Set up email subscription types

Last updated: October 13, 2020

Applies to:

Marketing Hub  Starter, Professional, Enterprise
CMS Hub  Professional, Enterprise
Legacy Marketing Hub Basic

Subscription types represent the lawful basis to communicate with your contacts through email. Contacts can manage their email preferences so they're only opted in to emails they want to receive.

If you have access to the marketing contacts functionality, only marketing contacts can be sent marketing emails. Learn more about how this works.

Please note: custom subscription types are not available for HubSpot CRM accounts, but if you've enabled GDPR tools in your account you can add Marketing Email or Sales Email subscription types to your contacts manually.

How subscription preferences and types work

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 side of the contact record. Subscription type statuses can be updated manually for an individual, in bulk with a workflow, or via API.

Subscription types also include both a Process and an Operation to clearly define the role they play in communicating with your business.

Communicate with contacts

If you have GDPR tools enabled in your account and selected the Only allow marketing emails to be sent to contacts who have a legal basis to communicate checkbox in your account settings, 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 notice 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 establish consent with your existing contacts, you can send contacts an email with a link to update their email preferences, or 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. Emails will not be delivered to contacts who have opted out of that subscription type. To track which contacts want to subscribe to each of your subscription types, you can use a custom property on a form.

Apart from the GDPR settings above, if you have access to the marketing contacts functionality, only marketing contacts can be sent marketing emails.

Set up a subscription type

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

  • In your HubSpot account, click the settings icon settings in the main navigation bar.
  • In the left sidebar menu, click Marketing > Email.
  • Click the Subscription Types tab.
  • Click Create subscription type.
  • Enter a name and a brief description of how this subscription type will be used.
  • If you have enabled GDPR functionality in your account, you can configure your subscription type to ensure that your organization communicates with your contacts via the methods they choose. In the Advanced section, select or add a Purpose of subscription and Method of communication.
  • Click Save


  • On the Subscription Types tab, click a subscription type and drag and drop it into position to re-order your subscription types. This controls the order that subscription types appear on your subscription preferences page.


Please note: if you have international contacts, the Multi-Language Subscription Preferences Module from the marketplace displays subscription preferences in a user’s preferred language based on the language selected in their browser settings.

Edit a subscription type

To make changes to a subscription type's information:

  • In your HubSpot account, click the settings icon settings in the main navigation bar.
  • In the left sidebar menu, click MarketingEmail.
  • Click the Subscriptions Types tab.
  • Hover over the type and click Edit.


  • Make changes as needed, then click Save.

Please note: if you've enabled GDPR for your account, 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 you've created a new subscription type, a corresponding Opted out of email: [Email Subscription Type] contact property will be created.

While 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.