Green Party learn to canvas the Obama way using email tactics

Supporters who live outside key constituencies are encouraging relatives and friends in those areas to back the party. The scheme copies “The Big Schlep” campaign used by Barack Obama, in which young Jewish people from Washington convinced their grandparents living in Florida to vote Democrat.

The Greens have created a viral campaign with an interactive party political broadcast that supporters will be able to email to their relative or friends. It will be personalised, with a voice-over using the name of the email recipient.

“I could send my Aunt Betty an email with a tailored message from the Greens,” said Tracy Dighton-Brown, the party’s public relations manager. “and as she is coming up to retirement it would focus on pensions or property.”

The recipient would be directed to a website with a link to the official party site.

With a budget of less than £250,000, which at best guess is less than a tenth of that of the Conservatives and Labour, the Greens will rely heavily on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, and have employed an advertising agency that specialises in digital media. They will contest more than 300 seats on May 6.

Caroline Lucas, the party’s leader and an MEP, is considered the party’s best hope in Brighton Pavilion.

Yesterday, Miss Lucas conceded that her party had to cross a “credibility barrier” in order to succeed.

“We want to learn the lessons from the Obama campaign, not least when you are a party without large financial resources using social media is a key way to get our message across,” she said. “It will not replace being on the doorstep — that is still massively important.

“The biggest thing is persuading people that we can do it. I think it is just the next step to believe that we can do it this time — it is the credibility barrier.

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