You've done everything you can to make sure your emails won't be considered junk:

Each subscriber goes through a double opt-in process. Every email has a link to unsubscribe with one click. And you give away useful content more often than you pitch.

So why am I saying almost every email you're sending is junk mail?

Let's take a step back and consider what "junk mail" is. Junk mail is "mail that is not wanted," says the Merriam-Webster dictionary.

They're Not That Into You

Let's use your email open rate as an indicator of whether or not your subscribers want your emails.

If you're average, then your email open rates probably range from 15.2% to 28.5%, depending on your industry. That means as much as 84.8% of your subscribers don't open your messages.

Even though they gave you their contact information at some point in the past. Even though they jumped through hoops to confirm their subscription. And even though they gave you permission to keep communicating with them.

They don't want your email. Therefore, to them, your email is junk mail.

I'd even go a step further and say that it's not enough for the recipient to read your emails. Email rises a step above junk mail only when the reader treats it like an email from a friend, from somebody they know and like and want to hear from.

Too bad, we can't measure that. But it's safe to say the numbers would be even lower than your open rates.

How to Send Wanted Emails

So now the next question is, what can you do so that your subscribers treat your email as if it were coming from a friend? How can you reach the status of a friendly and familiar ally to your subscribers?

Get people to, not just read, but also to take action and respond to you. Make your email marketing not a one-way flow of offers and pitches, but an exchange of ideas, feelings, and opinions.

Here are some practical ways to do that:

  • Make the sender of your emails a real person in your company. No more sending emails from or even Use a real person's name.
  • Ask questions. People enjoy being asked about themselves, so solicit your subscribers' feedback. Ask them about their needs and challenges. Ask what makes them happy.
  • Respond and respond promptly. Whenever someone emails you or your company, send a timely response. It doesn't matter if they're already a customer or someone visiting your website for the first time. And if you have to hire people just to respond to emails, do so.
  • Most importantly, check your intention. Be genuinely interested in your subscribers and in developing a relationship with them. See them as individuals with names, faces, loved ones, personal lives, dreams, and hopes--not as dollar signs.

The easiest way to do this is to take every opportunity to interact with your subscribers and get to know them. This will change even the way you write your emails, because you'll be writing to a specific person, not a nameless, anonymous list.

And when you do that, then you'll no longer be writing junk mail.