Many online businesses use websites for subscriptions which often requires heavy lifting to integrate and develop a members-only area within the site, and ultimately isn’t listening to the customers’ behavioral preferences that prioritize the mobile experience. 79% of American consumers do their shopping online, and in order to optimize one’s subscription service, it is essential to meet customers where they are—which is on their phones.

The global pervasiveness and market penetration of messaging and chat mobile apps make them an ideal platform for developing a subscription service with a mobile-first approach. Plus, mobile apps, push notifications, and in-app messaging have higher open rates than traditional email. This article will provide a complete guide to running a paid subscription business through Telegram.

What is a Telegram Subscription?

A Telegram subscription is similar to any other digital or social media subscription or following. Think of the accounts you subscribe to on YouTube or follow on Instagram and TikTok. You receive updates when there is new content and are able to see the public posts and uploads from that user.

The same idea applies in Telegram, but this time in a messaging app. When users subscribe to an account (channel), they will receive content updates within the messaging interface.

Telegram also lets you run a streaming channel, reaching huge audiences live. Telegram groups can be used as an exclusive chat in which group owners can manage massive voice and video chats with their subscribers. It’s a good solution for running paid podcasts as well.

While traditional subscription services grant members access to a ‘members-only’ area of a website, using Telegram to host one’s subscription services would take its place. As a chat app with groups and channels, the members-only area would be established through the creation of private groups and private channels that users grant access to once they pay for the subscription.

With the ability to accept payments within the app, a subscription service is smooth and easy to run via Telegram and increases engagement. The channels and groups will be integrated into the same area of the app where users are already on the platform receiving and sending personal messages to friends and family within their daily communication.

Is Telegram better than WhatsApp for Subscription Business?

Telegram is a more robust, seamless messaging app to use for subscription business than WhatsApp. Here are some defining features and differences that make Telegram a stronger choice:

  • Telegram is cloud-based and uses seamless sync technology. This means that it can be accessed on multiple devices simultaneously and will be up to date across all devices so there is no delay or lag in the synching.
  • The file-sharing max size on Telegram is 2GB per file, allowing companies and businesses to use the app to seamlessly work on projects and transfer presentation, report, or media files across teams and team members.
  • All media shared is stored on the cloud so users will never find that their device has filled up with pictures from the Telegram app. This means that there will never be a need to sort through old messages, content, or attachments to clear out space.
  • The Telegram app itself only requires 100MB of free space on any device in order to be installed and operated.
  • The encryption is secure, seamless, and free.
  • Telegram’s code is open, so developers can create their own Telegram apps and API integrations.
  • Telegram’s API abilities mean that there is bot capability, as well as the option to develop customized and specialized tools.
  • Telegram can have payment processing integrations set up because of the API options, including those offered by InviteMember, allowing it to serve as a centralized subscription service portal for businesses and entrepreneurs, alike.

How can I create a Telegram Subscription?

InviteMember helps businesses build subscription services through Telegram and makes it simple to do so. Here is a walk-through to show how it works when you’re setting up a Telegram subscription.

1) After downloading the Telegram app, open @InviteMemberBot in Telegram and click start. You will then be able to ‘add’ a project. The name of your project will be the name that clients see when they receive messages from your subscription, so pick something logical and related to your business.

2) In order to create a paid members area, you will utilize channels and groups, and the bot will prompt you to add either a Channel or a Group at the next step. When deciding between the two options, consider what the nature of your content will be. For longer, more periodic content like newsletters or podcasts, lean towards Channels. For support groups and discussion boards, a Group is the best option for building community.

3) After following the video that the bot plays for instructions about developing either a Channel or a Group, InviteMember will allow you to create a Subscription Plan outlining the price of each subscription tier, what services are included, and how long they will receive content from you. With options to pay in multiple currencies and across several timeline options, the subscription setup in Telegram is truly customizable for every business.

