Variable Data Printing (VDP)

Personalize Your Print Projects with VDP

Preferred Direct offers Variable Data Printing (VDP) as part of our commercial printing services. Using our digital printing technology, we can personalize your company’s print project with dynamic customer data, securely and efficiently. Our advanced variable data printing equipment produces in high speed, delivering full-color, double-sided prints in record time. For your added convenience, Preferred Direct can also automatically match mail to envelopes, fold, insert, prep for presort first-class postage and deliver your VDP projects directly to the post office. Just give us your data and the drop date, and leave the rest to us!

What is Variable Data Printing?

Variable Data Printing, also known as VDP, is a form of printing in which text and graphics can be changed from one individual print piece to another, without slowing down the printing process. The dynamic data is retrieved from a database file and printed onto each print product. VDP is often used to personalize direct mail pieces such as letters, postcards and envelopes. Different names, addresses, photos and messages can be printed onto each mail piece and as well as on the envelope to match, in record time. Interested in VDP for your next commercial print project? 

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    Commercial Printing Services HIPAA

    Your Security is Our Priority

    Rest assured, our commitment to data security as a HITRUST-Certified and HIPAA-Compliant Printer means you’ll never have to worry about the safety and security of your information.

    “Working with Preferred Direct has been a pleasure. It is great to have such a responsive, flexible, and knowledgeable team to help execute our communications plans.”

    Curt Wynn

    Director of Marketing & Public Affairs, Tidewater Community College

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    Variable Data Printing

    Variable Data Printing is often used to personalize direct mail pieces such as bills, letters, statements, postcards and envelopes. Different names, addresses, photos and messages can be printed onto each mail piece and envelope to  target customers with relevant content.  When you personalize your direct mail pieces, customer engagement improves significantly. Contact us today for quote!

    Match Mailing with VDP

    Our Variable Data Printing & Match Mailing process go hand in hand and are fully customized, fast and accurate with our Data Matrix technology. Our state-of-the-art technology allows us to efficiently and accurately match printed mail to envelopes and packaging using our Read-to-Print Match Data Matrix verification process. Preferred Direct will also fold, insert, prep for presort first-class postage and deliver your VDP projects directly to the post office. Take advantage of our full suite of communication solutions today!

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    10 Healthcare Marketing Ideas To Help Grow Your Practice

    10 Healthcare Marketing Ideas To Help Grow Your Practice

    As a medical professional, the care of your patients is top priority. When operating a medical practice, however, the business side of medicine is not far behind. Whether you are facing patient retention challenges, looking to expand locations, add new talent, or simply increase the number of patients you see, healthcare marketing can help with sustainable growth of your practice. Here are ten ideas to do just that:

    #1 Develop a Brand Identity

    A medical practice is still very much a business, and with that comes the need for a brand. Develop a cohesive brand for your practice by choosing a logo, color scheme, and fonts. Work with a marketing professional to take the branding a step further by developing a brand tone and brand values. Combined, these visual and emotion-provoking components will become your enterprise’s brand and create a clear identity to your customers. Over time, your brand will become synonymous with the quality of care that your practice provides.

    #2 Outsource Billing to a Third Party

    If your office is still billing internally, you may find you can maximize your staff’s time by outsourcing your bill printing and mailing processes. After bill coding and contact verification, your team can transfer billing data through a secure data portal to a print and mail partner for fulfillment. This allows your billing staff to attend to patients, customer service and more urgent matters.

    It’s important to seek out a partner with expertise in handling sensitive medical information. Be sure to verify they can uphold HIPAA standards and have appropriate data security protocols. Working with an inexperienced printer can lead to problems ranging from reputational damage to costly lawsuits. Preferred Direct is proud to be a HIPAA-compliant and HITRUST-certified commercial print and mail partner. Our state-of-the-art print technology and strict data security standards ensure our medical customers can safely outsource their billing and maximize their internal staff for other pressing financial and care-related matters.

    #3 Create a Healthcare Marketing Plan

    Healthcare marketing is necessary when growing your enterprise. However, your efforts may be wasted without setting specific goals. Identify measurable areas in which you wish to grow and develop a strategy around those goals.

    Utilize both print and digital marketing and seek out ways to integrate them. Examples can include using social media to promote an upcoming event, sending out a brief version of your company newsletter via email, or including a QR code on a postcard.

    #4 Become a Thought Leader

    Leverage your knowledge as a medical professional and find ways to share your expertise publicly. Medical blogs and publications often seek guest writers. Be sure to name drop your practice, so your expertise is attributed correctly.

    For a more direct, local impact, create a printed newsletter for your practice. In one of the segments, include informative content. This can include debunking medical myths, explaining emerging medical technologies, or a list of preventative health advice.

    If you want to be very hands-on, get in front of the camera. Some medical professionals have seen success on video-centric platforms like TikTok, YouTube, LinkedIn etc., delivering knowledge in short, digestible formats.

