How you can set up subscription types in HubSpot

Subscription types describe the lawful basis to communicate with the contacts through email. Contacts can manage their email preferences so that they can opt-in emails they want to receive.

How subscription preferences and types work

Subscription types work differently based on whether GDPR enabled or not:

  • If GDPR is enabled:
    • Rather than relying solely on opt-out functionality, subscription types capture three states to clearly represent a contact's consent to communicate. For each subscription type, contacts may have any of the following three statuses:
      • Opted in
      • Not opted in or out (default)
      • Opted out
    • The status for each subscription type is stored in the Communication subscriptions section on the left panel of the contact record. 
    • Subscription types also include both a Process and an Operation to clearly define the role they play in communicating with your business.
  • If GDPR is not enabled:
    • A contact's status for a subscription type can have one of the following two statuses:
      • Opted in (default)
      • Opted out
    • You can check a contact's status for a given subscription type by checking their Opted-out of email properties.

Subscription type statuses can be updated via API, manually for an individual, and also in bulk with a workflow.

Communicate with contacts

If the GDPR tool is enabled in your account and you have selected the checkbox Only allow marketing emails to be sent to contacts who have a legal basis to communicate in your account, then the emails can only be sent to contacts who have an Opted in status.

Contacts can opt-in to your email subscription types through a form that includes a declaration of consent for that subscription type. When you’re manually applying lawful basis, you’ll also select a lawful basis to communicate. If you need to confirm consent with your existing contacts, you can send contacts an email with a link to update their email preferences or you can run a permission pass campaign.

If you aren't using GDPR tools in your account, emails can be sent to contacts with an Opted in or a Not opted in or out status. Contacts who have opted out of that subscription type, won't be receiving any emails. To keep the track of the contacts that want to subscribe to each of your subscription types, you can use a custom property on a form.

Set up a subscription type



An email subscription type can be created and managed from your settings:

  • Click the Settings icon in the main navigation bar of your HubSpot account
  • Click Marketing > Email in the left sidebar.
  • Click the Subscription Types tab.
  • Click Create subscription type.
  • Enter a name and a brief description about how you will using this subscription type.
  • If GDPR functionality is enabled in your account, you can optionally configure your subscription type to clarify to your subscribers how and why you'll be contacting them.
    • Click the Edit tab next to the Subscription type you have created. 
    • In the left panel, click the dropdown Purpose of subscription, then select a purpose for the subscription type. 
    • Click the dropdown Method of communication, then select a method for how you plan on contacting subscribers.
    • When a contact reviews your subscription type, the purpose and method of communication will appear first, followed by its name and description. You can confirm how your subscription type will appear under Preview.
  • Click Save
  • Drag and drop the Subscription types you have created, into a position to re-order them. This controls the order that subscription types appear on your subscription preferences page.

Edit a subscription type



To make changes to a subscription type's information:

  • Click the Settings icon in the main navigation bar of your HubSpot account.
  • Click Marketing > Email in the left sidebar.
  • Click the Subscriptions Types tab.
  • Hover over the subscription type and click Edit.
  • Make required changes, then click Save.

Note: if GDPR is enabled for your account, then you cannot edit the Purpose of subscription or Method of communication fields for default subscription types, such as the Sales and Services subscription types.

Manage contact properties for subscription types

Once a new subscription type is created, a corresponding Opted out of email: [Email Subscription Type] contact property will be created.

The property will be visible on contact records immediately, existing contacts will not have a property value set until one of the following occurs:

  • The contact is merged with another contact.
  • The contact has its email address property changed.
  • The contact explicitly opts-in to or opts-out from that email type.
  • An integration (i.e., public API) explicitly marks the contact as opted-in to or opted-out from that email type.

Any changes to the subscription type will update this existing contact property. Renaming a subscription type will cause the corresponding property to be renamed. Marking a subscription type as inactive will cause the corresponding property to be hidden from the contact record, and vice versa.