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3 min read

How to Opt Unsubscribed Contacts Back Into Email

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"A customer has opted out of my email! But they need to get these emails! What should I do?" As with all things Orange Marketing, a particularly HubSpot perspective.

When new HubSpot companies start sending email, they tend to be overly sensitive to email statistics. One of their biggest pain points is Unsubscribes. Especially from Customers. Typical we hear:

Refrain #1

"How dare they unsubscribe from our email. They NEED to know this important information from our very important company!" 

Refrain #2

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

The Truth About Email Deliverability

It is a fact of life that every single marketing send will result in a few opt-outs. Every. Single. Time. And it is especially painful when it is your customer base opting out. Rest assured, most customers won't continually opt-in and out of your emails. It is manageable.

Can you Still Communicate if They Have Opted Out?

Yes. And No. If someone has opted out from your Marketing Email, it actually prevents utilization of HubSpot Sales Sequences and Templates.

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And it also makes emailing within the HubSpot software massively inconvenient.

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A 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. You will need to enable this every time you create a new email or create a template email with this option set. 

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  • 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 weekly or bi-weekly.

  • If you have a small customer base, have your Customer Success team send customer notifications and information via HubSpot Sales Templates and Sequences, allowing you to send without an opt-out footer. Small means less than 500 sends at a time, 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 it is absolutely the right call for clients needing to send high volumes of relationship-based emails. It allows you the have marketing email statistics from transactional email. It also gives you a dedicated sending IP, which helps overall email deliverability.

Download The Truth About 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 allow for 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.

You could then dig around in HubSpot and locate on the left-hand side of Ms. Smith's contact record, a section called "Communication Subscriptions." If you open that up, you can opt subscribers in one, by painful one. It is a multi-click process and is designed to be difficult.


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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 unsubscribed contacts who enter their email address on one of your forms, will be notified they have opted out of your marketing emails and prompted to approve receiving 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 -- Settings-Marketing-Email-Subscriptions:


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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—is to send them a manual email. You can do this either inside HubSpot by adjusting "permissions" or outside HubSpot. In either case, you are 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 sent causes opt-outs, whether you like it or not. Have a plan to deal with it ahead of time. And any company that does significant communications to their existing customer base should strongly consider the HubSpot Transactional Email option, which allows you to send important communications without the Opt-Out link at the bottom. 

More Hard-Hitting Email Tips!

Do not miss our ebook The Truth About B2B Email Deliverability for more email best practices. This ebook shows you:

  • How relevant email still is in winning business 
  • How to run better email campaigns
  • Industry terms and the metrics that matter
  • And more!

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Additional Resources

Cleaning Up Your Group Email Lists
Run More Efficient B2B Email Campaigns!

Trade Show Success Tips!
Actionable B2B Marketing Tactics for SaaS & Tech Startups

The Truth About B2B Marketing
Before You Spend One Dime on Marketing - Read This!