How to Create an Automated Flow for a Telegram Chatbot

The flow builder is the main tool to set up your bot to welcome new subscribers, assist users, sell products, and notify a manager about users’ questions in the chatbot. Also, a chatbot can gather information and send it to your system for future use.
All you need is to create keywords, design the bot’s structure, and drag-and-drop elements in the SendPulse flow builder.

Below you can find a detailed table of contents. Use it as a map for comfortable navigation to find all of the possible triggers and elements to get started adding them to your bot’s flow.

Choosing a Trigger for Your Flow

By default, there are “Welcome message,” “Standard reply,” and “Unsubscribe from bot” flows. And you can create your own new triggers to get more functionality.

Choose your bot. Navigate to the “Bot Structure” tab and choose a trigger.

Welcome Message Flows

The flow starts after a user subscribes to your chatbot - i.e after clicking the “Start” button.

Users can subscribe by following a link to your bot https://t.me/username, finding the bot on the Telegram app by its @username or using a website widget.

This flow introduces your bot to users. Here you can write about your bot and its features - how the bot can be useful, what information bot can provide, and how often bot will send messages and the content of those messages.

Standard Reply

The flow will launch in response to any user’s question that is outside your bot’s scenario. Here you can add a message with information, that a manager will contact during them during business hours and reply to the user.

You can set up a cool down interval for launching a flow that is between 1 minute and 24 hours - so your bot won’t launch a second time within the specified interval.

Unsubscription from Bot

This a flow with one message element that will launch after a user unsubscribes using the /stop or /unsubscribe command.

Trigger Flow

You can add keywords - triggers, that your bot will react to and launch your flow.

Click “Create a new trigger.” Write your command using one or several words. For example, you can use the words “Order,” “Tickets,” “Price,” or “Delivery.”

If the user enters a part of a keyword linked to your command, your bot will suggest prompts such as a button with the name of your trigger. When the user clicks the button, the flow will launch.

Building Your Flow

It’s important to think about the architecture and logic structure of your bot carefully. A well-designed bot will let users easily get a reply to their questions or place an order successfully by providing the necessary information.

Formulate the bot’s tasks, divide its functions into sections, think of how you will connect the elements, and start creating your bot’s flow using our drag-and-drop builder.

All the elements available in the builder are optional, you can even stop building after the first message element.

We recommend checking out the different varieties of chatbots and strategies for building your bot on our blog.

The Start and “Message” Elements

Every flow starts with the “Message” element. You can add text, images, files, a delay, and user input elements within the “Message” element.

You can add the “Message” element to any part of your flow. For example, in the last block of your flow, you can thank your users, confirm their order, and send information from your gathered variables, asking if the information is correct.

Text

Within the “Message” element select the text element type and add the text of your message. Also, you can add emoji and variables to personalize your messages.

To add a variable click {} in the right corner of the text block and choose the variable you want to add from the drop-down menu. If you have a value for this variable in the user’s contact information, they will receive a message with the value filled in.

Buttons

You need to add a button or user input element to the message element if you want to connect it with other elements in your flow. This is one of the most important elements for communicating with your users - buttons engage users and let them chose a direction for your bot to take them to the next part of your flow.

To add a button, click on “+ Add button”. Name your button in the first field.
Note, you are limited to 20 characters. Also, you can add emoji to the button’s text.

The text on the button should be easily understandable - it’s important for users to understand what will happen when they click on the button and know what specifically they need to choose. Make sure that the next element in your flow corresponds to what the button says it will do to maintain the logic of your bot.

You can add up to 13 buttons and choose their placement - from 1 to 4 in a row.

Also, you can add a link to an external resource, for example, link your site with a payment form.

We recommend adding “Back” and “Back to main” buttons after all the information you add, so users can change their choice and choose another path through your flow. This prevents the logic of your bot from being trapped or broken with one message.

Images

Diversify your messages by using visual content that relates to your text.

To add an image click on the “Add” button and choose the “Image” element, then upload your image.

There are no limitations to the size of the image, but note, that the image resolution for Telegram will be 500 px in width and 200 px in height.

Delay

Divide long texts into passages up to 4 lines with the “Delay” element. This element will imitate typing by showing the typing animation and gives your user a rest before the next message.

Click the “Add” button and choose the “Delay” element. Enter a value in seconds - from 1 to 5.

User Input

You can gather information from users and save it to a variable for future use. Users can enter any value and you only need to set up the type of validation for this value - string (for text values), number, date, phone number, email address, or a URL.

Click the “Add” button and choose the “User input” element. Choose the validation type, add a warning message for users who enter the wrong value, and choose the variable where you want to store information.

For example - you have text block “Specify how many tickets you want to reserve.” The validation type will be “Number,” if a user enters a non-number value, they will get your error message.

Another example: “Leave a link to your Facebook account”. You should choose the “URL” validation type here.

Also, under the message, you can add quick replies buttons - so users can choose from predefined responses instead of typing their own.

To do this click on the “Quick replies” button in the “User input” element window and enter values for the buttons.

