In this episode, Joseph Wilkins, the founder of FunnySalesVideos.com, shares his 8-Step Process for creating viral style sales videos that can boost online sales for any business.
Joseph founded FunnySalesVideos.com in 2017, where he creates attention-grabbing viral-style sales videos that entertain viewers while serving an immediate purpose. One video campaign he recently produced has garnered over 60 million views and millions in tracked sales.
- Joseph’s background 1:44
- Evolution of Video Ads 4:26
- Modeling the Harmon Brothers 5:47
- The Success of Funny Sales Videos 6:24
- The Ugly Truth About Viral Videos 8:33
- Joseph’s 8 Step Process for Every Project 11:13
- Creating a Scroll Stopper 14:17
- Wisdom of the Crowd 19:17
- Production Costs 20:54
- The Types of Businesses That do Well with Funny Sales Videos 23:07
- Working the Funny Concept on Offline Ads 24:42
- How Agencies Can Make the Funny Sales Video Concept for Them 27:45
People and Resources Mentioned
Joe Troyer 0:47
Hey everybody it's Joe Troyer, and welcome to another episode of show me the nuggets today. We have a real pleasure a real treat we have on Joseph Wilkins on who is going to be talking with us and sharing with us how to create sales videos that literally get millions of views and drive millions of dollars in sales. Just if you're from Utah, is that correct?
Joseph Wilkins 1:10
Originally, I'm from London, but I've lived in Utah for about 20 years now.
Joe Troyer 1:14
I thought I recognize that asset. I got a business partner in the UK, as well. But man, welcome officially to the show. We're pleased, pleased to have you.
Joseph Wilkins 1:24
Thank you. It's awesome to be here.
Joe Troyer 1:26
So I know that you have quite the background with creating all types of different videos. And I don't think I could probably do justice kind of walking through that background. But could you kind of really high level share with everybody like how you stumbled into this crazy internet world and got into video?
Joseph Wilkins 1:44
Yeah, sure. So I went to college. Originally to study, I studied graphic design. I've always kind of been creative. My dad was a photographer. And I thought that, that was my career path. And, you know, this is 20 years ago, before the internet really supported video, at least for the main, you know, guy in on the street. And so my first job was just a graphic designer. And it was at a chance meeting that the boss basically said, Hey, we need to produce some videos, let's, let's send the graphic designer off to some video production courses. You know, this was back before the days of YouTube when you can just learn anything that you wanted. So I went out to Pasadena it was actually lynda.com had like this physical meeting. And it was it was a really an inspiring weekend conference. And that basically was the catalyst. And then I started doing video production for them. And other clients saw that work and asked me hey, can you do this on the side. And so I basically became a freelance video producer from my basement. And one day my wife basically said, pick a job you're working during the day and then nights as most of us entrepreneurs have been at some point. So 20 years ago, I left my corporate job and started Procreative Studios, which is still around today. It's just a video production studio. And our very first project was the Little Giant ladder infomercial. That project did over $200 million in sales just blew my mind. And it gave me the taste of what you know, could be done with a really good video in front of a very big audience. Now, we were only one of three production companies on that project, we were very small part, but it gave me the taste. So for the next 15 years, that's what we focused on was television advertising, both long form and short form. And also sales videos for the web. And we've worked with companies, some of the biggest brands on the planet, I mean, Google, LinkedIn, Chevrolet, McDonald's, Goldman Sachs would work for all of those guys. But the big problem really started, you know, over a decade ago, when people started getting TiVo, and DVRs. And of course, nowadays, you know, we're all on Netflix and Hulu, I don't know about you, but I can't remember the last time I watched real TV, you know, maybe for sports and live news, if something crazy is happening in the world, but you know, I don't even have cable myself. And so our clients started seeing the, the negative results of that, you know, they're still paying the same amount of money to produce these ads. And their results are just going down and down and down. And so it came to a head about five years ago, when our clients basically said, You know what, we can't afford to keep doing this. We've got to figure out some other way to advertise. And like I said, we've been doing some videos for YouTube and websites, but nothing that really ever got any traction like the viewership that we used to get on TV and So we, it's kind of funny up until that point, anytime somebody said to us, hey, we want to do a funny video, we would say no, that's not what we do. Because you've got to do it right. Nothing's worse than a silly video that that looks like you're trying to be funny, but just doesn't hit it, you end up looking silly. And so we'd always been aware that we, we knew that there were companies out there, like the Harmon Brothers are kind of the flagship that did these huge videos that literally transformed companies with one