Television advertising is far from dead. Although viral marketing via website banners and streaming video is the new bandwagon in media placement, a well-executed TV commercial is still a guaranteed way to increase your company’s sales while expanding brand awareness. But only if you do it right. Here are five tips for successful television advertising:

1) Entertainment is essential. Let’s face it, no matter how smart and practical your products or services are, when people are facing the television screen, they’re expecting some form of entertainment. This doesn’t mean comedy; serious spots work just as well. But from start to finish, it’s important to keep a viewer engaged so that they’ll remember your message and absorb all of the information your commercial is seeking to convey.

2) Be brief. Televised ads traditionally average 30 seconds in length. Identify a key message or a few main points and make sure that your advertisement explicitly features these elements. Because television ads aren’t something that prospective customers can reference at their leisure, your message must be clear-cut and easy to understand on the first viewing. Clouding your message with too many other details or off-topic iconography can strongly undercut your ROI. However, even the most concise commercials may take several impressions per viewer to create a lasting, measurable impact, so be patient rather than worry that your message didn’t take hold.

3) Visuals are vital. While print advertising allows you to outline facts about your business, and radio focuses on speaking directly to the potential buyer, television is about conveying a message primarily through pictures. Your goal is to create visual impact that enforces your key messaging and leaves a strong impression with the viewer. Advertising agencies that specialize in storyboarding and graphic messaging will help elevate your commercial content; you’ll also want a knowledgeable director on your set when filming.

4) Call to action is critical. Give your captive audience a valid reason to call or visit your website to make further contact and begin developing a relationship. Provide viewers with a strong impression of your brand and let them know what sets you apart from the competition—this will serve as a reminder when they’re ready to commit or seek more information. Remember, if a television viewer goes to bed humming your theme song but doesn’t know what you do or how to reach you in the future, then even the biggest blockbuster commercial won’t actually improve your bottom line over time.

5) Seek out specialists. Consult with an experienced media buyer to help you ascertain the correct locales, stations and times for airing your ad within your budget. Media buyers have access to comparative data about viewer demographics and reactivity, and they can offer valuable insight to the logistics and statistics of when and where your ad would make the greatest impact. Then, of course, they can help you purchase those time slates. Working with a comprehensive advertising agency that has plenty of experience with purchasing, designing, creating and tracking commercials is the best way to ensure that you’re on the most surefire path to successfully advertising on television.