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10 Minute Marketing

Crafting a Thriving Community Through Strategic Marketing with Matt Chambers

February 29, 2024

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Today’s guest said it best himself: “You can watch thousands of millions of hours yoga and Pilates classes on YouTube, but you can’t watch a class on community.”

Time Stamps:

  • 00:12 – Welcome, Matt Chambers!
  • 02:21 – Matt’s Marketing Background
  • 04:20 – Running Paid Advertising
  • 05:03 – Building Community from Athens to Atlanta
  • 07:13 – The Lead Generation Systems Matt Uses
  • 09:21 – Getting “Real” On Social Media
  • 11:08 – Matt’s Favorite Parts of Marketing
  • 13:55 – What Makes M3 Stand Out Online
  • 16:29 – Learn More About M3 Yoga

Sonja Crystal Williams sits down to talk about the inception, growth, and community-building of M3 Yoga & Hot Pilates studio with its co-owner Matt Chambers!

In this episode, Matt and Sonja discuss how he’s cultivated a vibrant yoga community both online and offline, and how strategic marketing plays a crucial role in the studio’s success story. As the marketing leader behind the studio’s growth in Athens and Atlanta, Matt imparts wisdom on the true power of social media and the subtle dance between paid advertising and organic, heartfelt engagement.

From seizing unexpected opportunities that lead to studio ownership, to exploring the contrast between the energetic teaching environment and the meticulous nature of marketing efforts,  to carving out a distinct space in a crowded online fitness realm, Matt’s journey is a testament to the magic that happens when passion aligns with profession.

About Matt Chambers and M3 Yoga & Hot Pilates
Matt is the co-owner of M3Yoga in Athens, GA and an avid advocate for making movement more accessible and approachable. After originally finding yoga through his partner Nick, Matt’s love for the practice came from Sound Baths and meditations at first, but grew over time to include classes for all levels and bodies.

Matt’s trainings vary wildly from Hatha Yoga training with Darren Rhodes, Brigette Finley, Sam Rice, and Neda Draupadi Honarvar, Sound Bath training with Danielle Hall, and Inferno Hot Pilates Training with Gabi Walters. Expect a gentle guiding hand as Matt’s class experiences lead you to challenge yourself inside and out. And definitely a few jokes to make you laugh along the way.

Matt also manages the marketing, branding, website and studio operations. Don’t be surprised to see him at the front desk, taking out trash or even on the mat next to you!

Learn more about M3 Yoga & Hot Pilates, and follow their Atlanta and Athens locations on Instagram.
Follow Matt on Instagram.

Watch the episode!

Read The Full Transcript From This Episode (click to expand and read the full interview)
    • Sonja Crystal Williams: 0:12
      Welcome to today’s episode of 10 Minute Marketing. I’m your host, Sonja Crystal Williams, and today our special guest joining us is Matt Chambers of M3 Yoga and Pilates, which is for all of you that are listening. Chances are you’re engaged in some type of online community. There’s tons of communities that exist out there. You’re probably in some groups on Facebook. You might be in little pods that exist on Instagram, maybe with your close friends and using tools like that, or even beyond some of those tools Telegram and what’s that other one GroupMe. There’s a lot of tools out there that people use to communicate one-on-one with their friends or people they know or people who have similar interests right, and that exists online. But the reason I brought Matt today is because Matt has been growing a community, and that community has grown in person, but it’s been through different online ways that he’s been able to facilitate the growth of that community, and that is a community of people who enjoy yoga and hot Pilates, which I am a part of that community, I’m proud to say so. Thanks for being here, Matt.

      Matt Chambers: 1:24
      Yeah, thanks for having me. I’m excited to talk about communities in person and digitally.

      Sonja Crystal Williams: 1:31
      So let’s back up a little bit, because you and your partner, Nick, have a yoga studio, and how long have you all had that yoga studio?

      Matt Chambers: 1:41
      Yeah, that’s great questions. We’ve had the one that started in Athens, Georgia, and so we started that one. It actually started with Nick in April of 2017. So math is not my thing, marketing is, and so it started small as like a small private studio we’re doing private classes and lessons, and then in August of 2017, it became public and so that’s where I kind of came in to bring some of like the marketing background and work there, and so really, it’s been since then and we’ve been in Atlanta now for a year, and so, yeah, we have both of them. It’s great.

      Sonja Crystal Williams: 2:21
      Yeah, so two studio locations, one in Athens, one in Atlanta, so you have a marketing background. Tell us a little bit more about that marketing background and how you were able to bridge that into using it to really launch the studio.