You can add up to 10 buttons.

Note the difference between standard buttons and quick reply buttons: quick reply buttons are the bot’s element that saves information of the chosen button into a variable.
And click on a standard button redirects the user to another element of your flow according to your scenario or to an external source.

Moving Elements

By default, each element you add is placed at the end of the message element you are working on. Hover on the element that you want to move up or down and click on the corresponding button.

Connecting Elements

Drag a line from the blue drop of one element to another element to connect them.

Click on the line twice and you will see a button to remove a connection.

The disconnected elements will be highlighted in yellow, remember that you need to link it to another element.

Elements with empty fields will be highlighted in red, reminding that you need to fill in fields. For example - if you added a button, but did not enter text for it or used a link element, but did not enter a URL. You cannot save your flow until you fill in these fields.

Adding “Action” Elements

Only you can see the “Action” element, it will not provide content to your users. Choose this element from the left panel and drop it near the block you want to link. Then choose which action you want to add.

Opening a Chat with a Human

Choose the “Open the chat” action for a personal consultation - this is for cases when chatbot’s work is done and the user wants personal communication. This action will open a live chat with the bot’s admin. 

You can turn off bot auto-replies when opening a chat flows. This will help in cases where the subscriber is already waiting for a manager and so that the bot won’t send a message at that moment.

Also, you can set up email notifications for the manager about an open chat that will be sent to the email addresses used to register the account or enable web notifications in the browser.

Unsubscribing from the Bot

Users can unsubscribe from your bot with the /stop and /unsubscribe commands, but also you can set up that automatically. Use the “Unsubscribe from the bot” action for the branch of your scenario where you need to delete users from your audience list to never send them messages again.

Adding Tags

Add tags to mark user’s preferences and use them to create more personalized campaigns in the future.

Adding Variables

Add a value for the variable to use information in the future - it can be information about an order or personal data, which will help filter your audience for targeted campaigns.

If you are using a website widget or advertising to launch trigger flow - you can create a “Source” variable and place this element after the “Start” element.

You can view saved variables on the “Audience” tab of your bot.

Sending Webhooks

Add this action after an event, about which you want to be notified. For example, if a specific client just made an order. Your CRM will get a POST request with that subscribers’ data, and any variables and tags that the bot gathered.

To add an element to the flow choose the “Send webhook” action. In the first field enter a name for the webhook so that you can easily find it by name in your system and filter it. In the second field add a link to your handler where the POST request will be sent.

Adding the “Flow” Element

You can simplify your bot’s structure and move your user to another flow.

To do this, add an element, then choose the “Flow” element and select the flow you want to link from the drop-down list.

The “Flow” element will be the last element in this branch of your existing flow. You cannot link it to another element to continue the original flow.

Adding a "Filter" element

Segment customers based on their personal information and history of receiving your previous messages. Select the Filter element in the left sidebar and drag it after the element that will start your branching scripts.

Then select the condition itself. You can filter by:

  • variable value (all types - string, number, email, phone, and link);
  • assigned tag;
  • participation in the flow;
  • campaigns received

Combine conditions by adding the operators “any” or “all,”, or add independent additional conditions.

After adding conditions, add the additional flow elements to each of the Filter element options if the condition is met (green dot) or not met (red dot).

Adding the “Pause” Element

You can set up a pause between flow elements between 1 minute to 24 hours. Use this to warm up your clients to avoid sending them too many messages at once. After choosing the pause length, the next element will be activated and a message will be sent after the specified amount of time elapses.

If you select a pause between elements of 1 day or more, you can set the time at which the message will be sent. The system considers the next day any time after 00:00 according to the time zone set in the settings of your personal account.

Adding the "API Request" Element

Send requests to a third party server to create objects or retrieve data. Get data and use it in your chatbot messages.

You can save the received data to a variable or add it to a message as JSONPath.

Drag the "API Request" element to the workspace, connect it to the element, after which you want to retrieve data. Select the type of request and enter the URL to send the request to.

Selecting a flow

After testing the request and receiving a successful response, configure the mapping settings. If you need to save the value from the response to a variable, select the key from the received request and the variable to save to. If you want to use the received value once without saving it to a variable, copy {{$ ['somekey'] ['nestedkey']}} and use it in the next message element.

Selecting a flow

Save and Launch Your Flow

When you finished creating your flow and have looked over all of the elements, save your flow before exiting. Click “Save and send it to yourself” to test the flow and check if everything is working correctly.

After that, you can exit your flow by clicking “Save and exit”

Managing Your Flows

You can enable and disable flows at any time by choosing a flow and switching it on or off from your chatbot dashboard.

Disabled flows will have a grey switch.

Analyzing Your Results

Sendpulse allows you to track general statistics on a chatbot in the "Statistics" tab.

You can see the number of messages sent and read, redirections from the flow, both in total and separately for each message in the "Bot structure" tab.

It’s also possible to track statistics on button clicks in flow messages and statistics for users for whom the Action and Pause elements were triggered. Click the number on a button to see who clicked the button.

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