How to opt unsubscribed contacts back into email - quick tips

A customer has opted out of my email! They need to get these emails! What should I do?

New HubSpot customers when they begin sending email in HubSpot are overly sensitive to email statistics. One of their biggest pain points are Unsubscribes. Especially from Customers. 

Refrain #1

"How dare they unsubscribe from our email. They NEED to know this stuff!" 

Refrain #2

"They opted out years ago when we sent dumb email. Now we send good email, they surely want to know what we have to say."

It is a fact of life, that every single marketing send will result in a few opt-outs every single time you send. And, it is especially painful when it is your customer base. Rest assured that most people don't treat their email as precious, constantly opting out left and right. But there are still people, of a generation, who do.

If someone has opted out from Marketing Email, it actually prevents utilization of HubSpot Sales Sequences and Templates as well.

unsubscribed seq

And it makes emailing within the HubSpot software massively inconvenient.

opt out

Huge pain, frankly.

What's a responsible marketer to do?

Discourage opting out

  • Enable your HubSpot Email Subscription Types judiciously. And then in every email edit the Footer to "Manage Preferences" which will force the Customer to pick what they are unsubscribing from. Unfortunately, you can't set up "Manage Preferences" as the default, but need to select every time or clone from emails that have this set.

subscription types

edit footer

communication preferences

  • Be clear in sending emails to your customer base. Make sure emails clearly discern that they are for customers. Gather up multiple messages and send them in one batch, to keep frequency to weekly or bi-weekly.
  • If you have a small customer base, send customer notifications and information via HubSpot Sales Templates and Sequences which will allow you to send without an opt-out out footer. Small means less than 500 sends, ideally. Some automation is now possible using Marketing Hub Enterprise and Sequences. 
  • If regular customer communication is part of your marketing plan, strongly consider getting HubSpot Transactional email. HubSpot Transactional Email costs $600/month but for clients needing to send high volumes of relationship-based emails, it is absolutely the right call. It allows you the have marketing email statistics from transactional email. It also gives you a dedicated sending IP which helps overall email deliverability.

Options to get opt-outs opted back in

Fine. We all get that we need to do better. But what can you do to get those opted-out emails back in? HubSpot has several mechanisms for doing this and none can be done in a batch mode. You can't simply flip a switch and get opted out email back in. 

Option 1 - Remove an opt-out email subscription status "by hand"

Say you are talking on the phone to a super important customer and you notice she has opted out. You could say, "Ms. Smith, I noticed you opted out of our email. I really think you should consider getting our weekly software digest. Can I opt you back in?" Ms. Smith says yes. If you dig around in HubSpot, on the left-hand side of the contact record, there is a section called "Communication Subscriptions." If you open that up, you can opt subscribers in one, by painful one, into various subscriptions. It is a multi-click process and is designed to be difficult.

comm subscriptions

subscription status

I made a little video because the whole thing is kind of insane and discouraging (by design).

Option 2 - Opt a contact back in via Resubscription Form

You need to enable Resubscription Emails in your Options for Marketing > Email. Once you have done this, any unsubscribe contacts who enter their email address on one of your forms will be informed that they have opted out of your marketing emails, and will be prompted to receive a subscription email. Read the specifics here about setting this up.

Sadly, you can't send this email to all your opt-outs to beg them to come back, because, well... you know, they have opted out and you can't send them email. So this is nearly useless for you. But HubSpot does bring it up in its documentation.

resubscription email


Option 3 - Send a manual email and ask contacts for permission to opt-in.

Another equally ridiculous, but potentially productive option, if you truly feel you have customers who have opted out accidentally, you can send them a manual email either inside of HubSpot by clicking the "permissions" stuff, or outside of HubSpot, and asking them if you may opt them back in, by them simply replying to your email.

I know. It's insane. But it is your only option.


The ability to communicate with customers and prospects is worth money. Be judicious and understand that every email send causes opt-outs, whether you like it or not. Have a plan to deal with it ahead of time. And any company that does large base communications, should strongly consider the HubSpot Transactional Email option.