    #5 Set Up a Referral Program

    Word-of-mouth is still among the strongest ways to grow a business. Encourage your current patients to tell friends, family, and coworkers about your practice. You can offer an incentive for them to do so, such as grocery gift cards, entries for a giveaway, or a complementary service. Use forms or comment cards, where new patients can disclose if they were referred by an existing patient and capture the ROI of your healthcare marketing campaigns.

    #6 Recruit and Retain the BestHealthcare medical billing support

    A medical enterprise is only as good as the people who work there, from the doctors to the front desk personnel. It is important to attract and retain the best possible staff when growing your practice.

    Celebrate employee accomplishments and milestones in your newsletter, to express appreciation. Recognize the risk of burnout in the medical field and make resources available to keep your team happy and healthy, so they can keep patients happy and healthy.

    Be proactive in hiring by attending job fairs, connecting with post-secondary institutions, and using recruitment resources to find the right fit for your practice.

    As a bonus, recruiting within the community can double as a promotional activity, increasing brand recognition in the area.

    #7 Leverage New and Existing Technology

    Seek out opportunities to add new technologies to your practice that are patient-friendly. Telehealth is quickly moving from a “nice-to-have” to an expectation of care. If your practice can offer these visits, make it known!

    For a busy office, scheduling can be challenging for both the office and the patient. Online scheduling can help by reducing call wait times and automating the confirmation process.

    Keeping your web presence updated can impact the impression of your practice. While not a new technology, regularly updating your social media pages with relevant content shows that you care to keep patients informed where they are. Similarly, your website requires routine content updates, as the place many new and existing patents will go first for information.

    #8 Solicit and Utilize Reviews

    If you are unsure where to focus your time and efforts, encourage feedback from your existing patients in the form of reviews.

    When you receive a five-star review, ask the reviewer for permission to share their feedback in your healthcare marketing. This feedback can also be used to get an idea of the patient’s experience. This information can highlight critical growth areas for your practice.

    #9 Expand Your Reach Locally

    As a medical enterprise, you will likely have multiple locations under your business umbrella. When it comes time to open a new office, develop a healthcare marketing campaign around introducing yourself to the local community. This can be done through a direct mail campaign, social media ads, or even a grand opening event! Using every door direct mail (EDDM), practitioners can target every house within a specific radius to the facility and introduce local households to their practice.

    Adding additional practitioners can also bring new patients that may not have previously sought out your practice. Highlight expansions of service in your direct mail newsletter or on your website, encouraging new patients to make an appointment.

    #10 Stay Connected

    Make it easy for patients to stay connected to your practice. A mailing list, both for physical mail and email is a great place to start. Appointment reminders also remind people to connect with your office. Work with a healthcare marketing designer to develop an eye-catching, on-brand design that cannot be missed among other pieces of mail.

    For a more hands-on approach, participate in local events as a vendor or sponsor. Health fairs, holiday festivals, and marathons are great venues for a medical enterprise to engage with the local community. Give out branded freebies, offer screenings, or host a giveaway. Be sure to include a sign-up for your mailing list at the booth!Preferred Direct Marketing

    *Bonus: Leverage Preferred Direct!

    Healthcare marketing takes effort and strategy. When it comes to your medical print and mail campaigns, Preferred Direct has years of experience in managing sensitive healthcare information, as well as marketing materials, with security and diligence. From designing to printing to finishing to postage, Preferred Direct has the experience, technology, and security to help you grow your medical practice. Contact us today for a print marketing estimate!

    5 Key Considerations When Choosing a Third-Party Medical Marketing Partner

    5 Key Considerations When Choosing a Third-Party Medical Marketing Partner

    Marketing a medical practice comes with unique challenges not seen in most other industries. Making sure patient data is secure, communications are HIPAA-compliant and that important healthcare messages are reaching the correct audience are all challenges that differ from that of the average marketing campaign. 

    If you are looking for a solution to market your practice, consider outsourcing your medical marketing print campaigns. Choosing a reputable partner is not only good for business, but it can also help avoid financial penalties and data breaches. Not sure how to vet a company for your medical marketing needs? Here are some key considerations: 

    Am I Using Sensitive Information? 

    Information that discloses conditions, treatments, and care for a specific patient is protected by law. Even accidental infractions have steep financial penalties. It is important that parties on both sides of the healthcare marketing vendor relationship understand what information requires extra care. 

    The content of your marketing messages will dictate which medical marketing partner is best for your needs. If sending out appointment reminders are part of your patient retention strategy, many printers can assist with this broad, universal content. If your print marketing is more specific about conditions, it may inadvertently disclose a patient’s diagnosis or treatment and put your practice at legal and/or financial risk.  

    Awareness of HIPAA and medical privacy regulations protects your patients, your practice, and your reputation. For print marketing based on a patient diagnosis such as medicine recommendations, peer support groups, outpatient care options, and more, it’s important to work with a Commercial Printer that is familiar with healthcare privacy regulations to ensure you’re always in compliance. Preferred Direct is a HIPAA-compliant commercial printer with extensive experience handling not only medical marketing print services but third-party billing as well, for a variety of healthcare organizations.  

