How do I create multiple subscription types?

We have a global unsubscribe option built in to Customer.io. However, if you have multiple types of messages and want to give your users more control over the messages they receive, you can replace our unsubscribe functionality with your own.

There are two options that we recommend:

  1. Custom Unsubscribe Links: This method suppresses people who clicked a specific link in your email.
  2. Creating your own subscription center: This method uses attributes set on a person’s profile. In order to set attributes for subscription preferences, you’ll need to host custom code that can identify people to Customer.io when they update their preferences.

Note: The big caveat with this method is that people cannot re-subscribe after they unsubscribe.

For our example, let’s say you have multiple webinars that you run, and you want people to send updates to people about a particular webinar but also give them a way to opt out. This method works great for discrete events that you don’t really want to keep around forever as a preference on the person’s profile.

1. Create your different landing pages

You might set up 3 different landing pages. It doesn’t matter what the content is on the page since the person gets unsubscribed when customer.io tracks that they clicked the link. However, you’ll want to make it descriptive for the person landing here so they know that they’ve been unsubscribed.

e.g.

  • example.com/unsub/webinarupdates#02-20-2017
  • example.com/unsub/webinarupdates#02-27-2017
  • example.com/unsub/webinarupdates#03-05-2017

In your newsletter layout, instead of {% unsubscribe_url %} (the default Customer.io unsubscribe URL), paste the link to the page you just created and save. In our webinar example, you would either need to have a different layout for each webinar preference, or move the unsubscribe link in to the body of your message.

3. Create segments to suppress sending to unsubscribed people

Give your new segment the following rule: “Email [any email] has been clicked on link matching [your page URL]”, like this:

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4. Good to go!

You can then use this segment to make sure you don’t send to people who are unsubscribed, like this:

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Advanced: Did you know, you can also use the segment you just created as a trigger in a new campaign to update a person’s attribute with the Create or update person action.

Creating your own subscription center

For this method, you will need to build a subscription center form and use Customer.io’s forms integration to connect the form to your workspace. First, create your form with the various subscription options you need.

When you set up your form in Customer.io, you will map your form’s subscription options to the profile attributes that you want to use to capture users’ subscription preferences.

IMPORTANT: Be sure to include a global unsubscribe option on your form, and map it to the unsubscribed attribute. If a person wants to unsubscribe from all of your messages, your form will set this attribute to true, making sure that you respect their unsubsribe request.

When someone submits your form, their subscription attributes will be updated. Then you can set up segments to include or exclude people who have various subscription attributes for future messages.

Report unsubscribe metrics for custom subscription centers

When you use our default unsubscribe link and page, we attribute unsubscribe requests to a particular message, helping you understand how your audience receives your messages.

If you use a custom subscription center, you need to attribute unsubscribes to a particular message if you want to capture unsubscribe metrics for your messages. You can do this using our custom unsubscribe API.

This endpoint attributes each unsubscription to a specific message and sets the person’s unsubscribed attribute to true. If you use a custom subscription center and manage subscriptions with other attributes, the unsubscribed attribute may not represent your audience’s subscription preferences.

The unsubscribed attribute represents a global unsubscription in Customer.io. A person whose unsubscribed attribute is equal to true won’t receive any of your messages unless you enable the Send to unsubscribed people setting for your campaigns and broadcasts.

send to unsubscribed people
send to unsubscribed people

So, if you use a custom attribute to represent your audience’s subscription preferences, and you report unsubscription metrics using the unsubscribe reporting API, you may need to set your campaigns and broadcasts to Send to unsubscribed people so that your audience continues receiving messages in accordance with their custom subscription preferences.

Your audience can still unsubscribe if you use a custom subscription center and do not report unsubscribe metrics back to Customer.io. You just won’t be able to attribute your audience’s unsubscribe requests to a particular message.

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