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Smart Nonsense 🌈: Zero to 10,000 Subscribers in One Month on beehiiv

How “South Park for Nerds” Hit 10,000 Subscribers in 30 Days

In one month on beehiiv, Henry Belcaster and Dylan Jardon have taken their comic-style newsletter from zero to 10,000 subscribers.

This is one of our more in-depth Creator Spotlights so here is a quick TLDR:

  • Going Viral on YouTube: Discover how Dylan and Henry took over the short-form social media world less than a year ago and consistently get millions of views on their videos.

  • Testing Different Content Types: Podcast to video to newsletter – how to launch into new mediums as a creator and expand your brand.

  • How beehiiv Simplifies Newsletters: Learn how to leverage beehiiv to launch and grow your own newsletter as a beginner.

  • Growing to 10k: Learn how they leveraged their social media to skyrocket to 10,000 newsletter subscribers in their first month on beehiiv.

  • The One-Two Punch of Storytelling & Illustrations: Unpack the power of visually-intensive stories to hook readers down a slippery slope with your newsletter.

  • Behind the Scenes: Uncover the exact day-to-day content creation process they use to repurpose their short-form videos into a newsletter.

  • Fail-Fast Philosophy: Learn how they lean on “Perfection Through Iteration, Not Revision” to continuously evolve as they produce high volumes of content every week.

What does it take to go viral?

The right topic? The right technical expertise? The right storytelling?

How about a combination of all three?

Such is the case with two 26-year-old business partners, Dylan Jardon and Henry Belcaster.

They’re two guys you’ve probably seen on YouTube lately… And they’re absolutely crushing YouTube shorts.

1 billion views in 1 year.

Smart Nonsense 🌈: Zero to 10,000 Subscribers in One Month on beehiiv

Their ability to capture attention is second to none and their animations are world class.

After dominating the YouTube game, they’ve decided to step up to bat in the newsletter world.

And, they’re already hitting home runs.

In less than one month, the two have grown their newsletter to over 10,000 subscribers.

Smart Nonsense 🌈: Zero to 10,000 Subscribers in One Month on beehiiv

We recently sat down with Henry Belcaster and Dylan Jardon, founders of the Smart Nonsense newsletter to discuss how they’re taking over the digital content space with their captivating and eccentric animations and storytelling.

The two were happy to share how they were able to create a unique space for themselves in the short-video world and are now leveraging beehiiv to publish their “daily comic explaining nerdy stuff like you’re 5.”

If you’re interested in breaking into the creator space and aren’t sure where to start, then you’ll want to keep reading.

These two have curated original content in the big three: video, audio, and now the written word (all while running their own video editing agency).

Want to watch the complete interview with the Smart Nonsense guys? Check out the video below.

Full video interview here

Origin Story: Skipping Wall Street for YouTube

Smart Nonsense 🌈: Zero to 10,000 Subscribers in One Month on beehiiv

To kick off the interview, we asked Henry and Dylan where it all started, so they took us back in time.

Henry shared, “We met on like the first day of college. We were at like an admit weekend for college. Dylan came and picked me up, he was like, ‘You probably need a friend.’ And we were just kind of buds. And then, post-college, we were like the only two entrepreneur friends. Everyone else went to Wall Street. And we were like, ‘There's got to be something more out there for us.’”

He continued, “At the time, we were both unemployed. Dylan had this idea, ‘Let's start this podcast. We'll call it Smart Nonsense. The whole world will listen to it, millions of people. and we'll talk about all the things that they didn't teach us in school. Like, entrepreneurship, challenging norms, self-development, and becoming better people.’”

Smart Nonsense 🌈: Zero to 10,000 Subscribers in One Month on beehiiv

“Well, lo and behold, nobody listens to the podcast. Maybe 12 people — my dad, Dylan’s mom.” But let me fast forward a bit. So, the podcast wasn't working. We're like, ‘We can't be starving artists forever, we’ve got to make some money.’ So we spun up an agency called Clipt to start selling video editing services.

Dylan shared, “Our first client was Shaan Puri. So we flew out to Shaan, who has the Milk Road and set up his video studio.”

He continued, “Then HubSpot paid us a lot of money to make clips and that whole machine has kind of funded all of our content endeavors.”

