A dispenser of San Bernadino Bail Bonds has been commenting on my Yellow Pages Usage Data post recently and has provided some interesting insight into how to market to people in jail:

Regarding the yellow pages and internet usage in the jails. We are a San Bernardino Bail Bonds company and provide service within about 30 miles of our office.

There pretty much is no internet usage in the jails, for obvious reasons, therefore leaving only the yellow pages (or similar) for the incarcerated to utilize for bailing out of jail.

We came up with an idea that utilizes the yellow pages for the jails. If anyone has ever been in jail, hopefully not, these yellow page books that are given to the defendants in jail are usually completely torn up and rendered pretty much useless.

The defendants will use the pages as note paper and then tear off the pages and keep. Leaving the book vacant of pages for the other defendants peruse.

What we’ve done is; we take the yellow pages for that particular region, tear out the first 12 or so pages, laminate with ultra thick lamination, zip tie together with the same zip ties that the police officers use and present this virtually indestructible bail bonds directory to the jailor, in hopes of them agreeing to the use inside the jails.

Yes, some of those pages contain our competition, but the first few pages are our own listings.

I find that this is the only reason I’ve kept my yellow pages listings alive. Aside from the one or two random bail bonds calls I receive from the yellow pages, I find the YP’s completely useless.

Ever since 5 years ago, we’ve lessoned our YP spending to as little as possible and boosted our efforts for SEO, SEM, and all other online marketing.

It’s difficult though since our business is VERY spur of the moment, so branding our names seems to be futile and ranking 1st or 2nd is the only ROI producing effort.

Sounds a lot like optimizing for GOOG – use the tools the system provides, come up with your own techniques and always be wary of the screws.

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7 Response Comments

  • Lee  January 13, 2011 at 8:22 am

    i love this post – so simple and smart. i love how straightforward the need is, and how there’s no attempt to game the system; the writer is super creative and fully exploits the tools that are available. very cool story, thanks for the post.

  • Professional Service Provider  January 19, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    Marketing in Jail sounds so weird but really interesting view. It shows how an idea really change the approach. Thanks again Andrew for sharing this information.

  • Gerrid Smith  January 20, 2011 at 6:47 am

    Very creative. That’s really what online marketing is all about. Figure out what works in your niche, work at it, and eventually you’ll come out on top.

    Thanks for sharing this story, Andrew.

  • S. Womack Virginia Bail Bondsman  January 25, 2011 at 9:20 pm

    It’s an interesting idea. Advertising in the phone book will soon be a thing of the past. I hate jails that use it because it forces us to spend thousands on ads for one jail when many just have gone to a list.

  • DJohnson  February 15, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    Wow, I didn’t know how creative my idea was until Andrew let it out and looked at some of the responses.
    I’ve been forced in to creative online marketing because of the budget crunch, well, actually NO budget. That’s why SEO is so nice. Writing daily and article marketing and all that other fun stuff is just laborious, but at least its sort of free. I’m a staffer so it’s not really free to the boss, but, if the boss wanted to do it on his own, it would be kind of free. A lot different than forking over $1000’s for print, radio, or TV advertising.

  • Stephen Blalock | 404JAILSUX  July 23, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    Brilliant idea. Our latest way of being clever is our new name for our office that will service Cobb County. It is called 404JailSux.
    Hope that gets some traction by name alone.