video. Yeah, but we just didn't have the skills to do that. And so I spent a while assembling a team of really good comedy writers and creative writers. And we can talk about, you know, how your listeners can do the same thing in a minute. But after really putting an effort into saying, Okay, I think this is the way of the future, because people are watching these videos on, you know, entertainment platforms, they're watching them on Facebook, they're watching them on YouTube, on Instagram. And the whole reason why they're there in the first place isn't to be sold, it's to be entertained. So the closer that you can make your content look like the reason that they've come IE entertainment, the more you'll connect with them. So to give you a compare and contrast, before we launched Funny Sales Videos, about four or five years ago, our biggest video that we'd ever got online was about 100,000 views on YouTube, which we thought was pretty good. Our very first campaign after we launched Funny Sales Videos and using my new team of really creative writers, it was a very small company with a very niche audience. And between three videos, we got 7 million views drove over half a million dollars in sales, and we said okay, we're, we're on to something. So fast forward to today, four years later, our biggest campaign is close to 100 million views, over a number of videos and more importantly has generated millions of millions and millions of dollars in revenue and that's pretty much all we do these days. Is the funny sales videos because they just work way more effectively than anything that I've done in 20 years.
Joe Troyer 7:27
That's awesome man. That's really exciting and thank you for the backstory and bringing us up to speed I love like the the Funny Sales Videos right I just plugged your brand right but great name I love like what the Harmon brothers do I love like the potpourri with the beard company like that just some great videos and I think you're right that you got to meet the the viewer where they're at. You made that point and it's so important like you got to understand the mindset and you got to give them what they want. So if they're coming for funny and for entertainment, we're hitting them with you know buy razors, or buy one get one or buy our you know, room spray. I mean, it's just, it's so flat. Why would you ever buy from a company like that so love the transition love the story? I'd love if you could share with us like what you think are some of the key things to making these videos like really blow up after running I'm sure got to be hundreds of campaigns, I'm sure you've identified what what are some of the things or what are some of the key things you got to make sure you nail or they just don't really fly off the shelves.
Joseph Wilkins 8:33
Well, maybe now would be a good time to pull back the curtain and reveal the ugly secret to what we do. And other agencies like the Harmon brothers and other similar agencies have publicly stated. These videos are not organic views. Right, so so if they weren't fueled by paid ads, yet, there are no videos out there that had 10s of millions of views that organically went viral. Other than, you know, silly cat videos and celebrity videos. But that's a completely different topic. We're talking about sales videos, YouTube and Instagram and Facebook, they are sophisticated enough to be able to detect if you're a brand and if you're trying to make money, they're gonna treat that video completely different you will never go organically viral. So what what you're really trying to do. And what we do is we are creating videos that will replace what our clients are currently running on Google, Facebook Ads, you know, whatever the platform is, with the goal of doubling their return on their ad spend that they're currently getting. So don't think about Funny Sales Videos as organically viral videos that you only have to produce it and you'll get the views. You think about it kind of like a vending machine. that's full of $100 bills that cost $20. To use it, how many times you're going to want to use that machine? Yeah, that that's essentially what we're doing. We consistently and if you go to a website, you'll see case study of the case study, when people double their sales, tripled, their sales, quadrupled, doing nothing differently, but replacing the creative. But you've got to have a sales funnel on the back end, and a budget to fuel these ads. Now you will get some organic views, you know, I'd say maybe, maybe 5 to 10% of our views are from shares and likes and organic reach. But it's not the lion's share. Yeah, however, five to 10% of a campaign that's about to hit 100 million views that's still 10 million free views who wouldn't like that? So anyway, as long as we establish that we're talking about a business here, yeah, money in money out. So all goal is to do it at a fraction of the cost of these other bigger agencies, but it's still money in money out. So we have eight steps that we take every project through, that we've ever taken on. And the majority of these clients are b2c, e0commerce, but some of them have b2b lead generation campaigns, it really doesn't matter who your audience is, as long as they're human, they have emotions, we can connect to that. So there are eight steps that basically go from the research, understanding who your customer is, you know, you would never write a letter to somebody, and then decide who you're going to address it.
