Custom Subscription Management Center

Tatiana Lea

I have been asked a number of times now if its possible to have AO Subscription Management in different languages or have it branded not only with a logo but perhaps utilise bespoke stationary or be able to access it via website.

So I thought it would be good to create an article on how you are able to make your own Subscription Preference Centre using AO Landing page and AO form. This workaround would also allow you to use built-in Subscription Management choices for segmentation on any lists you have in the platform.

Another plus of using this method is that you can have access to your Own Subscription Preference Centre via website (native is only accessible via email), and perhaps redirect all your web visitors who have submitted a form to that specific page.

1. Create a form where each subscription management category is a single selection on the form. You can add description of the category in its own rich text block prior to the checkbox option or just add text to the Text Label (my example 'eNewsletter - tick if you want to subscribe') or even in the Label under Values (see the label 'Newsletter').

Make sure that corresponding Label Value is set to 'true' as highlighted in the screenshot below.


* You might want to add a language preference as a drop down field and perhaps even push that field to your CRM ;)

2. Create a Form Submission List - lets call it 'Custom Subscription Management List', your subscribers will go to that list.

3. Next you will need you to enable your native Act-On Subscription Management, replicating the same categories (Newsletter, Promotions, Product Updates) as you have in your form. The categories names have to be exact as you have in your Field/Column Names in your Form.

I would also at this stage send yourself a test email, click on an Opt-out link in the footer and select your categories. 

The reason why we are doing it is to 'activate' Subscription Management List, we just need one record there. To check that list go to Contacts > Other Lists > Account Lists > Subscription Management List

3. One you can see the list with at least (1) one record you can disable Act-On Subscription Management by moving bar to OFF.

4. The next step is to run a list maintenance program on the signup list 'Custom Subscription Management List' to change all unchecked subscriptions to the value of 'false' for the category suppression.

Again why we need to do it? Well blank values in the Subscription Management List are considered 'true' or 'opt-in'. If we write/copy records directly to the Subscription Management List, they will be opted in therefore we have to create a 'false' value to ensure they are opted out.

Create segments for unchecked values in the form sign up list. In this example, we are looking for individuals that have both of the following:

  1. no value in the subscription category
  2. filled out your Custom form in the past day*

You will need to do this for every category. Once the segments are created it will add for anyone who did not check the specific category upon a form submit over the past day (starting at midnight).

5. Create a list maintenance program from the signup list 'Custom Subscription Management List' to check in each segment created and to change the field value for those categories to 'false':

6. Set the maintenance program to run on a schedule once per day – just before midnight (for example 11:50 pm).  When ran, the list will update the values to 'false' for any blanks:

As end user fills out the form, the selections for their preferences will toggle between true and blank in the sign up list.

7. The last step is to set up a list maintenance program off of the Subscription Management List.

Go to Contacts > Account Lists > Subscription Management

Set up a Maintenance program that will copy the contacts from your 'Custom Subscription Management List'. It is important to merge records and append as well as update records in the event that subscription preferences change from the form submit.

Run the list maintenance program once a day – just before midnight but after the first list maintenance program runs (for example 11:55 pm)

The reason why the timing is so important is because we want the list maintenance program to capture the most up to date information off of the form submit prior to the records being removed from that segment. They will be removed from the segment because we are only looking for form submits for that day. After that day passes, those records will no longer be in that segment.

So if you need Preferences in different languages, you will need to repeat above steps for all other forms. I would however consider :

1) Creating a Master Preference sign up, so all my forms submissions go there
2) Setup one List Maintenance with steps for changing blank values to 'false' for all forms (A customer of our using over 100 steps in one List Maintenace Program)
3) Create different footers with a link to language specific Preferences page
4) Create your segments with preferences and include a query for a language

Do let me know if you need any further clarification!


Tatiana Lea
Learning Consultant, Act-On Software




  • Comment author
    Digital Team

    Thank you for this article, I think it will really help us!
    I just finished setting up the 2 maintenance programs, and I wanted to ask if we need to turn ON the toggle for the Subscription Management page that we turned off on step 3, of do we leave it off? 

  • Comment author
    Lily Doyle

    Do you have an article or instructions on how to set up/manage a Subscription Management List as seen under #3? We are trying to set up subscription management segments and only mail to people who've signed up for certain things. So we want to start by having everyone opted in, and then as they receive emails, they can change preferences, and then they'll go to appropriate segments for each category. 

  • Comment author
    Tatiana Lea
    • Edited

    Just to let you know guys if you would like to keep both your Custom SM and your Native Act-On SM, do not turn the Native SM feature Off.

    [i.e Ignore this point #3. One you can see the list with at least (1) one record you can disable Act-On Subscription Management by moving bar to OFF.]

    Best practice then to give access to Native SM via Email and Custom SM via/on Website.


    Hope this helps

    Happy Marketing



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