Using The 7 Basic Human Emotions in Your Sales Funnel: Anger

There are 7 basic human emotions: Anger, Fear, Disgust, Contempt, Joy, Sadness, Surprise.

These are root emotions from which all other emotions spring. (Read more about them here). These 7 emotions are at the core of what drives our decision-making.

If you understand these emotions and build your sales funnel around them, you can sell more.


Anger is a great sales-inducing emotion when you align your marketing and sales copy WITH your target market AGAINST some cause or position. Your copy will include a lot of “us-versus-them” content and will need to highlight the discrepancy between your target market’s current position and where they want to be. And, of course, the product or service you sell should erase the discrepancy and establish the buyer in the superior position over the antagonist.

Some good examples of using anger in your marketing can be seen by looking at the grassroots groundswell of support during the “Occupy” protests. Even though this was a grassroots movement, its messages were still “marketing” and they had a very clear us-versus-them language against a common “enemy”. I’ve also seen this anger approach used effectively in non-profit copywriting against things like cancer, poverty, racism, and sexism.

Here are some tips if you want to effectively use anger in your sales funnel:

  • Align yourself with your audience. Don’t be angry at them and don’t make them angry at you.
  • It’s easiest to generate anger against an antagonist that cannot defend itself (i.e. cancer) instead of an antagonist that can defend itself (such as a specific person or institution). You’ll also avoid any issues of libel this way! Avoid stirring up anger about a competitor.
  • Your sale doesn’t have to eliminate the anger but it should have a cathartic effect in the buyer — a sort of “I’ll show them” impact.
  • Don’t pull your punches! Don’t be afraid to use the strongest possible language. Your most likely-to-buy audience will feel the strongest about the issue and your strong language will make you an ally.
  • A manifesto or a blog-based “rant” is a very effective way to express your anger.
  • With emotions, it is easy to create a call to action but be careful that your call to action doesn’t come across as too salesy. People don’t want to buy; they want to get back at the target of their anger.
  • If you are a business, you can help the cathartic effect by contributing a portion of all proceeds to some charitable group whose work is counter to the target of anger.

Anger is not an emotion you see in sales funnels very often but it can be a useful tool if used correctly. Take a look at your sales funnel and see if there’s a way that you can use it.

Published by Aaron Hoos

Aaron Hoos is a writer, strategist, and investor who builds and optimizes profitable sales funnels. He is the author of The Sales Funnel Bible and other books.

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