google, which means potentially less visitors to your website, but absolutely less organic, earned traffic and media.

 

We want Canadian companies to succeed.

With such a competitive landscape in the marketplace, we want to help Canadian companies within Investor Relations succeed. By providing resources to those within the Canadian Investor Relations industry, we believe we can truly help fuel success for brands and business moving into 2017.

 

If you have yet to read “Connecting With Your On-The-Go Investors”, you can click here now to view. This resource is complimentary, and we encourage you to share with colleagues.

IR professionals offer their best career advice

Introduction:

We are surrounded by some great peers in the industries we work in, and decided it was time to tap into that valuable source of knowledge. At the end of last year, we interviewed some of our clients as well as other experts in the investor relations industry, and asked them about the most valued piece of career advice they could remember from working in IR. See below for their responses. Thanks so much to everyone who contributed and shared a bit of their smarts. We really appreciate it!

 

The Question:

 

Greatest piece of IR advice

 

Patrick Balit  |  Vice President of Corporate Development  |  Red Eagle Mining

You never tell anyone to buy your stock because you won’t tell them when to sell. Your job is to equip the market with the best information available for investors to make their own decision.

 

Katie Keita  |  Director of Investor Relations  |  Shopify

My advice sounds trite but it has really helped me. It was given to me by my former boss Tony Takazawa, VP IR at EMC. He has minted many an IRO (heads of IR at Seagate, Carbonite, and yours truly). One challenge IRO’s have is that the variety of tasks in any given day is wide, and makes it difficult to feel like you’re getting much traction in any one area. He suggested three simple words which have become a mantra: focus, speed, quality. I’ve even written “FSQ” on the post of my monitor so I can see it all day every day. Keeps me on track.

 

Advice from Shopify

 

Stacey Pavlova  |  Investor Relations Manager  |  Silver Standard Resources Inc.

“The IR profession is very dynamic and people-oriented. It is important for Investor Relations Professionals to maintain working knowledge about their company, industry and the market. In order to be an effective conduit of information between the management and the market, it is important to believe in the messages being sent and always provide fair and accurate information while maintaining strong ethics.”

 

Yvette Lokker  |  President & CEO  |  Canadian Investor Relations Institute

My advice: Getting close counts. I have a tendency to want everything to be perfect, a trait I share with many IROs. When working on communications, rather than expending energy and time on another iteration of a document that already gets my point across, I move on to another, equally important task. When working on advocacy, I accept that only elements of our position may be adopted by regulators, not our entire position. These communications or advocacy efforts may not be perfect, but they are still successful as my message is being heard, which is ultimately my goal.

 

Advice from CIRI

 

Shauna O’Boyle  |  Senior Manager, Investor Relations |  Oracle

I have this quote posted on my bulletin board. I’m not sure of the source, but think it is good words to live by.
Capital flows where it is invited and stays where it is made to feel welcome.”

 

Mélanie Hennessey  |  VP Corporate Communications  |  Novagold Resources Inc.

Engagement with all stakeholders has been extremely beneficial throughout my career. Each stakeholder represents a piece of a puzzle, from the Board, to management and employees, to the buy-side and sell-side, to the broader markets and local community residents. When it all comes together, it provides you with incredible insights to best understand your business and the value proposition your company has to offer. Moreover, it helps you better understand what role you play in presenting a strong investment thesis to your various stakeholders. Through the years, being flexible and open to change has been critical!

 

James Buskard  |  President  |  Nevada Exploration Inc.

I think one of the biggest mistakes is only reaching out to your shareholder/supporter base when there is good news, or when you need them to open their cheque books. I once got scolded by a broker that I only called him when I was looking for money. It is important to keep the lines of communication open with your audience at a regular interval. Simply saying hello can be enough to keep investors in your story, which in some markets is just as hard as getting new investors into your story. So, take home, touch based with your core investor group at least quarterly, no matter what is going on.

 

Advice from Nevada Exploration Inc.

 

Erin O’Toole  |  Investor Analyst  |  Novagold Resources Inc.

Find a way to say “yes” to as many opportunities as possible whether it be sitting on a panel, joining a committee or attending a new industry event. You never know what you might learn, who you might meet, or where it may lead.

