Sea of Knowledge

Managing Unsubscribes in HubSpot

It’s time to talk about the biggest rejection email marketers face—unsubscribes. We all know that feeling when we see a contact has unsubscribed from the email campaign we spent weeks designing just for them. But, don’t worry. It happens to us all.

So, what happens to a contact when they unsubscribe in HubSpot? And, how can you get them back?

Here’s a look at how contacts unsubscribe from emails in HubSpot, how to resubscribe them, and what happens after they unsubscribe from HubSpot emails.

How Contacts Unsubscribe from Email in HubSpot

HubSpot stores unsubscribes in the “Unsubscribed from all email” property on the contact record.

Unsubscribed from all in HubSpotThere are four primary ways this property is updated.

  1. Contact unsubscribes from a marketing email
  2. Contact unsubscribed manually on the contact record
  3. Opt out list imported into HubSpot
  4. An integration marks the contact as unsubscribed

The difference between a contact unsubscribing via email and the other three unsubscribe options is that you can’t re-subscribe a contact that opted out themselves.

Meaning if a contact opts out of email by clicking the Unsubscribe or Email Preferences link in your email, you can’t go to their HubSpot profile or import a list to manually re-subscribe them. But, if you accidentally mark them as unsubscribed manually, you can correct that in HubSpot. 

Manually Unsubscribe and Resubscribe Contacts in HubSpot

How to Unsubscribe a Contact in HubSpot

To manually unsubscribe a contact from HubSpot, you can import an opt out list into HubSpot, mark them as unsubscribe in a system that’s integrated with HubSpot (like Salesforce or Microsoft Dynamics CRM), or select “Opt out of email” under Actions on the contact record.

Manually unsubscribe HubSpot contact

How to Resubscribe a Contact in HubSpot

You can only resubscribe a contact that was unsubscribed manually. If you unsubscribed a contact in error, go to the Contacts list in HubSpot and filter to the contact. Then, select the contact from the list and click “More.” Finally, select “Edit communications subscriptions.” 

Edit communications subscriptions in HubSpotNow, you need to tell HubSpot what subscriptions to subscribe this contact to and explain how they consented to the communications. Then, select Subscribed and Remove opt out from all emails. Finally, add your reason for resubscribing the contacts in the “Explanation for communication consent” section. 

Subscribe a contact to email subscriptions in HubSpot

Please note that this will not change unsubscribes that the recipient has explicitly requested. It will only work if your team or an integration manually changes the Unsubscribe status.

How can a contact resubscribe to emails sent from HubSpot?

We mentioned that you couldn’t manually resubscribe a contact that unsubscribes themselves from your communications. So, how can a contact resubscribe to your emails?

HubSpot Resubscription Emails

If you’re using Marketing Hub Professional or Enterprise, you can enable resubscription emails. Once enabled, unsubscribed contacts that submit a form will get the opportunity to opt back in.  When they fill out the form, a message will pop up letting them know they need to resubscribe to submit the form. Once the contact clicks the link, HubSpot sends an email to the email address provided. The recipient can click the link in that email to resubscribe to your emails and finish submitting the form.

Resubscription text on HubSpot form

Please note that this will only work if the contact is opted out of all communications or if Unsubscribed from all email is set to “True.” Also, if the contact only unsubscribes from one email subscription type, this link will not appear.

To enable resubscription emails, navigate to Settings, Marketing, Email, Subscriptions. Then, click “Publish email” next to the Resubscription email section. Once you’ve published a resubscription email, you can activate this setting.Create HubSpot resubscription email

What happens once a contact unsubscribes from emails in HubSpot?

Unsubscribed contacts in HubSpot will no longer receive marketing emails sent from your account. However, they can still receive transactional and one-to-one sales emails.

Even though unsubscribed contacts will no longer receive marketing emails, they still show in your total estimated send count for email sends or the total estimated enrollments for workflows. You will see an overestimate for enrollment if you do not exclude unsubscribed contacts from email sends or workflows. After you send an email, you’ll see a value for “Not Sent” under the Recipients section of the email report.

What does Not Sent email mean in HubSpot

To get an accurate count of how many emails will be sent, create an active list in HubSpot that stores email addresses that have hard bounced or unsubscribed in the past and exclude that list from all email sends.

Create an Unsubscribed and Bounced List in HubSpot

To create a list for excluding unsubscribed and bounced contacts in HubSpot, navigate to Contacts and then Lists in your HubSpot account. Create a new contact-based active list named “Unsubscribed and Bounced.” 

Unsubscribed and Bounced List in HubSpot

Use the contact filters “Unsubscribed from all email” is True OR “Email hard bounce reason” is known. Then, save your list and use it as an exclusion list for email sends and workflows that send emails to contacts. 

Remove Unsubscribed and Bounced Contacts from an Email Send in HubSpot

When sending an email, navigate to Send or schedule and add your Unsubscribed and Bounced list to the “Don’t send to” section. After you add your recipients list to the “Send to” section, you will see an updated amount for the Estimated recipients on the right side of your screen.

These contacts will not receive the email you are sending even if you do not exclude them from the send. But, they will be included in your performance metrics for the email unnecessarily. This will show a lower performance rate than you would see if you did not include them. So, it’s best to remove the contacts so your email performance report is as accurate as possible!

Exclude unsubscribed contacts from HubSpot emails


Exclude Unsubscribed and Bounced Contacts from a Workflow in HubSpot

Before activating a workflow, add your Unsubscribed and Bounced list to the “Suppression lists for this workflow” section under Settings and Unenrollment and suppression.

This will prevent contacts that have previously unsubscribed or bounced from enrolling in your workflow. Although they would not receive the emails this workflow would send, they would still count towards the total of contacts enrolled and your overall goal conversion. This will reduce your performance metrics unnecessarily as these contact should not be included in the workflow.

Exclude unsubscribed contacts from HubSpot workflows