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course, Obama had a couple million friends on Facebook and MySpace, but he ended the 2008 cycle with over 13 million addresses on his e-mail list, and by Election Day its members had received roughly one billion individual messages from his campaign. Though not much of a recruiting tool (except when someone sends-to-a-friend), e-mail absolutely excels at building and maintaining rela- tionships online.

3. Ignore the Bloggers

Bloggers in their pajama-clad ranks can be an- noying, particularly for political professionals who aren’t too pleased to have amateurs poaching on their turf. But who cares? Political blogs get read by the very activists and donors candidates usually need to reach.

While getting mentioned in a national level blog can make a splash, state and local level campaigns should pay particular attention to local political bloggers. They’re more likely to focus on a legisla- tive or congressional race, and you can help them fill their precious pixels by pitching a story idea or a guest article from your candidate. Also, since your target often isn’t the actual blog-

ger, but his or her readers, consider advertising on relevant blogs—blog ads can be very cheap, par- ticularly for local or niche sites. And bloggers do tend to notice who buys space on their sites.

4. Don’t Use Google Ads

Speaking of online advertising, we all know that it doesn’t work—except when it does. In fact, Google Ads are a perfect match for most candi- dates in 2010, for two basic reasons. First, they’re highly targetable, and second you only pay when someone actually clicks on an ad. Google Ads are particularly effective as a list-building tool, some- times yielding a four- or five-fold return on invest- ment, measured in donations. Their targeting ability can be a real help, since

you can not only zero in on your district but also aim different messages at different audiences de- pending on the content they’re reading or search- ing online. Campaigns frequently run Google Ads using their candidate’s name and that of their oppo- nent as keywords, for instance, while a higher-level Google Ad blitz might target dozens or hundreds of different keyword/landing page combinations. Even when someone doesn’t click on a Google Ad, it’s still sitting there on the page as a branding ele- ment, complete with your message and link.

5. Avoid Facebook, MySpace and YouTube

E-mail may be key to maintaining connections with your existing supporters and donors, but on-

line social networks like Facebook and MySpace are great places to fish for new ones. Your own campaign web pag is a start, but encourage sup- porters to spread the word, too—each of your Fa- cebook or MySpace friends is a potential recruiting hub within their own social circles. YouTube has a potential double effect, since you can use it as both a free video hosting site and as a social network in which to look for support. As you connect with people on Facebook or MySpace, though, do try to move them onto your main activist list as much as possible. Hard politi- cal experience has shown that a good e-mail mes- sage to the list can have a response rate 10 or more times higher than a request sent over an online so- cial network.

Of the $500 million Obama raised online, roughly two-thirds came directly via someone clicking on a “donate now” link.

6. Ignore All Those Online Critics

Hostile bloggers, Twitterers and YouTubers can be a real thorn in a campaign’s side, particularly since you never know who’s listening to what they’re saying. But short of a comprehensive assassination scheme (not recommended), you’re stuck with ‘em. So what should a campaign do? The best answer to a wave of negative online content is often to try to “flood the zone” with targeted information of your own, while also reaching out to individuals in the opposition to see if they can be brought around. For instance, if unflattering YouTube clips are dogging your can- didate, post a bunch of your own videos on the same or a related topic, not only to counter the hostile messages directly but also to dilute them in search results. While you may not be able to turn an enraged blogger into a bosom buddy, a few e-mails behind the scenes could shift him or her from angry to at least neutral (a little access to the candidate wouldn’t hurt either).

7. Treat Your Supporters Like ATMs

Yes, the Internet can be a great source of political money, particularly when a campaign can aggre- gate small donations from a big list of individual supporters. But even the most enthusiastic donors

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