How a Lean Agency Stays Mean (While 8x-ing Traffic for Clients)

When most of us think about company growth, we think about winning new clients then hiring new people to take on the challenges that come up. It’s just the natural, sometimes stressful progression that fills seats in your office. 

Nextiny—a platinum HubSpot agency—doesn’t think that way, though. 

They take a different path, and it’s so unique (and so effective!) that we knew we had to share what they do, how they do it, and the tools they use (including Verblio) to boost their success. 

In this case study, we’ll talk about why Nextiny is unique (like how they keep their team incredibly small)—then highlight three of the biggest tasks they faced when it came time to apply their revolutionary approach to the content they receive from a collaboration with Verblio. 

Here’s a quick overview of what we’re going to cover. Click a link to jump ahead, or keep scrolling to read them all!

First up, let’s all dig in and get to know the star of this case study better:

The Lean, Mean, Inbound Machine: Nextiny Marketing

Nextiny is a lean marketing agency nestled in southwest Florida that services a wide range of both B2B and B2C businesses. They’re experts on inbound marketing that have built their agency on top of a host of tools like HubSpot, Verblio, and a whole host of other tools to keep their team small without sacrificing impact or results. 

As if that weren’t enough of a challenge, in 2017 Nextiny chose video content as their best foot forward, and it really is. Just take a second to watch this message from their CEO, co-founder, and thought leader Gabriel Marguglio in this video they made for us:

For a lean agency to go heavy on video content may sound brave, but Nextiny is so confident in their holistic digital marketing strategies that video was a no-brainer for them.

As an inbound agency, their video efforts are usually part of a larger strategy that includes content, website redesign, search engine optimization, and conversion rate optimization. 

These efforts naturally inform a content strategy, which then launches their video content creation. By sitting down—for usually just one hour—with someone on their client’s team, (could be anyone from leadership, sales teams, or industry experts) they’re able to generate loads of expert-level content that has the correct tone and message with minimal revisions. 

Straight from the horse’s mouth, as the saying goes.

This video content then helps jumpstart the written stuff, which they hand off to an outsourced partner—again a huge part of the lean agency operations. This is where Verblio (formerly BlogMutt) comes into play. 

Outsourcing carries its own challenges, especially when your team is small. And believe it or not, Nextiny didn’t start out so video-oriented. Their initial efforts as an SEO agency (not inbound!) are what got them started with content marketing in the first place.

So how did they meet Verblio initially? 

Well, when growth analyst Bryan Gorman (who helped fuel this case study!) came to bat with Nextiny’s content, their organization was in the middle of some significant changes. Much like the rest of the SEO industry, Nextiny’s CEO Gabriel Marguglio, agency strategist Kara Inglis, and the rest of the team were feeling the pains of meeting clients’ diverse and voracious content needs. They came to Verblio with a hope and a prayer that our freelance writing service would be able to provide them high-quality content. Their content partner at the time wasn’t going to cut it in the quality department. 

They paired this new focus on scaling content with HubSpot‘s growth marketing methodologies, one of the leading digital marketing tools for inbound marketers all around the world. They went all-in on using and implementing this platform for clients, and their results are mind-bogglingly impressive

So with all of these evolutions for the agency taking place, the team went hunting for a new content partner to keep Nextiny lean and mean. They settled on Verblio for two reasons: 

  1. We’re a HubSpot-integrated software. (One of the first ever, in fact!)
  2. Our writers were subject matter experts and could deliver results across the industries Nextiny needed to cover for their clients.

It was a no-brainer, and so began the start of a beautiful partnership (and friendship :)). 

But it took some time for things to settle in, as they do. Nextiny and Verblio faced three crucial tasks as we calibrated our partnership, and we want to share how we tackled them together to build fluid collaboration. 

Let’s look closer at what our three tasks were and the solutions that enabled us to combine forces (and grow one site’s traffic as much as eight times!).

Task #1: Finding Consistent Writers

Finding consistent writers is a challenge for agencies all over the world, but it’s especially amplified by Nextiny’s lean lifestyle. When you only have a certain amount of time to devote to your content every day, having a core team of writers who reliably produce is key!

Nextiny has always outsourced their partners’ content though, so they were already pretty aware of how much time they spent with their content before they came to Verblio. They were also keenly aware of how much time could be trimmed from certain processes and every little bit that would make the difference.

