Telegram Chatbots The Ultimate Guide

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By Joren Wouters Updated on

This is the ultimate guide to Telegram chatbots in 2021.

I will cover:

  • What Telegram Chatbots are
  • Why you should use Telegram chatbots
  • How you can create your own Telegram bot
  • What chatbot builders you can use to build your Telegram chatbot

And even more.

So if you're looking to use Telegram chatbots in your marketing, you'll love this new guide.

telegram-chatbots

Chapter 1: Intro to Telegram Chatbots

In this first chapter, I will provide an intro to Telegram Chatbots. So:

Let's dive in.

intro-telegram-chatbots

What is a Telegram Chatbot?

A Telegram chatbot is an automated conversation partner on Telegram.

It facilitates a conversation between a person and a computer.

Where you would normally talk with another person on Telegram, you are now talking with a computer. And based on the things you say or the questions you ask, the chatbot will automatically give an answer back to you.

Telegram Chatbot Example

Now a real-life example of a Telegram chatbot: the Eddy Travel chatbot.

With this chatbot you can:

  • Search for flights
  • Get travel inspiration
  • Find accomodations, such as hotels
  • Explore tours
  • And plan group travels

You can try it out yourself by talking to Eddie Travels using this link:

telegram-chatbot-example

Why use Telegram Chatbots?

Telegram is one of the biggest messaging apps in the world, with 400 million active monthly users:

telegram-400-million-users

Also, the platform is growing fast. Every day, 1.5 million new users sign up for Telegram:

telegram-new-users

This means that a lot of people are already on Telegram and that the number of users is expanding rapidly.

With so many people on the platform, it is likely that your customers will also be there. And where your customers, you need to be.

So now you understand why you should use Telegram, why should you use a chatbot?

Actually, I created an extensive post about this, but here are some of the main reasons:

  1. You can save time and money on customer service
  2. It can boost your sales
  3. With a chatbot, you can reply in seconds, instead of days
  4. Your chatbot is 24/7 available, all over the world
  5. People are open to using chatbots, as long as they get good help

Besides this, Telegram also has some advantages over other channels, such as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp

Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp have strict rules regarding their chatbot, such as the 24-hour window. But with Telegram, we have no such rules (yet), which is a huge advantage!

Also, with Telegram you can use chatbots in groups, which is not possible with Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.

How does a Telegram Chatbot work?

A chatbot on Telegram works pretty simple.

When someone sends a message to your Telegram chatbot, the chatbot tries to understand that message and answer it, just like any normal person would do.

Here is an example:

  1. A user starts a conversation with a Telegram chatbot of an eCommerce company. The user asks “What are your top products?”
  2. The chatbot understand this message and recognizes the words “top products”
  3. Based on those words, it searches the product database for their best selling products
  4. Ultimately, the chatbot will send a message back with the best selling products of their company.

Pretty simple, right?

Chapter 2: How To Create a Chatbot on Telegram

Now we know what Telegram chatbots are and why you should use one, it is time to create one ourselves.

So I will show you how you can create your own Telegram bot, step-by-step.

And I am going to do that by using ActiveChat.

Let's dive in.

create-telegram-chatbot

Create the welcome message

Before we start, I also created a video showing how you can create your own Telegram chatbot:

Let’s start by creating the welcome message. The welcome message is the message that appears when somebody talks for the first time with your chatbot.

So, if you head over to your ActiveChat Dashboard, you can create a new bot by clicking on “New Bot”:

activechat-new-bot

Then you need to click on “Start New”, fill in the name of your chatbot and click on “Next”:

activechat-create-bot

Now, ActiveChat will create a chatbot for you. If you go to Automation -> Skills, you will see the Start skill:

activechat-start-skill

By the way, chatbot flows are called skills in ActiveChat. And when you create a chatbot, ActiveChat automatically creates some standard skills, such as the ‘start’ skill.

The start skill in ActiveChat is the same as your welcome message. So, we need to change it.

Let’s say we want to create a Customer Service chatbot that asks if the user wants to talk with Sales or Support.

