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On Target

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Brent A. Craven used to rely on mass mailings, even though he knew it wasn't the best route to market his business. "It wasn't that we weren't intelligent enough to think of getting state rosters [of licensed professionals] earlier," says Craven, who sells online services for architects, engineers and others who need continuing education, exam preparation for licenses or certification and corporate training. Rather, he lacked support from some of the state board personnel responsible for compiling the rosters-and often waited up to 18 months for outdated information.

Craven's calls to the state board eventually yielded results. Now able to see what certifications, exams and requirements specific professionals needed, Craven could send direct mail tailored to a recipient's needs. Within 90 days, his site, RedVector.com, saw a 70 percent spike in visitors signing up for more information, 25 percent of whom became customers.

The response prompted Craven, 34, to save money by pulling the mailing in-house and also to create a client support/sales department. Sales for the Tampa, Florida, company should reach $5 million by the end of 2003.

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This article was originally published in the November 2003 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: On Target.

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