Set up subscription lists and subscription centres

A subscription centre is a marketing page that known contacts can use to manage their communication preferences and contact details with your organisation.

All marketing email messages that you create by using Dynamics 365 Marketing must include a link to a subscription centre, and they will fail the error check if you try to go live with a message that lacks this link. There are two good reasons for requiring a subscription centre link in all marketing email messages:

  • Legal requirements: Many countries/regions have laws that require all marketing email messages to include an unsubscribe link.
  • Deliverability: Spam filters and internet reputation monitors can identify marketing email messages, and might remove those that don't include an unsubscribe link.

All subscription centres include a do not email check box. When a contact chooses this option, the do not bulk email flag gets set on his or her contact record and Dynamics 365 Marketing will never send any marketing email messages to that contact. Optionally, your subscription centre can present several additional subscription options, such as a list of available newsletters. By presenting several different mailing lists on your subscription centre, you gain an opportunity to learn more about your contacts' specific interests while also giving contacts more options beyond the legally required "do not bulk email" option.

Each subscription list exists as a static marketing list in Dynamics 365, while do not bulk email is an explicit attribute of the contact entity. That means that do not bulk email overrules subscription list memberships, but it also means that list memberships will be reactivated if a contact later clears do not bulk email.

The only way a contact can access a subscription centre is by clicking a link sent to them in email. Email links are always personalised for the recipient, which means that Dynamics 365 Marketing always knows which contact has requested the subscription centre and therefore populates it with that contact's current details and subscriptions. You can also add subscription lists to standard marketing pages, which enables inbound (previously unknown) contacts to sign up for one or more mailing lists at the same time they register.

How and where to publish your subscription centres

A good subscription centre is vital for any organisation doing email marketing. As mentioned previously, the feature is required by law in many jurisdictions, and you must link to it from every marketing email you send. You can run as many subscription centres as you like, for example to support various brands or product families, but you must always have at least one. Each subscription centre can offer as many different subscription lists as you like, but each subscription centre must provide an option for contacts to opt-out of all marketing emails.

The default subscription centre

A default subscription centre is provided with every Dynamics 365 Marketing instance. This default page runs natively on the service fabric for your instance and doesn't require a Dynamics 365 portal or external website. This is to ensure that all organisations running Dynamics 365 Marketing can provide this essential feature, even if they don't have a Dynamics 365 portal or external website.

To find, customise, and view the default subscription centre:

  1. Go to Marketing > Internet marketing > Marketing pages to open a list of available marketing pages.
  2. Find the page called Default Marketing Page in the list. This is the default subscription centre.
  3. Select the Default Marketing Page to open it.
  4. Go to the Summary tab and look at the Full page URL. This URL uses the same domain as your Dynamics 365 Marketing instance. Select the globe button here to open the page in a new browser tab.
  5. The page is already live by default. If you'd like to customise it, select Edit in the command bar and then work with it just as you would with any other marketing page. More information:
  6. Select Save when you are done customising. The page automatically publishes your changes and returns to the live state.


Never delete the default subscription centre page! This is the only page that is published on the service fabric rather than on a portal or external site. There is no way to create a new page that is published in this way, so if you delete the default subscription centre, you'll need to create an alternative on your portal or external site.

As with all marketing pages, the subscription form on the default marketing page is a marketing form that is defined separately and placed on the page using a form design element. You can edit the form directly and don't need to open the page to do so. To find, customise, and view the default subscription form:

  1. Go to Marketing > Internet marketing > Marketing forms to open a list of available marketing forms.
  2. Find the form called Default Subscription Centre Form in the list. This is the default subscription form.
  3. Select the Default Subscription Centre Form to open it.
  4. The form is already live by default. If you'd like to customise it, select Edit in the command bar and then work with it just as you would with any other marketing form.
  5. Select Save when you are done customising. The form automatically publishes your changes and returns to the live state. All pages that use the form will now automatically use your updated version.

Custom or additional subscription centres

You can publish subscription centres as a native marketing page running on a Dynamics 365 portal, or set up a marketing form that's embedded on an external site. You can use either of these types of pages as your primary subscription centre if you prefer not to use the default one.

Create a subscription list

To create a subscription list using easy subscription lists:

  1. Go to Marketing > Customers > Subscription lists to open a list of existing subscription lists.

  2. Select New subscription list on the command bar.

  3. A new list is created, preconfigured to function as a subscription list. Enter Name for the list and fill out the other information as needed.

    Create a subscription list

  4. Select Save to create the subscription list. After saving, you can use the Members tab to view, edit, or remove members for the list. Usually, however, you should allow your contacts to manage their own subscriptions using your subscription centre.