    Does This Printer Have Any Relevant Certifications? 

    There are industry certifications a printing partner can earn to display their medical marketing expertise. How will you know if a potential printer has them? In most cases, these certifications will be visible on the company’s website and other marketing materials.  

    Look for mentions of HIPAA compliance, HITRUST certifications, and ways they keep data secure. Without these, you run the risk of incidental violation, compromised data, and workflow challenges. 

    A strong reputation also goes a long way. Does the printing company have a working relationship with others in the healthcare industry? Preferred Direct, for example, works with one of the largest health insurance providers in the US, assuring HIPAA compliance every step of the way. We are also a HITRUST-certified printer, strictly following the HITRUST Common Security Framework (CSF) to ensure the utmost security of your patient data. In 2022, Preferred Direct was also named one of the top commercial print services in Virginia Beach. From reputation to certification, Preferred Direct has taken the steps to be the medical marketing partner of choice. 

    What Healthcare Industry Experience Do They Have? 

    At the end of the day, your best choice for a printing partner is the provider that excels at the services your practice or office needs. Most printing companies can execute direct mail campaigns or design high-quality brochures for a broad array of business types. Not all can do so for the healthcare industry. And even fewer can be a one-stop-shop for all medical printing needs.  

    Say you want to expand into outsourcing your printed billing statements. The risk of small, yet costly mistakes is high when working with an inexperienced printer. 

    Did you know that something as simple as using the wrong envelope can be a HIPAA violation? In this case, the window in the envelope disclosed personal information about patients, including a condition they underwent treatment for. Through this envelope, anyone who handled the piece of mail was able to see personal medical information, which ultimately culminated in a lawsuit.

    At Preferred Direct, we pay careful attention to these areas of risk and ensure there is no exposures or violations before all mailing projects. We are incredibly proud to have never had a client HIPAA violation in our 35 years of business! 

    When shopping around for a medical marketing partner, ask directly about their healthcare industry experience. While printers may not be able to disclose specific client or project details, a brief conversation can reveal a lot about an organization’s capabilities. Request samples of materials similar to those you are planning to use in an upcoming campaign. Use these to guide the conversation to medical marketing standards. A little bit of research and discussion can help prevent unnecessary stress and errors down the line. 

    printing security

    What Technology Does the Company Utilize? 

    The technology used by a third-party medical marketing partner can be a deciding factor on whether they can securely handle your campaigns. Combined with industry expertise, the right technology can keep your communications professional, secure and credible. Here are three technologies to ask about: 

    Variable Data Printing (VDP) 

    Variable Data Printing is a process in which sections of information- such as Personal Medical Information, can be switched out from piece to piece, without slowing down the printing process. This capability shows they have the equipment necessary to handle the accurate, fast, and secure printing of potentially sensitive information. 

    Internal Security Processes 

    While you cannot be there to personally supervise the print job, there is no harm in inquiring about the internal processes that help keep sensitive data secure. Data encryption should be standard practice, as well as other visible forms of trust, such as certifications and a trusted staff. Ask about any data breaches the company may have experienced and their resolution. 

    System Testing 

    A good printing partner will allow for scheduled system tests. During these tests, mailing lists are pulled and prepared for sending. This is an opportunity to discover gaps in process, identify missing or duplicated recipients, and verify print quality long before your that first piece of mail delivers.

    What About Finishing? 

    Imagine your surprise when you receive a box of 5,000 unfolded brochures because the partner you chose only performs the printing portion of the job. Avoid the time-consuming stress and ask early about finishing options offered by your potential print marketing partner. 

    brochure printing servicesMedical marketing collateral commands a higher level of professionalism to win the trust of patients. Exploring other finishing options, like binding or adding perforated sections can elevate the perceived quality of your printed marketing materials. Preferred Direct offers not only printing services but also bindery, collating, cutting, tabbing, scoring, perforations, drilling, folding, and other finishing services.  

    Preferred Direct has years of experience and a stellar reputation in managing variable data and sensitive healthcare information. We guarantee prompt and confidential processing of your information while giving you flexible solutions to accommodate your medical marketing requirements. From designing to printing, to finishing to postage, we have the experience, technology, security, and personnel to be an invaluable asset to your healthcare communications. 

     When you partner with Preferred Direct, you partner with a data-secure, technology-focused medical marketing printing partner dedicated to your goals. Contact us today for an estimate! 

    Why Now is the Perfect Time for Print Newsletter Marketing

    Why Now is the Perfect Time for Print Newsletter Marketing

    When was the last time you received a newsletter…that was not sent to your email? Keeping your clients, customers or patients consistently informed is a big key for brand engagement. And it simply makes sense to reach them where they are… online, right? Not exactly. Due to changing standards in online privacy, a large influx of email marketing, and increased competition in the digital marketing space, a printed newsletter may be the best medium to attract and engage your true audience base.

    As a provider of commercial printing and mailing solutions for over 35 years, the team at Preferred Direct knows a thing or two about the consumer landscape. Although direct mail has been around for centuries, there are many reasons why now is the best time is to invest in printed newsletter marketing campaigns for your business.

