Lunchtime Links: Here’s The Long and Short of It

What's the ideal length for email subject lines, anyway? Also: Lessons from a social game maker's struggles.

Ever write an email and spend 10 minutes trying to nail down the right subject line? You aren’t alone.

Apparently, there is a science to sending a good subscription email, and people research this stuff. If you ask us, that’s pretty cool, especially since associations are always looking to improve their messaging. Right?

That and more in today’s Lunchtime Links:

Email has a genome now: Ever wonder about the science of sending an email? Fortunately, a number of major analytics firms, along with MailChimp, have been working on this to help their customers. It’s called the Email Genome Project. Snazzy name, right? Yeah, their research is snazzy, too. Here’s a sample: Apparently the length of an email subject line doesn’t matter much, according to MailChip’s Chief Data Scientist John Foreman. “The results are straightforward: As your subject line gets longer, nothing happens. Cheers.” (thanks nten)

As long as your audience is human beings, the basic principles of effective presentation design still apply.

How the mighty have fallen: Five years ago, social gaming company Zynga was seen as one of the fastest-growing companies, producing social games with huge audiences and making tons of money in the process. Fast-forward to today, and the company’s foundational issues are starting to show, according to Slate’s Farhad Manjoo. (Among the problems: issues with employee treatment, allegedly ripping off others’ ideas, and failure to capitalize on recent trends.) There is a lesson here for associations: Be in it for the long haul, not for the quick hit. You will struggle if your foundations are weak.

Combine your skills with others: Don’t work in a bubble. As Dale Kirke of Small Business Trends notes, working independently is not the mark of strong leadership. “Great leaders know that they can’t achieve what they want to independently, nor do they want to,” he writes. “They inherently understand that human beings can gain better results from pooling resources and utilizing the strengths of others to complement their own skills.”

Don’t be afraid to ditch the bullet points: Jon Thomas of Presentation Advisors says, no matter your audience, you shouldn’t be afraid to shy away from the norm for presenting in your industry — even if that field is belabored by lots (and lots) of text-heavy PowerPoints. “It doesn’t matter what field you’re in or who your audience is,” he writes. “As long as they’re human beings, the basic principles of effective presentation design still apply.”

Are your presentations in need of a more visual approach? Let us know what’s worked for you in the comments.

(TMG archive photo)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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