Add a subscription list to a subscription form

Now that you have a subscription list available, you can add it to a subscription form. The procedure is nearly the same as when you add other types of input fields to a form.

  1. Go to Marketing > Internet Marketing > Marketing Forms.

  2. You now see a list of forms. On the command bar, select New to create a new one.


    You could instead edit an existing form by choosing it from the list, but for this exercise we'll describe how to create a new one. Note that if you edit an existing form, your edits will affect all marketing pages that use that form because forms are imported by reference, not copied to the page like template content.

  3. The Marketing form templates dialogue box opens, which helps you find and choose a template to help get started quickly. Select the Filter button near the top of the dialogue box.

  4. The Filter panel opens. It's important to select a template of the correct type (subscription centre), so start by filtering the template list by setting the Form type to subscription centre. Then select the close button of the Filter panel to view the results.

    Use the filter to find subscription centre templates in the gallery

  5. Select one of the subscription forms now shown in the gallery. We're using the heraklion template as the example in this procedure, so choose that if it's available. Then choose Select.

  6. Your selected template is now copied to your new form design.
    Edit the heading inserted by the form template

    As you can see, the template has already provided the following:

    • A basic contact-information form that includes several typical fields
    • A Do not email check box (which is required for all subscription forms)
    • A Submit button (which is required for all forms)
    • Two headings with placeholder text surrounded with square brackets.

    Work directly on the canvas to select each of the placeholder headings (including the brackets) and replace them with actual headings (for example, Update your contact information and Newsletter subscriptions).


    Many of the supplied templates for emails, pages, and forms employ this convention of using square brackets to mark instructional placeholder text. They also typically use pseudo-Latin ("lorem ipsum") text as a placeholder for body text, and sometimes example text for headlines, but these don't use square brackets because the text isn't instructional.

  7. On the Toolbox tab, scroll down until you find the Subscription lists heading. You should see the subscription list that you just made listed here, plus any others that were already in your system. Drag it from the Toolbox to the space under the Newsletter subscriptions heading.
    Add a subscription list to the form


    Only forms of type subscription centre show subscription lists in the Toolbox.

  8. On the command bar, select Save to save your new form.

  9. On the command bar, select Go live publish the form, which makes it available for use on marketing pages.

Create a subscription centre marketing page

Go to Marketing > Internet Marketing > Marketing Pages and create a subscription centre page by using the same basic procedure that you used to create a landing page, but be sure to do the following:

  1. Make sure the page Type is Subscription Centre, or choose a marketing page template where Type is Subscription Centre.

  2. Include a Form element that references the subscription form you just made. Configure the form's Submission behaviour with relevant messages and a Redirect URL.

  3. Enter values for all other required fields (Name and Partial URL).

  4. Select Check for Errors and address any issues reported.

  5. Select Go Live.

For a detailed walkthrough of how to create a marketing page, see Create a landing page with a form.

Identify a subscription centre in content settings

Content settings hold common values that you can place into an email message as dynamic text by using assist- edit (or by typing the correct code). You can create as many content-settings records as you need, and you must assign one to each customer journey. Because of this architecture, you can use the same email message in several customer journeys, but the subscription centre link (and other content settings) included in the message can be different for each journey.

To work with content settings records, go to Marketing > Marketing templates > Content Settings. This brings you to a list of current content settings. As usual, you can edit any listed record or select New on the command bar to create a new one.


Like email messages and customer journeys, content settings must be published to the Dynamics 365 Marketing email marketing service (by selecting Go Live). If you need to edit a live content-settings record, choose Edit on the toolbar after opening the record, make your changes, and then select Save; on save, it automatically publishes your changes and returns to the live state.

Each field shown here (besides the Name and Default setting) can be referenced dynamically in your email messages. The two fields, Address Main and Subscription Centre must be referenced in all marketing emails, so they are likewise required here.

Content-settings settings

To specify a subscription centre in the content settings:

  1. Select the Subscription Centre field.

  2. Select the Assist edit button The assist-edit button for the Subscription Centre field.

  3. The assist-edit dialogue opens. Select the Static radio button.
    Assist edit with Static selected

  4. From the Select an option combo box, select Marketing page.

  5. From the Choose a record combo box, select the name of the subscription centre page you want to use. If you have a large number of pages, you can enter some text here to filter the list, which can make the page you want easier to find. You have now identified the marketing-page record that will be your subscription centre for this content-setting record.

  6. Select Next to continue.

  7. Select the Property radio button. .
    Choose a specific marketing page

    Note the code shown at the bottom of the dialog—this is the actual expression that you have built based on your choices so far

  8. From the Select field combo box, select FullPageUrl. This is the field from the marketing-page entity that holds the URL for the marketing-page record you identified on the previous page.