      Matt Chambers: 2:36
      Yeah for sure. Yeah. So I went to school for journalism and advertising, went through journalism, got burnt out and was done and so I switched over to marketing, specifically at the University of Georgia and their marketing department. So marketing the school and it’s kind of brand, and I was a marketing project manager there. So just touching every aspect of marketing, you know, like getting the creative to talk to the writers, to talk to the photographers, to talk to you know strategists and everything, and so like just really helping set everything in motion and a lot of those same tools seamlessly carried over into, you know, M3’s inception and marketing creation. And I also feel very lucky that, like I had free consultants that were my friends, that I worked with, that were like hey here’s what you can do, yeah. I was like why should I? This was back, you know, when Instagram was new. It was like should we be on Instagram, you know, asking the social media person? And then it goes of course, and I was like oh, okay, cool, and so it was, I’m amazed everyone to have friends in marketing and high places.

      Sonja Crystal Williams: 3:39
      Yes, Right.

      Matt Chambers: 3:40
      Step one work in a marketing business. Step two open a business. You know, free advice.

      Sonja Crystal Williams: 3:47
      Yeah, it was great.

      Matt Chambers: 3:49
      But yeah, that background and those support systems really helped M3, especially in the early days. I think this was before a lot of yoga studios or any really fitness places had caught on to doing much marketing unless you were like Point Of Fitness, you know somewhere big, and so it was especially digital marketing. It was like ads were so cheap. It was great. You know it was. You were really exposed when you jump on that. It was great.

      Sonja Crystal Williams: 4:18
      Wow, so okay, so that’s actually a good question: ads. Do you all still run ads today, or do you think the community grows more word of mouth?

      Matt Chambers: 4:28
      I mean, it grows word of mouth for sure. Yeah, definitely, we would still do ads. We do digital, social, and paid ads for sure, and I would, you know, those bring in a lot of people. You know there’s a lot of people that come their studio from word of mouth as well, but there are people that you know their friends haven’t been to us. Yeah, first feeling Atlanta, where we’re pretty new, you know, and so it just takes time, where it’s like an Athens it’s, you know, it’s a boulder that’s already rolling down that hill and so word of mouth can be a little bit more effective there for sure.

      Sonja Crystal Williams: 5:02
      Gotcha. So launching in Atlanta, I mean Atlanta’s a big mark. I mean Athens, pretty big on its own right, that’s a nice size city here in Georgia, but Atlanta is like a whole another bargain because you have so many surrounding suburbs and just a high concentration of studios in the city. So, okay. So if we were to say part of that formula it sounds like ads has been part of the formula that’s helped the community grow. Once you get people into the studio. How are you using these other tools like Instagram and YouTube to really just help your community thrive, or do you still even attract new people off of the things that you put out through those networks?

      Matt Chambers: 5:45
      Yeah, for sure, yeah yeah, totally yeah, I think. Yeah, I think the social aspect is really good for attracting new clients. I think it’s really good for building that community and also like retaining your clients, like I think that’s a lot of what it helps with for us. You know, obviously, we get in front of new faces and get new falls and that you know that’s all great and everything. But also like keeping our students engaged and like keeping them on the way, keeping them on the loop of like this is gonna be coming up, so here’s all our events. Here’s a little cute little video about it. Like here’s some story posts that are like graphics that we post very often. These are important things to know about our studio, so we post them times a week and so, yeah, I think those things can be very helpful. I think repetition is always great. So like using those stories and just like repeating them over and over and over, like they’re gonna know it and it’ll be great, and so I think it’s been great. Once they’re in the studio, those become really good retention tools. I think also our email efforts are really good, along with text. We do some auto text campaigns that reach out to people and so I check in with them. After the first class there’s auto text that goes out and just how was your first class coming about?

      Sonja Crystal Williams: 7:01

      Matt Chambers: 7:02
      And so those like personal touches, you know, I feel real and there’s like a whole pipeline that they go through in the studio and it’s all good stuff, all good information, yeah.

      Sonja Crystal Williams: 7:13
      So were you just behind the scenes like just building out this whole system of like, when this happens, they go here, when this happens, they go there? I mean, let me ask you a question for business owners. Let’s just say, people who own a brick and mortar facility could be in the fitness industry, it could be a hair salon, anything like that. Do you think that system is something that takes a lot of time to build out and is it expensive? You know, just generally speaking, without you throwing out the exact figure, but is it expensive or is it something that, hey, as a growing or starting up business, this is something that can be executed?

      Matt Chambers: 7:50
      Yeah, that’s a great question because I had that question myself back in 2018. I was like this seems like a lot of money and work and effort to do. I think it’s totally worth it. I think we wouldn’t get the conversions that we get from new people coming through our door nearly as much if we didn’t send those messages and we didn’t have those touch points. I think it does take a lot of work for sure to do it up front and then the maintaining it’s not bad so when you get a, you know you’ll get the perfect lead when someone replies back, so that like interaction, that you know that that person is ready and willing and engaged. And so it does take a lot of work to set up, for sure. And it you know I go in and tweak the messages once or twice a year just seeing how they’re doing or if we change language that we use or add a class or something. But for the most part, once you set them in place, I mean it’s pretty hands off. You know it kind of runs on its own and definitely is worth. You know its weight in gold for sure.

