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When confronted with a new or different way to do things, our (human beings, all of us)  first reaction is often to tell ourselves “What we are doing is just fine, I don’t want to change.” Our brains will go to amazing lengths to protect our egos and bias perceptions in our favor. We are hardwired to firmly hold on to ideas we are emotionally invested in. 

Believe me, we get it, everything we do here is based in human behavior and understanding why people do what we do. 

The problem is, this self serving bias that some experts call “vain brain”, keeps us blind to new possibilities and business outcomes often suffer as a result.  

Because we want you to get on board with investor centered marketing and all the benefits that come along with it, we have created this awesome “How To Overcome “Vain Brain Thinking” cheat sheet. 

Vain Brain Objections To Investor Testing And The Simple Truths To Overcome Them.  

1) The Vain Brain Says : We don’t use our website to attract and engage investors. 

The Simple Truth: Then you are making a monumental mistake. 
20 years ago personal relationships were everything. Today they are still very important but the landscape is different. Today, there are investors online searching for opportunities just like you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Tapping into these investors is a whole new opportunity above and beyond who you know or who you can call. Every dollar spent becoming easier to find, easier to understand, and telling a more compelling to online investors will pay huge dividends.

Your website is your most important investor marketing tool for 3 reasons:

  1. Your website is the only place where you control every aspect of how your story is told.
  2. Your website works 24/7/365 
  3. Your website is the easiest place for you to collect interested investor contact information so you can develop relationships and nurture them along.

According to PR Newswire  56% of investors will visit a company’s website so while you may not be using your website to attract investors, a majority of investors are using your website to see if they are attracted to you.   

2) The Vain Brain Says: “We already tell investors a clear and compelling story.” 

 The Simple Truth: 88% of companies believe they tell investors a clear and compelling story yet only 4% of the investors researching those same companies agreed. 

 You can read hundreds of blogs, follow thousands of experts, and attend a webinar every day for life but at the end of the day, the only way to see if investors find your story clear and compelling, is to put it in front of them and seeing what happens. 

Savvy CEOs are sure they tell a compelling story but are smart enough to test just to be sure.

 3) The Vain Brain Says: “Investors invest based on fundamentals and technicals, we just need to concentrate on building our business.

 The Simple Truth: Investors want to believe they invest based on fundamentals and technical data but the truth is, they invest based on how your story makes them feel during the research and evaluation process. If investors are not able to develop a narrative that makes them feel good about owning your stock they are not buying it, period. 

Emotion drives the decision making process, not facts and data which you can see by the explosion of new research on the subject of the impact of emotion on decision making.

4) The Vain Brain Says: We don’t need Investor Testing, we use Google analytics. 

 The Simple Truth: When it comes to increasing investor engagement and improving conversion analytics and big data may tell you what investors are doing, but they don’t tell you why which leaves you guessing. 

5) The Vain Brain Says: The C Suite doesn’t think investors care what our IR website or investor presentation looks like.

 The Simple Truth: What your IR website looks like, how easy it is to navigate, and how clear and compelling the copy is all directly affect the investor experience which directly affects whether they become your shareholder or not. Spending a little to be sure investors see your full potential saves a fortune trying to convince them it’s true. Insight based Investor marketing decisions are made based on what investors think, not what the C-Suite thinks. 

 Your website, pitch deck or presentation may be the only impression investors have when deciding to become a shareholder or not so you will want to make sure it is a good one. 

Investor Testing Tip for Talking With The C-Suite.

When speaking with the C-Suite on the subject of Investor Testing, be sure to speak their language. Instead of talking about feelings, emotion, and the investor experience talk about how Investor Testing leads to measurable improvements in key metrics, meeting business goals, increasing conversion, and reducing costs. That’s what gets the C-Suite excited.

6) The Vain Brain Says: Institutional investors already have their own research tools, they are not coming to our site.

The Simple Truth: According to Nasdaq, 84% of institutional investors WILL visit a company’s website during the research and evaluation phase of the decision making process. 

7) The Vain Brain Says: We get investor feedback from our current shareholders.

The Simple Truth: Improving your investor marketing results begins with discovering why investors are NOT buying your stock and changing that. Don’t get us wrong, current shareholders are a great source of insight on many matters but asking them how clear and compelling your message is, isn’t one of them.  

