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Making waves with Big Blue Swim School

How DTC helped a small business achieve record growth

 - 539% YoY increase in free trial sign-ups

 - 131% increase in on-site call tracking

 - Finalist for the Google Premier Partner Awards

Success Story

DTC + Big Blue Swim School

Big Blue Swim School’s founders were champions in the pool. Now, as business owners, they’ve learned a new stroke to leave their competition in their wake.

US National Champion Chris DeJong and Big Ten finalist John Lonegran founded Big Blue Swim School in 2009, an innovative Chicago-based swimming school for children. With four locations and plans for dozens more, Big Blue boasts a unique three-to-one swimmer-to-instructor ratio, allowing children to quickly build swimming confidence with a roster of full-time instructors. 

“We just swam every day, that’s what we did,” DeJong says. “Once you’re in the swimming world, it’s hard to leave it.”

With just one location to start, its local competition was fierce. Big Blue was competing against companies with entrenched and aggressive paid campaigns. It needed help and turned to a local leader in digital marketing. 

This case study provides a detailed breakdown of Digital Third Coast and its custom strategy and results for Big Blue Swim School in an eight-month stretch.

A 539% year-over-year increase in free trial sign-ups

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Big Blue and Digital Third Coast set a clear lead goal: Increase the number of subscribed swimmers through free trial sign-ups via online form completions and calls using paid search.

The overarching goal for Big Blue was to convert the trials to recurring customers. Big Blue sees a high trial conversion rate with a solid lifetime customer value.


DTC took a straightforward approach: Show Big Blue’s ads where its customers live online. While tactics and methods evolved as DTC analyzed campaign data and effectiveness, the core strategy did not. Launch, analyze, reiterate. They aimed to do more of worked well and less of what did not.  


With Big Blue, strong marketing numbers are tangible. When DTC delivered an astonishing increase in conversions and on-site calls — a 539% year-over-year increase in free trial sign-ups and a 131% increase in on-site call tracking — Big Blue announced the business expansion of a new physical location in November.

Due to the large increase in exposure during the fall and the attractiveness of the new promotional offer, the Big Blue team noted an exponential increase in conversions. The business notched a new all-time high of calls and online conversions in each month of the partnership, setting up Big Blue for record gains in the upcoming years.