      Sonja Crystal Williams: 8:50
      Okay, so the investment of time is really up front. I mean, you still got to tweak things and do maintenance, but it was you really investing a lot of that time in the beginning to set the systems up.

      Matt Chambers: 9:01
      But really it saved me more time, I think, because, like, this prevents me from having to call every person you know a few times to check in with them. You know it’s just an automated thing. I don’t have to worry about like, who have I emailed, who haven’t I emailed, like I think over time it ends up saving you way more time for sure, especially like the volume that we do. It just, yeah, makes more sense that way.

      Sonja Crystal Williams: 9:21
      Absolutely. And then my next question was like do you, Matt, do all of this from the content creation of social media? Like, are you a one man show doing it all on your own, or are there people here and there like I need this person for graphics, I need this person for video? Like, do you have people that you go to that help with any parts of the system that you’ve created?

      Matt Chambers: 9:45
      Yeah, we have videographers and photographers that we use for professional shoots that we do which did one recently and but for most of it it’s just me and my partner, Nick. We will hold the camera up, you know, and take the photo in the video. You know, like iPhone cameras are so good nowadays that, you know, for social it doesn’t matter as much. We’ve also always had a social field that’s felt a little more organic, you know, like that’s just kind of our social media brand. It’s a little bit like organic, like it’s not, you know.

      Sonja Crystal Williams: 10:18
      Like real.

      Matt Chambers: 10:18
      Yeah, yeah, it’s not gonna be super polished, it’s like real. Yeah, it’s real and it’s from the heart. Everything we post is, you know, pretty much from the heart that we’re writing, you know. And so, yeah, it’s just us, just a small little shop, yeah.

      Sonja Crystal Williams: 10:32
      Yeah, but you’ve been able to do something really big and amazing, so that’s huge. What do you enjoy most on? And let’s go into two things, because you also teach at the studio. So you’re a marketing, you’re a co-owner, and then you’re teaching also at the studio, on just the marketing side, and then we’ll get into teaching. But on the marketing side, what are the aspects that you enjoy? I guess most Do you. Just I love making. Like that’s the fun part of the job. You know, from that end, for me, I feel like you enjoy.

      Matt Chambers: 11:08
      Yeah, I really enjoy planning events and creating the graphics and messaging around those. I also really enjoy the communication that happens in our marketing, because it is such a pipeline and it’s like, hey, how are you doing? Like, tell me about your class, how’s it going? Like the students reply back and that’s really cool to like have a. I’ve never met them, you know, but like I’m having a conversation with them as like hey, I’m glad you, like you know super stretch, like that’s wonderful. I think that’s a really cool component and I think that kind of makes it feel like that community, even when you’re walking, you know, like you’re walking into a community, obviously, but then also like virtually we’re right there with you, like hey, we’re still gonna check in on you, you know how’s it going.

      Sonja Crystal Williams: 11:52

      Matt Chambers: 11:53
      Kind of making people feel seen. I really enjoy that.

      Sonja Crystal Williams: 11:56
      Yeah, which I think is really huge, and especially that’s one of the reasons why people come into a yoga community and wanting to feel like they’re a part of something and they’re around similar, you know, kind of people. So that makes a lot of sense. And then on the teaching side, what do you teach at the yoga studio?

      Matt Chambers: 12:14
      Yeah, I teach inferno hot pilates and inferno power pilates, which is a lot of fun. It’s a high intensity, well-impact workout class using Pilates principles. One of them uses weights and one of them is all body weight and it’s lasers on the wall, good lights and music and we’re pumping you up and getting you going. It’s a lot of fun.

      Sonja Crystal Williams: 12:34
      Yeah, so spoiler alert everybody, I teach inferno hot pilates at Matt’s studio. We met online actually, which is funny, and then in person, but that’s fun because it’s such a disconnect from being in front of a computer and being at a desk and getting away from marketing sometimes and just doing something different, especially physically with your body. So I love it and I thank you and I love the studio.

      Matt Chambers: 13:01
      Oh, I’m glad I love having you at the studio and I love teaching as well. I mean, I think it gives me a reason, like it reminds me on those hard days where, like marketing and going through the slog, whatever and you know, like anything, business, but like going to the class and seeing the students grow and get stronger, I’m sure you feel the same. It’s so inspiring, like why we do it. I love it. Yeah, it’s like my why. You know, find your why, or whatever.

