How to Humanize Your Brand to Attract Your Dream Clients and Make Them Trust You

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Updated: March 11, 2019

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“Someone has a great fire in his soul and nobody ever comes to warm themselves at it, and passers-by see nothing but a little smoke at the top of the chimney.”

 

Vincent van Gogh

 

You, too, have a great fire in your soul.

You have something important to say that your Dream Client needs to hear. So you work hard. You write loads of content, create products, follow marketing gurus, network, hustle like crazy.

But you’re still not able to get your message across.

Because the only thing your Dream Client sees is a little smoke at the top of the chimney. So she doesn’t knock at your door to warm herself. She passes by and disappears.

We, online entrepreneurs, build walls from our fears. We don’t want to look arrogant and salesy, or stupid, or scrappy. We’re afraid of failure as well as success. We’re afraid of the sound of our own voice, as it echoes through the darkness.

So we keep ourselves busy: Funnels, opt-ins, pop-ups, logos, buttons. ROI, SEO, CTA. All in all it’s just another brick in the wall.

This isn’t a rant against marketing tools and hacks. But the truth is that we are already separated.

I mean, reading someone’s blog or following them on social media isn’t the same thing as meeting them in person and having a real-time, face-to-face, human-to-human, heart-to-heart conversation.

 

It’s our duty as online entrepreneurs to use the Internet and its tools to demolish the walls between us, not to make them higher and thicker.

That’s why in today’s post, I’m sharing some ideas about humanizing our brands. Please feel free to add your own.

 

How to humanize your brand so you can attract dream clients and build trust.Click To Tweet

 

Using visuals to humanize your brand

✦ Show your true face

Don’t be a human billboard; be a human. Having a logo as a profile picture on social media is like going to a party holding a sign.

Faces build trust. People want to see your face when you’re talking to them.

Your profile picture is not a good place for a logo or a photo of your dog/child/favorite actor. (I’ve seen all of these things on business accounts on Twitter and Pinterest.)

profile photos examples

 

✦ Share more pictures of you

“But, won’t it make me look narcissistic?”

Ummm… no.

I’ve never seen a website that would make me say “I wish the person used fewer photos of herself,” or, “Gosh, she must be so self-centered! She even put a picture of herself on her About page!”

People follow you because it’s you, and they want to see who you are.

 

✦ Take us behind the scenes

To make your website/brand more human, consider so-called environmental portraits that show you in your natural environment while working, resting, and playing.

But not all photos have to be professional. On social media, a family trip photo, a photo of your dog, or a snapshot of your messy desk or a scrappy DIY whatever will make you look more real.

Behind the scenes pictures examples

 

✦ Don’t use stock photos that look like stock photos

Nothing is less human than stock photos picturing happy business people. You know what I mean:

Don’t use them.

You can get free and nice photos on places like Unsplash.com. Or, you can learn how to take your own photos. Or, you can hire a photographer to create branded photos just for you.

There are millions of options. Stock-y stock photos are the worst.

 

✦ Unclutter your design

Ugly, cluttered, and confusing design can turn people off in no time, no matter how great your content is.

Nowadays, there’s no reason to have an ugly website, even if you aren’t a designer.

Use a minimalist WordPress or Squarespace theme, and keep things simple and consistent. Learn how to use colors.

Respect your readers and make the experience as human-friendly as you can. And if you can’t do it, hire someone to do it for you.

 

Get more visual content ideas:

Let’s humanize your social media using outstanding images.

This free promptbook for online teachers and coaches will help you come up with an unlimited number of visual content ideas.

Let’s humanize your social media using outstanding images.

This free promptbook for online teachers and coaches will help you come up with an unlimited number of visual content ideas.

Humanizing your brand through writing

✦ Talk to one person

Whether it’s on the blog, on social media, in your emails, or in your web copy, talk to one person, not to a nameless crowd.

Make your writing a friendly conversation with your Dream Client.

Related: An Open Letter from Your Dream Client

 

✦ Write in a conversational tone

I have written a post about it. Many people found it helpful.

 

✦ Use your voice

I know. Finding your voice takes time, and using it takes brevity.

You can start right now by removing clichés, jargon, preachy tone, and other things that dehumanize your writing.

 

✦ Share personal stories

Nothing is more human than stories.

 

✦ Don’t speak about yourself in the third person

The first person (I) is always better than the third person (she). And the second person (you) is even better than the first person. Don’t write about yourself; write about your Dream Client. That’s the best copywriting “hack” ever.

 

✦ Don’t speak about yourself in plural

If there’s no “we,” don’t say “We provide XYZ services.” It makes you sound corporate and impersonal.

 

✦ Use grammar check

Typos happen, and it’s not the end of the world. Mistakes make you more relatable and more… human. But when there’s a lot of them, your writing seems lazy.

Proofread your writing, and use a free tool like Grammarly to check it.

 

✦ Avoid jargon

As an expert, you take many terms for granted, although your people have no idea what you mean.

For example, English language teachers love to talk about their certificates (TEFL, TESOL, CELTA, …), phrasal verbs, idioms, discourse markers, and similar, not realizing that most of their potential students don’t know what the abbreviations and linguistic terms mean.

 

✦ Make your website readable

Here’s the harsh truth: People don’t read, they scan.