4) With a full outline of the subscription prices for each Channel or Group, InviteMember will help you create a membership bot that works within the Telegram app to collect payment and do all onboarding for your subscriptions. Following the creation of the subscription price plan from step 3, a video tutorial will play in the InviteMember bot teaching users how to create their own membership bots.

5) Next, using @BotFather, send the /newbot command to customize your bot with a name and username which will prompt you to receive an API token that you will send to the InviteMember bot in order to activate its server on the backend.

By simply messaging this token to the InviteMember bot you were chatting with a few steps earlier, you will have your bot activated.

6) With your bot created, you can customize it by changing its bio and picture, plus set it up to accept payments seamlessly using platforms such as Stripe, PayPal, Skrill, and CoinPayments by clicking the ‘Payment Options’ button in the chat.

7) Now, with the backend setup, you can test out your bot to see the user interface that future customers will interact with and go through with a practice payment and subscription plan.

After receipt of payment, you will be prompted to join the channels and groups that you paid for, in line with the subscription plan that you signed up for.

To maximize the use of Telegram when setting up a subscription, follow these key guidelines to give the most value to subscribing members.

Use a mixture of groups and channels: Only admins can post in channels, so that would be individuals on the business end providing the content and services, whereas in groups, anyone can post—just like on other social media platforms, like Facebook groups—so members can discuss and share with one another, creating a community around the service.

Making use of both features will allow subscribers to engage at multiple levels, receiving the information they are paying for while developing conversations and relationships within the community. Groups and channels increase retention and engagement while providing a multi-dimensional experience to suit the various needs of each customer.

Differentiate subscription tiers through channel and group access: If the business model already offers various subscription levels like ‘basic’ or ‘premium,’ it is easy to accommodate these differences by granting members access to 1 private channel at the basic level and 2 private channels at the premium level, for example.

Otherwise, administrators of the service can create different membership communities within the groups’ feature, separating users by subscription tiers so that there will be a ‘premium subscriber chatroom.’

It is up to each business and the structure of the service, but the Telegram platform offers the flexibility to accommodate existing and future subscription models that may develop and change as the business grows.

Building the subscription bot with Invite Member means that adding a new channel or group is as easy as clicking the ‘start’ button. The image below shows how the process of adding resources in Telegram via InviteMember requires only a prompted chat, removing any of the extensive development needed within traditional subscription business websites.

Make your subscription Project accessible and friendly for users: Always assign a profile picture to the channel or group, add an accurate name, and include a description of the purpose and guidelines of each resource to make the subscription service intuitive to new users who join.

Using InviteMember, the process to add a resource description is simple once you have your Group or Channel setup. Just access your project menu in the InviteMember bot and select the buttons for editing its name, description, and resources.

Plus, once your group is set up, it is possible to pin a message to the top so that whenever someone joins, they will always see the welcome message first, before diving into the latest content that has been posted. Since the recent messages and posts filter in at the top of the channel thread, pinned messages help to keep the content organized and intuitive.

How can I earn money from the Telegram bot?

Telegram itself doesn’t provide the option to make channels inherently cost money for users. But the open API code and bot extensions in the app provide the solution to this problem. Here’s how you can make use of the Telegram bot and charge subscription fees for your content:

  1. Get a membership bot built with the InviteMember platform like already discussed in the previous section. The bot will allow you to complete the process of charging, collecting, and processing payments within the Telegram chat feature, all automated through an API that does the customer service for you.
  2. When a user launches the membership bot with your company's branding in Telegram, the bot will automatically chat with them in the app and prompt them to select a subscription plan.
  3. Then, the bot will provide a link to a paywall page on a payment provider website, connected directly to your business account in Stripe, Skrill, PayPal, or other similar platforms.
  4. Once the payment goes through, InviteMember will redirect the customer to return to the Telegram app.
  5. Upon returning to the app, the customer will find that they now have access to the subscription members-only areas of your channels and groups, in line with the membership tier they selected.

If you're thinking of starting a new subscription business or expanding an existing one, get started with InviteMember FREE today. If you still have further questions, get in touch with us.