    Get Out the Cluttered Email Inbox

    We’d like to think that customers eagerly await our emails for the latest promotions and news. Realistically, their email inbox looks just like ours— cluttered, with hundreds of unopened e-newsletters dying a slow death in the automated “Promotions” folder. With email providers implementing changes effecting deliverability rates and SPAM categorization, it’s likely that your audience isn’t receiving your emails in the first place, wasting the time and effort of your marketing team.

    What makes print different? Printed newsletters offer a tangible experience using a marketing medium that has statistically become much less cluttered than the average email inbox. As many companies shift their marketing to online channels, the opportunity to be noticed in the mailbox has grown tremendously. However, there’s still a possibility of your newsletter going directly into the trashcan. That is where brand recognition, quality print materials and professional design come into play. Treating print newsletters like a tangible extension of your company’s product or service quality will differentiate your print marketing in a way that cannot be captured in a short email headline.

    To cut through the email clutter even further, reference your most recent digital campaign in your print newsletter (or reference your newsletter in an email!) with a special incentive. You do not need to abandon one method for another, but rather, have them work together for best results. For customers and prospects that you simply are struggling to reach via email, printed newsletters through Preferred Direct may be the way to go!

    Reach Clients in a New Way

    With most of our daily communication taking place digitally, there is something refreshingly different about receiving mail that speaks directly to our wants and needs. A printed newsletter can be a unique space that elaborates and highlights your company story like no other. Whether through special print promotions or coupons, exclusive insider stories, or unique event incentives, there are plenty of opportunities to surprise and delight your newsletter subscribers in a way they are not accustomed to.

    Are your competitors using a printed newsletter to reach their customers? If not, then this is a perfect time to reach your shared audiences in a way that your competitors do not. Your loyal customers will be pleased to see your direct communication and your competitor’s audience may be intrigued by this new touchpoint and the effort you put into the campaign. Though we may not think of the mailbox as “new”, we should. Print marketing is in a modern-day renaissance and this old medium could be the new way to communicate to your audience, effectively.

    Forgo Online Privacy Barriers

    Online privacy protection laws are actively being passed on national and local levels, highlighting the growing scrutiny on how personal information is found and used. Companies, such as Apple, Google and Microsoft, have responded by introducing various privacy features, that ultimately limit many marketers’ ability to effectively target audience segments. With these changing privacy laws, it may become harder for businesses to collect accurate email information. This has also impacted the number of bogus emails created for the sole purpose of downloading digital content through lead forms, without giving true, personal information.

    On the other hand, It is much less common for your audience to set up P.O. boxes for junk mail. Therefore, when you deliver to a given address, you’re most likely reaching a real person and not a junk email bot. Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) campaigns can also help you target an audience by location. At Preferred Direct, we work with our local USPS office to designate the best geographic location for your campaign and pull accurate mailing lists on your behalf.

    Here’s a common EDDM newsletter example:

    Local veterinarian contacts Preferred Direct to send a print marketing newsletter to its 200+ existing customers and to every residential home within a 5 mile radius of their office using EDDM.

    Customer – Jane opens her mailbox and sees the familiar logo of her local veterinarian’s office. The front page features a photo of two dogs posed in front of a holiday display, inviting readers to come in for a special pet photo event. Jane places the newsletter in her “keep” file and quickly texts her friend about the pet photo event. Later that evening, Jane reads the newsletter, adds “Make Fluffy a Vet appointment” to her to-do list, and clips a coupon for dog food.

    Email alternative – Jane opened your email, forwarded to her friend’s email (where it hit the junk box) and forgot to follow up for a vet appointment since the email wasn’t consistently visible in the real world.

    Prospect ­– Bob is new in town and has been researching veterinarians for his 8-year old Lab mix. Though he had his eye on another practice, he received a quality newsletter in the mail from this local veterinarian. This prompted him to check their online reviews and prices. After reading through their website and newsletter, which features more customer testimonials, health tips and a local dog park guide, he decides to call and set an appointment using his “FREE consultation” coupon clipped from the mail.

    Email alternative – Your email went directly to junk mail because Bob does not have you on his email contact list.

    In our example, the local veterinarian was able to engage different types of audiences, more than once from one newsletter. They may not have had the same return on investment if they sent out an email newsletter only. In our 35 years of experience with direct mail campaigns, it is not unheard of that a recipient might share a physically printed mail piece with a friend or family member – extending a campaign’s ROI.

    Though you may be hesitant, we can confidently say NOW is the time to invest in print marketing and overcome the privacy barriers found in the digital marketplace. With a name and address, you can send professional, informative newsletters with 100% deliverability rates. No cookies, trackers, bots or privacy policies in sight!

