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This story appears in the November 2003 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Brent A. Craven used to rely on mass mailings, even though heknew it wasn't the best route to market his business. "Itwasn't that we weren't intelligent enough to think ofgetting state rosters [of licensed professionals] earlier,"says Craven, who sells online services for architects, engineersand others who need continuing education, exam preparation forlicenses or certification and corporate training. Rather, he lackedsupport from some of the state board personnel responsible forcompiling the rosters-and often waited up to 18 months for outdatedinformation.

Craven's calls to the state board eventually yieldedresults. Now able to see what certifications, exams andrequirements specific professionals needed, Craven could senddirect mail tailored to a recipient's needs. Within 90 days,his site,, saw a 70 percent spike in visitorssigning up for more information, 25 percent of whom becamecustomers.

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