Understanding HubSpot Subscription Types in 2024

Bastien Paul
Bastien Paul
March 25, 2024

HubSpot stands at the forefront of inbound marketing with its comprehensive suite of tools, including a robust CMS, dynamic marketing emails, and versatile automations and workflows.

At the heart of these offerings is the 'subscription types' feature, a critical component for managing email communications and ensuring GDPR compliance through a dedicated email preferences page for subscribers.

What are HubSpot subscription types?

It helps you sort your emails into different buckets. Think of them like labels that tell you what each email is for—like product release, One to One communication, or newsletter.

You can find them in "Settings" > "Email" > "Subscription Types" like in this screenshot below.


So, if someone signs up for just your monthly newsletter, they won't get bombarded with all your other emails. Plus, you can create language-specific email subscription types to cater to the localized preferences of your international audience.

Subscription Types help you send emails that your audience cares about while also ensuring your business meets GDPR requirements by maintaining subscriber opt-in status.

Why not using HubSpot Lists?

Understanding Contact Lists

HubSpot lists sort your contacts into groups based on what they have in common, like interests or behaviors.

Static lists keep contacts until you remove them, while dynamic lists automatically update as contacts meet or don't meet certain criteria.


They work perfectly for automations or workflows, allowing you to identify specific contact properties.

When to Use Which

  • Utilize Lists to pinpoint the segment of your audience that will most appreciate a certain piece of content or campaign. They're ideal for automations or workflows, helping you to categorize contacts based on specific contact properties.
  • Subscription Types manage email consent, let users check their subscription status, ensuring existing contacts receive only the emails they've agreed to, which is a key for GDPR compliance.

How to use Subscription Types

Activate GDPR Functionality for email communication

Navigating the complex world of data protection laws like GDPR is crucial for any business.

With HubSpot's subscription types, you do no have to worry anymore.

They act as a legal safeguard, making sure that your email campaigns are both tailored to HubSpot contact preferences and legally sound.

Everyone will have their personal webpage to update their email preferences.


Customizing subscription types

Marketing isn't one-size-fits-all, and HubSpot gets that. That's why you can tailor subscription types to fit your unique communication needs.

Whether it's a specialized newsletter or a series of webinars, you can set up a subscription type for each. But remember, while you can personalize to your heart's content, there are some boundaries, especially if you're using a free CRM. This balance allows for creativity but keeps you aligned with best practices.

And with the ability to create up to 1,000 different subscription types, HubSpot grows with your business unit, ensuring you can keep up with your expanding audience's preferences.

HubSpot Default subscription types

Customer Service Communication:

  • Description: This subscription type focuses on improving the user experience and the overall quality of service.
  • Usage: Contacts who opt into this subscription type can expect to receive feedback requests after an interaction with your company, ensuring their voice is heard and that any concerns are addressed promptly. Additionally, they may get essential updates related to customer service, such as changes to support hours, new support channels, or any significant system updates that might impact their user experience.

One to One

  • Description: The most personal touch in email communication.
  • Usage: This subscription is unique as it's not about regular marketing or service broadcasts but tailored, individual messages. These are often directed at specific individuals for a unique reason, whether it's a personalized sales pitch or a check-in from an account manager. It ensures that the receiver gets undivided attention in the message, addressing their specific needs or concerns.

Common custom subscriptions types in HubSpot

HubSpot has revolutionized the way businesses engage with their audiences by offering a diverse set of tools for marketing, sales, content management, and more. At the core of its functionalities lies the concept of subscriptions, allowing businesses to effectively communicate with their audiences in a more personalized and compliant manner. Let's dive into the different types of subscriptions that HubSpot offers:

HubSpot Subscriptions Types on a contact
HubSpot Subscriptions Types on a contact

Marketing Information Subscriptions

This type enables you to send promotional and informational content about your products or services. Contacts who opt into this subscription are generally interested in your company's latest offerings and updates.

Blog Subscriptions

Blog enthusiasts and regular readers will find this subscription handy. It sends notifications every time a new post is added to your blog. HubSpot allows different frequencies like instant, daily, or weekly digests.

Event Notifications

This subscription type is pivotal for businesses hosting webinars, online conferences, or any event that requires timely notifications. Subscribers will receive updates and reminders about the events they've shown interest in.

Product Updates

Specifically tailored for SaaS companies or businesses with frequent product updates. This ensures your user base is always informed about the latest features or changes in your product.

Newsletter Subscriptions

A staple for most businesses, newsletter subscriptions allow you to send periodic updates, stories, and any other content curated for a broader audience. It's an excellent way for keeping your community engaged and informed.

Transactional Emails

These aren't necessarily subscription-based since they're triggered by a user's action like making a purchase or signing up for a webinar. However, it's worth noting that transactional emails are crucial for business operations and user interactions.