Smart Nonsense 🌈: Zero to 10,000 Subscribers in One Month on beehiiv

Henry explained, “It's kind of a long story, but Clipt, today, is an animation studio. That is the business that kind of cash flows everything. We do a lot of video work for startups and agencies — really highly animated stuff like explainers and ads and product demos.”

Smart Nonsense 🌈: Zero to 10,000 Subscribers in One Month on beehiiv

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From Video & Audio to a Newsletter

Smart Nonsense 🌈: Zero to 10,000 Subscribers in One Month on beehiiv

As the two of them built up their video editing agency, they kept thinking bigger. They didn’t let the results of the podcast get them down.

Instead, they continued publishing their podcast while continuing to brainstorm their next moves. For them, the video editing agency wasn’t their empire, but rather, the means to get to where they wanted to go.

Henry shared, “So as the agency is humming along, Dylan and I circle back up on the content thing. And we're like, ‘All right, this Smart Nonsense podcast didn't work a year ago, but now we've got some resources. We've got this cash flow behind us. Let's, figure this thing out.’”

Smart Nonsense 🌈: Zero to 10,000 Subscribers in One Month on beehiiv

So, they started experimenting with video. Dylan and Henry had the animation team from Clipt so they figured they’d give video content a shot since audio wasn’t working for them.

Henry recalled, “Dylan starts doing these animated clips — these animated shorts — for TikTok and YouTube shorts. And so those go crazy viral.”

Soon after Dylan started publishing shorts, Henry hopped on board. In almost no time at all, the two of them were racking up millions of views on their videos.

But, as Henry and Dylan started to build their newfound social following, they started to realize something that many creators found out too late: social media is fickle. Algorithms change, reach is unpredictable, and accounts are randomly banned in a moment’s notice.

They understood that despite their rapid success on YouTube and TikTok, they were at the mercy of the social platforms. They realized if they wanted more freedom and control over their audience, they needed their own platform.

Henry shared, “We start building an audience. And then we're like, ‘All right, now we've got this massive audience, but what do we do with them?’ We want to get people off of YouTube, off of TikTok and into something that we can control, right? We're not dependent on the algorithmic gods, so what should that thing be?”

Smart Nonsense 🌈: Zero to 10,000 Subscribers in One Month on beehiiv

He continued, “And that's when everything kind of came back full circle. And we were like, ‘All right. We want to feed that audience a newsletter. Let's get them off of social media. Let's get them into email — this thing that we can control and call that email newsletter Smart Nonsense.”

Smart Nonsense 🌈: Zero to 10,000 Subscribers in One Month on beehiiv

Henry explained, “The newsletter was a repackaging of our failed podcast. With the hopes that through our kind of silly [personalities], but also smarts, we could make learning fun. That was always kind of our mission.”

He continued, “School was always really boring and lame for Dylan and me and it was never really cool to want to learn or be a nerd. So our thing was like, ‘How can we make learning really fun and something that people want to do?’”

Visual Storytelling: The One-Two Punch of Content Creation

Smart Nonsense 🌈: Zero to 10,000 Subscribers in One Month on beehiiv

Most newsletters are driven primarily by the written word. Whether it’s a news-based publication, hot takes on a niche topic, or tips and strategies to master a subject.

But, one area where many newsletters fall short is with their visuals – or lack thereof.

Text-only newsletters are common and can work very well. But, they’re certainly a commodity these days.

Since newsletters are becoming an increasingly popular career path for many creatives, it’s crucial to ensure your newsletter stands out – whether that’s in your written word, your branding, or your ability to incorporate different media types — as is the case with Smart Nonsense’s elaborate illustrations.

They do two things really well: they offer hilarious storytelling that hooks you in from start to finish and provide incredible illustrations to bring your imagination to life in real time.

Smart Nonsense 🌈: Zero to 10,000 Subscribers in One Month on beehiiv

But, what makes them special is the fact they combine both of those skills into one unforgettable and addictive experience. As a creator or aspiring creator, stacking different content skills together is a powerful way to enhance your readers’ experience.

While Dylan and Henry only started their newsletter a month ago (in July 2023), their idea for turning educational lessons into a visual experience had been brewing in their heads for years.

