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Sat Series: Who are you even talking to?

Who is your audience?

I’ve found that most public companies are talking to the wrong people. They think they’re addressing institutions, but the real audience is retail. 

I’ve been discussing on LinkedIn how many funds have upped their on-market market cap buying threshold from $50m to $250m. Meaning that they’re now only investing in the top 25% of the ASX (down from 50%). 

If you’re a public markets leader on this list, there’s a 75% chance your market cap is below $250m. That means retail is your only buyer, so all of your public content should be aimed at them.

My job is to help companies connect with retail. Institutions have enough attention. It’s time to recognise that it’s retail that mainly drives share prices (up to 76% of trading volume, to be precise). 

Let’s examine your retail audience, and find common ground, and then we can jump into some quick tips on how to prepare content that lets you connect with them. 

Understanding your retail audience

(1) Think of investors as amateur vs professional, not retail vs institutional.

Investing might be a hobby for some. They could be retired, have a busy job, or just enjoy the rush. Either way, they invest in their downtime so optimising for that is important. 

When chatting with retail trading platforms, they told me their busy period is 6:30 - 9pm. Not when the market is open, but after hours. That’s when investors can relax, unlock their phones or laptops and have a browse. 

(2) Journey > data.

Before you hit me with the numbers, I need to care. 

This is true for professionals too, but they already get that journey from roadshows or referrals. Retail investors usually come in cold. They need a reason to care, before diving into a 30-page deck.

Start with a 30-second summary, then a 2-minute video, and they’ll move on to the deck naturally. 

(3) It’s easy to outcompete.

There are 2,400 stocks on the ASX. The average market cap? $1bn.

The median stock? $49m. Hell, there are 1,000 stocks below $30m. 

And then as a shareholder of another stock. 

  • Do they actually reach out? 

  • Do they invite you in? 

  • If you’re not in the top 20 and at arm’s length, do you hear from them at all?

Unless they’re one of these companies, the likely answer is no. That just highlights how simple it is to outcompete in this space and that relatively simple actions can all make a difference.

Producing content for your retail audience

Now we know more about the audience, here are 4 tips to make sure you’re producing content for retail. 

(1) Identify your audience

Everything above might seem generic, but if you’re still reading, you care. So grab a pen and paper and describe who it is specifically you’re appealing to. 

Who is in your audience, and craft your content for them? 

(2) Keep it simple

Retail investors should buy in before they need to understand the complexity.

The number of mining announcements that start with grades and depth, the biotech companies who talk about trial this, efficacy that. 

I don’t know what you mean, and neither will your retail audience. 

So keep it simple, break it down, take it slow and then bring in the data at the back. 

(3) Keep everything a-sync, so retail can digest in their own time

Live webinars aren’t for everyone (don’t do them unless it’s for a professional audience). Approach it a-sync, gather questions and input to put out polished interviews they can enjoy at their own pace.

You’ll have more fun with it too, because you can make mistakes, edit it out, and you don’t need to worry about technical issues or people being jerks. Plus, more people will watch something that’s more readily available!

(4) Invite them on the journey

Just bring people in. Default to bringing people in.

You’re a public company and while you may at times, wish to be private, you need to accept that you’re not. So you need to own that and bring the market along for a ride. 

You’ll get more engagement, more views, and a bigger share of the wallet, and then you’ll start to move up the lift. Trust me, investors appreciate being included. 

(5) Lead with the people and repeat, repeat, repeat

If your information is complex, you need to make sure people are front and centre in the decks. A biotech with 10 Ph.D.s on the journey is very impressive. It also means I don’t need to know the specifics because I know they do. 

If you lead with the technicals, I’ll spend all my time trying to understand it, and less time getting my first foot into the journey. 

Secondly, repeat yourself often. Yes, you told investors in April. Yes, you included it in the June quarterly. No, you can’t take it out now. 

The market has a short memory, and your latest announcement can be an investor's first. Tell them, tell them you told them, tell them again. 

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