Feedback and Survey

This subscription enables businesses to gather valuable insights from their customers. By opting into this, users can receive surveys, feedback forms, or polls.

Navigating HubSpot Subscription Preferences

HubSpot's interface is both intuitive and detailed, providing users with comprehensive control over their subscriptions and marketing information. Understanding how to navigate these settings can elevate your email marketing strategy, ensuring optimal engagement.

Checking a contact's subscription status

Ever wondered if John from Sales has opted into your monthly newsletter? With HubSpot, finding out is a breeze. Simply head to Contacts, select the desired contact, and voilà! The 'Communication subscriptions' section reveals all. Whether they're 'Subscribed', 'Unsubscribed', or their preference is 'Not specified', you're always in the know.

The significance of the Communication subscriptions section

While it might seem like just another tab in a contact's profile, the 'Communication subscriptions' section is a goldmine. It's where clarity meets convenience. Not only can you gauge a contact's interest (or lack thereof) in specific content, but it also helps streamline campaigns. Imagine the power of tailoring your emails based on precise subscription data! Plus, it serves as a constant reminder to respect user preferences, fostering a culture of mutual respect.

GDPR and HubSpot Subscriptions

In today's digital age, user data protection is paramount. Enter GDPR, a regulation that has been a game-changer for online communication. HubSpot, being at the forefront of marketing solutions, has intricately woven GDPR principles into its subscription types. Let's delve into how this intertwines.

The three states of GDPR-enabled subscription

GDPR has a clear agenda—transparency. HubSpot mirrors this ethos by categorizing contacts into three states when GDPR tools are activated:

  1. Opted in: These are the enthusiasts! They've explicitly said, "Yes, talk to me!" Represented as 'Subscribed', they're your green signal for outreach.
  2. Not opted in or out (default): Sitting on the fence, these contacts need a nudge. They haven't yet decided on their subscription preferences. However, remember: you can't email them until they've given the thumbs up!
  3. Opted out: Respect is crucial. These contacts have opted out, denoted as 'Unsubscribed', meaning they've chosen not to receive specific emails. Respecting their choice is not only ethical but also a GDPR mandate.

Default states when GDPR isn't enabled

But what about contact's status if GDPR tools aren't activated? HubSpot simplifies. Contacts either showcase interest ('Opted in' or 'Not opted out') or they don't ('Opted out'). Although, a word to the wise: Even if a contact's status is 'Not specified', it's commendable (and often advisable) to secure explicit consent before hitting send.

GDPR enforcement and subscription confirmation

A masterstroke by HubSpot is its nuanced approach towards GDPR. Emails containing subscription confirmation links are an exception to the rule. Even if a contact hasn't opted in explicitly, they'll receive these emails. This ensures they have every opportunity to set their preferences, championing user autonomy.

Setting up a HubSpot Subscription Type

Embarking on your HubSpot journey and looking to set up a subscription type? Breathe easy. With HubSpot's user-centric platform, the process is a cakewalk. And guess what? I'm here to walk you through it, step by step.

Step-by-step guide:

  1. Get Started: Log into your HubSpot account. Once in, click on the settings icon, usually located in the main navigation bar.
  2. Navigate: In the left sidebar menu, make your way to Marketing > Email.
  3. Dive In: Look for the 'Subscription Types' tab and give it a click.
  4. Create: Spotted the 'Create subscription type' button? Perfect! Click it.
  5. Details, Details: Now, you'll need to give your subscription type a name. Also, include a short description to let subscribers know what they're signing up for.
  6. Clarity is Key: If you're using GDPR tools, here's where you make it clear. Choose the purpose of the subscription (the 'why' behind your emails) and the method of communication (how you'll be reaching out).
Create HubSpot Subscription Type
Create HubSpot Subscription Type

Purpose and method of communication clarification

It's not just about sending emails. It's about purposeful communication. By specifying the intent and method of communication, you align your brand's messaging with your audience's expectations. This not only builds trust but also ensures compliance, especially under GDPR.

Customizing Email Subscriptions for Global Audiences

Globalization has redefined business. With potential customers spanning continents, tailoring communication becomes crucial. HubSpot's subscription customization features act as a bridge, catering to this diverse audience.

Creating translations for different languages

"Bonjour" or "Hello"? HubSpot ensures you don't have to choose. Cater to your French subscribers in French and your English subscribers in English. With translation features, create versions of your email subscription types in multiple languages. It's not just about understanding; it's about making every subscriber feel seen and valued.

Ordering subscription types for optimal user experience

First impressions matter! And HubSpot ensures yours is impeccable. By allowing you to order subscription types, you dictate the subscriber journey. Whether you want to highlight your flagship newsletter or a niche webinar series, place it front and center. It's all about crafting an experience that resonates and engages.

Editing an Existing Subscription Type

Change is the only constant, they say. And in the ever-evolving digital world, your email subscription types might need occasional tweaks. Luckily, HubSpot makes edits simple and intuitive.