Dylan shared, “In college, Tim Urban, who's the guy that makes Wait But Why — was doing a little college tour practicing his TED Talk that went super viral. So he came to my school and gave that talk, and I'm like, ‘What the hell is Wait But Why?’

Smart Nonsense 🌈: Zero to 10,000 Subscribers in One Month on beehiiv

Dylan recalled, “So, I go down that rabbit hole and I'm like, ‘This is the sickest thing ever.’ I love the funny writing plus illustrations. I want to do that. I tried my own version, teaching personal finance, which is called Stick Figure Finances. It was basically what our newsletter is now, just applied in the completely wrong way, and with much worse graphics and writing.”

Smart Nonsense 🌈: Zero to 10,000 Subscribers in One Month on beehiiv

He continued, “So, the full circle is like, I've been trying to do that. I tried to do a textbook, like an AP biology version with stick figures in it which also was terrible. But we’re doing it now with proper illustrators.”

Step Aside Teachers: They’re Taking Over the Classroom

We asked the guys if they could give us a breakdown of what their newsletter is all about. And, they didn’t fail to deliver.

In Henry’s view, “It's like, you walk into class, and your boring teacher's gone, you've got these cracked-out two young guys as substitute teachers, and they've just taken the reins, and, there's no censorship.”

Dylan added, “It’s almost like the seniors, for some reason, like the teacher’s assistant, took over class, and we're just like, we don't really give a shit because we already took the course, and we're like, ‘Hey, this is what you actually need to know,’ or, ‘This is the fun stuff.”

Smart Nonsense 🌈: Zero to 10,000 Subscribers in One Month on beehiiv

Henry chimed in, “It’s in simple language too, right? Our thing was always like, ‘Why is it so hard to understand? What people are teaching like it's just too complicated. The words they're using are too big. The paragraphs are too big. It's like how can we make this simple, story-driven, and actually fun to read — something that you look forward to learning or reading every single day?”

It’s Not a Newsletter — It’s a Comic

Smart Nonsense 🌈: Zero to 10,000 Subscribers in One Month on beehiiv

Every newsletter we’ve covered on our Creator Spotlights is, well, a newsletter. But, it’s hard to categorize Smart Nonsense as a newsletter. It’s really more like an educational comic book for adults.

Dylan shared, “It's not like a comic, comic. It's like an adult picture book. I don't know what you call it. The fun thing about a daily newsletter is we can iterate each day. So we realized pretty early on we wanted to have one character for our default “you” person.”

Smart Nonsense 🌈: Zero to 10,000 Subscribers in One Month on beehiiv

He continued, “So we created this character. We call him “Durd.” He's got one smart side and one dumb side So, the first thing we do to get attention is a GIF of him doing whatever the newsletter is about. Then, usually, it's a couple-minute read. Every three or four lines we pepper in some illustration just to keep our Gen Z audience entertained.

Smart Nonsense 🌈: Zero to 10,000 Subscribers in One Month on beehiiv

Henry shared, “And, hopefully, you actually come away learning a nugget or two. But, not always.”

Dylan added, “Definitely not always. But that's the goal.”

Henry shared how sometimes they’ll write an entire newsletter, get to the end, and think to themselves, ‘‘What was the lesson here?” and they’ll ditch the idea entirely.

Smart Nonsense 🌈: Zero to 10,000 Subscribers in One Month on beehiiv

Dylan explained how one thing that helps their writing process is that they’re really writing to themselves.

He shared, “One thing audience-wise — we really don't think of who's reading or listening or watching. So that was always built for us as the viewer. We just wanted to make videos we'd watch.”

He continued, “It’s the same thing with our email. We don't really think of, ‘Who's the target audience?’ We don't try and get demographics because the demographics are just us. It's like 26-year-old dudes that tend to be a little bit smarter than average or into this stuff.”

Entering the Hive: Launching on beehiiv

Smart Nonsense 🌈: Zero to 10,000 Subscribers in One Month on beehiiv

So, just how long has the Smart Nonsense newsletter been live? About one month. And, as of a few weeks ago, Henry explained the two of them “knew nothing about newsletters — at all.”

In Henry’s view, beehiiv made it easy to launch even as a beginner.