    Benefits of Newsletter Marketing

    Not every printed marketing newsletter will yield the same results as our hypothetical veterinarian’s office example. But for those who work with a professional Print & Mail shop, the odds are in your favor. Here are a few advantages print marketing has over other forms of digital marketing:

    • More Qualified Leads – Client addresses are updated regularly to send invoices and charge payments, so you know your print newsletters are sending to the right address. Through our partnership with USPS, you can verify mailing addresses and even target an audience you do not currently have access to, using EDDM.
    • Longer Engagement Rates – The average ad is viewed for mere seconds. The simple act of holding a newsletter outlasts these digital methods exponentially. On average, a print piece will have a more lasting engagement than a digital marketing ad. Customers interested in your content may save it to read later, use as a bookmark, clip it on a fridge magnet etc. to keep it top of mind. You can increase the likelihood of this by choosing specialty bindings, paper sizes, and finishing options.
    • Reaches a Broader Audience – Not all customers are online, and for those that are, the digital landscape is constantly changing (and so are their email addresses). Through printed newsletter marketing, you can reach a larger audience than just those with working emails. You can also target new audiences by locations relevant to your business, casting a wider net for future clientele.
    • Direct Ways to Measure Impact – Whether it’s through a coupon, event/sale, or connecting print and digital efforts through a campaign-specific landing page, there are multiple ways to measure the success of your printed newsletter without relying on third-party metrics. Work with your print & mail provider to discuss the best way to track campaign ROI.

    There has never been a more perfect time to add print newsletter marketing to your company’s mix. With all the clutter and privacy concerns occurring in the digital marketing realm, the mailbox is a very attractive marketing channel that has already been proven to engage, communicate, and inform your audience. Start NOW and solidify your spot in the mailbox before your competitors begin flocking to the post office. Keep in mind, every business has unique marketing goals and abilities. Therefore, it is important to partner with a knowledgeable print provider to discover the right newsletter marketing option to meet your goals.

    As a HIPAA-compliant and HITRUST-certified printer, Preferred Direct has invested in top print and fulfillment technology and follows the strictest data security standards to ensure the safety of your data. Partner with Preferred Direct today to get started on your company’s next marketing newsletter campaign today!

    Preferred Direct Named Top Printing Service in Virginia Beach by

    Preferred Direct Named Top Printing Service in Virginia Beach by

    June 24, 2022 Norfolk, VA – Preferred Direct, industry-leading print, direct mail, and digital communications partner, is honored to be selected as one of the Top 7 Best Printing Services in Virginia Beach by, a market research leader dedicated to researching and presenting the top service providers in over 200 industries across the U.S. uses selection categories that include availability, qualifications, reputation, expertise, and professionalism to assess over 60,000 businesses monthly and present the highest rated professionals in each industry.

    In Virginia Beach, reviewed 97 printing companies, including Preferred Direct and scored each business on more than 25 variables across the five selection categories, resulting in a handpicked list of the best printers in Virginia Beach.

    As a result, Preferred Direct was chosen as one of the top 7 printing companies in the region. The company received an A rating for reputation, a criterion scored on publicly available information such as average review scores, professional database reviews, and volatility of ratings. Preferred Direct also received an A+ for professionalism, based on interaction with a mystery shopper who posed as a potential customer and scored the company’s knowledge, friendliness, and professionalism.

    A family-owned company, Preferred Direct was founded in 1987 and recently celebrated 35 years in business. Located in a 50,000 square foot facility in Norfolk, Virginia, Preferred Direct owns 25+ print, bindery and fulfillment assets, including an HP T250 digital printer, a Xerox Impika inkjet printer, a Canon 710 printer, Kern roll inserter, a Horizon binder and more. Specializing in high volume direct mail and print solutions, Preferred Direct services clients in the insurance, healthcare, finance, nonprofit, utility and other direct marketing industries, nationwide.

    “We take pride, not only in the quality and efficiency of our print services, but in the level of professionalism and customer satisfaction we provide,” says Bill Nee, president. “For 35 years, we have built a name as a technology-first, data-secure, family-owned print partner in the Hampton Roads region and we are incredibly honored to be named one of the top printing services in the area. Thank you to for recognizing the dedication and outstanding work our staff puts in every day to serve and support our customers.”

    22 Direct Marketing Trends in 2022

    22 Direct Marketing Trends in 2022 

    Direct marketing is the discipline of communicating directly with your audience through one-to-one mediums such as email, direct mail, social media, and text. Contrary to mass media, direct marketing can be personalized on an individual level, and is much easier to track a return on investment. At Preferred Direct, we assist customers around the nation with direct mail and direct digital communications to achieve their goals. Whether your direct marketing is for transactional, informational, educational, or promotional purposes, Preferred Direct is the preferred provider of secure, successful direct mail and print communications.  


    22 Direct Mail Trends from Preferred Direct 

    As we close out the first quarter of 2022, our team has noticed some direct marketing trends among our client’s projects and within the national market. In honor of it being the 22nd year of the millennium, here are 22 direct marketing trends to pay attention to this year:  

    #1. Personalization: This has been a consistent trend since the beginning of 2020. With variable data printing technology, commercial printers can now customize names, images, colors, and more on each print piece.  