How to tweak and refine

  1. Hop In: Open your HubSpot account and click on that familiar settings icon.
  2. Traverse: Head over to Marketing > Email in the left sidebar menu.
  3. Seek Out: Click on the 'Subscription Types' tab.
  4. Choose: Hover over the subscription type you wish to modify. Spot the 'Edit' option? Click edit.
  5. Refine: Adjust the name, description, or any other details as needed. Once satisfied, save your changes.
HubSpot Subscriptions Types Settings
HubSpot Subscriptions Types Settings

Restrictions under GDPR

A heads-up for those with GDPR enabled: Certain fields, particularly the 'Purpose of subscription' and 'Method of communication' for default types (like Sales and Services), are set in stone. They can't be edited. Why? It's all about ensuring compliance and maintaining transparency with your subscribers.

Managing Contact Properties

In HubSpot, the fine details matter. When it comes to managing contact properties for subscription type's information, understanding how things work behind the scenes is vital. Here's what you need to know to manage contact properties:

Auto-creation of Opted-out properties

With every new subscription type you create, HubSpot automatically crafts a corresponding "Opted out of email: [Email Subscription Type]" contact property. Cool, right? But what does it mean for you? It means that this contact property becomes visible on contact records immediately, giving you insights and control over the opt-out preferences of your contacts.

Effects of renaming and inactivating subscription types

Wish to rename a subscription type? Go ahead; HubSpot's got you covered. The corresponding property will be renamed as well. What about marking a subscription type as inactive? That will cause the property to be hidden from the contact record. Each change you make reflects across the system, keeping everything synced and simplified.

Subscription Type Best Practices

Success in email marketing doesn't come from shooting in the dark. It comes from strategy, understanding, and best practices. Here's how to engage contacts effectively using HubSpot's subscription types:

Engaging contacts effectively

Engagement isn't about how many emails you send; it's about sending the right ones. By customizing your subscription types and targeting your communications, you can reach the right people with the right messages. The result? More opens, more clicks, more engagement.

Permission pass campaigns and their role

Ever heard of a permission pass campaign? It's a focused effort to gain explicit consent from your contacts for specific subscription types. You send them an email with a link to update their preferences or opt into new subscriptions on their subscription preferences page. This way, you're not just assuming what they want; you're asking them. It's respectful, it's compliant, and it works.

The Interplay of Marketing and Subscription Types

In the vast landscape of digital marketing, HubSpot emerges as a beacon, seamlessly bridging the gap between subscriptions and effective marketing. But how exactly does this interplay work? Let's dive in.

Only marketing contacts for marketing emails

HubSpot champions clarity. If you have access to the marketing contacts functionality, the rule is simple: only marketing contacts can be sent marketing emails. This distinction ensures that your marketing efforts are laser-focused, reaching only those who truly matter and have indicated a preference to receive such communications.

Navigating the challenges and opportunities

Like any tool, HubSpot's subscription types come with both challenges and opportunities. The key is to navigate these wisely. Challenges like ensuring GDPR compliance or understanding the nuances of different subscription statuses can be complex. Yet, the opportunities abound! Tailored campaigns, clearer analytics, and the chance to refine your strategy with each feedback make the journey exciting and rewarding.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does GDPR influence HubSpot subscription types?

When GDPR tools are enabled, subscription types capture three states of a contact's consent: Opted in, Not opted in or out (default), and Opted out. This is crucial for businesses operating in regions where GDPR is enforced, ensuring that they communicate only with contacts who have given explicit consent.

What are the default subscription types in HubSpot?

The default subscription types in HubSpot are "Customer Service Communication," which is used for feedback requests and customer service information, and "One to One," which pertains to one-to-one emails.

What are HubSpot subscription types?

HubSpot subscription types represent the lawful basis to communicate with your contacts through email. They determine the kind of emails a contact has agreed to receive, ensuring that businesses send targeted and compliant messages.

How can I ensure that non-English speaking contacts understand my subscription types?

HubSpot allows you to create translations of your email subscription types. These translations will be displayed based on the browser language of your recipients, ensuring that your message is clear to all, regardless of language barriers.

Why are some subscription types unavailable for certain HubSpot accounts?

Custom subscription types aren't available for HubSpot CRM accounts. This ensures that there's a clear distinction between CRM communication and marketing or sales emails, particularly for businesses that prioritize GDPR compliance.

Bastien Paul
Bastien Paul
Bastien is the CRO of Hublead. With over 5 years in marketing and sales, using Hubspot, Bastien has written several studies and marketing guides based on data, many of which are well-known in the industry. Bastien likes to question standard marketing and sales beliefs and aims to make things simpler and more efficient.
hubspot linkedin integration with hublead

Connect HubSpot to LinkedIn with Hublead

Try for free