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Growth hacking: 3 techniques that have driven me crazy (+ 1 bonus)

Are you looking for additional customers at a low cost? Outbound marketing is the answer. At least … that’s the theory sold to you by the self-proclaimed “growth hacking” specialists. Growth hacking, adopted by everyone and especially by amateurs, also leads to real disasters. I can’t resist sharing with you 3 examples of bad growth hacking techniques (#3 is surprising). The techniques used are quite diverse, but all had the same effect: bugging me. You will also find a bonus at the end of this article.

3 growth hacking techniques to avoid:

Bad growth hacking technique n°1: denigration

I have to admit that this email really bugged me. When you’ve spent years creating content for your website, receiving criticism is very unpleasant. Needless to say, I didn’t feel like contacting this spammer.

growth hacking exemple : rude email

Why this growth hacking technique is bad: because the approach is not constructive. Who would want to do business with a supplier who is mocking you?

If you use growth marketing to seek customers, ensure your message is as respectful as possible. Criticizing the recipient of your unsolicited message will only accelerate your arrival in the spam box.

Bad growth hacking technique n°2: fear

Scaremongering is a strategy that I’ve seen flourish more and more in recent years. Growth hackers who sell SEO services readily use this technique. The principle is simple: you make it look like you’ve done an audit and have results to share with the person receiving your message. There are different gradations in the message:

  • some propose in a neutral way to contact you to obtain the results of the audit
  • others make you believe in a critical error to make you react quickly

growth hacking : exemple of email using fear feelings

Why this growth hacking technique is bad: Fear leads us to make emotional decisions, which we later regret. Trust is essential. Building customer loyalty is impossible when the relationship is based on fear.

Bad growth hacking technique n°3: intrusion

I was confronted for the first time with this growth hacking technique recently (September 2022). To break into growth hacking, you must propose different approaches constantly. This one is. You end up with an appointment in your calendar. It is not an email sent to you but an invitation to an online meeting. It is extremely invasive, and you must refuse (that is, reply) for the invitation to disappear from your calendar.

growth marketing technique : invitation

Why this growth hacking technique is bad: who wants to end up with an unsolicited appointment at a time imposed by someone you don’t know? Can you imagine clicking on the video conference link at the appointed time and finding yourself in front of someone who doesn’t know you and whom you don’t know? I honestly don’t see who would take the bait.

Bonus: when your campaign is so badly done that it shows in the title

Finally, I can’t resist sharing with you a little gem of spam…. from an email marketing agency.

To do a growth marketing campaign, remember that you need 2 essential ingredients:

  • a database of people to contact
  • a script to automate the sending of messages (by email, by LinkedIn if you like to take risks)

The databases used are often scrapped from LinkedIn. This is forbidden, but who cares? The GDPR is for others ?

On the other hand, when you send spam, you have to use a minimum of personalization if you want a return higher than zero. Nigel, from proving-concepts.com, apparently hasn’t mastered the basics. He personalizes his emails using the entirety of a text extracted from LinkedIn (in yellow below).

This results in an email with an absolutely bizarre title that screams scam from 10 miles away.

This happens when you use a database without cleaning the data (data preparation).

exemple of a growth hacking email using badly cleaned data




Dr. Pierre-Nicolas Schwab is the founder of IntoTheMinds. He specializes in e-commerce, retail and logistics. He is also a research fellow in the marketing department of the Free University of Brussels and acts as a coach for several startups and public organizations. He holds a PhD in Marketing, a MBA in Finance, and a MSc in Chemistry. He can be contacted by email, Linkedin or by phone (+32 486 42 79 42)

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