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Set up email subscription types

Last updated: September 21, 2021

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

Subscription types work differently based on whether you have GDPR enabled:

  • If you have GDPR 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 side 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 you don't have GDPR 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 manually for an individual, in bulk with a workflow, or via API.

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.
  • If you have a Marketing Hub Enterprise account and you have the Business Units add-on, you can associate subscription types with specific business units.  At the top of the page, click the Current View dropdown menu, then select a Business Unit.
  • 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 optionally configure your subscription type to clarify to your subscribers how and why you'll be contacting them.
    • Click the Purpose of subscription dropdown menu, then select a purpose for the subscription type. This purpose should broadly align with the nature of the emails you plan on sending to the associated subscribers. Learn more about common subscription types on the HubSpot marketing blog.
    • Click the Method of communication dropdown menu, 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


  • 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.
  • You can create up to 1000 subscription types in your HubSpot account.

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.