But so many businesses do that they think they know who they're talking to, without ever really doing the research. So make sure you understand who it is you're talking to. And then we build the story around that person that has a problem that's relatable. And then we make it as entertaining as we can. And again, I want to go through all of the eight steps in detail, but they are, you know, doing your research, then brainstorming as many ideas as you can the worst, the better, don't judge them just throw out you know, 50 or so ideas for you know, here's the character and here's the problem that they have, and you can have so much fun going into rat holes, then eventually we pare it down to our five top when we present those to our clients. Together, we come up with the top concept. And then step three is to start the script writing. And I always tell people, out of these eight steps, there's two of them that you should never try to do yourself, script scripting, and the acting. So make sure that you find people that are good at these things. And you will you'll get a video that is going to perform better than what you're currently running. But you don't have to, you know, spend millions of dollars like some of these other ads, you can do a lot of it yourself if you know, you know these steps and how to break it down. So again, I go through this in my ebook, but going through the scripting, you got to look at the marketing copy points, what are the big things that your customers need to know in order to make a decision? Maybe what are some of the objections that you need to overcome. And then making it funny is a whole nother section. But it's basically finding people who are skilled not in marketing, but in comedy. So I reach out to people on Fiverr, or comedians that I see at comedy clubs on YouTube. And a lot of these, you know, starving artists that don't have big time consuming day jobs during the day because they're traveling to the next gig. So I hired them. And we typically will have close to 10 people on each script that have been reviewed and has given a bunch of different ideas. So step four, once you've got your script is adding the comedy. Step five is the production so the filming. But more important than the filming is the casting. I mentioned earlier picking the right actors who can take a great script and bring it to life. On the subject of production, if you really want to scroll stopper, which is what the our videos are intended to do, you got to look different than anything else that's on that person's timeline. Yeah. So the more money you can invest in a really good production crew that knows what they're doing and how to create images that don't look like they were filmed on your iPhone like everyone else is, then the more disruptive it will be. But you also got to think about the first five to 10 seconds of your video. That's the most important part, or else people just aren't going to stop and watch. So we come up with the most outlandish ways to grab your attention. We shot a video last week for truer laundry detergent. That's Biggest client as far as the success of their campaign, and the first five seconds of one of these videos, we have a kid hanging upside down in a tree with his kid brother underneath him lighting a bonfire, who's not going to stop there. So these are the kinds of really out there ideas that you have to do to stop people from scrolling. Step six is the editing, you got to make sure that you keep your videos fast paced. Now, that doesn't mean short, a lot of people kind of do a double double take when I tell them our average video is three and a half to four minutes long.
Now, people don't stop watching a video because it's long, they stopped watching because they get bored, they stopped watching because it's not relevant to them, they stopped watching because it's not connecting with them. So if you've done the right research, you're telling a story that's relevant, you've got a creative character that's going to connect with people. And you're going to be able to keep that attention long enough to give them more information, which will ultimately lead to higher sales conversions. Again, it's not about making this funny. It's about making it sell. And the more you tell, the more you'll sell. And so the longer you can actually keep them on your video, the higher the chance of conversion. So editing, keeping it fast, paced, snappy, there's all sorts of. Step seven is testing, we create multiple versions of our videos. So that video I mentioned with the kids in the tree, that was one version of three different opening hooks that we filmed. And we'll test them we'll do an ABC test to see which one has the better watch through rate which one has the better conversion rate. So before you spend a lot of money on one version of the video you've tested to see which which one do people like the best. We'll also do multiple offers, we'll film the same video with three different offers, one could be buy one, get one free, one could be get 50%, off, one could be something else. And then you test those, we do a long version. And a short version of each video will do multiple versions sometimes. So the more you can test, and actually in YouTube, and a lot of the other platforms, you can even see a retention curve of where you're losing people, you can go back into the video and edit out parts that seemed boring or confusing. So anyway, I could talk forever on each of these steps, feel free to ask additional questions when I'm done. But step eight, is, once you've got that video, once you've tested it, and it's ready to launch, make sure that you realize that you've only done 50% of the work to this point. With advertising, you've got the creative, and then you've got the execution and deployment of that creative. So making sure that you align either with the team or that you have the right in house people who understand how to not waste that click because our job is simply to get cold traffic to say yes, I want to go to the next step. Let me click below. But what happens after that is a whole nother art form that we partner up with other agencies who are very skilled at doing that. So understanding that it's not about just creating a video and making it go viral. But creating a video that gets 50% of the journey. And then making sure that there's a right, you know, sales page that's optimized to convert that click into whatever it is that your end goal is. So that's a very long winded way of answering your question, but those, those are the eight steps. And that's you know, ebook that anyone can download from our website.