To help people get the most out of your writing, you need to make it scannable. Here are the worst sins against scannability and readability:

• Long paragraphs

• Long sentences

• Long, difficult words

• Long blocks of text with no subheads, bullet points, bold text, and dividers

• Small font

• Pop-ups

• Cluttered design

• My pet peeve: Light text on dark background (It’s acceptable for headlines, boxes, and small chunks of text, but not for longer texts. It hurts!)

Other ways to pull down the walls

✦ Don’t hide your real name

If the name of your brand happens to be different from your real name, don’t hide your identity behind it.

On social media, use your name, not the name of your brand, and make sure your full name is public and visible somewhere on your website, at least on your About page and/or Contact page.

 

✦ Show your work in progress

Here’s why:

• You get feedback and new ideas.

• Documenting your process helps you think more clearly.

• Your audience holds you accountable.

• You practice being honest and bold.

• It’s more fun.

If you want to learn more about the benefits of sharing your work, here’s a book about it: Austin Kleon: Show Your Work. It’s brilliant.

 

✦ Reconsider pop-ups

I have a whole post about it, too.

 

✦ Don’t hide your prices

Showing your prices, visibly and openly, means that you’re a legit, trustworthy person who has nothing to hide.

Also, it shows that you respect your potential client’s time. No one wants to schedule a discovery call only to find out that you don’t fit into their budget.

 

✦ Connect through more channels

You don’t have to be everywhere – blog, podcast, email, all social media platforms – especially when you’re just getting started. Choose one main platform (blog/podcast) + one social media platform (and add more later) + email.

 

✦ Don’t hide affiliate links

There’s nothing wrong with affiliates, as long as you’re honest: you recommend resources and tools you use and trust.

Please, don’t smuggle your affiliate links into your content. People are happy to support you by buying something through your link, but they should know what’s happening.

I love buying tools through affiliate links. I’m happy to support a friend or a business owner I like, with money I would spend anyway. It’s a win-win-win. The creators of the tool get their money, my friend gets their share, and I get a new useful tool and a good feeling.

But if I don’t know about the aff link, then the transaction is a little bit less happy -– and less human, too.

 

✦ Don’t be perfect

Finally, don’t be perfect. Perfect is not human. Perfect is boring. Perfection sucks. No one resonates with perfect.

 

No one resonates with perfect. Perfect is not human. Perfect is boring.Click To Tweet

 

 

☆ In the comments, please tell me: Do you have anything to add to the list?

✯ If you found the tips helpful, would you mind sharing the article on your favorite social media? It only takes a sec and helps a lot. Thank you!

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6 Comments

  1. Elena Mutonono

    Veronika, thank you for this post (as always)! I can’t wait for Tuesday to get on your blog and read your new post – I’m hooked!

    Thank you for featuring my course – I really appreciate it.

    As for the question, I think for me sharing about your struggles/failures without sounding whiny is the most human thing of all.

    I remember when I first began blogging I felt inferior because here’re all these stellar entrepreneurs with tons of money rolling into their account every day, and I’m dealing with this mess… Something must be wrong with ME. That’s when I decided to be more transparent about my journey so people can be encouraged that they’re not the only ones facing their struggles.

    I was wondering what you thought about publishing income reports on your blog. Some people think it makes them more approachable, more human, more transparent, but I’m not sure. They are helpful sometimes, but there’re so many of them, sometimes it makes me sick.

    What do you think?

    Thank you!

    Reply
    • Veronika

      Hey Lena,

      Thank you for your kind words!

      Yes, being transparent about the struggles and bad days definitely adds humanity, and it helps to debunk the “making money from the beach” myth. I mean, when all you see are smiling faces and six-figure income reports, it makes you feel inferior (if you’ve already started, but aren’t “there” yet), or it gives you an unrealistic idea of what it’s really like (if you haven’t started yet).

      And I’d say the same is true about sharing your numbers. When you put things in context, it’s helpful. But only if you tell the whole story: where the $$$ came from, exactly (services, products, affiliates, etc.), the hours you put in, the initial investment, and so on. Paul Jarvis wrote this kind of posts about his courses, and I keep coming back to his case studies. I also keep coming back to your Numbers Game book and Regina’s (byRegina.com) case studies, because these resources give me details, and therefore a realistic idea and valuable info.

      But when I stumble upon a usual “I made $3,254 blogging last month” article with no further details – or just general info – I don’t think it’s helpful or transparent. It’s just a small part of the story, and it’s misleading.

      Thank you for the inspiring question!

      Reply
  2. GiGi Eats

    All I know how to do it ME and that’s what my brand is. ME. I have been able to humanize my brand from DAY ONE because I tell it like it is, don’t sugar coat anything, post YouTube videos every single week and respond to EVERYONE who comes to my blog, comments!! I love starting conversations that could eventually lead to friendships!

    Reply
    • Veronika

      Hey GiGi,

      Great to see you here! Your channel is great. So original and fun.

      Yes, absolutely! You have to make your brand YOU — instead of copycatting, people-pleasing, and doing what everyone else in your industry does. People want to hear your thoughts, not some recycled, fake, and sugar coated opinions they can hear everywhere.

      I also agree that being consistent and responding to people is important. Blogging (making videos, podcasting) should be a conversation! You shouldn’t hit publish and disappear back into your cave.

      Thank you so much for stopping by!

      Reply
  3. Charlotte Maatman

    I see this is an older post but very useful 😀 Thanks!

    Reply
    • Veronika

      Thank you so much, Charlotte! 🙂

      Reply

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