He shared, “It was just like if you want to make an email that you send to a bunch of people, you're going to do that in beehiiv. We had started hearing about it from others in the space. But, I didn't know where else you would go, other than MailChimp, I guess. But that seemed too fancy.”

Smart Nonsense 🌈: Zero to 10,000 Subscribers in One Month on beehiiv

Like many other creators, they launched on beehiiv after seeing the success of Milk Road on the platform.

Henry shared his perspective, “‘Oh, their email looks pretty. I want to make a pretty email. Who made theirs? Oh, beehiiv. Okay, we'll use beehiiv.’ That was pretty much it.”

Dylan chimed in, “beehiiv is just easy to use for anyone that's as dumb as we are. It's like, right out of the gate, you almost couldn't fail with it. Just put your email in here and blast it out. I'm like, ‘Okay, that's easy enough for us. That's awesome.’”

The Goal: Build First, Monetize Later

We asked the guys what their goals are for Smart Nonsense and they shared how they’re taking a different approach than most newsletter operators. Rather than trying to monetize as fast as possible to start generating recurring revenue, their goal is to focus everything on audience growth and having the freedom to do what they love.

Henry shared, “Maybe this is different for newsletters, but most creators in the space are artists first, so they make their art and then they try and figure out a business later. Dylan and I were always entrepreneurs first and artists as a byproduct. So for us, we have Clipt — this cash-flowing thing.”

He continued, “We never had to answer to anyone else like sponsorships or like anything. So we had the benefit of exploring things we like and then just making stuff for fun.”

Smart Nonsense 🌈: Zero to 10,000 Subscribers in One Month on beehiiv

Henry explained how they don’t necessarily have a “grand monetization scheme” when it comes to the newsletter.

He shared, “I guess in our mind (and without making too long-term of goals) we just want to build as massive of an audience as possible. Have those people's attention. Those folks trust us because we're not shilling anything else.”

Henry continued, “And then when that audience is huge or cult-like, then we can go on and do anything together. We can release any product. But because we have the cash flow, we kind of have the time to just be in audience-building mode and not really think about anything else.”

Dylan added, “Whatever we want to build, we build. With the videos, we just had extra animators from our company and we were sort of like, ‘All right, let's try animating videos of ourselves.’ I'm like, ‘Oh wait, that worked really well.’”

Why Listen to Me? I’ve built several newsletters from the ground up over the years. My latest publication is The Level Ups business newsletter. I also run support at the fastest-growing newsletter platform, beehiiv.

Focusing on the Product Over Everything

Smart Nonsense 🌈: Zero to 10,000 Subscribers in One Month on beehiiv

One crucial element in the Smart Nonsense strategy is to focus everything on the quality of their content and the user experience. They knew the only way they’d add on a newsletter is if it would be just as good as their videos.

Dylan shared, “With the newsletter, we're like, ‘Oh, we tell these stories. But, sometimes they're kind of convoluted in the visual form or, you want to go deeper. Let's just make an email that's really freaking sick.”

He continued, “Our whole thing is like whatever we do we want to be the best in the world at it. So when we talk about shorts, I think we make the best shorts in the world (at least like animated entertaining shorts). So we're like, ‘Okay, if we're going to do the written form of this, that's going to be the best in the world too.’”

A major part of their success as creators is because of the animation and illustration team behind them.

Smart Nonsense 🌈: Zero to 10,000 Subscribers in One Month on beehiiv

Dylan explained, “In the last two weeks, basically one thousand illustrators applied with a three-hour test for our newsletter. We whittled that whole thousand lists down to one person — like the absolute best of the best like the Navy SEAL.”

“I don't think anyone in the world is going to come close to finding an illustrator that good. We try to avoid competition by going super crazy, all out. Luckily we have enough cash flow we don't need to put ads or take investments or do sponsorships to make money. But, in the future, we’ll have this audience. When we do want to promote Clipt or a product we might have, it'll be easy.”

In regard to monetizing the newsletter now, Henry added, “It's kind of a bandwidth issue. We're so in the weeds. Like starting this was a big zero to one thing. Writing every day is a huge thing. So we're just under-optimized in a lot of ways. Even on our video content that's obviously top of the funnel for Clipt, we don't promote Clipt at all, which is kind of silly.”