Joe Troyer 18:48
Gotcha. Yeah, that was really good. Lots of nuggets in there, so to speak. I love how you talked about like, you know, hiring multiple people to help with the scripting and help with the humor. Because you're right, I mean, that that iteration process is so important. You know, probably your first idea is going to be a million miles away from your last idea. Yeah. You know, and after you really iterate it and work it through and brainstorm it, you're going to end up at a completely different level and probably much funnier than where you originally started.
Joseph Wilkins 19:17
Totally think about the TV show millionaire Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, what's the most effective Lifeline, always the wisdom of the crowd, ask the audience, you're always going to get a better idea or a better result in whatever it is. But in this case, you know, if I if I'm, if I'm writing the script, and I don't bring anyone else in that script is never going to be as good as if I bring in 10 different people and say, beat it up what you know, What don't you like, what isn't funny, what isn't connecting. And so bringing in the crowd, and that also brings up another point. We want to test this at every step with as many people as we can. So look Looking at your customer avatar, you want to say how can I get buy off from my customers before I even send it out? Because you may think that's a funny joke. But if you're, you know, you and I are probably in the 40s white males living in America, well, if our demographic is teenage girls, we're going to love it very different things than they also bring in people that have the customer avatar, and testing at every stage is only going to help your results.
Joe Troyer 20:29
That's awesome. So um, what's what's a typical funny video project? cost? Right? Um, you know, working with you guys versus like you said, Your goal is to make it as affordable as possible, then you got like these huge Hollywood companies, I can only imagine the range, but can you give us some ideas on production costs and what this process actually takes to get done?
Joseph Wilkins 20:54
Yes. So I mean, the the process, we've never done a video in less than three months. So the process is typically three to four months from, you know, hey, we want to we want to do one of these to let it's ready to launch. And you know, we've got 20 plus people working on your project, a lot of people are just dumbfounded when they find out that a lot of these bigger videos cost over a million dollars to produce. And that's publicly been stated many places. And we basically said, How do we do that at a fraction of the cost? So I can't give you a specific number, because every project is going to be different about you know, it's a fraction of that 10s of 1000s of dollars, as opposed to hundreds of 1000s or millions of dollars. Yeah. But then again, you got you really, what you should be looking at, is, if I'm spending money, right, now, let's let's just use round numbers. Let's say I'm spending $10,000 a month on Facebook ads, and I'm getting a return on adspend of 1.5. Well, if a video like this could double your return on adspend, how quickly you're going to recover that money. We have a client who, who made more sales in 24, enough sales in 24 hours of launching our video to more than pay for our video four times over. So it's all about return. If you're not spending any money on advertising, and you know, you don't have the budget, this may not be something that you that makes sense for you. Having said that, I do have one client who was a one man band, working from home selling a product. And within within a year, he was consistently doubling his sales compared to where he was before he came to us. So, you know, it just depends on how complex the script is we come up with but generally it's you know, it's it's affordable for anyone who's serious about advertising.