If you click on one of the default chatbot elements, you can change the text of it:

activechat-change-text

NOTE: Because we are using Telegram, we can use variables such as $_telegram_first_name that will automatically display the first name of the user. This makes the conversation really personal!

Also, you can add buttons so we can direct the conversation. Let’s add one button for Sales and one for customer service:

activechat-add-buttons

And then, we can connect these buttons to other messages, so the final skill will look like this:

activechat-connect-buttons

Automatically reply to questions

Now that we created our welcome message, it is time to automatically reply to questions. Let’s automatically answer “What are your opening times?”

If you go to Automation -> Intents, we can create a new intent by clicking on “New Intent”:

activechat-new-intent

And we will change the name of the intent to “Opening times”.

Then, we can fill in some training phrases:

activechat-add-training-phrase

ActiveChat will use these training phrases to understand the intent of the user. I always recommend giving as many training phrases as possible, but for this example we will give three of them:

activechat-intent-training-phrases

Now, if the user types in something similar to opening times, we can create an automatic response.

In ActiveChat you can create a simple response (just a text response) or “run a skill” (this means that you will send a skill, just like the welcome message above).

I always recommend using skills, so let’s do that.

Head back to Automation -> Skills and click on the “+” sign:

activechat-add-skill

Here we can create a new Text block by dragging our mouse from Catch and determine the text of our message:

activechat-intent-response

Then, you need to head back to Intents and connect the Opening times intent to our skill:

activechat-connect-intent-skill

And that’s it! Now if someone types in similar to “What are your opening times?”, your chatbot will automatically respond with “We are open every day from 09:00 to 17:00.”

Connect your chatbot to Telegram

So the last step we need to is connecting our ActiveChat chatbot to Telegram.

Head over to Settings -> Channels in ActiveChat and click on the tool icon under Telegram:

activechat-telegram-bot

Here you need to fill in your Telegram API token, which we need to get from Telegram itself.

Now, we need to go to Telegram and talk with the BotFather (this sounds almost like a joke, but I am serious).

Go to Telegram, search for BotFather, start a chat and click on “Start” at the bottom.

Then, BotFather will automatically respond with a list of commands you can use to create a Telegram bot using the Telegram Bot API:

telegram-botfather-start

So now we need to say “/newbot” to create our chatbot.

The BotFather will ask for the name and the username of the bot and will automatically create a Telegram API Token for us:

telegram-botfather-new-chatbot

NOTEDon’t share this API token with anyone else besides yourself!

We need to copy this token and paste it into ActiveChat.

Then, if you click on the link given by the BotFather (in my case: t.me/ChatimizeTestBot), you can talk with your chatbot:

telegram-bot-chat

And that’s it! That’s how you create your own Telegram chatbot using ActiveChat.

Chapter 3: Which chatbot builders for Telegram?

I showed you how to create your own Telegram chatbot with ActiveChat.

But ActiveChat is not the only chatbot builder out there.

So, which chatbot builders can you use to build your Telegram chatbot?

And how much does a Telegram chatbot cost?

Let's check it out.

telegram-chatbot-builders

The pricing of Telegram chatbots

The pricing of your Telegram chatbot depends on the chatbot software that you use.

So let’s look at the chatbot builders that offer Telegram chatbots. I will look how much it will cost to send 1000 messages with a chatbot on each of their platforms:

Chatbot builder Price per 1000 messages
ActiveChat $33 per month
Botmother $17 per month
Engati Free
Flow XO $19 per month
Flow.ai $154 per month
Snatchbot $30 per month
Trengo $18,20 per month
Ubisend $417,16 per month
Xenioo $36,39 per month

Of course, these chatbot builders differ a lot in the features they provide and the type of customer they serve, but it provides some insight into how much a Telegram chatbot costs.

Let’s look at the different chatbot builders.