He continued, “We have someone who runs Clipt day to day. That was huge, but we need like a CEO who can just handle all of our business side stuff, so we can just do the creative stuff.”

Growing to 10,000 Subscribers in 1 Month

Right now, Dylan and Henry have one of the fastest-growing newsletters within the beehiiv ecosystem, if not the world. Yet, they’ll admit that they’re not putting much effort into growth as they’re focusing primarily on creating quality content.

Dylan shared, “On our site, we put a million subscribers, but that's because we count our subscribers from YouTube. So, it's actually at like 10,000 subscribers and that's in the last month or so.”

Smart Nonsense 🌈: Zero to 10,000 Subscribers in One Month on beehiiv

He added, “We're pretty bad at promoting our own stuff. In YouTube, you can hyperlink things in the comments. At the end of our shorts, we're like, ‘Hey, get more stories at Smart Nonsense. That's where those 10,000 have come from — through really poor promotion off our shorts. As we're able to focus more on that, that's our main funnel to pump people over.”

Dylan explained how their goal is to eventually optimize their newsletter by hiring a writer and promoting more on Twitter, but he shared how they’re “not there yet.”

Instead, they’re focused on the long game.

He shared, “We're in no rush. Our whole mentality is like — we're going to be making these emails and these videos for 40 years, so we're not really in a rush to do anything.”

The Day-to-Day Content Creation Process

We asked Henry and Dylan what the daily content creation process looks like. For them, it starts with the YouTube shorts and finishes after they hit send on beehiiv.

Henry shared, “Dylan and I spend most of our time researching and writing viral shorts. So the process is, ‘How do we take this 60-second short and all this research we did for YouTube and TikTok and then remix and repackage it for the newsletter?’”

He explained how adding on a newsletter takes a lot of work, but they’ve already done the majority of the work in the video creation process.

Henry shared, “We've already got the research. We've already got the background. We've already written like a high-level, 60-second thing. So then the newsletter allows us to go into more of the nuance that we missed in the 60-second short. So we can actually teach a little something or go into more of an explainer graphic.”

Smart Nonsense 🌈: Zero to 10,000 Subscribers in One Month on beehiiv

The guys explained how running a high-velocity content business isn’t all rainbows and butterflies. It takes a ton of discipline and hard work.

Henry explained, “We had one illustrator who we burnt to a crisp putting these out daily. So that's why we just hired two more. So now it's three illustrators and Dylan and I writing daily. But even that's a huge lift. Daily's crazy. Daily was a really crazy idea. It could be thrice a week. It could be weekly. But we committed to daily, so, daily it is.”

Dylan added, “Originally, there was a period right before we created the newsletter, where the company is running itself — like the agency runs itself — so Henry and I aren't really involved in it. And then we just had all this time. We each have to write like three emails a week, and we're good. And then, quickly, things just came on our plate, and it kind of eats a lot of our time.”

Henry chimed in, “This is very specific to us, but they're highly creative tasks. When I sit down to write one of these newsletters, either I've got the creative juice that morning, or I don't. And then it's just like, you're staring at a blank page trying to do something funny, but you can't.”

Thankfully, the two of them split the writing load so they’re not overloaded with the work.

Dylan shared, “We each write half of it. So Henry writes an email, and then the first time I’m seeing it is the morning it gets released. So I read it and I send him something like, ‘Oh, this is really funny.’”

He continued, “And I'll do the reverse for him. So it's kind of like, we're our own audience of one or two. And, that way, it's fun. And they're basically the same script that we have on YouTube — it's just going deeper in the newsletter. So it's an easy, (in theory), repurpose. We just get a lot of squeeze out of one story.”

While choosing to do a daily newsletter over a weekly publication is a major commitment, it does come with its perks.

Dylan explained, “The nice thing about doing a daily newsletter is it compounds really fast. We're learning so much about writing, creating, and illustrating. We learn so fast. So hopefully a writer can come in and get up to speed as fast as we did. When we expand from there, maybe we’ll turn it into a proper blog. Like one in five or ten posts, maybe we want to go even deeper.”

Smart Nonsense 🌈: Zero to 10,000 Subscribers in One Month on beehiiv

Behind the Scenes: Turning Shorts into Newsletters

When going over the daily operations, Dylan and Henry were generous enough to show us a behind-the-scenes look at their content creation process and how they divvy up the workload.