 

 

 

Be mobile-friendly or face Mobilegeddon

Days to Mobilegeddon: 14

Panic level: moderate

Vaccination kit: installment 1 of 3

 

Google’s going nuclear April 21st

If you haven’t heard, come a little closer and listen up. If you have a website and it’s not optimized to work on a mobile phone, start stockpiling litre water bottles and dehydrated food. Kidding. But Google did make an announcement recently about their newest update rolling out April 21st, and it’s been (oh so kindly) nicknamed ‘Mobilegeddon.’ 

Mobilegeddon: back to the basics 

The what: Google is making some changes to the formula it uses to rank search results on mobile devices. The changes begin to roll out April 21st and will have a “significant impact”. If your website is mobile-friendly, it will be favoured and appear higher on search results than one that’s not.

The where: This new ranking formula will affect mobile searches only, but will still have more of an impact than either of Google’s previous updates ‘Penguin’ and ‘Panda.’

From the horse’s mouth: Here’s an excerpt from Google’s ‘Webmaster Central Blog’ where they discuss the change:

“When it comes to searching on mobile devices, users should get the most relevant and timely results…as more people use mobile devices to access the internet, our algorithms have to adapt to these usage patterns…Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices”.

The also: Remember, back in November Google launched the ‘mobile-friendly’ label in mobile search results to “help mobile searchers know which sites they may click on”. This new April 21st update will take into account your site’s ‘mobile-friendly or not’ label and use it to determine if your website should appear higher in search results.

Does Google care how I get mobile-friendly?

Google writes that they ‘recognize three different configurations for building mobile sites’. Out of these three types, they recommend using responsive design. Heard that word around and still not quite sure what it means? Never fear. As part 2 of your Mobilegeddon vaccine kit, we’re talking next week all about responsive design vs. mobile-friendly vs. mobile site vs. other delicious jargon. So stay tuned.

Why does Mobilegeddon matter to me?

Let’s break Mobilegeddon down with some real numbers. Many researchers have said that 50-60% of all Google searches are now done on mobile. So look at that as over half of your target audience (be it potential investors, those in your community, etc). looking at your website on a mobile phone. If your site isn’t mobile-friendly after this update? Well, then you’ll be really hard for people to find.

We took a look at some of our numbers  and found that 40% of site traffic to our client’s websites comes from either a mobile or tablet device. That’s pretty huge. And it means that after Google’s update goes into effect, these websites could lose that same percentage of traffic.  We think author Jay Taylor puts the vitality of optimizing for mobile the best. He says: ‘go mobile or become irrelevant’.

The phrase ‘search engine algorithm’ seems important, but makes my head hurt.

We thought it might be helpful to give you a basic sketch about what we’re even talking about when we announce that Google is changing its secret search engine formula. Basically, those lucky Page 1 search results are actually anything but luck. The Moz Blog writes “the factors in the algorithm consist of ‘hard factors’ as the number of backlinks to a page and some social recommendations…you may also have factors on the page itself”. Basically, all that hodge-podge means is that there are different, very specific factors that Google uses to decide where your site will rank in search results. Mobilegeddon means that mobile-friendliness just became one of those factors.

There are many small things you can do, such as including certain words in your website, to appear higher on Google’s search results. Heard of that snazzy acronym SEO? It stands for Search Engine Optimization, and there are whole books about ways to optimize yourself for Google. We’ve written a bit about SEO and other Google analytics tools here, and we work SEO tactics into our clients’ websites daily. For now, however, we just want you to be aware that the results you see on the first few pages of Google aren’t there by accident. If you’re wondering how to get higher on Google, mobile optimization is what you need to be thinking about.

Help, I’m scared.

We got you. If any of this stuff still confuses you, this post is part 1 of 3. We’re going to ride out Mobilegeddon until that treacherous day of April 21st. As we mentioned earlier, check back in next Tuesday for a thorough breakdown of what it means to have a site with a ‘responsive design’ (good to know since Google recommends it), what the difference is between responsive design and just having a mobile site, and what in the world people mean anyway when they want you to be ‘mobile-friendly’.