Less time with content would enable them to allocate more resources on strategy and the bigger picture. They needed to be able to “bucket” writers, meaning they could trust writers with certain topics and not worry about the outcome being misaligned with what’s expected. 

Since their clients come from different verticals (and each new client can potentially bring in a new vertical), they were always needing to find new writers that could create authoritative content on topics and in industries their team wasn’t necessarily already familiar with. 

In other words, they needed to work less but produce more. That’s everyone’s dream, right? 

Long story short, there was an immediate difference when Nextiny changed over and brought their clients’ content to Verblio. The caliber of our writers was just better, and Bryan was excited: 

Verblio makes it very easy for us to create these buckets by preferring a writer to a subscription. Over time we eventually have an amazing group of writers that we can trust to deliver great content for our clients. Even though we changed our process to have more editorial work on our end, we can still produce more content than ever for clients.

Verblio’s writers allowed Nextiny to scale their content and spend less time nit-picking each piece that came through their desks (since working with new writers always takes time to build trust). Instead of heavy edits, Nextiny team members could focus on infusing client branding and expertise into a piece instead, the heavy-hitting tasks for the agency’s strategy for the client. The results speak for themselves. 

One client that’s been with Nextiny for years experienced this change in content outsourcing partners in September of 2017 (previously Nextiny worked with Zerys). This company works in the marine construction industry and services both B2B and B2C clients. At the time, they averaged 1,160 organic search sessions a month, but since then Nextiny + Verblio have grown traffic to an average of 1,621. That’s almost a 1.5x traffic increase.

Sept 2017 

Nowhere to go but up!

October 2019

october 2019 end case study
Check out that sweet, sweet up-and-to-the-right.

Overall, Nextiny’s workflow changed for the better due to their shift from Zerys to Verblio. They’re seeing great results, more content output, and less dead ends for their clients, allowing them to really focus on higher value tasks. 

But getting good results is only part of Nextiny’s equation. As we’ve already mentioned, they needed quality at scale—and Verblio was able to help them tackle that task as well. 

Task #2: Achieving Quality Content at Scale

Fun fact: Nextiny only has two people dedicated to managing content for all their clients. 

With 18 clients that Nextiny juggles content for, that means that an average of 3 posts per months tallies up to 54 total pieces of content each month for the agency to create. 

Really makes you think about your own content process, doesn’t it?

If that gives you a bit of a stress headache, you’re not alone. Mr. Krabs (and Nextiny) can build a better mousetrap for content, and the results are impressive. 

But the lack of people overlooking content did highlight their second challenge: how can you be sure that everything your agency produces is of high quality when your time and resources are limited? Again, a great deal of that burden falls to your outsourcing partner, and so it should! 

Once again, Bryan from Nextiny looked to Verblio to help:

We essentially needed to turn our in-house writers into content managers. Verblio created a perfect platform for us to achieve that by allowing us to focus more on the activities that helps our content achieve business goals for clients (keyword and topic optimization, onsite SEO adjustments, conversion optimization, etc.) and less on heavy-handed editing. 

One person managing 45+ blogs a month between ourselves and our clients required high-quality writing, and Verblio gave us that.

Even when Nextiny needed highly nuanced or technical pieces, they were able to adjust their content briefs for our writers in a way that helped them write as experts. 

One of Nextiny’s long-term clients helps shed some light on just how drastically Nextiny’s transitions helped them. This is a highly technical client of Nextiny’s that services municipalities, manufacturers, and other businesses in need of motor or pump repairs for their facilities. The focus on high-quality content writing saw an 8x traffic increase in just two years. 

Sept 2017 

september 2017 starting
Good thing they’re working with Nextiny.

October 2019

Sittin’ pretty at the end of last year.

[Pause for effect]

Those are next-level improvements that you typically only see with hard-hitting, factual content pieces on authoritative websites. Nextiny was able to achieve these results with a little help from Verblio, and we couldn’t be more impressed. 

Task #3: Reimagining What a Lean Agency Looks Like

Nextiny believes that you’re only as powerful as the tools that power you. We’re not talking about power tools here, either. 

workers posing with tools

Growth-hacking an agency, lean or not, requires you to rely heavily on outsourcing, while keeping your core competencies and value-adds in-house. But it can be all too easy to get caught up on only ever outsourcing work—and Nextiny’s not about that noise. They’re too good at what they do to not apply their own elbow grease. 

