E-mail Lists

The most important and most overlooked element in an online campaign is the development of a strong house e-mail list. Currently e-mail is not very effective for influencing decision-makers. It is, however, very effective in communicating a message to a support base. The e-mail list should be used to mobilize supporters. Most people check their e-mail at least once a day. This makes e-mail faster and more directed than any other form of mass communication. The e-mail names should be treated like an online community of supporters, not just a list of names. You will garner more support if people feel like they are an integral part of the whole operation.

The "multiplier effect" works to the lobbyist advantage in e-mail communications. A list serve of 2,000 to 5,000 people could possibly generate more than 30,000 people viewing an e-mail advocating an issue. If each individual recipient forwarded the message to a group of friends, then the "multiplier effect" would involve numerous individuals. The more popular the issue, the more drastic the "multiplier effect" and the more successful the communication becomes to the public at large (Coombs et. al., 1999).