Telegram Chatbot Builders

Here is a list of chatbot builders you can use to create your own Telegram chatbot:

(By the way, if you want to easily compare these chatbot builders, check out this page where you can compare 38 builders)

ActiveChat

Pros

  • Support multiple channels: Website, Facebook Messenger, Telegram and SMS
  • Advanced website widget: widget in your own corporate identity and you can send messages based on the page the user is on
  • One of the best eCommerce integrations I have ever seen in a chatbot builder (with Shopify & WooCommerce)
  • Built-in live chat
  • Dialogflow integration

Cons

  • The interface has a little higher learning curve than other chatbot builders
  • Minimal analytics

Botmother

Pros

  • Easy-to-use interface
  • Many chatbot elements
  • Put chatbot on 6 channels
  • Built-in live chat
  • Accept payments inside your chatbot

Cons

  • Hard to set up a chatbot
  • Cannot set welcome message
  • Cannot determine default reply
  • Keyword recognition does not work
  • Minimal marketing possibilities
  • Minimal analytics

Engati

Pros

  • Easy-to-use Visual Flow Builder
  • Many chatbot elements
  • Add custom fields to users and segment them
  • Built-in AI & NLP
  • Supports 11 different channels to put your chatbot on
  • Built-in live chat
  • Direct integration with Zapier, Google Calendar & Google Sheets
  • Good analytics

Cons

  • Limited marketing tools
  • Could become expensive if you want all the features
  • No eCommerce integrations

Flow XO

Pros

  • Easy to build conversations for your chatbot
  • Offer many channels: Website, Facebook, SMS, Slack and Telegram.
  • Integration with WooCommerce and it is possible to buy something within the chatbot
  • Has a built-in live chat

Cons

  • Not possible to add tags to users and make user segments
  • No integration with Zapier or Integromat
  • Minimal analytics

Flow.ai

Pros

  • Easy-to-use visual flow builder
  • A lot of chatbot elements
  • Add custom fields/tags and create user segments
  • Send broadcasts & sequences
  • Easily translate your chatbot to multiple languages
  • Built-in AI Engine
  • Put your chatbot on 10 channels
  • Built-in live chat
  • Zapier integration

Cons

  • No eCommerce integrations
  • Could be a bit expensive for smaller companies
  • Not possible to automatically reply to Facebook comments

SnatchBot

Pros

  • You can add custom fields to your users
  • Possible to send broadcasts
  • Use conditions in your chatbot flows
  • Built-in AI & NLP
  • You can put your chatbot on 10 different channels
  • Built-in live chat
  • Zapier integration
  • You can receive payments within your chatbot
  • Low pricing

Cons

  • Interface is hard to use and takes some time to understand it
  • Cannot send sequences to your users
  • Limited marketing possibilities
  • Minimal analytics

Trengo

Pros

  • Easy-to-use interface
  • Add custom fields and tags
  • Easily translatable to multiple languages
  • Dialogflow integration
  • Supports 10 different channels
  • Built-in live chat
  • One of the best native website widgets ever seen

Cons

  • Limited marketing possibilities
  • Minimal analytics
  • No eCommerce integrations
  • No templates

Ubisend

Pros

  • Easy-to-use visual flow builder
  • Lots of validation options
  • AI integrations with DialogFlow, Wit.ai & IBM
  • Supports 5 channels
  • Built-in live chat
  • Advanced analytics

Cons

  • Cannot send a broadcast to part of your audience
  • No sequences
  • Limited marketing possibilities
  • No templates

Xenioo

Pros

  • Easy-to-use interface
  • Many advanced chatbot elements
  • You can add custom fields and tags
  • Advanced AI & NLP
  • Put your chatbot on 9 different channels
  • Native website widget
  • Built-in live chat
  • Decent pricing

Cons

  • Takes some time before you understand the interface
  • Minimal analytics
  • Not compliant with the latest Facebook policies

Now It's Your Turn

So that’s how you can use Telegram chatbots in your marketing.

Now I want to turn it over to you: Are you going to create a Telegram Chatbot? 

Or do you already use a Telegram chatbot?

Let me know by leaving a comment below!

telegram-chatbots-thumbnail

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