Dylan turned on screen share during our interview and explained, “We have this short-form video stock. These are all of our shorts, but, basically, we turn them into newsletters. So here's our queue of things. Henry wrote a couple today.”

Smart Nonsense 🌈: Zero to 10,000 Subscribers in One Month on beehiiv

He shared, “Originally, I wrote the short down here. And like, these are animated scenes.”

Dylan continued, “So it's basically just taking like a short video and then I just come up here and write it in a Google doc.”

Smart Nonsense 🌈: Zero to 10,000 Subscribers in One Month on beehiiv

Dylan explained, “In this scenario, I'll have like female ‘Durd’ with a bad sunburn and that's a GIF and then I kind of describe it. But, we're really hands-off with instructions. With our creatives, we learned they're more creative than us. So we’ll just send that off to our illustrators and then they just shoot us back a Figma and we send it over to beehiiv from there.”

Henry added, “Then the final edit is kind of popping that Google Doc into beehiiv, taking our illustrations from Figma, popping those into beehiiv. That's where it comes together and we just do a final pass.”

Smart Nonsense 🌈: Zero to 10,000 Subscribers in One Month on beehiiv

Fail Fast: Send Now, Optimize Later

With a heavy daily workload between the shorts, the podcast, and the newsletter, the guys had to come up with a strategy to both pump out content but maintain quality. So, they’re operating on a “moving forward” framework.

In other words, rather than implementing an extensive editing and revision process before a newsletter is published, they hit send, then give each other feedback and plan how to improve the next newsletter.

Smart Nonsense 🌈: Zero to 10,000 Subscribers in One Month on beehiiv

Henry shared, “I’ll shoot out one of my newsletters. Dylan can have feedback on it (or anyone else on the team or readers). But, Dylan doesn't get to give me feedback on it before it goes live because that gets in the way of shipping stuff. So my newsletter will go out, then Dylan will give me feedback. Now I can apply that feedback moving forward.”

Dylan added, “Our little internal catchphrase for that is perfection through iteration, not revision. So the next round of iterations will be funnier in this section or whatever.”

One Month In: Diving Into the Newsletter Stats

Smart Nonsense 🌈: Zero to 10,000 Subscribers in One Month on beehiiv

beehiiv’s analytics dashboard gives newsletter operators a simplified overview of the most important key performance indicators (KPIs). Right at the top, you can see your total subscribers, open rate, click rate, and the growth of these metrics over the past 30 days.

Additionally, beehiiv users on a Scale plan have access to 3D analytics which gives you key audience insights like demographics, subscriber acquisition sources, and the results of every email you’ve sent.

Even though it’s still early, the guys are already seeing impressive results with their newsletter stats.

Henry shared, “We’re getting a 31.6% open rate and 11.7% click-through rate.”

Despite the early success with their newsletter engagement, Dylan shared how he doesn’t like to focus too much on the numbers as it can be a distraction.

He recalled, “Henry sent me a screenshot of the analytics on day one, and I'm like, ‘Dude, I can't look at these. I'll burn out, and I'll care too much about them.’ It’s the same thing with our shorts. We’re doing like one hundred million views a month on our videos and like very quickly I'm like, ‘If I get attached to these numbers, I'm going to lose it.’”

Smart Nonsense 🌈: Zero to 10,000 Subscribers in One Month on beehiiv

He continued, “So I just stopped looking at stats and everything. But, I guess they're fun to check out occasionally. I just don't want to be attached to them.”

Dylan did share one specific instance where he saw an increase in click-through rates by adjusting the call to action in the newsletter.

Smart Nonsense 🌈: Zero to 10,000 Subscribers in One Month on beehiiv

He recalled, “One thing I noticed is when we'd have a GIF of the YouTube video — so like that email I showed earlier, ‘Sunscreen SPF is a Gimmick🧴’ — I made a video on that as well. If I have the little GIF of the video that it's actually about, the click-through rate is pretty high. I don't actually know what high is, but like 20-25% will end up clicking that.”