  9. Select OK to add the dynamic expression you have built to your content settings.


    The expression you just created by using assist edit is of the form:


    This expression evaluates to the value of the named attribute (in this case, the URL of a marketing page) from a record of the named entity and ID.

    Using similar techniques, you can also reference a Forward to a Friend page and you can even construct Address Main by grabbing field values from an account record.

  10. Make other content settings as needed. When you are done, Save, Check for Errors, and then Go Live.

For more information about content settings and the assist-edit tool, see Add dynamic content to email messages.

Identify the content settings to use in a customer journey

As mentioned, content settings are defined on the customer journey level, and apply to all email messages sent by that journey. To view and edit the content settings applied to a journey:

  1. Go to Marketing > Marketing Execution > Customer Journeys.

  2. Find your journey in the list, or select New in the command bar to create a new one.

  3. Go to the General page of the customer journey record.
    Where to set content settings for a journey

  4. Use the Content Settings field to choose the Content Setting record that applies to the current journey.

To add a subscription centre link to a marketing email:

  1. While working in a text element, add some link text (such as manage subscriptions) at an appropriate place.

  2. Select the anchor text, and then select the Link button The link button from the floating toolbar, which opens the Link dialogue box.
    The email Link dialogue

  3. Select the Assist edit button The assist-edit button for the Link field. In the assist-edit dialogue, select Contextual and then ContentSettings on the first page. Select Next and then pick Property and msdyncrm_subscriptioncenter on the second page. Select OK to place the expression {{msdyncrm_contentsettings.msdyncrm_subscriptioncenter}} into the Link field.

  4. Select OK to create the link.

More information: Create a marketing email and go live

Test your subscription centre

To test your subscription centre, you must send yourself a subscription-centre link in a live email from a live customer journey. The subscription centre won't work correctly if you open its URL directly, or click a link sent in a test message.

Subscription centres only work when they "know" who they are talking to. This enables the subscription centre to display existing contact information in editable fields (like name and email), and also to indicate which of the available subscription lists the viewer already belongs to. The only way most people will be able to open the subscription centre is by selecting a link sent to them in a marketing email from a customer journey. Links such as these include an ID that lets the subscription centre know which contact has requested the page. (In fact, all links in marketing emails include an ID that's linked to both the contact and the message, which enables the system to report which link each contact has selected in each message.)

If you open a subscription centre by opening its URL directly (or by using a link sent in a test message), an error message will display indicating that the system is not able to verify your contact information.

To fully test your subscription centre, set up a simple customer journey that targets a single contact record with your email address and sends out a simple marketing email that links to your subscription centre (similar to the journey presented in the previous section, but be sure to use a very limited segment). When you receive the message, select the subscription centre link and test its features.

View and edit which lists each contact subscribes to

View, add, or remove subscription list memberships for a displayed contact

To view, add, or remove list memberships for a displayed contact:

  1. Go to Marketing > Customers > Contacts.

  2. Open the contact you want to view or edit.

  3. Open the Details tab of the contact record and find the Subscription lists section.

    • Each subscription list that the contact already belongs to is listed here.
    • To remove the contact from any of these subscriptions, select the More options button (which looks like an ellipsis) next to the target list and then select Remove.
    • To add the contact to any existing subscription list, select the More commands button (which looks like an ellipsis) in the Subscription lists heading and then select Add existing marketing list. A flyout opens. Use it to search for and select each list that you want to add the selected contact(s) to. The select Add to add the contacts and close the flyout.

    Lists a contact subscribes to

Add contacts to lists from a contact list or form view

To add displayed contacts to a subscription list or static marketing list:

  1. Go to Marketing > Customers > Contacts.

  2. Do one of the following:

    • Set filters and view options to find a collection of one or more contacts. Then place a check mark in the left-hand column for each contact you want to add or remove.
    • Open or create a contact record.
  3. On the command bar, open the Lists and segments drop-down list and select one of the following:

    • Add to subscription list: To add the currently shown or selected contacts to one or more existing subscription lists.
    • Add to marketing list: To add the currently shown or selected contacts to one or more existing static marketing lists.

    (Note that you can also add or remove the contact(s) to/from static segments using this drop-down list. More information: Manage segment memberships from a contact record)

  4. A flyout opens. Use it to search for and select each list that you want to add the selected contact(s) to. The select Add to add the contacts and close the flyout.

See also

Create and deploy marketing pages
Create a simple customer journey
Use customer journeys to create automated campaigns
Customer journey tiles reference
Working with segments
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