    #2. Strong Brands: Consumers want to feel a personal connection to your brand. We’ve seen companies increase the success of their direct mail campaigns when they include information about who they are and the impact their brand wants to make in the world.  

    #3. Omnichannel Marketing: Direct marketing is very successful when reinforced among multiple communication channels. Clients who follow up direct mail campaigns with direct emails or texts, and vice versa, can further their brand message and improve customer recall.sustainable direct mail advertising

    #4. Sustainability: Sustainability has been a trend among consumers for years and it’s important to show that you value the future of this earth too. Include sustainability statements or links to your social responsibility pages in your direct marketing promotions and show you care!  

    #5. Reusable Print: When clients and customers receive high-quality print pieces, many will re-use the print for other purposes – keeping your brand top of mind. Preferred Direct can help with generating ideas like using perforations to make bookmarks or mini table games from postcards to keep your brand front and center.   

    #6. The Digital-Print Shift: As digital marketing becomes harder to track and customers request more privacy online, many customers are open to receiving more promotional communications in the mail. With email as the new “junk mail”, the ol’ mailbox has much less competition and a higher impact.  

    #7. User Intent: Conducting research to understand how your audience approaches and consumes your content can effectively improve the impact of your marketing campaigns. Understanding if your recipients intend to buy, research, share, or save your content, helps you create an engaging campaign designed around what your customer REALLY wants. Knowing what prospects expect from a company like yours, and the intention behind their actions will help build focused content for your direct mail campaigns that achieves your goals and theirs.  

    #8. FOMO: The “Fear Of Missing Out” is a natural curiosity that can be a successful tool to engage your audience. Include just enough information in your direct mail to peak your reader’s curiosity and they just must learn more to satisfy the knowledge gap you’ve created.   

    #9. Two-Factor Authentication: For transactional direct marketing campaigns, it’s important to safeguard your customer’s information. Sending a letter with changes made in a customer’s digital account can help reduce fraud and identity theft for customers that may have had their digital passwords hacked. Creating “two-factor authentication” through digital and print mediums protects your company and your customers, but only if processed through a secure printer like Preferred Direct.  

    #10. Large Postcards: As consumers become more open to promotional mail, some clients are seeing success with oversized postcards. Sizes such as 11 x 6, 8 x 17, etc. stick out from other mail pieces and won’t get lost in the stack.   

    #11. Catalogs: To cut through the digital clutter, DTC and eCommerce brands are going back to the future of sending full catalogs in the mail. They recognize print is not dead and online shopping doesn’t necessarily have to start online. Others have even gone a step further adding print coupons to their catalogs to increase online sales.  

    #12. Emotional Connection: Using less corporate verbiage and more natural conversation text, Companies can make a more personal, emotional connection with consumers. Customers deal with “fake news” and “fake profiles” all day long. They want real, honest companies and your print text can communicate that.  

    #13. Designer Envelopes: Who said professional print needs to be plain? Using a full-color envelope design, insurance carriers, finance institutions, billing companies, and many high-volume direct billing companies are seeing greater engagement on their transactional and promotional direct mail campaigns. Work with a Preferred Direct designer to create the perfect full-color envelope for your customer mailings today!  

    #14. Privacy/User Consent: To appease to growing concerns around data privacy and user consent, try sending a direct mail campaign to consumers requesting opt-ins for your digital direct marketing. Skip the firewalls and SPAM folders and connect with visitors directly in a non-invasive medium.  direct marketing QR code

    #15. QR Codes: QR Codes have made one heck of a comeback due to COVID-19. Now that many people know how they work, marketers are seeing success in converting print interest into digital conversions using scannable QR Codes. To be scannable, QR codes must be at least .8” x .8”.  

    #16. Tip-On Giveaways: Whether a gift card, a mock bank card, or other card giveaways, adding a rigid piece of cardstock to your direct mail campaigns can increase its premium feel and entice the receiver to open.  

    #17. Specialty Fold Options: Create a big reveal with your direct mail campaigns through designs with specialty folds. Asymmetrical folds, accordion folds, and gate folds are just a few direct mail folding options that allow more space for your content to delight with every unfold.  

    #18. Retargeting Print: You may have heard about retargeting digital ads, but have you considered retargeting ads using print? Creating a process to automate print campaigns for abandoned carts or product upselling can help nudge customers, that have digitally “checked out” of your company, to reconsider a purchase. 

    #19. Print Security: Customers want to know their data is safe with your company. That’s why more and more businesses are partnering with print providers who are HITRUST-certified, HIPAA-compliant, and have shown they follow strict data security standards. If a company says they are secure, they must ensure their vendors are too. Business magazine printing services

    #20. Company Magazines: As more companies are creating content for digital, marketing-savvy businesses are maximizing this content and distributing it offline in a company magazine. Once your company has 5-10+ educational blogs, you can create a company magazine to distribute to your customers, periodically. This trend can increase your customer retention and referral rates.  

    #21. Concise Copy: Keep it simple! Customers are already overloaded with marketing messages all day long. A concise, well-thought-out slogan and supporting text are more memorable than a full paragraph. Direct marketing campaigns with a clear, simple message can be all you need to tip the scales in your direction.  

