Perhaps you’ve heard this famous quote from painter Pablo Picasso:

"When art critics get together they talk about Form and Structure and Meaning. When artists get together they talk about where you can buy cheap turpentine."

What on God’s green earth could turpentine have to do with expanding your email subscription list via Twitter? The subject matter may be totally different but the essential point holds --  for business people, like for artists, it’s often the smallest seeming tips that make a difference, rather than grand ideas about overarching philosophy or organization.

And I just ran across a great trick that’s seemingly tiny but also simple and effective, i.e. the cheaper turpentine of the small business world. It comes from Ryan Hoover, a director of product at PlayHaven and occasional blogger. In a recent post he explained that he uses Tweetdeck to monitor who is sharing things he has written.

He has long been in the habit of tweeting back to thank those that spread the word about his writing, but he recently added a tweak to his usual Twitter routine:

A few weeks ago, I started experimenting with something new. After replying with appreciation, people often respond in kind. At that moment, I send a second reply with an ask:

If this looks foreign to you, you probably aren’t familiar with Twitter’s Lead Generation Cards. By simply including a link within my tweet, the card is embedded, giving users the ability to subscribe to my email list with a single click. It’s beautifully simple.

As a result, 60-80% of people convert.

Hey, those Twitter Lead Generation Cards look pretty handy, you may be thinking, but won’t this routine take a whole lot of time? It’s not without effort, Hoover concedes, but the personal touch is what makes the technique effective and the ability to automate this is surely only one clever, dedicated developer away from reality, so keep your eyes peeled for a tool to accomplish this.  

When you talk to other small business owner, what turpentine-level tip do you share?