Joe Troyer 22:59
That's awesome. And what what type of companies or businesses do you find that these videos work for work best for or don't work for,
Joseph Wilkins 23:07
I always say a funny sales video is only good if your customer is a human and has emotions. Because it really doesn't matter. If you're b2b. b2c, you're still talking to humans, the key is making the story relevant to the problem that that person has, whether it's somebody who is a SAAS executive that has very complex problems, and you know, you're selling a software, we can talk specifically to that person. Or if it's selling, you know, acne cream to teenagers, it as long as it's relevant. And it makes sense. And it furthers a sale. There is no company or industry that we specialize in. I mean, obviously, if you're an e commerce brand, that selling product online, you're going to be able to measure it much, much easier. Yeah, for sure. But the other thing is we we often see results outside of the pixel. Right? So yeah, your audience are probably very familiar with tracking the results. Well, Tru Earth the laundry detergent that I mentioned before we launched our campaign, they were trying to get into some big box retailers that just wouldn't take their calls. Well, after we launched the campaign, we had, you know, 10s of millions of people watching these videos, they started coming into these brick and mortar stores saying Where's your Tru Earth? And that buyers then started calling truth and say we want to now sell your product so there's it's a ripple effect. It's not just the immediate sales that you track. It's building a brand.
Joe Troyer 24:42
Yeah. No, I love that. I think the ripple effect is so true. You're building the brand but also I mean, yes, you it's for video, but in the long run, it's going to work outside of video as well. Yeah, never forget in Florida. It's just so hot. right all the time. It's like, you know, summer year round, you know, it's just so freakin hot. So I remember the first time I saw on a billboard, I saw this hilarious billboard ad. And to this day, like, I think it's the only like, funny billboard I've ever seen, right? And it says, like your wife's hot. And it's a picture of this girl like this in front of a fan. And she's like, dripping sweat. And it's like, get your AC repaired. And I just like, I laughed at it. And I laugh every time I go past it. And I think about it. And, you know, nobody else that I see is really using comedy, you know, offline, either, right? If you look at all the media out there, and all the advertisements, I think that you know, whatever you guys do for a company building a funny video, you could take elements of that. And it could just be you know, a billboard or a stack ad.
So we lost Joseph, but not to fret, he gave us a ton of actionable nuggets and takeaways. And I thought what would be cool is, while I'm still here, I'm still recording, I still got time was to think about how this could work for you. Let's say you're a digital marketing agency, right? You know, you want to write a funny ad to attract your ideal client. So following Joseph's eight step process, what we're going to do is research and discovery and we're going to figure out who our avatar is, who are we talking to? What would they find funny, we then do a brainstorming exercise, right to come up with a bunch of ideas, we then would have, according to Joseph, somebody help us with the scripting, he says you don't do that. And then you also don't actually do the production. So in between there, we would hire some people from stand up comedy, or people on Fiverr that are really funny to look at our script and help us implement some humor into it, we would, you know, continue to brainstorm and improvise. And then we would move to production. And then finally editing and testing. So Joseph, drop some bombs in that write that you want that to kind of be an iterative testing. But also, you really want to have multiple people give you feedback on the script to add in your humor. So thinking about this as an agency, you know, if you're going to go after whatever niche, let's say that you're going to go after insurance, I just got an insurance bill. Let's say that you're going to go after local insurance carriers, you're going to help them get clients in their local market. You know, your your ad to be funny could be talking to them about how marketers, us agency owners are trying to peddle everything and you could be like the guys in Vegas trying to give them like, you know, tickets and put stuff in their hand or you could be like, you know, a drug dealer, you know, with all this stuff, hey, you want to buy this you want to buy that I got this for sale, you know, whatever, you can come up with a bunch of different ideas, right to make it funny to them, right. But at the end of the day, I do think that humor is key, right at the end of the day. People are going to YouTube, they're going to Facebook going wherever that we're putting the ad in front of them, and we are interrupting them, we have to take ownership of that, and give somebody a good experience with the advertising, right. And we know that that's going to lead to better cpms that's going to lead to better costs. And there's no reason that we shouldn't be doing and we know that if we get a bunch of negative feedback, the ads gonna be crazy expensive to run or it's not going to run at all. So I just want to say thank you Joseph, for coming on the show man absolutely loved all of your takeaways we'll be sure to link you up and your ebook in the in the in the notes below. And if you gotta hefty budget, you're looking for somebody that that can help you some video, you spend some good money on advertising already. I definitely think that it would be smart to reach out to Joseph and ask him for some feedback, ask him from some advice and see if his company or he can help you as well along this process. And I hope you guys enjoyed this modified, slightly modified episode of Show Me the Nuggets, sayonara, everybody.