    #22. Contact Preferred Direct! We would like to think it’s a trend that more and more companies are choosing Preferred Direct for their print and mail needs. Popular reasons businesses have moved to Preferred are: their printer is struggling to meet deadlines, their printer isn’t investing in security technology or their printer has limited options. Working with a more connected, technology-focused printer is a trend that can make a big difference in your marketing.  


    Before You Dive All In, Contact Preferred Direct  

    Not all trends will work for your audience, so it’s important to partner with a print provider to discover the right campaign for your goals. At Preferred Direct, we have a team of designers and print experts to help you create the perfect direct marketing pieces that engage your audience. As a HIPAA-compliant and HITRUST-certified printer, we have invested in top print and fulfillment technology and follow the strictest data security standards to ensure the safety of your data. Partner with Preferred Direct today and implement one or more of these direct marketing trends for your most engaging direct marketing campaign yet! 

    Preferred Direct Celebrates 35 Years and Two Generations of Business

    Preferred Direct Celebrates 35 Years and Two Generations of Business

    April 18, 2022, Norfolk, VA – Founded in 1987, Preferred Direct, a second-generation commercial printer, is excited to announce the achievement of 35 years in business. Founded by Bill Nee, Sr. and his wife, Patricia Nee, , Preferred Direct started from humble beginnings as a mail sorting business in the family home and has grown to a 50,000 square foot commercial printing facility in Norfolk, VA. As the company steps into their 35th year, Preferred Direct is proud to be a local family business serving companies nationwide with print, mail and communication solutions.

    From a Home Office Mailshop

    In 1987, Patricia and Bill Nee Sr. were an average couple with a house in the suburbs and three young adult sons. At the time, Bill Sr. was working long hours in corporate America, but he and Patricia had an American dream of their own – to be successful business owners.

    direct mail printerThroughout the 1980s, the United States Postal Service invested in automation technology for mail processing and was offering large discounts to bulk mailers with pre-sorted mail (Smithsonian National Postal Museum). Bill Sr. recognized the potential for services in mail collating, sorting, and processing, which led him and Patricia to start a small mail shop in their home office. As the business grew, so did their dream

    “My parents long-term vision was to create a ‘one stop shop’ that would simplify the work of their clients by providing an end-to-end solution that includes everything from design to printing to mail.” Says Bill Nee Jr., son and now President of Preferred Direct.

    After three years in business, the company outgrew the family home and moved to its first commercial location in Virginia Beach, VA. That same year, Bill Sr. incorporated the company in Virginia as Preferred Direct Marketing Services Inc.  For the next eight years, Bill Sr. and Patricia would grow the company to become the “Preferred” mail service center for clients throughout Hampton Roads and the East Coast.  In 1998, they decided to purchase a printing press, an investment in capital equipment that would take Preferred Direct to the next level.

    To Nationwide Commercial Print & Mail Fulfillment

    In 1998, Bill Nee, Jr., joined the family business to operate the new press, and his younger brothers, Rick and Chris, came on board over the years that followed. The company quickly outgrew its facility, and in 2008, moved into a 17,000 square foot premises on Virginia Beach Blvd.

    Six years later, in 2014, Preferred Direct signed its first master service agreement with the largest Healthcare provider in the United States. Thus began investments in multiple print, mail and fulfillment technologies, including the first roll-to-roll Xerox Impika in the US for faster inkjet printing capabilities. Four years later, Preferred Direct purchased its first roll to insert equipment to speed up the mail inserting process for their clients.

    In January 2019, the company had outgrown yet another facility, prompting the move into its current 50,000 square foot building located at 4590 Village Avenue in Norfolk, VA. The move made room for the company to purchase an HP T250 digital printing press capable of high-speed variable data inkjet printing, with vibrant color and quality.

    “Our capital investments over the past 10 years have enabled us to offer higher quality and faster turnaround times, while keeping our pricing competitive for clients” says Chris Nee, son and  vice president of business development.

    Living the American Dream

    With a deep commitment to security (HITRUST certified & HIPAA compliant), technology and efficiency, Preferred Direct continues to thrive.

    “It’s amazing to see all that our family has been able to accomplish over the past 35 years, as we’ve gone from sorting mail in the kitchen to having 57 employees, 10+ equipment assets and a multitude of customers across the nation,” remarks Chris.


    “We are incredibly proud of the hard work of our team of employees and the great collaborations we have built with our customers. We’re looking forward to continued growth in the future and to maintaining the family connection that has brought us so far,” says Bill Nee Jr., whose son and grandsons now also work at Preferred Direct.

    What began with a dream has evolved into a growing family business that has made an impact in the Hampton Roads community and for companies nationwide. Today, Bill and Chris Nee continue to build the legacy their parents began and remain committed to helping businesses around the nation with their print and mail communication needs for many years to come.