Smart Nonsense 🌈: Zero to 10,000 Subscribers in One Month on beehiiv

Dylan shared, ‘That has worked pretty well, having a GIF of the video — which I learned from, Sam Parr of The Hustle. I saw he had that for his Hampton newsletter, which I liked, and I just copied that.”

At beehiiv, we recently launched a brand new media library within our newsletter editor to make it easier than ever to design beautiful, engaging newsletters.

Smart Nonsense 🌈: Zero to 10,000 Subscribers in One Month on beehiiv

Within the new library, you can search for and update assets like GIFs to streamline your newsletter creation process.

The new media library includes a new integration with Giphy and Unsplash, giving you direct access to millions of GIFs and photos at your fingertips.

A World Class Welcome Email

​One thing that really stood out to us when analyzing Dylan and Henry’s newsletter is that they have an incredibly captivating welcome email. It’s one of the most unique welcome emails we’ve ever seen and does an amazing job of hooking new subscribers into the Smart Nonsense universe.

Henry shared, “There were a couple of emails that we subscribed to and their welcome email was like, ‘Do this, respond to this, move this here, get this spam filter set, take us out of this inbox. It was like 15 things you had to do after subscribing to their email.”

He shared how he and Dylan didn’t want to send out the typical welcome email that’s short on value while asking a ton from subscribers.

Smart Nonsense 🌈: Zero to 10,000 Subscribers in One Month on beehiiv

He explained, “For us, it was like, ‘Okay, we don't like that. So what's, what's the anti of that? And how can we make this welcome email just the most amazing thing ever that I want to share?’ And then Dylan had a nice insight from CD Baby.”

Dylan shared how Derek Sivers of the company CD Baby inspired them to put 110% into their welcome email.

He explained how CD Baby would send out a thank you email with every purchase that said something like, “Hey, we're packaging this with babies hands and shipping it from Antarctica.”

Dylan continued, “I forget what Derek said, but it was over the top. Everyone wanted to share it and talk about it. So, I'm like, ‘How can we do the same with our welcome email?’ That is basically the first email we'll send and it gets sent to every single subscriber. Not everyone's going to read our 10th email, but everyone's going to read this first email.”

Smart Nonsense 🌈: Zero to 10,000 Subscribers in One Month on beehiiv

So, after experiencing the CD Baby thank you email, Dylan thought, “All right, let's go all out.”

He shared, “Sometimes we just get wacky ideas. I was like, ‘Henry, I got kind of a crazy idea. Do you mind if I go off on this?’ It was like the weirdest email ever and some of our friends were like ‘Dude, what was that? I don't know what that adventure was, but I’m glad I went on it.’”

Dylan explained, ‘At the end, we just tried to be like, ‘Okay, what's important? Probably replying to the email.’ So we just tried to make that part fun with one call to action.”

Smart Nonsense 🌈: Zero to 10,000 Subscribers in One Month on beehiiv

Dylan continued, “I don't know if it's actually good that we did that or not, but we got a bunch of “Skurt’s” from interesting people. But the story is fun. So we just want to make a cool first impression, and kind of give them a taste of what they're gonna be getting.”

How beehiiv Simplifies the Newsletter Game

Before we closed out the interview, we asked the guys what their favorite beehiiv feature is. While they admitted they still haven’t fully explored the product since they just started, the main thing is that it’s easy to use.

Dylan shared, “beehiiv is simple enough where I can just go and I click ‘right’, or whatever it says, and I'm like, ‘Right. Okay.’ Then I just drag my images over and drag the text. I basically just copy the Google Doc into it.”

Smart Nonsense 🌈: Zero to 10,000 Subscribers in One Month on beehiiv

Henry chimed in, “If Dylan can ship a Google Doc to 10,000 people, we're probably in good shape, like beehiiv's probably doing alright.”

Dylan added, “For the absolute beginner, it's your perfect product where you get the bare minimum dashboard of like, ‘Here's subscribers, here's open rate, here's click-through rate, and here's how to send an email,’ and it's like, ‘Okay, that's perfect.’”

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How “South Park for Nerds” Hit 10,000 Subscribers in 30 Days

Also, be sure to check out their short-form YouTube videos on Dylan’s channel and Henry’s channel. And, don’t forget to listen to the Smart Nonsense podcast to hear their takes on entrepreneurship, business, and the stuff your teachers never taught you in school.

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