That’s why they highlighted a third challenge that Verblio helped them overcome: how could they spend more time perfecting what they do and applying it for their agency and clients? They wanted to take lean agencies a step forward and create a growth agency. 

So here’s what they’ve done: They haven’t backed down from content. 

Rather, they’ve been empowered to take time off from the grind of improving their clients’ web presence and focus on their own, something completely novel in the agency space. 

The cobbler’s kids having no shoes is a real problem for agencies—so Nextiny breaking that mold is refreshing to see. You can catch some of their awesome self-generated video content through their Coffee Talks video series (may we recommend this episode highlighting Verblio’s own Alexa Baray?), or watch out for Gabriel’s #MarTechTuesdays videos on YouTube. 

alexa baray coffee talk nextiny

They’ve also looked at expanding the types of content they outsource to make even more room for in-house work. Many lean agencies will outsource blogs, but keep the creation of high-volume keyword, big-money pillar pages to themselves. Not Nextiny!

Working with Verblio has also allowed them to hand off those long, 1,500+ word pillar pages off with little more than a writer’s brief. And these are the pages that allow brands to establish thought leadership (which gets major endorsement from HubSpot and other industry leaders). Plus, the pages that result from Nextiny and Verblio’s collaboration have seen major success so far, and we’re sure there’s more to come. 

Just peep these super niche pages they created for their marine construction client for these respective keywords:

1) Seawall construction

seawall construction content

2) Boat lifts

boat lifts content

You can’t get much more niche than that, yet these pillar pages are generating traffic, clicks, and revenue. 

Quick aside:

Damn, don’t you wish your agency gave you:

  1. Such good results from content
  2. Top-tier tracking of results like this?

Kudos, Nextiny! 

But without the Verblio-Nextiny team-up, who knows if they would have enough time to generate top-tier content for both themselves and their clients?

We do know this: they can have the best of both worlds because they chose a powerful content marketing tool as their partner with which to grow. 

What’s Next for Nextiny & Verblio?

So what’s next for Nextiny? 

According to them: more collaboration and content between Nextiny and Verblio (and it’s easy to see why!). 

Besides that, they’re also planning on creating more video than ever. They’re digging in their heels on video content as the golden ticket to their clients’ growth—like episodic series à la the current Hot Ones phenom. 

Then, they’ll be turning this content into more content (!): blogs, email campaigns, YouTube videos, and other personal promotions.

They also shared that they’ll be going back through older content (both theirs and their clients’ content) to find opportunities to grow—including creating videos that summarize and add to older, authoritative blog posts. Like this:

The hope is that by increasing value and furthering video-oriented branding on top-tier content, they can boost key metrics like time on site and help win better rankings and more business. 

Video content is what consumers and businesses are excited about, and Nextiny knows that it can sell the value of your company in addition to valuable blog content.  

And Verblio? Well, we used to be Nextiny’s little secret (oops), but nothing is going to change for the Nextiny-Verblio team now that the cat’s out of the bag. 

So, for the people in the back, Verblio provides:

  1. Consistent, expert writers with experience across a huge variety of niches.
  2. Quality content that allows agencies to spend less time on QA and more time on strategy, metrics, and client relationships.
  3. The flexibility to adapt and grow your agency as needed without sacrificing on content as a core deliverable. 

…to allow Nextiny (and agencies like them) to grow, evolve, and stay focused on the highest-level strategies in-house. Nextiny is the perfect example of how to start on this structure for any agency that’s interested. 

We at Verblio will just keep doing what we do best—invest collaboratively to do content better and take content off your plate so you can focus on growing your agency, strategizing, and giving your clients the attention they deserve. Contact us if you’re interested in learning more about how Verblio works for agencies in a demo. 

Kali Bizzul

I write and market (yes, verb) at Verblio. Whether that's a blog post, email subject line, social media update, or a lousy author bio like this one, if you've been around Verblio you've likely seen some letters I threw together. I love helping get the word out about Verblio to get all sorts of folks good content to market themselves. Apart from Verblio, I'm really passionate about puns, foreign languages, Colorado at large, staying active, and leprechauns.