    Preferred Direct’s, Kristen Hollar, featured in HP Graphic Arts Article titled “Fabulously Focused”

    February 10, 2021 – After the success of the HP PageWide T240 installation at Preferred Direct, HP reached out to the company to discuss the history of Preferred Direct and the ROI of the new print technology. Here’s the article content:

    If Preferred Direct can be described in one word, it’s surely passionate.

    As an industry-leading print, direct mail and digital communications company, the Norfolk, Virginia company thrives on an innovative spirit – something their Director of Operations carries in abundance. Kristen Hollar has worked at Preferred Direct for 18 years, standing ready to meet the marketing and communications needs of any commercial organization in direct mail, digital or, mixed media. She continually looks for new ways to help her customers succeed on all marketing fronts with the help of the HP PageWide We Press T240 HD. But forward thinking has been Preferred Direct’s hallmark for 34 years.

    The company was started as a mail shop by owner Bill Nee’s parents out of a spare bedroom in 1987. Bill Nee, Sr. spearheaded the company’s entrepreneurial drive, having worked for years with different mailing, printing and software firms. He determined to write his company’s own software and streamline as many processes as possible. By 1992, the Nees had expanded their offerings into printing, as they found themselves waiting constantly for printers to deliver, which impacted drop rates.

    In the ensuring years, as has been their history, Preferred Direct kept innovating, quickly adopting personalization and incorporating variable data processing into production. That dedication to forward thinking served the printer well in a challenging economy. Kristen saw how the 2007 recession impacted competitors that had not yet transitions to digital printing. Kristen kept fulfilling orders, handling runs of any size on short deadlines, and helped her company get through tough times. She believes strongly that customers will always choose vendors with newer ideas, lower costs and speedier turn arounds.

    As digital printing came of age, Preferred Direct’s next step was the installation for the HP PageWide Web Press T240 HD. Of its speed and versatility, Kristen says, “It allows us to print on a much larger scale, the color is tremendous, and we can print roll-to-roll on different substrates. When someone comes to us with a need for 100,000 pieces in two days, the HP press makes all the difference.”

    Today, with the T240 HD at hand, customers can bring in complete integrated campaigns. With the advent of email, display ads, and SMS, Preferred Direct has watched digital communications grow to 40 percent of their business. But direct mail will remain the heart and soul of their operations.

    As Kristen says, “Our evolution into digital marketing happened because we’re always staying on top of technology as it comes to market – always reinvesting in the company and our processes, procedures, and equipment. We believe it’s important to have everything under one roof.

    Preferred Direct is an industry-leading commercial print, direct mail and digital communications provider founded by Bill Nee, Sr. in Norfolk, Va. in 1987. Now in its second generation of family ownership, Preferred Direct is a HITRUST-certified, HIPAA-compliant partner to the healthcare, insurance, finance and other industries nationwide. Learn more at


    Paying it forward: Preferred Direct’s $20,000 donation will provide over 50,000 meals in SEVA

    December 11, 2020 – Norfolk, VA – Aiming to bring some relief to families experiencing hard times due to the COVID-19 pandemic and other issues, Norfolk-based Preferred Direct, a family-owned commercial printer, has donated $20,000 to the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore (SEVA). The funds will help provide 50,000 meals to people in crisis in the SEVA community.

    ”It has been a very difficult year for so many people,” says Bill Nee Jr., president of Preferred Direct. “We feel fortunate to be in a position to hopefully make a difference and show our commitment to our community.”

    He added: “We knew that the SEVA Foodbank is helping meet the immediate needs of numerous households affected this year. We are honored to be a part of the meaningful work they do.”

    Preferred’s donation comes at a crucial time. According to SEVA President Ruth Jones Nichols, “This year, food donations are down by 1 million pounds.” Meanwhile, the economic effects of the pandemic mean more Americans are experiencing food insecurity for the first time in their lives. “Feeding America has projected about 59% of people facing food insecurity, caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, won’t be eligible for federal nutrition programs,” Nichols explained. This means SEVA’s mission is more critical than ever.

    SEVA uses cash donations like Preferred’s to make bulk purchases, which it then assembles and distributes. This includes fresh, frozen, canned, boxed, and prepared foods. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the SEVA Foodbank has supplied nearly 6.5 million meals to those in need.

    Nee said that despite the detrimental effects COVID-19 has had on many businesses, Preferred Direct — which has been providing essential printing, direct mail and digital communications services to businesses locally and nationally since 1987 — was able to maintain healthy operations. He hopes that the company’s donation will spur more giving.

    “This pandemic is a reminder that life is unpredictable. Your situation can change in the blink of an eye. We wanted to give when we could, because we never know when we’ll be the ones in need of help We hope others will be inspired to give as well.” Nee said.

    To learn more about the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore, visit:


    Preferred Direct is an industry-leading commercial print, direct mail and digital communications provider founded by Bill Nee, Sr. in Norfolk, Va. in 1987. Now in its second generation of family ownership, Preferred Direct is a HITRUST-certified, HIPAA-compliant partner to the healthcare, insurance, finance and other industries nationwide. Learn more at