      Sonja Crystal Williams: 13:22
      Exactly very cool, okay. So a couple of quick questions as we start to wrap up. One is there’s a lot of fitness content that exists on Instagram and YouTube. Do you feel like, or do you ever find yourself asking, how do we make ourselves a little different, or how do we stand out, or how do we make sure our content is connecting with the right people? And, if so, like how do you do that?

      Matt Chambers: 13:55
      I mean, yes, we ask ourselves how can we stand out? I don’t think I’m ever. You know, it’s nice in a way being a local business, and a small local business in two cities, a small local business where, like, I’m not going to try and like capture the US audience’s attention. So it kind of helps me focus a little bit on like. I just want to hit Atlanta and Athens and like, do it. Well, our, you know, strategy has always been to be real and authentic and engaging in that capacity and like to showcase the community, because there is a lot of like you can go watch thousands of millions of hours of YouTube of yoga and Pilates classes, but like, you can’t watch a class on community, you know, like and so, like our marketing is going to lean into that community factor and that’s going to be a lot of what we try to show on social media. And so that’s kind of where we differentiate, because, like, you can find out what yoga and Pilates is a lot of the time. Like you’re also not going to go to Instagram to find that out, really, you know and so, but you are going to find out like, what is the vibe of this studio? Like I want to know what this is going to feel like if I walked through this door, and so like that’s what we try to share.

      Sonja Crystal Williams: 15:01
      Yeah, I love that. Would you have imagined, let’s just say, even 10 years ago, that you would be running a yoga studio where you are today?

      Matt Chambers: 15:14
      No, no, no, no, not even close. I hadn’t done yoga. I still don’t do too much yoga. You know, in this wild, yeah, I never would have imagined. You know, it was Nick and I meeting and then the rest was history. From there I think I might have gone down a business route, maybe one day I don’t know. You know, that’s kind of been something like my father did that, and so that’s kind of a little bit, you know, in my mind, but it was never anything to like, certainly open up a fitness or yoga studio.

      Sonja Crystal Williams: 15:45
      Yeah, Okay, yeah, I wondered about that.

      Matt Chambers: 15:49
      I don’t think either of us really planned it, it just kind of happened. Yeah, it just happened it was kind of magical, yeah, and I’ve just always gone with the flow. You know, I went from journalism to advertising really easily and you know, like that’s just always gone where the water has taken me in that regard, and it took me to a yoga studio. I mean, I kept my marketing job for a long time, you know, while the business was growing you know and then left. But yeah, I was doing both for a while.

      Sonja Crystal Williams: 16:14
      Yeah, but yeah, you’ve been able to gracefully, or maybe gracefully. We all run businesses, so maybe it’s not always graceful, but you make it look graceful in having that transition from one to the next, so that’s awesome. How can people find you or learn more about the studio and for people, even though Atlanta is where, like technically, your face to face community is, are there ways that people can engage if they’re not in Atlanta?

      Matt Chambers: 16:45
      Yeah, for sure. So any of our social media, our websites, the great our m3yoga. com was the website. Social media Athens is @M3 Athens, Atlanta is @M3 Atlanta. Pretty simple. You know I’m on Instagram and not really much, but it’s @wheat bread candy. That’s my very catchy title.

      Sonja Crystal Williams: 17:03
      Wait, wait. So pause, because I have a question about that that I’ve never asked you. What’s the story behind @wheat bread candy?

      Matt Chambers: 17:11
      There’s literally no story. So literally was like I’m going to change. It used to be @Welcomed Matt, like welcome- D- Matt, and then I changed it to @wheat bread candy. Randomly one day I was like what should I change it to? And when you go to change it it was like suggested things and suggested @wheat bread and then I was like candy and so I don’t know, there’s no rationale. Yeah, it’s a mystery. It’s catchy though, it is catchy, I was like I like it, I’m going to stick with it. So, yeah, yeah. I don’t know. But yeah, you can engage with us there. You know, we have an online library of videos, so if you’re not an Atlanta and Athens, then you can still get you some classes online and all that. But, yeah, a lot of people come through Atlanta sometime. You know wherever they’re traveling or whatnot. So we’re here.

      Sonja Crystal Williams: 17:58
      That’s right. And those of you in Atlanta who also check out the studio and then you go travel, you have access to that online library as well. So very cool, well, Matt, I want to thank you so much for your time. Thank you so much for being here and just sharing a little bit about how you all have been able to grow and expand two locations now in three yoga. Thanks so much for being here and thanks everyone for listening. Have a great day.


Social Media


Social Media & Digital Marketing Training

Tools, Templates, and Resources

work with me

1:1 VIP Power Day


I'm Sonja — social media and digital marketing trainer, consultant, and strategist. I'm here to help you and your team work smarter.