Research that impacts results begins with asking the right investors the right questions not asking any investors any questions.

8) The Vain Brain Says: We can’t afford investor testing.

The Simple Truth: You can’t afford not to investor test. Testing improves ROI and helps you reach your business objectives faster and cheaper. Back in the day market research cost a fortune and was only available to those with huge marketing budgets. Technology has changed all that. Investor Testing is so inexpensive companies are testing every touchpoint along the investor’s journey looking for ways to optimize the experience to save even more money

9) The Vain Brain Says: Our stock is already liquid, there is no need to change anything.

The Simple Truth: Improving the investor experience will do more than improve liquidity. It will also build connection, loyalty and trust. Research also shows that shareholders are more likely to purchase your products and support your brand so making sure more investors become shareholders will not only impact the success of your investor marketing efforts but will drive top line revenue as well. 

10) The Vain Brain Says: Our IR firm firm told us our website is fine.

The Simple Truth: Telling a client or potential client that their baby is ugly may lead to bruised egos and no retainer check so IR firms will convince themselves they will be able to do a good job anyway. Unfortunately, what IR firms do best is generate investor interest which drives investors back to your site and if it’s not doing the job it is supposed to, your results will never be what they should be. 

Reduce costs and help your IR firm help you by giving them the tools they need to get the job done. 

11) The Vain Brain Says: I won’t get solid data using so few testers. 

The Simple Truth: What you are trying to learn will determine how many testers to use and tests to run.

Investor testing can be used to discover both usability problems with navigation and design as well as testing the effectiveness of your copy to be sure investors find your message clear and compelling.  

Testing Usability–  According to JAKOB NIELSEN, the father of usability testing and partner of Nielsen Norman Group when it comes to testing usability, “Elaborate usability tests are a waste of resources. The best results come from testing no more than 5 users and running as many small tests as you can afford.”

Testing Clarity – The same logic applies to testing the clarity of your message. The only difference is the need to test additional users if a website has several highly distinct groups of users such as institutional investors, retail investors, and members of the media. Be sure to test each group. 

 12) The Vain Brain Says: We don’t need help with conversion. 

 The Simple Truth: Your market’s current liquidity and valuation are exactly where the market thinks they should be.  If you think the market has it wrong, then you need help with conversion. 

13) The Vain Brain Says: My stock is not a product to be tested. 

The Simple Truth: No, but how you present your story to investors is. Testing is about improving the connection investors feel to you by improving clarity and understanding in your messaging. Improve that and everything else will fall into place.

14) The Vain Brain Says: We are focused on increasing liquidity by attracting institutions

The Simple Truth: If you are targeting institutions and they are not buying due to the lack of liquidity then you have the cart before the horse. Switch your focus to attracting retail investors  because they create the liquidity necessary for institutional investors to feel comfortable taking a position. 

15) The Vain Brain Says: Too many individual investors will take up too much of my time.

The Simple Truth: Every company should be doing everything in their power to increase their retail shareholder base. Retail investors will buy your products, support your brand, share your story, and vote with management, which in today’s day and age, is more important than ever.

16) The Vain Brain Says: The SEC will have an issue with it. 

The Simple Truth: The SEC has been urging companies to improve clarity and understanding for investors for over a decade. Check out this 1999 Handbook on improving clarity. Warren Buffett, helped write it. A Plain English Handbook How to create clear SEC disclosure documents  As a matter of fact The SEC uses investor testing themselves. 

17) The Vain Brain Says: We already have an IR group.

The Simple Truth: Investor Testing does not compete with IR firms, we make their life easier by uncovering the sticking points blocking investors from becoming shareholders.

18) The Vain Brain Says: We need money. That’s our focus.

The Simple Truth: There is no shortage of capital for companies that tell investors compelling stories. 

If you find that, even though you’re constantly trying to find new ways to reach investors, the effort isn’t moving the needle, it’s time to take a step back and gather some investor feedback.

Having a thorough understanding of where investors struggle to see your upside potential will open a lot of opportunities to optimize your message and presentation, ultimately leading to more access to capital. .


The bottom line is when all else is held constant, the difference in copy content and quality can significantly impact access to capital and market liquidity.

Market research can help determine what types of messages and presentations drive investor behavior.  

The best way to improve marketing effectiveness is by keeping your fingers on the pulse by constantly testing, fine-tuning, and executing with excellence.