Dan Martell Shares His Cold Email Tips For Starting Clarity

By: Jack Reamer |
 June 30, 2021 |

If someone told you that they used a specific strategy to start a million-dollar business, wouldn’t you be curious to know what it was?

We sure were…

So we just had to get on an interview with the Canadian entrepreneur, Dan Martell, the founder of Clarity.fm. (He also founded the startup spheric technologies, and was the co-founder of Flowtown)

And guess what? 

He was kind enough to join our podcast and share his top 7 cold email tips that helped him start this incredible tech company.

So if you’re looking for some inspiration or starting a top saas company, then keep reading. 

(If you’re not sure who Dan Martell is, click here for our previous article) 

Tip 1: Dan’s 4-part cold email framework. (R.R.R.R)

Dan has a SaaS Academy program, where he coaches B2B Saas founders, and 3 times a year, they get together in person and run a sales pipeline intensive workshop. 

In this workshop, he discusses four parts to a perfect cold email. 

1. Research

The first thing that every cold emailer should do before sending out emails is to research their prospects. This will ensure that you can write a personalized intro sentence that will capture their attention. 

2. Reference

It’s important to add reference to your cold email. Let your potential clients know why you’re reaching out to them. Let them know that you serve similar customers or businesses. 

3. Reward

Ask yourself how you can provide value to your prospects. What do you have to offer them? You need to give something to receive something back in return. 

The value could be an introduction, a suggestion, offering to get someone on their team to provide an overview of something you have expertise in; whatever it is, always provide value.

4. Request

Have an “ask.” Always request a quick call or a meeting. You could even ask the prospect to reply with answers, X Y Z (give them some options to choose from.)

Tip 2: Keep your cold email short

The first cold email that Dan Martell ever sent was to some of the most influential businessmen in the world. These included Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Mark Cuban. 

He was only 18 years old when he sent out this first cold email, and his inspiration came from a book that discussed how to become a serial entrepreneur

One of the tips that Martell took from this book was to keep your emails short. 

Here is the template that he sent out: 


I’m a young entrepreneur from this part of the world, and I was just wondering if you had to rank these 3 things in order, which one would you put as the most important?

  • Who you know ( Your network)
  • What you know (Where you went to school)
  • Pure tenacity (Your will to hustle).”

Did this cold email work? Especially since it was sent out to such influential business people? 

Well, 7 people actually replied. One of them being Mark Cuban, who invested $1,6 million into his business Clarity 20 years later. 

Dan mentions in the interview that he was hoping more people would have replied to his mail, but one thing that he learned was that you could get in touch with anyone in the world if you need to;

Also that if you have the creative means to craft a message that resonates with people, you will get a reply. 

Some of Dan’s most recent cold emails are only 7 words long.

For example, the host’s founders dinners and invites some of the top CEO’s of B2B SaaS companies, and in the mail, he basically says: 

“ Hosting a founders dinner for B2B saas founders, would you like for details?”

So remember, when you start writing your cold email, keep it short. Try only to use 3 sentences max.

Tip 3: Don’t add in too much detail upfront.

Did you notice that Dan left out quite important information in the short cold email template above for the founder’s dinners? Like the time, the place, and so on.


Well, if someone is curious, they will reply to find out more. (For example, Dan doesn’t disclose who will be at the dinner because he only wants those interested in Saas companies, for example, to be present.) Creating that “back and forth” reply action, is essential to suss out a person’s intentions.

Therefore leave out important information to arouse curiosity in your prospect. 

Tip 4: Create an iteration cycle – AKA The 3-step action plan

To figure out which email resonates best with your prospects, it’s essential to use a/b testing is crucial, especially early on in your campaign. (By knowing which email works best, you can ensure a successful sales process.)

Dan mentions how some people only run one test, and then it fails, so they give up. 


Martell says that he uses a “3 test” cycle process.

He runs a test at least 3 times with 3 different variations to see what works best. The one with the highest metrics wins. 


  • Try out a 7-word email and see what the response rate is.
  • You could then try out a more detailed cold email, and see if the response rate is higher or lower.
  • Or you could even try sending a “long story” type email and see which one gets the best response.

How should you do this?

Should you buy expensive software for these tests? Initially, Martell encourages cold emailers not to buy expensive software. 

This is how Dan does his initial  a/b testing:

  • He writes his 3 different variations in Evernote
  •  The next thing he does is grab a list of 100 email addresses of prospects that match potential needs, target markets, and criteria.
  • He also separates the emails into segments of 50 prospects and then sends out the emails to each segment.
  • Once he has done this, he sees which test email got the highest response rate.

“In the early stages of business, it’s about qualitative and not quantitative.” 

Therefore, the quality of the response rates is more important than the quantity of emails that get sent out initially.

Once solid replies come in, you can up the quantity of emails you send out using software. 

Tip 5: Play towards your strengths

If cold email is not your thing, but creating content on social media is, then stick with what you feel passionate about. Dan chose outbound because they needed Clarity to grow quickly, (He needed to create that escape velocity) but if your strength is in inbound marketing, then stick it to. 

But the great thing is that many companies start with a strong inbound strategy, and as they grow, they then use outbound methods to bring in qualified leads.

Tip 6: Don’t make the prospect do the “work.”

When we say don’t put the “work” on the prospect, we mean don’t put too much pressure in your CTA. 

Dan mentions in the interview how he once received a great cold email, but the “ask” was too much. They wanted him to contribute towards a blog, and he had to click a link and fill out a form. 

For him, it felt like too much effort, like they were making him do the work.

It would have been better for the cold emailer to ask the question and then say feel free to reply. Adding a link to a form could be tricky as you don’t know what’s in the form and how long it would take to fill out. 

A better option would have been if the cold email did the following 3 step email: 

A.) Ask if they would like to contribute. 

Wait for a reply.

B.) If yes, then ask them if they would like to contribute a 250 character tweet. (Something simple) 

Wait for a reply

C.) You could also mention if they would like to add 5 ways to implement it, and you can then add that to the article for them. 

Also, an important thing is to never ask an investor, for example, to click your calendar link. Instead, ask for them to send their calendar link to you. These subtleties can make all the difference. 

By keeping your “ask” simple and by not putting too much work on the prospect, you will have a better chance of them replying. 

Tip 7: How to email an angel investor

If you’re looking for venture capital, Dan’s advice is: Don’t cold email an investor because they would rather be introduced to you and meet you in person. 

The best way would be to cold email 2 entrepreneurs who recently received funding from the investor.

In the email, you could ask them about the fundraising process, and at the end of the conversation, if you have done it correctly, the founder will usually say something like:

 “Hey, let me know if I can be helpful in any way.” 

At this point, you could say something like:

 “Well, I noticed that Mark Cuban invested in your last company. When we are ready to raise, would you be open to making a quick intro?”             


Some extra resources

If you’re interested in learning more about Dan Martell, have a look at the following resources, especially if you would like to know how to scale your SaaS business

(Even if you don’t own a SaaS company, he is still a great business coach for all those keen on entrepreneurship. )

Quick Recap

When it comes to the perfect cold email, remember these points:

1. Keep your email short

2. Don’t add in too much detail.

 3. Have a 3 step action plan

 4. Play towards your strengths

5. Don’t make the prospect do the work.

6. Remember the 4 R’s 

 7. Email founders, not investors

Are you interested in becoming a pro at cold emailing? Check out our cold email course

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